Work at the Shell Cracker plant in Monaca is once again getting underway.  Operators of the facility say nearby neighbors may see flares as the plant begins running.  Low clouds might also reflect some of the light from those ground flares, according to a social media post by supervisors.  The operation was previously shut down so that fixes for flaring and wastewater issues could be put in place.

Testimony continues in the trial of Robert Bowers.  Bowers is accused of gunning down 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill in October of 2018.  Jurors yesterday heard from survivors of the incident including Dan Leger.  Leger told the court about how he kept quiet after being shot out of fear that the gunman would return and finish him off.  Bowers faces the possibility of receiving the death penalty if convicted at trial.

The New Castle News is reporting the New Castle Area School has introduced it’s 2023-24 budget with no tax increase. The district hasn’t raised taxes since 2003. District Business Manager Joe Ambrosini said the $64-million spending plan finds the district with a projected $5.5-million surplus by the end of next school year.  That is up from a surplus of $2.5 million expected at the end of this school year. The board is expected to adopt the budget later this month.

The Pennsylvania state treasurer is joining Republican leaders in calling for an increase to the state’s Rainy-Day fund. Treasurer Stacy Garrity says there’s enough money in it to keep the state running for a little over 40 days and she’s not advocating for lawmakers to use any part of it. Garrity says expected tax income  should go straight into the fund to prepare for what one Republican minority leader says is a looming fiscal downturn.  She agrees that spending as proposed in Governor Shapiro’s budget could deplete the more than five-billion-dollar rainy-day fund within five years.

A new state bill has been introduced that would give companies income tax credits for letting employees have a four-day, 32-hour work week. The measure is sponsored by representatives from Dauphin, Chester and Lehigh counties. They say studies have shown that a four-day work week reduces stress and allows employees more flexibility to spend time with their families. The bill was introduced in the state House last Friday.

  Pennsylvania State Police say they made over 500 D-U-I arrests during the Memorial Day weekend. A news release says they also investigated over 650 crashes, including four that involved fatalities. The officials also say  alcohol was a factor in nearly 60 of the non-fatal crashes. Troopers issued over 31-thousand citations for traffic violations and a little over 13-hundred tickets for people who hadn’t buckled up.  

A Butler County man was taken to the hospital following a motorcycle accident in Chicora. State Police report 58 year old Joseph Gibson east on route 68 when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed. Gibson was flown to Allegheny General Hospital for treatment. A passenger suffered minor injuries and refused treatment.

Federal data shows the productivity of Pennsylvania workers declined in 2022.  Information released this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals Commonwealth residents worked more hours in 2022 than they did in 2021.  However, they were less productive, according to the data.  Hours worked rose three-point-three percent while output lagged behind at a nearly two-and-a-half-percent increase.    

City leaders have proclaimed this month as Pride month in Pittsburgh.  City council members and members of Mayor Ed Gainey’s administration joined together yesterday in announcing the designation.  Events celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community will take place throughout the month of June.  Those events include the Pride Parade and March scheduled to take place this Saturday.

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