Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added 1257 new cases of coronavirus to the state's overall total, which is now 1,190,102. 54 new COVID-19-related deaths reported Wednesday pushes the overall state number to 26,925 since the beginning of the pandemic. Right now, there are 1427 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 320 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
Another Pennsylvania college is requiring students provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination before returning for the fall semester. Franklin & Marshall College says studentw will have to provide a scanned copy of their completed vaccination cards to the Student Wellness Center by August 1st. The school says it will accomodate students who have approved medical or religious exemptions.
If protecting yourself against the coronavirus isn't enough of a reason, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has announced more incentives to get the COVID-19 vaccine, including a free glass of win at paricipating New Jersey wineries. "Go out and get your shots in May and then head out to one of these participating wineries, take a walk through the vineyards and enjoy some of the best that Jersey has to offer," Murphy said. Other newly-announced incentives include a free state parks pass and a chance to win dinner with the governor and First Lady Tammy Murphy.
Allentown may need to find a new police chief. Glenn Granitz, who has been Allentown's police chief since 2019, has received a conditional offer from West Reading to be its next police chief. West Reading Borough Council unanimously approved the offer of conditional employment to Granitz at its meeting Wednesday and the borough's mayor says the department is preparing for Granitz's arrival. However, it could still be weeks before he takes over and it's still not clear if Granitz will even accept the position.
A DNA match helped lead to charges in a 2020 sex assault case near Lehigh University. Clement Swaby, who was charged in March in an armed intruder and assault incident near Lafayette College, now faces rape charges in a sex assault on Hillside Avenue near Lehigh University in May 2020. Swaby is also a person of interest in other cases, including a sexual assault in Florida in 2016.
For the second time in three months, there's been an injury at Camelback Resort in Monroe County. An 8-year-old girl was injured when she fell from a zip line. The child was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest to be treated. Back in March, three people, including two children, were seriously hurt when the chair on which they were riding fell off a ski lift. Investigations into both accidents continue.
Tuesday's election went off rather smoothly in the Lehigh Valley, but not so everywhere across the state. At least a dozen polls in York County ran out of ballots Tuesday, forcing election officials to print more and deliver them to the precincts but not until some voters had to wait to cast a ballot. In Lebanon County, officials had to print ballots until 7pm and get them to precincts that were running low. Election officials in Delaware County also report having not enough ballots Tuesday. The Pennsylvania Department of State recommends printing 10-percent more ballots than the turnout for the past three non-presidential primaries, but in at least those three counties, that wasn't enough.
Gov. Tom Wolf is revealing a plan that holds underperforming charter schools accountable to provide a quality education. Wolf says the state's charter school law is among the worst in the country. He added some charter schools are giving students an excellent education, but there's no guarantee that every one is putting students ahead of profits. The plan would fund charter school special education the same way it is in public schools, mandate a statewide cyber charter tuition rate and hold charter schools accountable through performance stanards.
A priest is admitting to stealing more than $500,000 from a church in Somerset, New Jersey. Diocese officials say 68-year-old Rev. Douglad Haefner pleaded guilty to theft Wednesday. He says he took the $516,000 from St. Matthias Parish and diverted the funds into his own account because of "compulsive behavior." He's expected to be sentenced on August 4th.
New Jersey officials are warning residents about online scams. The New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell says schemers are spoofing legitimate organizations by sending out emails associated with travel. The division says there's typically a URL, that once clicked, gives hackers access to your log-in credentials, downloads, web cam data and more. Users should avoid clicking on links or images that come from unknown senders.
Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez took the stand in his own defense Wednesday. Vazquez faces several charges for allegedly having sexual relations with a teen girl. The former All-Star told the court Wednesday that the girl had reached out to him on Instagram in 2017 and had claimed to be 17 at first, later sending him a picture of a Pennsylvania driver's license showing her to be 18 years of age. In reality, the girl was 13 and 14 when they had their alleged sexual encounters. Vazquez's testimony is expected to continue today.