Pennsylvania's coronavirus numbers continue to trend downward. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, COVID-19 cases declined each day from Friday through Sunday. On Friday, there were a little over 4800 new cases reported. On Saturday, the tally was just under 2000 cases. Then Sunday rounded out the weekend with 1819 cases. The statewide percent positivity for the seven days ending February 10th was 12.7 percent for the state, which was down a bit from the previous week.
Fire crews had to put down a two- alarm fire at a restaurant Sunday evening. Smoke was seen coming from the roof of Fiamma Italian Grill off Schoenersville Road. The smoke was first noticed by a restaurant employee around 8:15 p.m. There are no reported injuries.
A 70-year-old Palmer Township man is facing several charges after allegedly pointing a gun at five women who were outside a party Saturday night in his neighborhood. Dan Giacoletto, of Cobblestone Drive, is being held under $100,000 bail.
One of the Lehigh Valley's nine medical marijuana dispensaries is getting bigger. The Lower Nazareth Township Board of Supervisors has approved the expansion of the Beyond/Hello medical marijuana dispensary along Route 248. The store will spread into space currently occupied by Saladworks. The addition will double the size of the store.
A seasonal employer is hiring 3000 workers soon and will pay them $15 per hour. Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom says they'll hold a number of hiring events as they ready for their 2022 season. Starting wages will begin at $15 per hour or more. Employees who have previously worked at Dorney Park can return at a rehire rate starting at $18 per hour. The park will open May 7th with a season pass preview weekend.
Meg Snead is Pennsylvania's Acting Secretary of Human Services and says a new pilot program at SCI Muncy fulfills her department's obligation. "We have a responsibility to advocate for Pennsylvanians and work with our partners in government and in the private sector to help advance our mission of helping all Pennsylvanians no matter their circumstance on the path to good physical and emotional health and well-being," Snead says. She says the state is entering a new partnership program that will provide doula services to women who are pregnant while incarcerated. Doulas are trained birthing support professionals who work with expecting and new mothers to provide non-clinical physical and emotional support through pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period. The program is being funded by the Tuttleman Foundation.
State Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier says staffing issues and challenges stemming from fraud are making things complicated for state residents to get their unemployment checks. Berrier says the agency is under attack by what she calls "very sophisticated foreign fraudsters" who are trying to take advantage of Pennsylvania's compensation system. She told House Democrats Monday that fraud is one reason many people are waiting so long to even find out if their unemployment payment is going to be processed. Berrier says the state agency is also experiencing staffing issues and is shifting to a call-back system when residents try to phone the agency about the status of their claims.
Pennsylvania is set to receive $25 million to expand access to electric vehicle charging as part of the first-ever national EV charging network. Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey says the $25 million is the first installment of an anticipated total of $171 million for EV charging in Pennsylvania as a result of the new federal infrastructure law. Distribution of the money will be done through PennDOT, which is required to submit federal paperwork to access the funds. Sen. Casey also says a second round of grants for EV charging access will be made available for states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and other transit-focused groups to compete for in the coming months.
A Pennsylvania Senate candidate spent some of his weekend in Hollywood. Dr. Mehmet Oz received a star on the Walk of Fame. TMZ asked him if he was concerned it would be vandalized since he's now entering politics. "I was thinking about hiring full-time armed guards. I quite expect the star to be defaced at times," Oz says. One of Oz's Republican opponents, David McCormick quickly put out a statement saying while McCormick has always put America first, Oz has spent his life putting fame and Hollywood first.
Gov. Phil Murphy is pushing a legislative package that would make necessary prescription drugs more affordable in New Jersey. In addition, the four bills are supposed to create transparency by capping out-of-pocket costs for insulin, asthma inhalers, and epipens at no more than $50 a month. If approved, Jersey would also join a purchasing pool for more competitive Medicaid drug prices and an oversight mechanism would be put in place. Yesterday, Murphy vowed he is deeply committed to making high-quality healthcare more affordable.
The New Jersey Hall of Fame is landing in a new location. A 10,000-square-foot facility will be placed in the American Dream Megamall in East Rutherford. The center will feature a Model T car that Henry Ford gave to Thomas Edison in the 1930s. Construction is expected to start this spring and finish up by the fall.