It's Primary Election Day across Pennsylvania. Among the local races to be watched is the race for mayor of Allentown. Incumbent Ray O'Connell is seeking re-election but faces challenges on the Democratic side of the ballot from City Council President Julio Guridy, Councilwoman Ce-Ce Gerlach and businessman Matt Tuerk. In Bethlehem, two Democrats are looking to replace Mayor Bob Donchez, who is not running. Bethlehem City Councilman William Reynolds and former city Administrator Dana Grubb face off today. Nine candidates are running for three spots on the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas. There are also four statewide referendum questions on today's ballot. Unlike the vote for party candidates, any Pennsylvania voter can vote on those questions, regardless of party registration. Polls remain open until 8pm.
Monday, Pennsylvania's Department of Health announced 1983 new cases of COVID-19 over a two-day period. That brings the state's overall total of cases to 1,187,115. 84 new COVID-related deaths were also reported over that two-day period, leaving Pennsylvania's coronavirus-related death count at 26,833. Currently, there are 1499 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. 330 of them are in the intensive care unit. Statewide percent positivity for the seven days ending May 13th was 5.3-percent.
Gov. Tom Wolf is now considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. "I came in four weeks after my first dose. I got my first dose here. I got my second dose and I didn't have any trouble after the first dose and I feel great right now," Wolf said. Gov. Wolf received his second shot Monday morning in York.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says New Jersey is making incredible progress vaccinating people against COVID-19, but not enough. That's why he's sticking with indoor mask mandates, regardless of the CDC's latest guidelines allowing fully vaccinated people to unmask indoors. He says a majority of New Jerseyans still haven't rolled up their sleeves, with only 3.8 million residents fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Murphy did lift the outdoor mask mandate, saying people only need to wear masks outside if they're visiting with loved ones in medical facilities.
New Jersey is lifting its travel advisory that was put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. The list outlined quarantine and testing recommendations for residents and visitors traveling to and from the state. Gov. Phil Murphy says the virus is drastically declining in the state and across the country, calling the lifted measure an important step.
New Jersey will start allowing people into its courtrooms. The New Jersey Judiciary plans on having a limited number of observers present for criminal and civil jury trials. This includes jury selection. In-person trials are supposed to start June 15th.
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 that have no idea how much harm their lockdowns have done," says former Hazleton mayor and congressman Lou Barletta, who is 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.
Moravian College has gotten the state's okay to transition to Moravian University. The Pennsylvania Department of Education approved the school's request to become a university. The school is expected to officially become Moravian University on July 1. Moravian President Bryon Grigsby calls it one of the biggest moments in Moravian's 279 year history.
UGI customers will see an increase in their natural gas bills this summer, and probably again in December. Gas cost rates will increase on June 1 and an additional increase is projected on December 1. A typical residential customer's bill will go up by about $16 after the second increase takes effect.
A 26-year-old woman is charged with stabbing another woman during a weekend incident in Allentown. Alundra Boswell allegedly stabbed another woman in the arm during an argument inside Boswell's apartment on West Turner Street around 1:30 Saturday afternoon. The victim is expected to make a full recovery.
The Pennsylvania State Trooper Association is taking offense to a line in Gov. Tom Wolf's declaration regarding Juneteenth. The memo from the governor announced June 18th as a holiday for state employees, with Wolf adding that racism is still active as evidenced by the continued deaths of Blacks at the hands of police. Association President David Kennedy responded by saying while they support the Juneteenth holiday, Wolf's decision to push a narrative that police are racist murderers is political pandering and an insult to all officers in the wake of National Police Week.
Charges have been dropped against a Philadelphia policeman who paper-sprayed protesters last year. A Philadelphia judge has ruled 35-year-old Richard Nicoletti did not commit a crime when he used the paper-spray on protesters during protests following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.
The Philadelphia Eagles have signed a former division rival to boost their defensive line. The Eagles have agreed to terms with Ryan Kerrigan on a one-year deal. Kerrigan had spent his entire career with Washington while notching 95-and-a-half career sacks there. Kerrigan took to Twitter to let Eagles' fans know that he is 'fired up' to play for Philadelphia.