A Pennsylvania congressman and a state senator are being accused of urging the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election results. According to a report from a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Congressman Scott Perry and Pennsylvania St. Sen. Doug Mastriano provided false election claims to the former U.S. Associate Deputy Attorney General. Those claims were debunked by the Pennsylvania State Department. The report also calls for further investigation into the two to determine what possible role they had in stirring up the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health added 5819 new cases of the coronavirus to the state's overall total, which is now 1,464,264. Another 92 new COVID-related deaths were also reported. Pennsylvania's overall death toll since the pandemic's beginning is now 29,814. Right now, 3001 people are hospitalized with the virus, 680 of whom are in the intensive care unit.
Allentown City Council authorized a contract for more than $355,000 to demolish Irving Pool in east Allentown. The work should be completed by the end of November.
A $1 million Powerball ticket was sold in a Northampton County store. The ticket was sold for Wednesday night's drawing at the Turkey Hill at 4205 Lehigh Drive in Lehigh Township. That store earns a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. The ticket matched all five white balls drawn, but not the red Powerball.
Northampton County Council approved $200,000 in grants to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Thursday, and another $100,000 will be voted on at a later meeting. IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes says Major League Baseball is demanding stadium upgrades that will cost nearly $6 million. While Coca-Cola Park is in Lehigh County, many Northampton County residents work there and 41-percent of IronPigs attendance comes from Northampton County. $100,000 of the grant is coming from federal pandemic relief funds and the other $100,000 comes from the county's five-percent hotel tax that is spent on promoting tourism.
Almost four years after Richard Labar was murdered during a pizza delivery to East Stroudsburg University, three people have pleaded guilty to the killing. Labar's widow, Roxann, is relieved. "I'm actually happy. I'm happy it's going to be done in a few months. They'll be sentenced. It'll be all over. We'll have peace of mind now," Labar says. Israel Berrios, his girlfriend Carolina Carmona and her brother Salvatore Roberts will all be sentenced in December. They made a fake pizza order to lure Labar to campus with the intent of robbing him. Instead, Berrios shot Labar, who died a day later on his 58th birthday. Labar had only $100 on him when he was killed.
Pennsylvania is joining with three other states in an effort to reduce gun violence. Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey will be sharing gun crime data for a new database to help law enforcement track similarities in gun crimes and link them to suspects crossing state lines. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says sharing information works. He added that two years after the state launched track and trace, police are able to identify a record number of crime guns, allowing investigators to go after the source and help prevent shootings.
Pennsylvania's prison population is the lowest it has been since 2001. As of October 1st, there are 36,742 people incarcerated in state correctional facilities. Gov. Tom Wolf says his administration has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing the prison population with an emphasis on rehabilitation for men and women who are incarcerated and opportunities after incarceration. He added that investing in resources and creating good policies ensures lower incarceration rates, a reduction in recidivism, and a better, more productive quality of life for re-entrants.
There's a debate heating up over a potential law that would require Pennsylvania schools to post learning materials online. Backers say it will allow parents to get a real-time look at what's going on at their child's school, but critics say it could prove quite burdensome. "It's going to distract from teaching students and it's going to be an added workload at a time when our teachers are already stretched pretty thin focusing on what students need, what accelerated learning they need to to get past the pandemic and to make up for any lost ground," says Chris Lilienthal with the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
A Republican state lawmaker is hospitalized today after being involved in a crash. Matt Dowling, who represents Fayette and Somerset counties in the state legislature, was hurt in a single-vehicle accident Wednesday. Dowling was last reported in serious but stable condition in a Lancaster County hospital.
The state Department of Human Services is reporting that child abuse deaths rose in 2020. The department's 2020 annual Child Protective Services report shows a 31-percent increase in child abuse deaths, despite a 22-percent drop in total reports of suspected child abuse. However, officials believe the numbers of abused children did not fall as the closure of schools left children with limited contact with teachers, who file more reports than anyone else. DPS officials added that the rise in deaths follows a rise in opioid abuse across the state, which has been the highest reason for the significant injuries to children.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Dr. Noe Ortega is apologizing to school districts and their leaders for the timing of the school mask mandate. Ortega made the apology while visiting a York County school yesterday, saying the late decision led to furious debates across the state as many were frustrated by it. However, Ortega added that in the end, the decision is going to allow schools to continue offering in-person learning, which is the most important goal.