A Parkland High School graduate told the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday they would be wise to support the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. "Should you confirm Amy Barrett, the country will receive something far greater than simply an unparalleled legal mind. It will gain the service of one of the kindest individuals I have ever known. Her brilliance is matched only by her compassion and her integrity is unassailable," said Laura Wolk. Wolk, who is completely blind, graduated from Parkland in 2005, then graduated from Swarthmore College before going to law school at Notre Dame University where Barrett was her professor during Wolk's freshman year.
A barbershop is heavily damaged after a fire broke out in a Bethlehem strip mall Thursday night. Fire officials say they were dispatched for a three-alarm fire around 8pm in the 1800 block of Stefko Boulevard. Other businesses were also damaged by the smoke, including Valley Farm Market, but nobody was injured. The origin of the fire is still undetermined.
Easton is mourning the loss of former city council president Josie Smull, who passed away Wednesday evening. Smull served on city council for four years until 2002 and is credited with raising money for Easton's Peace Candle, that's put up for the holiday season each year in Center Square.
An investigation by USA Today and Columbia Journalism Investigations estimates roughly 28,000 mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania could be rejected next month. The analysis is based on the number of ballots rejected in the last general election four years ago, when more than 2500 mail-in ballots, or just under one-percent, were rejected in Pennsylvania. This year, more than 3-million Pennsylvanians are expected to vote by mail, which could mean some 30,000 ballots might end up being rejected.
An audio and video recording will be made of the Berks County mail-in ballot count. Berks County commissioners authorized the recording of the opening and scanning of mail-in ballots for the general election. Workers and volunteers will open the ballots in a ballroom of the DoubleTree Hotel in Reading on Election Day before they are moved to the County Services Center so the votes can be counted.
When Vice President Mike Pence lands at the Reading Regional Airport midday Saturday, Berks County Sheriff Eric Weaknecht will be ready to help protect him. "Beginning of the year I did attend training in Lancaster with the Secret Service and they get everybody together to talk about the way they do things," the sheriff says. Weaknecht says having Pence fly in directly to the campaign stop makes it a much easier security assignment than if they'd have to plan for a lengthy motorcade. Pence is scheduled to speak tomorrow afternoon around 12:30.
Pennsylvania's Department of Health reported nearly 1600 new coronavirus cases Thursday, pushing the state's total to more than 177,000. 21 new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported. That overall total now sits at 8432.
There will be no charges filed against a woman who was recorded using racial slurs against Pennsylvania Second Lady Gisele Fetterman. The incident happened Sunday afternoon in a grocery store parking lot. The video showed the woman calling Fetterman the N-word. Both Mrs. Fetterman and her husband, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said they didn't want to see her prosecuted. Instead, Mrs. Fetterman says she wants the woman to get help from social services and other agencies.
Philadelphia has jumped to No. 7 on the list of "Top 50 Rattiest Cities" in the United States. Orkin releases the list annual and last year the city was No. 10. They make the rankings based off of where they make the most service calls. Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC and San Francisco round out the top five.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is calling on Americans to take the coronavirus seriously after his own battle with the illness. The 58-year-old politician released a statement Thursday, sharing he has fully recovered but only after spending seven days in the ICU at Morristown Medical Center. Christie said he should have worn a mask at a White House event last month and during debate preparations with the President. He also added no one should be happy to get the virus and that the ramifications are random and potentially deadly.
More than 800,000 New Jerseyans are waiting for that additional $300 from the federal government. Gov. Phil Murphy says it's coming and those still filing for unemployment should be expecting a lump sum in their bank accounts or debit cards as early as next week. The state's Department of Labor says more than 840,000 are eligible for some extra money from the federal program, which was part of President Trump's executive order. Murphy says most residents don't have to take any additional steps to secure the $300 weekly benefit.
New Jersey officials are asking residents to keep COVID-19 away from the Thanksgiving table. Gov. Phil Murphy says gatherings should be limited to immediate family or close friends this year to avoid spreading the virus. The request comes after health officials reported more than 970 new coronavirus cases throughout the state Thursday, making it the third day in a row that over 900 new cases were reported. Murphy says more people are being careful in public, but they need to continue precautions at home so he's asking them to start with this holiday.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is extending an executive order that protects residents from having their utilities disconnected as a result of the pandemic. Through at least March 15, 2021, Murphy's executive order covers all residential gas, electric and water utilities, whether public or private. In addition, no late fees nor reconnection charges may be applied and all residential services disconnected after social distancing measures went into effect on March 16th must be reconnected. Plus, $15 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund will be allocated to assisting low income households in paying off their past due utility bills.
Those fan cutouts that were seen at Philadelphia Phillies home games this year raised more than $300,000. That money will go to local charities. If you bought one of those cutouts, you should be getting an e-mail from the team with instructions on how to get your picture back.