Here's what's trending for March 19.

In a 5-0 vote, the Easton Zoning Hearing Board has given a thumbs down to a developer seeking to construct more than 250 apartments in the city. Bethlehem-based Heritage Riverview LP wanted to construct nine buildings containing 256 apartments on more than 45 acres on Morrison Avenue, some of which is in Easton's College Hill neighborhood and the rest in Forks Township. Last September, the zoning hearing board rejected a previous plan calling for 412 units on the site, and the Easton Planning Commission recommended denial of the current 256-unit plan earlier this month.

Police Chief Glen Dorney has resigned from the South Whitehall Township Police Department. A news release states that Chief Dorney's last day will be Friday. He has served as chief for the township of nearly 20-thousand people for the past six years. The release says Dorney resigned so he could work in the private sector. The Board of Commissioners will vote on appointing Captain Stephen Brown as interim chief during its meeting Wednesday.

A popular doughnut chain is opening a second Lehigh Valley location this weekend. Duck Donuts will hold a grand opening Saturday at Southmont Plaza in Bethlehem Township. Duck Donuts' claim to fame is its made-to-order treats. The other Duck Donuts is found in the Tilghman Square shopping center in South Whitehall Township.

Last week, Gov. Josh Shapiro unveiled his environmental plans, which would require power plants to purchase carbon credits to offset their emissions. Shapiro says no plants would have to close and no workers would lose their jobs under his plan. St. Sen. David Argall says that's simply not true. "The new energy plan that Gov. Shapiro has come up with would literally destroy the future for these plants," Argall says. Argall, whose Senate district includes Carbon, Luzerne and Schuylkill counties, says Shapiro's plan essentially tells four plants in his district to drop dead.

A Pennsylvania man who threatened to assassinate President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump has been sentenced to three years in prison. 34-year-old Mohamed Farah, of Cumberland County, will also be subject to three years of supervised release following his jail time. Farah, a citizen of Somalia, may face deportation after serving his prison sentence.

Folks around the state, hoping to pick up a ticket today for tonight's 875-million dollar Mega Millions drawing, will not be able to get that ticket in the Commonwealth. Lottery terminals across the state are out of commission today as systems are undergoing technical upgrades. The system is expected to be back online tomorrow. The Lottery will post updates on its website and social media channels about when the system upgrade work is finished.

Lawmakers have returned to the state House as part of a two week spring voting session. The Senate has also returned to Harrisburg for a single week of activity. So far, the Senate has just two weeks of activity scheduled in April and another single week of voting scheduled in May, before ramping up for the June scramble to complete the state budget. The House has three weeks of voting scheduled in April and two planned in May.

A Senate panel has approved a bill that would prevent suspects who pose a public threat from getting certain kinds of bail. SB1120 passed by a vote of nine to five Monday in a hearing of the Senate Judiciary committee. The measure would prohibit non-monetary forms of bail to people who are suspected of having ten or more grams of fentanyl, people with a prior record of violence, or individuals who are on the Terrorism Watch list. Non-monetary forms of bail include being released on one's own recognizance, unsecured bail or taking part in a county bail deposit program.

A Pennsylvania state lawmaker from Beaver and Green Counties is proposing changes to motorcycle inspections. State Senator Camera Bartolotta says her bill would allow motorcyclists to get a safety inspection year-round. Right now, PennDOT requires them to be inspected between March and October. Bartolotta says eliminating the restriction on the months in which they can be inspected would just make them consistent with how motorcycles are addressed elsewhere in state law.

The state Office of Open Records was asked to intervene in nearly 3200 appeals by members of the public in 2023. State officials say it was the most appeals handled by the office within a year's time. More than half of the appeals in 2023 were filed by private citizens.

Finding enough substitute teachers is one of the main issues facing state education. That's according to a recent Pennsylvania School Boards Association report that says school districts also continue to try to cope with the loss of funding that their districts have given up to support cyber schools. The PSBA says nearly 90 percent of districts report a shortage of substitute teachers while a large percentage also reported shortages in instructional aides, special education staff and drivers.

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