Job openings remain at record levels in Pennsylvania. The state department of labor and industry says the measure of open jobs increased by just over a percent and a half for the latest market information. Employers posted 435-thousand openings in December, compared to an average of about 281-thousand before the pandemic. The pre-COVID average was 28-thousand job openings in a typical month. Still, the state agency says the number of residents employed increased by about 11-thousand in January. 

The University of Pittsburgh is making some history with the naming of its next chancellor.  The school’s Board of Trustees on Monday announced Joan T.A. Gabel to the post.  Gabel will be the first woman in the university’s history to hold the position.  Most recently, she has served as the president of the University of Minnesota.  Gabel says she is excited and filled with optimism at the thought of leading Pitt into its important next chapter.

Schools and childhood education centers can apply for up to 15-thousand-dollars through State Farm-to-School Grants. Officials say introducing children to fresh, locally produced foods has a ripple effect in their communities because the children, in turn, introduce their families to new fresh foods and learn about the local farmers who produce their food. The state money is available for projects that improve access to healthy, local foods and increase hands-on learning experiences for children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grades.

Gas prices held steady this week in Western Pennsylvania at $3.68 a gallon. According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas price report the average price in New Castle is 3.55 while drivers in Sharon are paying 3.54.  The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose seven cents over the past week to hit $3.50. Robust demand for gasoline and rising oil prices are the driving factors for the recent uptick in pump prices. Today’s national average is 11 cents more than a month ago but 69 cents less than a year ago.

State Police in Lawrence County report a one vehicle accident in Perry Township. According to police a 17 year old male driver was traveling west on Pleasant Hill road when he lost control of the vehicle traveled off the roadway, down an embankment and rolled over.  The teen suffered minor injuries. No other details were released.

An area business and labor group says Allegheny County lost around 50-thousand jobs over the last five years.  Business coalition Pittsburgh Works Together says statistics gathered by both state and federal agencies have confirmed the job loss numbers.  The organization’s Executive Director Jeff Nobers says the data is alarming, as other areas of the state have seen growth over the same period of time. 

The number of citations issued for distracted driving was down last year in Pennsylvania.  According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts citations issued for wearing headphones while driving, using a handheld cell phone while driving a commercial vehicle or texting while driving declined 10 percent last year with a total of 1,941 given out. Data shows 32 percent of those cited were in their 20’s, 71 percent were male and 59 percent of the citations were issued by the  State Police with the most given in May, July and August.

Pennsylvania’s agriculture secretary says the state will work with Ohio to start testing tissue samples from animals that were near the Norfolk Southern train derailment. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding told lawmakers Monday that the livestock might have been affected by environmental fallout from last month’s train accident. His comments came during hearings about the Pennsylvania state budget.

As he continues to highlight public safety proposals in his budget, Governor Josh Shapiro says more must be done to help firefighters and emergency medical service personnel.  With communities across the commonwealth continuing to face shortages of volunteer firefighters, Governor Shapiro notes there were 22-thousand fewer of them in 2018 than Pennsylvania had in the early 2,000’s, while there are about 6,000 fewer emergency medical technicians in the state compared to a decade ago. That’s why Shapiro says his budget proposal makes these areas a priority. (CUT 3) The Governor’s budget also seeks to boost the ranks of state and local police and increase funding for  9-1-1 call centers.

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