A Lawrence County resident pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine. U.S. Attorney Cindy Chung announced 49 year old Quantel Searcy, formerly of New Castle pled guilty on Friday to one count.  Authorities claim Searcy was part of a cocaine-distribution conspiracy focused on New Castle. The conspiracy involved cocaine imported from Mexico into California that the California conspirators mailed to the New Castle area and that Searcy and others then distributed.  Sentencing is set for March 1st of 2023. The law provides for a total sentence of 40 years in prison, a fine of five million dollars or both.

Today is the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot for next Tuesday’s midterm election. You have until 5 pm today to apply for a mail ballot online at or at a county election office. The Department of State says the best way to return completed mail ballots at this point is to hand deliver them to county election offices or to a drop box or satellite election office. Mail ballots must be returned by 8 pm on Election Day. Ballots post-marked by that time but received after the deadline will not count

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price report, the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania is up three cents this week to 3.99 a gallon. In New Castle the average price is at 3.93 a gallon while motorists in Sharon are paying 3.99.  The national average pump price continued its recent trend by dipping three cents over the past week to hit $3.76, three cents lower than a month ago and 36 cents more than a year ago.

Tonight’s planned debate between the major party candidates for Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District seat has been canceled.  The campaign of Republican Jeremy Shaffer says that Shaffer has had to pull out of the event with Democrat Chris DeLuzio due to sickness.  The 17th Congressional District includes all of Beaver County in addition to portions of Allegheny and Butler Counties.

A new report says the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic haven’t been the only reason for the tight labor market in Pennsylvania. The state’s Independent Fiscal Office says that a declining and aging population – separate from the pandemic – also cut some 65-thousand people from the workforce. The office says in the short term, the labor market likely won’t improve over the next three years.

A Sharon man was sentenced to 4 to 8 years in prison in connection with a shooting in Farrell. The Sharon Herald reports 34 year old Omario Boatwright pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault and of being a person not allowed to possess a firearm. Attempted homicide and robbery charges were dropped. The incident took place in May of last year.  The victim survived the shooting.

A man is dead after being shot by Pennsylvania State Police in Allegheny County yesterday. The shooting happened in Fawn Township.  Police say the man showed a gun and didn’t obey commands.  No other details were released.

Halloween night’s Powerball lottery drawing proved to be all trick and no treat for Western Pennsylvania players and others across the nation hoping to hit the jackpot.  No tickets sold for the Monday night drawing matched all of the numbers drawn.  The estimated jackpot for Wednesday night’s drawing is now one-point-two-billion dollars.

Applications are now open for Pennsylvania’s LIHEAP program.  The initiative provides assistance to residents who struggle to cover heating bills over the winter.  Those who wish to apply can do so online by searching D-H-S-dot-P-A-dot-gov.

State Police in Lawrence County report a one vehicle accident in Shenango Township. According to police, 28 year old Edward Mitchell of McKeesport was southbound on Pennsylvania Avenue when his vehicle went off the roadway and struck a tree. Police said Mitchell faces charges of driving under the influence. No injuries were reported.