In a 5-2 vote Allentown City Council okayed transfering $1.25 million to pay for the demolition of a fire-damaged warehouse on North Franklin Street. Mayor Ray O'Connell told council while the city is putting up the money up front, it will get that money back from property owner Nat Hyman. "We at the city will do anything and everything in our power through legal measures to ensure all costs are recovered. Mr. Hyman, this is not a threat, it is a promise," O'Connell says. O'Connell criticized Hyman for not responding to city requests for demolition cost estimates. Council President Roger MacLean and Julio Guridy voted against the measure. The building burned Sunday night and is now structurally unsafe. A Reading company has been hired to tear it down.
The Lehigh County Coroner's Office has identified a man shot dead on an Allentown street this week. Zharneirth Bryant was shot to death Tuesday on North Seventh Street. The cause of death has been ruled a gunshot wound, but how he was shot is still undetermined. The incident remains under investigation.
In a 6-3 vote Lehigh County commissioners nixed a tax increase that would have brought in an additional $4.4 million next year. County Executive Phil Armstrong admits the tax hike wasn't needed this year but he says by not raising taxes now will prompt a much larger tax hike a year or two from now.
Pennsylvania's Task Force One is in Alabama to support recovery efforts from Hurricane Michael. The team left Tuesday night and arrived in Montgomery, Alabama to await instructions. Members of the unit spent nearly three weeks in North Carolina helping with the response and recovery efforts from Hurricane Florence.
The state House has voted to remove a requirement that sitting district judges must collect signatures to run for re-election. The House voted 128-to-65 to drop the requirement. The measure is off to Gov. Tom Wolf for review. There is no early indication whether he will support it or veto it.
A state House committee is approving legislation reducing the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Under the measure, anyone with less than 30 grams of pot would only face a misdemeanor and receive essentially a traffic ticket with a maximum fine of $300 on the first offense. The fine and penalties increase for multiple offenses and if it happens on school grounds. The bill now heads to the full House to await a vote.
An alternative to the Keystone Exam may be on the horizon for students in the commonwealth. The state House approved legislation that would give students an option alternative to the proficiency exam to graduate high school. The bill suggests students could complete a work-based learning program or service-learning project, or even prove they've been offered full-time employment. The bill is awaiting a vote in the state Senate.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is asking the FCC to let phone service providers block more illegal robocalls. Grewal called on the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday to create new rules as the groups making the calls seem to have found ways around a call-blocking order made by the commission last year. The 2017 order allows phone service providers the authority to block robocalls using inaccurate caller ID information. Grewal is one of 34 attorneys general nationwide requesting the use of improved technology that would better detect and block such calls.
Former Philadelphia Phillies centerfielder Lenny Dykstra is being indicted on drug charges and making terroristic threats. Dykstra was arrested in May after a blowup with his Uber driver, who stopped the car in front of a police station. Police say they found cocaine and meth and took Dykstra into custody. If convicted, Dykstra faces between three-and-five years in prison on each charge.
The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants are both desperate for a win tonight when the teams tangle in the Meadowlands. Eagles defensive lineman Michael Bennett says his side of the ball needs to contain former Whitehall High School and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. "I think he reminds me of a couple running backs. He has the shiftiness and quick feet like Marshawn Lynch and the balance of LeSean McCoy but then he also has the speed of Jammal Charles so he's really a great combination of a running back," Bennett says. The Eagles are 2-3. The Giants are 1-4.