Dan Holzman

Dan Holzman

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Here's what's trending for January 20.

Officials say they now know what probably caused an eight-foot trench to collapse in Allentown last week. The incident in the backyard of a home on Gordon Street trapped a man who was buried up to his neck for over eight hours. Officials say it happened as the victim and another man were completing sewer work. Investigators believe the trench collapse was caused by a failure to follow proper safety procedures. Federal officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration say their examination of what happened could take up to six months to complete.

Lehigh University's president says a November assault on a Black Lehigh student by two white attackers was not racially motivated. Lehigh says the investigation determined racist language was used by the attackers, but the incident was not a racially motivated assault. The statement says the student is doing well and has not filed charges. The assault happened when the 22-year-old student, who hasn’t been identified, was walking off campus, near South New and Morton streets.

An Outback Steakhouse could be coming to Whitehall. The township planning commission has granted final land development plan approval for the 4,800-square-foot restaurant, which is proposed for 1300 Grape St. That's directly across from the Whitehall Mall. Outback Steakhouse currently has two locations in the Lehigh Valley: one in Bethlehem Township and one in Trexlertown.

The Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners hopes a state grant will help them pay for traffic signal upgrades. Commissioners Thursday night approved a township request to apply for the state's Green Light-Go grant program for traffic signals at three intersections. Those are at Hamilton Boulevard and Kressler Road, Hamilton Boulevard and the ramps to Interstate 78 and Fred Jaindl Highway and Kessler Road. The township is requesting nearly $280,000 from the state and has secured some $70,000 in city matching funds.

Leaders in South Whitehall Township say they're concerned about the amount of traffic from a planned business on Walbert Avenue. Atlanta-based Montar Group wants to place a three-story self-storage facility there. The township's planning commission members say they're mainly concerned with congestion in the area. The company says it's in the process of getting state approval for its proposals. The panel voted Thursday to take the issue under advisement.

A Lehigh County woman is facing child endangerment and other charges for allegedly leaving two children and a dog in a vehicle while she gambled at Wind Creek casino. Bethlehem police say when they responded, they found the car with fogged up windows and a 9-year-old girl sitting in the front passenger seat, a 3-year-old boy in the back left passenger seat, and a dog inside. As police interviewed a witness, a 31-year-old Whitehall Township woman approached the car. She told officers she was inside the casino cashing out and was not gone too long. The woman was arrested and charged with two counts each of child endangerment and reckless endangerment, and a single count of leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. She is free on $25,000 unsecured bail.

The City of Bethlehem will host a running festival this fall for the first time in four years. The event, which will start at Steelstacks and wind its way through the city, will happen October 21st and 22nd. It will include a 5K, 10K and half-marathon course. Bart Yasso, who worked for Runner's World magazine - which previously sponsored the festivals - has designed the three courses. Proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.

The first woman Supreme Court Chief Justice in Pennsylvania will be formally sworn in Friday. Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd has held the position temporarily for the past three months since the death of Chief Justice Max Baer in October. Her swearing-in ceremony will be held at a hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. The 65-year-old is a Pitt Law graduate and has been a lawyer for 18 years.

Former Penn State Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky has filed a new appeal related to his conviction for sexually abusing many children. The document filed Thursday in Centre County court challenges many aspects of his arrest and court proceedings. The long-time assistant coach under Joe Paterno was found guilty in 2012 on 45 criminal counts and is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence. His legal team first filed an appeal in federal court last year, but a judge there said remaining county court issues involving restitution needed to be resolved first. The former coach's victims were part of his non-profit charity that served underprivileged and at-risk youth.

A Philadelphia radio legend has died. Jerry Blavat, the legendary disc jockey known as "The Geator with the Heater" and The Boss with the Hot Sauce" died Friday morning at the age of 82. Blavat debuted in 1953 on the original Bandstand at the age of 13.

New Jersey lawmakers are working to bolster protections for youth sports officials. Assembly members say bipartisan legislation would increase penalties for people who assault referees or coaches. They say there are far too many videos of parents attacking officials at their kids' sporting events, adding it has to stop. Assemblyman John McKeon says sports are important for building character, but the law aims at getting rid of the "bad apples."

The Eagles host the Giants Saturday night in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. Quarterback Jalen Hurts says the idea has been to keep doing what the team has been doing to achieve a 14-3 record. "We're not going to be changing the process. The process remains the same throughout everything, but the standard rises. So, we just want to lean on the things that have gotten us here," Hurts says. The Eagles and Giants have split their previous four playoff matchups.

SEPTA is working to help folks get home safe from the game tomorrow night. The transit agency will offer free rides to people after the playoff game from the NRG Station. It's all thanks to a partnership with the sportsbook Unibet. The goal is to make sure that people who've had an alcoholic beverage at the stadium don't get behind the wheel. Eagles and Giants play tomorrow night at 8:15.


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