Here's what's trending for September 28.


PennEast Pipeline is dropping the idea of a plan for a natural gas pipeline through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The company says it's stopping all development of the project because it has not received all required state permits from New Jersey. It comes a week after PennEast said it was dropping plans to use eminent domain to seize state-owned land in New Jersey, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling which allowed the company to do just that. Northampton County Councilwoman Tara Zrinski has been a longtime foe of the project and says a grass roots effort killed it off. "People are much more savvy in understanding how to comment on the website, what permits are necessary to have something like this go through and then how to form coalitions," Zrinski says. The 116-mile natural gas line was to start in Luzerne County, run through part of the Lehigh Valley and Bucks County and and eventually end north of Trenton. Supporters of the project say the loss of the project will mean both temporary and permanent jobs will go by the boards.

PennEast Pipeline is dropping its plan to build a natural gas line between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy is satisfied with the news, calling the project "wrong," adding it would have destroyed acres of New Jersey's conserved land and threatened species. Murphy says he's committed to protecting the state's natural resources and building a clean energy future for the Garden State.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health Monday added 12,223 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,415,049. 87 new COVID-related deaths were also reported over that three-day period. 2691 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, 660 of whom are in the intensive care unit. Statewide percent positivity for the seven days ending September 23 stood at 8.9-percent.

Recently approved Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots are now being given here in the Lehigh Valley. Both St. Luke's University and Lehigh Valley health networks have begun administering the shots to anybody 65 and older who previously received two Pfizer vaccinations at least six months ago. Also eligible are people 50-64 years of age with an underlying medical condition, anybody 18-and-older at high risk of severe COVID-19 and anybody 18-and-older who have a job or live in a setting that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus. The Bethlehem Health Bureau begins giving the shots Thursday at SteelStacks and the Allentown Health Bureau begins administering the shots Friday at IBEW on South 7th Street.

The state Department of Health is launching a new COVID-19 vaccine dashboard. Gov. Tom Wolf says the dashboard releases vaccination reports by legislative district to help members of the legislature and the public better understand how each district is performing. The governor added that he hopes it encourages more to get vaccinated from COVID. The state will be updating the dashboard on a monthly basis.

Upper Saucon Township's Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved plans for a new Good Shepherd Rehabilitiation hospital on 45 acres near the Promenade Shops along the Center Valley Parkway. Good Shepherd will be moving out of Allentown after 113 years there, but Good Shepherd says it's keeping that building on South Fifth Street for undetermined purposes. The grand opening for the 123,000-square-foot Upper Saucon facility is expected in March 2023. It will include 76 patient beds, all in private rooms.

The Northampton County Office of Veterans Affairs is getting state money for outreach services to veterans. The VA office is getting $20,000 in Pennsylvania grant money, according to Gov. Tom Wolf's office. It's one of nine county veterans affairs offices receiving money from the state.

Pennsylvanians have rallied for legislation against abortions. Thousands gathered at the state Capitol Monday for the state's first ever March for Life. "I think it's important for us to stand up for what we believe in. Being quiet won't accomplish anything," one woman said. Several people spoke at the rally, including Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, who says they're a voice for the voiceless and a voice for the unborn because they stand for life.

Police are still investigating the cause of a Schuylkill County bus crash from last week that injured over 30 members of a Lancaster County church. On September 19th, a bus carrying about 31 teenagers and volunteers from the church veered off Interstate 81, then hit a guard rail and an embankment before crashing about 50-yards into a wooded area. Police say they have started downloading information from the bus' engine control module, and they're trying to look at video from inside the bus to see what went wrong. According to the church group's most recent update on injuries, about eight are still hospitalized.

Gov. Tom Wolf is praising a new proposed bill that would support small, diverse and veteran-owned businesses. The legislation would help these businesses continue to receive support and opportunities in state contracting. This bill comes after the bureau of diversity, inclusion and small business opportunities, which was established by the governor, conducted a study that found disparities in the contracting system and recommended initiatives.

A Pennsylvania state trooper is facing charges today after being arrested Monday in Washington County. Trooper Dustin Schumacher was taken into custody by officers responding to a domestic disturbance call. Bail was later set at $5000 for Schumacher who is accused of aggravated assault and resisting arrest.

New Jersey is trying to get people back to work by offering "return to work" bonuses. It's part of the state's new "return and earn" incentive program, which gives $500 to unemployed people reentering the force and receiving training from companies with 100 employees or less. Gov. Phil Murphy says the money will go to employers and be tacked on to a staffer's first pay check. Employers can also receive a wage subsidy for six months, up to a $10,000 limit on employees hired through the program.

When you lose 41-21 like the Eagles did Monday night in Dallas, there are lots of things to fix. Head coach Nick Sirianni says one of those is cleaning up way too many penalties. "The ones that you don't like and the ones that are most troublesome are the pre-snap penalties and we've gotta take care of that. That's just us being disciplined and we've gotta get back to work and get better at that because that's obviously unacceptable," Sirianni said. Through three weeks, the Eagles have committed the most penalties in the NFL. Next up for the 1-2 Eagles is a home game against Kansas City.

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons will not report to training camp. That was the confirmation that fans didn't want to hear from head coach Doc Rivers and team president Daryl Morey on Monday. They are hoping that the two sides can work things out and he will return soon. Simmons requested a trade during the offseason after getting a lot of the blame for the Sixers' early exit from the playoffs. The all-star has four-years remaining on his current deal, but he will likely be fined for each day he misses.


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