The Lehigh Valley Zoo has lost one of its star attractions. The zoo is mourning the loss of their beloved 20-year-old giraffe, Murphy. Zoo officials say that Murphy was cared for around the clock by a highly trained and dedicated animal care team and a very experienced veterinary staff. As an older giraffe, Murphy had age-related health ailments that the zoo animal care team was monitoring and treating, but he had a limited response to ongoing treatment efforts and staff made the decision to euthanize him early Monday morning. The Lehigh Valley Zoo says his loss will be greatly felt by the staff and guests who loved him dearly.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health Monday confirmed a two-day total of 4381 new coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to 1,158,486. There were 23 new COVID-related deaths over the same two-day span, bringing the statewide total to 26,276 deaths. Statewide percent positivity for the seven days ending April 29th stood at 7.6-percent.
More than three-million New Jersey residents are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. That's more than halfway to Gov. Phil Murphy's goal of 4.7-million New Jerseyans vaccinated by the end of next month.
New Jersey is taking steps to return to normal as Gov. Phil Murphy lifts several coronavirus restrictions. New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are joining together to lift some of the most strenuous restrictions by May 19th, including indoor capacity limits at restaurants and gyms while also dropping caps at outdoor gatherings. People will still need to maintain six feet of distance and wear masks.
New Jersey is aiming to make it easier to vaccinate people against COVID-19. Gov. Phil Murphy says the state's mega-sites and several other vaccination clinics are now offering walk-up appointments. He says the state will be using all six of its mega-sites as "hub and spoke" models to make doses more available to neighboring communities.
Primary election day is two weeks from today and like last year's election, voting by mail and via drop boxes will be part of the process. Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure says voting in those non-traditional ways will be secure. "Our drop boxes are very secure. They're all under camera, so everybody can be very confident there are no shenanigans going on," McClure says. Mail-in ballots must be received by May 18, either by mail or in one of several drop box sites in each county.
A failing bridge in Lehigh County has been closed indefinitely because of deterioration. West State Street in Coopersburg is closed in both directions over the small bridge between Main Street and John Alley and will remain closed indefinitely until repairs can be made PennDOT says.
Those looking for work are being invited to attend Lowe's National Hiring Day today. Lowe's is looking to fill 50,000 positions nationwide, which means a variety of seasonal, part-time and full-time jobs are available in our area.
Monroe County is showing off its plans for the courthouse's expansion. The county released renderings of the courthouse makeover Monday. The two-stage project will improve the first floor of the annex and a new addition will be built for courtrooms and rooms for the sheriff's office. Construction on phase-one will begin at the end of this month and the entire project is expected to be completed in 2023.
Pennsylvania lawmakers and restaurant workers are calling for a boost in the minimum wage. Many restaurant servers and bartenders are being paid around $2.83 an hour and survive off tips, but workers say that isn't enough to survive today. Department of Labor and Industry officials say the low-tipped wage grants managers an unprecedented power to reward or punish workers with shifts, tables and tasks that can make or break bank accounts.
Help is available for Pennsylvania renters who are struggling to pay utility bills. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is available right now to those who pay rent on a residential property and who are struggling to afford electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash removal and other utility bills.
The Little League World Series is returning to Williamsport this August. The 2021 edition will only feature U.S. teams while there will be a limited number of spectators allowed. Staff will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. Last year, the tournament was canceled due to the pandemic.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation is making efforts to beautify 2300 miles of state highways. To do it, NJDOT is resuming its Inmate Litter and Adopt-A-Highway programs to work in tandem with the agency's road crews. The initiatives were put on hold last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.