A federal prisoner who was supposed to be temporarily housed at the Lehigh County Jail escaped Sunday evening, but he wasn't free for long. The prisoner escaped from an area where inmates are taken before they're physically transferred into a jail. There's no word yet on how he managed to get away, but he was caught just 10 minutes later at the site of the old Banana Joe's nightclub in the 300 block of Hamilton Street. The prisoner's name has not yet been released, and it's not known what federal charges he was being held on, but officials say he'll now be facing escape charges on the state level.
A weekend fire may have completely destroyed a Monroe County apartment building. Nate Black is the chief of Acme Hose Company No. 1. "I would classify it as severe. I would guess it's probably a total loss, but it's definitely severe damage," Black says. He says the fire began Sunday afternoon at the back of the apartment building on North Courtland Street right across the street from the East Stroudsburg High School South. There were people inside the building when the fire broke out, however all of them escaped unharmed. A State Police fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze.
A person is recovering at the hospital after they had to be rescued from the Lehigh River. Emergency crews in Carbon County rescued the person from the river about a half-mile north of the Route 895 bridge near Bowmanstown. There's no word on the person's condition at this time.
State officials say there's now a significant reduction in processing times for Pennsylvania teacher certifications. The state Education Department has announced that the In-State Level One Certificates now take from two to four weeks to process, which is ten weeks shorter than it took last year. State Education Secretary Khalid Mumin says in a news release that even more progress can be made on the situation. He says his department has hired more staff, including four new full-time employees, and three temporary workers, to help meet the current demand. A new certification clock on the state education website gives real-time updates on the processing time.
Arguments in the sentencing phase of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial are expected to wrap up sometime this week. Defense attorneys have called a number of witnesses to speak on the history of mental illness suffered by convicted gunman Robert Bowers. He has been found guilty of killing eleven people inside the Squirrel Hill synagogue that housed three Jewish congregations in October of 2018. Jurors will ultimately decide whether he will be executed or spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Three of Pennsylvania's Republican Congressional lawmakers are cheering a U.S. Supreme Court decision. The high court Thursday upheld a controversial ruling that will open the door to completing the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The MVP will ship large quantities of natural gas from the Marcellus shale gas fields, some of which are under Pennsylvania, to Virginia. U.S. Representatives John Joyce, Dan Meuser and Guy Reschenthaler are all praising the decision because they say it will have a huge economic impact on Pennsylvania's natural gas industry. Opponents say the six-billion-dollar project will lock in decades of emissions. The high court's decision paves the way for the final section of the 303-mile pipeline to be completed in Virginia before winter.
Federal officials say natural gas production in the region remained flat last year, including in four key Pennsylvania counties. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows those four top-producing counties - Susquehanna, Washington, Bradford, and Greene - saw a three percent decline in production in 2022 compared to the previous year. Officials say drilling efficiency decreased in three of those counties for the first time in ten years. Overall, Susquehanna County has been the state's largest natural gas producer.
GOP presidential hopeful Chris Christie says the latest charges against former President Trump sound like something out of a Godfather movie. "These guys were acting like the Corleone's with no experience," Christie said on on CNN's State of the Union.
New Jersey is taking a tougher stance on stalkers, with a new law last week that allows stalking victims to get restraining orders on stalkers they did not previously know. Republican New Jersey St. Sen. Jon Bramnick says all stalking victims can now hopefully live in peace. "There was a ridiculous loophole in the law. We've changed it and it's really important," Bramnick says. The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource center says one in three American women and one in six American men have been stalking victims.