A bill introduced Monday by St. Sen. Pat Browne would allow the state Department of General Services to demolish the old Allentown State Hospital and then find a buyer for the 195-acre property on the east side of Allentown. Developer Nat Hyman says there already is a buyer...and it's him. "For whatever reason and I don't know the reason why, Pat Browne and Mike Schlossberg want that hospital torn down at all costs," Hyman says. St. Rep. Michael Schlossberg says Hyman has had plenty of time to purchase the property but has done nothing. "My feeling is that if this was a serious interest, he had nine years to do it. He declined," Schlossberg says. Hyman, who sued the Department of General Services over the proposed demolition earlier this spring, says tearing down the buildings will cost $15 million and destroy a historic building.
The youngest person to ever be charged with homicide in Lehigh County is not getting a new judge, despite her lawyers' requests. Jamie Silvonek, of Upper Macungie Township, was 14 when she and her then-20-year-old boyfriend Caleb Barnes strangled and stabbed Jamie's mother to death in 2015. Silvonek was charged as an adult and her new legal team from the Juvenile Law Center has suggested that current case judge Maria Dantos has shown she can't fairly decide a new appeal to overturn Silvonek's 2016 conviction and sentence of 35 years to life. Dantos has denied the recusal request and a date for Silvonek's next hearing will be set about two months from now.
A Lehigh Valley student may be facing charges after she released pepper spray in her school's busy cafeteria. A female student reportedly playing with pepper spray at Easton Area Middle School Monday ended up exposing several of her fellow students and a number of employees to the noxious substance. At least six kids were sent to the hospital for treatment of eye irritation and breathing issues. The school had to be decontaminated and although school officials believe the incident to be accidental, the girl responsible may yet face disciplinary or even legal repercussions once the related investigation is wrapped up.
A woman rescued from the closed Glen Onoko Falls trail over the weekend is now going to be paying a price for her actions. The state Game Commission says the unidentified 21-year-old and the three people hiking with her Sunday will be fined for trespassing. Several rescue crews spent hours Sunday working to free the woman who got trapped while using the Carbon County trail, which has been closed since May 1st by the state following a number of deaths and serious injuries.
A police officer is recovering after being injured while trying to apprehend a man wanted for beating his own father. Palmer Township police responded Sunday to a home in Williams Township on Belmont Street to arrest Steven Vastola for purportedly attacking his dad earlier in the day. Police say Vastola fought the officers, sending one to the hospital for medical treatment. Vastola is now facing charges related to assault, resisting arrest and harassment.
There's bad news for fans of the Hanover Township, Northampton County swimming pool. That pool has sprung a leak and that means it will not open at all for the 2019 swimming season. After the pool was filled it lost more than 150,000 gallons of water. It was refilled and lost the water again. Repairs probably won't be made until this fall.
A black bear is back in the woods after taking a dip in a Bethlehem swimming pool. Police posted photos to Facebook Monday showing the bear lounging around in a backyard pool Sunday afternoon. Police were already tracking the animal walking through yards in the ara of Cloverleaf Street and Melrose Avenue when the bear settled in for a swim. City police and the state Game Commission soon arrived and tranquilized the creature then relocated it to woodlands in north central Pennsylvania.
Bank of America is closing its branch on Linden Street in Bethlehem. The bank says the branch there will be closing September 10th. Bank of America had previously closed locations on Main Street in Hellertown and on Larry Holmes Drive in Easton over the past year.
A Monroe County man is heading to prison for his role in a cocaine trafficking ring. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Jace Bradley, of East Stroudsburg, has been sentenced to serve 18 months behind bars after pleading guilty to dealing the drug back in 2015. Bradley is one of 11 people indicted for conspiring to sell coke, crack and heroin that year. Bradley was busted as part of an investigation led by a joint federal, state and local task force that targets drug traffickers.
The state House of Representatives is passing a bill that requires more regulation of donated breast milk banks. By a 191-to-one vote, the state House passed a measure that would require the state Department of Health to license milk banks and mandate donors are medically screened. The bill would also require the donated milk be pasteurized and the bank would conduct post-processing tests. The banks are used when mothers are unable to supply their own breast milk.
It's Primary Election Day in New Jersey and voters will be making choices to decide who will be running in the general election for the state Assembly. Democrats currently control 54 seats in the Assembly, while Republicans have 26.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is offering a new plan to help middle class residents contend with property taxes. Under Murphy's latests budget proposal, around half of the taxpayers in the Garden State would get a $125 refundable tax credit on their income taxes. That bump would come from a millionaire's tax that Murphy says could raise $250 million in property tax relief for over $2 milliion state tax filers. Murphy says it's time to stop treating the budget like it's a crisis management fire drill and to create a fair budget that works for families across New Jersey.
New Jersey is putting out the word that it's hiring growers in an effort to expand the state's medical marijuana program. The Department of Health says it's hiring dozens of cultivators, manufacturers and dispensaries as part of the expansion. Officials say over the past year-and-a-half the state's demand for medical marijuana has tripled and that they're playing catchup as a result. A bill to expand the program is being considered in Trenton, but as of now New Jersey has six medical weed producers who grow and sell the product in house.
The Philadelphia Flyers are getting started on their busy offseason. They've acquired center Kevin Hayes from the Winnipeg Jets for a 2019 fifth-round draft choice. Hayes will be a free agent on July 1st but the Flyers have a window to re-sign him. He recorded 55 points this season split between the Jets and the New York Rangers.