Authorities in New Castle are identifying human remains as those of a man who was reported missing from the area nearly a decade ago.  New Castle police say bones discovered in a wooded area in Taylor Township belong to Christopher Story.  He was 40 years old when he was reported missing in August of 2013.  Coroner officials have not yet been able to determine a cause of death.  The remains are being sent to an FBI forensics lab for additional testing.

A new report on the state’s teacher shortages calls for widespread changes and new ways to help college graduates get into and stay in the profession. Some of the proposed fixes, such as paying student teachers or covering the cost of someone’s studies were discussed in the report, as well as at a summit last fall in Harrisburg. The state Senate Education Committee is set to hold a hearing on the issues next week.

Governor Josh Shapiro is promising continued investment for tech innovation in Western Pennsylvania.  The governor toured the Astrobotic facility on Pittsburgh’s North Shore yesterday, weeks ahead of their planned space mission.  Shapiro addressed those in attendance at his visit, saying his upcoming budget plan will include millions for universities and research.  Astrobotic officials say their lunar lander will be blasting off and headed for the moon’s surface as early as May fourth.

Officials with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank say they are expecting an increase in the number of families requesting assistance.  Additional SNAP benefits that were being paid to Pennsylvania residents through the COVID-19 pandemic are now officially expired, as of March first.  Officials with the food bank says the organization is prepared to help despite already seeing greater demand.  They say calls to the organization have gone up by around 30 percent over the last six months, likely due to rising inflation.

The Pennsylvania DePArtment of Health has opened a resource center in Beaver County for folks imPActed by the recent train derailment in East PAlestine  Ohio.  More than 3-dozen cars, some containing hazardous chemicals, left the tracks in the accident earlier this month near the Ohio – Pennsylvania border and many residents have expressed concerns about health issues.  The temporary health clinic operating inside the Darlington Township Building on Darlington Road will offer assistance to residents of Beaver and Lawrence Counties.  That clinic is scheduled to remain operational until March 10th.

A Westmoreland County physician stands accused of writing false prescriptions in patients’ names and then picking up the drugs without those people knowing.  The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office yesterday said that Dr. Jessie Kunkel used her patients’ identities to gain access to drugs for her own recreational use.  Kunkel has been arrested and is facing a number of charges.

A Republican lawmaker says she’ll introduce legislation that would ban Pennsylvanians from using their phones while driving.  Senator Rosemary Brown says she plans to introduce a measure similar to one from the last session that would prohibit use of hand-held cell phones or similar items behind the wheel. The new legislation would have harsher deterrents including higher fines and stricter rules on how and where phones could be used. A Triple-A study says nearly 88 percent of drivers say distracted driving is a growing safety concern. 

The Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee has voted to subpoena the head of Norfolk Southern to answer questions about last month’s freight train derailment in East Palestine.  Senator Doug Mastriano, who chairs the committee, says he hopes Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw will comply with the subpoena, saying the people of western Pennsylvania want answers and feel forgotten. But Senator Tracy Pennycuick says the timing of the subpoena is premature. She says the committee’s focus should on helping the residents of Beaver County impacted by the derailment.

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