A former longtime state lawmaker is staying in Harrisburg after all. Democratic Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro is nominating former Republican Lehigh County St. Sen. Pat Browne to be the state’s next secretary of revenue. Browne spent 28 years as a state lawmaker, ten as a state representative and the last 18 as a state senator, before losing last spring's Republican primary to Jarrett Coleman. Prior to his election to the legislature, Browne was an accountant and an attorney. In a statement released by Shapiro's staff, Browne says, “I am humbled to have this opportunity to serve the governor and the people of Pennsylvania, and to join an administration that will work every day to move our Commonwealth forward."
The Poconos man who is being accused of stabbing four University of Idaho students to death in November now has a preliminary hearing date set. Bryan Kohberger waived his right to a quick preliminary hearing yesterday morning. He will now have a hearing on June 26th at 9:00 a.m. It is expected to last at least five days. The judge also ordered Kohberger to remain held in state custody with no bond. The 28-year-old graduate student from Pennsylvania has yet to enter a plea in the case.
A few days after former Northampton County Judge Stephen Baratta announced he is running for district attorney, the man who currently has that job said he is running for re-election. Terry Houck Thursday officially announced his reelection bid. The 66-year-old Houck has been in the Northampton County DA's office since 2006 and has been district attorney since replacing John Morganelli in January 2020.
In 7-0 votes, the Allentown School District Board of Directors appointed Andrene Brown and Evelyn Santana to fill two vacant seats during a lengthy special meeting Thursday night. They will fill the seats left empty by the resignations of Nick Miller, who is now a state senator and Charlie Thiel, who resigned Thursday for undisclosed reasons. The terms of both Santana and Brown expire Dec. 20 of this year. The selections occurred after the board conducted interviews with nine candidates during a five-hour meeting.
The potential sale and merger of three Bethlehem Lutheran churches may be back on. This comes after the Bethlehem Parking Authority announced it is no longer thinking of seizing one of the church's parking lots via eminent domain. The authority sent the churches a letter last month saying it planned on seizing St. John's Windish Lutheran Church's parking lot on East Fourth Street. St. John's, Light of Christ Lutheran Church and St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran all planned to vote on the sale and merger last Sunday, but those plans were scrapped after the authority's threat.
A man wanted for contractor fraud is now behind bars. Anthony Valera turned himself in on contractor fraud and theft charges according to the Monroe County D-A. Authorities say Valera took money from customers for several projects and never completed the work. He is accused of taking more than 155-thousand-dollars from a few different customers.
Just Born has announced three new flavors are coming in their 70th anniversary year. New to the lineup will be Dr. Pepper and Kettle Corn Peeps Chicks and Mike and Ike-flavored Peep pop. The Dr. Pepper-flavored Peeps will be available only at Walmart, while the Kettle Corn Chicks will only be available at Kroger's family of stores.
One of the largest lottery jackpots in history is up for grabs tonight in the multi-state Mega Millions game. Tonight's top prize is an estimated 1.35-billion dollars. That's the 2nd largest jackpot in the history of the game and the 4th largest lottery jackpot overall in U.S. history. Winning numbers will be drawn at 11 p.m.
A plan to bring back paper bags for grocery deliveries in New Jersey is on hold. Reusable bags have been piling up for some people after the state's plastic and paper bag ban went into effect. Now, some lawmakers are suggesting to allow some grocery deliveries in those bags. Today, the state senator that introduced the plan said complaints about reusable bags piling up have calmed down and the issue should resolve itself.