Trump embraces the Jan. 6 rioters on the trail. In court, his lawyers hope to distance him from them

Former president Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump’s lawyers have suggested their strategy in his election interference case in Washington involves distancing him from the horde of U.S. Capitol rioters, whom he has embraced on the campaign trail. Special counsel Jack Smith’s team has signaled it will make the case Trump is responsible for the chaos that unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021, and point to the Republican ex-president’s continued support of the rioters to help establish his criminal intent. The competing arguments highlight the extent to which the riot serves as an inescapable backdrop in a landmark trial set to begin March 4 in a courthouse just blocks from the Capitol.

Activist who acknowledged helping flip police car during 2020 protest sentenced to 1 year in prison

Anthony Smith, a social studies teacher, stands outside the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse at 601 Market Street, in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. Smith, a well-known west Philadelphia activist who acknowledged having helped overturn a police car during 2020 protests following the death of George Floyd has been sentenced to a year in prison. Smith was sentenced Tuesday following a guilty plea in June to a federal charge of obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder, which included aiding and abetting an arson, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A well-known west Philadelphia activist who acknowledged having helped overturn a police car during 2020 protests following the death of George Floyd has been sentenced to a year in prison. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Anthony Smith was sentenced Tuesday following a guilty plea in June to a federal charge of obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder, which included aiding and abetting an arson. Smith told U.S. District Judge Juan Sánchez that his actions were “immature and emotional.” Prosecutors had called for the 30 months or more recommended in sentencing guidelines. Other co-defendants were sentenced earlier to far longer terms.

The Steelers did a very un-Steelerlike thing by firing Matt Canada. The early returns were promising

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett meets with reporters following an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023. The Steelers won 16-10. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers’ beleaguered offense showed signs of progress in its first game since the abrupt firing of coordinator Matt Canada. The Steelers piled up more than 400 yards of offense for the first time in more than three years in a 16-10 win over Cincinnati. While coach Mike Tomlin says he’s not getting ahead of himself, quarterback Kenny Pickett led an offense that showed flashes of explosiveness that were rare during Canada’s two-plus-year tenure. The Steelers are 7-4 before heading into a visit by the struggling Arizona Cardinals.

Man who wounded 14 in Pennsylvania elementary school with machete dies in prison 22 years later

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A man imprisoned since 2001 for attacking educators and students in a Pennsylvania elementary school with a machete, wounding 14, has died in prison. Pennsylvania prison officials say William Stankewicz died Monday. He was 78. The warden says Stankewicz was found unresponsive in his cell. Stankewicz attacked North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School, about 75 miles west of Philadelphia. The wounded included 11 kindergarten students. Principal Norina Bentzel suffered severe cuts and a broken arm while helping wrestle Stankewicz to the ground. In court, Stankewicz told the judge he was angry about his divorce from his Russian-born ex-wife and her allegations that he molested her daughters.


Forsberg scores in OT, Predators beat Penguins 3-2 for 6th straight win

Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates his game winning overtime goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with teammates center Ryan O’Reilly (90) and defenseman Roman Josi, right, after an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. The Predators won 3-2. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Filip Forsberg scored 14 seconds into overtime to give the Nashville Predators their sixth straight victory, 3-2 over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Michael McCarron scored twice and Juuse Saros made 29 saves for Nashville. Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust scored and Tristan Jarry made 23 saves for the Penguins, who have lost three of four. Forsberg skated the length of the ice and beat Jarry on the glove side for the game-winner. As Forsberg crossed the blue line, Nashville’s Ryan O’Reilly collided with Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, creating space for Forsberg to skate into the slot.

Beaver Falls woman charged for assault and threats towards Walmart workers


Story by Beaver County Radio News Staff. Published November 29, 2023 11:59 A.M.

(Beaver Falls, Pa) Police responded to the Chippewa Walmart around 12:15 pm Sunday. A criminal complaint filed by the Chippewa Police states that the ordeal started at the customer service desk over whether Tamara Brooks paid for items in her cart. Brooks was confronted by a 62 year old employee, who Brooks proceeded to punch. Brooks went as far as stomping on the worker after she was on the floor.
Brooks faces numerous charges which include terroristic threats, aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, and simple assault.
A second criminal complaint was also filed against Brooks for calling back to the store while in the hospital to threaten them more. She was then given additional charges of intimidation of a witness or victim, and an additional count of terroristic threats.
Brooks reportedly threatened three employees in total.
Brooks was transported to the Beaver County Jail with a $25,000 bail.

PUC Reminds Consumers of December 1 Energy Price Changes

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) reminds consumers that many utilities, including all PUC regulated electric utilities, are adjusting their energy supply prices on December 1st – and encourages consumers to understand those changes and explore #SaveInPA opportunities to reduce energy usage and manage winter energy bills.

While consumers cannot control winter weather, they can explore #SaveInPA opportunities to cut the size of higher seasonal bills – including shopping with competitive suppliers and reducing energy usage in their homes and businesses.

Understand How Energy Price Changes Impact Your Bill

During cold weather months, the cost of energy used – either electricity or natural gas – can account for more than half of a typical customer’s bill, so the price of that energy is very important.


Consumers should understand the two major parts of their monthly electric or natural gas bills:

  • Generation/supply charge – This charge covers the cost of the energy (electricity or natural gas) used during the month – and this charge is influenced by whether a customer chooses to “shop” for their energy.  The energy cost for this portion of the bill is determined by a consumer’s contract with a competitive supplier or, for consumers who do not shop, the utility’s “Price to Compare” (PTC).
  • Delivery/distribution charge – This charge includes the cost for the operation and maintenance of the poles, wires, pipelines and other infrastructure that delivers energy to your home or business.  This portion of your monthly bill supports your local utility.  Consumers may not shop for energy delivery/distribution services.

It is important for every utility customer to understand that they are paying for energy supply costs, either through default service from their utility or a contract with a competitive energy supplier.


Electric – December 1 PTC Adjustments for Residential Customers


All Pennsylvania regulated electric utilities are adjusting their PTCs on December 1 for residential non-shopping customers.  The PTC averages 40% to 60% of the customer’s total utility bill.  However, this percentage varies by utility and by the level of individual customer usage.


Beginning December 1, electric distribution companies report the following changes in their PTCs for residential customers:


  • Citizens’ Electric, decrease from 13.333 cents to 10.966 cents per kWh (-18%);
  • Duquesne Light, decrease from 11.45 cents to 10.46 cents per kWh (-8.6%);
  • Met-Ed, increase from 10.24 cents to 11.306 cents per kWh (10.4%);
  • PECO, decrease from 9.672 cents to 8.917 cents per kWh (-7.8%);
  • Penelec, increase from 9.703 cents to 10.607 cents per kWh (9.3%);
  • Penn Power, increase from 10.556 cents to 11.231 cents per kWh (6.4%);
  • Pike Co. Light & Power, increase from 7.3005 cents to 8.67 cents per kWh (18.8%);
  • PPL, decrease from 12.126 cents to 11.028 cents per kWh (-9%);
  • UGI Electric, decrease from 12.128 cents to 10.26 cents per kWh (-15.4%);
  • Wellsboro Electric, decrease from 12.393 cents to 9.206 cents per kWh (-25.7%); and
  • West Penn Power, increase from 9.929 cents to 10.001 cents per kWh (1%).


In purchasing electricity for default service customers, the PUC notes that electric utilities are required to meet a “prudent mix” requirement of spot market, short-term, and long-term purchase contracts.  Plus, over time, the utilities must procure energy at the least possible cost to customers.


However, the Commission does not regulate prices for the generation portion of electric bills.  Generation prices are separate from the closely-regulated rates that utilities charge for their distribution services – the delivery of electricity to homes and businesses.


Business Customers

For small business customers, the PUC notes that most EDCs are also adjusting their PTCs on December 1 in their small Commercial and Industrial rate classes.  Among the state’s major EDCs, price changes in default service rates for small businesses will vary – ranging from PTC increases in the FirstEnergy service territories (Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power and West Penn Power) between 1% to 10% to an anticipated decrease of nearly 9% for small business customers in the Duquesne Light service territory.

Natural Gas – Purchased Gas Costs and PTC Changes for Residential Customers

Many of Pennsylvania’s natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs) have also adjusted their PTCs this fall for non-shopping customers.  Similar to electric, the PTC averages 40% to 60% of the customer’s total utility bill, with the percentage varying by NGDC and by the level of individual customer usage.

The following NGDCs report PTC changes for residential customers:

  • Columbia Gas of PA, decrease from $0.46849 to $0.2881 per therm (-38.5%);
  • National Fuel Gas, increase from $0.30959 to $0.3674 per Ccf (18.6%);
  • PECO, decrease from $0.54211 to $0.3852 per Ccf (-28.9%);
  • Peoples Natural Gas Co., increase from $1.2337 to $3.08 per Mcf (149%);
  • Peoples Gas Co. LLC, increase from $1.2337 to $3.08 per Mcf (149%);
  • UGI Utilities, decrease from $0.7761 to $0.45335 per Ccf (-41.6%); and
  • Valley Energy, decrease from $0.94342 to $0.33758 per Ccf (-64.2%).

Note:  A change in the price to compare for Philadelphia Gas Works is anticipated on December 1.

The PUC notes that while seasonal natural gas prices for some utilities have risen in recent weeks, overall purchased gas prices in Pennsylvania are 9% to 65% lower than they were at this time last year – reducing the impact on this year’s winter heating bills.


Regulated natural gas utilities are subject to a least-cost natural gas purchasing requirement.  Every natural gas utility company is routinely audited by the PUC to ensure the purchased gas costs they are passing on to their customers reflect the costs the company paid and that every effort was made to purchase the natural gas for the least possible price.


#SaveInPA – Energy Shopping Options


In most areas of Pennsylvania, consumers can choose who supplies their electricity – based on price or other factors, such as renewable energy – as well as who supplies their natural gas.  Competitive offers may not be available in all areas.


The PUC’s energy shopping websites – and – currently reflect #SaveInPA benefits for consumer energy costs, depending on their utility service territory.  Both websites provide residential and small business energy shoppers with valuable information on how to shop for supply services – enabling consumers to quickly compare offers from competitive suppliers against the default service rates from their local utilities and learn more on switching to a competitive supplier, or returning to default service, should they choose.

Standard Offer Program

As another alternative for default service customers not participating in the competitive electricity market, Pennsylvania’s regulated utilities offer a voluntary Standard Offer Program (SOP) – providing those customers with the option of receiving service from a competitive supplier at a fixed-price that is 7% below the utility’s current PTC. The SOP price is fixed for one year and can be canceled by the customer at any time with no early cancellation or termination fees.

Consumers should contact their utility or visit their utility’s website for more information or to enroll in an SOP.

Understand the Impact of Winter Weather

Energy usage is a key factor in the size of winter energy bills, and there are many ways that consumers can control that usage.  Energy saving tips include:

  • Pay attention to the thermostat – Every degree you raise or lower the temperature could impact energy costs by up to 3%.  Also, consider a programmable thermostat to automatically lower temperatures while you are away from home.
  • Have your furnace serviced – Regular furnace maintenance along with clean air filters help ensure efficient operation of your heating system.
  • Insulate and seal leaks around your home – Adding insulation, installing storm windows and doors, and sealing cracks and air leaks can help you stay warmer and use less energy.
  • Install or repair ceiling fans in high-traffic rooms – Many people can reverse the direction of ceiling fans to clockwise to produce an updraft and move warmer air near the ceiling downward, keeping the room and you warmer.
  • Consider resetting your water heater thermostat – Water heaters are the second highest source of energy usage in the home, and many people have the thermostat on their water heater set too high.  Setting the temperature on your water heater a few degrees cooler can help save money on your energy bills.


For struggling households already impacted by higher energy costs as winter sets in, the PUC continues to encourage them to #CallUtilitiesNow – noting that direct conversations between customers and utilities are the best “first step” in addressing outstanding bill balances and discussing utility assistance programs.

Shapiro Administration Introduces Redesigned Mail Ballot Materials

Harrisburg, PA – In keeping with Governor Shapiro’s commitment to strengthening our democracy and keeping our elections safe and secure, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt announced redesigned mail ballot materials that will be rolled out in the 2024 primary election. The redesigned envelopes and instruction sheets have revised language to better inform voters how to properly fill out and return their mail-in ballots, with the goal of decreasing voter confusion that can lead to completed ballots being rejected and assisting county election workers in efficiently processing mail-in ballots.

“Governor Shapiro has made it clear that the Commonwealth should help people succeed, not get in their way. In each election cycle since 2020, when no-excuse mail-in voting was implemented in Pennsylvania, we have seen thousands of mail ballots not be counted because of unintended technical errors voters made when completing their ballot,” Schmidt said. “The Shapiro Administration is committed to giving every eligible Pennsylvanian the opportunity to cast their vote and make their voice heard. Our hope is that these new materials will better assist voters in making sure their completed mail ballot packet is filled out correctly and can be counted.”

The Department of State is prescribing more uniformity in county mail ballot materials to aid both voters and election officials. Voters can expect to see mail-in ballots that incorporate the following requirements, based on counties current best practices:

  • New, more easily identifiable secrecy envelopes on a yellow background, with watermarking to discourage stray marks.
  • Coloring to make it easier for voters to distinguish the inner and outer envelopes.
  • Standardized full-page instructions with helpful graphics to depict the order of envelope placement.
  • A pre-filled “20” at the beginning of the year on the outer envelope to alert voters to write the current date, not their birthdate, in that field.
  • Coloring on the return envelope to highlight fields the voter must complete in the voter declaration including signature and date.
  • Colorized outer return envelopes to help post office employees expediently identify and deliver ballots mailed close to Election Day.
  • Uniform blue ink on outgoing mail ballots.

Counties will also have discretion to implement the use of a hole punch in the return envelope to help county election workers identify when an inner secrecy envelope is missing, which will also be easier to identify with the new watermarking and yellow coloring on the inner envelope.


In the 2023 primary, counties rejected about 17,000 mail ballots, which is about 2.8% of the 597,000 mail-in and absentee ballots cast. Approximately 21,800 mail ballots were rejected in the 2020 general election, and approximately 23,700 mail ballots were rejected in the 2022 general election. Data on rejected ballots from recent elections demonstrate the critical need for these revisions.


The most common reasons for mail ballot rejection in the 2023 primary were receipt after Election Day (46.8% of all rejected ballots), lack of a date (20.3%), lack of a secrecy envelope (14.9%), incorrect date (8.4%), and lack of a signature (4.7%). The newly revised materials address these problems by providing clearer instructions on how to fill out and submit a mail ballot, which will decrease voter confusion and ensure fewer mail ballots are rejected in each election.


“Voting by mail is a safe, secure, and accessible way for Pennsylvanians to participate in the election process. We have worked with counties, vendors, and the Center for Civic Design to develop these new mail ballot materials to improve voters’ compliance with the instructions so their vote can be counted,” Schmidt said.

Hopewell Elementary Assistant Principal & more resign

Story by Sandy Giordano – Beaver County Radio. Published November 29, 2023 11:27 A.M.

(Hopewell Township, Pa) Gar Hutzler has served the district by working at Independence Elementary School and has resigned to take a position at West Allegheny School District. Also leaving is Board member Dr. Matt Erickson, who served his last meeting as a board member Tuesday night.
Lizzie Firich and Molly Shrum, resigned from their lifeguard positions effective on November 29, 2023.
The board entered into a PIAA cooperative sponsorship agreement for boys varsity tennis teams between the Hopewell and Ambridge Area School District’s for the 2023-24 school year.
The board meets on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 7 pm.

Hopewell Commissioners approve residential development & more at meeting

Story by Sandy Giordano – Beaver County Radio.; Published November 29, 2023 11:22 A.M.

(Hopewell Township, Pa) The Hopewell Township Planning Commission approved Scarmazzi Homes’ application for the development on October 23, 2023, and the commissioners gave the final approval at Monday night’s regular meeting. The housing plan is in the area of Airport Road in the township.
Also at the meeting, a resolution was adopted authorizing the submission of a request by PennDOT to provide 75% reimbursement to the township for all cost, less any betterments incurred in relocating the sewer facility affected by State Route 3014 PennDOT Highway Improvement in Beaver County.
The Holiday trail is Saturday, December 2, 2023 from noon to 4 pm at the township park. Santa will visit along with the township’s annual Christmas event from 4 to 7 pm.