The city of Bethlehem is releasing its police department's use of force policy and Allentown is expected to do likewise. Bethlehem police officials say they plan to implement the "Eight Can't Wait" directives that include banning things like chokeholds. Allentown City Council says after meeting with their city's police department, they're happy to report that many of those directives are already in place and have been for years before the recent civil unrest. Allentown police Chief Glenn Granitz says their use-of-force practices will be made public as soon as the city solicitor signs off.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says the numbers show his gradual reopening plans for the state have worked. "Our new case rate has fallen, consistently, even as we've reopened business, even as we've resumed activities, even as we've gone back to work," the governor says. The Centers for Disease Control has recognized Pennsylvania and two other states for seeing a downward trend in new cases of coronavirus for more than 42 days. Pennsylvania reported 335 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, leaving the state's overall number 79,818. 43 more deaths related to the virus were also reported, pushing the state's number to date to 6319.
Pennsylvania's highest court has granted Gov. Tom Wolf's request to rule on a lawsuit filed by Republican lawmakers that seeks to end the governor's pandemic shutdown order. The state Supreme Court says it will decide the case filed by Senate Republicans, which seeks to enforce a resolution that both chambers passed last week to end the state of disaster emergency imposed by the governor in March. The case had been filed in Commonwealth Court, where Republicans hold a majority. However, Democrats have a 5-2 edge on the state Supreme Court. When asked about the Supreme Court's decision, Gov. Wolf said, "I applaud that."
New Jersey's death toll from COVID-19 reached 12,769 Wednesday, the 100th day since the state saw its first coronavirus-related death. The total number of cases in New Jersey now stands at 167,703. 47 new deaths were reported Wednesday along with 330 new cases. More than 1350 patients remain hospitalized for COVID-19.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says parents of students in pre-K to 12th grade schools will learn next week what the state's reopening plans look like. Meanwhile, Murphy says colleges and universities can submit their reopening plans for in-person classes in the summer and fall. Murphy suggested the guidelines for pre-K to 12th grade schools will resemble college requirements he announced Wednesday. This would include face masks and social distancing.
The owner of the defunct Bieber Bus company is facing charges of 50 counts of writing bad checks to his employees. Berks County District Attorney John Adams says, "He knew that he did not have sufficient funds in his account to cover those checks." Adams says Steven Haddad wrote 51 checks totaling nearly $25,000. Adding insult to injury, Haddad's employees then had to pay their banks more than $700 in administrative fees or service charges for the returned checks. Haddad, who lives in Weisenberg Township, is due back in court next Wednesday.
By a 3-2 vote Wednesday night, the South Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners gave the go-ahead for the public works department to begin the renovation of the playground at Covered Bridge Park. The work, which is scheduled to begin next month, includes new concrete edging around the perimeter of the park's play area, costing $103,384, followed by the installation of new playground equipment, costing just over $407,000.
The Pennsylvania State Capitol building will be reopening its doors to the public on June 22nd. That's the same day Dauphin County enters Gov. Tom Wolf's green reopening phase. Anyone who visits the building must still wear a mask and maintain social distancing.
Construction on the new State Archives Building is underway. The project had been delayed for at least two months during the coronavirus pandemic. The facility will be located along Sixth Street in Harrisburg with construction expected to be complete in June 2022.
A woman is in federal custody in connection to the arson of two Philadelphia police vehicles. The incident took place on May 30th during the height of the recent protests and 33-year-old Lora-Elisabeth Blumenthal is responsible, according to United States Attorney William McSwain. Officials linked Blumenthal to the crime because of a t-shirt and a tattoo she has. Her t-shirt was traced back to an Etsy shop and investigators made connections using her Linkedin profile. The woman could get up to ten years in prison and hefty fines if she is convicted.
New Jersey's Assembly is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would decriminalize marijuana. The measure advanced from a committee hearing this past Monday. Under the bill, the penalty for possession of fewer than five pounds of pot or one pound of hashish would be reduced. Currently, possession of one ounce to five pounds of marijuana can put someone in jail for 18 months.
The Philadelphia Eagles are introducing their new cheerleaders. After more than 500 applications from people from more than 20 states and four countries, the Eagles made eight selections, including two men.