Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Local News

California Area High School Put On Lockdown

In a letter to parents and guardians on Wednesday, Dr. Laura Jacob, Superintendent of the California Area School District said police were called in after an AR-15 magazine round bag was found on the floor of a classroom.  Jacob says there was no magazine, ammunition or gun, just the bag for the magazine.  She says authorities were called in and the school went into lock-down mode.  According to Jacob, all the lockers were checked and nothing was found.  She says that as a matter of caution, there will be an increased police presence on the campus on Thursday and all students entering the high school will  use the same entrance and will have their bags searched.  Jacob is asking anyone with information regarding the magazine bag to call her at 724-785-5800.

Washington County Man Arrested On Child Porn Charges

(WPXI) – A Washington County man who is a student at Pitt-Greensburg has been arrested on nearly three-hundred counts of child pornography related charges. Authorities say Zachary Gentile was using Facebook group chats to send videos, many of them, children younger than five. He is being held in jail on 250-thousand-dollars bond. Police say he destroyed his laptop and threw it into a campus dumpster.

Authorities Raid Washington County Coroner’s Office

Washington County District Attorney Jason Walsh says he is not able to comment at this time – on a raid at the office of Washington County Coroner Tim Warco.  Washington County Detectives and State Police raided the office on Tuesday and confiscated records associated with a recent coroner’s inquest into the fatal shooting, by a police officer, of 38-year-old Eduardo Hoover Jr., of Coraopolis, in April.  Walsh had held a press conference earlier and declared the shooting, by Mt. Pleasant Police Officer Tyler Evans, to be a justifiable homicide.  Following the coroner’s inquest, however, Warco recommended Evans be charged with involuntary manslaughter, saying he committed an unlawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, in Hoover’s death.  Following the release of that report, Walsh said he stood by his earlier decision in May that the shooting was justified and called Warco’s recommendation a “theatrical stunt.”  Warco also said that if Walsh refused to take up the case, then the matter should be turned over to the State Attorney General’s Office for investigation.  Hoover led police from Smith Township and Mt. Pleasant Township on a high speed chase that ended in Washington before Evans had his cruiser rammed by Hoover. Evans exited his vehicle, drew his weapon and fired into the rear of Hoover’s pick up truck killing him. WJPA has received no response from Warco when asked to comment on the matter.

Multiple Fire Departments Called Out For Barn Fire

Several fire departments were called out around twelve-thirty Wednesday afternoon for a barn fire at 545 Mount Tabor Road in Long Branch. Washington County 911 says the blaze broke out in an empty barn and there were no injuries. There’s been no word yet on what may have caused the fire.

Charges Dismissed Against Three Area EMS Officials

WAYNESBURG, Pa. (AP) — A judge has dismissed all charges against three western Pennsylvania emergency management supervisors accused of obstructing an investigation. The investigation was into an emergency dispatcher accused of failing to send an ambulance to the rural home of a woman who died of internal bleeding about a day later. The (Washington) Observer-Reporter reported that the judge said there wasn’t “a scintilla of evidence” that Gregory Leathers, Robert “Jeff” Rhodes and Richard Policz blocked investigators from accessing information within the Greene County 911 call center. The three were charged with public records and evidence tampering and obstruction in the probe of the July 2020 death of 54-year-old Diania Kronk.

Dunlap’s Creek Bridge Rehab Plans Unveiled

PennDot and the Federal Highway Administration are inviting the public to participate in a Virtual Plans Display of the Dunlap’s Creek Bridge Rehabilitation and Brownsville Avenue Bridge Preservation projects in Brownsville Borough, Fayette County. The Dunlap’s Creek Bridge is the first cast iron metal arch bridge built in the United States in 1839. The restoration project is designed as a sensitive rehabilitation that will remove encumbrances and restore views of the historic bridge to maintain its significance. The Brownsville over Dunlap’s Creek Bridge Preservation Project includes the rehabilitation of the existing structure. The work will eliminate the posted weight limit. PennDot is inviting the public to view the projects virtually. The period to view the plans begins November 28 and lasts until December 12. Plans can be viewed here The project is expected to begin in summer 2024.

Couple Faces Trial On Child Endangerment Charges

A Canonsburg couple acting as caretakers to a four year old will face trial. Jessica Powell, 30 and Maceo Williams, 46 were charged with felony aggravated assault of a minor and child endangerment. Their preliminary hearing found them having all but the child endangerment charges dismissed. On March 16, according to police, Williams called police telling them a child was in need of stitches. When police arrived they found the victim with cuts all over their body. The child was taken to a Pittsburgh hospital where they received 25 stitches. Doctors there indicated that until a truthful history of the events causing the injuries is presented, it should be considered child abuse. In a subsequent visit, police were unable to verify what may have caused the injuries to the child. Both Powell and Williams will be formally arraigned on December 28.

THANK YOU! 2000 Turkeys Campaign A HUGE Success

WJPA and the Observer Reporter Newspaper want to thank everyone and anyone who participated in the 2000 Turkeys Campaign.  Thanks to the many generous donors, both private citizens and local businesses and corporations, the campaign was able to reach and surpass our goal of two-hundred-thousand-dollars.  The total raised this year was $219,156.76.  Each and every dollar raised will go towards helping a local family in need have a full Thanksgiving day meal on their tables. If you were not able to participate yet, but would still like to donate, it’s not to late. You can send a check to:  2000 Turkeys P.O. Box 2000 Washington, Pa. 15301.

World News

More Hostages Released From Captivity In Gaza

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Israeli military says Hamas has begun releasing 12 hostages from captivity in the Gaza Strip. The army said the first two hostages were transferred to Egypt late Wednesday. Ten others were expected to soon be freed. It was the sixth release of Israeli hostages under a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Israel was to free some 30 Palestinian prisoners later Wednesday. The cease-fire is set to expire early Thursday. International mediators were working to extend the truce by several days to allow further releases of hostages. After Wednesday’s releases, roughly 150 hostages are believed to remain in captivity.

Rosalynn Carter Eulogized Before Family & Friends

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — With her frail husband as a silent witness, Rosalynn Carter was celebrated by her family and closest friends at her funeral in Plains, Georgia, the same tiny town where she and Jimmy Carter were born. The former president attended the intimate gathering at Maranatha Baptist Church. She and her husband spent decades there welcoming guests. Maranatha Pastor Tony Lowden gave tribute to what he called “the life and legacy of the greatest first lady” and said that as a humanitarian, she “served every nation around the world.” Hundreds watched her motorcade through town. Her burial plot is in view of the front porch of the home where the 39th American president still lives.  (Photo:  AP)

At Least One Dead When Osprey Aircraft Crashes

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese coast guard says a U.S. Air Force Osprey based in Japan crashed during a training mission off of the country’s southern coast, killing at least one of the eight crew members. Japanese coast guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa says the cause of Wednesday’s crash and the status of the seven others on board were not immediately known. U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command says that the CV-22B Osprey was from Yokota Air Base and assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing. Ospreys take off and land like helicopters but can rotate their propellers to fly like planes . They have had a number of accidents in the past.

Ailing Pope Francis Appears At Weekly Audience

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has presided at his weekly audience with the public at the Vatican. But the pontiff said that he’s still unwell and he asked an aide to read his remarks for him a day after canceling an overseas trip. Francis will turn 87 on Dec. 17 and had part of one lung removed as a young man. He stood up briefly at the start of the event in a Vatican auditorium on Wednesday and made the sign of the cross and then sat down. Francis has a lung inflammation causing breathing problems. The Vatican announced on Tuesday to skip a three-day trip to a U.N. climate conference known as COP28 in Dubai.

UAW Hoping To Organize Non-Union Auto Factories

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union has announced plans to try to simultaneously organize workers at more than a dozen nonunion auto factories. The drive comes less than two weeks after the union ratified new contracts with Detroit automakers. The UAW said Wednesday that its effort will cover nearly 150,000 workers at factories largely in the South, where the UAW has had little success in recruiting new members. The drive will target U.S. plants run by Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo. Also on the union’s list are U.S. factories run by electric vehicle sales leader Tesla, as well as EV startups Rivian and Lucid.  (Photo:  AP)

Consumer Reports Says EV Far Less Reliable

DETROIT (AP) — Electric vehicles have proved far less reliable, on average, than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, according to the latest survey by Consumer Reports, which found that EVs from the 2021 through 2023 model years encountered nearly 80% more problems than did vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines. Consumer Reports said EV owners most frequently reported troubles with battery and charging systems as well as flaws in how the vehicles’ body panels and interior parts fit together. The magazine noted that EV manufacturers are still learning to construct completely new power systems, and it suggested that as they do, the overall reliability of electric vehicles should improve.

US Life Expectancy Rose Last Year

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. life expectancy rose last year, but it still isn’t close to what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. It was up by more than a year in 2022, after plunging two straight years at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s now 77 years, 6 months — about what it was two decades ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the numbers on Wednesday. Researchers say the rise was mainly due the waning pandemic. The snapshot statistic is considered one of the most important measures of the health of the U.S. population.