State police are investigating after a Saturday night crash in Mercer County left the operator of a horse-drawn buggy dead.  Seventy-seven-year-old Daniel Miller of New Wilmington was ejected from the vehicle when he was struck from behind at around 5:30 p.m. on New Castle-Mercer Road.  Miller died at the scene.  The two people in the vehicle that struck him were not injured and the condition of the horse was not reported.

A head-on collision Saturday night in Beaver County sent three people to the hospital.  The crash occurred just after 6:30 p.m. on Big Beaver Boulevard in Homewood. According to police, 68 year old Susan McCartney of Fairmont West Virginia, was traveling the wrong way on route 18 when she struck a vehicle head-on, operated by 18 year old Gavin Swaugher of White Oak. McCartney, and two other passengers in her car where life-flighted to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital for treatment. No other injuries were reported.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has added Lawrence County to Pennsylvania’s spotted lanternfly quarantine zone in wake of the spring 2023 hatching season. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Russell Redding said in a news release that through collective efforts such as implementing these quarantine zones, the commonwealth continues to slow the spread of these insects.  Mercer County is also part of the quarantine zone.

An Environmental Protection Agency official is telling people in East Palestine, Ohio that the air quality is “normal.” During a news briefing Sunday, EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore said those results show from tests the agency has been conducting at nearly 600 homes in the community on the Ohio/Pennsylvania border.  Shore also said that air screenings are available “to any resident within the evacuation zone who wants” it done.  Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel also said that all the rail cars from the February 3rd train derailment have been removed from the site.

Waste shipments from the site of the East Palestine freight-train derailment are on hold amid protest from authorities in Texas and Michigan.  Officials in both states say they were unaware that soil and water from the site of the East Palestine freight train derailment was being shipped to their respective jurisdictions.  Days after the February 3rd incident, officials arranged the shipment of tainted soil and other materials to hazardous waste-disposal companies.  It remains unclear whether those shipments will resume. 

In light of Governor Josh Shapiro vowing not to issue any execution warrants during his term, Representative Chris Rabb says he’ll also try again to repeal the death penalty. The Philadelphia Democrat has tried three times since he’s been in office to get such a bill passed.  Should Pennsylvania enact Rabb’s measure, the state would join nearly two dozen others that have abolished the death penalty. In Pennsylvania, the number of new death penalty sentences reportedly has steadily declined over the last 30 years.

A plan to raise fishing permit fees in Pennsylvania will be brought before the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission during a special board meeting on March 1.  Each fishing permit fee category is proposed to see an increase. A resident annual fishing license could increase $2.50, from $23.50 to $26. A non-resident annual license could see a steeper increase of $4, from $55 to $59.

There is a sobriety checkpoint coming in Mercer County sometime next month. Mercer Pennsylvania State Police said in a press release that a sobriety checkpoint will occur somewhere in Mercer county during March. The focus of the checkpoint will be impaired driving.PSP will release its findings from the checkpoint upon completion.

Pennsylvania will start checking the eligibility again of everyone on Medicaid.  Over the next year, people will have to fill out forms to verify their address, income and household size.  Federal officials say this is necessary because during the pandemic, states weren’t allowed to kick anyone off Medicaid, even if they were no longer eligible.  Now, the government wants to ensure people aren’t making too much money to qualify for the program, or check if they gained health care coverage through their employer or moved into a new state.

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