The Friday morning fire that killed two Hellertown sisters has been ruled an accident. 15-year-old Brianna Baer and 10-year-old Abigail Kaufman both died in the fire, which was reported just before 1 o'clock Friday morning in the 600 block of Linden Avenue. The cause of the fire has not yet been announced.
The race for Allentown's 22nd House District is a little less crowded. Norberto Dominguez withdrew from the race Wednesday, saying he realized there were issues with signatures on his nomination petitions. Dominguez also withrew before the primary election back in 2016. Two other Democrats and one Republican remain in the running in the redrawn 22nd District, which is two-thirds minority and 53-percent Hispanic.
Allentown City Council has approved a plan to get federal funding to rehabilitate and reuse the old Allentown Toy Manufacturing Co. building. Allentown wants $1.5 million for the Allentown Redevelopment Authority to convert the building at 725 N. 10th St. into an affordable housing development consisting of 20 units. Allentown Toy Manufacturing announced last December that it would be closing its doors after 70 years in business, more than 50 of which were spent at the 10th Street building.
Allentown police say a man was badly injured after being hit by a car around 6:30 Wednesday morning near 15th and Liberty streets. The man's injuries are described as significant. Police say the driver remained on the scene. The investigation continues.
If you visit the Lehigh Valley Zoo right now, you'll notice the chickens, turkeys and penguins are all indoors. Zoo veterinarian Hilary Housholder says the move was made to protect the zoo's birds from the avian flu. "There is an outbreak of a specific strain of bird flu. It is an influenza that is spreading up and down the east coast as well as into the midwest," Householder says. She says there's no real timeline for how long the birds will be kept inside.
State health officials say even though hospitalizations for COVID have been down in the past month, they're starting to creep back up again. Officials say even though the number of hospitalizations is down nearly 57 percent in the past month, they've increased nearly eight percent over the last week.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky convicted in 2012 on sex abuse charges is asking for a new trial. Sandusky's attorney has filed a motion for a new trial claiming the lawyers who represented him at his original trial were ineffective. The appeal also says massive, worldwide pre-trial publicity meant Sandusky never got a fair trial. Sandusky is currently serving a 30-years to life sentence.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is asking the state legislature to address what he's calling a mental health crisis in schools. Shapiro provided an update on his office's Safe2Say tip line, which began in 2019 to curb incidents of school violence but Shapiro says it has uncovered another serious issue. He is asking for funding for mental health counselors in Pennsylvania schools after around 20 percent of calls to the line were to report cyberbullying, self-harm, and depression and anxiety including suicidal thoughts.
A state Senate committee has advanced a three-page bill that would make the Hershey's Kiss Pennsylvania's official state candy. The Senate State Government Committee voted ten-to-one to send the idea to the full chamber for consideration. The group of Bucks County high school students who lobbied lawmakers for the legislation got to attend the hearing Wednesday in which the measure was advanced.
The City of Pittsburgh is closer to a ban on plastic bags. A city council committee unanimously supported a measure to outlaw their use in stores and restaurants yesterday. Council member Erika Strassburger introduced the legislation last year, saying single use plastic bags lead to excessive litter and a strain on the city's recycling system. If the council passes the bill restaurants would be forced to move to paper products and paper bags at grocery stores would cost an additional fee to push shoppers to provide their own reusable bags.