There's a death investigation underway in Easton. Police responded to a call around 10:30 Thursday night to the area of Bird and Iron streets, which is where they found a man dead. Daniel Reagan is the Chief Inspector with the Easton Police Department. "Right now we don't have anyone in custody and we don't have any description to put out right now," Reagan says. He says a couple hours later police were called to a hospital for a man who said he had been shot during a robbery attempt. Police aren't saying if the two incidents are related.
Pennsylvania health officials confirm another 418 new cases of coronavirus, pushing the state total to 80,236. Another 42 coronavirus-related deaths were reported Thursday. That number now stands at 6361.
Eight more Pennsylvania counties are shifting today into the green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf's reopening plan. Those counties are Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Luzerne, Monroe, Perry, Pike, and Schuylkill. That leaves 13 counties still under yellow, including Berks, Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton counties. It's believes those counties will shift into the green phase next Friday.
City government buildings in Allentown will reopen to the public on Monday. However, all visitors to any buildings must wear face masks and visitors to City Hall will be greeted upon entering, and most business will be handled in the lobby area so people don't have to go to other floors in the building. The buildings, including City Hall, the Health Bureau, city fire stations, the Bridgeworks complex, the Streets Department and Parks and Recreation Department, have been closed since March 25, under the state's orders.
The 2020 Dominican Festival set for August 30th at Coca-Cola Park has been canceled. Organizers say they had to make the difficult decision to cancel because of crowd restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Court hearings are continuing as the Department of Health and Carlisle Events fight over whether Spring Carlisle should be held. The four day event at the Carlisle Fairgrounds continued Thursday in the shadow of a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court trying to shut the event down because they exceed the 250-person green phase limit. An attorney for Carlisle Events says they are expecting between 6000-7000 visitors daily and their vendors are limited to every third stall. Judge Ann Covey asked how the car show is different than any of the protests happening across Pennsylvania, to which Department of Health lawyers said they cannot prevent people from protesting under the First Amendment.
The interior stores in New Jersey malls will be allowed to reopen on June 29th. However, Gov. Phil Murphy says it will be far from business as usual when that happens. "This means limiting the number of customers to 50 percent capacity and requiring employees to wear face coverings, among other requirements," Murphy says. In addition, mall food courts will remain closed, as will theaters and arcades.
New Jersey lawmakers are proposing a bill that would help homeowners avoid eviction or foreclosure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would require landlords and mortgage companies to let renters and homeowners make up missed payments during the pandemic. The bill would also prevent any damage to a person's credit store over a late payment. The bill was passed out of committee this week and heads to the floors of both chambers.
A 43-year-old Easton man is dead after crashing his van into trees, overturning and catching fire on the Atlantic City Expressway. James Richardson was driving a van just before 9:30 Wednesday night when it veered off the right side of the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lawmakers, district attorneys and officials of special interest groups are pleading for police reform. During a Thursday state Senate hearing, Pennsylvania NAACP President Kenneth Houston said he sees law enforcement as entities designed to protect the community, but reforms such as elimination of racial profiling, banning chokeholds and regular psychological checks are needed. He added that his organization has seen a serious uptick of complaints regarding police officers, but change has to be made together and not in an "us-against-them" mentality. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro called for ending the practice of hiring police officers with histories of misconduct or using excessive force.
Gov. Tom Wolf is declaring today a special holiday for all state employees under his jurisdiction. June 19th is Juneteenth, honoring the day when union soldiers reached Galveston, Texas with news of the end of the Civil War. Slaves there were unaware they were freed two years earlier by President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation or that the South had surrendered two months earlier.
A wooden statue of John Sutter is now gone from outside the General Sutter Inn in Lititz. Thw owners of the establishment decided to remove the monument over accusations he enslaved Native Americans.
One of two bills that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana in New Jersey has passed the state Assembly. Thursday, the Assembly approved a bill that reduces the current penalty for up to two ounces of marijuana from an arrest to a civil fine of $50. Jail terms and fines for anything more than two ounces would be decreased on a sliding scale. Meanwhile, a bill pending in the state Senate would decriminalize up to a pound of marijuana. This November, voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana in New Jersey.
Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is working out with one of the league's best ahead of the restart. The guard worked out with Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James as the two get ready to head to Orlando next month. It's a good sign for Sixers fans who want to see Simmons back and healthy this season. Simmons hasn't played since February 22nd due to a back injury.