The Tri-County Report for August, 22nd 2014

Tri-County Report for August, 22nd 2014

Crews are cleaning up following flash flooding in Mercer County.  Kinsman in Trumbull County and Greenville in Mercer County got three inches of rain in just over an hour yesterday.  Several vehicles became stranded in high water and required rescues.  When the water receded, it left sinkholes, flooded basements, closed roads and massive debris.  Many locals are calling this the worst flooding in the area in recent years.

 The husband of a woman who runs a daycare center in Butler County is facing charges for allegedly molesting at least two children.  Police said yesterday that Roger Young assaulted the girls at the Patticake Daycare center on Chicora Road.  The investigation began when one child said Young touched her inappropriately while she sat on his lap in a rocking chair in 2011.  A subsequent investigation of surveillance video shows Young allegedly molesting two other girls, ages three and four, in separate incidents.

A Pennsylvania appellate court is adding its voice to lower court decisions saying certain state mandatory minimum sentencing laws are unconstitutional. The Superior Court ruled Wednesday that a mandatory minimum law dealing with guns in drug crimes is unconstitutional because it dictates that the judge, not the jury, should decide whether the defendant committed crimes that trigger the sentence.

Consumers who are still using PPL Electric Utilities as their power supplier are getting a drop in rates.  PPL announced yesterday that as of September 1st, its rate will drop two-point-four percent.  Rates recently soared when a state-set cap on PPL's rate expired, which allowed competitors to begin offering lower-prices in PPL territory.  To see a list of available suppliers, visit the PUC website at: www.papowerswitch.com.

Two Pittsburgh Steelers players are facing charges for alleged possession of marijuana.  Police filed the charges against Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount yesterday, saying Bell will also face an additional charge of driving under the influence of marijuana.  A Ross motorcycle officer smelled the marijuana coming from Bell's car on McKnight Road Wednesday afternoon and a subsequent investigation found 20 grams of the drug in the glove compartment.  A woman was also in the car and is being charged as well.

The state Education Department is providing a bit more insight into Special Advisor on Higher Education, Ron Tomalis', work schedule.  The electronic ID card records that were released yesterday indicate Tomalis worked at headquarters 126 days this year.  Tomalis recently resigned following accusations that he was a ghost employee who did little actual work.  A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story that was released several weeks ago cited a schedule that had weeks of little or no activity, phone records showing maybe one call a day and an average of five outgoing emails daily.  His resignation takes effect next week.

One person was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Wednesday afternoon following a head-on crash on Route 8 in Center Township.The two-car collision was reported around 1:30 p.m. at the southern entrance to Clearview Mall.  According to State Police at the Butler barracks, 85-year-old Clarence Talkington of West Sunbury was traveling south on Route 8 and turned in front of a car driven by 56-year-old Armida Amato of McKeesport. Both drivers were taken to Butler Memorial Hospital. Amato was then flown to a Pittsburgh hospital.

Police are continuing to investigate a double-fatal-shooting in New Kensington. John Russ' body was found in a car on Fourth Avenue Wednesday morning and Shannon Bongartz was lying outside of the vehicle.  Officials say both victims died from multiple gunshot wounds.  Police are reviewing surveillance video in an attempt to identify a suspect, but are asking anyone with information to come forward.

Republican Governor Tom Corbett is attacking Democratic challenger Tom Wolf's plan to shift more of Pennsylvania's income tax onto the wealthiest taxpayers. In an interview with an Associated Press panel Wednesday, Corbett said the plan faces legal and political obstacles that likely would prevent it from ever becoming law. Wolf's campaign says it's not interested in Corbett's analysis.

This year's September 11th observance at the Flight 93 National Memorial in western Pennsylvania will include the first public view of the Congressional Gold Medal given to the site. The medal is the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow. It will be presented to memorial officials at the U.S. Capitol on September 10th before being shown the next day in Shanksville, near where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed.

 A former employee of the Butler County Common Pleas Court is going to court claiming discrimination because he's male.  Sixty-five-year-old Francis Plaisted of Butler filed his federal lawsuit yesterday.  Plaisted says his supervisors were women and he says female employees were given prominent roles in the jury selection process while he and other males were left out or given lesser duties.  He also says he was laid off after returning from heart surgery because of "lack of work" while a woman was given his previous duties.