With more than one million people expected to flock to Bethlehem for Musikfest, security is top of mind for a lot of people, including ArtsQuest president and CEO Kassie Hilgert. Musikfest begins tonight, but Hilgert says security prep began long ago. "We work with the city police department and emergency responders at the county level, the state level and even the federal level year-round on scenarios on what could happen at the festival," Hilgert says. Bethlehem Police say they'll be beefing up security at Musikfest this year because of a shooting at the event last year. Chief Michelle Kott says there will be more officers than the department has ever had on patrol for the festival, and they will include both uniformed and plain clothes officers. Mounted officers from the state police stables as well as from the Lancaster Police Department will also help patrol this year.
Lehigh Valley International Airport's construction projects are getting another influx of state money. Pennsylvania is investing $1.6 million into the airport to continue the construction of a northside parallel taxiway, which will allow access to the expanding cargo development on the north side of the airport.
A Scranton man is charged with intentionally running down and killing a man at a Schuylkill County business late Wednesday afternoon. It happened around 6 p.m. at Mark T. Boyle Welding & Industrial Sandblasting in the 700 block of Penn Drive in West Penn Township. Investigators say 60-year-old Michael Albert deliberately drove a dump truck into 35-year-old Mark Boyle, who was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest where he was pronounced dead. Albert is being held in Schuylkill County Prison without bail. Police did not comment on a potential motive.
The man convicted of killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue has been sentenced to death. Family members of those killed in the October 2018 shooting offered their thoughts after the sentence was issued. "Finally, justice has been served and even though nothing will bring my dad back, I feel like a weight has been lifted and I can breathe a sigh of relief," one victim's daughter said. The jurors deliberated for about ten hours over two days. Robert Bowers was convicted in June on more than 60 charges in the attack.
Both Pennsylvania senators commented after a jury sentenced Robert Bowers to death for murdering 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh nearly five years ago. John Fetterman said, "I hope today's sentencing decision is a step toward justice and healing for the families of the victims, survivors of the attack and the broader Jewish community in Pittsburgh and across the country." Bob Casey said, "Today closes a painful chapter in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, but our work to honor the victims, and to root out antisemitism, must never end."
So called "junk fees" are becoming more pervasive in Pennsylvania. The fees are surprise charges that don't appear in initial price advertisements, but often inflate a final purchase cost by hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry told a U.S. Senate panel Wednesday that these kind of added costs damage the competitive marketplace for borrowers, renters, travelers and ticket buyers. She says her office has joined 15 other state attorneys general in calling on the heads of some of America's biggest banks to eliminate these hidden costs, including overdraft fees and charges assessed for insufficient funds.
State officials are working on a new management plan for Pennsylvania's forests for the next 20 years. "Forests For All" is being touted as a successor to the last plan that was written nearly 30 years ago. The plan looks at stewardship of both public and private forest lands in Pennsylvania, with goals to help ecosystems respond to climate change, as well as looking at the social benefits of forests and how to best promote conservation practices.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is set to return home this afternoon following the death of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver. The 71-year-old was serving as acting governor while Murphy was on vacation in Italy, but her duties had to be transferred to Senate President Nick Scutari when she was hospitalized with an unknown medical issue and later died. Murphy plans to sign an executive order that will direct all U.S. and New Jersey flags to fly at half-staff as the state mourns Oliver's passing. The governor will make a private visit to pay his respects to Oliver and meet with the members of her family.
The battleship New Jersey is undergoing about five-million dollars in renovations so the hull can be properly maintained. The ship will be taken to Philadelphia for repairs and then towed back to Camden. Officials with the Navy say inactive ships -- such as the New Jersey -- need to be dry-docked every 20 years to be properly maintained. The state is funding the renovations. The battleship -- the most decorated ship in Navy history -- is serving as a museum and memorial on the Camden Delaware River waterfront.