Allentown's ex-human resources director is speaking out. Nadeem Shahzad says last Friday Mayor Matt Tuerk gave him the option to either quit or be fired. "He said "it's your choice." I knew if I was fired, I'd be escorted out. In that case, I'd rather resign and leave on my own and that's what I chose to do," Shahzad says. He claims the mayor wants everything done his way, and was very upset that City Council was getting too much information about payouts to city workers who were terminated and asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. In a release, Tuerk says he and Shahzad did not have a conversation on this issue. Shahzad says he's planning to file a class action lawsuit for wrongful termination and says he has eight other former city employees who are interested in joining the lawsuit.
Bethlehem Township commissioners have voted to fight the latest attempts to potentially expand the Bethlehem Landfill. They voted Monday to approve a petition that would be filed in Northampton County Court to intervene in the most recent litigation. A civil lawsuit was filed by eight residents last week against the landfill, as well as Lower Saucon Township. The township's council has set a public hearing on the issue next Wednesday morning. It will start at 9:00 a.m. at the Se-Wy-Co Fire Station on Old Philadelphia Pike.
Preliminary plans have been approved to build a new Wawa in Allen Township. The township's planning commission advanced the proposal Monday night for the convenience store planned at the intersection of Route 329 and Savage Road. The six-thousand-square-foot business would be located at the southwest corner of the intersection. The developer has agreed to using a cul-de-sac at one of three entrance ways proposed for the site to better accommodate traffic that the store's expected to generate. The site won't get a certificate of occupancy until the township decides on a final traffic plan. The planning commission will discuss further action at its September 18th meeting.
Changes are coming for local Aldi shoppers. Aldi's Bethlehem Township store closed Monday, but the discount grocery chain is opening a new store Thursday at the Bethlehem Plaza shopping center, just off the intersection of Route 22 and Route 191.
A woman who reportedly fled from a police stop over the weekend has been arrested. Reports say that officers pulled over 29-year-old Jamisa McIvor Saturday morning in Monroe County. When McIvor was asked to exit her vehicle, officers say that she instead sped off leading police on a high-speed pursuit. Authorities yesterday said that McIvor has since surrendered. The reason for the original stop has not been reported.
The Pennsylvania Senate will reconvene next week to get back to work on the state's 2024 budget. A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman says the voting session will begin Wednesday, August 30th at 1 p.m. The Senate was scheduled to return September 18th until the new session day was called. The House is still set to re-convene September 26th. The nearly 45-billion-dollar budget was adopted in early July but wasn't signed into law by Governor Josh Shapiro until early August. Legislative authorization is still needed to approve spending on about 400-million dollars in both new and previous state programs.
The Pennsylvania Department of State will soon require counties to publicly report voting machine malfunctions. The mandate will begin with the November elections. The news organization Votebeat reports the requirements are outlined in a settlement of a lawsuit filed four years ago by various election groups. They'd sued the state after a few counties adopted new touch-screen voting machines that the groups said were flawed. The new requirements will also direct those counties to upgrade their voting system software by March of next year.
State officials say they are committed to learning the cause of a recent deadly explosion in Plum. Six people have died as the result of a home's explosion on August 12th. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Richard Negrin yesterday said that investigators are looking at the scene and collecting evidence from all angles to make sure that nothing is missed. Negrin reports that Governor Josh Shapiro has ordered the review of all evidence and sample testing be expedited so that accurate answers can be reached as soon as possible.
Despite reports to the contrary, officials say the search continues for a missing assistant coach who works with Cuba's first-ever Little League World Series team. The South Williamsport Police Department says Jose Perez, who is with the Bayamo, Cuba team, left the dorms on Saturday and never returned. Police note that all the sightings of Perez are unconfirmed. Investigators say no crime has been committed because Perez is in America on a VISA. A spokesperson for Little League International says they're committed to helping the team continue to enjoy the rest of their time in Williamsport. The team was eliminated from the competition in a loss against Panama Sunday but is expected to play in other exhibition games.
Months after several Jersey Shore communities instituted curfews to try to curb disruptive incidents such as large gatherings of drunken teens, local officials say they're having an impact. In Ocean City, authorities instituted a beach curfew beginning at eight p.m., and a general minors' curfew beginning at 11 p.m. Officials with Ocean City say the curfews have been very effective in diminishing the number of large gatherings that had grown increasingly disruptive in recent summers.