Looking ahead: Headlines to follow in Beaver County next year


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Sep 13, 2023

Looking ahead: Headlines to follow in Beaver County next year

It was a critical year for news in Beaver County, with 2023 poised to be just as memorable. Here’s a peek at what we’ll be watching next year in business, politics, police, courts and entertainment.

It was a critical year for news in Beaver County, with 2023 poised to be just as memorable.

Here’s a peek at what we’ll be watching next year in business, politics, police, courts and entertainment.

Shell’s immense petrochemicals complex went online in November to begin commercial production of plastic pellets for use in a variety of products.

Lawmakers awarded Shell one of the largest tax incentives in Keystone State history to build the plant — $1.7 billion in state tax credits — promising an economic revival and hordes of ancillary businesses.

Next year, residents will be looking for proof that those promises are kept while ensuring Shell leaders make good on their pledge to protect the environment and the quality of life of those living near the plant. Other oil and gas company executives will be watching, too, as they consider building their own petrochemical plants in Appalachia.

More:With Pa. plastics plant poised to open, residents decide: Stay or go?

Several key Beaver County seats are up for grabs next year. Voters will head to the polls for Pennsylvania’s municipal election on Nov. 7, 2023.

All three Beaver County Board Of Commissioners’ seats, currently held by Daniel Camp, Tony Amadio and Jack Manning, will be on the ballot alongside Beaver County district attorney, held by David Lozier since 2016, and Beaver County sheriff, held by two-term incumbent Tony Guy.

Other notable races will include county coroner, treasurer and controller.

Additionally, voters will be watching as Democrat Chris Deluzio takes over U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb’s 17th Congressional District seat in January. Deluzio, a 38-year-old political newcomer, beat Republican Jeremy Shaffer in November’s election. PA-17 comprises all of Republican-leaning Beaver County and a swath of suburban Allegheny County.

A Center Township police officer is on administrative leave as Pennsylvania State Police investigate his role in the November death of 48-year-old Ken Vinyard.

Witnesses say Vinyard was killed by an off-duty police officer while helping a shooting victim in the parking lot of Center Township's Walmart Plaza. Attorney Joel Sansone, the lawyer representing Vinyard's family, said Vinyard was killed after the plainclothes officer forced him to the ground unprompted, causing him to hit his head. Results of the investigation will likely be made public in early 2023.

Story:DA: Beaver County officer placed on leave following Industry man's death

And Sheldon Jeter’s Beaver County homicide conviction may be reconsidered after a panel of Superior Court of Pennsylvania judges recently heard evidence of improper jury influence during the man’s trial.

Beaver County jurors last year found Jeter guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting of 30-year-old Tyric Pugh. He was later sentenced to life in prison. Jeter's defense in September argued that allegations of outside jury influence should have been investigated by the trial court ahead of deliberations.

Superior Court judges have not yet made a decision in the appeal. If the court rules in Jeter's favor, the case will head back to Beaver County and an evidentiary hearing will take place to determine if the case should be retried.

Story:Judges hear evidence for appeal in Sheldon Jeter murder case

New owners of Beaver County’s idled Bruce Mansfield facility plan to repurpose what was once Pennsylvania’s largest coal-fired power plant. Representatives with Buffalo, New York-based Frontier Group of Companies announced the development firm purchased Shippingport’s former 2,490-megawatt plant from Energy Harbor alongside a second retired coal plant in Ashtabula, Ohio.

Leadership said the defunct plant may eventually be used to house “petrochemical, steel, energy, digital currency or transportation logistics-related companies.”

Efforts to reopen the long-shuttered Beaver Falls Tigerland Wave Pool cleared multiple bureaucratic hurdles this year as nonprofit Tigerland Inc. jockeys for full control over the project.

Nonprofit founder Tyrone Zeigler has worked for years to restore and reopen the pool, recently launching Tigerland Inc. and cutting ties with the city and Beaver Falls Community Development Corporation to reduce the “red tape” and political setbacks he said stalled the project. Once a feasibility study is complete, Zeigler will have a dedicated project cost to explore more grant options and kickstart construction — if he’s able to secure full control over the property, which is currently owned by the city.

“Ideally, I would love to at least have some water in that pool by summer (2023),” he said. “If we can’t have the waves running, at least have some water.”

Full story:Beaver Falls' Tigerland Wave Pool project hits new milestone

Construction crews at Pittsburgh International Airport are on their way to completing the 30-year-old airport’s $1.4 billion Terminal Modernization Program, which will update the existing airside terminal to meet air travel industry standards and add a multi-modular complex for ground travel.

As the project remains on pace for completion in 2025, travelers can expect to see dramatic changes throughout the next two years.

More:One year after groundbreaking, PIT Terminal Construction Project showing signs of future

Ambridge will likely hold its place as a go-to site for TV and filmmaking next year.

A film crew for "The Pale Blue Eye" spent parts of January at Old Economy Village in Ambridge capturing footage for the 1830s-set Netflix film starring Oscar-winner Christian Bale and Gillian Anderson. The film is set for a 2023 release. Crews for “A Man Called Otto,” starring Tom Hanks, filmed scenes along Merchant Street in Ambridge in March. It will be released in late December.

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