Local authorities are working with the ATF and the FBI to determine the cause of a Tuesday explosion in New Castle.  One person was injured when the blast occurred at around 10:30 a.m. destroying a Pollock Avenue home and damaging many others.  The explosion happened as a worker operating an excavator was removing debris from the area.  The condition of the injured man has not been released. New Castle City Police said they have taken over 35 reports for damage to nearby residences, most were for broken windows and cracked foundations.

State police in Lawrence County continue to investigate a one vehicle accident in Mahoning Township. Police said the accident took place on North Edinburg Road around 2:30 yesterday morning. Upon arrival police report a vehicle was on its side a utility pole was sheared.  The driver, 18 year old Conner Aiken faces possible charges.  No other details were released.

The National Transportation Safety Board is launching a special investigation into operations at Norfolk Southern.  NTSB officials announced yesterday that they plan to look into the overall safety culture at the rail carrier.  Three of the company’s most recent serious incidents occurred in Ohio, including the collision with a dump truck that killed a conductor in Cleveland yesterday morning and the early February crash involving hazardous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio.  The transportation agency says Norfolk Southern administrators should not wait for their recommendations and instead take immediate actions to improve safety.

Josh Shapiro has introduced his first Pennsylvania budget as governor. The nearly 45-billion-dollar plan unveiled Tuesday features new tax relief and funding proposals for law enforcement and education. The ideas he introduced for schools include reforming the higher education system and possibly revamping funding for K through 12 education. Governor Shapiro also encouraged an increase in the minimum wage to 15-dollars an hour. The current state minimum hasn’t changed in 14 years. 

An Ohio woman was flown to a Pittsburgh Hospital following a two vehicle accident in Beaver County.  According to state police, 35 year old Michael Lujan of East Liverpool Ohio was eastbound on route 30 in Green Township when his vehicle suffered a tire failure and crossed into the westbound line striking a vehicle operated by 63 year old Phyliss Figley of Wellsville, Ohio. Figley was flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital for treatment.  Lujan was not hurt.

In front of Governor Shapiro’s new budget reveal this week, some House GOP lawmakers have proposed their own bills to cut taxes for state families.  One proposal would slice Pennsylvania’s personal income tax rate to two-point-99 percent over two years, a move that would also benefit some businesses.  Other proposals include toys, cribs, strollers and youth sports equipment being exempt from sales taxes, creating tax holidays for home-improvement projects and back-to-school shopping and eliminating the sales tax on pet food. 

A resolution urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow flavored and unflavored 2% and whole milk in schools received unanimous support from the Senate on Monday.  The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 restricted the consumption of whole milk in schools. In the years following, 1.2 million fewer students drank milk with their school lunches. State Senators, Michelle Brooks and Elder Volgel Jr., co sponsored the resolution.

Three lawmakers say they’ll be introducing incentive legislation to the Pennsylvania House that would help state companies switch to a four-day, 32-hour workweek.  The proposal would go through the Department of Labor and Industry, and participating companies would be eligible for a state income tax credit.  To receive the credit, a qualifying company would have to comply with certain program requirements.  Democratic Representatives Dave Madsen of Dauphin, Chris Pielli of Chester, and Joshua Siegel of Lehigh are behind the proposal. 

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