Here's what's trending for August 17.

Judge Edward Smith has tossed out a federal lawsuit filed against Bethlehem Area School District and former Superintendent Joseph Roy. District assistant principal Antonio Traca filed the suit back in April, alleging Roy punched him in the chest and yelled at him for ignoring a group of unruly students at an October 14th football game between Liberty and Easton high schools. Traca's attorneys claimed that violated Traca's constitutional rights, but Smith disagreed, throwing out the suit Tuesday. Traca has until August 30th to file an amended complaint.

The average price for a gallon of gas in Pennsylvania has essentially held steady over the past seven days. The average price Tuesday, according to AAA East Central, was $3.90, down a fraction of a cent from the previous week. In the Lehigh Valley, the average price was $3.82, down three cents from August 8th. The local price is 39 cents below where it stood last August 8th.

Musikfest says this year’s ‘Fest had record attendance of 1.33 million. The vast majority of that number behaved themselves. But not all. The Bethlehem police released arrest figures, which show a slight increase compared with 2022, most of them relatively minor infractions. Police made just 29 arrests for a total of 36 criminal offenses. Public drunkenness and disorderly conduct were the two most common offenses charged, at nine arrests each. There were also three drug-related offenses, three thefts, two DUIs, and two assaults. In addition to criminal offenses, police assisted Bethlehem EMS on 36 medical incidents, recovered lost property in 20 incidents, and fielded 12 911 misdials and/or hang-ups. In total, police handled 132 festival-related incidents, which represented an increase of 43 incidents from 2022.

Barnes & Noble plans to open its temporary store in the Lehigh Valley Mall next week. The original Lehigh Valley Barnes & Noble opened in 2007 and is currently undergoing complete renovation. The temporary Barnes & Noble is scheduled to open near J.C. Penney next Wednesday and the bookseller expects to reopen the original location in the Lifestyle Center at Lehigh Valley Mall in spring 2024.

The owner of a Tamaqua music school who pleaded guilty to 500 counts of possessing child pornography was sentenced Wednesday to serve up to five years in state prison. During sentencing, 38-year-old David Fortin offered a tearful apology in court, saying he would strive to be a better person. Fortin owns the Fortin Academy of Music in Tamaqua.

State Representative Joe Ciresi says he plans to introduce legislation that will require state agencies to have actual people take calls from the public, as opposed to being routed through automated voice services. The Democrat from Montgomery County says having live representatives will streamline the process so that the public can get their questions answered and access important information without delays.

The Allentown City Council has introduced an ordinance that will let the Allentown State Hospital site be redeveloped. On Wednesday, the council voted to establish a "mixed-use overlay district" that would let developer City Center place structures on the site. It will eventually include housing, medical offices and stores. Leaders at City Center have named the project the Northridge development and say they'll keep more than 40-percent of it as open space - most of it along the riverfront.

Crews are hard at work tearing down an eyesore in Carbon County. A dilapidated home located along High Street in Nesquehoning is finally coming down. A fire destroyed the home seven years ago and owners were even issued citations back in 2021. Officials say the home is a health and safety hazard for the community.

A study commissioned by the state House recommends that Pennsylvania shift away from mandates dictating how many hours educators must devote to training. Instead, the Joint State Government Commission report suggests they could satisfy training requirements by demonstrating that they understand the content. The report also calls for giving school districts greater flexibility in determining which staff need training in specific areas. Those include for training on substance abuse, dating violence, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

A Republican state Senator from the Cambria/Center area is proposing chemical castration as a term of parole for repeat offenders. Senator Wayne Langerholc said in his co-sponsor memo that the proposal would also extend to men who are convicted of committing sexual crimes against kids under age 13. Under his plan, only male sex offenders be injected with a testosterone-reducing drug before release. Langerholc's memo suggests voluntary chemical castration could also be an option. He says there are at least ten other states that also have chemical castration as a parole condition.

The Boss has had to call in sick for a couple of shows this week. Hours before Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band were set to open a two-show stop at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park yesterday, the show was called off. The scheduled concert tomorrow night is also postponed. Springsteen announced he's sick, with an undisclosed illness. Anyone with tickets is asked to hold onto them; the band will try to reschedule the dates.

New Jersey's former Governor and 2024 presidential hopeful appears to be moving up in the polls. According to the latest GOP presidential primary polling in New Hampshire Chris Christie has now edged ahead of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with nine-percent of support according to the latest Emerson College poll, compared to DeSantis' eight-percent. Both men trail former President Donald Trump, the who continues to dominate handily with forty-nine percent of voter support. It's the first time DeSantis, whose campaign has been struggling in recent weeks, has fallen behind Christie who has grown increasingly vocal in his attacks against Trump.

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