Here's what's trending for April 9.


After President Biden announced new gun control measures, both Pennsylvania senators reacted. In a statement Republican Sen. Pat Toomey indicated he's open to negotiations, saying, "If done in a manner that respects the rights of law-abiding citizens, I believe there is an opportunity to strengthen our background check system so that we are better able to keep guns away from those who have no legal right to them." Democratic Sen. Bob Casey says "Congress needs to do its part now. The House of Representatives has passed comprehensive background check legislation. The Senate should pass these bills in addition to banning military-style assault weapons, limiting the size of magazines and passing legislation to support survivors of gun violence."

Pennsylvania's Department of Health added 4746 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, pushing the state's overall total to 1,059,044 since the pandemic began. There were 42 new COVID-related deaths also reported, leaving the state's overall total at 25,327. There are currently 2425 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 484 of whom are in the intensive care unit.

New Jersey health officials are urging residents to take whatever vaccine they can to protect themselves against the coronavirus. Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are all safe and effective options. The renewed plea comes the same day New Jersey reported 3758 additional coronavirus cases and 35 deaths.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy are set to receive their coronavirus vaccine today at Atlantic City Convention Center's mass vaccination site. "We were already planning on being there to complete our circuit of visiting all six vaccination mega-sites and we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to showcase a terrific location," the governor says. The Murphys became eligible for their COVID-19 vaccinations on Monday.

The Allentown School District's three high schools have finalized their graduation plans. The ceremonies will take place June 17th, 18th and 19th at J. Birney Crum Stadium. Building 21's graduation is first on June 17, with graduations for Dieruff and Allen high schools following the next two nights. Every graduating senior will be given three or four tickets to allow family members to attend.

Firefighters responded to a fire at the Lehigh Valley Dairy property on MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township. Fire crews were called shortly before 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon and found trailers engulfed in flames. Whitehall's fire chief said an employee burning cardboard and wood accidentally sparked the fire.

Auditions are scheduled for this Sunday morning for the East Penn Lady Raiders Dance Team. The auditions are at 10:45am at Sweat Like a Girl on Industrial Drive in Nazareth. The dance team will perform at East Penn Raiders home games at Kutztown University. Get more info on Facebook by searching for East Penn Lady Raiders.

Officials with the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau are preparing for more vacationers this summer. Campsites are going to be reopening for the public at Tobyhanna State Park beginning today. The president and CEO of the PMVB says 2021 will be a banner year for the Poconos as he expects more people will choose to vacation there instead of going to places like amusement parks or beaches.

One of Pennsylvania's biggest construction firms of stealing millions from its employees. "I am announcing criminal charges against Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., one of Pennsylvania's largest construction companies, for stealing more than $20 million from workers here in Pennsylvania," says Attorney General Josh Shapiro. He alleges the Centre County company failed to follow state and federal regulations for compensation rates for its employees. Instead of using money for employee pay, health coverage and retirement, Shapiro says much of the money was siphoned into the accounts of company executives.

Pennsylvania is launching a new unemployment compensation system later this year. Department of Labor & Industry officials say the new system will be easy to use, provide access to important information and streamline the unemployment claim filing process for everyone. The state's current system hasn't been changed in about 40 years. The new system is scheduled to launch on June 8th.

In the May primary election, Pennsylvanians will be deciding if lawmakers should have a say in disaster declarations. The Wolf administration has been against the idea, saying it would negatively impact the state.

A York County man's execution date has been set for May 14th. Back in May of 1991, Paul Taylor admitted to using a knife and hammer to kill his wife, mother-in-law and three children. Taylor says the killings happened after a night of cocaine and drinking and that voices in his head told him to carry out the killings. While Taylor's execution date has been set, it's highly unlikely it will be carried out. Gov. Tom Wolf issued a moratorium on capital punishment six years ago and Pennsylvania hasn't seen an execution since 1999.

New Jersey is pushing businesses to go green. The New Jersey Zero Emissions Incentive Program is offering a total of $15 million to support businesses and institutions purchasing zero-emission vehicles that will operate in the Newark and Camden areas. The initiative is funded by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in order to reduce harmful emissions in traffic-heavy communities. Businesses could be eligible for up to $100,000 and applications can be found on the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's website.


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