The party began before dawn this morning in Punxsutawney. After the singing, dancing, fireworks and music it was time for Punxsutawney Phil's annual weather prediction. "I see a shadow on my stage and so no matter how you measure, it's six more weeks of winter weather," Phil's handler announced to the crowd. Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter well over 100 times in his glorious history.
Among those celebrating Groundhog Day at Gobblers Knob this morning was new Gov. Josh Shapiro. "Phil may be the draw, but you're the reason I'm here because you're the very best of Pennsylvania. You're tough. You're resilient and you know how to have a good time," Shapiro shouted to the crowd. Shapiro is only the third sitting governor to attend Groundhog Day festivities.
A 14-year-old Dieruff High School student faces multiple gun-related charges after allegedly bringing a loaded gun to school. This student describes what she saw and heard. "Basically, all I heard was that there's one freshman guy, he brought a gun to school and he was just like, whipping it around in front of the cameras. And he was just like, showing it off to his friends. And then they caught him through the school cameras," the girl says. Police say the incident and lockdown began just before 1:30 Wednesday afternoon and school resource officers found the student. Back in September, a similar incident happened at Allen High School, but it took nearly a week for parents to be informed of it. In Wednesday's lockdown, Allentown Police say parents were notified almost immediately.
Northampton County Commissioner Tara Zrinski is running for county controller. Zrinski has served six years as a county commissioner. Incumbent Richard "Bucky" Szulborski was appointed to the job in 2021 after the death of Tony Bassil. Szulborski, a Democrat, said when he was appointed that he would not run for the job.
Willy Joe's has been around since 1945, however one of its two Lehigh Valley locations will be closing this spring. After more than 40 years there, Willy Joe's is planning to close its Lehigh St. location at the end of April. The restaurant will continue to operate its location at 446 N. 15th St. in Allentown.
The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency is unveiling guidelines for a new 100-million-dollar grant program. It's designed to boost affordable rental housing in the state and funded by money from the American Rescue Plan Act. But people can't apply for it just yet - it may be a month or so before that's possible. Instead, the state agency suggests those who'd like to take advantage of the program read the guidelines to make sure they qualify.
Altoona-based Sheetz is eliminating an employment policy that many had found objectionable. The policy, nicknamed the "smile" policy, said that applicants with obvious missing, broken, or badly discolored teeth, unrelated to a disability, were not qualified for employment with Sheetz. A spokesperson for the convenience store chain says that, through employee feedback, they've learned that the so-called smile policy is not aligned with their values and so it is being discontinued.
A report from New Jersey's Environmental Protection Department and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey shows the bald eagle population in the Garden State continues to grow. The report shows 250 active nests of bald eagles have been identified this year, which is an increase of 28 active nests over the last two years. The report also shows the productivity rate was almost one-and--half young per nest, which is higher than what's required to maintain healthy population numbers for bald eagles.
Philadelphia Eagles offensive guard Josh Sills is facing rape and kidnapping charges in Ohio. The 25-year-old is accused of engaging in sexual activity that wasn't consensual and holding a victim against her will in 2019. That's according to a statement from the state's Attorney General. He's been indicted on two felony charges. Sills appeared in one game for the Eagles this season, in October against the Arizona Cardinals. The indictment comes as the Eagles are getting ready to play in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs in Arizona.