The state Senate has approved $912 million in pandemic recovery aid. The measure would establish a program that would distribute grants of up to $50,000 to small businesses hurt by the pandemic and resulting mitigation measures. The bill still needs the House of Representatives' approval.
Progress was made on the coronavirus vaccine front yesterday. About 1000 people received their first of two COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday at a drive-thru vaccination clinic in the parking lot of Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom. It was Lehigh Valley Health Network's first mass vaccination clinic. Those who received their first dose Wednesday will be able to get their second dose on February 24th. Appointments for yesterday's clinic filled up in less than five hours after it was announced last week. LVHN says it can't say when clinics like this one will be a regular event because it doesn't know what its vaccine supply will look like.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health Wednesday added 5874 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 818,369 since the pandemic began. Another 222 new coronavirus-related deaths were also added to the state's total, which now stands at 21,105. There are currently 3790 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 760 of whom are in the intensive care unit. To get more numbers and news on the pandemic, enter the keyword 'COVID.'
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is asking New Jerseyans for patience with the vaccination rollout. He says the program is still waiting for needed doses to kick into higher gear. Murphy is urging residents to continue doing small things to curb the spread of the virus, like wearing masks and staying six feet apart.
Almost every student in New Jersey is fully prepared for online learning. Gov. Phil Murphy says the number of students who don't have access to either the internet or a computer is just over 1900. The state has been working to deliver these necessities for eleven months, when the coronavirus forced schools to turn to virtual classes. Murphy calls the effort a tremendous undertaking, saying New Jersey is 99-percent there and will not stop until the gap is closed.
President Biden should have tried to talk Democratic leaders out of impeaching now-former President Trump a second time. So says Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. "I think President Biden missed a big opportunity to say a painful, protracted, divisive, partisan impeachment exercise that will not result in a conviction may not be a great thing for the country," Toomey says. Earlier this month Toomey said he believed Trump committed impeachable offenses but he says he's going into the upcoming Senate trial planning to listen to each side's arguments and then make up his mind whether to convict or not.
Lisa Scheller plans to give it another shot next year. Scheller, who lost to Congresswoman Susan Wild in the 2020 7th Congressional District election, has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run again in 2022. The Republican lost to Wild by about four percentage points.
The Allentown Diocese has sold 171 acres to help pay victims of clergy sexual abuse. The diocese sold 118 acres on Flint Hill Road in Upper Saucon Township for more than $3.5 million and 53 acres on North Krocks Road near Hamilton Crossings in Lower Macungie for $7.5 million. The diocese says the property sales allow it to pay off a loan needed to pay off those victims.
Officials in Hanover Township, Northampton County, are still trying to figure out what to do with the community pool. The pool, on Jacksonville Road, has been closed since June 2020 after a major leak was discovered. Supervisors are debating whether the current 39-year-old pool can be saved and if not, which of two possible locations would more suitable for a new pool.
The Senate State Government Committee voted 10-1 in favor of legislation to change the state's constitution to change how the lieutenant governor is selected in Pennsylvania. David Argall is a Republican representing parts of Berks and Schuylkill counties. "Last year this legislation passed both the House and the Senate. The votes here in the Senate were 46-2. Our constitution requires that this bill be passed again in this legislative session and then the voters in Pennsylvania will have the final say," Argall says. The bill would allow a gubernatorial candidate to select his or her lieutenant governor in a similar fashion to a presidential candidate selecting their vice presidential running mate. Any amendment to the constitution must be approved in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and then by voters. If passed by both the House and Senate, voters could get their say as soon as the May 18th primary election.
Family members say a Pennsylvania native who was the nation's first Navy SEAL has died. Harry Beal passed away earlier this week in Somerset County at the age of 90. Beal had been part of their underwater demolition team in 1955 and had been a SEAL instructor until he retired in 1968.