Pennsylvania's race for governor is a little more crowded. "We need to take back our commonwealth. We need to take back our livelihoods from the insiders in Harrisburg who have no idea the harm their lockdowns have done," former Hazleton mayor and congressman Lou Barletta says in his announcement that he's running for governor next year. Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale and businessman Jason Monn are also running on the Republican side of the ballot. No Democrats have officially declared their candidacy yet. Gov. Tom Wolf is not eligible to seek a third term.
It's tax day. Today is the pushed-back deadline to submit your tax returns to both the state and the IRS. But, if you're still not quite ready, the IRS's Eric Smith says you can procrastinate even longer. "If your problem is you're missing some records and can't get your return together, by all means you can get an automatic six-month extension," Smith says. You can do that at www.irs.gov. Back in mid-March the IRS decided to push back the deadline by one month because of the pandemic.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health is reminding fully vaccinated individuals that businesses can still require face masks, despite the new CDC guidance. Last week, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated individuals don't have to wear masks indoors or outdoors, except when in crowded transportation settings or sensitive environments like hospitals. However, state health officials say workplaces may still require the added layer of protection for their employees or customers. They ask Pennsylvanians to continue to be kind and respectful of each other as the effort to vaccinate everyone and fight COVID-19 continues.
Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry says the Extended Benefits Program for those receiving unemployment benefits has ended. It's due to the declining unemployment rate in the state. They say those who've been collecting the extended benefits will transition back to federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. The transfer will be automatic and will not impact the filing process or benefit amount for anyone.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow parents to decide if they want their child to repeat a school year. The repeated school year would be for the student to make up for learning losses caused by the pandemic and it would only apply to the 2021-2022 school year. Lawmakers say in many cases, students were being taught by their parents at home so those parents would have a better understanding of what the educational loss would be. The bill was passed by the Senate last week and now heads to a House committee before a potential final vote.
A weekend fire has left one person in critical condition at Sacred Heart Hospital. The Allentown Fire Department was called to the home located in the 100 block of North 2nd Street just before 6 o'clock Sunday morning. The fire started in the first floor apartment, traveled up a wall to the second floor apartment and reached the roof of the building. The three apartments inside of the home all have smoke damage. There's no word on what caused the fire but it is not considered to be suspicious.
Lehigh University officials say smoking and all other forms of tobacco use will soon be banned on the entire campus. The school says the new policy will go into effect August 2nd. Lehigh officials say they're joining more than 2,000 colleges and universities across the country that have tobacco-free and smoke-free campuses. The school says the goal is to promote health and wellness on campus and in the community.
Students at East Stroudsburg University will have a new internship opportunity with the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau next school year. The university recently announced that six students from the Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management program will be selected for internships at PMVB locations in Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne counties. The program will focus on teaching students how to use data science and data analytics in those businesses.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy isn't ready to lift mask requirements for people who are fully vaccinated and he's making sure to highlight those who support his decision. This includes Marc Perrone, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Perrone says grocery workers in New Jersey have put their lives on the line during this pandemic, adding Murphy is showing "leadership" by keeping the mask mandate.
Villanova basketball coach Jay Wright is among the newly announced Basketball Hall of Fame class. He says it's a great honor. "It's not anything you ever even dream of. It's pretty cool," Wright says. Wright is 606-271 overall. He has won two national championships and made three Final Fours in his career.