Wilmer Ortiz Torres remains in Northampton County Jail under $100,000 for allegedly setting a pair of fires at a Bethlehem church last week. Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio says they've got some pretty solid evidence against Ortiz Torres. "We have a video of him up on the roof of the church prior to the fire and at the time of the fire," DiLuzio says. He says Ortiz Torres had been banned from the Iglesia Pentecostal de Bethlehem for an undisclosed reason and had a long-standing grudge against the church, which is why he allegedly set it on fire twice last week. Northampton County DA John Morganelli adds the suspect has a history of mental health issues as well.
A Pen Argyl woman will spend the next five to ten years in prison after pleading guilty to leaving her developmentally disabled two-year-old son alone in the bathtub, where he drowned. Michelle Wallace was using a variety of drugs when she began running water and then put her son Mason Blum in the tub in her home in November 2017. When police arrived at the home to check on Wallace, she was passed out on the couch and the toddler was in the tub.
There's going to be some more vacant space at the South Mall. Limerick Furniture plans on closing it store at the South Mall sometime next month. A going-out-of-business sale has already begun.
The AAA office in downtown Allentown is on its way out of town. AAA East Central says it's moving the West Hamilton Street office to an office building off of Airport Road in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, sometime within the next few months. AAA has been in the the West Hamilton Street building since 1946.
A woman is recovering after a Monday afternoon house fire in Lehigh County. Firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire at a North Whitehall Township home just before 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon. A 19-year-old woman escaped from the Bellevue Road home and was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The house was destroyed by the fire, which was apparently caused by an electrical problem. Five cats perished in the fire, however eight others were rescued.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has told lawmakers the majority of people who have spoken during his statewide listening tour support the idea of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. "Based on the 50 counties that we've been to, it's somewhere from 65 to up to, but not above, 70 percent I would say," Fetterman says. As for the 30-to-35 percent of those opposed to the idea, Fetterman says their main issues are concerns about driving while impaired, the belief that marijuana is a gateway drug and its impact on young brains.
While Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has told a legislative committee 65-to-70 percent of people who have spoken at his listening tour on legalizing marijuana or have contacted him privately on the matter support legalization, one group does not. Berks County DA John Adams spoke at the Monday hearing and told lawmakers the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association is most definitely opposed to the idea. "I see that the legalization of marijuana will impact greatly the roadways of the commonwealth," Adams told the committee.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was in Pittsburgh for a rally on Monday. The presidential hopeful promised he would protect and improve Obamacare. "We have to stop this administration's efforts to gut it first and then we have to move on to finish the job and make health care a right. Health care is a right, not a privilege," Biden said. Biden's Pittsburgh visit was his first campaign appearance since announcing his bid last week.
A 6-percent tax on malt beverages sold out of breweries in Pennsylvania is set to go into effect on July 1st. Adam Harris with the Brewers of Pennsylvania organization says they're hoping to get the tax changed. He says as it stands now it could slow down the craft beer industry in PA. "If the they did the six-percent-per-pint that would actually be a four or five times higher tax than the customer pays at a bar or restaurant. So we just want to adjust that sales tax so it's fair and we can compete on a fair playing field," Harris says. Pennsylvania ranks number-1 in production of craft beer barrels in the US.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is saying the legislation package he signed Monday will help New Jerseyans tackle what he calls a foreclosure crisis. Murphy signed nine bills into law Monday, all intended to push back on and improve resources involving the foreclosure process. The governor says that a decade following the Great Recession of the mid-2000s, around one in every 75 homes in the Garden State is in foreclosure. He adds that while these laws won't fix the foreclosure crisis overnight, better days are ahead.