The family of a 71-year-old woman who died at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono is suing the hospital, Lehigh Valley Health Network and the nurses at the hospital. Lina Dispensa, of Chestnuthill Township, died last December. Her family claims four days before she died, Dispensa's blood oxygen level fell to a dangerously low level, causing her to pass out and fall. The lawsuit states it took more than 15 minutes for staff to respond and by that time, Dispensa had suffered irreversible brain damage and was comatose. The Dispensa family’s suit does not state a specific amount of compensation sought, but does state it would exceed $50,000.
While saying it's not a perfect bill, Lehigh Valley Congresswoman Susan Wild has voted to support a deal to raise the debt ceiling. The bill, which passed the House Wednesday night, would suspend the United States’ $31 trillion debt limit for two years, allowing the government to keep borrowing and spending money. Wild says defaulting on our nation's debt would have been catastrophic.
Wednesday morning, firefighters had to return to the scene of a fire that damaged 15 homes in Easton Monday afternoon. Debris from the fire in the 900 block of Ferry Street rekindled around 8am. Crews were able to quickly put out the hot spots, but firefighters remained at the scene to prevent further problems.
There's a fundraiser going on about a block from Monday afternoon's fire that damaged 15 Easton rowhomes. Lance Wheeler says, "Right now, we're at $5000 in monetary donations and gift cards." Wheeler says those donation may soon also help people not directly affected by the fire. Residents on the opposite side of the street from the fire will soon have to leave their homes briefly when demolition of some of the damaged homes begins. Wheeler says they're planning a community dinner for the victims of the fire, and anyone living in the West Ward in Easton. That dinner is scheduled for 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon at the Full Gospel Cathedral of Praise. Minutes after Wheeler made his comments, he was arrested on allegations he threatened three boys last August. Wheeler was a Wilson Area School District van driver and allegedly yelled at and threatened three students on the van. Wheeler says he did nothing wrong.
PPL says it has resumed normal billing for nearly all customers. This comes five months after PPL's billing system did not communicate with its meters. That caused 800,000 customers in the months following, to receive a mix of high bills, low bills, late bills and sometimes no bills at all.
According to AAA East Central, gas prices in both Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley went higher for the seven days ending Tuesday. In Pennsylvania, the average price bumped up by two cents a gallon to $3.69. That is still $1.07 lower than the same date last year. In the Lehigh Valley, the average price is $3.64, a nickel more than one week earlier, but $1.14 less than May 31, 2022.
The Pennsylvania State Police are out with their annual Memorial Day travel period traffic statistics. Over the four-day holiday weekend, troopers investigated 651 crashes, resulting in four fatalities and 142 injuries. Alcohol was a factor in 59 of the non-fatal crashes. The number of crashes, alcohol-related accidents and people injured were all lower than the previous Memorial Day weekend. Troopers also made 547 DUI arrests and handed out 31,128 citations, each of which were higher than the 2022 Memorial Day weekend numbers.
The Pennsylvania state treasurer is joining Republican leaders in calling for an increase to the state's Rainy-Day fund. Treasurer Stacy Garrity says there's enough money in it to keep the state running for a little over 40 days and she's not advocating for lawmakers to use any part of it. Garrity says expected tax income should go straight into the fund to prepare for what one Republican minority leader says is a looming fiscal downturn. She agrees that spending as proposed in Governor Shapiro's budget could deplete the more than five-billion-dollar rainy-day fund within five years.
Some legislators in Harrisburg have formed a Jewish Caucus. The founders of the group tell Spotlight PA the caucus' objective is to "protect the civil rights of all Pennsylvanians" and celebrate Jewish culture and heritage. Democratic state Senator Judy Schwank , who is from Berks County, and Representative Dan Frankel, who is from Pittsburgh, founded the group. They say one of their top priorities is to pass a four-bill package that would expand the state's hate crimes laws.
Testimony continues in the trial of Robert Bowers. Bowers is accused of gunning down 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill in October of 2018. Jurors yesterday heard from survivors of the incident including Dan Leger. Leger told the court about how he kept quiet after being shot out of fear that the gunman would return and finish him off. Bowers faces the possibility of receiving the death penalty if convicted at trial.