Here's what's trending for May 15.

Nearly two years after it closed after 91 years in business, there's word The Brass Rail is returning. Owner Mark Sorrentino says talks began last fall and now a lease has been signed for the restaurant to open up in a brand new spot at the back end of the Allentown Farmers Market near the Fairgrounds Grocery. Sorrentino says the new version of The Brass Rail will include a new breakfast menu, seating, counters and high-top tables and he says they plan on rehiring former employees who lost their jobs when The Brass Rail closed its Lehigh Street restaurant in June 2022. Sorrentino says The Brass Rail should begin serving customers sometime in July.

A Bethlehem police officer assigned to East Hills Middle School as a resource officer is going to be charged with sex crimes amid allegations he was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a student. These parents say they don't like what they're hearing. "I'm not sure of all the facts, but any rumors like that are always tough to hear," one man said. The unidentified officer has been placed on leave by both the Bethlehem Area School District and the Bethlehem PD. The accused officer had also been a soccer coach at the middle school.

The Bethlehem Area School Board is proposing its first tax increase in six-years. The school board has passed its preliminary budget for the 2024-2025 school year, which has a price tag of more than $353 million. If the final budget is approved next month, a three-percent property tax hike would go into effect. That would be the first tax hike since the budget for the 2018-2019 school year.

Property taxes are going up in the Parkland School District. Parkland's School Board adopted a proposed 2024-25 final budget of $236.7 million, which includes a 5% property tax increase. The district is facing an $11.4 million budget shortfall, and the 5% tax hike would add $7.3 million in revenue to the current $151.1 million in revenue from real estate taxes. The district will utilize $4.1 million in fund balance to pay off the remaining budget shortfall.

A man who has been in Lehigh County Jail since late January now facing 76 new charges for a string of burglaries in Northampton County. 31-year-old Shane Lake is accused of stealing guns, jewelry, swords and other items from eight homes in Pen Argyl and trying to steal from a ninth home. Investigators say Lake is responsible for the burglaries that happened between late November and early December 2023. Police found some of the stolen items behind a fence near a quarry in Pen Argyl, very close to Lake's home. More stolen items, including jewelry, were found in an apartment in Macungie after a domestic situation involving Lake and finally, a search of his mother's Salisbury Township home and car uncovered stolen swords. Salisbury Township police also suspect Lake was involved in a burglary in their jurisdiction. Northampton County DA Stephen Baratta says investigators believe Lake was the only one involved in the burglaries. Lake has been in Lehigh County Jail after his arrest following an alleged assault and barricade incident that caused Macungie to be locked down for three hours.

Gas prices across Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley are a bit lower this week. The average price for a gallon of gas in Pennsylvania is $3.76, down three cents from last Tuesday, but a dime more than one year earlier. In the Lehigh Valley, the average price is $3.67 a gallon, six cents lower than last week but 11 cents more than a year ago.

A popular children's entertainer is coming to this summer's Great Allentown Fair. Blippi will be appearing at the Service Electric Grandstand Stage on August 29th. Blippi will be joined by monster trucks, excavators and garbage trucks in what the fair calls a "musical party." Tickets are $30 and go on sale Friday.

Pennsylvania lawmakers are looking at adding silent panic alarms for schools across the state. Senators introduced a plan on Monday that would give schools another option in protecting students. Red Penn Republican Tracy Pennycuick says the idea is to give schools immediate response options in a worst case scenario. The proposal at the Capitol in Harrisburg is modeled after Alyssa's Law which has been adopted in five other states.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is now offering a resource to help people stay informed about tickborne diseases. The agency has launched an online dashboard that shows various stats related to tick bites. It includes a county map showing cases of Lyme disease and other illnesses and a graph that tracks tick bite-related ER visits. A link to the dashboard is posted at health-dot-P-A-dot-gov.

Jury selection enters its third day as potential jurors are screened for the corruption trial of Senator Bob Menendez. Yesterday, potential jurors learned that some of the people who might be called to testify include prominent U.S. Senators, such as Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Cory Booker. Most juror candidates are disqualified because they say they know about the case, have travel plans or have medical reasons. The trial, which is expected to last through July, is being held in a Manhattan courtroom. Senator Menendez is accused of taking bribes, including cash and gold bars, in exchange for helping three New Jersey businessmen. Senator Menendez has pleaded not guilty.

Aid is on its way for New Jersey school districts struggling with cutbacks in state funding. Governor Phil Murphy has signed a bill to provide 44-point-seven-million dollars in state grants for schools. The grants will total 45 percent of a school district's state reduction for the upcoming school year. The governor also signed into law an extension of five extra days for districts that are experiencing a state aid cutback to submit their budgets.

A bill that would allow New Jersey voters to pick their own polling place has passed a legislative committee with bipartisan support and now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The Voter Convenience Act basically acknowledges today's technology. In the past, heavy voter registration books had to be carried to different polling places. But now, electronic registration books have replaced the physical books and allow voters to go to the polling place of their choice. The bill can also allow for countywide polling sites.

There was no Bryce Harper in Tuesday's Phillies win against the Mets. Manager Rob Thomson says he was dealing with a migraine. "About 20 minutes before the game, he got a migraine. Then he came down to the bench and was fine after a couple hours and so he was able to pinch hit if we needed it," Thomson said.

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