Allentown Local News

 

LOCAL NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013

LOCAL NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013

  LEHIGH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS VOTE WEDNESDAY NIGHT ON USING TAX DOLLARS TO FINANCE THE PROPOSED HAMILTON CROSSINGS SHOPPING CENTER IN LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP.  COMMISSIONER MICHAEL SCHWARE WILL CAST AN EMPHATIC 'NO' VOTE.  "I THINK IT'S AT BEST CORPORATE WELFARE AND AT WORST FLEECING COUNTY TAXPAYERS," SCHWARE SAYS.  HE'S NOT SURE WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT THE COMMISSIONERS' MEETING.  "I DON'T KNOW HOW THIS VOTE IS GOING TO GO.  I EXPECT IT TO BE TIGHT," SCHWARE SAYS.  SCHWARE SAYS THE IDEA OF USING TAX MONEY TO DEVELOP PROPERTY IS A SLAP IN THE FACE OF OTHER COMPANIES THAT FUNDED THEIR OWN PROJECTS.  SUPPORTERS OF THE IDEA SAY THE COUNTY AND THE EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT WILL GET MILLIONS OF DOLLARS GENERATED BY THE PROPOSED SHOPPING CENTER.

  POLICE SAY AN UNIDENTIFIED TEEN WAS FOUND SHOT TUESDAY EVENING NEAR THE TAQUERIA EL JALAPENO RESTAURANT AT SIXTH STREET AND SUMNER AVENUE AT THE ALLENTOWN-WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP.  POLICE BELIEVE THE VICTIM WAS 15 OR 16 YEARS OLD.  HE WAS SHOT IN THE LEG AROUND 7 O'CLOCK TUESDAY NIGHT.  HIS CONDITION IS UNKNOWN.

  ALLENTOWN'S MAYOR SAYS HE IS "DISMAYED" BY A UTILITY'S RESPONSE TO A RUPTURED GAS LINE IN HIS CITY.  MAYOR ED PAWLOWSKI BELIEVES THERE WAS A DELAY IN REPORTING THE TUESDAY MORNING LEAK, WHICH OFFICIALS SAID OCCURRED WHEN A SUBCONTRACTOR ACCIDENTALLY HIT A GAS LINE.  FIRE DEPARTMENT CREWS BLOCKED OFF THE AREA AND ASKED PEOPLE IN SOME HOMES AND BUSINESSES TO LEAVE.  UGI UTILITIES REGIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR BECKY ESHBACH SAID SHE BELIEVED EMERGENCY OFFICIALS WERE CONTACTED IMMEDIATELY AND UGI WAS QUICKLY ABLE TO ISOLATE THE SERVICE OUTAGE TO JUST NINE CUSTOMERS.  PAWLOWSKI HAS REPEATEDLY URGED UPGRADES IN NATURAL GAS INFRASTRUCTURE SINCE FIVE PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN A 2011 ALLENTOWN GAS EXPLOSION.

  A POTTSTOWN MAN AND WOMAN HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO STAND TRIAL ON CHARGES OF HAVING REMOVED THEIR BABY DAUGHTER FROM A HOSPITAL AGAINST DOCTOR'S ORDERS.  42-YEAR-OLD APRIL SAUL AND 43-YEAR-OLD DANIEL RIVERA OF POTTSTOWN WAIVED A PRELIMINARY HEARING TUESDAY IN LEHIGH COUNTY ON CHARGES OF ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD.  AUTHORITIES SAID THEY TOOK 3-MONTH-OLD AARLYNN SAUL-RIVERA FROM LEHIGH VALLEY HOSPITAL IN OCTOBER ALTHOUGH OFFICIALS SAID SHE DIDN'T MEET MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR DISCHARGE.  SAUL HAS SAID THAT THE HOSPITAL DIDN'T HAVE THE SPECIALIST THE CHILD REQUIRED FOR TREATMENT OF A HEART DEFECT AND OFFICIALS HAD REPEATEDLY REFUSED TO TRANSFER HER TO CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA. PROSECUTORS SAY THE PHILADELPHIA HOSPITAL HAD INDICATED THAT THE CHILD WASN'T MEDICALLY READY FOR TRANSFER.
 

  PENNSYLVANIA'S GOVERNOR ISN'T WARMING UP TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S PLAN TO ADDRESS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE.  GOV. TOM CORBETT ISSUED A STATEMENT LATE TUESDAY CALLING IT "NOT ONLY A WAR ON COAL ... BUT ALSO A WAR ON JOBS."  THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR SAYS U.S. GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS ARE AT THEIR LOWEST LEVEL IN TWO DECADES.  HE BLAMES CHINA AND OTHER COUNTRIES FOR MUCH OF THE GROWTH IN GLOBAL CARBON EMISSIONS.  CORBETT SAYS THE COAL INDUSTRY SUPPORTS NEARLY 63,000 JOBS IN THE STATE, INCLUDING 8,100 MINERS.  OBAMA WANTS NEW CONTROLS ON POWER PLANTS THAT EMIT CARBON DIOXIDE, GREATER USE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY, HIGHER EFFICIENCY STANDARDS AND PLANNING FOR WARMER TEMPERATURES.

  A LEADING REPUBLICAN IN THE PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE SAYS HE THINKS THE ODDS ARE BETTER THAN EVEN MONEY THAT A TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PACKAGE WILL BE ENACTED IN THE COMING DAYS.  TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN DICK HESS SAID LATE TUESDAY THAT HE CANCELED A MEETING EARLIER IN THE DAY ON A KEY ELEMENT OF GOV. TOM CORBETT'S AGENDA BECAUSE A PROPOSED AMENDMENT WASN'T COMPLETED.  HESS SAYS HE NEEDS TO GET THE BILL OUT OF HIS COMMITTEE BY THURSDAY FOR IT TO HAVE A CHANCE TO PASS BEFORE THE STATE'S BUDGET YEAR EXPIRES SUNDAY NIGHT.  LAWMAKERS ARE CONSIDERING THE STATE BUDGET ALONG WITH TRANSPORTATION FUNDING, LIQUOR PRIVATIZATION AND CHANGES TO THE STATE'S PUBLIC PENSION PLANS IN THE FINAL WEEK BEFORE THEIR SCHEDULED SUMMER BREAK.  THE DISCUSSIONS INVOLVE SCHOOL FUNDING, AND PROTESTERS SWARMED THE CAPITOL ON TUESDAY TO CALL FOR INCREASED AID TO PUBLIC EDUCATION.

  A STATE COMMISSION THAT KEEPS TABS ON PUBLIC PENSIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA WAS UNABLE TO PROVIDE MUCH CLARITY ON THE FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF SWITCHING THE TWO MAJOR SYSTEMS TO A NEW 401(K)-STYLE PLAN.  THE PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT COMMISSION DECIDED TUESDAY TO COMPILE OFTEN-CONFLICTING ANALYSES BY ITS OWN ACTUARY AND OUTSIDE ACTUARIES OF A PAIR OF HOUSE BILLS THAT WERE APPROVED EARLIER IN THE DAY BY THE STATE GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE.  THE COMMISSION'S DIRECTOR, JAMES MCANENY, SAYS THE BILLS SURFACED TOO LATE TO ALLOW A DETAILED ANALYSIS, SO COMMISSION MEMBERS OPTED TO SHARE THE INFORMATION THEY ALREADY HAD.  REPUBLICAN GOV. TOM CORBETT'S ADMINISTRATION PROJECTS LONG-TERM SAVINGS FROM THE SWITCH, BUT UNIONS SAY PHASING IN THE NEW SYSTEM WHILE CLOSING THE CURRENT TRADITIONAL PLAN COULD ACTUALLY INCREASE COSTS.

  A BILL THAT WOULD ALLOW HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS SUCH AS DOCTORS OR HOSPITAL EXECUTIVES TO APOLOGIZE FOR A MISTAKE WITHOUT IT BEING ADMISSIBLE IN COURT AS EVIDENCE OF LIABILITY HAS THE APPROVAL OF PENNSYLVANIA STATE SENATORS.  THE BILL PASSED UNANIMOUSLY TUESDAY.  THE SPONSOR, SEN. PAT VANCE OF CUMBERLAND COUNTY, SAYS MORE THAN HALF OF THE STATES HAVE ALREADY ALLOWED SUCH APOLOGIES TO PATIENTS OR THEIR FAMILIES WITHOUT LIABILITY.  THE GOAL IS TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUITS.  SHE SAYS STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF PATIENTS AND FAMILIES MAY NOT HAVE FILED SUCH LAWSUITS IF THEY'D BEEN GIVEN AN EXPLANATION AND AN APOLOGY.

  A PHILADELPHIA ABORTION PROVIDER SERVING LIFE FOR MURDER IS DUE IN FEDERAL COURT FOR A POSSIBLE DRUG PLEA.  DR. KERMIT GOSNELL IS IN PRISON AFTER HIS MAY CONVICTION IN THE DEATHS OF THREE BABIES BORN ALIVE AT HIS CLINIC.  GIVEN THAT SENTENCE, THE 72-YEAR-OLD GOSNELL IS EXPECTED TO PLEAD THIS MORNING TO CHARGES HE ILLEGALLY DISTRIBUTED PAINKILLERS. BUT GOSNELL LEFT AN EARLIER HEARING WITHOUT ENTERING A PLEA, SAYING HE NEEDED MORE TIME.  PROSECUTORS SAY THE 72-YEAR-OLD GOSNELL RAN A "PILL MILL" BY DAY AND A ROGUE "ABORTION MILL" BY NIGHT.  HIS FIRST-DEGREE MURDER CONVICTIONS FOLLOWED A TWO-MONTH TRIAL.  DEFENSE LAWYER JACK MCMAHON HAS SAID GOSNELL PLANS TO PLEAD GUILTY TO THE DRUG CHARGES.
 

  THE WOMAN WHO'S BEEN SERVING AS ACTING SECRETARY OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE NOW HAS THE JOB ON A PERMANENT BASIS.  THE PENNSYLVANIA SENATE VOTED UNANIMOUSLY ON TUESDAY TO CONFIRM BEVERLY MACKERETH TO SERVE AS A MEMBER OF GOV. TOM CORBETT'S CABINET.  SHE'S A FORMER STATE REPRESENTATIVE FROM SPRING GROVE WITH A BACKGROUND IN YORK COUNTY GOVERNMENT AND SOCIAL SERVICES.   MACKERETH BECAME ACTING SECRETARY IN FEBRUARY AFTER GARY ALEXANDER RESIGNED.

  THE PHILADELPHIA FLYERS ARE BUYING OUT THE REMAINDER OF GOALIE ILYA BRYZGALOV'S CONTRACT, SAVING THE TEAM NEARLY $6 MILLION UNDER THE SALARY CAP FOR EACH OF THE NEXT SEVEN YEARS.  BRYZGALOV WAS TWO SEASONS INTO A $51 MILLION, NINE-YEAR CONTRACT HE SIGNED IN 2011.  LAST WEEK, THE FLYERS EXERCISED THE FIRST OF THEIR TWO COMPLIANCE BUYOUTS ON FORWARD DANNY BRIERE.  BRYZGALOV WAS 52-33-10 WITH A 2.61 GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE AND A .905 SAVE PERCENTAGE IN THE REGULAR SEASON FOR PHILADELPHIA, WHICH FAILED TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR.

 

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