Firefighters are investigating a fire that destroyed a home in Butler County early yesterday morning.  The log cabin home on Three Degree Road in Penn Township went up in flames around 5:00 A.M.. All six people inside the home at the time of the fire escaped.  No injuries have been reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

A teenager was killed, and several other people were injured in a crash that took place Sunday afternoon in Mercer County. State Police said 18 year old Shawn Negley of Pittsburgh, lost control of his vehicle on Mercer Butler Pike Road in Liberty Township, traveled off the roadway and rolled over a number of times.  A passenger, 18 year old Derrick Hoffman of Prospect was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. Neagly, along with three other passengers were all taken to local hospitals for treatment.

The House Appropriations Committee is making education the topic of its first budget hearing.  New Majority Chairman Matt Bradford says the decision to hear from the education department first underscores the importance of education, especially in light of a recent Commonwealth Court ruling.  It said that Pennsylvania’s current education funding system based on state aid and property tax revenues is discriminatory and favors students in wealthy districts. 

Officials from multiple government agencies are going door-to-door in East Palestine to check on residents.  The White House announced today that President Biden ordered the EPA, FEMA and the CDC to visit residences to conduct heath surveys.  Over the weekend, the agencies visited more than 350 homes and will continue to visit more today.  In addition to the door-to-door checks, federal officials say they have screened more than 550 homes in the area.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price Report, the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania is down four cents this week to 3.76 a gallon. In New Castle drivers are paying 3.67, while motorists in Sharon are paying 3.66 a gallon. The national average for a gallon of gas fell five cents over the last week to $3.36. The main reason is the price of oil, which fell into the mid $70s per barrel, nearly $5 cheaper than earlier this month.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office reports a deal has been reached with UPMC and a top doctor there to settle hundreds of false Medicare claims.  Feds filed a suit in September of 2021 against the hospital and its head of cardiothoracic surgery saying that Dr. James Luketich routinely had scheduled multiple surgeries for the same time window and moved back and forth between operations, at times causing risks to patients.  UPMC, the doctor and a physician’s group will pay 8.5-million dollars to settle the suit.  A spokesperson for UPMC says they have agreed to pay only to avoid the distraction and expense of further litigation. 

Governor Josh Shapiro’s administration has unveiled the first airports that will receive special tax consideration as Airport Land Development Zones.  The designation, which was established by a state law passed last year, hopes to spur development on underutilized land near airports.  Employers that add jobs in the development zones receive annual tax credits of 21-hundred dollars per employee for ten years.  The governor has designated three airports in Western Pennsylvania to be the first beneficiaries of the program.

John Fetterman’s office is providing an update on the senator.  The Democratic lawmaker announced earlier this month that he had checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of clinical depression.  In a statement released Monday, Fetterman’s office said that the senator is doing well and remains on a path to recovery with the help of his doctors.  They add that he is visiting with family and staff members daily and keeping updated on the news and Senate business.

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