The Tri-County Report for April, 16th 2014

Tri-County Report for April, 16th 2014

A Butler woman has died following a motorcycle/ truck accident in Mercer County.State police say on Sunday night  around 5 p.m., the driver of a Ford F-150 truck made a left turn into a parking lot off Route 19 south in Sandy Creek Township directly in front of 50-year-old Robert Codispot of Butler who was driving a Harley Davidson motorcycle.46-year-old Julie Ann Codispot was a passenger on the motorcycle. She was flown to UMPC Presbyterian where she died yesterday morning.

Students are returning to class today at Franklin Regional High School for the first time since a stabbing rampage last week.  The high school opened its doors for students and parents yesterday in an effort to get things back to normal in Murrysville.  Last night, a public rally was held at Murrysville Community Park for students and staff members.  Sixteen-year-old Alex Hribal remains held without bail on attempted homicide and aggravated assault charges.

Governor Corbett is going to have a Republican challenger on the May 20th primary ballot.  A Pennsylvania state judge ruled yesterday that Bob Guzzardi's challengers did not produce the evidence needed to keep him off the ballot.  Corbett's campaign spokesman said the governor has no comment on the ruling and is just focused on running his own campaign.

A 61-year-old man is accused of raping a 14-year-old girl in a reported incident last year at his home. State Police in Lawerence County report  Steven Louis Haynes,  Ellwood Road, Wayne Township, was charged with rape. He was arraigned Tuesday before District Judge Jerry G. Cartwright and placed in Lawrence County Jail after failing to post a $100,000 bond. State police said the girl, now 15, told interviewers at the Lawrence County Children’s Advocacy Center that Haynes, who is related to the girl, forced himself on her sometime in February or March of 2013 and had intercourse with her. Haynes was also charged with statutory sexual assault, sexual assault, incest of a minor, corruption of minors and incident assault.

Lawrence County is one of 26 Pennsylvania counties to receive funding from the Department of Environmental Protection to combat the West Nile Virus. Lawrence County received a $44,571 West Nile Virus Control Program Grant. The funding is used to cover the costs associated with surveying and controlling mosquitoes that carry the virus, according to the DEP, which developed the funding proposals in consultation with county officials based on need. Residents are encouraged to remove all standing water from their property to prepare for mosquito season and prevent infection.

A group of lawmakers is introducing three new bills to help small businesses in Pennsylvania.  Mike Brubaker, Scott Hutchinson and Mike Folmer talked about the bills yesterday, saying they will simplify Pennsylvania tax code to make it easier for small businesses to file taxes.  The bills will put the state tax code more in line with federal codes, and will allow small business owners to save money and spend more time focusing on their businesses.

The parents of a two-year-old boy found walking near train tracks in Beaver County are facing child endangerment charges.  Neighbors who saw the child were able to track down his mother after about three hours, hampered by the toddler not knowing his name or where he lived.  According to a criminal complaint, Julia McKelvey blames her son's escape on the child's father not waking her up when he left for work so she could lock the door. 

Governor Tom Corbett signed four bills yesterday, aimed at protecting children from child abuse.  The bills clarify who is required to report abuse and increase the penalties for failing to do so.  The bills also provide protections from employment discrimination for filing a  report and require state licensing boards with jurisdiction over mandatory reporters, to provide training and continuing education on child abuse.

According to Triple-A's weekly fuel gauge survery, gas prices in Western Pennsylvania rose one cent a gallon, to 3.66 per gallon this week.  The national average is 3.64 a gallon, which is six cents more than one week ago, 12 cents more than a year ago.  In New Castle prices are averaging 3.57 a gallon, in Sharon it's 3.63 a gallon. The survey also said that geopolitical issues continue to keep global crude oil prices elevated, with the price of oil now at over 104 dollars a barrel.

Another Republican state lawmaker in the Republican-controlled Legislature is lining up behind a proposal to impose a new tax on Pennsylvania's booming natural gas industry. Monroe County Representative Mario Scavello asked fellow lawmakers yesterday to support his forthcoming bill to impose a 5 percent tax on the highest producing shale gas wells. Governor Tom Corbett opposes an extraction tax.