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Looking for more information about a subject you saw featured on NBC10 News? Find it here!

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Coronavirus Transmission Rates

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This Is Main Street’

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What Is the Reopening Plan for Schools in Philly and the Suburbs? Here Are Answers

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Whether it’s all-virtual, a hybrid model or in-person learning, school districts across southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware are releasing plans for the next school year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for parents, teachers and students to figure out what they’ll need to do for a September start to the 2020-2021 year. NBC10 has built a map of all the public school districts in the region. Some districts’ plans are still being added, while some districts already listed on the map may change their plans in the days and weeks ahead. Please check back frequently for the most up-to-date plans.

We are also working to add plans for private schools and public charter schools. The Philadelphia Archdiocese on July 29 announced a hybrid opening for its Catholic high schools across the Philadelphia region that includes some in-person schooling and some virtual schooling. The archdiocesan grammar schools will be fully in-person, the archdiocese said.

Hybrid openings include partial in-person instruction and partial virtual learning. The “parents choose” option is being offered in some districts, and allows parents to pick between full virtual learning or another option that includes in-person instruction. In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has mandated that all districts offer an all-virtual option.

Public School Districts’ Reopening Plans in the Philadelphia Region

Hundreds of school districts across southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware are scrambling to prepare for the new school year starting in September amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are plans for each district. This map is still being updated.

Data: NCES, School Districts
Credit: Sara Smith, Brian X. McCrone, Elizabeth Both, Nina Lin/NBC 10 Philadelphia

Are you a parent, a student, or teacher or administrator thinking about the looming school semester ahead? Tell us how you’re feeling about the impending school semester, and what you think should be the right thing for school districts to do in the survey being conducted by NBC Owned Television Stations.

Your answer may be collected and published by this site and NBC Owned Television Stations. See our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

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Where Are Mail-in Ballot Drop Boxes in Philly and the Suburbs? Here Are the Locations

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More than 2.4 million voters in Pennsylvania have already requested mail-in ballots while every single voter in New Jersey is receiving one whether they want to use it or not.

Once reserved for voters using absentee ballots, mail-in voting is expected to reach near 50% of total votes cast in the Nov. 3 presidential election due to the COVID-19 pandemic and new laws.

Still, many voters who are eager to cast their ballots without going in person to a polling place are concerned about the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to handle the influx of mail in the four weeks before the election. That is in part because of the Trump administration’s leadership at the post office and cuts to the agency.

Counties across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware have in turn set up dozens of drop boxes for mail-in ballots, allowing voters to circumvent the post office. The drop boxes face a federal court challenge from Republicans in Pennsylvania, but as of today, voters are using them in all three states that make up the Philadelphia region. NBC10 has created a map with every drop box in the region (except for Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where locations are still being determined).

Click on blue markers below to find out the exact address of nearby drop boxes. You’ll find hours listed for when the drop boxes will be open for voters. The drop boxes will be locked after hours by county election officials because of election law requirements. There is also a searchable list below the map.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Voter's Guide for Nov. 3: Deadlines for Registering to Vote in Pa., NJ and Del.

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What to Know

  • Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. The deadline to register to vote in Pennsylvania is Oct. 19. In New Jersey, the registration deadline is Oct. 13, and in Delaware, it is Oct. 10.
  • Voters in all three states have the option of voting by mail, early or on election day.
  • Scroll down for your complete guide to registration, voting and everything you need to know about election day in all three states.

Election day is just months away across the nation, and no two states are alike. Here’s what you need to know about voting in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to help you prepare to cast your ballot.

For information on who (and what) will be on the ballot, check out sample ballots in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

When is Election Day?

The 2020 general election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Voters can vote early, by mail or on election day in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

How do I register to vote?

The deadline to register to vote is:

REMINDER: All citizens 18 years and older who are eligible to vote can go to your county election office to register to vote in person. In Pennsylvania, you can call 1.877.VOTESPA for more information.

How can I find out whether I’m registered?

Early Voting

Early voting is defined as either casting a ballot in person or returning a filled-out ballot to a county election bureau, satellite office or drop box in person ahead of Election Day. The ballot cast is usually a mail-in ballot sent to a voter who then chooses to return the ballot without using the U.S. Postal Service. None of the three states that comprise the Philadelphia region allow for true in-person early voting, that is, going to a polling place and casting a ballot before Election Day. Delaware is in the process of enacting it for elections in the future.

However! –> Early voting via mail-in ballot is allowed in all three states. Here is a map and list of all 170 drop box locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware that will allow you to find the ones closest to you. REMEMBER: You must return a ballot to a drop box or election office within the county of your residence.

How to Vote by Mail

The rule of thumb for voters in all three states should be “early.” Election officials and experts are alerting voters to return your mail-in ballot to either a drop box, a county election office or the post office as soon as possible to avoid having the ballot arrive past the Nov. 3 deadline. (In Pennsylvania, the governor ordered that ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 and arriving to county offices by Nov. 6 will still be counted. But the order is being challenged by Republicans in court.)

Voters in all three states have three options for returning a mail-in ballot: drop box, county election office or the mail.

  • Pennsylvania: Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3, and the state is currently allowing ballots that are received by county election offices up to three days after the election to be counted. The order is currently being challenged in court by the state Republican Party.
  • New Jersey: Mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Nov. 3 will be counted if they are received by 8 p.m. on Nov. 10 by county election offices. Ballots can be returned by mail with a postmark on or before November 3, 2020 to be counted as a valid ballot by the County Clerk if received by 8:00 p.m. on November 10th. Ballots without a postmark that are received within 48 hours of 8 p.m. Nov. 3 shall be considered valid.
  • Delaware: The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Oct. 30 if you are already registered to vote. Despite that deadline, state election officials are asking that voters return mail-in ballots a week before Nov. 3 to assure the ballot is counted.

Things to Know on Election Day

Polling place hours:

  • Pennsylvania: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • New Jersey: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Delaware: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In Pennsylvania, if you have voted previously at the same polling place, you don’t need to show identification. If you are voting for the first time at a polling place, you will need to show a form of identification. One of the following qualifies: Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card; ID issued by Pennsylvania or the US government; US passport; US military ID; student ID; employee ID; a confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office; non-photo ID issued by Pennsylvania or the US government; firearm permit; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or a government check that includes your name and address.

In New Jersey, if you have voted in the same county before you will not need to show identification. If you are voting for the first time in a county, you will need to show a form of identification. Those include: NJ driver’s license, with or without a photo; military or other government ID; student ID; employee ID; store membership card; US passport; or bank statement, car registration, government check or document, rent receipt, sample ballot, utility bill, or any other official document.

In Delaware, you will be asked to confirm your residency and provide a form of identification, which includes Delaware driver’s license or state ID, US passport, Social Security Card, polling place card, bank statement, utility bill; or mail addressed to the voter at the address where registered.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a voter who is required to provide identification but cannot is able to fill out a provisional ballot in person.

In Delaware, a voter who cannot provide a form of identification will be asked to sign an affidavit attesting to their residence.

Where do I vote?

Here are the websites that allow you to find out which voting location/polling place has been assigned to you.

  • Pennsylvania: CLICK HERE to find your polling place using your address.
  • New Jersey: CLICK HERE to find your polling place by county.
  • Delaware: CLICK HERE to find your polling place using your address.

What do I need to bring to vote in person?

  • Pennsylvania: If you have not requested a mail-in ballot, you only need a form of identification if voting at a polling place for the first time. If you have received your mail-in ballot, you must bring it to the polling place and present it to the poll worker who signs you in. They will discard it, and you will be allowed to fill out a provisional ballot.
  • New Jersey: You do not need a form of identification unless you are voting in a county for the first time.
  • Delaware: You must bring a form of identification, otherwise you will be asked to sign an affidavit attesting to your place of residence and identification.

What considerations are there for voters with special needs?

All three states have laws protecting voters with special needs, and providing them with help at the polling places. Here are some guidelines for those who want help when they arrive at a polling place:

How can I practice COVID-19 safety?

  • Keep your distance from others. The CDC recommends at least six feet of distance.
  • Wear a mask. Put it on before arriving at the polling location and don’t take it off until you leave. Keep your nose and mouth covered, and don’t touch your face.
  • Wash your hands. Whenever possible, wash your hands, especially after touching surfaces or items that others may have touched. If possible, bring hand sanitizer and use it frequently.
  • Don’t bring anyone of non-voting age with you to your polling location, and try to go during non-peak hours (polls tend to be busiest first thing in the morning, over lunch hours and after work).

Follow NBC 6 Decision 2020 coverage for the Latest Results & Analysis

Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Youtube, where we’ll be posting the latest updates and analyses.

You can also download our app for iOS or Android to keep up with breaking news, and catch us on air for special coverage.

For more information on planning your vote from NBC News, click here.

Presidential Race Tracker: See How Often and Where Biden & Trump Are in Pa.

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President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have been making weekly stops in Pennsylvania for the last month, ramping up visits to the battleground state as the Nov. 3 election nears.

Both candidates see the state and its 18 electoral college votes as key to winning the presidency. In addition to Trump and Biden, their running mates, and even surrogates for each candidate, have made Pennsylvania a regular stop.

NBC10 has charted every visit by Biden, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris and representatives for the candidates going back to 2019.

Explore the interactive below to see a running tally of visits, as well as where, when and why the candidates or their surrogates visited Pennsylvania. This will be updated daily.

Are we missing a visit? Email us at PhillyWebTeam@nbcuni.com.

What to Know When Filling Out a Mail-in Ballot in Pennsylvania

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Watch the video above for step-by-step instructions on how to properly fill out and return your mail-in ballot in Pennsylvania.

Léelo en español.

The potential pitfalls abound for Pennsylvania voters who will be using mail-in ballots in the Nov. 3 election.

First, it was concerns about the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to handle millions of ballots being sent to and from county offices in October and early November.

More recently, it was legal arguments over the signatures on the declaration envelope.

Now, it’s the secrecy envelope in which the completed ballot is stored that has election officials worried about having to throw out otherwise qualified votes.

Mail-in ballots are still new to many of the millions of Pennsylvanians signing up to use them in the Nov. 3 presidential election. But every vote will be crucial in the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump won the state and its 20 Electoral College votes by just 44,000 votes in 2016 — less than 1% of the six million ballots cast.

Here is a checklist of what you need to do in order to make sure your mail-in ballot is certified and counted in November.

Register to vote by Oct. 19

If you have not registered to vote yet, now is the time! And if you would like to vote by mail, the earlier you get the process going the better. Here is a link to the state’s voter registration page.

Apply for a mail-in ballot ASAP, if you don’t want to vote in person

The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is Oct. 27, but you can’t wait till then. The consensus among election experts is that anyone who asks for a mail-in ballot that close to Nov. 3 will not be able to get it, fill it out and send it back in by Election Day.

Check off the box for receiving email alerts

When applying for the mail-in ballot, there is an option for voters to have email updates sent. These alerts are valuable for knowing the status of your ballot: when it is en route to you, when your county election office has received it from you, when your vote has been counted. It is definitely worth providing an email for these alerts.

Carefully open the ballot package when you receive it in the mail

A good rule of thumb for voters who have requested a mail-in ballot is to take better care when opening your mail. One of the most common problems that voters faced in the June primary was ripping their ballots or the envelopes that come with the ballots in half, according to one election official. He said it appears that many voters initially believe the ballot or some of the contents with the ballot were junk mail. So take care when sorting your mail, and when opening the ballot package, make sure not to throw out any of the contents. There is more to this than you think!

Make sure there is a secrecy envelope included

One of the pieces of content included in the ballot package you’ll receive is a secrecy envelope. The mail-in ballot must be inside this envelope when county election boards receive it back from a voter. PLEASE NOTE: A mail-in ballot NOT in a secrecy envelope, also known as a “naked ballot,” will NOT BE COUNTED!

Fill out the ballot immediately, put it in the secrecy envelope, then put it in the outer return envelope

Don’t wait to fill out the ballot after you get it. Take care of business. Don’t put it off. But there is one more crucial step before putting it in the mail or a county election drop box. And that is…

Don’t forget to sign the outer envelope before sending it back!

A signature is required on the back of the outer envelope that contains the secrecy envelope and ballot. Make sure to sign the back of that envelope before putting it in the mail or a county drop box. A mail-in ballot that arrives without that signature will be thrown out.

Counties across the state will be installing drop boxes for voters who want to return mail-in ballots without using the U.S. Postal Service. (NBC10 will soon have a graphic that shows locations of drop boxes.)

In the state’s June primary, more than 1.5 million voters cast ballots using mail-in voting, which was allowed for the first time ever. Previously, a much smaller percent of voters were allowed to cast ballots that way using the absentee method. Officials now expect as many as 3 million voters to using mail-in voting in the general election.

That’s why election officials and voter advocates are warning voters who will use mail-in ballots to make sure they do it right. Every vote counts, until it doesn’t because you didn’t sign in the right spot or seal the right envelope.

Mail-in ballots were certified by the Pennsylvania Department of State on Sept. 17, and county officials said they immediately began printing ballots to send to voters. The first ballots should arrive in voters’ mailboxes in the last week of September.

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Barack Obama to Campaign for Joe Biden in Philadelphia

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Former President Barack Obama will appear next week in Philadelphia to campaign for Democratic candidate Joe Biden in Obama’s first stump speech of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Details about Obama’s Oct. 21 appearance in Philadelphia will be released soon, the Biden campaign said Friday.

The former president’s first appearance has long been anticipated as part of the big final pushes by Biden and running mate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris. There is less than three weeks to go in the race between Biden and President Donald Trump.

I-95 Southbound Shut Down After Deadly Multi-Vehicle Crash

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I-95 southbound is shut down after a deadly crash involving multiple vehicles near Philadelphia International Airport. 

The crash occurred in the southbound lanes of I-95 in Tinicum Township near mile-marker 9.5 early Monday evening. At least one person was killed in the crash, officials said.

All southbound lanes are closed near the scene of the crash. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Woman, 62, Shot and Killed While Driving in Chester

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An investigation is underway after a 62-year-old woman was shot and killed while she was driving in Chester City, Pennsylvania. 

The unidentified woman was driving near 9th Street and Central Avenue shortly before 1 p.m. Monday when a gunman opened fire. The woman was struck at least once. 

Surveillance video from a corner store shows the woman’s vehicle crashing into a telephone pole moments after the shooting. Two witnesses, who did not want to be identified, told NBC10 they ran over to help after the crash but knew the woman was dead the moment they saw her. 

No arrests have been made in the shooting. Sources told NBC10 the woman was an innocent bystander. 

The shooting marks 30 reported homicides in Chester this year, compared to 18 at the same time last year.

Murphy Vetoes Expanded Stadium Raffle Bill, Eyes Changes

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed a bill Monday that would have expanded charitable groups’ ability to sell raffle tickets online based around sporting events, determining that the measure was too close to internet gambling.

The Democratic governor rejected a bill that would have expanded a two-year-old law enabling groups to hold raffles at large sporting events in New Jersey. Because the coronavirus pandemic has drastically reduced or even eliminated in-person attendance at large sporting events in the state, some legislators proposed expanding the law to let people buy tickets to such raffles over the internet, regardless of whether they were in a stadium or not.

While lauding the intent of the bill, Murphy sent it back to lawmakers with recommended changes including allowing such an expansion only during times of a declared public health emergency, and requiring the same sort of geolocation technology that New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks use to ensure that a person making an online casino or sports wager is physically located within the state’s boundaries.

“I commend the bill’s sponsors for their recognition of a more subtle aspect of the coronavirus pandemic and their efforts to support and restore the viability of the charitable fundraising conduit provided through raffles held during events at large sporting venues,” Murphy wrote in his veto message.

“However, the bill does not limit the remote conduct of raffles to just during the public health emergency, and I do not see the rationale for extending indefinitely this expanded authorization, once the public health emergency has passed and stadiums are again filled with fans,” he wrote.

The expanded measure would provide a much greater challenge for Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission, the state agency responsible for overseeing such raffles, the governor said.

He also recommended that winners of remote contests be required to pick up their prizes at the stadium or at the headquarters of the charitable group that sponsored the raffle, to ensure that the necessary verifications take place.

Pa. Justices Review Priest Abuse Lawsuit's Ruling on Time Limits

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What to Know

  • Pennsylvania’s highest court is considering whether a woman’s lawsuit on claims of sexual abuse by a priest decades ago should be allowed to continue.
  • Oral argument was held Tuesday in the appeal that could overturn a lower-court ruling that has launched many other lawsuits since it was issued a year ago.
  • The justices are focusing on whether the plaintiff waited too long to sue the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Pennsylvania’s highest court on Tuesday grappled with whether a woman’s lawsuit on claims of sexual abuse by a priest decades ago should be allowed to proceed — a lower-court ruling that has launched many other lawsuits since it was issued a year ago.

In oral argument, the justices focused questions on whether the plaintiff, Renee Rice, waited too long to sue the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Rice has argued that a 2016 grand jury report alerted her to allegations that church officials’ silence about a priest who she says molested her amounted to fraudulent concealment.

The 2016 report in Altoona-Johnstown preceded the wider 2018 report that found decades of sexual attacks on children by priest in other Pennsylvania dioceses.

Eric Anderson, lawyer for the diocese and two now-deceased bishops, but not the Rev. Charles F. Bodziak, the priest Rice says abused her, told the justices that Rice had a duty to pursue the matter once she realized she had been harmed, was aware of who did it and knew where he worked.

“Once she knows those salient elements or facts, then she has to make the effort to conduct the investigation,” and possibly sue, Anderson argued. “Then she can explore all claims she has against potential defendants. And there’s no evidence she did anything like that.”

Rice’s lawyer, Alan Perer, said there is disagreement about what Rice knew and whether she responded properly, a dispute that he argued a jury should sort out.

“She alleges she did not know and it was not reasonably knowable that the diocese was the cause of her injury until she read the 2016 report,” Perer said.

The Associated Press typically does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they want to be identified, as Rice has indicated she does. Now in her 50s, Rice claims the abuse occurred for several years when she was a child, ending in 1981.

She claims Bodziak abused her while a parish priest at St. Leo’s Church in Altoona, including attacks in the choir loft, a car and a cemetery. Bodziak has denied her allegations. Rice’s lawsuit was dismissed by a county judge in 2017 because of the statute of limitations.

Her lawsuit also claims the bishops and diocese knew or should have known Bodziak molested girls when they assigned him to St. Leo’s.

The court is considering whether last year’s Superior Court decision improperly did away with the statute of limitations and a discovery rule for civil actions. It also will decide how long the church and church officials were obligated to disclose what they may have known about Bodziak.

The lower court ruled Rice can try to persuade a jury that church officials’ silence about the priest amounted to fraudulent concealment and the diocese may have “induced” her “to relax her vigilance or to deviate from her right of inquiry” by not disclosing information about Bodziak’s history or by efforts to cover it up, the Superior Court said.

The Pennsylvania Legislature passed changes a year ago on legal handling of future abuse allegations, giving prosecutors more time to pursue cases and victims more time to sue. Legislation to set up a retroactive two-year “window” for otherwise time-barred lawsuits failed, but lawmakers instead began the process of amending the state constitution to allow the lawsuit window.

First Cat COVID-19 Death in Pennsylvania Is Confirmed

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An older cat that lived in a house outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is the first confirmed feline case of COVID-19 in the state, health officials said Tuesday.

The 16-year-old animal, which lived in a home where human cases of the coronavirus were documented, suffered from respiratory distress and eventually was put down, officials with the state departments of agriculture and health said.

“The 16-year old Cumberland County cat, who lived in a household with multiple individuals who had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19, presented in early October with mild respiratory illness,” the state said in a release. “Unfortunately, as a result of respiratory distress, the cat was humanely euthanized.”

The cat is one of several pets across the United States that have been confirmed with the coronavirus.

“As Pennsylvanians have spent more time at home throughout the pandemic, our companion animals have undoubtedly been the recipients of extra love and attention,” the state veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill said. “If you or a loved one becomes diagnosed with COVID-19, take steps to keep your pet healthy, just as you would your family.”

Pennsylvania’s guidelines for keeping pets safe in households with confirmed COVID-19 cases are similar to those for keeping other humans safe in an infected household:

  • Avoid contact with pets and other animals, as you would other people.
  • Arrange for another household member to care for your pet(s) while you or family members are in isolation.
  • Avoid contact such as petting, holding, snuggling, facial contact, and sleeping in the same bed.
  • Wear a mask and wash your hands before feeding or tending to your pet if you are unable to find alternative care for them.

Delivery Driver Shot in Philly's Queen Village Neighborhood

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A delivery driver was shot in the chest at a Philadelphia intersection Tuesday.

The shooting took place just before noon outside the Pelzer Funeral Home along South 3rd Street at Christian Street in the Queen Village neighborhood, Philadelphia police said.

The FedEx worker, believed to be around 30 years old, had his door up and was making neighborhood deliveries when he was shot in the chest and leg, police said. Officers rushed him to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Dennis Biondo of South Philadelphia told NBC10 he heard the gunfire.

“About five gunshots. Small, like a handgun,” Biondo said. “Small caliber then the cops were right on. It two to three minutes the cars came up.”

Biondo said it was the second shooting at the intersection this year.

“It’s the second time on that corner, in probably four months,” he said. “Someone was shot in the hip.”

Police took a man into custody after the shooting, but didn’t immediately name him as a suspect. No gun had been recovered.

Police could be seen searching for clues around a parked FedEx truck in front of the funeral home. The back of the truck was open as police taped off the crime scene.

“We are aware of the terrible incident involving a team member in Philadelphia this afternoon, and our thoughts are with him during this time,” FedEx Ground spokesperson Meredith Miller said. “There is no higher priority for FedEx Ground than the safety of our team members. We are cooperating fully with the authorities as they conduct their investigation.”

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

Philly Faces ‘Dangerous Period' of Virus Spread, But It Stayed Out of Most Schools

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What to Know

  • All Philly ZIP codes have seen recent increases in coronavirus spread, due to social gatherings and spread within a home or family, city health officials say.
  • Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said there is little evidence of COVID-19 spreading within schools where students and staff are present in-person.
  • But one Philly school has seen cases from spread in the classroom, and switched to remote learning after 15 people tested positive for the virus.

The coronavirus is spreading more across Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, but recent case increases are mostly unconnected to the schools that are open, city health officials said.

Despite that, one Philly school recently switched to remote learning after an outbreak of 15 cases.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley on Tuesday raised concern about rising virus cases in households, and some from family gatherings and workplaces. He also wondered if pandemic fatigue played a part while noting the city has confirmed 268 new cases of the virus in city residents since Monday, for a total of 40,704 since the beginning of the epidemic.

“We may be entering a dangerous period with this virus,” Farley said, also warning that the coronavirus may follow the pattern of other respiratory viruses, where case counts tend to peak around January or February.

“The risk is increasing now maybe because of the colder weather, maybe because of the drier air, because people are indoors more because of the colder weather, or maybe because people are becoming more complacent,” Farley said. “Or, all those things combined.”

Besides in-household spread, social events with family, or weddings and other events that may have been postponed because of the spring coronavirus lockdown, spread among co-workers is part of the increase, the city’s contact tracers have found.

The biggest risk in a workplace is in the breakroom or dining area, when co-workers might be eating, and therefore not wearing masks.

“It’s just a reminder that any setting indoors, when close together not wearing masks, such as a time where you’re getting together at lunch, it’s going to be a high-risk setting,” Farley said.

Cases in 44 Schools

While cases are rising generally, strict safety practices have likely limited the spread of the virus in most schools – except for one where an outbreak infected 15 people.

The Philadelphia School had an outbreak of 15 cases of the virus, Farley said. According to WHYY, the private school switched to remote learning and said in-person learning would not resume until Oct. 27 at the earliest.

Out of all the schools in the city that have in-person learning right now, 43 have seen virus cases, Farley said. Most schools have only one case, but some have multiple. Of the 44 with cases, 26 went into some sort of quarantine as advised by the health department. Those quarantine orders have generally extended to one classroom.

The Philadelphia School is the only school with evidence of spread within a classroom and Farley believes that other schools may not see spread within.

“I’m hopeful that there was some slip-up there that was not a consistent slip-up, and I’m still feeling that the school system if they follow the safety precautions, can do so [open for in-person] safely,” he added.

To keep things safe, everyone in the schools is required to wear masks and follow other guidelines about handwashing, distancing, and staying home if feeling ill.

If the city’s public schools can take all those precautions, in-person learning could happen safely, Farley said. The School District of Philadelphia wants to bring back students in late November.

For now, public school students are learning at home, some with help from a city program that provides a free wired internet connection or a wireless hotspot.

“It’s important for children to be in school, for their long-term health and their short-term mental health. Having talked to some people who have their children back to school they say the children’s mental health has brightened up tremendously getting back to school,” said Farley.

“We also, we have a lot of other health problems in this city, up to homicides, and having children not in school, having teenagers not in schools doesn’t help in those problems.”

Former Saint Joe's Standout, NBA All-Star Jameer Nelson Hired by 76ers, Source Says

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Source: Former Saint Joe’s standout, NBA All-Star Jameer Nelson hired by 76ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Chester’s own Jameer Nelson is coming home. 

Sources tell NBC Sports Philadelphia the Philadelphia 76ers and general manager Elton Brand are hiring the former Saint Joseph’s standout as a scout and assistant GM for the Delaware Blue Coats, the organization’s G-League team. 

Jameer starred for the Saint Joe’s Hawks from 2000 until 2004, and became an NBA All-Star after turning pro. His career ended in 2018, last playing for the Detroit Pistons. Now, he is getting into the management side of the NBA with the Sixers.

40 U.S. Areas Now on NY Quarantine List; Cuomo Says Avoid Non-Essential Tri-State Travel

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What to Know

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not change his thresholds for the quarantine list Tuesday following a pitch by CT Gov. Ned Lamont to loosen criteria a day earlier; Lamont said enforcement had become difficult
  • New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania all now meet the threshold to be on the list, but Cuomo says that’s not practical; he instead is urging people to avoid non-essential tri-state travel
  • As of Tuesday, 40 U.S. states and territories are on the quarantine list in New York; Lamont said later in the day he would not adjust the metrics in CT, saying the tri-state should act as one region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that 40 U.S. hotspots are on the New York quarantine list, apparently unmoved by Connecticut’s pitch to loosen criteria as it, along with New Jersey and Pennsylvania, now meet the threshold for inclusion.

New York will not move to add either of those three states to its quarantine order; Cuomo has repeatedly said that would be impractical. A joint statement from Cuomo, Gov. Phil Murphy and Gov. Ned Lamont said that all unnecessary or non-essential travel between the states should be avoided, but residents who do cross state lines will not have to quarantine if coming from a neighboring state.

“Our states have worked together successfully in combating this pandemic since the beginning and we’ll continue to do so,” the governors’ statement read, which also boasted about the states having some of the lowest infection rates in the country. “The travel advisory was designed to keep our respective states safe, with the understanding that we are a connected region, dependent on each other when it comes to commerce, education, and health care.”

Cuomo said more details regarding any restrictions will come on Wednesday after speaking with Lamont and Murphy. It wasn’t immediately clear what limiting tri-state travel would look like or how it could be enforced, but Cuomo said earlier in the day that it’s a more sensical option than a quarantine.

“We are now in a situation where 43 states meet the criteria for our travel advisory. This is really a bizarre outcome, considering New York once had the highest infection rate,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “There is no practical way to quarantine New York from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut. There are just too many interchanges, interconnections, and people who live in one place and work in the other. It would have a disastrous effect on the economy.”

On Monday, Lamont said he wanted to tweak quarantine criteria because having more than three-quarters of America on the advisory had become unmanageable from an enforcement perspective. Cuomo says it’s just the “bizarre” reality of the current situation in the United States, which is battling yet another surge in cases.

At least seven U.S. states have recently set new records for single-day increases in coronavirus cases, prompting some to set new restrictions as concerns mount over possible “superspreader events” during the upcoming holiday season. The situation globally isn’t much better; the world topped 40 million cases on Monday.

Currently, the quarantine list in New York applies to U.S. jurisdictions that either have at least a 10 percent positivity rate on a seven-day rolling average or more than 10 new cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average. Both Connecticut (11.2) and New Jersey (10.3) hit that new case threshold on Monday (New York is averaging seven new cases per 100,000 residents over the last week), but their positivity rates remain well below the 10 percent threshold.

Lamont had pitched switching to an “and” threshold scenario rather than the “or” involving positivity rates and new cases per 100,000 residents. Under his plan, from which he has since backed down, the same new case average threshold would apply, but a state must hit that, along with averaging a 5 percent positivity rate, to land on the list. That would keep New Jersey and Connecticut off it in theory — but it’s a moot point because Cuomo says he wouldn’t add those neighboring states to it anyway.

After Cuomo’s announcement Tuesday, Lamont said he would not shift Connecticut’s metrics after all, saying it was more appropriate for the tri-state to act as one region: “That said, we urge everybody to stay close to home as best you can … there’s no need to do non-essential travel.”

Asked Tuesday for Murphy’s response to Cuomo’s comments, a spokesperson pointed to the governor’s words in his briefing a day earlier: Avoid what travel you can, not including going to work across the river, and just be smart.

“Traveling into New York and then coming back to New Jersey, to my way of thinking, is not a quarantine event. But we’re just asking folks to be smart,” Murphy said Monday. “The numbers are up, they’re up, up and down the state. Yes, there have been some hotspots, but the number of hotspots is now broadening. This is what we’re living with right now in our state and in our country.”

As of Tuesday, Cuomo said 40 U.S. states and territories are on the quarantine list, an increase of two from last week. Arizona and Maryland were re-added, while no hotspots were removed. The restrictions now apply to Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

The quarantine advisory — or order, depending on which state you’re in — has been in place since late June, when the three tri-state governors implemented it to protect their COVID-19 progress from the tide of out-of-state travel. People traveling to the tri-state area, even if they call it home, must self-isolate for 14 days after arriving from one of the U.S. hotspots on the list. Heavy fines apply.

Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo breaks the state into 10 regions for testing purposes and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hotspots. Here’s the latest tracking data by region. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here

Source: ny.gov

While New York has faced its own cluster problems in recent weeks, Cuomo emphasizes that the overall infection rate remains low, even with the highest-risk spots, the so-called red zones, included. The red zones have seen notable progress since Cuomo launched his “micro-cluster” strategy, applying restrictions to narrowly targeted geographic areas rather than sweeping statewide closures.

As of Tuesday, Cuomo said the average red zone positivity rate was 2.9 percent, down from 3.3 percent the day before and markedly down from the nearly 7 percent positivity rates they were averaging just a few weeks ago. The governor said he expects to realign the cluster zone maps, potentially relaxing some restrictions in certain hotspot areas, like central Queens, as early as Wednesday.

According to Tuesday data from Johns Hopkins, New York has the third-lowest infection rate in the nation, based on a seven-day rolling period (1.17 percent). Only Massachusetts (1.14 percent) and Maine (0.36 percent) have lower positivity rates on a weekly basis. The state with the highest, Nevada, has a rolling positivity average nearly 40 times higher than New York’s (45.97 percent).

New Jersey and Connecticut, despite their upticks, both still are among the 15 lowest-transmission rate states — 2.89 percent and 1.85 percent, respectively.

Schools continue to be a bright spot in New York City, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. He said Tuesday that of 16,348 COVID tests conducted on students and staff between Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, just 28 were positive — a rate of 0.17 percent.

City schools have launched random monthly testing as part of a deal with the teachers’ union. Those in yellow zones, by Cuomo’s cluster maps, must conduct randomized testing on a weekly basis for students in grades 1-12 as well as staff.

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New Jersey's Largest School District to Remain Fully Remote Until Early 2021

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What to Know

  • Students, parents and teachers in Newark waiting for in-person instruction will have to wait a bit longer — until late January, at the earliest.
  • Newark Schools initially said students will undergo remote learning until at least the end of the first marking period — which would have been around early November. That will no longer be the case.
  • The decision was driven by the data: the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Newark are rising again, averaging 63 a day over the past few days.

Students, parents and teachers in Newark waiting for in-person instruction will have to wait a bit longer — until late January, at the earliest.

Newark Schools initially said students will undergo remote learning until at least the end of the first marking period — which would have been around early November. That will no longer be the case.

Christopher Davis is father to an 8th grader. With all of the city’s public schools closed for at least two and a half more months, he told News 4 New York he feels for students who are struggling with learning during these unprecedented times.

“How’re you gonna learn? How’re you gonna graduate? How’re you gonna advance in class?” Davis asked.

However, the decision was driven by the data: the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Newark are rising again, averaging 63 a day over the past few days.

While school districts like neighboring South Orange-Maplewood will transition to some in-person learning next month, the issue of education equity is real, Newark Superintendent Roger Leon admitted, calling it a “learning loss” factor.

But, Leon says the virtual experience at Newark’s schools is far different than what was cobbled together last spring.

 As testing continues in the state’s largest city, Mayor Ras Baraka pleaded on Facebook Monday night for residents to be patient.

Gov. Phil Murphy also urged patience Tuesday.

 “We want to get kids safely back to in person education as soon as we can,” he said.

Yom Kippur Zoom Reunites Holocaust Survivors 71 Years Later

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Holocaust survivors Ruth Brandspiegel and Israel “Sasha” Eisenberg call their reunion a miracle that began on the holiest day in Judaism, and it only happened thanks to a prayer service that was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Decades ago their families, who came from the same city in Poland, escaped the Nazis, crossed into the Soviet Union and were sent to different labor camps in Siberia, where Eisenberg was born. They later met at a displaced persons camp in Austria, where they became close friends. They last saw each other there, in 1949, before losing track of each other’s whereabouts.

More than 70 years later, Brandspiegel, now a Philadelphia resident, heard a familiar name being called out in a Yom Kippur service held in late September via Zoom by her son’s synagogue in East Brunswick, New Jersey.

“I said to myself, Sasha? I know there’s a lot of Eisenbergs, but Sasha Eisenberg? How could that possibly be?” she said. So she called son Larry Brandspiegel, a cantor at the East Brunswick Jewish Center, and asked him to help her check.

“He said, ‘Oh mom, what are you talking about?’” she recalled. “I said … just take a look.’”

After some back-and-forth on the phone with the Eisenberg family, Larry called with the good news: It was indeed her beloved childhood friend. She had heard his name during the service because his wife, Marsha, wanted to give him a shoutout after being married for 53 years.

“I even didn’t know that Regina was in America!” said Eisenberg, 79, using Brandspiegel’s original name which she adapted to Ruth after moving to America. “It’s 70 years and I was a child. … So I called it a miracle, because I don’t see any other way that humans can organize such an event and make everything come together.”

Brandspiegel was born in 1936 in Ciechanów. Her family escaped after Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, which marked the onset of World War II. After some weeks in Ukraine, her family was sent to a labor camp in Siberia and later to the Ural Mountains, “where it was a little warmer.” After the war they briefly went back to Poland but left with the help of Jewish organizations to the Hallein Displaced Persons Camp in Austria, in 1946, where they befriended a family that hailed from their same hometown.

The Eisenbergs had left Ciechanów in the late 1930s, fearful of the Nazis. They, too, ended up in a Siberian camp and returned to Poland briefly after the war. With many relatives dead and all their property gone, they then went to Hallein and found themselves in the same barracks as the Brandspiegels.

“Of course, we were family already,” said Brandspiegel, 83.

“Mishpacha,” she added, using the Hebrew word for family.

Eisenberg’s father died in a car accident in 1948, and he still remembers how Brandspiegel’s dad, “a pious, religious man,” helped him through his grief by reciting with him the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

“A thing like this, you don’t forget,” Eisenberg said. “So it was very emotional for me. And even as I speak now, I kind of tremble a little bit about it.”

The following year his mother decided to take the family to Israel, where he lived in a kibbutz and served in the military before moving to Brooklyn in 1964. During the daytime he worked at a sweater factory as a floor boy. He improved his English at night school, and studied architecture and civil engineering at Pratt Institute. He and his wife had two children: Alissa, a teacher, and Kevin, a lawyer.

Meanwhile Brandspiegel’s family had moved to Philadelphia in 1952. She attended high school and worked as a bookkeeper before marrying in 1957 at age 21. The couple opened a children’s clothing store and had three children: Flora, Debbie and Larry.

So for years the long-lost friends were unknowingly living less than 60 miles apart. On Oct. 3, they were finally reunited.

Brandspiegel’s son hosted a socially distanced gathering at his home in East Brunswick under a sukkah, a temporary shelter used to observe the seven days and nights of the Jewish fall holiday Sukkot.

For hours, they chatted, reminisced and looked at black-and-white photos from decades past. Both families cried joyful tears.

“It’s a shame that we weren’t able to hug under these circumstances,” Brandspiegel said. “But it was something that I never expected, and this was something that gave me so much pleasure that I’m just crying. … Sasha, Never forget that moment.”


Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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Gunman Shoots Teen in Front of Popular Philly Boxing Gym

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A teenager is fighting for his life after he was shot in front of a popular boxing gym in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. 

The 18-year-old was walking with another teen into the Front Street Gym along the 2000 block of East Clearfield Street at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday when a gunman opened fire.

The 18-year-old was shot twice in the lower back. Witnesses told NBC10 a trainer from the gym and a responding officer picked the teen up and rushed him to the hospital.

“Grabbed the kid and threw him in the car and the officer took off right away to the hospital,” Frank Kulbach, the owner of the gym, told NBC10.

The 18-year-old is currently in extremely critical condition. The other teen was not hurt in the shooting.

Philadelphia police obtained surveillance footage of the shooting. In the video, a man in a black hooded sweatshirt lowers what appears to be a gun before fleeing the scene.

“The victim collapses immediately and the shooter is last seen running north on Amber Street,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said.

The victim is a recent graduate of Roman Catholic High School. Kulbach said he regularly attends the gym.

“He’s a good kid from a good neighborhood and they come every day at five o’clock,” Kulbach said.

No arrests have been made. Police said they located 12 spent shell casings from a semi-automatic weapon.

The Front Street Gym was named one of “Boxing’s Most Famous Gyms” by ESPN.com and was founded in 1980. Scenes for the 2015 “Rocky” spinoff and sequel “Creed” were filmed at the gym.

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence in Philadelphia. Further information can be found here.

Bill Cosby, Now 83, Grins in Newly Released Pa. Prison Mug Shot

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What to Know

  • A new prison photo shows Bill Cosby smiling with a disposable mask hanging off his face. The 83-year-old comedian’s photo was taken Sept. 4.
  • Such mug shot updates are routinely done in Pennsylvania prisons to document changes to inmates’ appearance as they age.
  • A later tweet from Cosby’s verified account showed a picture of him on the telephone and sought to assure viewers that he was doing OK during the coronavirus pandemic.

A newly released prison mug shot shows Bill Cosby smiling with a disposable mask hanging off his face.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections recently updated Cosby’s mug shot, something routinely done to document changes to inmates’ appearance as they age. Cosby’s new photo was taken Sept. 4.

Bill Cosby
This Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2020, inmate photo provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections shows Bill Cosby. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections recently updated the 83-year-old Cosby’s mugshot. Cosby was convicted of felony sex assault and is serving a three- to 10-year prison term.

Later in the evening, a blurry picture was tweeted from Cosby’s verified account showing him using what appeared to be a prison telephone, pulling a mask away from his chin as he smiled.

It was accompanied by text that said: “This photo was taken by his publicist, Andrew Wyatt, during his first virtual video conference call with Mr. Cosby last week. We are posting this to reassure his family and supporters that he is doing OK during this pandemic.”

Cosby, 83, was convicted of felony sex assault and is serving a three- to 10-year prison term at SCI Phoenix in Montgomery County. An appeals court had upheld his conviction, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed this year to review two key issues in the case. The appeal is scheduled to be heard Dec. 1.

Cosby, a once-beloved comedian long known as “America’s Dad,” became the first celebrity convicted of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era when he was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home near Philadelphia in 2004.

Court Nixes Recount in NJ GOP Senate Primary Race

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What to Know

  • A New Jersey appeals court has rejected a recount in a GOP U.S. Senate primary race.
  • Hirsh Singh petitioned for a recount after he lost the primary to Rik Mehta by about 9,000 votes, claiming he would have won if the mail-in ballot procedures put in place for the primary were nullified.
  • Singh also sought to invalidate the mail-in ballot procedures for the November election. 

A New Jersey appeals court on Wednesday rejected a losing GOP U.S. Senate candidate’s bid to invalidate the primary results and stop the state’s mail-in ballot program for the general election.

Hirsh Singh petitioned for a recount after he lost the primary to Rik Mehta in July by about 9,000 votes out of approximately 300,000 ballots cast, claiming he would have won if the mail-in ballot procedures put in place for the primary were nullified. Singh also sought to invalidate the state’s mail-in ballot procedures for the November general election.

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order in May declaring the primaries would be conducted largely by mail-in ballots, to protect against the further spread of COVID-19. In August, he authorized the mailing of ballots to all registered voters for the general election.

In the court’s ruling Wednesday, the three-judge panel rejected Singh’s claims, upholding the primary results and the state’s mail-in ballot program. They wrote that Singh can still petition a lower court to consider his claims of irregularities in the counting of mail-in ballots in some locations.

A message was left with Singh seeking comment.

Mehta is challenging incumbent Democrat Cory Booker for one of New Jersey’s two Senate seats.

The 2020 presidential election will be one of the most consequential in our lifetime. Make your voice heard by checking out our Voting Guide.

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Pa. House Fails to Override Gov. Wolf's Restaurant Capacity Veto

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What to Know

  • Last week’s veto by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf of a bill that would have let restaurants reopen at full capacity in some circumstances remains in effect after a veto override failed in the state House.
  • An override required two-thirds approval to be sent to the Senate, but it failed on a vote of 133 to 69.
  • It would have allowed taverns and restaurants to operate at half of capacity, or more if they met state and federal social distancing standards or erected appropriate barriers.

The state House narrowly failed Tuesday to override last week’s veto by Pennsylvania’s governor of a bill that would have let restaurants reopen at full capacity in some circumstances.

The override required two-thirds approval to be sent to the Senate, but it failed on a vote of 133-69.

It would have allowed taverns and restaurants to operate at half of capacity, or more if they met state and federal social distancing standards or erected appropriate barriers.

Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, warned the legislation would put patrons and restaurant workers at risk.

Dermody said the higher capacity limits would not have required federal or state approval if barriers were erected, “and they don’t even define physical barriers in this bill.”

Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, of Philadelphia, noted that infections and deaths have both risen in Pennsylvania since the bill passed a month ago.

“We are in a pandemic,” Harris said. “Now I know to some people this isn’t real. I understand that. I get that. To some people this is just fuzzy math, funny science. I understand that. But tell that to the people that lost their loved ones.”

Republican backers said they read the bill differently — that restaurants would still have to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Health Department to go beyond half of capacity.

They said the bill was needed to save financially distressed enterprises and aid their desperate employees.

“Every day more businesses are being put out of business because of unrealistic rules,” said Rep. Kurt Masser, R-Northumberland. “Don’t cripple an entire industry over some bad actor.”

Rep. Dan Moul, R-Adams, said Wolf’s business closures and other mitigation policies have lacked a basis in science.

“The bottom line is, all this was pulled out of thin air,” Moul said. “There is no science, there is no data in which these decision were made to shut down or drastically reduce beyond repair the restaurant situation in Pennsylvania.”

The Republican-majority Legislature has repeatedly attempted to modify or reverse some of the efforts led by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf to control or cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, but so far none of their veto override attempts has succeeded.

In a veto message issued last week, Wolf called the bill “another meaningless attempt to change a necessary tool for fighting the pandemic.”

The bill passed both chambers a month ago with margins that, if they had been repeated, would have been large enough to override Wolf: 43-6 in the Senate on Sept. 22 and 145-56 in the House on Sept. 23.

Along with loosening capacity, the legislation also would have ended a requirement that Pennsylvania customers buy food when they purchase alcohol and would have let people be served drinks at the bar.

The Wolf administration currently allows restaurants to run at half of capacity if they have certified they meet state and federal standards for mask wearing, social distancing and hours of operation.

Gunman Kills 8-Year-Old and His Teen Brother After Firing at Trenton Home

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What to Know

  • Two brothers died when gunfire went into their Trenton, New Jersey, home late Tuesday night.
  • The 8-year-old and his 16-year-old brother were struck by bullets that came from outside the home, Mercer County investigators said.
  • Police searched for clues outside of the Mulberry Street home.

Gunshots went into a home in Trenton, New Jersey, Tuesday night, killing an 8-year-old boy and his 16-year-old brother. 

The brothers, Johnny Perez and older sibling Gustavo Perez, were inside a home on the 200 block of Mulberry Street around 10:30 p.m. when at least one gunman opened fire, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said.

Bullets entered the second floor of the home, killing the children. Johnny was shot once in the neck and Gustavo once in the chest, Trenton Police Director Sheilah Coley said.

The boys’ mother and another sibling were inside the home when the gunfire broke out, but they were not wounded, Mayor Reed Gusciora said.

Both the mayor and police director said they believed it was a targeted shooting based on the bullets being fired in close proximity to a window, but did not elaborate beyond that.

No arrests were made as of Wednesday morning. Trenton Police and the Mercer County Homicide Task Force were investigating. Officers holding long rifles and K-9 team could be seen searching the neighborhood.

A car could be seen being towed from the scene Wednesday morning before daybreak, and prosecutors were reviewing nearby surveillance video, Coley said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 609-989-6406 or email mchtftips@mercercounty.org. Confidential tips can also be submitted at 609-989-3663.

“We are reaching out to the community to cooperate so we can get the people who perpetuated this crime,” Gusciora said.

Correction Oct. 21, 2020 at 6:50 a.m.: The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said it mistakenly identified the gender of one of the siblings. Both siblings were boys.

Mother, Teen Son Die in Philadelphia Row Home Fire

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A mother and her teenage son died early Wednesday morning as flames engulfed their row home in Philadelphia’s Point Breeze neighborhood.

Crews responded to the 2200 block of Pierce Street around 12:40 a.m. to find heavy smoke billowing from the first and second floors of the house. Neighbors described scenes of panic and chaos as the fire burned and claimed the lives of the 39-year-old woman and 14-year-old boy.

“It was frightening to see because I hadn’t seen a fire for years on this block,” one neighbor told NBC10. He added that the mother was known for distributing lunches to neighborhood kids over the summer.

Another neighbor, Asha Downing, described the family of four as “genuinely good people” who were quick to lend a hand.

“The son was so sweet and so caring and always willing to help any way he could. And the mom was pretty much the same, always willing to go the extra mile and make sure that she spoke to my children, and to give when she could and help other people,” she said.

Downing said the woman and her son lived in the home with the woman’s husband and young daughter.

The girl was also taken to an area hospital, but her condition was not immediately known.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze shortly after 1 a.m. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Ex-President Obama to Host Drive-In Rally in Philly in Bid to Boost Turnout for Biden

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Former President Barack Obama will host a drive-in rally in Philadelphia on Wednesday as he seeks to get out the vote for Joe Biden in the former vice president’s bid to oust President Donald Trump.

Obama will look to increase the chances of high voter turnout in deep blue Philadelphia, which will be key for a Biden victory, along with surrounding suburban counties and a handful of counties in western Pennsylvania. The former president will speak at the South Philadelphia Sports Complex.

Wednesday’s rally will be the first time back in Philadelphia for Obama, who spoke in the city’s Museum of the American Revolution during the virtual Democratic National Convention earlier this year.

Biden’s campaign headquarters are located in Philadelphia, and he has also made stops in the city, notably delivering a national address in City Hall during the unrest and protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd.

Trump narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016, flipping it red for the first time since 1988, and the battleground state is seen as a key pick-up that could decide the 2020 race for either candidate.

Democrats hold an edge in voter registration in Pennsylvania, but the same was true in 2016, when the party lost. Biden is hoping backlash to President Trump, as well as his own Scranton roots, can help him flip the state back and springboard him into the White House.


The 2020 presidential election will be one of the most consequential in our lifetime, and voting is already underway. You can make your voice heard by using NBC10’s voter’s guide here.

Need quick answers about voting sent right to your phone? Text EQUALINFO to 73224 to ask any question about voting access, deadlines, locations and more.

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy Goes Into Isolation After Exposure to COVID-Positive Person

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday and is going into self-quarantine, he said Wednesday.

He made the announcement during an unrelated press conference and abruptly left the event, saying he had learned of the exposure just minutes earlier.

“I was just informed by my colleagues that I was in close proximity to someone who has just tested positive,” a masked Murphy said. “I can’t ask President Trump not to come to Bedminster and do and fundraiser and have me sit here. I will now unfortunately have to take myself off the field.”

It wasn’t clear who Murphy had been in contact with. He said he was last tested on Monday, his last COVID briefing, and was negative. He said he had no symptoms and would be retested Wednesday as a precaution.

Murphy had been scheduled to hold his next COVID briefing on Thursday.

New Jersey has more than 223,000 positive cases as of Wednesday and nearly 16,300 deaths, including its probable fatalities. The state’s daily coronavirus cases have doubled over the past month, state officials said earlier this week.

Deadlines for Pennsylvania Voters Using Mail-in Ballots

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What to Know

  • The U.S. Supreme Court allowed Pennsylvania to count ballots received up to three days after the election, rejecting Republican attempts to tighten the deadline.
  • Republican state lawmakers continue to reject requests from county election officials and Gov. Wolf’s administration to allow early counting of mail-in ballots.
  • The Wolf administration is waiting for a state Supreme Court ruling about signatures on mail-in ballots, which could force all 67 counties to count ballots no matter what a signature looks like.

The rules governing the Nov. 3 presidential election in all-important Pennsylvania remain uncertain thanks to some litigation, but that doesn’t mean voters need to feel confused about how to cast a ballot.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Oct. 19 not to change the deadline for counting mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, some court battles could pop up again in the final two weeks. However, with each passing day, the possibility of lawsuits over the state’s election code grows less likely.

For voters, almost every deadline and rule is already set in stone. One that could affect voters’ mail-in ballots, however, remains unresolved. It involves the signature on the outer declaration envelope. Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration has asked the state Supreme Court to require all 67 counties accept all mail-in ballots that have a signature, even if that signature differs from the one on a voters’ original registration card.

Legal observers expect that ruling to come down very soon, and believe it is likely the state Supreme Court will side with the Wolf administration.

Currently, most counties in Pennsylvania have agreed to follow guidance from Pennsylvania election officials to count every mail-in ballot that has a signature. Some counties, however, have held out, with local election officials saying the signatures on ballot declaration envelopes must match the original signatures on file with election officials.

Voters, meanwhile, need only concern themselves with getting their ballots back to election offices as soon as possible, Pennsylvania’s top election official Kathy Boockvar said Wednesday.

“I don’t care what any court decision says,” Boockvar, the secretary of state, said on a call with reporters. “I want every voter who wants a mail-in ballot to get the mail-in ballot today.”

“Ballots need to be mailed this week. Or if they will be dropped off, it needs to be dropped off by next (Tuesday),” she added.

Here are the important deadlines for voters using mail-in ballots:

  • Oct. 27: The deadline for a registered voter to request a mail-in ballot or to drop off a mail-in ballot in-person at a satellite county election office.
  • Nov. 3: Election Day is the last day a mail-in ballot can be postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service in order for it to be counted.
  • 8 p.m., Nov. 3: The deadline for putting a mail-in ballot into a drop box in your county. Once the polls close in Pennsylvania, the drop boxes will be locked for good.
  • Nov. 6: The third day after the election is the last day a mail-in ballot can be received for it to be counted in the general election. So even if it is postmarked by Nov. 3, if it is not received by the Friday after Election Day, it will not be counted.

Jay Wright Leads Villanova Through COVID-19, Early Injuries

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An avid sports fan, Villanova coach Jay Wright watched with interest how Major League Baseball muddled through its season to get to the World Series and college football and the NFL have been challenged to piecemeal schedules to complete a season.

That made the two-time national champion weary that college basketball teams can play a complete 25-game season without cancellations or severe disruptions.

Wright says it’s “50-50” the sport — which took one of the first major hits in the coronavirus pandemic era with the cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament – can make it through the season in tact.

“You have to try to anticipate what it’s going to be,” Wright said Wednesday. “But you have to realize, you could be wrong.”

The Wildcats already felt the impact of COVID-19 when they had to put workouts on hold for 14 days last month when members of the program tested positive for the virus. Citing confidentiality, Wright has not disclosed the names of the people who had it, but the winningest coach in Villanova history said he was not among them. Wright said he’s tested once a week — including Wednesday — and the worry of keeping his players and staff safe can leave him more restless than prepping for the Big East Tournament.

“It does affect you because you get different guys involved, obviously not everybody is involved,” Wright said. “Initially the whole team is shut down. We all have to be prepared for that during the season. I think we’re back on track. I feel like we handled that pretty well. We have not had any issues since.”

Wright said the Wildcats are “just a little bit behind” their normal late-October learning curve without the benefit of full practices because of COVID-19, nagging injuries, and the absence of secret scrimmages. Like all programs, Villanova also failed to run its usual summer program that cost them some in player development.

“We have our guys here during June and July and it’s a big part of our player development and we didn’t get it,” Wright said. “When we came back in August, we could only work out in pods, groups of four. Then we had our little COVID issue. So we probably had like 10 full practices the whole time so it forces you as a coaching staff to be creative about what you put in, how much you put in … we’re really doing things a lot differently.”

Wright said the Wildcats are close to having a finalized schedule that could include a full Big East schedule, a marquee matchup against 2019 national champion West Virginia at Madison Square Garden and a local slate of games against Big 5 teams. He said the Wildcats could potentially allow maybe 700 fans per game if allowed this season at the Pavilion.

He said the Big East is still considering some sort late December start and a form of a postseason bubble.

“The costs are exorbitant,” Wright said. “These are college kids. They’re not professionals. You really can’t demand they go into a bubble. If you do it for men, you’ve got to do for women’s and that doubles the cost.”

Penn State Basketball Coach Chambers Resigns After Investigation

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What to Know

  • Pat Chambers resigned as Penn State’s basketball coach Wednesday following an internal investigation by the school into allegations of inappropriate conduct.
  • he 49-year-old Chambers had been at the school for nine years and was coming off the team’s best season under his lead.
  • Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a statement that assistant coach Jim Ferry was being elevated to interim coach for the coming season, which starts in late November.

Pat Chambers resigned as Penn State’s basketball coach Wednesday following an internal investigation by the school into allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Chambers, 49, had been at Penn State for nine years and was coming off the team’s best season under his directions.

Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said during a press news conference that she would not disclose details of the school’s investigation, but did say NCAA matters were not part of the investigation.

The investigation followed July story by ESPN’s “The Undefeated” that quoted a former Penn State player saying Chambers made an insensitive remark to him, referencing a noose during the 2018-19 season.

“As difficult as this news may be, both President (Eric) Barron and I believe this is the right outcome,” Barbour said.

Assistant coach Jim Ferry was elevated to interim coach for the coming season. The start of the NCAA basketball season is slated for Nov. 25. Ferry has previously been head coach at Long Island University-Brooklyn and Duquesne.

Chambers was in the middle of a four-year contract with Penn State that runs through 2021-22 season. He was 148-150 with Penn State, including an NIT championship in 2018.

In a statement to the online sports network Stadium,Chambers said: “This has been an incredibly difficult year for me and my family, and we are in need of a break to re-set and chart our path forward.”

Penn State finished 21-10 last season and was likely to earn an NCAA Tournament berth for the first time since 2011 before the postseason was canceled because of the pandemic.

“Coach Chambers has made many contributions to the program and to this university for which we are grateful,” Barbour said. “The team has been on a positive trajectory.”

Barbour said the players were “very disappointed” to find out about Chambers’ departure. Chambers delivered the news.

“Our current players, many of them have good relationships with him,” Barbour said.

Earlier this year, former Penn State player Rasir Bolton, now at Iowa State, made allegations of inappropriate conduct by Chambers to ESPN’s “The Undefeated.”

Bolton said that during a particularly difficult stretch for the team in January 2019, Chambers told him: “I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck.”

Chambers apologized to Bolton for the comment.

Barbour said a new allegations surfaced shortly after the story and a review was conducted jointly by Penn State’s Affirmative Action and Athletics Integrity offices.

She said the final report was received within the last two weeks.

Man Who Left Explosives Near Jersey Shore Labor Day Parade Route Avoids Jail Time

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A man accused of bringing homemade fireworks and other explosive devices to a Jersey Shore bar, resulting in a Labor Day parade cancellation, will not see jail time after pleading guilty, officials say.

Thomas Kaiser of South Plainfield, New Jersey, was sentenced to one year of probation Tuesday after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of prohibited weapons and one count of tampering with physical evidence, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Chris Swendeman. In addition, Kaiser surrendered his legally owned firearms and permit to purchase firearms.

Kaiser, 55, was arrested on Labor Day weekend in 2019 after bringing an explosive to Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright. He allegedly left a cooler of fireworks at a concert which led police to find other multiple explosive devices, according to law enforcement officials, and his brother previously told NBC New York it was all a misunderstanding.

Kaiser gave the package to the band who was performing that night and then left the package behind. When questioned about the cooler of fireworks, Kaiser said he brought the fireworks to the concert hoping they would be set off at the end.

He earlier had been seen trying to deliver a homemade device to a band member at the concert, a senior law enforcement official said. The device was removed and determined to be a large m-80 firework.

After the initial package was discovered, an investigation led to Kaiser’s home, where other devices were found near the residence, authorities said.

Kaiser’s lawyer told the court that his client was unaware that making homemade fireworks was illegal. Swendeman said that Kaiser did not intend to cause harm with the explosives and did not have a prior record.

Pennsylvania Nursing Home Sued Over Severe COVID-19 Outbreak

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A large, for-profit Pennsylvania nursing home where dozens of residents died of COVID-19 was sued Wednesday over allegations that it failed to take basic steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County, near the Ohio border, was among the hardest-hit nursing homes in the state, with more than 330 residents infected and 73 deaths, according to the state Department of Health. It has been under federal and state criminal investigationover its handling of the virus.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of five current residents and the families of 10 residents who died, alleges that Brighton’s operators chronically understaffed the facility, which forced the nursing staff to “cut corners while struggling to care for hundreds of residents during the pandemic.”

Brighton didn’t have an infection control program, allowing the virus to spread unchecked, the suit said. Citing a state inspection, it said Brighton didn’t even keep soap or paper towels at hand-washing sinks.

“What happened at Brighton was nothing short of a tragedy,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney, Bob Daley. “Brighton as an entity systematically failed its residents.”

Among the suit’s dozens of allegations: Brighton failed to separate infected residents from those who had tested negative, allowed staffers who had contracted the virus to continue to work while infected, and provided inaccurate information about the outbreak to family members and health officials.

Brighton said in a statement released by its public relations firm that it has “worked to closely follow the guidance of governmental health officials,” asserting that it has gone months without a new case of COVID-19.

“Right now, the facility’s sole focus remains on ensuring the health and well-being of all residents and staff,” the statement said.

Plaintiff Jodi Gill, whose 82-year-old father, Glenn Gill, contracted COVID-19 at Brighton, said her father’s dementia has become much worse since he contracted the virus several months ago.

“My attorney said they chose profits over patients, and that’s exactly what they did,” said Gill, adding she is worried the virus will make a resurgence there.

Wednesday’s suit is the second against Brighton. The family of a housekeeper who died of COVID-19 while working at Brighton suedin July.

Beaver County, which ran Brighton as the Friendship Ridge nursing home, sold it in 2014 for $38 million to Comprehensive HealthCare Management Services LLC, which is named as a defendant.

Long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania and nationwide were hit especially hard by COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic. Across the state, about 25,000 residents of more than 1,000 nursing and personal care homes have contracted the virus to date, and 5,666 have died, accounting for two-thirds of the statewide toll, according to the Health Department.

NJ Eyes Betting on College Playoff Games Here and Elsewhere

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What to Know

  • New Jersey Sen. Paul Sarlo wants to allow betting on college playoff or championship games, and hopes to ask voters to amend the state Constitution next year to permit it.
  • Sarlo has introduced a bill calling for the question to be placed on next year’s general election ballot. It would allow betting on college playoff or championship games held in New Jersey, along with such games played in other states in which New Jersey teams are involved.
  • If voters approve a referendum, it would remove a significant part of New Jersey’s current ban on betting on college sports.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to allow betting on college playoff or championship games, and hopes to ask voters to amend the state Constitution next year to permit it.

If voters approve a referendum that could be on the November 2021 ballot, it would remove a significant part of New Jersey’s current ban on college sports betting.

Sen. Paul Sarlo, a Democrat who represents the area including MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, where the NFL’s Jets and Giants play, has introduced a bill calling for the question to be placed on next year’s general election ballot.

It would allow betting on college playoff or championship games held in New Jersey, along with such games played in other states in which New Jersey teams are involved.

“These are games that are nationally televised, with a lot of interest all around the country, and a lot of people coming into the state from all over the country to witness these games,” said Sarlo. “Many of them would want to make a wager on these games, but they can’t do it in New Jersey. Why should we lose out on that money?”

State Senate President Steve Sweeney, a fellow Democrat, said he will cosponsor the bill, but wants to make sure it would not jeopardize the likelihood of New Jersey being awarded future college tournaments.

“I fully support what Sen. Sarlo is doing,” Sweeney said. “I just want to make sure we’re not costing ourselves anything.”

New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 clearing the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting should they so choose.

The state Constitution bans betting on college sports held in New Jersey, or out-of-state games involving New Jersey teams.

But even with the college ban in place, there was widespread sentiment that the state would wait a few years to demonstrate that it can effectively regulate betting on pro games while maintaining the integrity of the contests, and then revisit the question of betting on college games.

That’s what is happening now.

“We have proven to date that we can so this safely and responsibly,” Sarlo said.

The change would only apply to postseason games; it would maintain the ban on betting on regular season games.

It is aimed primarily at events like the NCAA basketball championship tournament, which was last held in New Jersey at Newark’s Prudential Center in 2011. The arena will host one of the tournament’s regional competitions in 20205.

Officials also hope MetLife Stadium will be chosen to host college football bowl games.

Philly DA's Office Employee Kills Armed Sex Worker in Self-Defense, Officials Say

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A gun violence counselor and employee with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office shot and killed an armed sex worker who tried to rob him at gunpoint, officials confirmed with NBC10. 

On Tuesday, shortly before 10 a.m., an armed 31-year-old man tried to rob another man on the 2600 block of North Napa Street in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, Philadelphia police said. The second man fired his own weapon, shooting the 31-year-old once in the chest. 

The 31-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. The man who shot him was not injured during the incident and has not been charged. 

Wednesday night, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office confirmed with NBC10 that the 31-year-old gunman was a sex worker while the man who shot him in self-defense is an employee with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office who also works as a gun violence counselor for the District Attorney’s Immediate Response Team. 

NBC10 reached out to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for comment. 

“This is an active investigation that has been appropriately referred to another agency,” a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office told NBC10. “We have no further comment at this time.” 

NJ Supreme Court Dismisses Minor Juvenile Warrants

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The New Jersey Supreme Court has cleaned the slate for some juveniles who were facing warrants and fines from more than five years ago under a plan “to ensure equal justice in the courts.”

The court on Wednesday ordered the dismissal of up to 1,400 failure-to-appear warrants that are more than five years old for nonviolent minor offenses that were issued against juveniles.

County prosecutors can then determine whether to proceed with underlying complaints, the court said.

The court also vacated more than $140,000 in discretionary juveniles fines that were imposed before July 1 on 592 juveniles.

According to the court, the fines being dismissed “are discretionary and non-mandatory county and state assessments.” They do not include money owed to victims for restitution.

“The young people who owe those fines – including disproportionate numbers of youth of color – overwhelmingly lack the capacity to make necessary payments, and the fines serve only to prolong involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems,” the court wrote in an order signed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.

The actions follow a plan that the court issued in July outlining a series of reforms that support juvenile rehabilitation.

The justices have instructed courts to periodically review and dismiss similar warrants.

WATCH: Gov. Murphy Goes Virtual With NJ Coronavirus Update

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In a change from his normal coronavirus news briefings, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is turning to Facebook Live for his Thursday update.

You can watch Murphy’s comments live on this page starting at 1 p.m.

The move to a virtual event came a day after Murphy abruptly announced during a news conference that he had contact with a senior staff member who had tested positive for COVID-19. He said he would immediately begin self-quarantining. A second staff member has since also tested positive for the coronavirus.

Murphy said he was last tested on Monday, his most recent COVID-19 briefing, and was negative. He said he had no symptoms. He and his wife were both tested Wednesday as a precaution and that test came back negative, a spokesperson said. 

“We know this virus can take some time to show itself, so we have voluntarily taken ourselves off the field and will get tested again in a few days,” Murphy said. “No one is immune from this virus. We must all remain vigilant – not just some of the time, but all of the time.”

More than 224,000 COVID-19 cases had been reported in New Jersey since the start of the outbreak. Thursday marked the latest day with more than 1,000 new cases as Murphy reported 1,182 new cases on Thursday.

Hospitalizations have been on a rise as cases have increased over the past several weeks. As of Thursday, more than 850 people were hospitalized with coronavirus.

At least 14,474 people are confirmed to have died from coronavirus-related complications, with 18 new deaths reported Friday.

This story is developing and will be updated.

New Lawsuit Targets Pennsylvania's Mail-In Ballot Deadline

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What to Know

  • A new lawsuit filed Thursday is challenging Pennsylvania’s court-ordered deadline to count mail-in ballots that are received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election in the presidential battleground state.
  • Plaintiffs — including four registered voters from Somerset County and a Republican congressional candidate — are asking a federal judge in Pittsburgh to block the deadline extension from going into effect.
  • It names Gov. Tom Wolf’s top election official, Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat who has argued in the state’s courts that a deadline extension was necessary to prevent late-arriving mail-in votes from being thrown out because of postal delays.

A new lawsuit filed Thursday is challenging Pennsylvania’s court-ordered deadline to count mail-in ballots that are received up to three days after the Nov. 3 election in the presidential battleground state.

Plaintiffs — including four registered voters from Somerset County and a Republican congressional candidate — are asking a federal judge in Pittsburgh to block the deadline extension from going into effect.

It names Gov. Tom Wolf’s top election official, Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat who has argued in the state’s courts that a deadline extension was necessary to prevent late-arriving mail-in votes from being thrown out because of postal delays.

The lawsuit comes 12 days before the election and three days after the U.S. Supreme Court, divided 4-4, rejected a Republican plea making a slightly different argument than Thursday’s lawsuit.

Both sought to block a state Supreme Court ruling that required county election officials to receive and count mailed-in ballots that arrive up until Nov. 6, even if they don’t have a clear postmark, as long as there is no proof it was mailed after the polls closed.

Thursday’s lawsuit said that the court’s deadline extension and the lack of a postmark requirement “will allow for late and otherwise unlawful ballots to be counted.”

That is unconstitutionally unfair to in-person voters and exceeded the court’s authority by exercising a power that is constitutionally vested in Congress and the Legislature, the lawsuit said.

With about 2.9 million mail-in ballots requested so far, registered Democrats have requested about 1.1 million more mail-in ballots than Republicans, or 1.8 million to 700,000, according to state data.

The Democratic majority on the state’s high court had cited surging demand for mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic and warnings that postal service delays could invalidate huge numbers of ballots to invoke the power, used previously by the state’s courts, to extend election deadlines during a disaster emergency.

Philly-Based Jewish Museum to Honor Magicians Houdini, David Copperfield

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What to Know

  • The Philadelphia-based National Museum of American Jewish History announced on Thursday it will induct illusionists Harry Houdini and David Copperfield into its hall of fame on Dec. 12.
  • The museum says the award recognizes the achievements and contributions of American Jews “who share and exemplify the ideals of the stories explored in the museum.”
  • Previous recipients of the museum’s award include the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and director Steven Spielberg.

The Philadelphia-based National Museum of American Jewish History will honor two men who entertained the world with their magic.

The museum announced on Thursday it will induct illusionists Harry Houdini and David Copperfield into its hall of fame on Dec. 12. The museum says the award recognizes the achievements and contributions of American Jews “who share and exemplify the ideals of the stories explored in the museum.”

Houdini was born Erik Weisz in Hungary in 1874 and came to America when he was 4 years old. The son of a rabbi, he toured the U.S. and the world as a magician until his death in 1926 at age 52.

Copperfield, 64, was born David Kotkin in New Jersey. He has earned 21 Emmy Awards, and will accept the honor from his International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas.

“From immigrant Harry Houdini to first-generation American David Copperfield, this event clearly demonstrates what’s possible when individuals are simply given the chance to be great,” said museum trustee Sharon Tobin Kestenbaum.

Previous recipients of the museum’s award include the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and director Steven Spielberg.

Gov. Wolf Plans to Waive Liquor License Fees to Help Restaurants and Bars Amid Pandemic

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What to Know

  • Gov. Wolf announced Thursday that he’s working with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to waive standard licensing fees through 2021 starting on January 1, 2021 in order to help restaurants and bars impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Under the plan, more than 16,000 Pennsylvania restaurants and bars, clubs, catering clubs and hotels would see $20 million in relief. 
  • Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, said he would have liked to have seen a “more thorough package” promoted by the governor that included industry-specific grants rather than loans as well as the elimination of all licensing fees for taverns and restaurants for two years including 2020 in addition to 2021 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf plans to waive liquor license fees to help provide financial relief for restaurants and bars impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Wolf announced Thursday that he’s working with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to waive standard licensing fees through 2021 starting on January 1, 2021. Under the plan, more than 16,000 Pennsylvania restaurants and bars, clubs, catering clubs and hotels would see $20 million in relief. 

“As we enter the anticipated fall resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the very contagious nature of this virus makes gathering indoors publicly at full capacity dangerous. Still, we know that restaurant and bar owners in Pennsylvania are committed to keeping their employees and customers safe and the vast majority of these businesses have followed safety precautions and invested in new procedures and supplies, but COVID continues to hurt this industry,” Gov. Wolf said. 

“My administration continues to look for innovative ways that we can support the bar and restaurant industry. Eliminating liquor license fees is an important step toward helping bars and restaurants retain the capital they need to weather the storm of COVID-19.” 

Wolf is also calling on the General Assembly to provide an additional $225 million in federal CARES Act funding through forgivable loans and grants for small businesses through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. Wolf also proposed $100 million in forgivable loans and grants for the hospitality, leisure and service industries, including restaurants and bars, salons and barbershops. 

Chuck Moran, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, responded to Wolf’s announcement, stating he would have liked to have seen a “more thorough package” promoted by the governor that included industry-specific grants rather than loans as well as the elimination of all licensing fees for taverns and restaurants for two years including 2020 in addition to 2021 

“Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association stated that a comprehensive package would be needed to bail out the industry and save jobs – including ALL licensing fees,” Moran wrote. “We certainly hope that the Governor means ALL fees liquor license holders pay in his definition of “standard” including but not limited to off-premise catering, Sunday permits, and small games of chance. While licensing fee help is part of the solution, much more needs to be done, particularly considering the size of the industry and its role in the Pennsylvania economy.”

Man Shot Inside Venue in Ardmore, Police Say

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A man is recovering after he was shot inside a venue in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. 

The shooting occurred inside the Palombaro-Haverford Main Line on the 2600 block of East County Line Road Thursday afternoon. Police said a man was shot in the groin after an altercation. The victim is expected to survive though police have not yet revealed his condition. 

Police told NBC10 they believe the victim knows the gunman and the shooting may have occurred during a family function in the venue’s banquet hall. 

No arrests have been made. Police continue to investigate.

This story is developing. Check back for updates. 

Here's Who the Injury-Riddled Eagles Have Available Vs. Giants

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Here’s who the injury-riddled Eagles have available tonight originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

They’ll get DeSean Jackson back, they’ll get Avonte Maddox back, they’ll get Lane Johnson back and they’ll get Duke Riley back.

So when the Eagles take the field to face the Giants Thursday evening, they’ll be missing “only” 15 players from their regular rotation.

That includes five offensive linemen, one defensive lineman, a linebacker, two defensive backs, three tight ends, one running back and two wide receivers.

Who exactly do the Eagles have available tonight?

Including practice squad game-day call-ups Jamon Brown and T.Y. McGill and offensive lineman Matt Pryor, activated Thursday off the COVID list, and Jason Croom, signed Wednesday off the practice squad, they have 50 players available. From that they’ll have 48 in uniform.

Some 18 Eagles have already made their NFL debut this year, and with 10 weeks to go that’s already just one shy of the modern-era full-season record of 19.

We listed projected starters with an asterisk, and with Sua Opeta, that’s really just a guess. Could be Pryor, could even be Brown. Same with the secondary, where it depends what formation they open with.

If Opeta does start, he’ll become the 12th Eagle to make his first career start this year.

One thing is certain: At some point during the game, you’ll look over to the person next to you and say … “Who is that???”

Quarterbacks (3)

*Carson Wentz

Jalen Hurts

Nate Sudfeld

Running back (3)

*Boston Scott

Corey Clement

Jason Huntley

Wide receiver (6)

*Travis Fulgham

*DeSean Jackson

*Greg Ward

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

Quez Watkins

John Hightower

Tight end (3)

*Richard Rodgers

Hakeem Butler

Jasom Croom

Offensive line (9)

*Jason Kelce

*Lane Johnson

*Nate Herbig

*Jordan Mailata

*Sua Opeta

Brett Toth

Luke Juriga

Matt Pryor

Jamon Brown

Defensive tackle (4)

*Fletcher Cox

*Javon Hargrave 

Hassan Ridgeway

T.Y. McGill

Defensive end (5)

*Brandon Graham

*Derek Barnett

Genard Avery

Vinny Curry

Josh Sweat

Linebacker (5)

*Nate Gerry

*Duke RIley

Alex Singleton

Davion Taylor

Shaun Bradley

Defensive back (9)

*Jalen Mills

*Rodney McLeod

*Darius Slay

*Will Parks

*Avonte Maddox

Marcus Epps

Nickell Robey-Coleman

Cre’Von LeBlanc

Craig James

Special teams (3)

Jake Elliott

Cameron Johnston

Rick Lovato

Not available (16)

Jack Driscoll (out)

Malik Jackson (out)

Alshon Jeffery (out)

Miles Sanders (out)

K’Von Wallace (out)

Andre Dillard (IR)

Zach Ertz (IR)

T.J. Edwards (IR)

Rudy Ford (IR)

Dallas Goedert (IR)

Josh Perkins (IR)

Jason Peters (IR)

Jalen Reagor (IR)

Isaac Seumalo (IR)

Brandon Brooks (PUP)

Daeshon Hall (PUP)

Southwest Will Unblock Middle Seats Starting Dec. 1

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Southwest Airlines hopes their planes will be a little more full starting December 1.

That’s when the Dallas-based carrier will resume filling the middle seat.

Southwest doesn’t assign seats but had been underselling the cabin in order to free up the middle seat to make travelers feel safer during the pandemic.

The airline defended its decision in a statement, citing several studies it said shows the risk of getting coronavirus on an airplane is extremely rare when everyone wears a mask. The International Air Transport Association found 44 cases of COVID-19 transmission associated with plane travel, with most recorded before airlines adopted enhanced cleaning procedures and mask requirements, according to a news release.

“That’s 44 people out of the nearly 1.2 billion passengers who have traveled in 2020, or one case for every 27 million travelers this year. As IATA suggests, this is approximately the same risk category as being struck by lightning,” Southwest said in a statement.

The decision to unblock middle seats came the same day Southwest reported a record loss of $1.2 billion dollars for the third quarter after the pandemic hurt the summer travel season.

Revenue was down 68% year to year. Southwest said operating revenue would need to recover to 60% to 70% of 2019 levels, double the third quarter’s sales, to break even, CNBC reports.

“This practice of effectively keeping middle seats open bridged us from the early days of the pandemic, when we had little knowledge about the behavior of the virus, to now,” Southwest said. “Today, aligned with science-based findings from trusted medical and aviation organizations, we will resume selling all available seats for travel beginning December 1, 2020.”

SEPTA Officer Accused of Attacking 2 Protesters During Civil Unrest in Center City

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What to Know

  • SEPTA Police Sgt. Matthew Sinkiewicz, 36, was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, unsworn falsification to authorities and official oppression. 
  • Sinkiewicz allegedly struck two protesters with his baton several times on the head and body without provocation in Center City back on May 30 during the George Floyd protests and riots.
  • Sinkiewicz later submitted paperwork that didn’t accurately reflect what happened, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. 

A SEPTA police officer is accused of attacking two protesters near the former site of the Frank Rizzo statue during civil unrest and riots in Philadelphia and then submitting a false report about the incident. 

SEPTA Police Sgt. Matthew Sinkiewicz, 36, was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, unsworn falsification to authorities and official oppression. 

SEPTA Police Sergeant Matthew Sinkiewicz

“Justice has to be rooted in equal accountability,” Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said. “I want to thank the SEPTA Transit Police for their work on this investigation into one of their own officers. In order to earn the trust of the public, law enforcement must take an even-handed approach in applying justice, always.” 

Sinkiewicz was among the officers who were stationed in front of the Municipal Services Building in Center City during the George Floyd protests and riots back on May 30. They were also standing near the statue of controversial Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo which was later removed by the city. 

Sinkiewicz allegedly struck two protesters with his baton several times on the head and body without provocation. Both protesters suffered injuries, including lacerations and were treated at the hospital. 

Sinkiewicz later submitted paperwork that didn’t accurately reflect what happened, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. 

“The civil disorder that occurred in Philadelphia on May 30 did not take away the responsibility of our member to follow the Transit Police rules and expectations for professional conduct,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III said. “Our response to resistance must be appropriate, and when it is not, the member will be held responsible.” 

Aramark Lays Off Thousands at Idle Pa. Stadiums, Event Venues

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Philadelphia food service company Aramark is laying off thousands of workers at stadiums and event venues across Pennsylvania as many sit largely dormant during the COVID-19 pandemic, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal.

According to recent filings from the company with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the layoffs affect 2,000 Aramark staff members in Philadelphia: 1,080 workers at Citizens Bank Park, 721 at Wells Fargo Center, and 199 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

On the other side of the state, an additional 1,225 Aramark workers will be laid off at Pittsburgh-area venues: 599 people at PNC Park and 626 employees at the multi-purpose indoor PPG Paints Arena.

In the filings, Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) indicates the affected venues informed the company they do “not anticipate business improving in full for an undefined period of time and will only need our services in a limited capacity, if at all, during this time-period.” The layoffs are a direct result, and Aramark anticipates “an improvement in business conditions as soon as reasonably feasible depending on the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and based upon our client’s business needs but do not yet know when that will occur.”

PBJ.com has a look at how the uncertainty around when sports will return to normal are playing a role in how long the layoffs could persist.

Stay in the know on all things business with the Philadelphia Business Journal

Back From the Brink: Eagles Overcome 11-Point Deficit, Beat Giants 22-21

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Carson Wentz threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Boston Scott with 40 seconds remaining and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame an 11-point deficit in the final seven minutes to beat the New York Giants 22-21 on Thursday night.

Daniel Jones shook off a stumble that prevented him from an 88-yard touchdown run and had the Giants leading 21-10 following a 2-yard pass to Sterling Shepard with 6:21 left.

But Wentz led a depleted offense missing eight starters back. His 3-yard pass to Greg Ward cut it to 21-16. After the 2-point conversion failed, the Eagles got the ball at their 29 with 2:02 to go.

Wentz completed passes of 11 and 30 yards to Richard Rodgers. On third down from the 5, a defensive holding penalty gave the Eagles a first down at the 3. But three-time All-Pro center Jason Kelce was called for a facemask penalty that pushed it back to the 18.

No big deal.

Wentz threw a perfect strike to Scott and the backup running back made an excellent catch to give Philadelphia the lead. The 2-point conversion failed, but Jones was sacked and fumbled on the ensuing possession.

The Eagles (2-4-1) and Giants (1-6) are right in the mix in the NFC East, led by Dallas (2-4).

Wentz threw for 359 yards and two TDs and ran for a score.

Jones had only the end zone ahead of him away when he took off running from the Giants 12 in the third quarter. He was well ahead of everyone chasing him until he stumbled and got tackled before he could get up at 8.

A pass interference penalty against Nickell Robey-Coleman on third down gave the Giants another try, and Wayne Gallman ran in from the 1 to give them a 14-10 lead.

Jones’ 80 yard run was the longest by a Giants quarterback and tied for the fourth-longest in team history. Patrick Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, couldn’t resist poking some fun at Jones. He tweeted: “I mean i can’t even say anything cause i would never be able to run that far either.”

Jones threw a 39-yard TD pass to Golden Tate in the first quarter.

Questionable play-calling cost the Eagles early in the fourth quarter. Wentz completed a 40-yard pass to Travis Fulgham and the Eagles reached the 7 when Jalen Hurts came in to run an option and gained no yards. After Wentz ran to the 3, Eagles coach Doug Pederson went for it on fourth down. The call was a fade to No. 5 tight end Hakeem Butler, who has no career catches. Logan Ryan broke it up.

The Giants then drove 97 yards to take a 21-10 lead.

Philadelphia’s depleted offense picked up where it left off against Baltimore when it scored 22 fourth-quarter points in a 30-28 loss. Using a no-huddle often on the opening drive, Wentz led the Eagles 75 yards and ran in from the 1 for his fifth TD rushing to make it 7-0. Wentz scrambled 3 yards on fourth-and-1 to keep the drive going and connected with Richard Rodgers for 18 yards to the 1 to set up the score.

But the Eagles reverted to their mistake-prone ways until the final 6 1/2 minutes.

REVOLVING DOOR

Left guard Sua Opeta became the 10th offensive lineman to start for the Eagles this season and fourth to make his first NFL start.

INJURIES

Giants: RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) left in the second half.

Eagles: WR DeSean Jackson, RT Lane Johnson, DT Hassan Ridgeway (biceps) and DB Craig James (hamstring) left in the second half.

UP NEXT

Giants: Host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) on Monday Night Football on Nov. 2.

Eagles: Host the Dallas Cowboys (2-4) on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 1.

Judge Tosses Trump Campaign's Challenge to New Jersey's Mail-In Ballots

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A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign that had sought to stop New Jersey’s mail-in ballot program.

U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp’s opinion was foreshadowed when he rejected the GOP’s request for an injunction to stop the program on Oct. 6 and wrote the plaintiffs “fail to establish they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims.”

A message was left Thursday seeking comment from a spokesperson for the Trump campaign.

In a court filing last month, the campaign alleged the state’s ballot procedures violated the Constitution and opened the door to widespread voter fraud, including that ballots mailed after Election Day would still be counted. Shipp wrote Thursday that the fraud claims rest on “highly speculative fear.”

Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation in August that allowed election officials to begin counting mail-in ballots 10 days before Election Day and accept unpostmarked ballots up to two days afterward. All registered New Jersey voters were mailed ballots in what Murphy has said are concerns over potential coronavirus transmission from in-person voting.

The GOP sued New Jersey in August, calling the state’s plan “a brazen power grab” by Murphy that created the possibility of widespread voter fraud. The suit named a recent incident in Paterson in which a campaign worker allegedly admitting stealing ballots out of mail boxes in a local election.

“It is difficult — and ultimately speculative — to predict future injury from evidence of past injury,” Shipp wrote Thursday.

The two major political parties are embroiled in dozens of lawsuits across the country over issues including mail-in ballots, ballot drop boxes, witness requirements and time extensions for voting and for counting ballots.

St. Joe's Prep Puts in-Person Classes, Football Team on Pause Due to Coronavirus

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St. Joseph’s Preparatory School’s nationally-ranked football team won’t be playing this weekend after a cluster of cases of the coronavirus forced the Philadelphia Jesuit high school for boys and young men to transition to virtual learning through at least the end of October.

St. Joe’s Prep announced the transition to all virtual learning in a letter to families on Thursday. Nearly a third of the Prep’s 904 students and numerous staff are in quarantine after at least five students tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week, spokesman Bill Avington said.

“After consultation with the Philadelphia Department of Health, St. Joseph’s Prep has chosen to suspend in-person instruction until Monday, Nov. 2,” the letter, which was posted to the school’s website, said. “This decision has been made after learning of multiple students testing positive for COVID-19, which has led to approximately 30% of students and colleagues quarantining.”

The school, which is located along Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia, draws students from around the region with 172 different zip codes represented by students in ninth to 12th grades. They have been learning using a hybrid model that divides students in Crimson and Gary cohorts.

“We consider the health of our school community to be of extreme importance and will be working to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” the letter said. “It is our intention to have in-person learning as often as possible but we must continue to adapt to the challenges created by this pandemic.”

Along with moving temporarily away from any in-person instruction, the Prep is putting its football program, other sports and activities on hold until at least next Friday, Oct. 30.

The undefeated Hawks’ football team is the top-ranked high school team in Pennsylvania and in the Top 5 of MaxPreps’ national ranking. The sons of former NFL stars Marvin Harrison and Jeremiah Trotter are on the team.

The Hawks were set to play Bishop Sycamore from Columbus, Ohio, at Cardinal O’Hara this Saturday. They could still be cleared to play next Saturday (Halloween) against Archbishop Wood at the Bucks County school.

The Prep urged parents of all students to observe their sons’ health for symptoms of coronavirus and to get tested if needed.

Trump Campaign Tapes Voters at Drop Boxes in Philadelphia

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What to Know

  • The Trump campaign has been videotaping people as they deposit ballots in drop boxes in Philadelphia in what it says is an attempt to catch violations, surveillance that the battleground state’s Democratic attorney general suggested could amount to illegal intimidation.
  • The campaign acknowledged the taping in a letter from a lawyer that complained it had caught voters on video illegally depositing multiple ballots. City elections officials responded they could not confirm the activity was inappropriate under Pennsylvania law.
  • Linda Kerns, the lawyer for the Trump campaign — which has already sued to ban the use of drop boxes — wrote to city election officials last week to request that they end the use of “unmanned drop boxes.” The New York Times first reported the development Thursday.

The Trump campaign has been videotaping people as they deposit ballots in drop boxes in Philadelphia in what it says is an attempt to catch violations, surveillance that the battleground state’s Democratic attorney general suggested could amount to illegal intimidation.

The campaign acknowledged the taping in a letter from a lawyer that complained it had caught voters on video illegally depositing multiple ballots. City elections officials responded they could not confirm the activity was inappropriate under Pennsylvania law.

Linda Kerns, the lawyer for the Trump campaign — which has already sued to ban the use of drop boxes — wrote to city election officials last week to request that they end the use of “unmanned drop boxes.” The New York Times first reported the development Thursday.

Philadelphia and many other heavily populated counties in Pennsylvania are using drop boxes to help collect an avalanche of mail ballots under a year-old law greatly expanding such voting.

Kerns wrote that video taken by a campaign representative shows three people dropping off as many as three ballots in a limited time period Oct. 14.

Pennsylvania law, in most cases, requires voters to deliver their own mail-in ballots, Kerns wrote, although it makes an exception for voters with disabilities.

Kerns suggested the images amount to “blatant violations” of state election law and said the campaign would sue, unless the city’s election office “commits to remedy this problem immediately.”

She asked for copies of city surveillance video at City Hall, for a list of voters who dropped ballots in the Philadelphia City Hall drop box on Oct. 14, and that the ballots be set aside “until an investigation can determine whether the ballots were personally delivered” by the voter.

In a response, a city lawyer, Benjamin Field, wrote Monday to Kerns to reject her assumption that the law was violated. Third-party delivery is permitted in certain circumstances, he wrote.

Though the city had forwarded the campaign’s information to the district attorney’s office, Field said, the elections office does not track whose ballots are dropped into particular drop boxes.

In a statement, the office of District Attorney Larry Krasner, a Democrat, said it is committed to investigating “any and all” allegations of voter intimidation and harassment. The office of the state attorney general, Democrat Josh Shapiro, warned in a statement that videotaping voters at drop boxes could be construed as illegal voter intimidation.

In any case, Shapiro’s office said, Trump’s campaign had provided similar photos and videos in a lawsuit in federal court in its effort to ban drop boxes. A judge threw out the case.

In another development in President Donald Trump’s battle with Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden for Pennsylvania’s key 20 electoral votes, a lawsuit filed Thursday challenged a court-ordered extension of the deadline to receive mailed presidential ballots.

Plaintiffs — including four registered voters from Somerset County and a Republican congressional candidate — asked a federal judge in Pittsburgh to block the deadline extension in the presidential battleground state from going into effect.

The state Supreme Court last month ordered county election officials to receive and count mailed-in ballots that arrive up to three days after the Nov. 3 election, until Nov. 6, even if they don’t have a clear postmark, as long as there is no proof it was mailed after the polls closed.

Thursday’s lawsuit came 12 days before the election and three days after the U.S. Supreme Court, divided 4-4, rejected a Republican plea making a slightly different argument than Thursday’s lawsuit.

The new lawsuit said the court’s deadline extension and the lack of a postmark requirement “will allow for late and otherwise unlawful ballots to be counted.”

That is unconstitutionally unfair to in-person voters and exceeded the court’s authority by exercising a power that is constitutionally vested in Congress and the Legislature, it said.

With the plaintiffs seeking expedited consideration, the new argument could theoretically arrive at the U.S. Supreme Court after Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is sworn in, providing a tie-breaking vote before the election.

Most states make Election Day the deadline, but more than 20 states have a post-Election Day deadline.

Several lawsuits — including another filed against Philadelphia by Trump’s campaign — are currently being fought over how Pennsylvania’s election is being conducted. The wave of court cases has prompted concerns that the presidential vote count will be heavily litigated and dragged out for weeks.

With about 2.9 million mail-in ballots requested so far, registered Democrats have requested about 1.1 million more mail-in ballots than Republicans, or 1.8 million to 700,000, according to state data.

Pennsylvania Mail-in Ballots Can't Be Rejected Over Voter Signature, Court Says

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Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday on a key concern surrounding an avalanche of mail-in ballots in the presidential battleground state, prohibiting counties from rejecting ballots because the voter’s signature on it may not resemble their signature on their registration form.

Two Republican justices joined five Democratic justices in the decision.

The verdict was a victory for the state’s top election official, Kathy Boockvar, a Democrat who had asked the court to back her up in a legal dispute with President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican lawmakers.

“County boards of elections are prohibited from rejecting absentee or mail-in ballots based on signature comparison conducted by county election officials or employees, or as the result of third-party challenges based on signature analysis and comparisons,” the justices wrote.

Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are locked in a battle to win Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.

In her court filing, Boockvar had said that any such rejections pose “a grave risk of disenfranchisement on an arbitrary and wholly subjective basis,” and without any opportunity for a voter to verify their signature before their ballot is disqualified.

The decision comes amid a surge in mail-in voting and rising concerns that tens of thousands of mail-in ballots will be discarded in the presidential election over a variety of technicalities.

Pennsylvania Sets Single-Day Record for New Coronavirus Cases

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What to Know

  • On Friday, Pennsylvania announced 2,219 coronavirus cases. The daily count is the highest since the start of the pandemic.
  • Philadelphia announced nearly 400 cases of its own.
  • Health officials are urging people to continue mask usage, social distancing and hand washing to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

Pennsylvania saw its single highest count of new daily coronavirus cases reported on Friday. With cases rising throughout the Philadelphia region, the city’s top health official is putting out a warning.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 2,219 additional people had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the start of the pandemic to nearly 191,000. The total was from all test results received as of midnight.

Daily case increases are now comparable to what the Keystone State saw during the first peak of the pandemic, officials said. The previous single day total was in April.

The Department of Health has seen “significant increases” in the number of young people – especially 19- to 24-year-olds – testing positive for the virus. The southeastern part of the state that includes the Philadelphia suburbs continues to have the most daily cases.

Pennsylvania also reported 33 new coronavirus-related deaths Friday to bring the statewide total to at least 8,625 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The one-day case record in Pennsylvania coincides with a nationwide record as NBC News reported the U.S. set a single-day record for new coronavirus cases on Thursday with 77,640 reported infections.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is requiring mask-wearing in public and urging people to keep socially distant, wash their hands frequently and to clean surfaces as often as possible in an attempt to slow the virus’ spread.

Philadelphia counts coronavirus cases differently from the state; on Friday, health officials announced 397 new cases. The City attributed the increase in part to a large new of test results received Friday.

Philadelphia also reported one new death Friday to bring its total number of deaths attributed to coronavirus-related complications to 1,853 people.

“Today’s numbers are a clear warning that the epidemic is growing rapidly in our region,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said. “Everyone in Philadelphia should be even more cautious — avoiding contact with others unnecessarily and wearing a mask whenever you must be around anyone other than your household members.”

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Woman Staked Out 2 Trenton Boys Before a Man Shot Them Both, Police Say

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Police have tracked down two suspects who they believe fired into a home in Trenton, New Jersey, killing two brothers, after a dispute this week.

The shooting killed 8-year-old Johnny Perez and 16-year-old Gustavo Perez Tuesday night.

Dajuan Kelley and Destanie Ellis are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder along with gun and conspiracy charges, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

The prosecutor’s office said 26-year-old Kelley, who hails from Ewing, and Ellis, 29, of Morrisville, were sitting in a Ford Expedition on a Trenton street Tuesday night. Then the Perez brothers walked past and tried to get in the SUV, leading to an argument. What led to this encounter was not explained Friday.

Some time after the argument, Kelley and Ellis were in separate vehicles following the Perez boys who were walking along a street.

Police say surveillance footage shows a large portion of Tuesday night’s events. Ellis was seen leaving a Chevrolet Malibu and calling others to her location while following the Perez brothers.

Dajuan Kelley and Destanie Ellis are charged with first-degree murder and other offenses after the killings of Johnny and Gustavo Perez Oct. 20, 2020 in Trenton.

Other people also arrived at the Perez home, while Ellis pointed out the house where Gustavo and Johnny entered. Kelley then fired at them as they stood in front of the second-floor kitchen window in the home, the prosecutor’s office says.

The brothers were taken to a hospital and pronounced dead later.

Ellis was arrested Thursday in Trenton, the prosecutor’s office said. Kelley made it to Hampton, Georgia, where U.S. Marshals picked him up as a fugitive.

In a statement, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora thanked law enforcement for their investigative work and acknowledged that “while loved ones can never be replaced, I hope today’s announcement will bring some measure of closure and peace to the family and friends whose lives were shattered by this outrageous act of violence.”