Here's what's trending for September 15.


Pennsylvania's Department of Health Tuesday added 3732 new cases of coronavirus to the statewide total, which is now at 1,354,451. Another 83 COVID-related deaths were also reported, leaving the state with 28,651 virus-related deaths since the pandemic began.

Acting Pennsylvania Health Secretary Alison Beam says COVID-19 vaccines are working eventhough it's not batting 1000. "No vaccine has 100-percent efficacy so some post-vaccination cases should be expected. It's important to also remember that COVID-19 vaccines were developed to help people stay out of the hospital and avoid death, not just positive cases," Beam says. Since the beginning of the year, almost 6500 Pennsylvanians have died of COVID. Beam says 97-percent of those cases came from unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people. She added 95-percent of the nearly 35,000 people hospitalized with the virus this year were either unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association is recommending that all student-athletes, coaches, athletic personnel and officials get vaccinated against COVID-19. The PIAA says the decision was put forth after their sports medicine advisory committee issued their support and recommendation for vaccinations. No mandates have been set except for officials that want to work inter-district competitions like playoffs.

Some Republicans in the state legislature are proposing a constitutional amendment to stop future mask mandates like the one the Wolf administration's put on schools. State Health Secretary Alison Beam is using the Disease Prevention and Control Act of 1955. Sen. Scott Martin says the proposal would mean this sort of thing would not be allowed without an emergency declaration in place. "People's voices come through their elected officials and especially when you have those occasions when they exercise their will at a voting booth. For them to be basically be ignored, only to create a new process is unacceptable," Martin says.

Republican state lawmakers are trying to get around lawsuits to stop the Wolf administration's mask mandate in schools. Yesterday, the House Health Committee voted to send a letter to the Joint Committee on Documents, asking them to look into whether or not the state's acting health secretary violated the law with her mask order. Democrats on the House Health Committee say this move is just an exercise in political theater, and they're flabbergasted that public health has become a partisan political issue. This comes after the court hearing for the lawsuit challenging the order was postponed by the Commonwealth Court.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy Defoor is criticizing the governor for his waiver process for non-life-sustaining businesses that wanted to remain open during the COVID-19 shutdown. According to his report, the administration confused many business owners as their definition of "life-sustaining" businesses was changed at least nine times. The report also showed that the department that handled these waivers made questionable decisions that resulted in detrimental effects for businesses and an unnecessarily increased risk to public health. Defoor says while the pandemic presented some unique challenges, the process was hastily assembled on the fly, unevenly administered and should be reformed before anything like it is used again.

The dilapidated Glendon Hotel may be demolished by Halloween. Northampton County's General Purpose Authority has received bids to demolish the hotel but has not awarded a contract. The 281-year-old hotel may not make it through October if a contract is awarded.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is confirming that it lost over $100 million in unpaid tolls last year. However, officials say they collected 93-percent of their revenues as this leakage is normal for all cashless toll agencies. They added that the majority of unpaid tolls come from those who use the toll by plate system. The system uses cameras at toll booths to take pictures of license plates to send the driver a bill in the mail, but it has issues. Sometimes, items block the license plates or motor vehicle agencies from other states don't provide owner addresses and some bills were just undeliverable.

Residents in some southeastern Pennsylvania counties affected by flooding and damage from Ida are eligible for tax relief. Filing and payment deadlines that fall on or after August 31 are now extended to January 3, 2022, the IRS said Tuesday. People who live or have a business in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties and were affected by the heavy rainfall and flooding qualify for the extension.

An unusual billboard that involves President Biden and the Taliban is causing a stir in central Pennsylvania. The Billboard along I-83 near York shows the President wearing a turban and carrying an RPG next to the words, "making the Taliban great again!" Officials with Trone Outdoor Advertising say former St. Sen. Scott Wagner is behind the billboard. PennDOT says while they understand that the message on the billboard may be unpleasant to some, it is their understanding that it's legal and they have no basis to require it to change.

New Jersey's program that pays people to drive electric vehicles is using up all its funds. The state's Board of Public Utilities says it's pausing the Charge Up New Jersey Program today and will evaluate the possibility of offering additional funding before the next fiscal year. The program only launched on July 6th and will distribute roughly $30 million to people who have leased or bought an electric vehicle since then. Vehicle electrification is a key part of Gov. Phil Murphy's clean energy agenda, with a goal of going 100-percent clean by 2050.

Former Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter died unexpectedly Monday at the age of 81. Carpenter owned the Phils when they won the World Series back in 1980. The Carpenter family owned the Phillies from 1943 until Ruly Carpenter sold the team in 1981.


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