In a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners gave its final approval for up to $3 million to fund work at Coca-Cola Park. The renovations, which are being mandated by Major League Baseball, need to be completed by April 2023 if the IronPigs baseball team wants to keep its franchise affiliation with Major League Baseball. The county also committed $1.5 million to the project earlier this year, bringing its total contribution to $4.5 million. The vote comes with contingencies, one of which requires the IronPigs will need to extend its lease at Coca-Cola Park. The money comes from Lehigh County's $72 million share in American Rescue Plan funds.
The project is in its infancy, but it looks like the South Side of Bethlehem could be getting a new community center. Mayor William Reynolds says the center would cost $20-to-$25 million. "We're going to figure out how do we not just raise the money to build it, but to also make it, but also how to you make it financially sustainable and how do you make it something that matches the vision and how do you create the model that's what our community is looking for," Reynolds says. The mayor says a feasibility study will be the first step in the project. That could begin in January and take six-to-eight months to complete. Reynolds says a location for the center has not yet been determined.
We're learning a bit more about last month's plane crash in Lehigh County that killed one person. In a preliminary report, the National Transportation Safety Board says the single-engine plane traveled nearly one mile in the one minute since it took off from Queen City Airport. 49-year-old Keith Kozel, of Easton, was killed. He was a student pilot. His flight instructor, who has not been identified, was seriously injured in the crash that happened in Salisbury Township.
After several weeks of watching gas prices slip here in both the Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania, gas prices jumped dramatically over the past week. In Pennsylvania, the average price of a gallon of unleaded stood at $3.91 Tuesday, up 15 cents from the prior week and 49 cents higher than October 11 of last year. In the Lehigh Valley, the average price increased 20 cents a gallon to $3.84. That's 44 cents more than last October 11th.
A new Sheetz is being proposed for a vacant lot on East Fourth Street between Emery Street and Lynn Avenue on the Southside of Bethlehem. If approved by the Bethlehem Zoning Board, 55 parking spaces, six two-sided gas pumps and the convenience store with a drive-thru lane would be put on the property. The zoning board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26.
Authorities are still trying to determine the cause of death of a man who was found in Pocono Creek earlier this month. Twenty-six-year-old Anthony Counterman, who is originally from Stroudsburg, was found dead on October Seventh in the area of Tanite Road in Stroud Township. Officials say an autopsy was performed this past Tuesday, but further testing needs to be done to provide other information surrounding Counterman's death.
Today is a rainout according to Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg. "It's a soaking rain today. We're looking at an inch of rain or more in parts of the listening area," Lundberg says. The heaviest rain will fall this afternoon into early tonight and Lundberg says the possibility of a tornado cannot be completely ruled out.
U.S. Senate campaign leaders for Doctor Mehmet Oz continue to question the health of Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman. Following Fetterman's first post-nomination national television appearance, the Oz campaign says he is not being honest with voters on the impact of his recent stroke. Fetterman argues that he has remained transparent and is steadily recovering, acknowledging that he has experienced some complications processing words that he hears. Because of those complications, Fetterman has requested the use of a closed caption system during a televised debate with Oz on October 25th.
With less than a month until election day the U.S Supreme Court on Tuesday turned aside a lower federal court’s decision that undated or wrongly dated mail ballots should be counted. The head of the Department of State, Leigh Chapman, says the ruling does not prevent them from allowing undated ballots from being counted in next month's voting. "We expect counties to follow our directives and guidance. It's really a case-by-case scenario, but in the event a county does not follow our guidance, the Department of State will evaluate that," Chapman says.
State regulators are scheduled to soon present a final rule cracking down on so-called "forever chemicals" in Pennsylvania drinking water. The rules would set the first-ever threshold for reducing contamination from PFAS chemicals to protect public health. However, compliance is expected to cost water companies millions of dollars per year. Industry experts say some of that cost almost certainly will be passed to customers.
The state senate has approved legislation to expand Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law concerning public records at state universities. The senate bill would create an online, searchable database giving information about budgets and contracts approved. The measure also would increase the amount of a university's personnel salary information that could be released to the public.
PennDOT officials say they're ready for winter weather, although they also admit they could use more plow operators before the snow flies. "As other employers are seeing, it's even more competitive than usual to bring people into our temporary and full-time positions. We have many people who have grown their careers at PennDOT by starting as operators or temporary operators," says PennDOT's Mike Keiser.
A judge will rule this week on the state of New Jersey's request for a stay in the decision that dismisses changes to the casino PILOT law. An Atlantic County Superior Court judge heard arguments on Wednesday regarding the appeal from Governor Phil Murphy's administration. In the judges August decision, they say the payments-in-lieu-of-taxes law was passed on dubious grounds and is in violation of the state Constitution by offering tax breaks to the casino industry, rather than for a public purpose. The amendments that were signed off on by Governor Murphy, removed internet gambling and online sports betting revenues from gross gaming revenue totals.
The Phillies-Braves series is tied 1-1 after Atlanta shutout the Phillies 3-0 Wednesday night. The game was still 0-0 in the bottom of the sixth when first baseman Rhys Hoskins couldn't make a play on a hard ground ball. It would've been the third out of the inning, but led to all three runs of the game being scored. "That's a play that I've made before and make again. I didn't make it tonight," Hoskins says. The Phillies only managed three hits in the loss. Games three and four are Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia.