TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR JUNE 25TH, 2020

A Farrell man is facing federal drug and gun charges following an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. According to a news release 37 year old Laron McKinnon of Farrell faces charges of possession with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing cocaine. McKinnon also faces charges of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. McKinnon could face between five years and up to life in prison, a maximum fine of $1.5 million, a term of supervised release of at least three years, or a combination of the three. The case is part of Project Guardian, a Department of Justice initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms law.

New Castle City police have charged a man in connection with a drive-by shooting. According to the New Castle News the incident took place around 11:30 pm back on June 17th.  25 year old Atreyu Michael Bonecutter of Pin Oak Drive was later arrested and charged with  carrying a gun without a license. No injuries were reported.

Beaver County officials are exploring the possibility of creating their own health department.  Elected leaders say there’s a need for a local agency after feeling like state health officials let them down during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The discussions are covering the costs of starting a health department and the possibility of partnering for a regional agency.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development will administer more than $5 million in federal funding to fight homelessness statewide. Lawrence County will receive 1.7 million dollars according to ninth District State Representative Chris Sainato. Secretary Dennis Davin this week said funding will be used to assist homeless families in finding housing through the federal Emergency Solutions Grant program.

Vice President Mike Pence will visit Trumbull County, Ohi today.  The vice president will join Lordstown Motors executives for the unveiling of the company’s new electric pickup truck.  The vehicles are being built in the factory that was abandoned by General Motors last year.  Pence is also scheduled to meet with law enforcement and community leaders.

State lawmakers are expected to review a bill that will allow mail-in ballots to be counted prior to Election Day.  That measure comes amid the fallout of concerns over timely reporting of returns following the primary election.  Over 21-percent of all registered voters in P-A requested a mail-in ballot for the June 2nd Primary, according to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Department of Health now lists that the state has 82,186 cases of COVID-19 since March, with 456 new cases reported in the state. There have been 6,426 total deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the outbreak began and 3 new deaths in the last day. Lawrence County reported two new case and now has 94 positive cases and nine deaths.

Two events at the P-A Farm Show complex are being canceled.  The All-American Dairy Show and the Keystone International Livestock Exposition are being cancelled due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.  Department of Agriculture officials say they are monitoring all events that take place at the complex and have not made any changes for January’s Pennsylvania Farm Show itself.

Despite an anticipated shortfall, the Mars Area School District passed its 2020-2021 budget without a tax increase.  They are anticipating a two million dollar decrease in local revenue, leaving them about 700-grand in the hole.  Part of their plan to cut costs comes by eliminating their Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Innovative Practices at the end of the month.