Here's what's trending for February 1.


After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal last week, a handful of local voters are suing over the issue of disputed mail-in ballots. Five of the 257 Lehigh County voters who failed to include a date next to their sigature on their mail-in ballots' return envelope are asking a federal court to stop the Lehigh County Board of Elections from certifying November's results today. The plaintiffs are also suing to have all 257 ballots counted. They claim not counting their ballots would be disenfranchisement and violate the 14th Amendment and Civil Rights Act. State law requires all mail-in ballots to include a date. Lehigh County is planning to certify November's vote this afternoon. A Lehigh County judge's race could hinge on whether the disputed ballots are counted.

Officials have released the identity of a man who was killed in an early morning shooting in Allentown Sunday. 24-year-old Ronny Del Rosario was pronounced dead a little after five Sunday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest. He'd been shot about 45 minutes before in the 1700 block of South Fourth Street. Police believe Del Rosario's shooting and death likely is related to the shooting of another person who came to the hospital with non-critical gunshot wounds at about the same time. That person's condition and name haven't been released.

A 3-car crash Sunday afternoon in Upper Milford Township killed one person and left two others injured. The crash occurred on Chestnut St. and Indian Creek Rd. when the driver of a Kia Soul bumped into the back of a pickup truck. The driver of the Kia then lost control and ended up in the oncoming lane of traffic, where it was hit head on by a Toyota 4Runner. The driver of the Kia died. The other two drivers are expected to recover.

Another act that was supposed to appear at the 2020 Musikfest will be in Bethlehem this summer instead. Legendary country artist Willie Nelson and his group will perform on Aug. 6 on the Wind Creek Steel Stage. Nelson had initially signed on to perform at the festival in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic shut down that possibility. Nelson joins a lineup that already includes a couple other 2020 scheduled acts in Kelsea Ballerini and Poison. Tickets for the Willie Nelson show go on sale Friday.

A Powerball ticket worth $200,000 was sold at a Lehigh County convenience store over the weekend. The ticket was sold for the Saturday, Jan. 29, drawing by the One Stop Shoppe on Mickley Road in Whitehall Township. The store earns a $500 bonus for selling the winning ticket. The ticket matched four of the five white balls drawn, 2-15-38-54-65, and the red Powerball, 11, to win $200,000 before taxes.

A Congressional delegation has returned from a trip to Europe, including a visit to Ukraine, which is bracing for a potential invasion from Russia. The delegation included Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District representative Chrissy Houlahan, who describes what she saw. "I would say the mood isn't necessarily hopeful, but I think it's unified," Houlahan says. She says NATO members are unified in their commitment to helping Ukraine protect its democracy and borders.

Pennsylvania college graduates have among the highest student loan debt in the U.S., according to a survey by a national organization. The Institute for College Access and Success says the commonwealth ranks third, with an average student loan debt at just over $39,000. The debt amount is also up a little bit, by about $350 over a year ago. Nationally, state averages for debt at graduation in 2020 ranged from $18,350 in Utah to a high of $39,950-dollars in New Hampshire.

Many lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors of bills setting minimum, statewide nurse-to-patient ratios amid high vacancy rates for state nurses leaving their positions. At least two bills would set nurse-to-patient ratios. Both bills are awaiting action in legislative committees.

Organization officials with the Gift of Life program say a major milestone has been reached in the Keystone State concerning organ donors. More than five million Pennsylvanians have signed up to be one. Every organ donor has the potential to save eight lives and help even more through tissue donation. She adds that over 7000 people are currently on the transplant waitlist across the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission said the state had the fifth best bear harvest in 2021. Pennsylvania's hunters bagged 3,659 bears across last year's various seasons. The Game Commission said this ranks as the state's fifth-best harvest ever and the second-largest recorded since 2011. Bears were taken in 59 of 67 counties and 22 of Pennsylvania’s 23 Wildlife Management Units in the 2021 seasons.

Results of a new survey say that if you don't consider yourself to be a happy person, you should feel right at home in Pennsylvania. A mattress company has just issued results of a new survey ranking each state by its level of happiness. Pennsylvania placed near the bottom of the list as the 45th happiest state in America. Metrics including health, education, work-life balance and environment were used to come up with the rankings.


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