Dan Holzman

Dan Holzman

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Here's what's trending for August 3.

Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman says she's pleased at the state Supreme Court's decision to uphold mail-in voting in the commonwealth. She says the ruling will make sure residents can vote regardless of barriers such as illness, work schedules, childcare or other events. The state Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in favor of keeping no-excuse mail-in voting. Justice Christine Donohue said, "We find no restriction in our Constitution on the General Assembly's ability to create universal mail-in voting."

A Salisbury Township woman is dead and the woman she lived with is under arrest for her killing. The Lehigh County DA's office says 40-year-old Terri Hodel shot and killed 37-year-old Tracy Hoffman, whose body was found Monday morning inside their home on East Federal Street. Police first were called to the home on Sunday after a member of Hodel's family requested a welfare check of Hodel, who told police she was fine and asked them to leave. Monday, Salisbury Township Animal Control received an email asking the organization to take care of the dogs at that address. That prompted police to return to the home, which is where they found a note from Hodel and Hoffman's body in a bedroom. The Lehigh County Coroner's Office says Hoffman had been shot to death. Hodel was later found by police and taken into custody.

Last month, the Bethlehem Historic Conservation Commission voted down an ArtsQuest plan to tear down six buildings at its Banana Factory site in South Bethlehem. Tuesday night, Bethlehem City Council voted 5-2 to negate that decision and give ArtsQuest the green light to proceed. ArtsQuest wants to replace the six buildings along Northampton Street with one, five-story cultural center costing a little more than $22 million.

Gas prices are continuing to head lower. Across Pennsylvania, the average price for a gallon of unleaded stood at $4.46 Tuesday, down seven cents from the prior week, but still $1.19 more than a year earlier. In the Lehigh Valley, the average price was $4.36 as of Tuesday, down seven cents from the previous week, but $1.11 more than August 2, 2021.

Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg says there's a chance the record book could be rewritten tomorrow. "It will become very hot and oppressively humid. The high will be 97. The record is 98, last reached in 1944," Lundberg says. Following tomorrow's oppressive day, Lundberg thinks Friday could be a stormy day with the potential for flash flooding.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has approved a five-percent toll increase for 2023 for all E-ZPass and Toll By Plate drivers. The new rates will take effect on January 8th. The most common toll for a passenger vehicle next year will increase from $1.70 to $1.80 for E-ZPass customers and from $4.10 to $4.40 for Toll By Plate customers. Turnpike officials say tolls must be raised annually due to Act 44 of 2007 which requires the turnpike to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars every year to support transportation projects across the commonwealth.

The Allentown Health Bureau is getting a new leader next week. David Synnamon has been chosen to replace Vicky Kistler as the bureau's next director. Synnamon has been the bureau's Injury Prevention Manager since 2014. He takes the job August 8th. Kistler departed to become Allentown's Community and Economic Development Director.

All but one of Pennsylvania's Republican Congressmen say they'll support GOP nominee for governor St. Sen. Doug Mastriano. Their endorsement comes after the Pennsylvania GOP delegation met with Mastriano. A spokeswoman for Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, the only holdout for endorsing Mastriano, says the congressman hasn't yet met with the state senator. But she says Fitzpatrick hopes to do so before the fall elections.

Gov. Tom Wolf says he wants to reintroduce the "Pennsylvania Opportunity Program." He says it would make the state provide funds to families who are struggling in the current state of the economy. On Tuesday, he was in Folcroft to reintroduce the program. If the legislation passes, eligible residents would get $2000 from the state in direct payments. The program is limited to households making $80,000 or less.

Guidelines posted on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's social media endorse many gender neutral pronouns and the creation of inclusive activities. It lists several ideas for welcoming students back to school that help them explore their identities, including their "inner and outer" selves. Part of the website reportedly also calls the idea that there are only two genders a "faulty concept."

State health officials say daily COVID-19 deaths have hit a five-month high, with 20 new fatalities and more than 2300 confirmed cases reported yesterday. The CDC reports 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties are now considered high risk areas for transmission, an increase from only six counties at that level the middle of last month. The state's seven-day average for confirmed positive tests has increased seven percent over the last week. New Jersey has recorded the ninth-most coronavirus deaths per capita of all states.

The Phillies were among the most active teams at the MLB trade deadline. Philadelphia acquired pitcher Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Brandon Marsh in a pair of trade with the Angels. The Phillies sent back minor league outfielders Mickey Moniak and Jadiel Sanchez for Syndergaard and dealt minor league catcher Logan O'Hoppe for Marsh. Philadelphia also flipped minor league pitcher Ben Brown to the Cubs for relief pitcher David Robertson.


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