Here's what's trending for September 29.


Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added 5429 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the statewide total to 1,420,478 since the pandemic began. 75 new deaths attributed to the virus were also reported Tuesday, leaving the state's overall total at 29,226. Right now, 2778 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 666 of whom are in the intensive care unit.

A state lawmaker is proposing a bill to give schools more power over masking guidelines for sports. "The power moving forward should be in the hands of the local elected officials to determine if a school district mask mandate for sports needs to be implemented or not," Davanzo says. The Sports Mask Freedom Act proposed by St. Rep. Eric Davanzo would give schools exclusive authority to set masking policies for student athletes. A state House committee has passed the legislation and it now heads to the full House for a floor vote.

New Jersey's cumulative coronavirus case count is now surpassing one-million. The Garden State tacked on 1857 additional cases on Tuesday, pushing the state to meet the grim milestone. The vaccination rate continues creeping up every day with more than 5.8 million New Jerseyans now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The two candidates in New Jersey's governor's race faced off Tuesday night in Newark. Incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciatterelli debated with the pandemic the primary focus. Murphy doubled down on the need for a vaccine mandate. "Saying that it's your call and that governments can't mandate a vaccine or masking is akin to supporting drunk driving. It impacts both the person who is driving drunk, but all the rest of us. That's not the way to beat this. We can't beat it that way," Murphy said. Ciatterelli said while he's vaccinated, he doesn't believe it's the government's place to force the shot upon citizens.

A South Whitehall Township man could get up to six months in jail after pleading guilty to charges stemming from his actions during the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol. 32-year-old Jackson Kostolsky admitted to knowingly entering the Capitol without permission. In exchange, prosecutors dropped several charges against him. Kostolsky will be sentenced on December 21st.

Former president of the Allentown Economic Development Corp and ex-state representative Kurt Zwikl has passed away at the age of 72. Zwikl had also served as executive director of the Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area and most recently was president of the Allentown School District Foundation. Zwikl was just 24 when elected to the state House in 1973. He remained there through 1984.

One person is dead after being hit by a car in Allentown. The unidentified pedestrian was hit at South Carlisle and East South streets, on Allentown's east side, just after 7pm. The driver reportedly stayed at the scene and spoke to police. Officials have not said what caused the collision.

State lawmakers are proposing legislation for recreational marijuana. State representatives Jake Wheatley and Dan Frankel say they have heard from residents across the state, and the overwhelming majority agree it's time to pass this initiative. Their bill would make it so anyone in the state 21 and older could purchase and consume cannabis. Recreational marijuana would be taxed to fund grant programs for small, minority and women-owned businesses. Communities impacted by the criminalization of cannabis will also be provided direct participation in the industry.

Berks County-based Tower Health is closing one of its seven hospitals in southeastern Pennsylvania and selling another. The board has signed a letter of intent with Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic to transfer ownership of Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia and more than half of its 25 urgent care centers across region. The board also will begin the process of closing Jennersville Hospital near West Grove, Chester County, effective Jan. 1. It's flagship hospital in Berks County will not be impacted.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is calling for more money for police departments across the state to increase recruitment. "Today local police are working overtime, literally and figuratively, to provide basic patrol services across Pennsylvania because we have fewer sworn officers in cities and towns than we had just a couple years ago," Shapiro says. The funding Shapiro wants would go to police departments for $6000 signing bonuses, training and outreach.

PennDOT is looking to hire workers for the winter. PennDOT is looking for temporary and permanent CDL operators and diesel and construction equipment mechanics. Officials say they would like everybody to look at the more incentives they offer when it comes to retirement, the benefits, the leave and more. The department is holding job fairs in several counties this week and next month to seek employees.

Authorities in Philadelphia are investigating the alleged jailhouse assault of Democratic St. Rep. Kevin Boyle, who was arrested last Friday on charges of harassment and violating a protection from abuse order, reportedly filed by his wife. The assault allegedly occurred early Sunday morning in a holding cell.

Pennsylvania lottery players with multi-million-dollar dreams are picking up tickets for tonight's Powerball drawing. With no winning tickets sold in recent weeks, the top prize for tonight's drawing is an estimated $570 million. That jackpot is the 8th largest in the history of the 29-year-old game. Winning numbers will be drawn just before 11pm.

The Philadelphia Phillies are now three-and-a-half games behind Atlanta in the NL East after Tuesday night's 2-1 loss in Atlanta. Manager Joe Girardi says what his message is to his players after the loss. "You've just gotta keep grinding. That's all you can do. You gotta find a way to win and then we've gotta go from there. Obviously, we need some help now, but we need to go out and play a good game. We need a good game out of Aaron Nola and need to score some runs," Girardi says. The Phils visit Atlanta again tonight and Thursday night.


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