A local health care provider is again changing its visitation policies. St. Luke's University Health Network is now requiring all visitors to be vaccinated at all its locations. The healthcare network has said in an announcement that the procedures are being tightened due to a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant. Visiting hours also are limited from noon to 8 p.m. for up to two vaccinated visitors per patient ages 12 and up. St. Luke's says visitors are not required to have a booster shot.
Bethlehem Catholic High School has closed early for Christmas break after many students and staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The Diocese of Allentown says the school switched to remote learning Tuesday and will continue that today as well. Classes will resume in person on Monday, January 3rd.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin is trying to prevent Nicholas Douglas from taking office as a constable in Allentown because Douglas has a lengthy criminal history. Martin says Douglas has multiple out-of-state convictions in Mississippi, Michigan and a number in Ohio, including impersonating a police officer. He says those convictions make Douglas ineligible to hold the office, citing a section of the Pennsylvania Constitution which says a person cannot hold an office of trust or profit if the person was convicted of embezzlement, bribery, perjury, or other infamous crime. Douglas was a successful write-in candidate in the November 2021 election for the position of constable for the 12th Ward in Allentown.
Another Republican state senator is reportedly getting closer to formally becoming a candidate for governor. Sen. Doug Mastriano has said he has reached the fundraising goal he set to officially become a candidate for governor. He told supporters he's organizing an announcement rally to take place the first week of January. Mastriano is the third state senator to potentially enter the race to replace soon-to-be termed-out Gov. Tom Wolf.
The Pennsylvania State Police will be stepping up their traffic patrols this holiday weekend. The official Christmas holiday enforcement period will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, December 24th and end at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 26th. The safety initiative targets drivers who aggressively operate in a dangerous way including speeding, drinking while impaired and seat belt violations.
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue's deadline is approaching for older and disabled residents to apply for rebates on rent and property taxes paid in 2020. Normally, the deadline to apply for the rebates is in June but funding allowed the deadline to be extended to December 31st. The rebates are available for Pennsylvanians over age 65, widows and widowers 50 and older, and people with disabilities 18 and older. Eligible applicants can file applications online through the commonwealth's mypath portal.
In a rare Tuesday night game, the Eagles beat Washington 27-17 to remain in the NFC playoff mix. Head coach Nick Sirianni says his team used the extra two days to work. "We're a team about the process and getting a little bit better each day and it gave us two extra days to get better. So that's what we focused on, instead of the things we couldn't control," Sirianni said after the win. The Eagles are 7-7 and tied for the final playoff spot in the NFC.