Chase Elliott ends week of misery with overdue Cup victory

Chase Elliott ends week of misery with overdue Cup victory
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Chase Elliott ended a week of miserable finishes with an overdue Cup victory.  Elliott raced to his first win of the season Thursday night in the rain-postponed event at Charlotte Motor Speedway to close a frantic 12 days for NASCAR. The event marked the fourth Cup race since the series resumed racing May 17 and Elliott had two frustrating losses in that span. There was little suspense in this one for Elliott, who reeled in Kevin Harvick with 27 laps remaining and closed out the victory. Elliott also won the Truck Series race Tuesday night at Charlotte.

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder
By TIM SULLIVAN and AMY FORLITI Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe, has been arrested and charged with murder. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, after his office gathered enough evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. He did not have immediate details, but said a criminal complaint would be made available later. The charges come after three days of protests, which had been escalating in violence.

Pa State Rep. Rob Matzie supports budget-related bills

Matzie supports budget-related bills

HARRISBURG, May 29 – Pennsylvania nursing and personal care homes at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic would receive more than $630 million in federal CARES Act funding under legislation the House passed unanimously yesterday, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced.

Matzie, who has led the charge to investigate and address the spiraling infection and death rates in nursing and long-term care facilities statewide, said he is relieved that a large chunk of $2.6 billion in federal CARES Act funding is going where it is needed most – to address the crisis facing seniors in care facilities.

“It is beyond frustrating to read the statistics on mounting deaths and see our seniors being held hostage by this virus without being able to go in and do something to address it,” said Matzie, whose legislation recently prompted the state to begin universal testing in facilities. “Now, thanks to this infusion of funding, we will have the test kits, personal protective equipment, additional staffing and other critical resources to start bringing the situation under control.”

Beyond the assistance to nursing homes, Matzie said the CARES Act funding will provide $50 million to volunteer fire and EMS companies, which lost key sources of revenue when the pandemic forced a halt to fundraising efforts.

“We ask our first responders to combat any form of disaster, and to do so with tight budgets and limited resources,” Matzie said. “Now, a new and unforeseeable danger has been demanding even more of these heroes, while at the same time cutting off a reliable form of revenue. This funding will ensure that they have the equipment and other resources they need to stay safe while protecting the rest of us.”

Matzie said he expects the governor to sign the legislation – which among other funding also allocates about $870 million for small business and local government relief, $347 million for education and early childhood resources, and $260 million to help people with intellectual disabilities – in the near future.

“For our seniors and most vulnerable to those who are committed to protecting them, the funding can’t come soon enough. It’s good to know we’re on the path to progress,” he said.

Matzie added that the bills passed would also restore a $300 million property tax shortfall created by the budget.

Gov. Wolf Signs Budget to Sustain Education, Support Communities Amid Pandemic

Gov. Wolf Signs Budget to Sustain Education, Support Communities Amid Pandemic

Harrisburg, PA – As Pennsylvania continues to address public health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tom Wolf today signed a state budget that will provide 12 months of sustained public education funding at 2019-20 levels and makes important investments in communities and programs to help begin to restore the economy.

“Education must remain a priority even during a pandemic and this budget provides schools with the stability to continue building on the progress we have made to prepare our children for a successful future,” said Gov. Wolf. “Reaching an early budget agreement under these challenging circumstances is encouraging as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.

“While this is an encouraging step in the right direction, more needs to be done to ensure Pennsylvania has the resources it needs to protect key programs and investments.”

The $25.75 billion General Fund budget in HB 2387 includes an additional $2.6 billion in federal funding provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act. The budget sustains funding at current year levels for Pre-K Counts and Head Start, basic and special education in K-12 schools, and higher education. The budget also provides $300 million from the CARES Act to make up for a decline in gaming revenue that annually supports school property tax relief for homeowners.

To help communities to recover, the budget provides $420 million to assist nursing homes with COVID-19-related costs, $50 million to help Pennsylvanians with food insecurity and $225 million for grants to small businesses through the Department of Community and Economic Development.

The budget also provides $625 million to counties through block grants to help address the disruption to their budgets from the pandemic. The funding will assist counties with the cost of purchasing personal protective equipment, help local governments, and provide grants to small businesses, among other options.

“As the state’s economy begins to reopen from the public health emergency, there are still unanswered questions about the state’s finances, but this agreement is an important step to stabilize our schools and put Pennsylvania on a path to recovery,” said Gov. Wolf.

The governor also signed HB 1083, HB 2441, HB 2442, HB 2443, HB 2444, HB 2445, HB 2467, HB 2468, HB 2469, HB 2470, HB 2471, HB 2472, HB 2473, HB 2474, HB 2475, HB 2510, SB 166, SB 1108 and SB 1122. The governor vetoed SB 1027 and HCRRR#1.

Beaver County to Stay in Yellow Phase as State Continues Phased Reopening with 16 More Counties Set to Go Green on June 5 ,

State Continues Phased Reopening with 16 More Counties Set to Go Green on June 5 

Harrisburg, PA – With more than 80 percent of the state in some phase of reopening, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that 16 additional counties will take another step forward and move to green effective 12:01 a.m., June 5. Counties include Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.

The first 18 counties moved to green today, including Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.

Eight counties moved to yellow today, including Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, and Schuylkill.

Counties that remain in red and are expected to move to yellow by June 5 include Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.

With more than half the state poised to be in the green phase on June 5, the governor this week provided an updated order for counties moving to green to give businesses and residents a clearer picture of what is permitted in that phase of reopening. The order includes these highlights:

  • Large gatherings of more than 250 prohibited.
  • Restaurants and bars open at 50% occupancy.
  • Personal care services (including hair salons and barbershops) open at 50% occupancy and by appointment only.
  • Indoor recreation, health and wellness facilities, and personal care services (such as gyms and spas) open at 50% occupancy with appointments strongly encouraged.
  • All entertainment (such as casinos, theaters, and shopping malls) open at 50% occupancy.
  • Construction activity may return to full capacity with continued implementation of protocols.
  • Visitation to prisons and hospitals may resume subject to the discretion of the facility. Visitors who interact with residents and patients must be diligent regarding hygiene. Given the critical importance of limiting COVID-19 exposure in nursing homes, personal care home and long-term care facilities, visitation restrictions will initially remain in place.

Business frequently asked questions were also updated and are available here.

Gov. Wolf also provided more options for counties in the yellow phase by allowing outdoor dining beginning June 5 and providing Summer Camp Guidance for providers, parents and caregivers.

The Summer Camp Guidance includes information on what types of programs for children are permitted during the phased reopening, status of public playgrounds and the operation of community pools, and the status of organized team sports.

The state continues to use risk-based metrics from Carnegie Mellon University, combined with contact tracing and testing capability and a sustained reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations, to make decisions on county moves. The 50 new cases per 100,000 population continues to be a consideration, but not a sole deciding factor.

To see up-to-date data on case counts and demographics, hospital preparedness and testing, view the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

As more counties and residents enjoy loosened restrictions, the governor stressed the need to balance resuming activities with keeping case counts low and taking personal responsibility by wearing a mask or choosing to stay away from crowds to reduce the likelihood of coming into contact with someone carrying COVID-19.

“If we take the simple steps of wearing a mask, staying home when sick, and implementing social distancing tactics, we can help eliminate the spread of COVID-19 and make a huge contribution to getting our commonwealth back on track,” Gov. Wolf s

Today’s ‘Business Minute’ Report Sponsored by Minuteman Press

….AND NOW IT’S TIME FOR THE ‘BUSINESS MINUTE’ REPORT…BROUGHT YOU BY MINUTEMAN PRESS:

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are off to a weak start on Wall Street as traders worry that the U.S. and China could be headed for another confrontation, this time over the autonomy of the former British colony of Hong Kong. The S&P 500 was down 0.4% in the first hour of trading today, but it’s still headed for its third weekly gain out of the last four. Banks and industrial stocks had the biggest losses in the early going, while technology stocks continued to gain ground. The tech sector has far outpaced the rest of the market over the last year.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer spending plunged by a record-shattering 13.6% in April as the viral pandemic shuttered businesses, forced millions of layoffs and sent the economy into a deep recession. Last month’s spending decline was far worse than the revised 6.9% drop in March, which itself had set a record for the steepest one-month fall in records dating to 1959. The figures reinforced evidence that the economy is gripped by the worst downturn in decades, with consumers unable or too anxious to spend much. Even with employers cutting millions of jobs, though, incomes soared 10.5% in April, reflecting billions of dollars in government payments in the form of unemployment aid and stimulus checks.

UNDATED (AP) — Big Lots’ first-quarter sales rose 11%, with same-store sales climbing 10.3%. The discount retailer’s stores have remained open during the pandemic, with many consumers shopping for essentials. While sales are up strongly for the second quarter to date, Big Lots Inc. said today that it anticipates those sales moderating due to factors including rivals reopening stores, the planned cancellation of its July Friends and Family promotion and weakening stimulus-driven demand.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A debate in Congress over whether to extend $600 a week in federally provided benefits to the unemployed is likely to intensify with the number of people receiving the aid now topping 30 million — one in five workers. The money, included in a government relief package enacted in March, is set to expire July 31. Yet with the unemployment rate widely expected to still be in the mid-teens by then, members of both parties will face pressure to compromise on some form of renewed benefits for the jobless. Democrats have proposed keeping the $600-a-week payments through January in a $3 trillion relief package that the House approved this month along party lines.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter has added a warning to one of President Donald Trump’s tweets about protests in Minneapolis. The company says the tweet violated the platform’s rules about glorifying violence. Trump has been at war with Twitter since earlier this week, when it applied fact checks to two of his tweets about mail-in ballots. The third tweet to be flagged is about violent protests over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck. Trump tweeted, “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Route 18 7th Avenue Improvements Continue Next Week in New Brighton and Beaver Falls

Route 18 7th Avenue Improvements Continue Next Week in New Brighton and Beaver Falls

Pittsburgh, PA – PennDOT District 11 is announcing roadway improvement work on Route 18 (7th Avenue, 7th Street) in the City of Beaver Falls and New Brighton Borough, Beaver County, will continue Monday through Friday, June 1-5 weather permitting.

Beginning Monday, single-lane restrictions will occur on Route 18 in both directions between 5th Street (Route 65) in New Brighton and 20th Street in Beaver Falls from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Friday, June 5. Crews will conduct punch list asphalt paving activities.

  1. Liberoni, Inc. is the prime contractor on the $6.05 million project. The overall project is anticipated to conclude in July of 2020 which also included milling and resurfacing, guide rail improvements, and signal updates. Additional traffic safety improvements include a “road diet” (from the existing four lanes down to three lanes), curb extensions, bicycle lanes, and revised street parking between 3rd Street and 20th Street in the City of Beaver Falls.

Please use caution if traveling in this area.

Work on this project will be in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Health guidance as well as a project-specific COVID-19 safety plan, which will include protocols for social distancing, use of face coverings, personal and job-site cleaning protocols, management of entries to the jobsite, and relevant training.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 950 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitte

Ramp on Route 65 to Rochester to Close for Two Weeks Starting Monday

Southbound Route 18 Ramp to Pleasant Street Long-term Closure Begins Monday in Beaver County

 

Pittsburgh, PA – PennDOT District 11 is announcing the closure of the southbound Route 18 ramp to Pleasant Street in Rochester Borough, Beaver County will begin Monday, June 1 weather permitting.

 

Beginning at 7 a.m. Monday, the ramp that carries traffic from southbound Route 18 to Pleasant Street will close to traffic around-the-clock through Tuesday, June 12 as crews conduct dam replacement. Traffic will be detoured.

 

Posted Detour

Southbound Route 18 Ramp to Pleasant Street

  • Continue on southbound Route 18/65 past the closed ramp
  • Take the left-hand ramp to southbound Route 51
  • Turn right and cross the Monaca-East Rochester Bridge
  • Turn right onto Pennsylvania Avenue (Route 4044)
  • Turn right onto Route 18 (9thStreet) and cross the Rochester-Monaca Bridge
  • Follow to Pleasant Street
  • End detour

 

Gulisek Construction, LLC is the prime contractor on this $10.07 million improvement project.

 

B.C. Commissioner Jack Manning Makes Statement on George Floyd’s Death in Custody of an Officer

(Beaver, pa.) Beaver County Commissioner Jack Manning used the open comments period of the commissioners bye weekly regular meeting to make a statement  on his thoughts of the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, MN.

A copy of Manning’s statement is below:

When I took my oath of office a little over 150 days ago, I vowed that I would always try to make the best decisions I could with those things I can control and try to influence to the best of my ability those things I can’t. I also promised myself to continue speaking truth to power, and as someone now in power, however limited, to speak the truth from the platform I have been given. If you know the story of my parents and my two sisters and me, you’d know that we come from working class, devout and humble roots. We never thought we were privileged. But through the fate of having white parents, I was given privileges not born to my friends of color. I am white, they are not, and I will never know the true depths of their pain in a society where we continue demonstrate institutional and social racism.  There is zero chance that I, or either of my two sons, would ever be pinned to the pavement with a knee to my neck until I died, in front of white citizens compelling an officer to stop.

My late sister Susan, and my brother-in-law Reverend Rollin Kirk, lived the last 20 years or so of their lives in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area. They preached, served and fought for social justice their entire lives. Sue will be gone 15 year on June 14. She, as I am,  would be horrified and numbed by the continuing pain and suffering being inflicted discriminately on members of our society, especially our black community.  We started this meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. Unfortunately, as we strive to form a more perfect democratic republic, we have failed to live up to the last six words of that pledge, “with liberty, and justicefor all”. I am hoping that in this latest case, that the family and friends of George Floyd, get the justice they deserve under the constitution.

I’ll close with my belief in free will and moral responsibility. For whatever reason that officer and those in uniform watching him, chose to ignore their moral responsibility and let a man be executed on the street. I also know that their actions do not represent character, and duty to protect and serve, of the 99.9% of law enforcement officers and people that I know, and who I appreciate every day for their service.

I ask everyone to please open your minds, your hearts, and set aside your prejudges to figure out how we can collectively stop this divisive insanity that plagues our great nation. I am willing to talk to anyone on this subject at any time. We must find “justice for all” and bring healing to so many who have suffered. I have seen way too much senseless death in my lifetime and it needs to stop.

Flood of mail-in ballots spurs fight to change deadlines

Flood of mail-in ballots spurs fight to change deadlines
By MARC LEVY Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Some county and state officials are warning that a flood of mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania will create problems in Tuesday’s primary election that must be fixed before November’s presidential election. For one, they are warning that there will be no way to produce timely election results in November unless the law changes. Even in Tuesday’s relatively low turnout primary election, election-night results might be unlikely in closely contested races. Of more immediate concern is the question of whether voters can mail their ballots back to county election offices in time to be counted in Tuesday’s primary election.