The Berks County mom accused of hanging her two children and making it appear they committed suicide is asking for you to pay for her defense. Prosecutors say Lisa Snyder's attorney is seeking to have her classified as indigent, effectively having taxpayers foot the bill for any experts testifying in her defense. Snyder is accused of killing her two children in the family's Albany Township home last September. She is pleading not guilty to two counts of first and third-degree murder.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says it needs to become socially unacceptable to not wear a mask in public. "When you wear a mask, whether you're walking on a busy street, whether you're inside a grocery store or riding public transportation that is a sign to the whole community that we are in this together," Levine says. While Pennsylvania's daily coronavirus case number has nearly doubled on some days over the past week, Levine says there are no plans at this time to move any counties back into the yellow reopening phase. Monday, the state added 492 new COVID-19 cases and eight more coronavirus-related deaths.
The state Department of Labor and Industry says those who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation can get their benefits extended. Those individuals would have also used up the federal Pandemic Emergency Compensation as well. They will now qualify for 13 more weeks of unemployment compensation under the Extended Benefits program. The last time the EB program was triggered in Pennsylvania was 2009.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says indoor dining will not resume Thursday as originally planned. He blames that on what he calls "knucklehead" behavior since lockdowns have been eased. "We have all seen the scenes: overcrowding; a complete disregard for social distancing; very few, if any, face coverings," Murphy says. The governor does acknowledge many residents have followed along with a sense of community regarding masks and social distancing.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the state has negotiated a deal with the Communications Workers of America that will save New Jersey $100 million. The deal with the state's largest workers' union calls for furloughs that will forego the need for layoffs through the end of next year. A series of two-percent salary increases is also being postponed for a year.
Property taxes are going up in the Allentown School District. Monday night, in a 5-4 vote, the school board adopted a final 2020-21 budget that includes a 4% tax increase on property owners. That is the highest amount permitted without a voter referendum and figures out to a roughly $104 annual increase on a property assessed at $108,800. An amendment that would have lowered the increase to 2.5-percent was voted down by an identical 5-4 vote. A tax increase is nothing new for Allentown property owners. Last year, the district raised taxes 1.75%. The year prior, the district raised taxes 3.7% and the 2017-18 budget featured a 3.8% tax increase.
Allentown police are searching for a suspect who allegedly shot at his ex-girlfriend several times before chasing her in his car and then crashing. Police say Monday evening the woman drove away from the suspect in her car and the man started to chase her before crashing on 19th and Highland streets. He allegedly hopped out of his vehicle and ran away, but police know his identity and are looking for him. It's unclear if the woman was hit from the multiple gunshots, however she is listed in stable condition.
A Lehigh Valley lawmaker is proposing a bill that would give more authority to municipalities in regards to regulating fireworks and penalizing violators. Democrat St. Rep. Bob Freeman says ever since the state law passed in 2017 that allows residents to buy and use consumer-grade fireworks, it has greatly disrupted the lives of many across the state. He says municipalities need more power over when and where fireworks can be used.
St. Sen. Judy Schwank says she will introduce legislation to repeal a law that allows people to buy more powerful fireworks. Schwank, who represents part of Berks County, says the expansion has resulted in people lighting fireworks day and night. She says it's causing more injuries, property damage and emotional distress to children and pets. She says it's also putting a strain on first responders.
The Phillies are less than a month away from returning to the field. General Manager Matt Klentak says since the word came down there would be baseball this year, it's been a bit of a scramble. "From the moment last week that we got the news we were returning it really kicked off a sprint for a lot of people to get ready for spring training, or for whatever you want to call it," Klentak says. Klentak also officially announced that players on the team's 60-man roster who don't crack the Phillies Opening Day 30-man roster will work out at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown to stay ready if called upon.