Lehigh and Northampton counties are getting nearly $400 million to make improvements to I-78. The money includes $336 for work on I-78 from the Berks County line to Route 100 as well as money for full depth reconstruction of I-78, the Route 100 interchange, an Adams Road interchange and truck climbing lanes in Lower Saucon Township between the Easton Road overpass and Route 33 interchange. 78 will also be repaved between Cedar Crest Boulevard and Route 412. While 78 is getting attention, Route 22 is not. Plans to expand Route 22 from Airport Road to 15th Street are being put on hold.
Allentown City Council has given its unanimous approval to Mayor Ray O'Connell's 2020 budget on Wednesday night. The $119 million spending plan contains no tax increases, but leaves a $2.5 million budget gap. O'Connell opted to close the gap by drawing from its cash reserves of about $11 million. The city plans to pay the money back by issuing bonds within two years.
A Blakeslee man is charged with attempted murder for an incident that happened outside a Bethlehem club last month. Bethlehem police say 50-year-old Carlton Johnson stabbed a 23-year-old man during a November 17th altercation outside the Revel Social Club on Broadway. The victim, Jamel Sekulski, nearly died. Johnson is in Northampton County Jail under $200,000 bail.
Investigators have now officially identified the third person who died in a double murder-suicide last month in southeastern Berks County. Adam DeLuca killed his mother, Joanne, and her partner, Ira Reed, with a hammer inside their Union Township home November 23rd. The 40-year-old DeLuca then set himself on fire in a nearby garage. Investigators say they need DNA analysis to identify DeLuca's body.
Musikfest has announced its first Wind Creek Steel Stage act for next summer's festival. Darius Rucker will be the featured attraction at Musikfest on the night of August 8th. Tickets go on sale to the general public December 13th.
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says part of a new audit of the Department of Revenue will include the state's lottery. "This audit will include a review of frequent lottery winners and explore whether the Pennsylvania Lottery is doing enough to prevent fraud by winners and retailers," DePasquale says. He says the review will make sure prizes are awarded fairly especially as most states don't investigate their most frequent winners.
St. Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell is accused of taking money from a nonprofit she founded. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro says the Philadelphia-area Democrat would use her charity's money to buy investment properties, clothing and to take vacations. Johnson-Harrell is expected to resign her House seat later this month.
Though it didn't change in overall ranking, Pennsylvania continues to qualify as one of the less healthy states in the nation. Pennsylvania comes in at number-30 in the America's Health Rankings report created by United Health Foundation, mostly because of issues related to obesity, air pollution and drug deaths. For drug-related deaths, Pennsylvania is ranked 47th because of an increase from 28 to 35 deaths per 100,000 people. Vermont is ranked the healthiest state. Mississippi was named the least healthy for the fourth year in a row.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is handing out about $1.2 million in grants for several beer projects in Pennsylvania. Gov. Tom Wolf says the money will be used to increase production of brewed and malt beverages and invest in promoting and marketing the state's beer industry. The Liquor Control Board had previously awarded $4 million in grants toward the state's wine industry.
Students across New Jersey may once again learn to read and write in cursive, if a recently proposed bill makes its way to the governor's desk. Assemblywoman Angela McKnight has introduced a bill that would require elementary schools to include instruction that would make students become proficient in the use of cursive by the end of third grade. McKnight claims research indicates learning and using cursive not only aids in the development of cognitive, motor and literacy skills, but might help make general reading and writing easier for students with learning disabilities like dyslexia.
Police departments across New Jersey are getting ready to crack down on drunk drivers. Beginning tomorrow, more than 100 departments statewide will begin the annual "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. The effort will run through New Year's Day and that means extra checkpoints and more patrols will be all over the Garden State on the lookout for those driving under the influence.
James Franklin might be staying at Penn State after all. Tomorrow, the university's compensation committee will meet and may discuss an extension on Franklin's deal, which expires in 2022. While it's not confirmed an extension will be part of the discussion, previous meetings seem to indicate it will. Franklin has been mentioned as a potential hire at Florida State.
The Philadelphia Phillies are making a big splash in free agency again. The Phillies have reportedly agreed to a five-year, $118 million deal with former New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler. He was 11-8 in 31 starts with a 3.96 ERA for the Mets in 2019.