The Pennsylvania state Senate has closed its current session and isn’t scheduled to be back until Monday, September 18th.  Late last week, the legislative body passed its proposed state budget and forwarded it on to the House. Lawmakers in the House will reconvene Wednesday to continue work on the budget and many other measures that still need to be approved. The House is set to start back up today at noon. 

A Hermitage woman was taken to the hospital following a one vehicle accident in Shenango Township. State Police report 46 year old Leanne Grice was traveling east on Interstate 376 when she went off the roadway and rolled over several times. Grice was transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngstown for treatment.

Rail company Norfolk Southern has filed a federal lawsuit against a group of seven companies that they say should join them in covering the cost of clean-up from this year’s train derailment in East Palestine  Norfolk Southern is suing companies that owned the rail cars and the chemical contents that spilled in the crash.  The rail company says the owners of the cars failed to maintain them properly and to follow regulations regarding the transport of hazardous materials.

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 3.63 a gallon. In New Castle and Sharon the average price is at 3.48 a gallon. The  national average of $3.53 is two cents less than a month ago and $1.28 less than a year ago.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued a Code Orange air quality alert for parts of Western Pennsylvania, that includes Beaver and Butler counties.  The Pennsylvania DEP says the alert is being issued in part due to residual smoke, increasing weekday emissions and temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees or higher.  A Code Orange is called when the air is viewed as posing a risk to those who may have sensitive systems. 

The Beaver County Times is reporting, a man is facing multiple felony charges following a string of mid-June structure fires in Aliquippa. 47 year old Anthony Karas, is responsible for at least three separate vacant building fires set June 16th  along Beaver, Main and Allegheny avenues in the West Aliquippa neighborhood.  Karas faces two dozen felony counts, including first degree felony arson risking death or bodily injury and second degree felony arson for intentionally endangering unoccupied property. No injuries were reported in the fires.

Yesterday’s fun at the Kennywood amusement park in West Mifflin appears to be the last Tuesday the park will offer guest hours this season.  Beginning next week, Kennywood says they will be closed on Tuesdays but will maintain operating hours on all other days.  More details can be found at kennywood-dot-com.

The Pennsylvania state Senate has passed a bill that would amend the Property Tax and Rent Rebate (PT/RR) Program. The program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians who are 65 and older, as well as widows and widowers who are 50 and older, and adult people with disabilities 18 and older. The vote expands eligible income thresholds to include an additional 173-thousand people and to increase the maximum rebate amount for recipients. Income limits for the PT/RR Program haven’t been increased since 2007. 

The majority of Pennsylvania voters seem to approve of Governor Josh Shapiro’s job performance so far. A new Quinnipiac University poll shows 57-percent approve of the way he’s doing his job five months after he was elected. Twenty-three-percent disapprove and 20-percent did not offer an opinion. Seventy-four percent of voters said they approved of how Shapiro handled the response to the I-95 highway collapse in Philadelphia.

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