It's looking less and less likely that we'll ever find out what caused a huge warehouse fire last month in West Easton. Investigators met a week ago and decided it was not safe or feasible to determine what caused the April 4 fire on Lehigh Drive. Investigators say they have no reason to believe the fire was intentionally set and all signs point to it being an accidental fire.
We're learning a bit more about a weekend incident that led to the bomb squad being called out in Northampton County. We're being told two inactive grenades were found inside a home Saturday on Flafair Drive in Williams Township. The Bethlehem Bomb Squad disposed of the grenades. No injuries are reported and police say no arrests are expected.
Gas prices in both the Lehigh Valley and across Pennsylvania were virtually unchanged over the past seven days. According to AAA East Central in Pennsylvania, the average price of a gallon cost $3.65 Tuesday, about a penny less than one week earlier. That price is $1.12 below the May 23, 2022 figure. In the Lehigh Valley, that gallon of gas cost $3.56 on Tuesday, one cent more than the previous week, but $1.25 less than 2022.
As expected, the Board of School Directors of Easton Area School District voted Tuesday to approve Tracy Piazza as the district's superintendent. Piazza previously served as the district's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She replaces David Piperato, who is set to retire July 14. Piazza's appointment is effective July 15.
A study of more than 440,000 traffic stops made by Pennsylvania State Police has been wrapped up. Robin Engel is with the National Policing Institute and says the primary finding is this. "Race does not play a determining factor on whether or not a stopped motorist is issued a citation, a warning or arrested," Engel says. Officials say the study, which was done at the request of the PSP, is meant to improve policing across the state and will serve as a model for law enforcement across the country.
State and local officials are urging motorists to buckle up and drive sober over the busy Memorial Day travel weekend. PennDOT representatives met with law enforcement leaders yesterday to launch their traffic campaign. Additional patrols will be on the roads though June fourth looking for drivers who are impaired or are not using seatbelts. Triple A estimates over 42-million Americans will be travelling more than 50 miles from home over the holiday weekend.
A push for more financial literacy in Pennsylvania schools is being met with opposition. The worsening teacher shortage is the main roadblock. The State Education Association says the shortage is at a "crisis level" currently. Over the past ten years, there's been a 73-percent decline in first-year teaching certificates issued in the state, which is severely impacting the implementation of new curriculums.
Two gun reform bills are moving through the state legislature. The pair of bills passed the State House and are heading to the Senate for discussion. One requires background checks on every sale of any gun and the other allows family members or law enforcement to request guns be seized from residents going through a crisis. Supporters call both measures "common sense" gun laws.
State officials are asking for an expedited appeal of a ruling that overturned parts of New Jersey's concealed carry law. In its appeal, the state asked the court not to limit enforcement of restrictions over where concealed weapons can be carried in the state. Last week, a U.S. District judge blocked parts of the state's gun reform law that Governor Murphy signed in December. Judge Renee Marie Bumb said the law is aimed primarily at law-abiding citizens. But in its appeal, the state argues her injunction threatens public safety.
New Jersey health officials have ended their daily reporting of case numbers of COVID-19 in the state -- almost three years after the first case was reported in New Jersey. The daily count tab on the state's website was removed this week. Case numbers will now be published on a weekly basis. Officials say by moving to weekly reports, they'll be able to identify more meaningful trends and changes. New Jersey has recorded more than two-and-a-half million cases of COVID-19 since the first case was reported in March of 2020. Home tests have not been included in the total numbers.
A group of Democratic lawmakers in the New Jersey legislature has introduced a bill that would effectively ban all book bans in public libraries and schools. The legislation would block libraries and local school boards in New Jersey from banning or restricting access to books and materials because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. The proposal also mandates that school boards and libraries in the Garden State adopt policies against such bans. Any school boards or libraries that do not comply would risk the loss of state aid. The proposal comes amid a nationwide trend toward censorship of certain books and materials in schools and libraries.