Saturday, April 17, 2021

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Local News

Monthly Gaming Revenue Exceeds $400 Million For The First Time

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board posted on its website that combined revenue generated from all forms of gaming regulated by the board along with fantasy contests for the month of March 2021 was $403,131,336. That is a 162% increase over March of 2020. This is the first time revenue exceeded $400 million in one month. The previous high was $320 million in October of 2020. Locally, The Meadows Casino total revenue for March was $20,973,736. In March of 2020 total revenue was $9,960,324. That is an increase of 110%. Slot Machine revenue at The Meadows led the way with $12,862,586 in total revenue.

Plans On Display For Potential I-70/Route 51 Improvement Project

A major improvement project in Westmoreland County is in the works, and PennDOT wants to hear from the people who use the Interstate 70/Route 51 interchange on a regular basis. The construction project will upgrade the highway and state route as well as a few other roads in the area. The biggest improvement to the interchange that was last updated in the 1950s will be a new Diverging Diamond Interchange, just like what is in use with Interstate 70 and Route 19 in Washington today. Along with the DDI, both the highway and state route will be widened in the construction zone, the bridges carrying Route 51 over I-70 will be replaced, and a Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad bridge will also be relocated and replaced to the south end of the project. Additionally, the bridge carrying Interstate 70 over the Youghiogheny River will get preservation upgrades. This project is only in the final design phase, with another public meeting set for next year. PennDOT is anticipating to start on the five-phase project in 2022, with it lasting through four construction seasons, ending in 2025. Residents can view the virtual public meeting and leave comments by visiting i-70projects.com.

Greene County Gets Grant To Replace Bridge

State Representative Pam Snyder (D-50) announced that a state grant has been awarded to replace a bridge in Greene County. The grant worth nearly $830,000 will be dedicated to replace Bridge No.31 in Franklin Township. This bridge has been classified as being in poor condition since 1991. The bridge carries school buses, heavy farming equipment and tractor trailers. The grant comes from PennDot’s Multimodal Transportation Fund.

Pennsylvania Sounds Alarm On Coronavirus Vaccine Hesitancy

A growing number of unfilled appointments and low uptake among nursing home workers are early signs that vaccine hesitancy is becoming an issue in Pennsylvania. That prompted state officials to sound the alarm Friday and urge residents to get their COVID-19 shots as quickly as possible. After months of demand outstripping supply, vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are more readily available. The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf says the challenge now is to assuage the concerns of people who are reluctant to get it.

Attorney For Victim Of Beating By Aaron Donald Apologizes

PITTSBURGH (WPXI) — The attorney for the man who claimed NFL superstar Aaron Donald assaulted him outside a club in Pittsburgh’s South Side has apologized.  Todd Hollis, the attorney for De’Vincent Spriggs, said he reviewed video showing the fight from the club. He said after seeing it, it’s clear that Donald was trying to break up the fight. He said this situation was simply a mix-up. “I certainly extend an apology to Aaron for any problems this may have caused him. Aaron has certainly been through enough so we want to put this to rest,” Hollis said. Hollis said the man who did attack his client somewhat resembles Donald, but he wanted to publicly apologize for the false accusations. He said Spriggs suffered a concussion, broken nose, orbital bone and possibly a broken arm in the fight.

Pennsylvania Jobless Rate Fell In March, As Payrolls Grew

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate fell slightly in March, as payrolls expanded and every economic sector except for construction recorded growth. That’s according to state figures released Friday. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 7.3%, down a tenth of a percentage point from February’s adjusted rate. That was more than a whole point above the national rate of 6% in March. In a survey of households, the labor force remained virtually the same in March, at almost 6.34 million. In a separate survey of employers, payrolls in Pennsylvania expanded in February by 24,000, closer to 5.7 million. Pennsylvania has regained about 60% of the 1.1 million jobs lost in the pandemic.

World News

Prince Philip Is Laid To Rest As Somber Queen Sits Alone

WINDSOR, England (AP) – With military bands and a royal procession, Prince Philip was laid to rest in a funeral ceremony that honored his lifetime of service to the country, the crown and his wife of 73 years, Queen Elizabeth II. The widowed British monarch, setting an example amid the coronavirus pandemic, sat alone at Saturday’s ceremony, dressed in black and with her head bowed in prayer. Philip, who died April 9 two months shy of his 100th birthday, was honored at Windsor Castle in a service that was steeped in military and royal tradition. People across Britain observed one minute of silence in honor of Philip. The procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of the castle but was shown live on television.

Funeral To Praise Philip’s ‘Courage’ And Support For Queen

WINDSOR, England (AP) – Prince Philip will be remembered as a man of “courage, fortitude and faith” at a funeral that salutes both his service in the Royal Navy and his support for Queen Elizabeth II over three quarters of a century. Philip, who died April 9 at the age of age 99, will be laid to rest on Saturday in the Royal Vault at Windsor Castle after a funeral service steeped in military and royal tradition. But the service will also be pared down and infused with his own personality. Coronavirus restrictions mean that there will be only 30 mourners inside the castle’s St. George’s Chapel, including the widowed queen, her four children and her eight grandchildren.

FBI Says It Interviewed FedEx Mass Shooter Last Year

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The coroner’s office has released the names of the eight people who were fatally shot when a man opened fire at a FedEx plant in Indianapolis. Four of the victims of Thursday’s shooting were from Indianapolis’ Sikh community. The mass shooting marks another blow for the Asian American community in the United States. It comes a month after six people of Asian descent were killed in a mass shooting in the Atlanta area and amid ongoing attacks against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. The shooter has been identified as a 19-year-old former employee of FedEx Brandon Scott Hole. Police say he killed himself after shooting his victims.

American, 2 Russians Return To Earth From Space Station

MOSCOW (AP) – An American astronaut and two Russians have returned to Earth after six months aboard the International Space Station. A Soyuz space capsule carrying NASA’s Kate Rubins and Russians Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov landed Saturday morning in the steppes of Kazakhstan. Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, said all three were feeling well after they were extracted from the capsule and began reacclimating to the pull of gravity. The three had arrived at the orbiting laboratory complex on Oct. 14. There now are seven people aboard the ISS.

SolarWinds Hacking Campaign Puts Microsoft In Hot Seat

BOSTON (AP) – The sprawling, monthslong hacking campaign came to be known as SolarWinds for the company whose software update Russian intelligence agents stealthily seeded with malware to penetrate ágovernment and private networks. Yet it was Microsoft whose code the cyber spies persistently abused in the campaign’s second stage as they rifled through emails and vital files of high-value targets and hopped undetected among victim networks. And that has put the world’s third-most valuable company in the hot seat. Lawmakers are insisting that Microsoft swiftly upgrade security to what they believe it should have provided in the first place, and do it without fleecing taxpayers.

Worldwide COVID-19 Death Toll Tops A Staggering 3 million

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – The global death toll from the coronavirus has topped a staggering 3 million people. The milestone, recorded by Johns Hopkins University, comes amid repeated setbacks in the worldwide vaccination campaign and a deepening crisis in places such as Brazil, India and France. The toll is about equal to the population of Kyiv, Ukraine; Caracas, Venezuela; or metropolitan Lisbon, Portugal. It is bigger than Chicago (2.7 million) and equivalent to Philadelphia and Dallas combined.

Coast Guard: 2 More Capsize Victims Recovered Off Louisiana

PORT FOURCHON, La. (AP) – Divers searching the site of a capsized lift boat off Louisiana’s coast have recovered two more unresponsive crewmembers. The Coast Guard declined to release more details, referring all questions late Friday to a local coroner. A Coast Guard statement said commercial divers on the capsized Seacor Power lift boat found the two Friday evening. Coast Guard Capt. Will Watson, commander of the New Orleans sector, said the agency extends its “deepest sympathy” to the family, friends and loved ones of all involved in what he called “this tragic incident.” áThe vessel, which supports offshore oil rigs, overturned Tuesday in rough weather south of the Louisiana coast.