Here's what's trending for April 22.


The Borough of Emmaus is suing makers of toxic firefighting chemicals, saying some of the chemicals were found last year in Emmaus' drinking water. The borough has filed the lawsuit and is joining other cities and states seeking damages from companies that produce PFAS chemicals. The substances are known as forever chemicals because they don't break down naturally and build up in both people and animals. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection found the chemicals in what they called "alarming concentrations" in Emmaus' drinking water. Since then, Emmaus has taken one well out of service.

A Monroe County school district is making significant changes because of fiscal woes. Saying the district is in poor fiscal health, the Pleasant Valley School Board has decided to eliminate 40 total positions either through furlough or non-renewals, or by not filling vacant positions. District schools are also being realigned. Pleasant Valley Elementary School will now house kindergarten through second-grade students. The intermediate school will now have third- to fifth- graders, while the middle school will be home to sixth- through eighth-graders. The high school configuration is unchanged. Pleasant Valley administrators say the district is facing a $3 million deficit, even with a proposed a 4.7% tax increase and with 21 employees taking early retirement.

A 44-year-old Bethlehem man faces several charges after he allegedly poured gasoline on his mother’s SUV and tried to light it on fire before holing up in a home she owns and where he lives and setting it on fire. It all happened Wednesday night according to Bethlehem police. George Papaloannou barracaded himself inside the home in 900 block of Carlton Avenue for less than a hour before surrendering.

Fire broke out at a Lehigh County home Thursday morning. Just before 6 o'clock, firefighters were called to the home in the 1200 block of Broadway in Fountain Hill. The blaze appeared under control about an hour later. No word yet on whether anyone was hurt or what may have started the fire.

After spending nearly 30 years in the Allentown Health Bureau, Vicky Kistler has been approved as the new director of the Allentown Department of Community and Economic Development. City Council appointed Kistler Wednesday night to replace Leonard Lightner, who departed to become the city's new chief operating officer.

The DaVinci Science Center breaks ground today on its new facility in Allentown. The shovels go into the ground around 11 o'clock this morning on North 8th Street. Gov. Tom Wolf is scheduled to attend.

Philadelphia residents may soon be able to take off their face masks, if they want. The mandate will be lifted, but it's not clear exactly when it will be lifted. Philadelphia's Department of Health cited improving conditions as the reason for the move. It comes after the directive was put in place earlier this week. The department said more information regarding the decision will come out today.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Board has raised the amount of money state students can get in unrestricted grants for college. Thursday, the board voted to raise the maximum award to $5750 in financial aid that does not have to be repaid. The idea is contingent upon $350 million being approved for funding in the new state budget.

The preliminary hearing on DUI charges for a former Pennsylvania attorney general has been postponed. Kathleen Kane was arrested last month for allegedly driving under the influence in Lackawanna County. She had been set to appear Thursday, but court officials now say her appearance has been rescheduled until the end of May.

A grand jury has indicted a Cumberland County resident for threatening to assassinate two presidents. The action against Mohamed Farah, who is 32 and a citizen of Somalia, comes after federal officials say he threatened to assassinate President Joe Biden. The indictment also says Farah threatened to kill former President Donald Trump if he runs for reelection.

Recreational marijuana is officially and legally for sale in New Jersey. Five years after he campaigned to legalize marijuana in the Garden State, Gov. Phil Murphy was joined by other top officials to celebrate its first sale Thursday. There were lines at some of the dispensaries before sunrise as people waited to purchase weed. There are 13 approved dispensaries throughout the state selling recreational weed to those 21 and older. Customers are limited to buying one ounce of marijuana at a time.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop welcomes the sale of recreational marijuana, but says the new law isn't perfect. "The governor and attorney general here have said off-duty police officers would be allowed to smoke and we have some issues with some of those things. But, other than that, it's probably a positive day for the state and the city," Fulop says. Legalized marijuana sales began Thursday in New Jersey.

New Jersey's first couple is headed overseas for an economic mission and personal holiday. Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy departed for France Thursday and the governor will be meeting in Paris with representatives from several French corporations. The pair will then head to Dublin and the governor will travel to other Irish destinations with members of the "Choose New Jersey" economic development group. Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver will serve as acting governor until Murphy's return on April 27th.


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