The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 9143 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the highest single-day total since January 9th. There are currently 3939 people hospitalized and of those, 858 were in intensive care. Those numbers are despite nearly 70-percent of all Pennsylvanians 18 and older now fully vaccinated.
There used to be only the 610 area code in the Lehigh Valley. Then years ago the 484 area code was added. Soon, there will be a third local area code added. Once the current area codes of 610 and 484 are all used up, a new code will be added to expand service for the Lehigh Valley and beyond. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission voted three-to-zero in favor of creating the 835 area code, which will go into effect in early 2023. In addition to the Lehigh Valley, the new area code will cover Berks, Delaware, Chester counties and part of Montgomery county.
Northampton County Council has approved County Executive Lamont McClure's 2022 budget, which includes a 8.5% property tax cut. McClure's $528 million budget for next year cuts the property tax millage from 11.8 to 10.8, meaning the owner of a home assessed at $100,000 will pay $1080 annually, down from $1180. While cutting property taxes, the budget also gives pay increases for future elected officials. The council approved a $35,000 pay raise for future county executives, a $20,000 increase for the county controller and a $3000 raise for county council members.
A federal judge is ordering a Pennsylvania man's cellphone video from the Capitol riots to be released to the public. The move this week comes after more than a dozen national media outlets requested it. A federal prosecutor contends that former Old Forge School Director Frank Scavo publicly joked on Facebook about his role in the January 6th Capitol riot. Scavo stopped to record a cellphone video of himself shortly before entering. The video captures rioters assaulting police officers among other activity. Scavo has been sentenced to 60 days in prison for his part in the rioting.
State Police are asking for your help in identifying five men who hit an Ulta Beauty Store in Lower Macungie Township and have posted the suspects' photos on their website. About $20,000 worth of beauty products were stolen at the location in the Hamilton Crossings Shopping Center in a 40-second snatch-and-grab spree. If you know anything about this robbery or can identify the people involved, you're asked to call the State Police barracks in Fogelsville.
It'll likely be a while longer before a home for sale in Bethlehem Township can be put back on the market. A fire early Thursday afternoon damaged the outside of the ranch-style home in the 4000 block of Freemansburg Avenue. Township Fire Chief C.J. Kuronya says over 30 firefighters responded to the two-alarm fire for the 4000 square-foot home. No one was injured as the house was vacant. The home was being offered for $550,000 dollars according to its listing.
The Blue Mountain Resort is ready to open its slopes today. The resort has been preparing its mountains with powdered snow last month. Skiers will be able to hit the slopes today at the resort in Carbon County.
As he promised he would, Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed Senate Bill 565, which would have eliminated the requirement for people to get a license before carrying a concealed gun. In his veto, Wolf said such a law would make gun violence in Pennsylvania worse and put the state's law enforcement officers at greater risk. The governor says if he had signed the bill into law, law enforcement would no longer have the ability to conduct a background investigation into the applicant. Supporters of the bill say there would still be background checks when people purchase firearms and Pennsylvania’s background checks are among the most stringent in the nation.
Pennsylvania collected $6.6 billion in revenue last month, nearly $218 million more than anticipated. Those numbers include more than $3.8 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act money. Fiscal year-to-date collections stand at $18.7 billion, or $1 billion above estimate.
Commonwealth Court this month will hear arguments from both PA Senate Republicans and Democrats about another audit of the 2020 general election. "Our goal is to put public policy in place to secure that vote so everyone has access to vote and everyone has belief in the security of that vote and will have belief in the results," says Republican Jake Corman. Democrats argue the 2020 vote has already been litigated and they say the issue is really about former President Trump not accepting his loss in the commonwealth.
The State System of Higher Education is unveiling the new logo for Pennsylvania Western University. On Thursday, officials released the new design, which was chosen in a vote from almost 5000. Pennsylvania Western University or Pennwest for short, was created by the merger of Edinboro, Clarion, and California universities to overcome financial troubles and enrollment losses. Pending final approval, the new logo will be rolled out on the three campuses in the spring.
The Phantoms are home tonight against Charlotte at 7 on 1470am. Saturday night's home game against Hershey is being postponed due to COVID issues on the Bears. Meanwhile, the December 1st home game against Hershey that was also postponed has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 21st at PPL Center.