State Police in Lawrence County report a two vehicle accident yesterday afternoon in Slippery Rock Township. According to police 19 year old Emon Holmes-Stephenson was westbound on route 422 when he crossed the center line and struck a semi-truck. The truck caught on fire. Holmes-Stephenson was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngstown. The driver of the truck was not hurt. 422 was closed for several hours.
One person was killed following a three vehicle accident yesterday afternoon in Mercer County. It took place in the eastbound lane of Interstate 80 in Pine Township. 80 year old John Lesher of Gratz, Pa., was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of that vehicle, 80 year old Laura Lesher was flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital for treatment. No other injuries were reported. I-80 easbound was closed for several hours.
Pennsylvania’s two Democratic U.S. senators have the highest and third-highest percentage of LGBTQ staffers among the Democratic caucus. The information is cited in an annual survey of the Senate Democrats’ diversity count for member offices. Thirty percent of Sen. Bob Casey’s staff identifies as LGBTQ, while Sen. John Fetterman’s staff reports that 28 percent of his office does, which places Fetterman in third place. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat, had the lowest percentage as he has no LGBTQ staffers.
According to this week’s Triple-A East Central Gas Price report the average price of gasoline in Western Pennsylvania is up two cents this week to 3.64 a gallon. In New Castle drivers are paying 3.53 a gallon and is Sharon the average price is 3.57. The national average of $3.56 is two cents more than a week ago, one cent less than a month ago and 97 cents lower than a year ago.
Many regional school districts say they’re now keeping an eye on their budgets to ensure they have enough cash flow to get through the state’s budget impasse. Republican leaders have already discharged their chamber until September, so the school year will likely start without districts knowing what their funding will be. Local and county districts often don’t know how much basic and special education money they’ll get from the state aside from estimates, and district leaders say that makes it hard for them to plan their finances.
A boom year from natural gas impact fees last year could be followed by a dramatic drop in payments. An analysis from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office suggests that the recent record-setting payments are a blip and will likely not bring in steady funding in the future. Their report says that’s because the expected revenue drop in 2023 is due to two things: lower natural gas prices and fewer wells drilled. The Impact Fee revenues for this calendar year are expected to be up to 99-million-dollars less than they were last year. The IFO report notes that if it comes to pass, that would be the largest year-over-year decline since the fee was created.
The final phase of convicted Tree of Life shooter Robert Bowers’ trial is underway. Jurors last week determined that he is eligible for the death penalty and, in this phase of the trial, they will decide if he gets it. Among the first witnesses to testify in this phase yesterday was Margaret Durachko whose husband was killed in the shooting. She told the jury that her life was wiped out in a second with the killing of her husband.
An estimated jackpot of 640-million dollars will be up for grabs with tonight’s Mega Millions lottery drawing. No one has won the jackpot in the multi-state lottery since April. Winning numbers will be drawn at 11 p.m. Pittsburgh players and others around the country also still have a chance to win a record jackpot with the Powerball. With no winner in last night’s drawing, the estimated top prize for tomorrow night’s Powerball drawing is one-billion dollars.
Pennsylvania and Ohio troopers are participating in a special project this week, focusing on Move Over violations. The special enforcement runs through Saturday night. Ohio and Pennsylvania laws require drivers to move over to adjacent lanes when seeing vehicles with flashing lights parked along the road or slow down. Sixty-one cruisers have been hit in crashes that were Move Over related since 2018.