Jurors have begun hearing witness testimony in the trial of Robert Bowers.  Bowers is facing more than 60 felony charges in connection with the shooting deaths of 11 people inside the Tree of Life synagogue in October of 2018.  Rabbi Jeffrey Myers described his experience for the court yesterday detailing the moments when he first heard gunfire and urged congregants to lay low before seeking refuge in a second-floor bathroom.  Testimony is expected to resume today.

No injuries were reported following a one vehicle accident in Little Beaver Township. State Police report 18 year old Alaric Moffatt of New Castle was traveling west on Haggarty Road when he traveled off the roadway, struck an embankment and rolled the vehicle onto it’s roof. Police said Moffatt was not hurt.

The Sharon Herald is reporting a fire that started in a Mercer barn spread to four other neighboring properties, causing damages estimated at over $300,000.  No injuries were reported.  The fire broke out just before noon at the barn in the rear of a house along East Market Street.  The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Charges have been filed against a former member of the Butler Area Schools board of education accused of having had an inappropriate relationship with a teenager.  Witnesses report seeing Bill Halle and the 17-year-old engaged in intimate physical contact in public last month.  Police say they have since found incriminating text messages and that the victim has confirmed the relationship.  Halle is facing charges including sexual assault by an employee of a nonprofit association and corruption of minors.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price report prices are two cents lower this week in Western Pennsylvania at 3.67 a gallon. In New Castle drivers are paying 3.52 on average while the price in Sharon is 3.51.  The seasonal surge in gasoline demand leading into the long holiday weekend resulted in the national average for a gallon of gas rising three cents over the past week to $3.57. The national average is four cents less than a month ago and $1.04 less than a year ago.

A Penn State study has found that teachers are leaving the state at the highest rate ever. The university’s research on teacher attrition shows that nearly 95-hundred educators left the workforce in the 2022-23 school year. The data doesn’t show the context of why teachers left: whether it was to take positions in other states or if they quit the profession altogether.

Governor Josh Shapiro has appointed a new diversity director for the state for the first time in over ten years. He announced Tuesday that Norman Bristol Colón will lead diversity, equity, and inclusion programs across all state agencies. He’s currently the chief D-E-I officer for the state department of Community and Economic Development. Bristol Colón also has served in senior positions with governors of both parties previously. The last time Pennsylvania had a statewide diversity officer was under Governor Rendell, who left office in 2011.

The current unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is tying the lowest rate ever recorded.  According to the latest report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor, the unemployment rate across the state in April dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point, bringing the rate to four-point-one-percent.  That rate ties the lowest rate on record which was set in January of 1976.  The U.S. unemployment rate was also down in April, at three-point-four-percent.

Authorities have identified the bodies of two people from Pulaski Township that were found dead this week at a Butler County park-and-ride.  Responding officers found 28-year-old Jenna Smith and 31-year-old Jake Smith dead at the scene near Route 422 and Route 19.  Reports say the two were a married couple who were going through a divorce when they shot each other Monday night.

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