A former high school wrestling coach has won a racial discrimination lawsuit filed against his ex-employer. A U.S. District Court in Philadelphia awarded JaMarr Billman $250,000 in damages, agreeing with his claims he worked in a racist, hostile work environment and was punished for reporting it. Billman was fired by Easton Area High School in 2020, with the district claiming Billman didn't have a good relationship with students and parents and wasn't right for the job. Today's Morning Call reports Billman alleged the district underfunded the wrestling program when compared with programs run by white coaches and he was paid less than white coaches. The school district has issued no comment.
Fireworks might be to blame for a fire that broke out in a Lehigh County home. Firefighters responded just before 8:30 p.m. Monday to a home in the 600 block of East Lynwood Street in Salisbury Township. Fire officials say the fire started inside the home but was "related" to fireworks. No injuries were reported.
The Easton Police Department is asking for the public's help as it investigates a robbery. The holdup happened Sunday shortly after 3 p.m. at the 100 block of South 15th Street. A man was last seen running northbound on South 15th Street, police said. Anyone with information is asked to call city detectives at 610-250-6637.
Gas prices across Pennsylvania and in the Lehigh Valley are on the downturn right now. Across Pennsylvania, the average price of a gallon of unleaded was $4.88 Tuesday, down seven cents from one week earlier. However, that's still $1.68 more than one year ago. In the Lehigh Valley, the average price stood at $4.79, down nine cents from the previous week, but still $1.68 more than on July 5 of last year.
Police say a man stole a lawn tractor at a Monroe County store and drove off with it. Officers were called to the Tractor Supply store in Brodheadsville Tuesday where employees said a man took off with one of the display vehicles. Police say the man cut through metal wire and a wheel lock to steal the tractor before he drove it away. An investigation is ongoing and police are asking anyone with information to come forward. The tractor is valued at nearly $4400.
Pennsylvania lawmakers still have not completed work on the state budget for the new fiscal year. They left the Capitol without a final deal in place before the holiday weekend, missing an end-of-June deadline on Thursday of last week. A spokesperson for Majority Leader Kim Ward told reporters Tuesday morning that there's hope that a final budget can be hammered out in the remaining days this week. Senators will return to the Capitol this evening.
Though state House lawmakers won't be reconvening in Harrisburg until later today, Some state leaders say there were still budget negotiations being discussed over the holiday weekend. House Republican leaders reportedly are focusing on Gov. Tom Wolf's new charter school regulations as well as money for state universities that could be held back if the schools don't stop fetal tissue research. They also say a deal is likely for cutting the state's ten percent tax on corporate income.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney raised eyebrows early Tuesday morning after a shooting during the city's Independence Day celebration. Kenney said the pressure of the city hosting big events is enormous. "I'm waiting for something bad to happen all the time. So, I'll be happy when I'm not mayor and I enjoy some things." When asked if he's looking forward to not being mayor, Kenney said, "Yes, as a matter of fact." The shooting happened just before 10 o'clock Monday night near the Philadelphia Art Museum. Two police officers were shot but are expected to fully recover.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signs seven gun safety bills into law. Murphy saying unlike some members of the U.S. Supreme Court, he believes states are obligated to take action. "In the face of the Supreme Court's tragic and wrongheaded ruling, we need those laws, and all of these laws, more than ever before. Now more than ever, we cannot let up in the fight to keep our communities safe," Murphy said. The new laws include regulations on ammo sales and new mandatory training rules, among other things. The governor tweeted that in the wake of recent mass shootings and the Supreme Court's ruling expanding concealed carry rights, common sense gun safety laws are needed now more than ever.