The reopening of downtown Allentown's Americus Hotel appears to be happening sooner rather than later. The owner of the historic 93-year-old hotel says renovations to the first five floors of the hotel are nearly complete and he expects to offer 80 rooms for overnight stays by the end of this year. Those rooms will cost between $140-$200 per night. Allentown currently has no open hotels. The Renaissance has stayed closed throughout the coronavirus pandemic and the old Holiday Inn has been converted into apartments. The Americus has been vacant for 18 years.
The suspect wanted for a Bethlehem double shooting on September 30th is now in police custody. Luis Ortiz Montoza was allegedly involved in the shooting of two men last Wednesday night while the victims were sitting in a car in the 1200 block of Dover Lane in the Pembroke housing area. Authorities have not commented on a motive for the shooting, but said at the time that it appeared at least one of the victims was specifically targeted.
A lawsuit against the Allentown Police Department has been tossed out by U.S. District Judge Joseph Leeson. Michael Morency and his wife sued the city of Allentown, then-police Chief Tony Alsleben and four officers claiming Morency was arrested without a warrant and police ransacked his home during the June 2018 arrest. Judge Leeson determined there were no facts to dispute whether the arresting officers acted appropriately. Morency was arrested after knocking a boy down as the child retrieved a ball from a bush on Morency's property and then showing a gun when the boy's father confronted him about it.
Lower Saucon Township council has reviewed a plan to expand the Applebutter Road landfill, but took no official position on adding more capacity for trash at the facility. An attorney says the landfill has about 3.5 years of useful life left now. She says the expansion would be on 29 acres within the boundaries of the 224-acre facility and the landfill would not accept more material, but just continue regular operations. The township's zoning hearing board will consider the plan at an October 26 meeting.
Six weeks earlier than usual, Christkindlmarkt is underway in Bethlehem. The annual Christmas market is being held entirely outdoors this year, spread out across the SteelStacks campus. Tickets will be sold in advance and for designated time slots to allow organizers better control crowd size. Christkindlmarkt runs Thursdays through Sundays through November 29th.
There are 1309 new COVID-19 cases being reported in Pennsylvania. That pushes the overall total to 166,552 since the pandemic began. 28 new coronavirus-related deaths were reported Wednesday, bumping the statewide total to 8272.
The New Jersey Department of Health says no COVID-19 cases have been linked to President Trump's fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminster. The event was held last Thursday at Trump National Golf Club, reportedly after White House advisor Hope Hicks had tested positive for coronavirus. State health officials say they've contacted 184 of the 206 people who attended the event.
Ex-New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie is still in the hospital for coronavirus. Christie checked himself into the hospital Saturday, citing concerns about his history with asthma. Christie said he had mild symptoms but has been fairly silent about his condition since. Christie is one of several people who have tested positive after spending time with President Trump and his team.
A mailman is facing charges for allegedly dumping mail that included general election ballots in New Jersey. 26-year-old Nicholas Beauchene allegedly discarded mail, including nearly 100 ballots out for delivery to West Orange residents. Officials say nearly 2000 pieces of mail are now back in the mail stream.
Newark is renaming one of its parks to honor an American abolitionist. Washington Park in Downtown Newark will be named after Harriet Tubman, who used the Underground Railroad to help free at least 70 slaves. Newark's mayor is also commissioning a statue of Tubman to replace the former Christopher Columbus statue, which was removed back in June.