Police in Shenango Township have arrested a man in connection with an alleged sex ring that involved a 14 year old girl and two older teenage females. The New Castle News reports 22 year old John Ostrowski faces 22 felony counts for multiple sex related offenses which include pornographic photos and sexual contact with the teen. The alleged incidents took place between October 2021 and September 2022. Ostrowski was arraigned and placed in the Lawrence County Jail on 100 thousand dollars bond.

The suspect in a Monday homicide is in custody today in the Butler County Jail.  State police report that 19-year-old Jessica Callahan shot victim Tyler Whitlatch at a home in Venango Township and then drove herself and the victim to the North Washington Rodeo Grounds.  First responders were called to the scene and pronounced the victim dead.  There has been no word on a motive for the shooting.

Dozens of reptiles are in the care of animal experts after being found inside an Aliquippa residence with a deceased man yesterday.  Police were called to the property on McMinn Street and discovered the 23-year-old unresponsive, but they are not yet confirming a cause of death.  Code enforcement officer Jim Bologna says more than one-hundred-50 reptiles were in the home, including 60 venomous snakes and an alligator.  He says the individuals living at the property just moved there recently and were running a business selling the reptiles. 

Police in Mercer County are searching for a man wanted in a homicide. WFMJ-TV reports Hermitage police are investigating the shooting death of 24 year old Charles Carr of Hermitage. 27 year old Zechariah Aheven Sewell of Hermitage, is wanted for criminal homicide. The shooting took place at a home on the 2000 block of Shadyside Drive. Police say Sewell is armed and dangerous.

A Commonwealth Court has ruled that workers’ compensation should cover the cost of medical marijuana for people who are injured on the job. The court handed down two decisions Friday in cases brought by workers who were hurt on the job and were initially prescribed opioids for treatment. But in both cases, the workers said pot had been more effective in treating their pain. The judges also said that employers aren’t being ordered to break federal law because they are not being required to pay for the marijuana, but rather they would be reimbursing patients for their medical costs.

A proposal in the state Senate would refund 50 percent of tolls from the Pennsylvania Turnpike as a tax credit. Senate Bill 419 would permit the credit if state residents and companies could produce proof, such as E-Z Pass receipts, by September 15th each year for the previous calendar year. The measure’s sponsor, State Senator Steve Santarsiero of Bucks County,  says the time is right for such a tax credit because of the state’s current budget surplus.    

Democratic lawmakers in both the Pennsylvania House and Senate are discussing what it would take to get OSHA protections for public sector workers in the commonwealth. Currently, protections under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act only apply to the private sector and to federal government employees.  Representative Pat Harkins of Erie says PennDOT workers, police, fire, EMS, as well as people who work in nursing facilities,  public school employees, transit Authority workers are all professions that aren’t covered by OSHA protections.  There is also companion legislation to Harkins’ bill in the Senate. 

The state of Pennsylvania has launched new, military-themed license plates for veterans and their families.  The commonwealth already offers a long list of custom plates to service members, but the new plates cover Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans, as well recipients of air medals. Another new one is also now available for blue star families. To apply for the plate, vets must submit specific information along with a DD 214 form.

The newly named House Housing and Community Development Committee has convened for the first time. The panel that had its initial meeting Tuesday is the successor to the Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. It covers issues such as construction codes, blight, landlord-tenant relations and community and economic development. The committee is already looking at several bills. One would allow for third-party construction code inspectors – another would create a consumer protection act for new-home construction.

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