Lehigh Valley Health Network is dropping a major insurance provider. Aetna will no longer be accepted, effective March 13, 2023. That means patients with Aetna can still get in-network care until that date. After that, patients can continue care out-of-network, or pay out of pocket. LVHN said it is ending its relationship with Aetna because of unpaid bills stacking up since 2017. The health network says Aetna routinely denies and delays claims, despite LVHN trying to resolve these issues.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey is blaming former President Donald Trump for election losses. The retiring senator from Pennsylvania tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that his party needs to distance itself from Trump's influence. Senator Toomey says the whole Republican ticket in his state was weighed down by Doug Mastriano, a prominent Trump supporter. Mastriano lost the governorship ticket Tuesday to Democrat Josh Shapiro by a wide margin.
With absentee ballots from more than two dozen state races still being counted, Democrats are predicting they'll take control of the General Assembly's House chamber. Except for a three-year period that ended in 2010, the Republicans have controlled the House for nearly 30 years. Democratic gains included victories in a number of new districts that were created by redistricting. State officials say the party stands to lose as many as a dozen seats.
A local high school was dismissed early Thursday. Dieruff High School sent its students home at 11 o'clock Thursday morning after getting a tip about a potential shooting planned at the school. After an hour-long lockdown, the students were sent home. The Allentown Police Department later said the tip was not credible and there was no threat to the school or community.
The former chief of the Eastern Salisbury Fire Company has been charged with stealing 12-thousand-dollars' worth of department funds. Officials allege David Tomcics wrote unauthorized checks, altered purchase orders and used the company credit card illegally for over two years. He resigned in January of 2020. Tomcics was arraigned Thursday in Lehigh County.
Easton's Public Works Director, Dave Hopkins, is in hot water. Northampton County DA Terry Houck says Hopkins was approached last month by 11 and 12 year old boys, who showed him a Pokemon card. Houck says Hopkins then cursed the kids, who cursed back and walked away. At that point, Houck says Hopkins followed the kids, eventually chasing one into Lafayette College's Kirby Sports Center, where he allegedly told the child "Take this as a lesson. If I find you or that (expletive) again, I will hunt you down and have my son bash your skulls in." Houck says, "What remains a mystery to me is why you would follow two kids. I can't explain why an adult man would do something like that." Hopkins is now facing misdemeanor and summary charges for harassment and terroristic threats.
Local and federal leaders have broken ground on a new housing project in Allentown. U.S. Senator Bob Casey was among those on hand Thursday and says he's proud to have helped get federal funding for the Little Lehigh Redevelopment Project. The 27-million-dollar project will offer 50 high-quality, affordable housing units to mixed-income families when it's completed next winter. They will replace public housing units that were built in the 1970s.
The Poconos will be honoring veterans with different ceremonies across the region. A flag raising ceremony will be held at 11:00 a.m. today at Cambridge Court in Bushkill and veterans can enjoy a free light lunch inside the Creek Room at 1:00 p.m. The Pocono Lions Club will hold a wreath laying ceremony at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow at the Pocono Lake Cemetery in Pocono Pines. Barrett Township will hold a ceremony near its flagpole at 110 High Acres Drive tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.
Many restaurants and other businesses are offering discounts or freebies to say "thank you" to the military today, on Veteran's Day. Wendy's is offering active-duty service members and vets a free breakfast combo from 6:30 to 10:30 this morning. Starbucks is providing a free tall coffee and McDonald's is giving away select breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Applebee's, Bob Evans, and Chili's restaurants are offering free select menu meals to current and former military members.
Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg has taken the chance of a tornado out of our forecast, but he says that doesn't mean we're dodging the leftovers of what was Hurricane Nicole. "Still going to get a lot of rain. An inch to maybe an inch-and-a-half of rain and some gusty winds. There could still be a thunderstorm tonight and any one of those thunderstorms could produce downpours and gusty winds. We're talking wind gusts that might reach 40 miles per hour," says Lundberg. Lundberg says all rain should be out of our area by tomorrow morning.
Pennsylvania State Police will enforce a Click-It-or-Ticket seat belt and child seat campaign beginning Monday. In addition to cracking down on seatbelt use, PSP officials say their Child Passenger Safety Technicians will host free child seat fitting events across the state. Those will include instructions on proper installation, learning how to properly harness a child and checking seats for recall. The Click it or Ticket campaign runs through Sunday, November 27th.
New Jersey's annual bear hunt is returning. Governor Phil Murphy says he has no choice but to bring it back because controlling the bear population has become a public safety issue. The Department of Environment Protection says bear incidents, including dangerous sightings, have increased significantly this year. Officials say without population control, the bear population could soar to more than four-thousand. The hunt could start up as early as next month.
New Jersey residents are not in favor of expanding casinos outside of Atlantic City according to a new poll. A Fairleigh Dickson University survey shows 51 percent oppose the expansion while 37 percent would support it. FDU asked voters the same thing back in 1996 and the results were very similar. Pollster Dan Casino says competition from new casinos opening soon in New York and the search for new revenue sources means there's a lot of pressure to open new casinos in New Jersey.
New Jersey is establishing a task force to address the challenges facing the education workforce. Governor Murphy signed the executive order as the nation and state deal with school staffing shortages. New teaching certifications in New Jersey are down by 25-percent compared to a decade ago and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated staffing issues. The task force will develop short-term and long-term recommendations to increase the number of teachers and support staff at K-12 schools across the state.