January

• Jan. 2 – Local families, funeral homes strained: Funeral homes in the area have faced a deluge of demand in November and December and they blame the high demand primarily on one thing — COVID-19.

• Jan. 4 – At Hermitage, new normal a lot like old: Schools throughout Mercer county return to class — with in-person instruction in most cases. Some districts come back after all-online classes for a couple of weeks before the break.

• Jan. 4 – Signups start for rural internet: Residents of northern Mercer County who want wireless internet can now register for for service under a county program, funded by COVID-19 aid grants, to expand wireless broadband in an area between Sandy Lake and Greenville.

• Jan. 5 – Hope on the horizon: Now that the holidays are over, efforts to administer vaccines for COVID-19 will “gear up,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

• Jan. 7 – ‘This is how democracy dies’: A violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.

• Jan. 8 – NLMK, union move apart: After a negotiation session this week, NLMK Pennsylvania management and striking steelworkers agreed on one thing. But health care costs and wages remain a stumbling block.

• Jan. 8 – Area residents, officials condemn riot: The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building will cast a shadow on President Donald Trump’s term in office, said Grove City College professor Dr. Michael Coulter, chairman of the college’s political science department.

• Jan. 9 – Sharon Regional closing cancer center: Owing to a lack of patients, Sharon Regional Medical Center will close its Hermitage Cancer Care Center by mid-March.

• Jan. 9 – Hermitage police reaching out: After a year when police have come under scrutiny, especially in its dealings with Black residents, Hermitage police has initiated a community engagement program, led by Officer Sammy Staples.

• Jan. 12 – Allegheny picks Grove City president: Allegheny Health Network on Monday named Dr. David Tupponce, a former Maine healthcare executive, as president of AHN Grove City.

• Jan. 12 – Pa. planning to expand vaccinations: Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Monday that the state will “soon” begin offering COVID-19 vaccine to people other than the healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff who were given top priority in the state’s vaccine distribution plan.

• Jan. 13 – UPMC: ‘When we get vaccines, we’ll give them’: Efforts to vaccinate key frontline personnel are underway throughout UPMC’s network, with plans to begin vaccinating the next wave of people once more vaccine becomes available, hospital system officials said Tuesday.

• Jan. 14 – Mask flap: A Sandy Lake restaurant owner said she is refusing a state order to close over a flap about a sign she posted. A woman answering the phone at Hometown Pizza & Grill said she was the owner, but declined to give her name. The woman said an inspector from the state Department of Agriculture told her she had to remove a sign that told customers that wearing masks were optional, in violation of state COVID-19 orders.

• Jan. 15 – FBI agents meet with Sharpsville resident: Matthew Perna of Sharon (NOTE: Federal court documents initially identified Perna as a Sharpsville resident) confirmed on Instagram that he met with FBI agents to talk about his presence in the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6.

• Jan. 16 – Marching on; King observance follows tumultuous year: With Martin Luther King Day observances Monday, the nation and Mercer County looked back on a summer in which Black Americans exercised their voices in protest for social justice and an autumn when Black Americans, and Black women in particular, tipped the country’s political scales.

Jan. 16 – Local schools to get millions in COVID aid: Pennsylvania schools will split $2.2 billion in COVID relief stimulus aid, the Wolf administration announced.

Jan. 20 – Sharon man charged in Capitol riot: Matthew Perna was charged Tuesday in United States District Court for the District of Columbia with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Jan. 20 – A daunting task ahead: President-elect Joe Biden made a sober entrance to the nation’s capital Tuesday, ready to assume power as America reels from the coronavirus pandemic, soaring unemployment and grave concerns about more violence as he prepares to take the oath of office.

• Jan. 22 – Helping the helpers: The Salvation Army’s campaign almost reached its goal, which will allow it to expand one program and make some building improvements, thanks to an anonymous donor and pandemic aid funding.

• Jan. 22 – Officials blame state for vaccine holdup: County commissioners said Thursday that the state is holding up giving COVID-19 vaccine doses to counties.

• Jan. 23 – Starting from scratch: The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, also known as PennVEST, awarded Perry Township a $3.95 million grant, which will cover almost all of a planned $4.4 million project to set up a sewer system where none existed before.

• Jan. 25 – State police to collect racial data: Pennsylvania State Police have begun collecting more demographic information about people stopped in traffic stops, including race and ethnicity. The move comes as advocates say they’re hearing complaints about racial profiling by state and local police across the state.

• Jan. 26 – Treatment plant expansion called important for growth: A recently completed expansion and renovation project at Grove City’s wastewater treatment plant and system will not only improve sanitation services, it could help the Grove City area promote development and growth.

• Jan. 26 – Schools to launch $3.5 million project: Sharon City School Board awarded bids last week for a $3.5 million capital improvement project. The district will pay $2,951,000 to Renick Brothers Mechnical Contractors of Slippery Rock, $275,400 to Hudson Construction of Hermitage and $113,677 to Donatelli Electric of Sharpsville for the project.

• Jan. 26 – Crash kills Meadville woman: Linda Peterson, 58, was killed in an auto accident early Monday in Perry Township after her car struck a tractor- trailer truck.

• Jan. 27 – County clamoring for vaccines: Crushing demand for COVID-19 vaccines are so severe that Sharon Regional Medical System is logging 300 calls an hour from people clamoring to get the shot.

• Jan. 28 – Sharon shooter remains at large: Police are looking for Trivaris Kemonta Dorsey, 30, of Sharon and New Castle, in connection with the shooting of a woman at a home on the 700 block of Stambaugh Avenue. The victim was in stable condition Wednesday at an area hospital, police said. Dorsey would be apprehended Feb. 26.

• Jan. 28 – Pa. could get more information on vaccines: Pennsylvania residents could soon know when more COVID-19 vaccines are coming and where they will be.

• Jan. 30 – Hermitage reports more than 1,000 cases: The state Health Department’s COVID-19 ZIP code listing indicates that Hermitage has had more than 1,000 cases since the pandemic arrived in Mercer County on March 22. As of Friday, Hermitage leads the county in both number of cases, 1,066, and rate per 1,000 residents, 62.9. Greenville has the second- most cases, with 938, and Farrell, with 276 cases, has the second-highest rate, 55.8 per 1,000 residents.

February

• Feb. 2 – Making a splash: The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources declared the Shenango the state’s River of the Year in online voting for the contest. The local river snared 5,436 votes – enough to beat the Lehigh River, with 5,287 votes.

• Feb. 2 – Shelter moves ahead with new building: After a couple years of planning and development, officials with the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter are ready to move forward with some designs for their new building.

• Feb. 4 – ‘It doesn’t cost extra to smile’: A.J. Kovach, 75, announced her retirement after 36 years as Sharpsville’s tax collector.

• Feb. 4 – ‘Bullhorn Lady’ a one-time resident: Rachel Powell, 40, was identified by The New Yorker magazine as having taken part in the violence at the Capitol. Powell received her nickname from videos that show her wearing a pink hat, sunglasses as she used a bullhorn to direct rioters.

Feb. 5 – FBI raids home of ‘Bullhorn Lady’”: FBI agents searched the home Thursday of New Lebanon resident Rachel Powell, believed to have been the “Bullhorn Lady” directing fellow rioters during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Feb. 5 – DNA results reveal body’s identity: The state police crime lab identified the man whose body was discovered Sept. 1 as Eric Dallacroce, 41, of Sharon. Mercer County Coroner John Libonati ruled that Dallacroce’s death was accidental.

Feb. 6 – Preserving memories: “Friends of Farrell” has raised more than $850,000 toward a project to replace the Paulekas Stadium field surface and track. The project is expected to cost about $1.2 million.

• Feb. 10 – Two rare animals killed in fire: An accidental fire claimed the lives of two rare animals at Pymatuning Deer Park, east of Jamestown. The animals lost were a binturong, also known as a bearcat, and a lemur.

Feb. 11 – Restaurants, bars eligible for state COVID grants: A pool of $1.2 million in state grants are on the way to help get Mercer County restaurants and bars through the pandemic.

• Feb. 11 – Feds fight release of local riot suspect: A magistrate found that New Lebanon resident Rachel Marie Powell — who the FBI says is the woman in a pink hat shown in video shouting instructions through a bullhorn — poses a “danger to the community,” but that she could be released on $10,000 unsecured bond with home detention and electronic monitoring.

Feb. 12 – Walberg to dispense 9,000 vaccines: Walberg Family Pharmacies is cranking up to vaccinate over 9,000 people in the region starting today.

Feb. 12 – Former NLMK worker accused in shooting: A former NLMK employee was charged this month with shooting at an occupied truck in the mill’s parking lot in early December. Steelworkers’ union officials said the suspect, David Clifford Maunz, 31, of Sharpsville, had been removed from picket lines for the union’s ongoing strike against NLMK management.

Feb. 13 – Hall Industries buys Grove City site: In an industrial development that will bring more than 50 jobs to Mercer County, a Beaver County company is purchasing the former Cooper Industries plant in an overall deal valued at $12 million.

Feb. 13 – An uphill battle: Studies from around the nation and anecdotal information locally indicate that Black Americans are less likely to receive vaccinations than their white counterparts.

Feb. 16 – Kennedy hoop coach resigns: Kennedy Catholic High School’s head boys basketball coach resigned after he was charged Friday with tax evasion in federal court. Dustin R. Golub, was charged with three counts of tax evasion for understating his income from Penn Ohio Roofing and Siding LLC.

Feb. 17 – Black franchisee set to sue McDonald’s: McDonald’s franchisee Herb Washington, who owns 14 McDonald’s restaurants, including locations in Hermitage and Sharon, alleges that the restaurant chain’s management locks black franchise owners into situations where they cannot be as successful as white owners.

Feb. 17 – Calla to retire from Sharon schools: After seven years as superintendent of Sharon City School District, Michael Calla announced his retirement, effective the end of this school year.

• Feb. 18 — After six months, an end in sight: Almost six months of a labor strike at NLMK, representatives of management and the United Steelworkers union announced a tentative agreement to bring employees back to work.

Feb. 18 — Hopson’s killer gets 15 to 45 years: Eddie James Robinson, 27 pleaded guilty in the May 23, 2019, murder of former Sharon High School basketball standout Khalil “Champ” Hopson. Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Daniel Wallace sentenced Robinson to a total of 15 to 45 years in prison.

Feb. 18 — PNC closing its Sharon branch: PNC announced that it would close its branch office in Sharon, leaving the city with only one bank and one credit union.

Feb. 19 — Man killed in Liberty Township fire: Robert Vatter, 73, of 2518 Mercer Butler Pike in Liberty Township, died on injuries sustained in a fire at his home.

Feb. 19 — UPMC officials outline vaccination plan: UPMC announced that it would offer COVID-19 vaccinations by reaching out to existing patients in the system.

Feb. 20 — Murder victim identified: Authorities identified the victim and suspect in a murder Feb. 18 at a residence on New Castle Street in New Wilmington. Chyna Carrillo, 24, of Springdale, Arkansas. Police killed her suspected murderer, Juan Carter Hernandez, 33, of Campbell, Ohio. Carrillo is the seventh transgender person murdered in 2021, according to the Human Rights Campaign. (As of Dec. 23, Human Rights Campaign reported the violent deaths of more than 50 transgender people, the most since the organization began tracking the murders of transgender people).

Feb. 20 — Two men sentenced in 2018 murder: Deshawn Harris, 28, and Desmond Dwayne Greene, 25, both of Hermitage, pleaded no contest to charges of conspiracy to commit robbery in the fatal shooting of Harry Kennedy Jr., Jan. 11, 2018, in Farrell. Both men said they were innocent.

Feb. 22 — Local man dies in shootout with police: Police were pursuing William Robert Ice, 38, of Jackson Center, was believed to have taken his own life during a confrontation with police in Arkansas, who were pursuing him on suspicion in the kidnapping of a 14-year-old North Carolina girl.

Feb. 25 — Elections office leaving courthouse: Cramped for space in its existing office, the Mercer County office of Elections and Voter Registration is moving outside the courthouse to a former car dealership on North Pitt Street.

• Feb. 26 — Manufacturing fire quickly extinguished: Eight fire departments responded to a fire at Northeast Industrial Manufacturing, 640 Keystone Road, Hempfield Township. The fire was believed to have begun in an exhaust fan for a painting booth.

• Feb. 27 — Brady resigns at Biden’s bidding: Greenville native Scott Brady, U.S. Attorney for the Pittsburgh-based Western District of Pennsylvania, stepped down on the request of President Joe Biden, in a standard process with a new president takes office.

• March 1 — Quaker Steak & Lube sold: The Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant chain, which originated in Sharon, was sold for $5 million to an unidentified buyer, according to a restaurant trade publication.

• March 2 — The strike is over: Union workers at the NLMK steel mill in Farrell ratified a tentative contract deal with management, moving one step closer to ending a work stoppage that began the previous August.

• March 4 — Local church ousted by national body: The National Baptist Convention expelled West Side Baptist Church in Sharpsville because the church’s pastor, David Pearson, was a registered sex offender. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s sex offender registry reported that Pearson was found guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault of a child on Oct. 7, 1993, in Denton, Texas.

• March 4 — Man gets 40-80 years in 2018 murder: Jaylaun Coleman, 20, Farrell, pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree murder and other offenses in an arrangement that calls for a sentence of 40 to 80 years in prison for the murder of 21-year-old Tyrone Cornish.

• March 5 — An endorsement misunderstanding: Michael Joanow, a candidate for Mercer County Common Pleas Court judge, told The Herald that he was endorsed by retired county President Judge Francis Fornelli. Fornelli said he was not endorsing anyone but said attorney and Hermitage city Commissioner William McConnell was the best candidate for the judicial vacancy. Joanow said he understood Fornelli’s offer of support as an endorsement.

• March 5 — County woman indicted in Capitol riot: A federal court indicted New Lebanon resident Rachel Powell, known as the “Bullhorn Lady,” on charges stemming from her participation in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

• March 6 — Youngstown kidnapping suspect caught in Farrell: Anthony Harris, 26, of 535 W. Boston Ave., Youngstown, was taken into custody after a police standoff. Police accused him of kidnapping a woman and her 1-year-old child in Youngstown and transporting them to Farrell.

• March 12 — Robinson convicted in fatal overdose: A jury found Nicoletta Michelle Robinson, 34, of Youngstown, guilty in the overdose death of Margaret McConnell. Robinson had been charged with drug delivery resulting in death and other offenses.

• March 13 — A star fades too soon: Farrell native Ted Pedas, an acclaimed astronomer, died at the age of 82. Pedas, who sponsored star cruises featuring U.S. astronauts, donated more than $1 million — including a planetarium that bears his name — to Farrell Area School District.

• March 13 — County leaders reflect on challenges: One year after Pennsylvania’s first COVID-19 cases, Mercer County leaders said the community responded as one to the pandemic.

• March 20 — Mercer man faces charges in homicide: Charges against Christopher George Rowe, 46, of Mercer, would proceed to trial in Cambria County Common Pleas Court on accusations that he killed Kaylene Roedel, 26, the mother of his child. Two hikers found Roedel’s body Aug. 7, 2016, near a bicycle trail in Johnstown.

• March 22 — Generation of justice: Campus leaders and other activists led a racial equality march at Westminster College.

• March 23 — Sweet victory: Hickory High School boys basketball team defeated Lincoln Park, 68-61, to advance to the PIAA Class 4A state championship game.

• March 24 — City streets ‘were a shooting gallery’: Sharon police charged three Hermitage men in connection with a shooting March 11 on Stambaugh Avenue. Gerald Tawon Coats, 23, of 967 N. Water Ave., appeared for arraignment on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and propelling a missile into an occupied vehicle. Two other suspects — Dante Rashawn Wallace, 23, of 491 Superior St., and Charles Arrington Carr, 21, of 2025 Shadyside Drive — remained at large.

• March 24 — Saving the library: Farrell residents and organizations raised more than $8,000 for the Stey-Nevant library branch of the Community Library of the Shenango Valley after budget tightening forced Farrell to cut library funding. With the library’s existence threatened, the contribution convinced Farrell to keep Stey-Nevant open.

• March 24 — Area senior headed to West Point: Grove City High School Senior Gabe Nichols was accepted for admission to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

• March 25 — Windfall: Sharon is in line to receive more than $14 million under the American Rescue Plan relief legislation signed March 11 by President Joe Biden.

• March 25 — Sharon woman dies in accident: Sharon resident Kayla Rushwin, 31, died of injuries sustained after her vehicle ran over her. Sharon police said the car, containing Rushwin’s three small children, began coasting downhill on a steep driveway and she tried to climb back into the car to regain control, but she fell and the vehicle rolled over her.

• March 26 — A valiant effort: Hickory High School’s boys basketball lost a heartbreaker, 41-40, to Allentown Catholic in the PIAA Class 4A state championship game.

• March 26 — Small fire routs high-rise residents: A fire forced the evacuation of College View Towers in Grove City, but firefighters quickly brought the blaze under control and no one was injured.

• March 27 — No kidding: Goats to clean up park: Three community volunteer groups – Sharon Beautification Commission, Shenango Valley Gardeners and Shenango River Watchers – hired goats to clear invasive plants along the banks of the Shenango River. The goats were scheduled to begin their work April 26.

• March 31 — County schools to receive $33 million: School districts in Mercer County were scheduled to receive about $33.2 million through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. Sharon City School District is in line to receive the biggest grant, $10.7 million. The next largest grants are $6.5 million for Farrell Area School District and $4.2 million for Greenville Area School District.

• March 31 — Curry named to West Middlesex Council: Stacey Curry, running unopposed for West Middlesex mayor, was appointed to council by the remaining council members. She replaced Maleia James, who died in February.

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Melissa has been a news reporter for The Herald since 2013, covering breaking news, northern Mercer County, Sharon City schools and education. She is a 1992 graduate of Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.