Here's what's trending for February 9.


An arrest has been made in the overdose death of three-time PIAA wrestling champion Michael Racciato. Northampton County DA Terry Houck says 41-year-old Christopher Ferrante sold Racciato the fentanyl that killed the 26-year-old Pen Argyl graduate. "The simple fact is if you are involved in a drug deal with a person that results in their death then you are legally responsible for that specific crime. It's a homicide charge. It's serious, It's a felony in the first degree," Houck says. The DA says Racciato overdosed on Christmas Eve, but survived. Ferrante picked him up at the hospital and then sold him more fentanyl that eventually killed Racciato, whose body was found Christmas Day inside his vehicle outside the Towne Place Hotel in Lower Nazareth Township. Ferrante is in Northampton County Prison under $250,000 bail.

Allentown's Streets Department will continue its snow removal work tonight. Beginning at 7 o'clock, crews will be removing snow from Chew Street between 10th and 17th streets. All vehicles must be removed from the snow removal area or face ticketing and towing.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is canceling its high school winter sports championships. Officials say due to the high number of postponements and cancellations, they decided to cancel the playoffs. Schools will continue to play as many conference games as they can, but just like in the fall, COVID-19 will prevent the EPC from holding championships.

If Allentown's current mayor wants to keep that job, he's going to have to do it by starting the year at a big fundraising deficit. Ray O'Connell says he started the year with $8.40 in his campaign account. O'Connell tells the Morning Call he raised several thousand dollars last month. City Councilman and mayoral candidate Julio Guridy didn't raise any money last year, but still has a balance of more than $3000 in his account. Fellow councilman Joshua Siegel has more than $7600 at his disposal. Another member of council, Ce-Ce Gerlach, raised more than $32,000 by the end of last year and another candidate, Matthew Tuerk, had more than $36,000 donated to his campaign by the end of December.

Three big projects in one local school district won't come cheap. The Bethlehem Area School District will need $40 million to $80 million to renovate or replace its three buildings that are most in need of repair. No timetable for repairing or replacing Fountain Hill, Thomas Jefferson and William Penn elementary schools was presented to the board during its Monday committee meetings.

Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor wants a new job. John Fetterman is officially running for the U.S. Senate next year and says in some ways nothing has changed since his unsuccessful run in 2016. "The things that I ran on in 2016 are identical to what I'm running on in 2022," Fetterman says. Fetterman finished third in the 2016 Democratic primary election. He's seeking to replace Republican Pat Toomey, who is not running for re-election.

The mother of a man who was shot to death by a Lancaster police officer last year is filing a lawsuit against the Lancaster Police Department, the city and the county. Ricardo Munoz's mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday. Munoz, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ran towards police with a knife during an episode when he was apparently off his medication. The lawsuit claims the officer who shot and killed Munoz chose deadly force over less-lethal means.

The final two Kmart stores in Pennsylvania are set to close. The stores, in Luzerne and Lancaster counties will close in mid-April. Forbes estimates there are only 30 Kmart stores left across the country.

New Jersey's coronavirus vaccine hotline is now booking appointments. The move comes after residents complained they couldn't make vaccination appointments online. Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says more than 600 people have already booked their vaccine with agents at the call center, which is open from 8am to 8pm and can be reached by calling (855)568-0545. The line has been taking calls since January answering questions and helping people troubleshoot while trying to make appointments.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the state's overall coronavirus numbers are pointing in the right direction. Murphy says the trends rest entirely in New Jerseyans' hands and will determine whether the state will take additional steps to reopen the economy. It comes at state health officials reported an additional 2218 coronavirus infections along with 25 confirmed deaths due to the virus. Officials are celebrating New Jersey now having administered mor ethan 1,000,000 vaccine doses.

More New Jerseyans are using the state-based marketplace to sign up for health insurance this year. Gov. Phil Murphy says plan selections for 2021 coverage has gone up by nearly 9.5-percent over last year's Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment. Murphy is reminding residents the enrollment period will stay open until May 15th, but the sooner you apply the sooner you get covered. Murphy says the state decided to extend the enrollment period to ensure residents have ample opportunity to quality and affordable coverage.

New Jerseyans bet big during Super Bowl Sunday. Gov. Phil Murphy is dubbing the Super Bowl a win for the state, saying preliminary data shows the state pulled in more than $117 million during Super Bowl 55. That's a 116-percent increase from last year, when New Jersey made just over $54 million.


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