Heavy rain Thursday afternoon caused localized flooding in several areas here in the Lehigh Valley, but to the south of us in the Berks and Montgomery county area the flooding was worse and deadly. A woman and her eight-year-old son were both killed after flood waters from the Manatawny Creek swept their car away during flooding outside Boyertown. Police say the woman, who was eight months pregnant, called 911 for help around 4:30 Thursday afternoon and remained on the line for about 45 minutes before the line went quiet. The car was eventually found late last night with the woman and her son still inside about a half-mile from where her initial 911 came from.
A former Northampton County man is pleading guilty to keeping hundreds of animals in a state of neglect. Jahjah Melhem made the plea Thursday to six counts of animal cruelty. He was originally charged more than 40 times after the Pennsylvania SPCA found more than 250 cats, dogs, goats and birds living in squalid conditions at his Heaven on Earth Farm on Bethman Road last September. Melhem was sentenced Thursday to six years of probation and can no longer own more than two dogs as part of the deal.
Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine says the state's medical marijuana coverage list is expanding. "This past February the medical marijuana advisory board recommended that I approve anxiety disorders and Tourette syndrome as approved conditions for the program," Levine says. Thursday, Levine announced that as of July 20th those two conditions will be covered by the state's medical marijuana program. That brings the total number of conditions approved for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania to 23.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has unveiled his office's track and trade initiative. He describes what it's supposed to accomplish. "A smart data-driven approach to decreasing gun trafficking in Pennsylvania, to decrease illegal transfers and to take crime guns out of neighborhoods across Pennsylvania," Shapiro says. Shapiro wants retailers to submit gun sale records electronically to alleviate a police paperwork backlog. He says that would allow police to more quickly trace guns used in crimes.
A young boy drowned at his home in Berks County. The boy was playing on a paddleboard or kayak when he fell into the family's pond in Oley Township. Officials say he went outside without his family noticing. The boy's parents found him unconscious in the water around 8:15pm last night. They tried to do CPR but it was too late. Investigators say this was an unfortunate accident.
PPL is warning customers about a phone scam that's targeting them. The call claims the customer's power bill has an outstanding balance and will be shut off unless a payment is made. A PPL spokesperson says they'll never call and ask for a customer's account number nor threaten by phone to shut off service.
The Hershey Company is at the center of a class-action lawsuit over its Reese's White Peanut Butter Cups. The suit claims the candy misleads consumers into thinking it contains white chocolate, but instead uses a cheaper imitation. Nowhere on the candy does it claim to use white chocolate, but the plaintiffs argue people can't tell the difference between white chocolate and cheaper substitutes.
The state of New Jersey is going to restrict the use of isolated or solitary confinement in New Jersey's correctional facilities. Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law Thursday that limits the use of long-term isolated confinement to inmates who are at serious risk of harm. The law also disallows use for people under age 21 or over 65, and for those who are pregnant, disabled or members of the LGBTQ community. Murphy says the legislation reaffirms the state's values of safety, dignity and fairness.
It's time to step aside and spend more time with his family. That's why Paul Holmgren has decided to resign at president of the Philadelphia Flyers. He says it wasn't an easy decision to make. "I came to Philadelphia at 20 years old and 45 years or so later I think back on that and the Flyers have been my life," Holmgren says. Holmgren will now serve as a senior adviser to chairman of Comcast Spectacor Dave Scott. Holmgren is the only man to have been a Flyers player, assistant coach, head coach, general manager and team president.