State Police in Lawrence County are investigating a homicide in Shenango Township. According to a news release, State police responded to a home in the 2300 block of Old Chewton Road Monday and found 51-year-old Jason Altman dead at the scene. Altman was found by a family member. Evidence of foul play was discovered at the scene.  The Pennsylvania State Police Major Case Team is investigating. Anyone with information on the homicide can call State Police at 724-598-2211.

Two people were taken to the hospital following an accident in Wampum.  State Police report 67 year old Carl Leihgberger was traveling at a high rate of speed on route 18 when he rear ended a vehicle operated by 23 year old Donald Siddal of New Castle. Leihgberger was flown to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Youngstown.  Siddal was taken to UPMC Jameson for treatment.

The identities of the jurors who determined the guilty and later the fate of Tree of Life shooter Robert Bowers have been permanently sealed.  Bowers was convicted on charges stemming from the deadly October 2018 mass shooting back in June and the jury later voted to impose the death penalty.  U.S. District Judge Robert J. Colville ordered the jury information permanently sealed during the trial though the order doing so had remained sealed until recently. 

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 3.89 a gallon.  In New Castle drivers are paying 3.74 a gallon while the price in Sharon is 3.61.  The national average for a gallon of gas is up three cents over the past week and is now at $3.85. This latest price increase comes after an uptick in gas demand and crude oil prices staying above $80 per barrel. The national average is 29 cents more than a month ago but 10 cents less than a year ago.

  State police are working to ensure kids are safe as they start their next school year.  The department has had inspectors looking over every bus across the state this summer to make sure they are functioning properly.  That includes checks on exterior lamps, stop arms, and even checks for overly-faded paint.  A bus cannot legally operate without passing and getting an inspection sticker prior to the start of school.

  UPMC Children’s is launching a new service for young patients with behavioral health concerns.  Hospital officials say a walk-in behavioral health clinic is now open on the third floor.  Parents can bring a child or teen to see therapists and psychologists with no appointment necessary from 5 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.  The patients will be provided with an assessment and referred to other resources for further behavioral health care.

A state lawmaker is proposing legislation that would allow school districts to decide whether to use other forms of tax to replace a portion of the revenue generated by a property tax.  Local tax revenue provides more than half of the funding school districts depend upon and property taxes account for the bulk of that local revenue. Republican Representative Jason Ortitay says his legislation would be more equitable because it would allow local school boards to cut property taxes by increasing other taxes. Those include possibly using taxes for earned income, occupation taxes, per capita taxes as well as business privilege and mercantile taxes.

  Legislation attempting to fix the state’s probation system continues to face resistance from some justice reform groups. A bill passed the state Senate in June that would require courts to hold probation review conferences and establish a presumption that probation will end unless the person doesn’t qualify. It would also allow the review conference to happen earlier if the probationer demonstrates good conduct. But some civil rights groups say the bill fails to address core problems with the system, such as not having a limit on the amount of time that a person can be sentenced to probation. The legislation moved out of a House committee but has not yet come up for a vote before the full chamber.

Electric vehicle charging ports are expanding across the Lehigh Valley.  Governor Shapiro’s Administration has announced 54 projects across 35 counties statewide.  Each of the projects will install four charging ports at selected locations. One of those will be in Lawrence County at the Sheetz location in Neshannock Township.  The $33.8 million federal investment is part of the $171.5 million PennDOT will receive and distribute for electric vehicle charging infrastructure over five years through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

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