Friday, May 20, 2022

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Local News

Teenager Arrested In Murder Of Kristen Barfield

Washington City Police said Thursday that they have arrested 15-year-old Tyriq Moss of Washington for his alleged role in the shooting death of Kristin Barfield on May 11th.  Barfield was sitting on the porch of her Ridge Avenue home with her boyfriend around five p.m., when a car drove by and multiple shots were fired, killing Barfield.  Police have said the men in the vehicle were trying to shoot Barfield’s son Trey Willis.  According to authorities, that car was being driven by Allen.  There was also another person in the same area, believed to be Trey Willis.  Police said that Moss and Allen agreed they were going to shoot that person.  According to court documents, Moss and Allen fired shots that missed and ultimately hit and killed Barfield.  Police say the other two men, 30-year-old Brandon Allen and 27-year-old Javarr Thomas are still at large.  Their car, a 2006 Chrysler 300, was found abandoned over the weekend in Mt. Pleasant Township.  Allen is described as white, 5′10″ and weighing 200 pounds.  Thomas is described as black, 5′4″ and weighing 130 pounds.  Police say the two should be considered armed and dangerous.  Washington County District Attorney Jason Walsh says Moss, whom they believe was one of the shooters, has been charged with homicide as an adult and is being held without bond in the Washington County Jail.

Death Penalty Being Sought In Death Of Baby

The Washington County District Attorney says he plans to seek the death penalty against a Smith Township man accused of killing his 6-month-old son. Jason Walsh cited aggravated circumstances such as the child’s age and that Joshua George killed the boy while in perpetration of a felony. Authorities claim that George was the only person taking care of six-month-old Oliver George when the baby suffered serious injuries, including a fractured skull. A doctor found the injuries consistent with physical abuse. Police say the baby was staying with his grandparents when they called 911 on Dec. 30 of last year. He was flown to Children’s Hospital the next day with severe head trauma and he died a few days later. Walsh says he believes the baby was abused at his home on Francis Road after his mother left for work and before he was taken to his grandparents’ house.

Commissioners Award Hospitals Rescue Plan Act Funding

Washington County Commissioners recognized the hard work that county hospitals have put in during the Covid-19 pandemic during their meeting on Thursday. Brook Ward, President and CEO of Washington Health System and Lou Panza, President Penn Highlands Mon Valley Hospital were awarded money from the county that was made available from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. Washington Health System was awarded $4,088,556 and Penn Highlands Mon Valley received $1,990,117. Both Ward and Panza thanked the commissioners for the funds indicating that the monies will be well used to make up for losses accrued during the Covid-19 pandemic. Commissioner Chairwoman Diana Irey-Vaughn stated that the commissioners recognize the vital role that the health systems play in the county and were pleased that the ARPA funds were a method for the county to help.

Trinity Preliminary Budget Includes Tax Hike

The Trinity Area School District approved a preliminary budget for the 2022-2023 school year. The spending plan approved at the district’s planning meeting on May 5 is $67,099,354 and calls for a tax increase of .58 mills. Taylor Hott, Director of Physical Services indicates that the tax increase was taken to the limit allowed by law and was needed for several reasons. The biggest reason is the $60 million bond issue that was taken on to build the new middle school. Other drivers for the tax increase include rising health care and pension costs, maintaining a police department and rising fuel and energy costs. Hott indicates that the tax increase will cost each taxpayer an additional $53 per year for every $100,000 of property assessment. The budget will be voted on in June.

JoJo Burgess Announces Run For Mayor

Back in January, JoJo Burgess introduced Joe Biden when the President visited Mill 19 in Hazelwood. A short time later, he was in attendance as a guest of the President at his State of the Union Address in Washington D.C. Since that time, the Washington resident says he has been pulled to do something political. On Thursday he did. Burgess has announced that he will run for Mayor in the City of Washington. He made the announcement at the Friendship Baptist Church. Burgess says he wants do something locally for his hometown rather than something on a statewide or federal level. He says blight, violence, and drug activity are big issues he city is dealing with. Burgess currently employed at the Clairton Coke Works and a longtime member of the United Steelworkers Union.

Tower Restaurant In Washington Closing

In the following Facebook post on Thursday, a longtime favorite restaurant in Washington announced that they would be closing their doors:  “After more than 70 years in the community, it is with a heavy and grateful heart that we are announcing the closing of Tower Restaurant.  We were lucky enough to have generations come through our doors and have loved serving you for over seven decades. From the food you’ve loved to the great times with our community, we will miss you!  As we head off into retirement, we welcome your memories of the restaurant (or anything else you’d like to share). From our family to yours, we can’t thank you enough for all the good times!”  The post did not say when they would officially close and attempts to contact them have not been successful.  (Photo:  Tripadvisor)

World News

Biden’s Approval Dips To Lowest Of Presidency

A new poll shows President Joe Biden’s approval rating dipped to the lowest point of his presidency in May, with deepening pessimism emerging among members of his own Democratic Party. Only 39% of U.S. adults approve of Biden’s performance as president, according to the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Research. Overall, only about 2 in 10 adults say the U.S. is heading in the right direction or the economy is good, both down from about 3 in 10 a month earlier. Those drops were concentrated among Democrats, with just 33% within the president’s party saying the country is headed in the right direction.

U.S. & South Korean Leaders Meet

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – U.S. President Joe Biden will meet South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol this week as the allies face a growing threat from North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program. The North may highlight the threat with a major weapons demonstration, even as it grapples with a COVID-19 outbreak that is ripping through its unvaccinated populace. Both U.S. and South Korean intelligence officials say it’s possible that North Korea will conducts a ballistic or nuclear test around Biden’s visit to South Korea and Japan. While North Korea is expected to be at the top of the agenda when Biden and Yoon meet in Seoul on Saturday, it’s unclear whether the meeting will produce a meaningful new approach in handling the nuclear threat.

Senate Oks Overhaul Of Baby Formula Rules

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has approved a bill aimed at easing the baby formula shortage for families participating in a government assistance program known as WIC. That program accounts for about half of all formula purchases in the U.S. The House had passed the bill the day before, so it now goes to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. The vouchers can generally only be used to purchase one brand of infant formula, which encourages the manufacturer to offer big discounts to secure a state’s business. The bill makes it possible for families to redeem the WIC vouchers for whatever formula brand is available.

CDC Urges Pfizer Booster For Kids 5 To 11

U.S. health advisers are urging a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quickly signed off on the advice. The decision opens a third COVID-19 shot to healthy elementary-age kids, just like what is already recommended for everybody 12 and older. Regulators this week authorized the extra dose to be given at least five months after youngsters’ last shot. CDC’s advisers endorsed it during a public meeting on Thursday.

Senate Ships $40B Ukraine Aid Bill To Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has whisked a $40 billion package of military, economic and food aid for Ukraine and U.S. allies to final congressional approval. Thursday’s 86-11 vote puts a bipartisan stamp on America’s biggest commitment yet to turning Russia’s invasion into a painful quagmire for Moscow. The legislation was backed by every voting Democrat and most Republicans. At a time of widespread bipartisan gridlock, the lopsided vote signaled unity about sending Ukraine the materiel it needs to fend off Russian President Vladimir Putin’s more numerous forces. Democrats criticized the 11 Republican opponents, saying they’re following former President Donald Trump’s damaging isolationist impulses.

Announcement Expected On $7B Auto Plant In Georgia

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is heading to an industrial site outside Savannah to make what his office calls a “special economic development announcement.” Sources in Washington and Georgia have told The Associated Press the project is a $7 billion plant where Hyundai Motor Group will manufacture electric vehicles. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly. The announcement scheduled for Friday afternoon in Bryan County west of Savannah comes days before Kemp faces a contested Republican primary election next week. It also coincides with President Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea, where Hyundai is based. The project sits on 2,200 acres purchased last year by the state of Georgia and local government partners.

Australia Set To Go To Polls

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australians will go to the polls Saturday following a six-week election campaign that has focused on pandemic-fueled inflation, climate change and fears of a Chinese military outpost being established less than 1,200 miles off Australia’s shore. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative coalition is seeking a rare fourth three-year term. Recent opinion polls have put the center-left Labor Party narrowly ahead of the coalition. But pollsters’ credibility has yet to recover since their spectacular failure in the 2019 election. The split of votes between the government and Labor in 2019 was 51.5% to 48.5% – the mirror opposite of the result that Australia’s five most prominent polls had predicted.

Boeing Crew Capsule Launches To Space Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – Boeing’s crew capsule has blasted off on a repeat test flight to the International Space Station. Only a test dummy was on board for Thursday’s launch from Cape Canaveral. It’s Boeing’s third shot at the flight demo. Two previous attempts were marred by software flaws and stuck valves. If the capsule reaches the space station Friday and everything else goes well, NASA test pilots could strap in by the end of this year for the company’s first astronaut flight. Boeing is trying to catch up with SpaceX, which has been flying NASA crews for two years.