December 16, 20225:21 am

Some members of the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board are criticizing Governor Tom Wolf’s administration for a lack of oversight. They say doctors and third-party certification companies are making it too easy to get a state medical marijuana card.  Spotlight PA dot com says the board believes 18-hundred licensed marijuana physicians are getting lax about reviewing patient medical records because of telemedicine. The practice was begun during COVID. The officials say those options, which are seen as less thorough, shouldn’t be offered now that in-person visits are more available. 

A trial date has been set for accused Tree of Life shooter Robert Bowers.  Bowers is accused of killing 11 people in an attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill in October of 2018.  April 24th of 2023 was announced yesterday as the start date for the defendant’s trial. 

State Sen. Elder Vogel has announced the State Agriculture Land Preservation Board has protected a Beaver County farm from future development. The farm is in Darlington Township and is owned by William J. Douthitt.  Vogel said by selling their land’s development rights, landowners ensure that their farm will remain a farm and never be sold for residential, commercial or industrial development.  Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of farms and acres permanently preserved for agricultural production.

– The rush for Pennsylvania gift givers to get those packages in the mail is on.  The U.S. Postal Service advises that today is the deadline for retail ground service and first class mail for folks hoping to have deliveries made by Christmas.  Monday is the deadline for Priority Mail and next Friday will be the deadline for Priority Mail Express. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced new ways it’ll be treating people in rural areas across the state.  Officials say the methods will include offering outpatient emergency departments, acute care hospitals as well as 24-seven emergency care for patients via phone.  They say the methods will be done separately from other efforts that might be performed at joint facilities.  

Authorities in Butler County report one person was flown to a Pittsburgh Hospital following a three vehicle crash. The accident happened Wednesday night near the Clearview Mall. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

A former middle school teacher and youth athletics coach accused of sex crimes against 11 children has pleaded not guilty to all charges.  Eric Fairman is a former math teacher at McKeesport Middle School who also coached sports in the Keystone Oaks and West Jefferson Hills School Districts. He appeared in court Thursday where prosecutors said they want all of the cases joined together for a single trial while Fairman’s attorney says the defense may want separate trials for each alleged victim.  Fairman remains in custody at the Allegheny County Jail.

Residents hoping to become millionaires before Christmas are lining up to buy lottery tickets today.  The estimated top prize jackpot in the Mega Millions game stands at 429-million dollars.  Winning numbers will be drawn tonight at 11.

A Beaver County man is hoping his efforts can help give Western Pennsylvania residents a taste of the past they fondly remember.  Jason Powell says he is launching a Hills Snack Bar food truck so he can bring back part of the experience of the sorely-missed store.  In addition to the hot dogs, pretzels, and popcorn, Powell has found real Hills shopping carts, or, more accurately, “buggies”, that guests can take photos with.  He says he hopes to have the truck ready to go in the spring.

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