The Lehigh County Authority board on Monday approved new rates for 2024 and that means a water rate hike for all customers in all 15 municipalities the authority serves. The biggest increase will be in Allentown, with a rate hike of about 11.6% coming. That means an increase of about $25 every quarter to an average customer using roughly 15,000 gallons of water per year. That water rate hike is on top of an increase in city trash fees for residents by around $40 next year and a possible tax increase for Allentown citizens. Allentown isn't alone in the higher water rates. Customers in the other 14 municipalities the Lehigh County Authority serves will see increased rates rates of 3%-6%, depending on water usage.
The East Penn School Board has voted 8-1 in favor of a $60 million plan to realign the district's schools and students. The plan will mean elementary schools in the district will be converted to serve K-4 students. The district's Eyer Middle School will house students in grades five and six, while students in grades seven and eight will go to the Lower Macungie Middle School. "Anybody who wants to know if our schools are overcrowded should go to Lower Macungie Middle School during class change and see what they think," says Alisa Bowman, who was one of the eight board members voting in favor of the plan. The realignment plan was chosen over a redistricting plan that proposed the expansion of Alburtis and Lincoln elementary schools and changing of district attendance boundaries.
An agent with the Pennsylvania's Attorney General Office is facing charges of child pornography in Lehigh County. Investigators say 39-year-old Joshua Gonzalez, of South Whitehall Township, is assigned to the Allentown office of Attorney General. He is now accused of uploading child pornography videos.
Police in Lower Saucon Township are investigating a pair of car break-ins this past weekend. Both break-ins happened Saturday afternoon at Polk Valley Park. The first incident happened between 12:30 and 1:30 Saturday afternoon when an unlocked vehicle was broken into and a purse taken. The second incident happened three-to-four hours later when an unknown suspect smashed a car window to steal a second purse.
The City of Bethlehem is being used this week for a Christmas-themed movie set. Bethlehem native Dan Roebuck is co-directing and starring in the movie and he's thrilled to feature his hometown on the big screen. "Hopefully, the movie is the gift we're giving to the Lehigh Valley," Roebuck says. The movie is called "Saint Nick of Bethlehem," and will feature scenes filmed in Bethlehem, including the Hotel Bethlehem and the Snow Goose Gallery. Roebuck hopes to have the film ready for a Christmas 2024 release.
Officials in New Jersey are encouraging residents to report faith-based hate crimes as war wages on between Israel and Hamas. New Jersey Department of Homeland Security Director Laurie Doran says there's been a huge spike in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic incidents. She's saying the public is law enforcement's eyes and ears since it can't be everywhere at once. Doran says New Jersey has logged more incidents this quarter related to faith-based groups than in the last few years.
Chris Christie's campaign says he's reached the donor requirement to qualify for next GOP debate, but the RNC says he's not met the polling requirements. The RNC is requiring candidates to have 80-thousand separate donors in order to participate. But, the RNC also requires candidates to reach at least six-percent in two national polls. On Monday, a spokesperson for Christie's campaign claimed they had well over the required number of donors. The fourth GOP debate will be hosted by NewsNation on December 6th.
As Pennsylvanians prepare for Thanksgiving next week, Campbell's Soup is releasing their annual State of the Sides report. The survey of 5000 Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving reveals folks attitudes about various aspects of the holiday including a state-by-state breakdown of favorite side dishes. According to the survey, most Pennsylvanians call mashed potatoes their favorite side dish.