A Lehigh County mayor says he isn't going anywhere. Whitehall Mayor Michael Harakal says he won't resign despite a "no confidence" vote against him by township commissioners. The vote comes less than two weeks after commissioners approved a $140,000 settlement over harassment claims made by three women against Harakal, who apologized for “offending” the women while denying he stalked them or that there was anything sexual in his interactions with them. Following the vote, Harakal said he had no intentions of resigning and will work to repair his relationship with Whitehall residents.
Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck has a primary election challenge. After resigning last month with four years remaining in his term, former Northampton County Judge Stephen Baratta has announced he's running against Houck in this spring's Democratic primary. Houck, who has not officially announced his intention to run again, has told the Morning Call, “The good news here is the choice is clear; voters can choose to elect a person who has dedicated his career to victims, their families and justice, versus a political opportunist who is patently unfit for the job.” Baratta had been a judge since 1997 before resigning last month.
Charges against the former chief and president of the Eastern Salisbury Fire Company are moving forward. David Tomcics was set for a preliminary hearing Tuesday, but it was canceled and the charges are proceeding. Tomcics is accused of stealing more than $11,000 from the fire company while he was the department's bookkeeper. He's due back in court on Feb. 1.
A section of Route 611 will remain closed for a while this year. Officials announced that a part of Route 611 in Delaware Water Gap will stay closed until the end of summer due to a rock slide that closed part of the road last month. A detour has been put in place as crews continue repairing the road.
Pennsylvania's gas prices didn't fluctuate all that much over the past seven days. AAA East Central reports the average price of a gallon of unleaded in Pennsylvania rose nearly two cents over the past week to $3.64, which is 12 cents higher than one year earlier. In the Lehigh Valley, that same gallon of gas cost, on average, $3.50, which is the same from January 2nd, and just one cent more than last year.
Allentown native Amanda Seyfried has won another Golden Globe. She received it Tuesday night for best actress in a miniseries for "The Dropout," in which she played Theranos tech founder Elizabeth Holmes. Seyfried also won an Emmy award for that same role. The 37-year-old actress attended William Allen High School in Allentown and graduated in 2003.
Pennsylvania-based Sheetz is offering a special deal the rest of this month to drivers whose vehicles operate on diesel. At all locations through January 31st, diesel fuel will be discounted by 50-cents per gallon from the original price posted. The price displayed on the pump will be the final price paid by customers. Sheetz operates more than 650 stores in six states.
State senators in Harrisburg will take the issue of reporting child sexual abuse claims into consideration Wednesday. The Senate Rules Committee marked up a measure Tuesday that would propose a constitutional amendment to provide a two-year window to revive child sex abuse claims. Two other unrelated GOP-supported amendments were also added to the bill, however. House Speaker Mark Rozzi, a child sex abuse survivor, has said he will not consider any other legislation until the statute of limitations amendment wins final passage.
The New York Federal Reserve bank's released a survey showing short-term inflation expectations continue to decline. Getting past the holiday season may help a bit as well according to Penn State economics professor Fariborz Ghadar. "The slower markets should actually help by not having the demand and therefore not the pressure for prices to be up. We should see a gradual, over the year, reduction in inflation," Ghadar says.
The 107th Pennsylvania Farm Show is now underway in Harrisburg. Promoters say its theme "Rooted in Progress," was chosen to honor the deep roots of agriculture in Pennsylvania's heritage, as well as the significant changes farmers and their families have made as they continue to adapt to evolving markets, climate and resources. Pennsylvania has the only state-based farm bill in the nation, with some 72-million dollars being invested in agriculture. The Farm Show runs through January 14th.
A staggering number of guns were caught by TSA officials at Philadelphia International Airport in 2022. Data revealed that 44-guns were confiscated last year. In most cases, it resulted in a citation and a hefty fine. Folks are reminded that all guns should be packed in a checked bag and inside of a case.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has shared his vision for New Jersey In his first in-person State of the State Address since 2020. Murphy said his goal is to make New Jersey more affordable, protect its communities, grow the economy, and secure the state's middle class. One step is reforming New Jersey's antiquated liquor laws. "Expanding the number of available liquor licenses will not only help keep our favorite restaurants healthy, it will also keep our economy healthy," Murphy said. In his speech, Murphy also outlined plans to implement a first-in-the nation Naloxone initiative to combat the opioid epidemic.