The mayor of East Palestine Ohio says it remains unclear when evacuated residents of the village will be able to safely return to their homes. People are continuing to be told to stay away from the area around a Friday night train derailment in Columbiana County near the Beaver County line. Crews on Monday performed a controlled released of a chemical called vinyl chloride into a drainage pit that resulted in a boom and a huge plume of black smoke. Pennsylvania residents who live within two miles of the derailment scene continue to be asked to shelter in place with their doors and windows closed.
A McKeesport man is facing charges after allegedly shooting two police officers on Monday, killing one of them. McKeesport police responded to a scene on Grandview Avenue where they had been alerted that a man who could be in mental distress was possibly armed. When police approached 31-year-old Johnathan Morris, reports say he pulled a handgun and shot two officers. Officer Sean Sluganski later succumbed to his injuries while Officer Charles Thomas Jr. was treated at a local hospital and was released. Morris, now in custody, is charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and murder of a police officer.
Two women and a child were left without a home following a fire in the city of New Castle. The fire broke out last Thursday at a home on South Cascade Street. The New Castle News reports when firemen arrived the first floor was fully engulfed in flames and smoke. One of the women who lives in the house suffered smoke inhalation and went to the hospital by private vehicle. The fire is under investigation by the New Castle Police Department. No other injuries were reported. The Red Cross is assisting with lodging for the three people.
The Ellwood City Ledger is reporting a Beaver Falls man has pleaded guilty in connection with an October 2021 murder. 69 year old John Westley Johnson has pleaded guilty to the murder of 46-year-old Sharon Benyo. Johnson was offered a plea agreement in which he would plead guilty to a charge of third-degree murder and receive the maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years in exchange for avoiding a month-long trial. No sentencing date has yet been set.
A state trucking organization says the cost of driving on the Pennsylvania Toll Road is making the state uncompetitive for trucking businesses. Rebecca Oyler, president of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, tells Trucking-News-dot-com that recent toll hikes only make goods more expensive for everyone. She also says her group remains upset that the money paid to maintain the roads is diverted to other projects. However, a spokeswoman for the turnpike says truckers appreciate the savings in time and fuel that they get from using the roadway.
The state of Pennsylvania plans to give grants of up to 400-thousand-dollars to groups that try to curb opioid deaths in communities of color. The money comes from the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs and stems, in part, from settlements related to the nationwide opioid epidemic. Department officials say in 2021, the overdose death rate of Black Pennsylvanians was twice as high as white residents.
Voters in Allegheny County will select winners today in three special elections. Folks are being asked to fill vacancies in Pennsylvania’s 32nd, 34th and 35th House districts. Each of those district’s was won by a Democratic candidate in November but now voters must choose again. In the 32nd district, winner Tony DeLuca had passed away in October. In the 34th, former Representative Summer Lee’s seat is vacant as she was also elected to Congress while in the 35th, former Representative Austin Davis was elected as the state’s lieutenant governor.
Kennywood amusement park has announced April 22nd as opening day for their 2023 season. The park will be open weekends through Memorial Day when it will begin welcoming guests on a daily basis. Sister park Idlewild and SoakZone will open for the season on May 20th with Sandcastle Water Park opening on May 27th.