A New Castle man wanted in the 2019 shooting death of a Sharon man is now in the Mercer County Jail.  Seon Perry was arrested last week in North Dakota.  Perry is wanted in connection to the shooting death of 24 year old Khalil Hospson in May of 2019.  Perry appeared before a district magistrate on Friday to answer charges of criminal homicide, robbery, conspiracy, burglary, and cruelty to animals. He is scheduled for another hearing on June 26th. Bond was set at two million dollars.

Lawmakers have come back to the state Capitol this week to begin the marathon process of completing the state budget. Education funding is a chief priority. That’s especially true after a Commonwealth Court ruling found Pennsylvania has been unconstitutionally short-changing poor schools. Governor Josh Shapiro is proposing an increase of about 567-million-dollars, or about seven percent more, for daily school operations. Republicans criticize his plan for not including measures to expand school choice.

United Steelworkers is ramping up efforts to unionize thousands of workers at the University of Pittsburgh.  The union submitted a petition to hold an election among employees to the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board yesterday.  The university will now be required to provide a full list of workers who would be included in the proposed collective bargaining unit ahead of a hearing on whether unionizing is appropriate for the staff.  USW was required to collect signatures showing support from at least 30-percent of the employees who would become union members in order to submit the petition.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has declared a Code Orange air quality alert for parts of Western Pennsylvania today.  The alert covers Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties.  A Code Orange is called when pollution levels are viewed as posing a risk to those who may have sensitive systems.  The department recommends that young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory problems limit outdoor activities today.

– Monaca police are investigating after a pedestrian was struck in a crosswalk Saturday night.  Victim Christopher Alexander suffered multiple broken bones when he was hit while crossing Pennsylvania Avenue.  There has been no word of charges being filed in the case.

According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price report, the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania is down a penny this week to 3.66 a gallon.  In New Castle the price is at 3.51 a gallon and in Sharon drivers are paying 3.52.  Despite the surge in travel over the long Memorial Day weekend, the national average for a gallon of gas fell three cents over the past week to $3.55. The national average is a penny lower than a month ago and $1.29 less than a year ago.

Federal legislation passed by lawmakers in Washington this week to raise the country’s debt limit has come with new stipulations. One of those includes a change in work requirements for people who use food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In Pennsylvania, SNAP work requirements are now waived statewide until October 1st for so-called able-bodied adults. Those are people ages 18 to 49 who have no children and other dependents. To stay eligible for SNAP benefits, people belonging to this group now must work at least 80 hours per month on average or participate in an approved training program for at least 20 hours per week.  

PennDot has announced Work will begin next week to replace a 96-year-old bridge that carries Leesburg Road over Neshannock Creek in Springfield Township.  Work on the bridge is slated to begin June 12 and the new bridge is expected to open in November. A detour will be required during construction, which will be posted using New Castle – Mercer Road and Route 19.  The existing bridge was built in 1927 and is classified as in poor condition.

House lawmakers on the Transportation Committee are scheduled to vote on expanding the use of speed cameras. The legislation would reauthorize and expand the use of the cameras in school zones, on certain highways and in active work zones. The Democratic-sponsored measure is House Bill 1284. The committee is also scheduled to vote on House Bill 1283. It would authorize local governments to create protected bike lanes to provide buffers between bike riders and cars and trucks. 

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