Over the next year, state officials will be required to start checking the eligibility of every person who is on Medicaid. Residents will have to fill out forms to verify their addresses, income and household size. Officials say the checking is necessary because during the pandemic the federal government prohibited states from kicking people off Medicaid, even if they were no longer eligible. Now, the feds want to make sure people are still eligible and need to still be receiving benefits.  

Transportation company Canadian National reports it is investigating after 15 railcars went off the tracks Wednesday morning in Butler County.  The incident happened in Brady Township.  Canadian National bills itself among the top movers of aluminum, iron ore and base metal ore in North America.  They report the cars that derailed were all carrying iron ore.  No one was injured.

One person was taken to the hospital following an accident in Wilmington Township. State Police said 68 year old David Rodgers of New Castle pulled from the intersection of route 158 and Phillips School road into the path of a vehicle operated by 79 year old Patti Estock of Hermitage. Police said Estock attempted to avoid the accident, travled off the roadway and struck an embankment. A passenger in the Estock vehicle was taken to UPMC Jameson for treatment.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Tuesday that they’re investigating the cause of the West Reading chocolate factory explosion as a possible natural gas leak.  The blast Friday at the R.M. Palmer Company killed seven and hospitalized ten people. Several buildings near the blast site were also damaged. Local officials and state fire marshals say they’re still conducting their own investigations, as well.

Pennsylvania State Police say hoax school active shooter calls were placed yesterday all over the state, including in the New Castle School district. New Castle City Police say the High School was put on lockdown around 10:30 when a threat was made.  State Police say they investigated the fake calls that ranged from active shooter claims to bomb threats and say “all claims in these calls have been determined to be false.”  The calls came in to several counties including Beaver and Mercer Counties.

In Nashville, the sentence is 25 years in prison for a man convicted of killing a Butler County native nurse.  Caitlyn Kaufman was driving to work in December of 2020 when she was shot and fatally wounded.  Devaunte Hill was convicted of Kaufman’s murder back in January and sentenced yesterday. 

A source close to John Fetterman says the senator will be returning to work in just a couple of weeks.  The Democrat and former Braddock mayor checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center more than a month ago to receive treatment for clinical depression.  Fetterman is expected to return to the Senate the week of April 17th.

State Republicans are questioning Governor Shapiro’s plan to separate state police spending from the general fund. That was a key issue discussed Monday during a House budget hearing. Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget for 2023-24 proposes creating a special Public Safety and Protection Fund to cover over a million and a half dollars in state police spending. Lawmaker Seth Grove from says he’s concerned that such a separate fund would remove oversight of such spending for budget hearings. The governor’s idea would use state liquor tax revenue, among other sources, to support the police fund. 

The state has released its second annual report about the impact of online gambling in the commonwealth. Of the more than a thousand people who responded, a third of them say that gambling has had at least one negative impact on their lives. It also found that the average age of online gamblers is in the late 30s and that 66 percent of online gamblers are men. About half of online gambling is done in the form of sports betting.  The Pennsylvania State Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs’ report has been required since the state first allowed online gambling.

A new program is providing free safety and security training for all school employees in Pennsylvania.  The state’s Commission on Crime and Delinquency has approved nearly five-million dollars in funding to cover the development and launch of the annual learning sessions.  The program will include information on how to handle natural disasters and how to recognize signs that a student may pose a threat.  Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis calls the training a “critical investment in our kids’ safety”.  He says more information is on the way over the next few months.

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