New Brighton School Board Holds Meeting

(Story by Beaver County Radio News Correspondent Curtis Walsh)

(New Brighton, PA)  The New Brighton Area School Board met Monday night for their second meeting this month.  The board approved 2022 Pennsylvania School Boards Association candidates David Schaap, Allison Mathis, Richard Frerichs, William LaCoff, and Nathan Mains.  The board also approved to exonerate school property taxes for a parcel located at 1120 6th Avenue in New Brighton.  The resignation of one teacher was approved as well.  School Board President John Ludwig, and Vice President Christeen Ceratti were both awarded for 12 years of school board service by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Rochester School Board Holds Meeting

Rochester School

(Story by Beaver County Radio News Correspondent Curtis Walsh)

(Rochester, PA)  The Rochester Area school board met Monday night for a voting session.  The board voted to approve a request by Dance, Inc. to use the building to host a holiday production in December at a cost of $1,665, and also for Eugina Priest to host a Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration for the Annual Student Oratorical Semi-Final Program in November at a cost of $51.  The board also approved Michael Cunning to serve as Bocce Co-Coach for the Winter Interscholastic Unified Bocce Team, due to the resignation of Jennifer Milne.  The bills were paid at at cost of $1,096,830.96 for the general fund and $21,323.79 for the cafeteria fund.  The board approved 3 new paraprofessionals for the district as well as a new head cook and general assistant for the Nutrition Services Department.  School Board member Annette Hubbard was awarded for 8 years of service by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Pa State Police Arrest Trooper After Disturbance, Resisting Arrest

(Photo courtesy of Pa. State Police)
Harrisburg, PA ­– The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) announces the arrest of Trooper Dustin Schumacher following a disturbance call earlier this morning in Claysville Borough, Washington County.
Trooper Schumacher faces felony and misdemeanor charges related to the incident, including:
  • Aggravated Assault, 18 Pa. C.S. §2702(a)(3)
  • Resisting Arrest, 18 Pa. C.S. §5104
  • Disorderly Conduct, 18 Pa. C.S. §5503(a)(4)
Charges were filed by the PSP Troop B Belle Vernon Criminal Investigation Unit in District Court 27-3-10. Trooper Schumacher was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Robert Redlinger and transported to Washington County Prison. Bail was set at $5,000.
Trooper Schumacher enlisted in the PSP in April 2016 and graduated as a member of the 146th cadet class. He is assigned to the patrol section of Troop B, Belle Vernon. Trooper Schumacher has been suspended without pay pending resolution of the criminal charges against him.

Tuesday’s AMBC: “Come Now To The Campus…”

Following the 8:30 news on Tuesday, Matt Drzik will be joined in studio by Geneva College’s Kelly Sanzari (Director Of Alumni Relations) and Cheryl Johnston (Director of Marketing Services & PR) to discuss Homecoming Weekend 2021 on College Hill.

The homecoming festivities will include a live appearance by Beaver County Radio and live coverage of the match between Geneva and Washington & Jefferson at Reeves Field.

Measure on masking in youth sports clears House committee

Measure on masking in youth sports clears House committee
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Legislation that has cleared a Pennsylvania House committee would give school districts the authority to decide whether student athletes must wear masks while playing. The Republican-controlled committee approved the measure on a party-line vote. It would give “exclusive authority” to schools, recreational clubs and similar groups to set masking policy for youth athletes. Republican state lawmakers have promised to mount a legislative response to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s statewide mask mandate for schools. But so far, there has been no movement by the GOP on a wider mask mandate bill. The Wolf administration’s masking order already exempts youth athletes from having to cover their faces during practice or games.

Department of Health Releases Vaccination Dashboard by Legislative Districts

(Harrisburg, Pa.) The creation of the legislative district vaccine dashboard is the latest information provided to the General Assembly following their request seeking data on COVID-19 from the Department of Health (DOH) as stated in a September 10 letter from Gov. Wolf. Additionally, last week, DOH shared a breakthrough case data report showing since January 2021, 97 percent of COVID-19-related deaths and 95 percent of reported hospitalizations due to COVID-19 were in unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated people.

“The overwhelming majority of the COVID-19 related cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Pennsylvania occurred in people who were not vaccinated,” said Gov. Wolf. “In fact, the data shows that compared to unvaccinated people, fully vaccinated folks are seven times less likely to get COVID-19, and eight times less likely to die from COVID-19. We urge all Pennsylvanians who are not yet vaccinated to get their shot today.”

To keep all Pennsylvanians informed, the Department of Health provides daily and weekly updates to the COVID-19 Dashboard, the Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard  and the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard. These resources include significant statewide and county level case, death, hospitalization and vaccination information.

Tuesday Teleforum Channels Fred Rogers

On Tuesday’s Teleforum program, host Eddy Crow will channel Mr. Rogers, as it’s National Good Neighbor Day. If your neighbor is a jagoff, we’ll also numb the pain by celebrating National Drink Beer Day. Teleforum is every weekday from 9:10 till noon on am1230, am1460, and 99.3fm presented by St. Barnabas.

Ambridge Police Arrest Mother After 10-Month Old Gets Into Heroin, Found Unresponsive

Ambridge Police reported Monday morning, September, 27, 2021  they were called to  1021 Rice Avenue in the borough  for an unresponsive 10-month-old baby. The incident happened Saturday just before  noon. The infant was unresponsive and not breathing. Police were informed that the infant got into a bundle of heroin  and was thought to be overdosing.  Police administered 2 doses of Naloxone, and began CPR while waiting for paramedics.

Through further investigation, the child’s mother Melissa Miller,27 was arrested on several charges  , including endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment, aggravated assault, and possession of a controlled substance. Miller was taken to the Beaver County Jail

Underwater vehicles safeguard lives, improve efficiency for Pittsburgh District

(Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District)

By Michel Sauret, Public Affairs Office U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District

PITTSBURGH – Working underwater can be a dangerous, life-threatening job for divers who inspect and maintain facilities on the riverways. Divers adhere to strict guidelines and regulations to keep everyone safe.

“If an accident happens, it’s never an injury. It usually results in death,” said Jay Kochuga, the dive program coordinator for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District.

Following strict guidelines helps keep divers alive, but divers still have a job to do.  To help them accomplish their mission, the Pittsburgh District has a fleet of underwater remote operated vehicles (ROVs). The fleet supplements a team of 15 divers who perform inspections year-round at 39 facilities around the district, including locks and dams on the rivers, and flood-control reservoirs.

“Every time it’s a questionable scenario, we can send in a ROV instead of a diver,” Kochuga said.

The ROVs help the dive team perform jobs humans cannot do underwater, such as swim through strong river currents near a fixed-crest dam, enter confined spaces, or pilot areas with dangerous differential pressure. Differential pressure is formed whenever the water level in a lock chamber is either higher or lower than the river level. Differential pressure is most dangerous near a gate or valve, and it could suck in a diver and slam his body against a hard structure.

“This is where the ROV pays off. If something bad happens, and you have to cut the umbilical, you’re not writing a letter to a loved one to inform them someone was injured or possibly killed. No. You lose a piece of equipment,” Kochuga said.

The district’s newest ROV is the VideoRay PRO 5, which is equipped with a high-definition video and photo camera, a multibeam sonar, a claw that can rotate and grab objects, two powerful LED lights, and propelled thrusters that are twice as powerful as the previous version, allowing it to pilot through stronger currents. The PRO 5 is submergible down to 1,000 feet, with a multibeam sonar that can capture imagery up to 300 feet away.

The ROV’s manufacturing company, VideoRay, provided the Pittsburgh District with three days of operator and familiarization training for purchasing two new robotic systems.

Normally this unit costs $100,000, but the district paid $55,000 for each of the latest models available on the market. Kochuga’s team saved about half the cost by trading in two older units to the manufacturer for an upgrade.

That price tag may seem steep for something small enough to fit inside a suitcase, but Kochuga said the money is worth it.

“What’s the cost of keeping a diver safe? That’s limitless. You would never put a cost on human life, and the Pittsburgh District knows it,” he said.

These underwater robots not only prove the district’s commitment to putting people first, but they also highlight the importance of innovation to improve efficiency, Kochuga said. For example, any time the dive team needs to perform an inspection, the team requires five people. With the ROV, a single operator can lower the robot in the water and record video for a preliminary inspection, on his own.

“You could be anywhere in the district viewing whatever’s going on under the water. You’re able to identify a problem before initiating the entire dive team,” Kochuga said.

In the winter, the ROV saves divers from submerging in freezing waters longer than they need to. The vehicle can identify the exact location of a maintenance need, and the diver can jump in afterward to fix the problem. Divers are also limited by the Navy dive table on how long they can stay underwater, depending on depth, because of impact on their lungs. The ROV, on the other hand, can stay underwater for unlimited hours.

“Diving is a risky business, so anything you can do without putting a diver in the water, unless it’s absolutely necessary, helps mitigate that risk,” said Tom Glebas, a vice president at VideoRay.

The ROV has other capabilities. The mechanical claw can be used for various purposes, including running a winch line down to a vehicle or heavy object to pull it out of the water. The ROV records imagery to a computer with a large touch-screen display, packaged in a separate weatherproof hard case.

The robot is also easier to maintain than its predecessors. Inside, its mechanics are assembled with individual water-sealed modules. That means replacing a part is a plug-and-play process. Opening the ROV’s shell does not expose its electrical guts to the elements.

“It’s a big jump with easier servicing because you can just disconnect a module and replace it with a new one,” Glebas said.

Ultimately, the ROV will not replace a human diver. Even though the claw can open and close, it cannot turn a wrench or perform complicated maintenance tasks. What it offers instead is the ability to save time and save lives.

Allegheny Health Network Advances COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Campaign to Expanded Eligible Groups

Following CDC and FDA Emergency Use Authorization of Pfizer Third Dose Vaccinations, AHN Will Begin to Administer Booster Shots to Those Older than 65 Years and High-Risk Populations

PITTSBURGH (September 27, 2021)– Following emergency use authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series on Friday, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) clinicians will begin to provide boosters today to expanded eligible groups including those over 65-years-old, individuals from 18 to 64 years with underlying health conditions and those who are at increased risk of COVID-19 transmission from their occupation, such as frontline healthcare workers.

AHN will host a series of employee-only vaccination clinics across its hospitals while also offering scheduling online and via phone to newly eligible groups for booster shots. Eligible patients can schedule by calling their primary care physician’s office, visiting the Network’s online scheduling portal at ahn.org/coronavirus/vaccine/schedule or accessing their MyChart accounts. COVID-19 boosters will primarily be administered across primary care and hospital-based vaccine clinics. 

Only individuals who initially received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination series will be eligible for their booster shot as part of this latest EUA; patients must wait at least six months from their second vaccine dose to also be eligible. 

“As one of the most prominent COVID-19 vaccines administers in the region, AHN is uniquely positioned to provide booster shots swiftly and efficiently to this newly expanded eligible group. We’ve been preparing for months to transition vaccine supply into the primary care and outpatient offices as well as our hospital-based clinics to help ensure seniors, essential workers and those at highest risk have timely and convenient access to booster shots during yet another critical time of this pandemic,” said Amy Crawford-Faucher, MD, family care physician and vice chair of the AHN Primary Care Institute.

To date, more than 680,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while more than 4.5 million people have died from the disease worldwide. However, since the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccinations, just 55.5 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated according to Johns Hopkins data. Amid the Delta variant, these numbers have resulted in the latest COVID-19 surge across the country, with hospitalizations occurring predominately in unvaccinated populations.

Data released from the CDC in August noted a 30 percent decrease in vaccine effectiveness against the COVID-19 Delta variant among its studied cohort of approximately 4,000 frontline healthcare workers who received their initial vaccinations in December 2020. Another CDC study found 25% of new infections between May and July of this year were among fully vaccinated people signaling the potential need for an added layer of protection against the Delta variant as well as forthcoming strains. However, it’s important to note that receiving the COVID-19 series, both first and second doses, remains the most effective way to prevent transmission, severe illness, hospitalization and death even against forthcoming strains. 

“We strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to receive their booster shot to protect themselves and help to minimize the risk of wide-spread community transmission, hospitalizations and severe illness. As the holiday season quickly approaches, receiving the full series of the COVID-19 vaccine is the best thing someone can do to save lives, decompress hospital systems and help bring the pandemic to an end,” said Imran Qadeer, MD, chief medical officer of AHN’s Allegheny General Hospital.

In August, Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines received EUA as booster shots for immunocompromised individuals. Pfizer’s clinical trials in particular documented that  a third dose in its vaccination series spurred a more than threefold increase in antibodies against COVID-19. AHN began has administered nearly 700 booster shots to immunocompromised patients to date.

Those receiving their third dose may experience mostly mild to moderate symptoms which will often mimic the side effects originally felt during the first and second doses i.e. soreness at the injection site, feeling of general malaise for one to two days, etc. Doctors say these side effects once again signal the expected immune reaction.

For more information on AHN and the Network’s coronavirus resources, please visit https://www.ahn.org/coronavirus.html.