Authorities have released the name of the four-year-old Pittsburgh boy who drowned Monday afternoon at Moraine State Park in Butler County. A park visitor found young Shalom Markel unresponsive in the water at Pleasant Valley Beach and life-saving measures performed on the boy proved unsuccessful. Agents with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources are investigating.
A Beaver County man convicted in a case involving sex crimes against young children has been sentenced to prison. Eduardo Aviles was convicted back in May on two dozen counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and a charge that he had raped a victim under the age of 13. Investigators say the crimes, which detectives began looking into after receiving a tip in 2019, began when the victims were under the age of five and occurred inside Aviles’ North Sewickley home. Aviles was sentenced yesterday to a term of 56 to 112 years behind bars.
Some residents in Beaver Falls are urging local officials to approve the reopening of a wave pool. A group of citizens showed up to yesterday’s council meeting to call for support of Tyrone Zeigler and his nonprofit Tigerland Inc. The wave pool has been shut down for over two decades, but, Zeigler has been working to make repairs and reopen it for the last seven years. He previously said talks broke down after an agreement presented by the city included a provision barring him from making critical public statements. Zeigler claims local leaders would not agree to make that policy mutual.
For third time this year, a special election will decide control of the Pennsylvania House. In July, the District 21 seat in Allegheny County became vacant when that legislator resigned to focus on her campaign to become county executive. Her resignation eliminated Democrats’ slim majority in the House and left them tied with Republicans for control. Now, Allegheny County voters will go to the polls in a special election next month to choose between Democrat Lindsey Powell and Republican Connolly Autenrieth. The outcome will determine which party will retain a majority. The special election will be held September 19th, before the legislature returns to session.
Pennsylvania counties received 45-million dollars in state funding to cover election costs and most local officials say they’re happy with the investment. Counties used the funds for expenses like mail ballot sorting machines, voting equipment transportation and poll worker pay during the November 2022 midterm election. While most counties are eager to reapply for the grants, at least two counties say they’ll decline due to attached strings, such as the continuous counting requirement for mail ballots. Those begin on Election Day.
An online portal will soon allow people to purchase fentanyl test strips. Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs say the idea behind the strips is to reduce harm to people who use drugs and possibly keep them from dying. Illegally manufactured Fentanyl is extremely potent and can be deadly when mixed in with other drugs. Earlier this year, Pennsylvania passed a new law that makes buying and carrying fentanyl test strips legal. State officials hope to have the new portal in place by early fall.
A pair of state Senators has announced plans to introduce a bill for a state program that would provide paid family leave for workers. A cosponsor memo released last week by Republican Senator Devlin Robinson and Montgomery County Democratic Senator Maria Collett says all workers would contribute to support the program and it would be administered by the Department of Labor and Industry. Eligible employees would be able to care for themselves in the event of a serious health condition, or care for a close family member or a new child. It would also allow paid family leave to care for family military members in certain circumstances. The legislation is similar to House Bill 181 that was approved by the House Labor and Industry Committee in June. That bill is currently in the House Rules Committee.
State police are investigating a burglary at a Christian thrift store in Butler County. The burglary happened Saturday night at the Community Christian Thrift Store on Annisville Road in Washington Township. Initial investigations show three burglars pushed a window mounted air conditioner out of a window and entered the store and then proceeded to steal from the store and a donation shed. Anyone with information or surveillance footage near the area are asked to contact police.
More than a billion dollars in new funding is being held up in the remainder of the state budget that needs to be passed. Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro, the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House face a new round of negotiations to reach agreement on the Fiscal Code and other code bills to decide how that money is to be spent.
One winning ticket was sold in last night’s Mega Millions. It was sold in Florida. Last night’s jackpot was 1.55 billion dollars.