The state Department of Environmental Protection has declared today another code orange air quality day for our area. That means that air pollution concentrations may be unhealthy for sensitive groups like young children, the elderly and those with asthma, heart disease or lung issues. People falling into any of those groups are encouraged to minimize strenuous activity or extended periods of time outdoors.
Despite an almost completely dry month of May, the Lehigh Valley has not yet reached drought status. However, the Lehigh County Authority's Liesel Gross says we could well be on our way. "It does appear likely that we should at least be careful and be thinking about a potential drought declaration of some kind from the state," Gross says. She says water level problems began back in winter when almost no snow fell and became worse last month with a near-record setting low amount of rainfall.
After nearly 100 years, PPL says it's leaving its current headquarters on Hamilton Street and heading a couple blocks away into office space at Two City Center. The company says it has already begun the process of selling its current 24-floor headquarters, which is the tallest building in the Lehigh Valley at 324 feet. A PPL spokesman says the company is moving because the current headquarters is larger than it needs. About 400 workers are expected to move into four floors and take up about 100,000-square-feet of office space. Current PPL Tower Building headquarters is more than 200,000-square-feet. Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk says he's pleased PPL isn't leaving his city and says he hopes the company's current headquarters will be converted into residential units.
Allentown police say a person shot in in the city on Wednesday night will survive. The victim was shot in the 600 block of North Grant Street just after 9:30 Wednesday night and taken to the hospital. Police believe the shooting was a result of a disturbance that happened in that area. The incident remains under investigation.
Investigators still don't know what caused several brush fires on Monday along Route 33 at the Monroe/Northampton county border, but they are saying it almost certainly wasn't arson. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says it will still likely be a while until the official cause is determined.
March's NCAA Men’s Division I Ice Hockey Tournament Regional at PPL Center generated more than $4.3 million in economic impact according to Discover Lehigh Valley. PPL Center previously hosted the NCAA hockey regionals in 2018, 2019 and 2022. It has been selected to host again in 2025.
Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday in the Tree of Life synagogue massacre. Jurors on Thursday heard from a forensics expert testifying for the prosecution in the capital murder trial of Robert Bowers. He is accused of killing eleven worshippers at the Pittsburgh synagogue in October of 2018. One FBI official described her analysis of DNA evidence gathered at the crime scene which she says connects the defendant with weapons recovered and with the victims.
A Pennsylvania House committee recently approved a new package of anti-blight bills. The Housing and Community Development panel approved five bills last week to advance the measures. They now go to the floor for a vote. Over the past 15 years, state lawmakers have added many laws to the books to help local officials fight blight and to redevelop or demolish deteriorated areas. An informal bipartisan coalition in both chambers has tackled many issues including foreclosure procedures and dealing with absentee landlords.
Lawmakers in the state Senate are reviving efforts to update the commonwealth's dog laws. Earlier this week, the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee voted unanimously to revive long-stalled legislation to hike annual state dog license fees. It would also increase kennel fees. Committee Majority Chairman Elder Vogel says if enacted, the measure would be the first hike for dog licenses in more than 25 years and the first in dog kennel fees in nearly 60 years. Service dogs would be exempt from the increases.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is urging residents to stay inside as smoke from Canadian wildfires move through the area. The governor says if people must go outside, they should wear a well-fitted N-95 mask. It comes as air quality across much of the state is considered unhealthy or very unhealthy, with Air Quality Indexes expected to get worse before getting better. Murphy says more than 200 Canadian wildfires are burning across more than ten-million acres, adding New Jersey wildfires have not impacted local air quality.
New Jersey, like New York City, is dealing with hazardous air quality, the worst recorded Thursday since 1980. On a scale of zero to 500, it was 486 in Hillsborough and 467 in Piscataway. The intense smoke was causing runny eyes, drippy noses, coughing, wheezing, chest congestion which are major problems for people with allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues. The bad air is also dangerous for the elderly, those with heart conditions and the very young.