More than two dozen Northampton County residents have been forced from their homes by a Tuesday afternoon fire. It happened at the River Pointe Townhomes on Ramblewood Lane in Freemansburg. The fire forced 28 people out of their townhomes and investigators say four units received so much damage, they are no longer inhabitable. Two other units were also affected by smoke damage. There are no reports of any injuries. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
A new report shows Pennsylvania put thousands of dollars in federal funds toward promoting "queer story hour" and a "genderqueer" art party for young kids. According to the Fox News Digital analysis, the state's Humanities Council received nearly one-and-a-half-million dollars in pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Tens-of-thousands were given to the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown for queer and drag story hours for young children. The analysis concluded the law was billed as "an economic necessity," but many organizations and programs that benefited from it had little to do with pandemic recovery.
Governor Phil Murphy is defending the use of COVID-19 funds to buy vehicles -- such as SUVs -- for state officials during the pandemic. A recent report detailed how pandemic funds were spent, including a half-million dollars to purchase vehicles for the New Jersey State Police to transport state officials, including Governor Murphy and Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver -- who are both Democrats. GOP lawmakers say money needs to go to those in need. Governor Murphy says spending pandemic funds on vehicles was not illegitimate.
According to the latest numbers from AAA East Central, the price of gasoline continues to trend in the wrong director both in the Lehigh Valley and across the state. Across the commonwealth, the average price jumped eight cents from last Tuesday to $3.79 a gallon. That's 26 cents more than last January 31st. In the Lehigh Valley, the price moved nine cents higher to $3.71 a gallon, which is 16 cents more than one year ago.
PPL says it has fixed the problem that caused some customers to receive monthly bills much higher than average and will waive late fees for January and February. In a letter to its customers, PPL also said it won’t shut off power to residential and small-business customers for nonpayment through the end of March. The company blamed technical issues for the drastically higher bills sent from December 20th through January 9th.
Negotiations are continuing between the City of Easton and the New England Hydropower Company over a proposed generator facility in the canal at Hugh Moore Park. State officials have offered one-point-four-million dollars in support of the project, with Northampton County offering to match that contribution in a loan to the company. Easton Mayor Sal Panto says New England Hydropower has agreed to terms that include covering all costs and guaranteeing the continued operation of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor canal boat. The problem, according to the mayor, is that those terms have not been included in proposed lease agreements. Panto says that's what it will take for the deal to move forward.
Police are looking for the man who exposed himself to women and children at the Hobby Lobby store along Route 248 in Lower Nazareth Township. Colonial Regional police say it happened just before 5:30pm on January 20th inside the Northampton Crossings Hobby Lobby.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro signed another executive order Tuesday for small businesses. It aims to expedite the licensing and permitting process. He says Pennsylvania workers deserve it. "Pennsylvanians are the hardest working people in this nation. Our grit and determination has proven through generations that you can get big things done and now they deserve a state government who works just as hard as all of them to succeed," Shapiro says. The governor says the order will put a firm timeline in place for all permits, licenses and applications and if an agency doesn't issue a response within that timeline, the applicant would be issued a refund.
Police in York County say last week's triple-suicide pact involving a woman and her two parents came about when the daughter, in her 20s, decided she wanted to die and her mother and father decided they couldn't live without her. “The sequence, we may never know. Some of it we think we know, but there are other things that we may never know,” said West Manchester Township Police Chief John Snyder.
Pennsylvania could soon be compensating school board members or their time serving local districts. Representative Joe Webster of Montgomery says compensation for school board members is long overdue. Under the proposal, board members would be paid annual salaries, or in some cases, be offered free access to higher education. Webster says the form of compensation would be determined by community members in individual districts.
A lucky someone in Carbon County is a whole lot richer before Valentine's Day. A Powerball ticket worth one-million-dollars was sold at Hazle Park Meats and Groceries in Kidder Township. The store will receive a five-thousand-dollar bonus for selling the ticket. The lucky winner is being asked to sign the back of the winning ticket and contact their local P-A Lottery office as soon as possible to claim their prize.
The Pennsylvania Lottery is issuing an apology to players for threatening to take their accounts away. P-A Lottery officials announced yesterday that they will not turn your account over to the state despite an e-mail being sent out earlier this week that told players they would be turned over to the Bureau of Unclaimed Property if they didn't login before March 31st. Officials say the email was in error and they're working to ensure this doesn't happen again.
A federal judge has blocked a New Jersey law that lets the state sue the gun industry if it endangers public safety through its marketing methods. The judge issued a preliminary injunction against the law, arguing it appears to conflict with a federal law that shields the gun industry from lawsuits when their guns are used in a crime. Earlier this week, another judge blocked another New Jersey law that addressed conceal carry restrictions in New Jersey. The law blocked yesterday was a focal point of one of Governor Phil Murphy's packages of gun control laws. His office says it's confident the law will be upheld on appeal.
New Jersey is increasing reimbursement rates for a mother's healthcare to improve birth outcomes. First Lady Tammy Murphy says the 15-million-dollar initiative will go into effect on July 1st and applies to perinatal and midwife services, along with community doula care. Under the change, reimbursement rates for physicians and midwives will match 100-percent of Medicare rates while community doulas will receive more than eleven-hundred dollars for labor support. It's all part of Murphy's Nurture NJ effort, which aims to cut maternal death rates by half over the next five years.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro is getting into the spirit of the Eagles run to the Super Bowl. "Congratulations Philadelphia Eagles! What a huge win! NFC Champions and in two weeks we bring that Lombardi Trophy back to Philly, back to Pennsylvania," Shapiro said. And then the governor pushed a "Fly Eagles Fly" plunger to light the west side of the state Capitol in Eagles green. The Capitol will remain lit in Eagles green until the Super Bowl on February 12th.
As the Eagles continue to gear up for the Super Bowl, the team is getting good news regarding their offensive line. NBC Philadelphia reports that Landon Dickerson should be able to play in the big game. He suffered an injury to his right elbow during the NFC Championship and missed the end of the game. The Philly offensive line includes three Pro Bowlers and a pair of alternates.