Teachers in the Allentown School District now have a new contract to operate under. The teachers union and the school district have agreed to a three-year-contract that will be retroactive to 2021. The district says the contract increases starting salaries for new teachers to right at $52,000 annually, by this December.
Northampton County has some $30 million from the federal government and County Executive Lamont McClure wants to make sure half of that's used to save the Gracedale Nursing Home. McClure wants to spend $15 million in American Rescue Plan money on Gracedale. Instead for now, the County Council has voted to do a review of Gracedale's operations as well as conduct a pay study comparing salaries there, both of which McClure has objected to in the past.
The Northampton County Council has agreed to give a pretty big signing bonus to new employees at the county's juvenile detention center. The $3000 incentive will be paid out for the first six months of a person's employment. County leaders say right now they're down by over 30 workers.
Thursday's official rainfall total at LVIA was 2.16 inches and Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg says that changed the record book. "That was a record for the day. The old record had been 1.51 inches from 1953," Lundberg says. He says there's a chance of a little more rain today, tomorrow and even Sunday.
Philadelphia Health Department officials could put the city's indoor mask mandate back into effect on Monday. A department spokesperson says the city's COVID response levels are set to move to Level 2 and the indoor mask mandate could be coming. The spokesperson says the city wants to head off a wave of increased case numbers before it gets out of hand. COVID-19 case numbers are ticking back up due to a rapid spread of the latest omicron variant BA.2.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. There's legislation to combat the problem in Pennsylvania. "House Bill 37 is working to remove the phone from the driver's hand, to still allow cell phone use, but driving only when utilizing bluetooth technology, a speaker phone, docking station or similar applications," says St. Rep. Rosemary Brown says Pennsylvania lags behind many other states when it comes to laws restricting cell phone use in moving cars.
Farmers across Pennsylvania are on high alert after the first strain of avian flu has been confirmed in Chester County. Pennsylvania's commercial poultry industry has managed to escape avian flu over the past several decades but producers are especially cautious because the disease can devastate flocks once it has begun to spread. An estimated 23-million birds have died so far this year, making it the worst outbreak in seven years. Pennsylvania farmers say they've taken extra precautions and implemented biosecurity measures since an outbreak in the state years ago.
Pennsylvania's whole milk bill has been moving quickly in the state legislature. Currently by a federal mandate, only one percent and skim milk are allowed to be served in schools. But state lawmakers and farmers want other grades of locally-sourced Pennsylvania milk to be offered. The bill was introduced in the House on March 17, and it was approved in committee last week. The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee approved its version on Tuesday with minimal discussion.
During the 2021-2022 deer season, Pennsylvania hunters bagged 376,810 deer. 145,320 were bucks and 231,490 were does. The numbers are in line with average deer hunting seasons, however the 2020-2021 deer season was unusually successful for Pennsylvania deer hunters. That season broke a 16-year record with 435,180 deer taken.
New Jersey Department of Health officials are watching rising cases of the flu. Tracking data shows the highest flu levels are in the northeast, northwest, central-east, and southwest. Over 12,800 flu cases have been reported so far this season, with ten considered severe. The Garden State hasn't seen flu numbers this high since before the pandemic.
When the Phillies open their season this afternoon against Oakland, they have their most potent lineup since the franchise's postseason run from 2007 through 2011. Manager Joe Girardi says opposing pitchers will have to pick their poison when dealing the Phillies offense. "Lineups get really scary when they get really deep and I fell we have a really deep lineup and it goes to be hard to get through," Girardi says. The Phils added sluggers Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos in the offseason to join last year's MVP Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto. The Phils will be without one player. Mickey Moniak, projected as one of the team's center fielders will miss more than a month after breaking his hand in the team's Spring Training finale earlier this week.