There are three redevelopment options for the 200-acre site of the old Allentown State Hospital along Hanover Avenue. Today's Morning Call reports all three of those options include a mix of residential, industrial, commercial and institutional land uses, all of which estimate thousands of new, permanent jobs and up to $6 million in tax revenue would accompany the redevelopment. All three feature hundreds of residential units, senior living, office space, retail and dozens of acres of preserved land. While the property is owned by the state, a committee consisting of local lawmakers will recommend a buyer for the site and the redevelopment plan to be implemented.
Republican state lawmakers are proposing a bill to stop PennDOT's plan to start tolling drivers who use any of nine bridges across the state. PennDOT wants to use the money to maintain or repair the decaying bridges. Republicans, like St. Sen. Scott Hutchinson, say drivers are already paying plenty for that purpose. "Pennsylvanians already pay the second-highest gas tax in America," Hutchinson says. Among the bridges on PennDOT's tolling wish list are the I-78 bridge in Lenhartsville and a bridge on I-80 that spans Lehigh River.
Pennsylvania's Department of Health Thursday reported 2652 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the overall state total to 958,382 since the pandemic began. 51 new COVID-related deaths were also reported, pushing the state's overall number to 24,490. As of yesterday, 1513 people remain hospitalized with coronavirus. 326 of them are in the intensive care unit.
New Jersey has now administered more than 2.7-million doses of the coronavirus vaccine, while just more than 4000 new cases are being reported. Gov. Phil Murphy says about two-thirds of those vaccines were first doses, with the remaining being the second and final doses. Meanwhile, New Jersey officials report 46 more confirmed deaths attributed to coronavirus.
New Jersey's senators are breaking down how New Jersey will benefit from the American Rescue Plan. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker say New Jersey is set to get $9.62 billion in direct payments going to more than 3.6-million households throughout the state, averaging out to more than $2000 per household. Roughly $10.2 billion is going to the state, which includes money for broadband, counties and local municipalities. New Jersey is also allotting more than $460 million for emergency rental assistance and nearly $3 billion to public schools.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is lifting the moratorium on shutoffs for nonpaying customers next month. The moratorium that helped many Pennsylvanians amid the pandemic is being lifted on April 1st. However, utility providers must develop payment plans for their customers with arrangements being based on incomes and customers can still request a shorter or longer payment arrangement.
Rescue crews in Carbon County are currently searching for a missing person at Beltzville State Park. The search began Thursday as crews responded to the Preachers Camp Boat Launch on the southern shore of Beltzville Lake. The missing person's identity has not yet been revealed.
There's a new bill proposed at the Capitol that aims to deal with a substitute teacher shortage in Pennsylvania. Chris Lilienthal from the PSEA says there are a number of issues. "In some cases you have retired or former teachers who are now substitutes and in some cases, depending on their certification, they were limited in the number of days that they could serve as substitutes," Lilienthal. He also says higher pay would help convince more people to join the ranks of substitute teachers.
The family of a man who was killed by a bulldozer in Berks County more than two years ago is settling out of court with the state of Pennsylvania. The family of Gregory Longenecker will receive about $475,000. The family sued the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Game Commission after Longenecker was killed in 2018 when a state trooper and a game commission employee accidentally ran him over with a bulldozer during a pursuit. State Police officials say the settlement was made as part of the resolution of litigation and is not an admission of wrongdoing.
Lehigh Valley St. Rep. Ryan Mackenzie wants Pennsylvania to keep Daylight Saving Time year-round. But only if Congress okays it first. Meanwhile, there's a different proposal to make standard time permanent in Pennsylvania. This is the weekend when you need to move your clocks an hour ahead before you head to bed this Saturday night.
Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday at 2am, so before heading to bed Saturday night you'll want to move your clocks forward one hour. Local fire departments say it's also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.