In a 4-3 vote, Allentown City Council approved a "no-confidence" resolution on Mayor Matt Tuerk's leadership during council's Wednesday night meeting. The measure comes just more than two weeks after three city employees were fired. One of them was human resources employee, Karen Ocasio, who had filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging discrimination at work. Ed Zucal was one of two council members who introduced the measure and says her firing was revenge. "She took it upon herself to do her job and as a result she ended up with a target on her back," Zucal said. Zucal, Ce-Ce Gerlach, Cynthia Mota and Natalie Santos voted for the no-confidence measure, while Daryl Hendricks, Candida Affa and Santo Napoli voted against it. At last night's meeting, Tuerk revealed the firing of the three city employees, including Ocasio, was based on a recommendation after an 18-month-long outside investigation, which ended Nov. 2. The mayor says that investigation began in April 2022 after multiple complaints involving employees within the city's human resources department.
A popular Christmas tree seller is no longer allowing customers to cut their own trees. In a Facebook post, Unangst Tree Farms in East Allen Township, announced all cut-your-own tree sales are being stopped. Unangst says customers can still come and purchase pre-cut trees. A couple weeks ago, Unangst said it was restricting sales to no more than 7000 this season and had hoped to remain open until December 21.
Two legendary Lehigh Valley brands are teaming up. Jaindl Beverage Company, which owns A-Treat soda brand, says its birch beer and diet birch beer will now be available at iconic Yocco's hot dog establishments. A-Treat says both will be available as a fountain drink at all Yocco's locations. Yocco's has been around since 1922 and A-Treat was founded four years before that.
A Pennsylvania state trooper suffered minor injuries following a Tuesday night police chase on Route 22. The trooper tried to pull over a driver for reckless driving on Route 22 West in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, but that driver drove away and eventually crashed at the Fullerton Avenue exit. While the trooper was trying to arrest the driver, a tractor-trailer hit the overturned car, spinning it around and striking the trooper. The driver of the sedan faces several charges.
The Aaron's rent-to-own store at the Bethlehem Square Shopping Center closed last month, and its operations have merged into a south Allentown location. The Bethlehem Township space has been cleared out, and customers are now being served at the chain's 1841 S. Fourth St., Allentown, store.
Accu-Weather's Joe Lundberg says some parts of the Lehigh Valley may get a measurable amount of snow today. "We're going to get some snow and flurries last until lunch time and I think it won't do anything to most road surfaces but grassy surfaces could be covered and some of the higher elevations to our north and northwest may get half-an-inch to an inch," Lundberg says. While a little snow is expected today, a lot of rain is expected this weekend.
This week, University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill was among college presidents testifying on Capitol Hill about anti-Semitism on campus and was asked the same question repeatedly. "I am asking specifically: calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment?" Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, (R-NY), asked Magill. "If it is directed and severe or pervasive, it is harassment," Magill said. "So, the answer is yes?" Rep. Stefanik asked. "It is a context-dependent decision," Magill responded. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro didn't mince words when asked about Magill's response. "That was an unacceptable statement from the president of Penn. I thought her comments were absolutely shameful. It should not be hard to condemn genocide. Genocide against Jews, genocide against anyone else," Shapiro said. Wednesday, Magill tried to explain her comments. In a statement, Magill said, "In that moment, I was focused on our university's long-standing policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which says that speech alone is not punishable. I was not focused on, but I should have been, on the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate."
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has introduced legislation that would expand the type of criminal offenses that would get a convict barred from possessing firearms. Under current law, someone who has been convicted of a serious crime is statutorily barred from possessing a firearm. But someone who is convicted of attempting, conspiring or soliciting another to commit those very same crimes is not subject to any penalty under state law. Representative Tim Briggs says in a memo seeking sponsors for House Bill 1859 that his proposal would add attempted rape, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation to commit robbery to the list of crimes that already prohibit a person from possessing a firearm under state law.