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Vandal Damages Speed Cameras on Stretch of I-95 in Delaware

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What to Know

  • Speed cameras were damaged by a vandal before they were scheduled to begin operating in a work zone on Interstate 95 in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Delaware State Police discovered the damaged cameras in both the southbound and northbound directions of the work zone early Monday morning.
  • The Delaware Department of Transportation will replace the cameras while Delaware State Police and Wilmington Police investigate and search for surveillance video of the vandalism.

Speed cameras were damaged by a vandal before they were scheduled to begin operating in a work zone on Interstate 95 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Delaware State Police discovered the damaged cameras in both the southbound and northbound directions of the work zone early Monday morning. The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) will replace the cameras while Delaware State Police and Wilmington Police investigate and search for surveillance video of the vandalism.

The cameras are part of Delaware’s pilot Electronic Speed Safety Program which was scheduled to begin on Monday in the I-95 work zone in Wilmington and remain in effect through the end of the construction project, which is set to end in the fall of 2023.

Drivers going too fast through the construction zone will get a ticket mailed to them.

“The goal of the pilot program is to reduce work zone speeds and crashes, change driver behavior, and improve work zone safety for workers and motorists,” DelDOT said in a news release.

When Will Fines Begin to Be Issued?

There is a 30-day grace period for speed violators. After that, speeders will get a warning mailed to them for the first violation. Each speeding violation from then on will result in a fine sent through the mail.

What Exactly Will Happen Once Speed Cams Are Active?

The cameras will read the license plate on the front and back of a vehicle and record the time and speed of the driver. The registered owner of speeding cars can then get tickets in the mail within 30 days.

DelDOT plans on moving around the speed cameras, so don’t think you will always know where the cams are posted.

How Fast Do I Need to Be Going to Get a Ticket?

If you go a few mph over the posted speed limit, you won’t get a ticket. You have to be going 13 mph or more over the posted speed limit to get ticketed. Officials said that threshold falls in line with other states’ automated speed cam policies.

What Is the Minimum Fine for Speeding?

The base violation is $20, but with other fees (going toward the Transportation Trust Fund Surcharge, Fund to Combat Violent Crimes and Volunteer Ambulance Company Fund) and a $1-per-mph-in-excess rate (more about that below), the minimum ticket is $74.50, according to DelDOT.

So Fines Go Up for Each MPH Over the Speed Limit?

Yes, this is how DelDOT describes the escalating fine:

“For example, if the captured violation occurs at a speed of 58 mph, the speed violation is $20.00 plus an additional $13.00 which accounts for $1.00 for each mile per hour over the 45-mph posted work zone speed limit, and the assessment of other fees as set forth in Delaware Code for a total of $74.50.”

Will There Be Any Points Added to License?

No. These are civil penalties only. Insurance companies won’t be made aware of the speeding violation, DelDOT said.

What If No Construction Is Taking Place at the Time I Drive by?

If you speed, you are subject to a fine 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why Is There a Need for the Speed Cams?

“We continue to see motorists traveling at speeds well above the posted speed limit and too many crashes are occurring in the construction zone,” Delaware Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski said. “We need to utilize all the tools available to reduce crashes, and this program is about protecting everyone’s safety.”

Officials have seen an increase in crashes long the I-95 construction zone. There were 423 crashes in the I-95 work zone in Delaware in 2021, a 49% increase from 2019, DelDOT said.

“The sharp increase in collisions within the construction zone has been concerning and has put the motoring public and individuals in the work zone at risk,” Delaware State Police Col. Melissa Zebley said. “Recognizing that construction zones are problematic areas to conduct traditional speed enforcement, we believe this program will encourage motorists to slow down for the sake of the highway workers and their fellow motorists alike.”

DelDOT spokesman C.R. McLeod summed it up like this:

“For the most part, people have really just ignored the posted 45 mph speed limit and not just by a little,” McLeod said. “Traffic exceeded 70 mph or higher.”

Who Operates the Speed Camera Program?

“Conduent, Inc. is DelDOT’s ‘turnkey’ vendor, who owns, operates, and maintains the ESSP camera equipment and citation/violation collection system,” according to the Restore the Corridor website. “DelDOT’s Office of the Secretary and Traffic Engineering Section are responsible for all engineering, safety, and policy decisions–not Conduent. Delaware State Police is responsible for reviewing and validating all citations.”

You can find answers to even more questions by clicking on this Q&A.


Gunman Kills Teen, Stray Bullets Nearly Strike Family Inside Nearby Home

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A gunman shot and killed a teenage boy and stray bullets from the shooting nearly struck a family inside a nearby home in Philadelphia, police said.

The 16-year-old boy was on the 2600 block of North Hutchinson Street shortly after 6:30 p.m. Monday when a gunman opened fire. The teen was shot multiple times in the face, head, chest and torso. He was taken to Temple University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:56 p.m. 

Police said at least 20 shots were fired from two weapons that have not yet been recovered.

“We found about 15 spent shell casings that seemed to come from a long gun. A rifle,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said. “And we found an additional five spent shell casings that appeared to come from a semiautomatic handgun.”

At least ten stray bullets entered a home across the street and nearly struck a bedridden 64-year-old woman and two small children, ages 2 and 3, who were sleeping on the couch on the first floor, as well as two teenagers, ages 14 and 17, who were on the second floor, according to investigators.

None of the family members inside the home were injured. Police believe they were innocent bystanders while the 16-year-old boy was the intended target.

Chief Small said police obtained private surveillance video that showed a white sedan traveling south on Hutchinson Street and a driver and a passenger exiting the vehicle. At least one of the suspects then opened fire before they both went back inside the vehicle and fled the scene.

As of Sunday night, there were already at least 22 homicides in Philadelphia in 2022, up 5% from the same date last year. 

A total of 562 people were killed in the city in 2021, according to Philadelphia Police Department statistics. Those killings were the most since the city began keeping track in 1960, and they eclipsed the previous record of 500 slayings in 1990.

The city appropriated $155 million to public safety in its last budget, including $16 million for neighborhood-based groups fighting violence.

However, Mayor Jim Kenney twice declined to issue an emergency declaration on gun violence, something pushed by both activists and fellow lawmakers as a way to clear red tape and expedite resources to combat the problem.

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

Video Shows Vehicle of Suspect in Murder of Pregnant Woman, Police Say

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Philadelphia Police released surveillance video of a vehicle they say was used by the suspect in the murder of a pregnant woman and her unborn child last year. 

On November 20, 2021, shortly after 8:30 p.m., Jessica Covington, 32, was returning home from her baby shower and unloading gifts from her car on the 6100 block of Palmetto Street when she was approached by a gunman who opened fire. 

Covington, who was seven months pregnant, was shot in the head and stomach.

Jessica Covington

“I heard like nine shots, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,” Denise Wilson, a neighbor, told NBC10.

Covington was rushed to Einstein Medical Center where she and her unborn child were pronounced dead just minutes later.

“It’s just horrific what happened,” Wilson said. “It’s just a horrific murder, and I hope someone finds whoever did this.”

On Monday, police released surveillance video of the suspect’s vehicle. They said the vehicle arrived in the area about 10 minutes prior to the shooting. It was last seen traveling southbound on Tabor Road and approaching Adams Avenue. 

The vehicle is described as a light-colored 1999 to 2004 Cadillac Seville with a distinct black trim at the bottom of its frame. 

The video released by police also included audio of the shooting.

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. If you see the suspect, do not approach. Instead, call 911 immediately. 

If you have any information about the shooting or suspects, call the Homicide Unit at 215-686-3334/3335. 

You can also submit a tip by calling or texting 215-686-TIPS (8477). All tips are confidential.

Website for Free COVID Tests From Government Launches Early at ‘Limited Capacity'

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Free at-home rapid COVID test kits were slated to be available for order through a government website starting Wednesday, but many users reported being able to place their orders late Tuesday morning.

A White House spokesperson confirmed the site was launched in a “beta phase” Tuesday and was “operating at limited capacity ahead of its official launch,” which remains scheduled for Wednesday.

“This is standard practice to address troubleshooting and ensure as smooth of an official launch tomorrow as possible,” the spokesperson told NBC News. “We expect the website to officially launch mid-morning tomorrow.”

Here’s what to know about the website and how you can order your tests:

WHEN AND HOW CAN YOU ORDER YOUR FREE COVID TEST KITS?

The new federal website to request free test kits, covidtests.gov, officially launches Wednesday, with the first shipments going out to Americans by the end of the month.

But late Tuesday morning, many users reported they had been able to place their orders already. A White House spokesperson confirmed the site was launched in a “beta phase” Tuesday and was “operating at limited capacity ahead of its official launch.”

“The tests will be completely free—there are no shipping costs and you don’t need to enter a credit card number,” the website states.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RECEIVE THE TESTS?

The White House says “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering” through the U.S. Postal Service. USPS reports shipping times of 1-3 days for its first-class package service in the continental United States. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO) and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) addresses will be sent through Priority Mail.

Importantly, given the shipping and process times, Americans will need to request the tests well before they meet federal guidelines for requiring a test.

HOW MANY TESTS CAN I ORDER FROM THE WEBSITE?

The White House says that “to promote broad access,” shipments from covidtests.gov will initially be limited to four rapid tests per residential address, no matter the number of occupants.

WHAT IF I HAVE MORE THAN 4 PEOPLE IN A HOUSEHOLD?

According to the website, the limit will remain four per residential address.

“To promote broad access, the initial program will only allow 4 free individual tests per residential address,” the site states.

WHICH HOME TEST WILL I GET?

That will vary. The federal government has secured more than 420 million tests for distribution through covidtests.gov already, with plans to increase the order to 1 billion tests in the coming weeks. All of the tests supplied will be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and are capable of detecting the more-transmissible omicron variant of COVID-19, which is the dominant strain in the U.S. While they are packaged differently and may use slightly different procedures, officials said, the test mechanisms of detection and effectiveness are generally the same. All tests will come with detailed instructions.

CAN I CHOOSE WHICH TEST I GET?

According to the site, people will not be able to choose which brand of at-home tests they receive, but “all tests distributed as part of this program are FDA-authorized at-home rapid antigen tests.”

WHAT IF MY SHIPMENT NEVER ARRIVES?

The government says people who experience problems with their testing shipments should contact USPS.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TEST FOR COVID?

The CDC states that anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID should test five days after their exposure, or as soon as symptoms occur.

“If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19,” the guidance states.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said that incubation times could be changing, but those who test early should continue testing even if they get negative results.

“We might be learning that the time of incubation might be a little shorter. So maybe you’d be testing at two days,” Ezike said. “Obviously if you’re symptomatic, you test right away. But you know, if you want to test at two days, but that negative test… the two days should not make you think, ‘Oh good, I’m clear,’ you know? You might want to test again and of course symptoms you cannot ignore – scratchy throat, headaches, all kinds of symptoms – anything new can be a symptom of this new illness.”

IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO GET A TEST KIT FOR FREE?

Beginning last weekend, private insurers are required to cover the cost of up to eight at-home rapid tests per month per insured person, according to a new Biden administration rule.

People have the option of buying tests at a store or online, then seeking reimbursement from their health insurance provider. Insurers are being incentivized to work with pharmacies and retailers to develop plans to cover the cost of the tests with no out-of-pocket cost to customers, but those programs will not be immediately widespread.

Those with public health insurance through Medicare, or without insurance, will be directed to covidtests.gov to order tests or to community health centers in their area offering free testing.

HOW WILL I BE REIMBURSED?

The Biden administration says the procedures will differ from insurer to insurer, and it is encouraging Americans to save receipts from rapid test purchases for later reimbursement and to reach out to their insurance providers for information.

Critically, the requirement only covers purchases on or after Jan. 15. Insurers are not expected to retroactively reimburse the cost of tests purchased earlier.

WHAT ARE OTHER TESTING OPTIONS?

The Biden administration is emphasizing that the website is just one tool for Americans to access COVID-19 testing. Millions of free tests are available at participating pharmacy locations, community health centers and Federal Emergency Management Agency-backed sites in some parts of the country experiencing a surge in cases.

WHY IS BIDEN BUYING THESE TEST KITS?

It represents an acknowledgement by the president that the administration needs to do more to increase access to COVID-19 testing, which is an important tool to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In cases where infected people show symptoms or not, testing is the only way to find out if they have the virus so they can avoid being out and about and potentially spreading disease.

Demand for test kits soared as the holidays neared and people grew eager to test themselves and their families before traveling and as the omicron variant spread rapidly in just a few weeks to become the dominant strain in the U.S.

Biden’s promise of 1 billion test kits is in addition to the administration’s earlier pledge to send 50 million rapid tests to community health centers across the country.

HOW MUCH WILL THE PROGRAM COST?

The White House estimates the cost of purchasing and distributing the first 500 million tests at about $4 billion. That will be paid for with money from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Biden signed into law in March.

WILL THE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM MAKE IT HARDER FOR ME TO FIND A TEST AT THE DRUGSTORE?

White House officials say the covidtests.gov tests are coming from new manufacturing capacity and should not interfere with existing supplies that drugstores, health clinics and state governments are relying on.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU TEST POSITIVE USING AN AT-HOME TEST?

Those who test positive using an at-home test are asked to follow the latest CDC guidelines and communicate the results to their healthcare provider, who is responsible for reporting test results to the state health department.

According to Chicago-area health departments, people should assume the test results are accurate and should isolate from others to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

“If you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate,” Arwady said. “There is no need to repeat a positive at-home test in a medical setting. We don’t want people going into the emergency department just to get a tested. Treat a positive as a positive, stay home and isolate for five days.”

Teenage Student Shot Near Philadelphia High School

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Lee la historia en español aquí.

An 18-year-old Philadelphia high school student was shot multiple times near Frankford High School Tuesday morning.

Someone shot the high schooler in the back and elbow. The teen was also grazed on the eyebrow during the shooting.

The shooting happened in an alley off Fillmore Street, near Oakland Street, in the Frankford neighborhood just before 8 a.m., Philadelphia police said.

The 18-year-old was hospitalized in stable condition, police and the School District of Philadelphia said.

The shooting took place about a block from Frankford High. The school district confirmed the teen is a student at the school.

At least one bullet from the shooting went into the window of a neighbor’s home across Oakland Street. That neighbor, who was asleep at the time, said he wasn’t struck.

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

Driver Shoots Would-Be Car Thief in Southwest Philly; Car Strikes School Bus

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Lee la historia en español aquí.

A driver shot and killed a would-be car thief Tuesday morning in Southwest Philadelphia, Philadelphia police said. Then, the car crashed into a yellow school bus.

The incident happened near 58th Street and Cobbs Creek Parkway just around 8:15 a.m.

The driver, who was licensed to carry a gun, shot a man in his 50s as he and two other armed people tried to take the victim’s car, police said.

The would-be thief was transported to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and pronounced dead, police said. The car owner wasn’t hurt.

As SkyForce10 hovered overhead after the shooting, the car could be seen crashed into the side of a yellow Radnor Township School District bus.

Several students in wheelchairs who were on that that bus could later be seen being taking off the bus and loaded onto another Radnor Township bus.

Police have yet to reveal if any charges would be filed in the incident.

This story is developing and will be updated.

3 Delco Police Officers Charged with Manslaughter for Little Girl's Shooting Death

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Five months after an 8-year-old girl was shot dead in a town just south of Philadelphia by what investigators believe was police gunfire, the local district attorney announced manslaughter charges against three officers.

Fanta Bility was killed in gunfire Aug. 27, 2021, that erupted following a high school football game in Sharon Hill, Delaware County. The girl and her family were caught in what was initially investigated as crossfire between local police and suspects in a passing vehicle.

District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer released new details a few weeks after the shooting that said it appeared “nearly certain” that bullets from officers’ handguns killed Fanta. Four other people were hurt during the shooting.

The girl’s family continued for months to press local authorities for answers.

On Tuesday, three Sharon Hill officers were charged in her death. Meanwhile, Stollsteimer also announced that murder charges against two young men initially charged with Fanta’s death have been withdrawn. Both are still charged with aggravated assault for their involvement in the shootings.

The officers charged are Brian James Devaney, 41, Sean Patrick Dolan, 25, and Devon E. Smith, 34. They were taken into custody on $500,000 bail. It is unclear if they have posted bail or remain in custody as of Tuesday afternoon. They were charged after a grand jury found cause to charge them each with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and 10 counts of reckless endangerment. A message was left for their attorney.

From left: Sean Dolan, Devon Smith and Brian Devaney.
From left: Sharon Hill police Officers Sean Dolan, Devon Smith and Brian Devaney.

“From the moment the call came in on Aug. 27, my team of investigators and prosecutors has worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Fanta and the other victims of that tragic night,” Stollsteimer said. “Today’s charges are a big step forward in that process.”

Bruce Castor, the attorney representing Fanta Bility’s family, as well as the attorney for another victim of the shootout, said they were happy with the new charges against the officers.

“The Bility family thanks District Attorney Stollsteimer and his staff of investigators and prosecutors for following the evidence and the law in bringing forth these charges today,” Castor said in a statement. “The family appreciates that the District Attorney has kept the family informed at every stage of this investigation. From the beginning he assured them that he would seek justice for Fanta, and today’s charges indicate that he’s done exactly that. They made the right call.”

Attorney Michael Schafle, who represents Alona Ellison-Acosta, another victim of the police gunfire, said Ellison-Acosta is “grateful for the care and professionalism demonstrated by the District Attorney’s Office.”

Castor previously called out the local police department and its leaders.

“The behavior of Sharon Hill and its leadership is less than desirable,” Castor said a month after the shooting, adding that he is “surprised” that leaders “have not been more forthcoming and have not been more sympathetic in their public pronouncements.”

Fanta was killed last year while leaving the Academy Park High School stadium following a football game between Academy Park and Pennsburg high schools. Pennsbury High is in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, about 10 miles north of Philadelphia.

Stollsteimer said in September that there had been another shooting nearby, and when a car turned directly in front of the officers positioned near the stadium exit, they fired their service weapons.

Four of the five people who were shot, including Fanta, were struck with “near certainty” by the police officers, investigators concluded.

A local reporter at the game tweeted a photo of Pennsbury players running for the press box for cover. He later tweeted that coaches for both teams said all players were accounted for.

The Sharon Hill borough solicitor previously said that the Borough Council at its Sept. 16 meeting enlisted former Philadelphia District Attorney Kelley Hodge to conduct an investigation into the police department’s “policies and procedures to include the conduct of the Officers involved in the incident.”

On Tuesday, after the charges were announced, the solicitor sent out a statement from the Sharon Hill Council noting that the local governing body would vote on a motion to fire the three officers at the next public meeting. It will be held 7 p.m. Thursday.

Man Found Shot to Death in Chair Inside Philadelphia Home

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A man was shot in the face and killed inside a home believed to be abandoned in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood overnight.

Officers responded to the home along G Street near Allegheny Avenue just after 2 a.m. Tuesday to find a man sitting in a chair in the dining room bleeding from a gunshot wound to his face. Medics pronounced the man dead at the scene, Philadelphia police said.

The home was in disarray and “appeared to be vacant,” despite heat and electricity running into the property, Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said. The home could be a “flophouse” and there was drug paraphernalia inside the house, Small said.

At least 14 shots were fired at a close range inside the home, Small said.

Police didn’t identify the man, but said they believe he could be a young man who was known to frequent the house.

No motive was given for the killing. Investigators hoped that surveillance video in the area could help them track down the killer.

This was the latest homicide as Philadelphia deals with an uptick in killings. As of Tuesday morning, there were already at least 30 homicides in Philadelphia in 2022, up 36% from the same date last year. 

A total of 562 people were killed in the city in 2021, according to Philadelphia Police Department statistics. Those killings were the most since the city began keeping track in 1960, and they eclipsed the previous record of 500 slayings in 1990.

The city appropriated $155 million to public safety in its last budget, including $16 million for neighborhood-based groups fighting violence.

However, Mayor Jim Kenney twice declined to issue an emergency declaration on gun violence, something pushed by both activists and fellow lawmakers as a way to clear red tape and expedite resources to combat the problem.

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


Police Search for Trash Bag-Wearing ‘Cash-Squatch of Feasterville' Suspect

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Police have identified the suspected “cash-squatch of Feasterville,” a man who they say was wearing vanilla-scented trash bags while robbing a Bucks County gas station nearly a year ago. 

On January 22, 2021, a man who was wrapped in vanilla-scented garbage bags entered a Sunoco Gas station store in Lower Southampton Township. He then forced a clerk into the restroom, demanding cigarettes and cash. 

The suspect then exited the store and was last seen running east on Street Road toward Philmont Avenue. 

Nearly a year later, police identified the suspect as 30-year-old Jonathan Nelson, nicknaming him the “Famed Cash-Squatch of Feasterville.” He is described as a Black male with a large build and standing between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-9. In addition to the trash bags over his head and shoes, he was last seen wearing black glasses, a gray face mask, gray gloves and an olive green winter coat, police said. 

“If you know someone that appears to love smoking Newport cigarettes and all of a sudden seems to have an endless supply and smells really good, give us a call,” a Lower Southampton Police spokesperson wrote.

If you have any information on his whereabouts, call Lower Southampton Police at 215-357-1235.

Officials Investigate 3rd Possible Death in Montco Hepatitis A Outbreak

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What to Know

  • Officials are investigating a third possible death in relation to a recent Hepatitis A outbreak in Montgomery County. 
  • Since the Montgomery County Health Department announced the outbreak on January 5, there have been 10 confirmed cases and two deaths.
  • Health officials closed down a West Norriton restaurant in relation to the outbreak though the business has denied any involvement.

Officials are investigating a third possible death in relation to a recent Hepatitis A outbreak in Montgomery County. 

On January 5, the Montgomery County Health Department announced there was a Hepatitis A outbreak. So far they have confirmed 10 cases and two deaths. 

Officials are now working to determine if the death of a person on Monday is also related to the outbreak. They have not released detailed information on the victim due to the continued investigation. A family member of the victim told NBC10 they were heartbroken over the loss.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) which is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected, according to the CDC. It is also highly contagious. 

“It is a fecal or oral route. And that means there’s a small amount of feces or poop on a substance that is ingested and that’s how you get Hepatitis A,” Dr. Darren Mareiniss of Einstein Health told NBC10. 

Symptoms of Hepatitis A can last up to two months and include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and jaundice though most people with the virus don’t have long-lasting illness, according to the CDC. Vaccination is the best way to prevent the virus. 

“The majority of the Hep A patients don’t progress to fulminant disease,” Dr. Mareiniss said. “That means they don’t progress to liver failure. It’s less than one percent we believe. So a lot of people have milder symptoms and they’re self-limiting. It goes away.” 

While 10 cases have been reported in Montgomery County, Dr. Mareiniss said there are likely many more. 

“Since you have two deaths, if it were out of 10 people that’d be 20 percent mortality if those were the only people infected,” he said. “Clearly there are a lot more than those infected. That’s what I would take away from that.” 

On January 7, the Montgomery County Health Department announced they were closing Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in West Norriton Township in relation to the outbreak. The restaurant has remained closed ever since though the business has denied involvement in the outbreak and claimed they were the victims of false rumors. 

“We cannot and will not take responsibility for something we did not cause,” Francis Recchuiti, an attorney for the restaurant, wrote. 

A source told NBC10 all of the workers at Gino’s have been tested and vaccinated against Hepatitis A and so far there have not been any positive tests among the employees. The source also said a family member of an employee is still scheduled for a test though they were previously vaccinated against the virus. 

It’s unknown when or if the restaurant will reopen. 

Man, Woman Sentenced for Sexually Abusing Children in ‘House of Evil'

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Editor’s Note: The details of this story are graphic and could be disturbing for readers.

A Bucks County man and woman will face decades in prison after they repeatedly sexually assaulted three children and filmed their abuse for years inside what was described as a “house of evil.” 

Leonard Hewitt Sr., 51, and Krystyn Anne Smock, 40, both of Bristol Township, pleaded guilty last year to rape of of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of a child, aggravated indecent assault of a child, photographing, videotaping, depicting on computer or filming sexual acts and criminal conspiracy. 

On Tuesday, Hewitt was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in state prison while Smock was sentenced to 15 to 30 years. Both will be required to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. 

Officials have not revealed how Hewitt and Smock initially met the victims. During sentencing, President Judge Wallace H. Batemen Jr. called their actions “monstrous,” saying that the “abuse occurred by two people who are supposed to care for them, protect them and love them.”

The sexual abuse occurred between January 2014 and October 2019. In January 2020, one of the victims came forward, and Smock and Hewitt were both arrested shortly after.

In a victim impact statement, the father of one of the victims described Hewitt and Smock’s home as a “house of evil” and said his daughter had, “her childhood stolen from her.” 

In January 2020, one of the victims, a 10-year-old girl, told investigators she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Hewitt inside his Bristol Township home. Police then spoke with a second victim who told them she was also sexually abused by Hewitt beginning when she was 12 or 13 years of age. 

A third victim, a 14-year-old boy, told investigators Hewitt showed him videos on his cellphone of the first victim being sexually abused by Smock while Hewitt filmed.

Investigators then obtained a search warrant for Hewitt’s cellphones and video equipment which led to the recovery of a video camera. The recordings on the camera, which showed Hewitt repeatedly sexually abusing the first victim while Smock filmed, went back as far as 2014. Investigators said the victim was approximately 5-years-old during the initial abuse, based on the timestamp. 

Police later found more homemade child pornography after seizing Hewitt’s cellphone as well as Smock’s three cellphones and laptop. 

“In total, over 40 videos were recovered depicting homemade child pornography with the [three victims],” Deputy District Attorney Kristin McElroy said. “These defendants are depraved.”

Who Is Running for Pennsylvania Governor in 2022?

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The race for Pennsylvania governor in 2022 is wide open, with incumbent two-term Gov. Tom Wolf leaving office in Jan. 2023.

Wolf, a Democrat, cannot run for a third term. His party has a candidate waiting in the wings: Pennsylvania’s current attorney general, Josh Shapiro, is expected to face no major challenge for the Democratic nomination in the May primary election.

Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to find the right opponent to Shapiro, and overcome their party’s shortcomings in the total number of registered voters. In Pennsylvania, there are 600,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans. There are currently 14 Republican candidates. Former President Donald Trump has not endorsed any of the candidates yet.

If a Republican wins the gubernatorial election this year, it could mean that the party would control both the Legislature and the governor’s mansion. Republicans currently hold a majority of seats in both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate. However, for 16 of the last 20 years, a Democrat has been governor.

Here’s a look at the candidates currently in the race, and what voters need to know with the primary election just a few months away. Links to their official campaign websites are included.

Pennsylvania Governor Race 2022 Candidates

  • Josh Shapiro (Democrat): The second-term state attorney general who lives in Abington Township, just outside Philadelphia, is the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party. He currently faces no big-name challenge in the May 17 primary for his party’s nomination to run in the November general election against the Republican nominee.
  • Lou Barletta (Republican): A former mayor of Hazleton in northeastern Pennsylvania who went on to represent his region in Congress, Barletta became known for his anti-immigration views and as an early supporter of President Donald Trump.
  • Shawn Berger (Republican): The Lehigh Valley business and restaurant owner is running as a pro-life, pro-marijuana conservative who wants to bring firearm safety training to public schools and provide more funding for education.
  • Jake Corman (Republican): A state senator for more than 20 years, taking over a seat previously held by his father, Corman represents a central Pennsylvania district that includes Pennsylvania State University’s main campus.
  • Guy Ciarrocchi (Republican): The South Philadelphia native now serves as CEO of Chester County’s Chamber of Business and Industry. He promises to run the state like a business, and use Chester County as the model. He is pro-cyber charter schools and anti-regulation.
  • Joe Gale (Republican): The second-term Montgomery County commissioner proudly calls himself “the only Republican not controlled by GOP part bosses,” and has long touted his early support for former President Trump. He is against mail-in voting and COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Charlie Gerow (Republican): As one of the state’s highest-profile Republican political consultants, Gerow has been involved in both state and national political campaigns for decades. He began his career working for former President Ronald Reagan after graduating from Villanova University Law School. He is pro-life, pro-school choice and supports Pennsylvania energy production.
  • Melissa Hart (Republican): The former congresswoman from western Pennsylvania served in the U.S. House from 2001-2007 before losing re-election to a Democratic challenger. She is an attorney who was born in Pittsburgh.
  • Scott Martin (Republican): The lifelong Lancaster County resident is a former county commissioner serving his first term as a state senator. He played professional football in the Arena Football League, and is anti-marijuana and pro-school choice.
  • Doug Mastriano (Republican): As a state senator representing a central Pennsylvania district along the Maryland border, Mastriano has risen fast in the last year by strongly supporting former President Trump’s refutations of the 2020 election results. He attended the Jan. 6, 2021, protests in Washington D.C., but says he did not take part in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
  • William McSwain (Republican): The former U.S. Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania is a Chester County resident who served as the federal prosecutor in the Philadelphia region for former President Trump. He often clashed with city District Attorney Larry Krasner. He also successfully blocked the opening of a supervised injection site in the city.
  • Jason Richey (Republican): As a lawyer in Pittsburgh and native of western Pennsylvania, Richey wants to lower property taxes while also ensuring police departments and public safety are funded. He has former professional football coach Mike Ditka’s endorsement.
  • John Ventre (Republican): The western Pennsylvania business executive has a campaign slogan of “Never Socialist” and is running on a platform of shrinking government. He is proposing the radical contraction of the Pennsylvania Legislature, from 253 members to 84. He also proposes using taxpayer dollars for families to pay for private schools.
  • Dave White (Republican): The businessman from Delaware County, just south of Philadelphia, previously served on the county Council.
  • Nche Zama (Republican): A cardiothoracic surgeon from the Lehigh Valley, Dr. Zama immigrated to the United States on a student visa and earned a master’s degree in management from Harvard University. His platform includes improving the COVID-19 response and getting rid of state business regulations.
  • Joe Soloski (Libertarian): An accountant who lives in central Pennsylvania, west of Harrisburg, the small-government advocate wants to decriminalize marijuana, sell the state liquor stores, enact term limits on elected officials, take away emergency powers from the governor and turn the state Legislature into a part-time job for politicians.
  • Christina “Tina” Olson (Green): The co-chair of the Pennsylvania Green Party lives in Hellertown, Northampton County, in the Lehigh Valley.

How Long is a Governor’s Term in PA?

A governor’s term in Pennsylvania is four years. The elected position is term-limited. A person can only be governor for two terms in a row.

Pennsylvania Governor Race 2022 Polls, So Far

There has been very few polls done on the race so far through Jan. 19. Three of the largest national organizations that rate the competitiveness of statewide elections have rated the governor’s race as a “toss-up,” meaning it remains anyone’s race to win.

When Is the Deadline to Register to Vote in PA’s May 2022 Primary? What Is the Last Day to Apply for a Mail-in Ballot?

The last day to register to vote before the May 17 primary is May 2. To vote for specific candidates of a party, you must register as a member of that party. However, independent voters can still vote on ballot questions, of which there are expected to be many this year.

The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is May 10.

Here is a list of all the important dates that voters should be aware of in 2022.

When Are the Primary and General Elections in 2022 in PA?

The primary election in Pennsylvania is May 17. The general election is Nov. 8.

Man Critically Hurt as 45 Shots Are Fired in Northeast Philly

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What to Know

  • At least 45 shots were fired from at least three separate guns during a Tuesday night shooting in Northeast Philadelphia’s Tacony neighborhood.
  • A man in his 20s was shot in the head and in critical condition, police said.
  • Investigators said that surveillance video captured the shooting.

A man in his 20s was left in critical condition after he was shot in the head as at least 45 bullets were fired from several weapons during a Tuesday night shooting in Northeast Philadelphia.

When police officers arrived to the intersection of Unruh and Torresdale avenues in the Tacony neighborhood around 10:20 p.m. they found evidence of dozens of shots being fired and even a handgun on the ground.

“Clearly over 45 spent shell casings and clearly from three separate caliber semi-automatic weapons,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Small said.

Officers didn’t find any gunshot victims at the shooting scene. However, a 27-year-old man was dropped off by friends at a nearby hospital and was listed in “extremely critical” condition, Small said.

Surveillance cameras captured the shooting, which shows shooters firing from Unruh toward Torresdale, Small said. Bullets struck at least two parked cars.

A silver-colored SUV could be seen speeding away from the scene, investigators said.

Police believe the handgun they found on Unruh could belong to either the man who was shot or someone else who was being shot at.

As of Wednesday morning, police had yet to reveal a motive or name any suspects.

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

2022 U.S. Senate Race in Pa.: Who are the Candidates Running?

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The dust appears to have settled in the monthslong quest by both major political parties searching for the right candidates to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania on this year’s ballots.

Current Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s decision to resign rather than run for a third six-year term left both parties scrambling for a replacement to fill an elected office that could ultimately decide who controls Congress for the last two years of President Joe Biden’s first term.

Dozens of candidates are now in the mix, and it’s an eclectic mix indeed. Here’s a brief rundown of all the candidates (their campaign websites are linked below).

Who are the PA Senate Race Candidates?

  • John Fetterman (Democrat): Former mayor of Braddock, a city in western Pennsylvania, and the current lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania
  • Carla Sands (Republican): A central Pennsylvania native from the town of Mechanicsburg who served as an ambassador to Denmark during the Trump administration
  • Jeff Bartos (Republican): A businessman from Montgomery County who previously ran for lieutenant governor
  • Conor Lamb (Democrat): A second-term congressman who represents a portion of Pittsburgh and the city’s surrounding northwestern suburbs
  • Val Arkoosh (Democrat): A medical doctor and current chairwoman of the Montgomery County Commissioners
  • Malcolm Kenyatta (Democrat): A state representative from Philadelphia
  • Kathy Barnette (Republican): A businesswoman who lives in Montgomery County and has frequently appeared on Fox News as a commentator
  • Sean Gale (Republican): A lawyer from Montgomery County whose older brother, Joe, is a Montgomery County Commissioner running for governor
  • Mehmet Oz (Republican): A TV celebrity doctor who rose to fame as a frequent guest on Oprah Winfrey’s show
  • David McCormick (Republican): A former CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds who graduated from West Point and served nine years in the Army after growing up in Bloomsburg.
  • Kevin Baumlin (Democrat)
  • Everett Stern (Republican)
  • Bobby Jeffries (Republican)
  • John McGuigan (Democrat)
  • Alexandria Khalil (Democrat)
  • Martin Rosenfeld (Republican)
  • David Xu (Republican)
  • Kyle Norton (Democrat)
  • Ronald Johnson (Republican)
  • Lew Tapera (Democrat)
  • John Debellis (Republican)
  • Kael Dougherty (Democrat)
  • Walter Sluzynsky (Democrat)
  • Max Richardson (Republican)
  • Larry Johnson (Democrat)
  • John Eichenberg (Republican)
  • Erik Chase Gerhardt (Libertarian)
  • Alan Shank (Democrat)
  • Richard Mulholland (Republican)

What are the odds for candidates running in the election?

There have been very few public polls conducted on the Senate race in Pennsylvania, so far, with the field so unsettled until January. Two national organizations that track and rate statewide elections describe Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race as a “toss-up,” meaning its any candidate’s to win.

When Is the Deadline to Register to Vote in PA’s May 2022 Primary? What Is the Last Day to Apply for a Mail-in Ballot?

The last day to register to vote before the May 17 primary is May 2. To vote for specific candidates of a party, you must register as a member of that party. However, independent voters can still vote on ballot questions, of which there are expected to be many this year.

The last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is May 10.

Here is a list of all the important dates that voters should be aware of in 2022.

When Are the Primary and General Elections in 2022 in PA?

The primary election in Pennsylvania is May 17. The general election is Nov. 8.

2 More Chances for Snow: Slippery Thursday Commute, Possible Saturday Storm

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What to Know

  • Two chances for snow are expected as temps cool off to end the week.
  • A First Alert will be in effect during the Thursday morning commute due to the timing of the snowfall and the rate that snow could be falling. Watch out for slick spots and slow going.
  • Stay tuned for more on Saturday’s winter storm.

Here we snow again, and again.

There are two more chances for snow to fall in parts of the Philadelphia region this week after flakes fell Sunday night into Monday morning. The first snowfall isn’t expected to be significant but comes at a rough time for commuters, while the second snow event could impact your weekend plans.

A First Alert for a snowy and slick Thursday morning commute for the entire Philadelphia region will be in effect from 4 a.m. to noon.

Before the first flakes fall, however, a quick warm-up will take hold.

Here’s what the First Alert Weather Team is tracking as of now:

Wednesday Warmup

The cold snap breaks, but only for a day. Highs on Wednesday should push to around 50 under sunny skies.

Clouds then build after dark ahead of overnight rain.

Snowy Thursday Morning Commute ❄️

With temps above freezing, it should be raining overnight before turning to snow before sunrise.

The rain transitions to snow before 6 a.m. in the Lehigh Valley, Berks County and northern and western suburbs. The rain/snow line then moves into Philadelphia and the immediate neighborhoods between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., and into Delaware and South Jersey between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

This is only expected to be a minor snowfall, but due to the timing and brief intensity impacts could be high. A coating to 2 inches — up to 3 inches in some places — of wet snow could wind up falling, likely sticking to colder surfaces like parked cars and grass.

The issue that has led to the First Alert is the timing of the snow and the intensity it could fall at as people try to get to work and school. More intense bands of snow could fall causing slippery roads and sidewalks.

The heaviest snow is expected between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Be prepared for a slower-than-normal morning commute as snow. Delayed openings could give the extra time needed to not drive through the heaviest of the snow.

Any snowfall should end before noon. Temps then continue to dip into Thursday night and into the teens by Friday morning.

As those temps dip, anything left on sidewalks, roadways and other surfaces will quickly freeze. So, watch out for icy spots.

Saturday Snow Possible ❄️

High temps on Friday won’t get out of the 20s under partly cloudy skies. Then the next potential winter storm moves in late Friday night into Saturday morning with the risk of some snow.

This storm as of Wednesday morning’s models appears to be taking a track more off shore, which means snow is more likely for coastal Delaware and South Jersey than it is for Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania suburbs.

It is still too soon to determine estimated snow totals and the track of the storm could still fluctuate. So stay tuned. It all depends on how close to the coast the storm tracks.

As always, be sure to have the most recent version of the NBC10 App downloaded to your phone and tablet and keep watching our newscasts for the latest weather details.

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


Man Beats Woman to Death With Pipe Inside Old City Office Building

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A man beat a woman to death with a pipe inside an office in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood on Wednesday, police said.

The 31-year-old woman was inside an office in Suite 800 of the Regus building on the 300 block of Chestnut Street at 2:14 p.m. when she was attacked by a 48-year-old man armed with a pipe.

The woman suffered severe head injuries. She was taken to Jefferson University Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

The man was later taken into custody and his weapon was recovered. Police have not yet revealed the identities of the victim or suspect, a possible motive or if the suspect worked inside the office. At this time they don’t believe the incident was domestic however.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Garden State Parkway Shutdown as Firefighters Battle Brush Fire in Lakewood

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The Garden State Parkway is shut down in both directions in Lakewood, New Jersey, as firefighters battle a brush fire. 

SkyForce10 was over the scene Wednesday shortly after 7:30 p.m. as firefighters battled the fire while the parkway was shut down between exits 91 and 98. Traffic was also backed up for miles. 

No injuries have been reported. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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

Police Surround Philly Home With Gunman and Hostage Inside

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Police have surrounded a Philadelphia home with a gunman and at least one hostage inside. 

The ordeal began Wednesday at 7:19 p.m. when a man inside a home on the 6100 block of West Columbia Avenue called 911 and stated he had a gun and may have shot someone, according to police. Investigators said the man then became uncooperative and a barricade was declared at 7:34 p.m. 

Police and SWAT officers have surrounded the home. Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small told NBC10 at least one hostage is inside with the suspect though investigators have not yet determined the hostage’s age. 

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Children Seen Being Led Away From Home Following Triple Shooting, Barricade

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Philadelphia police officers could be seen holding the hands of young children as they led them away from a Southwest Philadelphia home after a barricade situation that followed a triple shooting.

The children weren’t injured during the incident along the 5800 block of Trinity Street late Wednesday night, however three other people were shot.

A 19-year-old man, 20-year-old woman and another man were struck by bullets that came from porches, Philadelphia police said. Each person who was shot was listed in stable condition while being treated after getting themselves to hospitals.

Police officers noticed the evidence of several shots being fired on the porch of a home. Police then knocked on the door, but people in the home refused to come out, which led to a barricade situation.

“As soon as SWAT came out they complied,” Police Capt. Joe Green said.

Officers could then be seen holding hands with two children as they led them from the scene.

Four people inside the home were taken into custody, but would later be released. Investigators believe the shooter or shooters got away.

Bullets also struck at least a couple cars.

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

NJ Requires COVID Vaccine Boosters for Health Care Workers, Ending Test Option

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What to Know

  • New Jersey will require health care workers and employees in nursing homes and prisons to get fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, dropping an option to either get the shot or be tested. That’s according to Gov. Phil Murphy, who said Wednesday he is signing an executive order to require the shots.
  • The order means that health care workers who are unvaccinated will have until Jan. 27 to get their first shot and until Feb. 28 for the second.
  • Workers in nursing homes and other congregant living facilities, including prisons, will have until Feb. 28 to get their first shot and until March 30 for the second.

New Jersey will require health care workers and employees in nursing homes and prisons to get fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, dropping an option to either get the shot or be tested, Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday.

Murphy announced the new executive order while touring a new federally operated coronavirus testing facility in Galloway Township.

The order means health care workers who are unvaccinated will have until Jan. 27 to get their first shot and until Feb. 28 for the second. Workers in nursing homes and other congregant living facilities, including prisons, will have until Feb. 28 to get their first shot and until March 30 for the second, Murphy said.

Those currently eligible for boosters have until Feb. 28 to get them. Those who will not be eligible until after the window will have until three weeks from their eligibility date, the governor said.

There will be exemptions for workers with special medical circumstances or deeply held religious beliefs, the governor, a Democrat, said.

Failure to follow the vaccine mandate will subject workers to discipline from their employers, including being fired, Murphy said.

It’s unclear how many of the workers affected by the new executive order are not yet vaccinated. Murphy’s administration already had a mandate in place requiring vaccinations or regular testing.

Murphy indicated he was concerned with vulnerable populations who interact with unvaccinated workers and cited the higher rates of hospitalization of those without vaccinations or boosters.

“We are no longer going to look past those who continue to put their colleagues, and perhaps more importantly I think, those who are their responsibility in danger of COVID. That has to stop,” he said.

He also said New Jersey’s test-out option would be coming to an end anyway because of the Biden administration’s federal vaccine requirement for most health health care workers, which the U.S. Supreme Court permitted to proceed.

Messages left seeking comment were left with Murphy’s office.

The New Jersey Hospital Association, a nonprofit that has nearly 400 health care organizations as members, said in a statement that hospital staff are 90% vaccinated.

“Governor Murphy’s Executive Order today affirms the position that our hospitals have long held — the importance of following the science and having our staff vaccinated,” NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett said in an emailed statement. “We encourage all New Jersey residents to follow our lead and protect their health and that of others.”

The announcement comes a day after Murphy’s second inauguration. He’s now term-limited and won’t face voters again in four years.

Republicans recoiled at the order, saying that it could leave health care providers reeling if it leads to an exodus.

“After nearly two years, they’re tired, they’re burnt out, and they’re ready for a break. Instead of giving them extra support, they’re getting another new mandate from Governor Murphy that will further thin their ranks and increase the workload of those who remain,” Republican state Sen. Holly Schepisi said.

The federal testing center at Stockton University that Murphy toured Wednesday will be able to administer 1,000 rapid tests a day, seven days a week, Murphy said.

Big GOP Donor Endorses McSwain for Pa. Governor

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Bill McSwain, the chief federal prosecutor in Philadelphia under former President Donald Trump, received the endorsement a major Republican campaign donor on Wednesday in a big field of GOP candidates seeking the party’s nomination for governor.

McSwain got the endorsement of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, a relative newcomer to Harrisburg’s ranks of advocacy organizations whose political action committees have been a conduit for campaign cash from billionaire Jeffrey Yass.

Yass is perhaps the biggest force now in underwriting Republican campaigns in Pennsylvania.

The organization, through its political action committees, was the biggest single campaign donor in last year’s race for a seat on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. In November, one of its committees reported more than $20 million in its bank account, a massive amount of money for one group to spend.

The group backs alternatives to public schools — more charter schools and more taxpayer funding of private schools — and cutting taxes and regulations.

McSwain is currently running in a field of Republican candidates that is double-digits-deep.

The likely Democratic Party nominee is two-term state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who in October reported having $10 million in his campaign account.

Pennsylvania puts no limit on the cash amount that individuals can give to campaigns.

The primary election is May 17, and March 8 is the deadline to file paperwork to qualify for the ballot.

NBC Philadelphia News: A New Way to Watch Local News Anytime – For Free!

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Here is a new way you can watch local news, 24 hours a day and seven days a week – for free! 

Today, we launched NBC Philadelphia News on Peacock.  

Here, you will see around-the-clock local news coverage. At launch, the channel will feature simulcast and encore news programming from NBC10, with the ability to add breaking news and original content in the future.

Our lineup delivers news, weather, sports, investigative reporting, lifestyle content and our local storytelling, wherever you want to watch on Peacock. 

Here’s how to see NBC Philadelphia News on Peacock: 

  • First, go to PeacockTV.com or download the free Peacock app for your streaming device, phone or tablet. It’s available for iPhone or Android.
  • Then, click on the “channels” tab in the app. 
  • Scroll through the channels to NBC Philadelphia News

“We’re proud that the new NBC Philadelphia News channel is now available on Peacock so viewers can access NBC10’s coverage from anywhere in the nation, around the clock, for free,” said Ric Harris, President and General Manager of NBC10 and Telemundo62. “We are thrilled to be one of the first stations to launch on Peacock. This a great way to watch our award-winning local news and specials, including breaking news, First Alert Weather, investigative stories, news specials, live events and more.”

New local channels also launched today on Peacock from NBC5 Chicago (WMAQ), NBC10 Boston (WBTS), New England Cable Network (NECN), and NBC6 Miami (WTVJ). Channels from NBC 4 New York (WNBC) and NBC 4 Los Angeles (KNBC) will be available to stream for free in the months ahead. 

Peacock also features live and on demand channels including NBC News NOW, Sky News, TODAY All Day, NBC LX, Telemundo Al Día, and Dateline 24/7. 


2nd Bear Attack Within 3 Weeks Claims Another Pet Dog in Same NJ Town

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A second bear attack in less than three weeks in the same New Jersey town has claimed the life of another beloved pet dog, though the owner in the latest case was not attacked like the last one.

Police in Sparta say they got a call about a bear attack before 1 a.m. Thursday from a man who said a bear had attacked his dog a few hours earlier and that the dog, a 5-year-old Yorkie named Tommy, had died. According to the owner, who lives on Layton Lane, he had let the dog out in the backyard and the dog never came back.

The owner told cops he walked out back and saw bear tracks and blood in the snow. Not far away, his beloved pet was laying mortally wounded by the woodline. He brought his pup to an animal hospital, but the dog could not be saved. The owner said he thought he saw claw marks on the dog’s side, causing internal injury.

Police responded to his home Thursday and confirmed the bear tracks and blood leading to the woods. He didn’t find any bear at that time. The State Fish and Game Department has been notified and will investigate the latest bear attack.

It comes after a Jan. 3 attack claimed the life of another pet dog in Sparta about 4 miles away on Echo Drive. In that case, an 81-year-old woman was attacked by a bear that killed one of her dogs when she let her pets outside after taking the garbage out. She suffered head and leg injuries and was traumatized but OK.

The woman had reported seeing two bears in that case, one of which ran into the woods when she went outside to scare them away from her animals. The other bear had stood its ground and that was the one that dragged her dog to the woodline.

Wildlife officials were called in to find the attacking bear. It wasn’t clear as of Thursday if they ever found it or if it could be connected to the latest case.

Philly Councilman Henon Resigning After Federal Conviction

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Philadelphia councilman Bobby Henon is resigning from his role months after being convicted of federal public corruption-related crimes.

Henon submitted his resignation to Philadelphia City Council President Darrell, and it went into effect as of 8 a.m. Thursday, the former councilman said in a letter. Henon had previously vowed to keep his seat until his sentencing in February of this year.

“I am grateful to the residents of the 6th District for allowing me to serve as Councilman for the past 10 years. I worked hard each and every day to be an outspoken and bold advocate for the hardworking people of the 6th district, but I could not have done it without the support and engagement of community leaders and residents,” Henon said in his letter.

Henon, a Democrat representing Northeast Philadelphia who was first elected in 2011, was convicted in November of last year in a federal trial that also brought down powerful labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty.

Dougherty was found to have bribed Henon for access to power and decision-making in City Hall while Henon received a salary and other things of value from Dougherty, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. Dougherty was found guilty of eight counts while Henon was found guilty of 10.

Both face as much as 20 years in prison on the most serious offenses.

In his letter, Henon touted accomplishments like opening a district office in the Tacony neighborhood, increasing the number of positions for police officers in the Philadelphia Police Department’s 15th District and investments in the city’s parks and recreation facilities.

He had previously resigned as chair of four city council committees soon after his conviction.

“Although my time in Philadelphia City Council is coming to an end, my dedication to northeast Philadelphia will never diminish,” Henon wrote in his letter. “I will remain, as ever, committed to a life of service. Thank you, Philadelphia! May God bless and keep you.”

Following Henon’s resignation, Clarke said it is “important” that residents of the 6th District be represented in the city council. The council president said he would take “appropriate steps” in “due course” and in accordance with city law to fill the new vacancy.

“City Council will not be distracted by this event, and remains focused on the urgent issues confronting our city – public safety, gun violence, the recovery from COVID-19, restarting our economy, and creating more jobs, opportunity and hope for every Philadelphian.  We’ll keep doing our jobs for the people of Philadelphia,” Clarke said.

Police ID Man Suspected of Beating Woman to Death With Pipe

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Philadelphia police on Thursday identified a man accused of beating a woman to death with a pipe inside an office building.

Jeffrey Stepien, 49, was charged with murder and possession of an instrument of crime in the killing of Samantha Maag, 31, on the 8th floor of the Regus building on the 300 block of Chestnut Street in Old City.

Arriving officers found Stepien holding two pipes, and witnesses positively identified him as Maag’s attacker, Philadelphia Police Department Cpl. Jasmine Reilly said.

Police responded to the location shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday after receiving about 20 911 calls reporting a person screaming and a person with a weapon inside the building.

When police entered the 8th floor, they found Maag suffering from severe head injuries and wounds to her hands and arms. She was taken to Jefferson University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 3:16 p.m.

Police also found blood on the floor. Witnesses told investigators the victim, who they described as a “team leader,” was sitting in the receptionist chair in an office on the 8th floor when Stepien walked up to her and struck her at least five times in the head with the metal pipe.

Police believe Stepien rented at least one office on the 8th floor. They also said he lives near the building.

They said Stepien and the victim, a Blenheim, New Jersey, resident, knew each other and had conflicts in the past. They don’t believe the incident was domestic, however, and they don’t believe they ever had a romantic relationship.

Police have not yet determined a motive.

Court records show Stepien was sentenced to 1-2 years for simple assault in Lackawanna County in 2011.

He is being represented by the Defender Association of Philadelphia in the latest case. Spokesman George Jackson said the public defender’s office had no comment on the case.

Officials Confirm 3rd Death in Montco Hepatitis A Outbreak, Restaurant Reopens

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What to Know

  • The Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) first announced there was an outbreak on January 5.
  • On Thursday they revealed there have been ten confirmed cases of the virus in the county with three of them fatal. The seven survivors were hospitalized but later released.
  • After conducting a reopening inspection on Thursday, the MCOPH’s Division of Environmental Field Services also lifted the closure of Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in West Norriton.

Health officials confirmed a third death in a Hepatitis A outbreak in Montgomery County. They have also allowed a restaurant that was closed in connection to the outbreak to reopen.

The Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) first announced there was an outbreak on January 5. On Thursday they revealed there have been ten confirmed cases of the virus in the county with three of them fatal. The seven survivors were hospitalized but later released.

Officials also say they are investigating three other possible cases in the outbreak.

Through interviews, health officials confirmed the initial exposure occurred in late November but is no longer a risk to the public.

After conducting a reopening inspection on Thursday, the MCOPH’s Division of Environmental Field Services also lifted the closure of Gino’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in West Norriton.

The restaurant had been closed since January 7 in relation to the outbreak. The business has denied involvement in the outbreak and claimed they were the victims of false rumors. 

“We cannot and will not take responsibility for something we did not cause,” Francis Recchuiti, an attorney for the restaurant, wrote. 

Health officials said they inspected the kitchen, dining room, wait stations, restrooms and all food and non-food contact surfaces inside the restaurant while emphasizing the requirement of proper and thorough hand washing and glove/utensil use while handling foods. The owner of the restaurant also told health officials that all potential food sources on the premises were disposed of prior to reopening.

“The restaurant owner provided a list of restaurant employees working during the exposure period who are expected to return to the restaurant following re-opening,” an MCPOH spokesperson wrote. “All employees on the list completed voluntary testing for Hepatitis A and were offered Hepatitis A vaccination.”

A source told NBC10 all of the workers at Gino’s have been tested and vaccinated against Hepatitis A and so far there have not been any positive tests among the employees.

You can view Gino’s inspection report here as well as all Montgomery County food establishment inspection reports here.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) which is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected, according to the CDC. It is also highly contagious. 

“It is a fecal or oral route. And that means there’s a small amount of feces or poop on a substance that is ingested and that’s how you get Hepatitis A,” Dr. Darren Mareiniss of Einstein Health told NBC10. 

Symptoms of Hepatitis A can last up to two months and include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain and jaundice though most people with the virus don’t have long-lasting illness, according to the CDC. Vaccination is the best way to prevent the virus. 

“The majority of the Hep A patients don’t progress to fulminant disease,” Dr. Mareiniss said. “That means they don’t progress to liver failure. It’s less than one percent we believe. So a lot of people have milder symptoms and they’re self-limiting. It goes away.” 

NCAA Adopts New Policy for Transgender Athletes

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The NCAA has adopted a sport-by-sport approach for transgender athletes, bringing the organization in line with the U.S. and International Olympic Committees.

Under the new guidelines, approved by the NCAA Board of Governors on Wednesday, transgender participation for each sport will be determined by the policy for the sport’s national governing body, subject to review and recommendation by an NCAA committee to the Board of Governors.

When there is no national governing body, that sport’s international federation policy would be in place. If there is no international federation policy, previously established IOC policy criteria would take over.

“Approximately 80% of U.S. Olympians are either current or former college athletes,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a release. “This policy alignment provides consistency and further strengthens the relationship between college sports and the U.S. Olympics.”

The NCAA policy is effective immediately, beginning with the 2022 winter championships.

NCAA rules on transgender athletes returned to the forefront when Penn swimmer Lia Thomas started smashing records this year. She was on the men’s team her first three years, but she is competing for the women this season after transitioning.

“In support of our student-athlete, Lia Thomas, we will work with the NCAA regarding her participation under the newly adopted standards for the 2022 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship,” a spokesperson for Penn Athletics wrote in a statement.

The Board of Governors is suggesting NCAA divisions allow for additional eligibility if a transgender student-athlete loses eligibility based on the policy change. That flexibility is provided they meet the NCAA’s new guidelines.

“We are steadfast in our support of transgender student-athletes and the fostering of fairness across college sports,” Georgetown President John DeGioia said in a release. “It is important that NCAA member schools, conferences and college athletes compete in an inclusive, fair, safe and respectful environment and can move forward with a clear understanding of the new policy.”

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Man Fires Shots at Police During Chase, Officials Say

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Police arrested a man accused of firing shots at officers during a chase in Philadelphia.

On Thursday at 5:20 p.m., 15th District officers spotted a black Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk with no tag that was believed to be wanted in connection to several robberies. 

The officers watched the vehicle until a man between his late 20’s and early 30’s jumped in and drove off. The officers pursued the jeep until the vehicle struck a pole on the 7300 block of Revere Street. The man then jumped out of the jeep and fired eight shots at the officers, investigators said. 

The man then allegedly fled the scene on foot and tossed the weapon onto the roof of an Office Max store on the 7200 block of Roosevelt Boulevard. 

Police said the man then tried to hide underneath a car but was captured by the officers. 

No injuries were reported during the incident and the officers never fired their weapons, according to investigators. Officials have not yet revealed the suspect’s identity.

Sharon Hill Council Votes to Fire 3 Officers Charged in Girl's Shooting Death

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Council members in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, voted 6-1 to fire the three officers who were charged in the death of an 8-year-old girl who investigators believe was struck by police gunfire during outside of a high school football game over the summer.

The vote occurred during a public meeting on Thursday.

The vote occurred two days after manslaughter charges were announced against Sharon Hill Police officers Brian James Devaney, 41, Sean Patrick Dolan, 25, and Devon E. Smith, 34, in the death of Fanta Bility.

Bility was killed in gunfire Aug. 27, 2021, that erupted following a high school football game in Sharon Hill, Delaware County. The girl and her family were caught in what was initially investigated as crossfire between local police and suspects in a passing vehicle.

District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer released new details a few weeks after the shooting that said it appeared “nearly certain” that bullets from officers’ handguns killed Fanta. Four other people were hurt during the shooting.

The girl’s family continued for months to press local authorities for answers.

In addition to the charges against the officers, Stollsteimer also announced that murder charges against two young men initially charged with Fanta’s death have been withdrawn. Both are still charged with aggravated assault for their involvement in the shootings.

The officers were taken into custody on $500,000 bail. It is unclear if they have posted bail or remain in custody as of Tuesday afternoon. They were charged after a grand jury found cause to charge them each with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and 10 counts of reckless endangerment. A message was left for their attorney.

From left: Sean Dolan, Devon Smith and Brian Devaney.
From left: Sharon Hill police Officers Sean Dolan, Devon Smith and Brian Devaney.

“From the moment the call came in on Aug. 27, my team of investigators and prosecutors has worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Fanta and the other victims of that tragic night,” Stollsteimer said. “Today’s charges are a big step forward in that process.”

Bruce Castor, the attorney representing Fanta Bility’s family, as well as the attorney for another victim of the shootout, said they were happy with the new charges against the officers.

“The Bility family thanks District Attorney Stollsteimer and his staff of investigators and prosecutors for following the evidence and the law in bringing forth these charges today,” Castor said in a statement. “The family appreciates that the District Attorney has kept the family informed at every stage of this investigation. From the beginning he assured them that he would seek justice for Fanta, and today’s charges indicate that he’s done exactly that. They made the right call.”

Attorney Michael Schafle, who represents Alona Ellison-Acosta, another victim of the police gunfire, said Ellison-Acosta is “grateful for the care and professionalism demonstrated by the District Attorney’s Office.”

Castor previously called out the local police department and its leaders.

“The behavior of Sharon Hill and its leadership is less than desirable,” Castor said a month after the shooting, adding that he is “surprised” that leaders “have not been more forthcoming and have not been more sympathetic in their public pronouncements.”

Fanta was killed last year while leaving the Academy Park High School stadium following a football game between Academy Park and Pennsburg high schools. Pennsbury High is in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, about 10 miles north of Philadelphia.

Stollsteimer said in September that there had been another shooting nearby, and when a car turned directly in front of the officers positioned near the stadium exit, they fired their service weapons.

Four of the five people who were shot, including Fanta, were struck with “near certainty” by the police officers, investigators concluded.

A local reporter at the game tweeted a photo of Pennsbury players running for the press box for cover. He later tweeted that coaches for both teams said all players were accounted for.

The Sharon Hill borough solicitor previously said that the Borough Council at its Sept. 16 meeting enlisted former Philadelphia District Attorney Kelley Hodge to conduct an investigation into the police department’s “policies and procedures to include the conduct of the Officers involved in the incident.”


NJ Announces Early Plan for $1 Billion on Water Infrastructure

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New Jersey unveiled initial plans Thursday for $1 billion in federal funds for new drinking and wastewater infrastructure over the next five years.

The new cash infusion is “exciting,” and amounts to a “once-in-a-generation” investment, said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, though it’s just a fraction of the estimated $30 billion in new pipes, equipment and other improvements the state needs.

The federal funds will be dispersed over time, with about $170 million slated for this year, state environmental officials said. Just what it will go toward exactly will depend in part on the outcome of planned stakeholder meetings, the first of which is set for Monday.

The meetings are aimed at coming up with what officials called the Water Infrastructure Investment Plan, which will determine how the money would be spent.

The infusion stems from the $1 trillion November legislation President Joe Biden signed into law.

New Jersey’s water infrastructure has been in the headlines in recent years stemming from outrage in 2019 over elevated lead levels in drinking water in the state’s biggest city. Since then, Newark has gotten a handle on the problem, replacing nearly all the lead lines in about three years when it initially estimated it would take a decade.

The state has also moved to replace lead lines throughout New Jersey, with Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signing legislation last year that mandated inventories of lead pipes as well as replacement over 10 years.

Though less than the state’s overall demand, LaTourette said the funding will give local utilities and governments a chance to tackle languishing problems by “leveraging” federal grants that come without onerous interest rates. He said the state has some 3,000 water utilities and urged stakeholders, particularly those that might struggle getting market rate financing for projects to engage in the stakeholder meetings.

“Get to the table, everybody,” he said.

Kim Gaddy, the national environmental justice director for Clean Water Action and an activist in Newark, said the DEP’s plan has good and bad potential.

“I know for sure that we need to watchdog this to make sure it’s spent the right way. All too often people get excited and think, ‘Oh the money is there and that’s going to get it solved, but we find that all too often that’s not the case,” she said.

The state should set aside funding itself to match the federal government is doling out, said environmentalist and former New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel. Tittel said he’s concerned that the funding won’t go far enough with more a matching fund set up by New Jersey.

“It’s a drop in the bucket but we need every drop,” he said.

With Eyes on PGA Tour Stop, Philly Golf Course to Undergo $65M Restoration

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What to Know

  • West Philadelphia’s historic Cobbs Creek Golf Course is set to undergo a $65-million restoration project.
  • Completion of the restoration is expected in 2023 before opening to the public in 2024, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports.
  • Officials are hopeful the overhaul can help the city land a stop on the PGA Tour.

The 105-year-old Cobbs Creek Golf Course in West Philadelphia is set to undergo a $65 million restoration beginning this spring that will include a new community and education center, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The course shuttered in 2020 due to frequent flooding, a fire in 2016 destroying the course’s clubhouse, capital needs and safety concerns.

Completion of the restoration is expected in 2023 before opening to the public in 2024, PBJ.com reports. Officials are hopeful the overhaul can help the city land a stop on the PGA Tour.

The project is being funded by the Cobbs Creek Foundation, which will lease the site of the course from the city for 70 years. The lease is paid for through the nonprofit’s investment along with its continued work on and around the golf course.

PBJ.com looks at how the Cobbs Creek Foundation will not only aim to renovate the public golf course but also to become a neighborhood hub.

Keep up with all your business news with the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Fire That Shut GSP for Hours May Have Been Arson, NJ Police Say

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What to Know

  • New Jersey State Police say a brush fire that shut down a busy section of the Garden State Parkway for hours Wednesday appears to have been deliberately set, possibly by a group of juveniles.
  • The agency is seeking the public’s help in what it termed an arson investigation of the blaze at Exit 91 in Brick.
  • The fire forced the closure of traffic in both directions for hours and snarled traffic.

A rush-hour fire that shut down a busy section of the Garden State Parkway for hours Wednesday appears to have been deliberately set, possibly by a group of juveniles, state police said Thursday.

The agency said it is seeking the public’s help in what it termed an arson investigation of the blaze at Exit 91 in Brick. The fire forced the closure of traffic in both directions for hours and snarled traffic.

“Detectives determined that the fire was started by several individuals, possibly juveniles, within a drainage culvert that runs underneath the Garden State Parkway” from the north entrance ramp to the south exit ramp, State police said in a posting on the agency’s web site and social media.

After starting the fire in the culvert, the people were seen running into a nearby apartment complex that sits next to the Parkway, state police said.

The fire broke out around 5 p.m. Wednesday; it was not until 7 a.m. Thursday that the roadway had fully reopened. Traffic backups of up to eight miles were reported.

Anyone with info can contact the Troop D Criminal Investigation Office – Holmdel Station at 732-441-4576 or 732-441-4550, state police said.

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Murphy Sworn In for 2nd Term as New Jersey Governor

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What to Know

  • New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was inaugurated for a second term Tuesday.
  • Murphy was reelected in a close race in November, becoming the first Democrat to win reelection in more than four decades.
  • He won in part on a slate of accomplishments he and the Democrat-led Legislature achieved, including a higher minimum wage, recreational marijuana legalization and paid sick leave.

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was inaugurated for a second term Tuesday, taking the oath of office under strict COVID-19 testing, vaccination and masking requirements, and declaring that New Jersey’s progressive policies could work nationwide.

Murphy was reelected in a close race in November, becoming the first Democrat to win reelection in more than four decades. He won in part on a slate of accomplishments he and the Democrat-led Legislature achieved, including a higher minimum wage, recreational marijuana legalization and paid sick leave.

The speech comes in the wake of record coronavirus case spikes and hospitalization rates, led by the omicron variant, though state data over recent days shows dips in those figures. The speech also coincides with President Joe Biden’s struggle to get parts of his agenda through Congress, where Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate.

Murphy notched a number of self-styled progressive policy accomplishments in his first term and promised Tuesday to pursue additional stricter gun control measures, expansion of pre-K for 3-year-olds and additional funding for K-12 education to take pressure off local governments that enact property taxes.

He said the country could look to New Jersey for policies that work, though he didn’t address how New Jersey tends to be more Democratic than the nation.

“If you want to know what the future looks like, if you want to understand what America can be, come to New Jersey,” he said.

He campaigned as a vocal progressive and warned in campaign stops that a GOP victory would push the Democrat-leaning state much farther to the right than many of its residents.

Tuesday, he aimed at putting the divisive language behind him.

“I renew my pledge to be the governor for all of New Jersey, the governor for everyone who voted for me, and for everyone who did not,” he said.

Murphy’s narrow victory buoyed Democrats, but was still bittersweet for the party, which lost former Senate President Steve Sweeney in his southern New Jersey district, along with six Assembly seats. Republicans netted one new seat in the Senate as well.

Republicans have cast the election as a sign voters are fed up with Democratic control of the state that has 1 million more Democrats than Republicans. They argue Democrats have overstepped on COVID-19 countermeasures and made the state costly because of high taxes and other business regulations.

On Tuesday, state Republican Party chair Bob Hugin called on Murphy to work with the GOP to make the state more affordable, among other party aims.

Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Nicholas Scutari have said they heard voters’ message loud and clear: They want the state to be more affordable. New Jersey has among the highest property and business taxes in the country.

Murphy concentrated a chunk of his state of the state address last week on affordability, specifically arguing that the policies he pursued in his first term contributed to making the state more taxpayer-friendly: expanding taxpayer-financed pre-K, making community college similarly free for some residents, along with phasing in a $15 an hour minimum wage.

The swearing-in ceremony at the art deco War Memorial in the state capital was pared down, and attendees were required to show vaccination and booster proof, along with a negative coronavirus test. Masking was also required inside.

Masking isn’t required in most places in the state, though there are exceptions for state buildings, schools and day cares. Some businesses still ask customers to mask up.

Outside the venue, temporary tents for COVID-19 check-ins replaced a battery of military cannons that four years ago fired a salute.

There was also a field of some 3,000 miniature American flags, each representing about 10 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, Murphy said. He, his family and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver paid tribute to the deceased in a brief ceremony after the inauguration.

Oliver took the oath alongside Murphy. She’s the state’s second lieutenant governor, a post created after Senate presidents had had to step in to serve as governor over the last nearly two decades.

Also on the stage for the inauguration were former governors, including Murphy’s immediate predecessor Republican Chris Christie as well as Democrat Jon Corzine.

White House: Free N95 Masks Will Be Available at Pharmacies, Health Centers

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The Biden administration will begin making 400 million N95 masks available for free to Americans starting next week, now that federal officials are emphasizing their better protection against the omicron variant of COVID-19 over cloth face coverings.

The White House announced Wednesday that the masks will come from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the highly protective masks on hand. The masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the country. They will begin shipping this week for distribution starting late next week, the White House said.

This will be the largest distribution of free masks by the federal government to the public since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In early 2020, then-President Donald Trump’s administration considered and then shelved plans to send masks to all Americans at their homes. President Joe Biden embraced the initiative after facing mounting criticism this month over the inaccessibility — both in supply and cost — of N95 masks as the highly transmissible omicron variant swept across the country.

After facing similar criticism over a winter shortage of COVID-19 at-home test kits, Biden this week launched a website for Americans to order four rapid tests to be shipped to their homes for free, with the first tests to ship later this month.

The White House said the masks will be made available at pharmacies and community health centers that have partnered with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday updated its guidance on face coverings to more clearly state that properly fitted N95 and KN95 masks offer the most protection against COVID-19. Still, it didn’t formally recommend N95s over cloth masks.

The best mask “is the one that you will wear and the one you can keep on all day long, that you can tolerate in public indoor settings,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last week.

Details were not immediately available on the specifics of the program, including the sort of masks to be provided, whether kid-size ones will be available and whether the masks could be reworn.

The White House said that “to ensure broad access for all Americans, there will be three masks available per person.”

N95 or KN95 masks are more widely available now than at any other time during the pandemic, though they are often more costly than less-protective surgical masks or cloth masks.

Rehoboth Bay Reopens to Shellfish Harvesting After Spill

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What to Know

  • Delaware officials have reopened the Rehoboth Bay to shellfish harvesting after a 21-day emergency closure prompted by a spill of thousands of gallons of untreated wastewater from a residential sewer line.
  • The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced the end of the moratorium on harvesting oysters, clams and mussels on Tuesday.
  • The shellfish harvest was closed because of the potential public health risk from shellfish that may have been affected by the spill.

Delaware officials announced the reopening of the Rehoboth Bay to shellfish harvesting Tuesday after a 21-day emergency closure prompted by a spill of thousands of gallons of untreated wastewater from a residential sewer line.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control first announced the moratorium on harvesting oysters, clams and mussels on Dec. 28. Officials said untreated wastewater was discharged into the bay when a plumbing contractor cut a sewer line in Mariner’s Cove mobile home park in the Long Neck area, The News Journal reported.

The shellfish harvest was closed because of the potential public health risk from shellfish that may have been affected by the spill. Following U.S. Food and Drug Administration Guidelines under the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, officials determined that 21 days allowed for an abundance of caution for public protection against pathogens of concern, that might be associated with wastewater exposure.

Nearly 4 Million Kids Could Fall Into Poverty This Month After End of Tax Credit Payments, Study Says

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  • Nearly 4 million children could fall into poverty this month following the end of pandemic-linked monthly child tax credit payments, according to a new analysis from Columbia University. 
  • That translates into a child poverty rate of roughly 17%, the highest level in more than a year, study estimates. The poverty rate in December – when the final payments were delivered –  was 12.1%.
  • There is a push to resume the payments, but it has met resistance from Republicans and Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative West Virginia Democrat.
Washington, D.C.-area residents Cara Baldari and her 9-month-old daughter Evie (left) and Sarah Orrin-Vipond and her 8-month-old son Otto (right), join a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 13, 2021.
Alex Wong | Getty Images
Washington, D.C.-area residents Cara Baldari and her 9-month-old daughter Evie (left) and Sarah Orrin-Vipond and her 8-month-old son Otto (right), join a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 13, 2021.

Nearly 4 million children could fall into poverty this month following the end of pandemic-linked monthly child tax credit payments in December, according to a new analysis from Columbia University. 

That will translate to a child poverty rate of roughly 17%, the highest level in more than a year, according to the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia. The center estimated that the poverty rate in December – when the final payments were delivered – was 12.1%.

The evidence is clear, the report says, “The monthly child tax credit payments have buffered family finances amidst the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Democrats expanded the tax credit as part of their nearly $2 trillion Covid relief package last spring. Families received up to $250 a month for children ages 6 and older and $300 a month for younger children. Importantly, parents could get half of their benefit paid in monthly installments in advance of filing their tax return

The Treasury Department began delivering the monthly checks in July, and many households soon factored the payments into their budgets. The last checks went out in mid-December. 

“Few federal programs have had such a demonstrable impact in such a short time,” Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., said in a statement Friday. “All this underscores why we need to renew this benefit.”

But the measure remains in limbo amid disagreements among Democrats over the broader social spending package and concern from Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, about the long-term cost of the monthly benefit.  

Families will still be able to access the second half of their benefit in a lump sum once they file their taxes. Republicans criticized the monthly payments as discouraging work – especially as businesses reported widespread labor shortages. 

A recent paper by Rutgers University economist Jacob Bastian found that 413,000 adults would stop working if the monthly credit were extended through this year, most of them mothers. However, he also projected extending it for one year could bring the child poverty rate down to 11%.

The Columbia study found that the scope of the payments expanded, from 59.3 million children in July to 61.2 million by December. It estimates the credit helped keep 3.7 million children out of poverty last month – and all of them are likely to slip back this month without it. 

Black and Latino families could bear the brunt of the checks being cut off. Columbia projects the poverty rate among Black children would jump from about 20% in December to more than 25% this month. The rate for Latino children could spike from 17% to 24%. 

The report also warns that higher poverty rates can spawn other dangerous side effects.

“In addition to rising monthly poverty, the absence of the child tax credit payments will lead to rising levels of food hardship and declining well-being more broadly in the months to come,” it says.


Roseman Disappointed by Reagor, Sirianni Still Thinks Eagles WR Has Talent

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Eagles disappointed by Reagor, but don’t expect him to go anywhere originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

There’s no way around it. Two years into his NFL career, Jalen Reagor has been a massive disappointment.

Even Howie Roseman can’t hide it.

“Certainly, as we head into Year 3, we expected more from Jalen at this point,” the Eagles’ general manager said during his year-end press conference on Wednesday.

“We had a chance to sit down with him after the season and had an honest conversation about the things we need to develop and the things that we can help him develop to continue his growth.”

In other words, yes, Reagor has been disappointing. Undoubtedly.

Just don’t expect the Eagles to go into the 2022 season without him.

While that will frustrate fans, it always seemed unlikely the Eagles would be willing to move on from a first-round pick after just two seasons. Heck, the Eagles brought former second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside back for Year 3 after even less production in his first two seasons. And cutting Reagor would result in over $7.8 million in dead cap space in 2022; that’s significantly more than he’d count if he’s still on the roster.

The problem with Reagor isn’t that he’s been bad for a first-round pick. It’s that he’s been bad regardless of draft status. He’s still just 23 but Reagor actually regressed in Year 2.

2020: 11 games, 31 catches, 396 yards, 1 touchdown

2021: 17 games, 33 catches, 299 yards, 2 touchdowns

When asked about his receivers on Wednesday, head coach Nick Sirianni started by praising DeVonta Smith as a true No. 1 receiver in the NFL. Then he praised former sixth-round pick Quez Watkins for his growth as their No. 2, saying Watkins probably deserved more opportunities but they were limited because of their run-heavy attack.

Then … finally … he got to Reagor.

“We want more production from Jalen Reagor,” Sirianni said. “He has all the talent to do so. So I like him in that No. 3 spot right now to be able to make plays because he has skill, he has talent. It’s our job as coaches to get that skill and that talent out of him so it produces on the field. And it’s our job as coaches to put him in position to succeed.

READ: Analyzing list of Eagles’ free agents in 2022

“That’s a two-way street. I’m not by any means saying I’m taking all the blame or all the credit or whatever it is. Because it’s a two-way street and Jalen has to make the plays when the opportunity arises. But he does have extreme talent, for what we’re considering a No. 3 receiver, to be able to make plays.”

This was the first time Sirianni had admitted the pecking order that became obvious as the Eagles’ 2021 season went on. It seems more likely that Watkins should be the No. 3, so perhaps the Eagles will be in the market in free agency or the draft for another complement to Smith.

That second receiver, ideally, would have been Reagor. But it’s hard to see that happening.

Any way you look at this situation, it’s not ideal. The Eagles didn’t draft Reagor with the 21st overall pick to be a No. 3 receiver and they didn’t envision a scenario where fans would be clamoring for his release two years into his career.

But here we are.

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What makes the Reagor pick sting more for Eagles fans is that the Eagles bucked conventional draft thought by taking Reagor over LSU’s Justin Jefferson, who has blossomed into a legitimate star in the NFL with the Vikings. When asked previously about their decision to take Reagor over Jefferson, Roseman cited fit for their offense. Obviously, Reagor hasn’t found success under Doug Pederson or Sirianni.

So are there some lessons in this draft whiff for Roseman?

“In terms of learning from anything, we have to do that,” he said. “We have to continue to evolve. You kind of have to look at not only the things that maybe we don’t like about our decision-making, not just talking about Jalen in this situation, but talking about as a whole. But also the things that we did well. I think that’s part of continuing to grow in your job and in your profession.”

‘He's Our Guy': Roseman, Sirianni Leave No Doubt Hurts Is Eagles' 2022 QB

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Roseman, Sirianni leave no doubt Jalen Hurts will be Eagles’ 2022 QB originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni couldn’t have been any clearer.

Jalen Hurts will be the Eagles’ quarterback in 2022.

No offseason drama. The decision has been made.

On Wednesday, three days after the season ended with a thud in Tampa, Roseman and Sirianni both said they saw enough from Hurts in 2021 to feel comfortable moving forward with him as the Eagles’ quarterback.

You want Russell Wilson? Doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen.

You want Kenny Pickett? Doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen.

“Jalen knows where he stands with us,” Sirianni said. “He knows he’s our quarterback. 

“How do you know where you stand with a coaching staff? You communicate, and you talk over and over and over and over again. So Jalen knows where he stands with us. I thought he did a great job of getting better throughout the year.

“There’s no secrets there. He knows he’s our guy.”

By declaring Hurts the 2022 starter this early, Roseman and Sirianni eliminate an entire offseason of speculation, rumors and reports. 

Or maybe not eliminate but at least reduce.

“We talk about Jalen and the growth he had, really 1st-year starter, 2nd-year player, leading this team to the playoffs, tremendously impressed by his work ethic, his leadership,” Roseman said. “Last time we talked was during camp and we said we wanted to see him take the bull by the horn, and he certainly did that.”

The Eagles have three 1st-round picks  – Nos. 15, 16 and 19 – and the flexibility to draft a top quarterback in April or try to acquire a veteran either via trade or free agency if that’s the route they chose.

But Roseman emphasized the importance of using those picks to add talent around Hurts instead of replacing him.

Important to note also that Hurts is entering Year 3 of his four-year rookie deal and carries a modest $1.643 million salary cap figure in 2022. That gives Roseman a tremendous amount of flexibility to add pieces around Hurts.

“For us, we’ve got to do whatever we can to help him continue to develop and how do we do that? By surrounding him with really good players,” said Roseman, the Eagles’ GM since 2010 (minus 2015).

“We’re continuing to figure out ways to build. We’re not happy that our season ended (early) in the playoffs. We want to build a team that has home playoff games, really build a team that gets a bye. Those assets allow us to continue to build and add good players to our team.  

“We’re in this mode of trying to build this team and get as many talented players that we possibly can to compete for championships going forward, and we have a great opportunity to do that this offseason, to keep building.”

This season was widely considered an audition for the 23-year-old Hurts, who started four games last year but inherited the starting job when the Eagles traded Carson Wentz to the Colts in February.

Hurts went 8-7 in 15 regular-season starts, including a 6-2 record down the stretch to propel the Eagles into the playoffs in Sirianni’s first year as head coach.

He improved his completion percentage from 52 percent to 61 percent, reduced his turnovers and sacks and rushed for 784 yards with a 5.6 average and 10 touchdowns. His 26 combined touchdowns ranked 14th in the NFL. 

But he also struggled in the wild-card loss to the Bucs, throwing two interceptions and completing only 53.5 percent of his passes in a game the Eagles trailed 31-0 going into the fourth quarter.

His performance in Tampa once again raised questions about Hurts’ accuracy, his decision making in the pocket and his ability to make enough plays in the passing game to take a team on a deep postseason run.

“You take everything into account,” Sirianni said. “You take into account the whole body of work. You don’t just count Jalen’s (three-interception) game against the Giants. You count the entire body of work. I’m pleased with the way he developed as a passer, as a quarterback. We’ve seen so many things that he got better at, and that goes into Jalen and the football character he has, the desire and the want-to, how badly this guy wants to be an elite, elite, elite player in this league.

“When he wasn’t able to have that ability to run as effectively with the ankle, three of his last four games he played (he had) over a 100 quarterback rating. You saw him develop in the sense of early in the year when he had to extend a play, it was a run. Later in the year he became a passer as he extended plays, and that really helped us down the stretch. 

“Really pleased with how he developed as our quarterback. You look at the whole body of work, and the whole body of work we’re really pleased with where he is and where he’s going to be.”

Weekend Winter Storm Chewed Up Jersey Shore Beach Being Widened, Washes Away Sand

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The weekend storm that brought rain and snow to much of New Jersey also caused significant erosion to a Jersey Shore beach that was already in the process of being widened.

Now, federal and state officials are trying to determine whether additional sand needs to be pumped ashore to replace what was washed away.

Work was already well under way on a project to widen beaches in Deal, Allenhurst and Loch Arbour, just north of Asbury Park, when the storm hit.

It caused what James D’Ambrosio, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, termed “moderate” erosion in Deal, where new sand had recently been pumped ashore.

The storm left large drop-offs, known as escarpments, in some spots, but work crews had smoothed them over by Wednesday.

“It is not uncommon for that area to experience (such erosion) during winter storms, D’Ambrosio said. He said the Army Corps and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection “are studying what needs to be done next.”

The DEP studied 81 spots along the shore and found “moderate” erosion at only 5 of them, including Deal, Long Branch, Avalon, North Wildwood and at the Heislerville Dike on the Maurice River.

The area most recently received a beach replenishment project in 2015 and 2016. The work currently under way is a scheduled periodic renourishment.

The federal government is paying 65%, or $17 million, of the $26 million project. State and local funds will pay for the rest.

The project will pump 1.1 million cubic yards of sand — the equivalent of more than 100,000 dump trucks worth— onto beaches in the three towns.

15-Year-Old Charged in 14-Year-Old's Shooting in Wilmington

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A 15-year-old boy has been charged with accidentally shooting a 14-year-old boy inside a Wilmington, Delaware, home.

Officer arrived at the home on the 200 block of W. 30th Street around 3:45 p.m. Thursday and found the 14-year-old wounded by gunfire, the Wilmington Police Department said. He was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.

Officers took the 15-year-old into custody without incident, and a detective determined he had accidentally shot the other boy, the WPD said.

The elder teen was charged with first-degree assault and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. He was released on $22,500 unsecured bail.

Pa. Payrolls Grew in December Amid Labor Shortage

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What to Know

  • Pennsylvania’s payrolls are continuing to grow, but a persistent worker shortage is still keeping labor markets tight.
  • The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.4% in December. The national rate was 3.9% in December.
  • In a survey of households, the labor force shrank for the seventh straight month, reflecting a worker shortage that some economists attribute partly to an increase in people who have recently gone to work for themselves.

Pennsylvania’s payrolls grew again in December as the unemployment rate fell for the 10th straight month, according to new figures Friday, but a persistent worker shortage continued to keep labor markets tight.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.4% from November’s rate, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry.

The national rate was 3.9% in December. The gap between Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate and the national rate is among the widest it has been in decades.

In a survey of households, the labor force shrank for the seventh straight month, reflecting a worker shortage that some economists attribute partly to an increase in people who have recently gone to work for themselves. It dropped by 18,000 to move to closer to 6.2 million. The number of employed grew by 4,000.

The state hit a record-high labor force of almost 6.6 million just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It’s now at the lowest level since 2005.

In a separate survey of employers, payrolls in Pennsylvania grew in December by more than 14,000, driven primarily by hiring in the trucking and warehousing sector. It reached 5.8 million for the first time since the pandemic began.

Pennsylvania has regained almost 75% of the 1.1 million jobs lost in the early months of the pandemic. It reached a record high for payrolls of 6.1 million just before the pandemic, according to state figures.

NJ Charity for Fallen Cops Used Donations for Disney World Vacations, AG Says

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A New Jersey charity for the families of fallen police officers misused donations to fund personal expenses that included Disney World vacations for its board members, the state’s attorney general said Friday.

The state sued the Brick-based National Police Relief Association and some of its board members, alleging they misused more than $200,000 in donations, raised mostly to benefit the families of cops killed in the line of duty. Two of the defendants are former employees of the state Department of Corrections.

The suit “alleges that these improper payments and benefits to board members were approximately fifteen times the total amount donated to fallen law enforcement officers or their families and more than double the amount directed to any charitable purpose at all,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

The state alleges most of the misused funds went to direct payments to two married board members; another $25,000 was purportedly spent on cars, dining and leisure travel, including the Disney World trip.

The AG’s office also said it had obtained a court order keeping the charity or its board members from raising or distributing new funds.

The association’s website is no longer functional, and attorney information was not immediately available.

La Salle Coach Spotlights Child Cancer Awareness After Daughter Diagnosed

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Emily MacGillivray treated her house like an obstacle course. The toddler, a tornado of energy, could be found after a scamper sitting on counter tops.

“We never had a kid who constantly was climbing on things,” said Mountain MacGillivray, her father and the coach of La Salle’s women’s basketball team.

Around Thanksgiving, Emily looked pale and her energy sagged. The family was only mildly concerned about the 2-year-old girl; Grace MacGillivray wrote on her blog she told her husband he didn’t even need to come to the emergency room for routine tests.

“Once we got to the ER, never did cancer enter my mind,” she wrote. “Our pediatrician had told me to pack a toothbrush and a change of clothes, pretty certain that we’d have to stay the night. I did, but thought for sure we’d be home the next day, maybe with some antibiotics but probably with just a prescription for an iron supplement.”

At first, doctors thought Emily might have serious liver issues, until bloodwork revealed she had leukemia. Emily was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a fast-growing — and the most common — type of childhood cancer.

“We were pretty scared and alarmed,” Mountain said. “The hours before we got the diagnosis, that was just the worst part, not knowing what you’re going to hear.”

MacGillivray graduated from Temple, coached Philly high schools and led Quinnipiac to the NCAA Tournament before he was hired at La Salle in April 2018. He might coach his most worthwhile game Sunday when the Explorers dedicate the game to Emily — now in remission — in a “Climb with Emily” day to raise awareness for pediatric cancer.

The MacGillivrays, who celebrate their 20-year wedding anniversary this year, have eight children, ages 19 to 2 years old.

The youngest, Emily.

The photos that dot MacGillivray’s Twitter feed show his daughter smiling while she holds an egg sandwich or about to fall asleep after eating an adult serving of mac and cheese. That Emily was in the hospital during those moments make the family grateful she can share in Sunday’s game.

The MacGillivrays learned this week that Emily was in remission, making Sunday’s event more of a reason for celebration than consternation.

“Since being off chemo since Saturday, Emily has really shown an improvement in her general well-being,” Grace wrote on her blog. “She’s keeping up more with the kids, she’s laughing, smiling, and talking a lot more, and eating more like a toddler!”

Mountain MacGillivray said his daughter needs about eight more months of chemotherapy and then, “our hope for her is that she won’t even know she has leukemia by the time she’s 10.” Emily came home Dec. 29from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and MacGillivray laughed when he noted she has become a champ at taking her medicine.

“The one thing about 2 year olds, and it’s a lesson for all of us, is they tend to live in the moment. They don’t really worry about the future,” Mountain said.

MacGillivray’s Twitter bio notes he’s a “follower of Christ” and said the ordeal only strengthened his faith because of the outpouring of support from friends, family and strangers who prayed for them, cooked meals and donated money. La Salle and MacGillivray are trying to raise money Sunday for the B+ Foundation — which honors the life of Andrew McDonough, who died at 14 from cancer — in its mission for the fight against childhood cancer. La Salle will show videos from select players talking about how cancer has affected their lives.

La Salle will wear special T-shirts for Emily and photos of her will be on display during the matchup with Richmond.

“Yes, this could be really bad for Emily down the road,” Mountain said. “Anything can go wrong. But right now, Emily is as happy as a clam. I’m not going to worry about what could go wrong because I get to see her smiling and laughing every day.”


Pennsylvania Set State Record for Gambling Revenue in 2021

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Pennsylvania set another annual record for gambling revenue in the era of online gambling and sports betting, state regulators said, reporting that casinos and other operators won more than $4.7 billion from gamblers in calendar year 2021 in one of the nation’s largest commercial casino states.

The rebound continues after pandemic-related shutdowns sapped casino revenue in 2020.

The more than $4.7 billion came from 16 operating casinos, including three new mini-casinos in 2021, as well as fantasy sports operators and truck stops, according to figures released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

That beat the $3.9 billion recorded in fiscal year 2021, as well as the previous calendar year high of $3.4 billion, two years ago.

Revenue in casinos from slot machines continued to slide, dipping below $2.3 billion in 2021. But revenue from table games hit a new calendar-year high of $925 million.

Online gambling, in just its third year, doubled its revenue from 2020 to pass $1.1 billion, while sports betting also continued to grow in just its fourth year, totaling $340 million in revenue.

Pennsylvania legalized both sports betting and online gambling as part of an aggressive gambling expansion in 2017.

Gambling revenue also benefited from the opening of three new casinos, Live! Casino Philadelphia, Hollywood Casino York and Hollywood Casino Morgantown.

Pennsylvania has been neck-and-neck with New Jersey for No. 2 in gambling revenue behind Nevada.

Months After Anti-Asian Slur, Del. State Rep. Announces Resignation

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Months after using racist, sexist language to describe sex workers, a Delaware lawmaker will resign from the state House of Representatives, citing post-traumatic stress disorder.

Representative Gerald Brady, D–4th District, announced Friday that his last day on the job will be Feb. 4.  He made the initial comments in an email on June 27 of last year, which he inadvertently sent to an advocate for decriminalizing prostitution.

In a press release, Brady made no mention of his outburst directly, but he did say that
“The grim reality of this condition for those of us who live with it is long periods of silent suffering, which can be punctuated by episodes or conduct that may make little sense to people who do not understand the nature of PTSD.”

Brady said he developed PTSD after serving in the Middle East over the last two decades as a member of the Delaware National Guard. He said that as a result of his deployment, he lost most of his hearing and has been “dealing with the challenges it presents daily.”

The News Journal of Wilmington reported that the advocate for decriminalizing prostitution had sent Brady a Princeton University study that suggested the presence of strip clubs led to a decrease in sex crimes in a New York City police precinct. The person connected the study to a 30-year period in Rhode Island during which indoor prostitution in massage parlors and strip clubs was decriminalized, and called on Delaware lawmakers to do something similar to protect sex workers.

The study sent to Brady did not directly mention Asian women in relation to sex work and strip clubs. It contained a single reference citation to a 2018 analysis of sex crimes and prostitution in South Korea in a publication called “Asian Development Perspectives.”

“Is the dude basically saying, if we provide free (sex acts) for Uncle Pervie there will be few rapes and few (a slur for Chinese women) will be shipped in CONEX containers to the Port of Wilmington??” Brady replied from his official government email address.

The message was intended for a private citizen whom Brady knows, asking the person to read and summarize the study, according to Drew Volturo, spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus. Instead, Brady hit “reply” and emailed the original sender.

Delaware lawmakers have exempted their emails and the emails of legislative staff from Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act, but Brady’s email was shared with The News Journal.

“There is no excuse I can offer that explains my embarrassing and shameful words that insulted, stereotyped and dehumanized an entire culture while making light of a serious human rights crisis,” Brady wrote in a statement issued through a spokesman at the time.

Governor John Carney at the time called Brady’s emailed remarks “horrific and completely unacceptable.”

Brady has served in the state House since 2006.

Police: Truck With 100 Monkeys Crashes, Some of Them Missing

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A truck carrying about 100 monkeys was involved in a crash Friday in Pennsylvania, state police said as authorities searched for at least three of the monkeys that appeared to have escaped the vehicle.

The truck carrying the animals crashed with a dump truck in the afternoon in Montour County, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Andrea Pelachick told the Daily Item.

The truck had been on its way to a lab, Pelachick said.

Authorities have asked residents who might see the monkeys to call state police at 570-524-2662.

It was unclear if any people or animals were injured in the crash.

Man Dies as Car Goes Up in Flames After Hitting Pole

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A man died in a fiery crash when his car hit a pole in Philadelphia Saturday morning.

The man struck the light pole on a street underneath Interstate 95 in the Port Richmond neighborhood around 3:30 a.m., police said.

He became trapped and died when the car went up in flames. His name was not immediately released as police investigated what led to the crash.

All 100 Lab Monkeys Accounted for After Several Escape Crash

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The last of the escaped monkeys from the crash of a truck towing a trailer load of 100 of the animals was accounted for by late Saturday, a day after the pickup collided with a dump truck on a Pennsylvania highway, authorities said.

Several monkeys had escaped following Friday’s collision, Pennsylvania State Police said. But only one had remained unaccounted for as of Saturday morning, prompting the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies to launch a search for it amid frigid weather.

Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an email Saturday evening that all 100 of the cynomolgus macaque monkeys had since been accounted for. Three were dead after being euthanized.

The email did not elaborate on why the three were euthanized or how all came to be accounted for. But Nordlund said those euthanized were done so humanely according to American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines.

The shipment of monkeys was en route to a CDC-approved quarantine facility after arriving Friday morning at New York’s Kennedy Airport from Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation, police said. The Atlanta-based CDC said the agency was providing “technical assistance” to state police in Pennsylvania.

The collision occured Friday on a state highway near an Interstate 80 exit in Pennsylvania’s Montour County, Trooper Andrea Pelachick told The Daily Item newspaper of Sunbury.

The location of the quarantine facility and the type of research for which the monkeys were apparently destined weren’t clear, but cynomolgus monkeys are often used in medical studies. A 2015 paper posted on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information referred to them as the most widely used primate in preclinical toxicology studies.

Earlier, police had earlier urged people not to look for or capture any monkey, with troopers tweeting: “Anyone who sees or locates the monkey is asked not to approach, attempt to catch, or come in contact with the monkey. Please call 911 immediately.”

Trooper Lauren Lesher had said the concern was “due to it not being a domesticated animal and them being in an unknown territory. It is hard to say how they would react to a human approaching them.”

Lesher said state police secured the scene for the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC.

The drivers of the trucks weren’t harmed and a passenger was transported to a medical center for treatment of suspected minor injuries, according to the state police’s crash report.

A crash witness, Michelle Fallon, told the Press Enterprise newspaper of Bloomsburg that she spoke with the pickup driver and a passenger after the crash. The driver appeared to be disoriented, and the passenger thought he might have injured his legs, she said.

Crates littered the road Friday as troopers searched for monkeys, rifles in hand. Valley Township firefighters used thermal imaging to try to locate the animals, and a helicopter also assisted, the Press Enterprise newspaper of Bloomsburg reported.

The pickup was heading west on I-80 when it got off at the Danville exit and then immediately tried to get back on, driving across the other lane, the newspaper reported.

Fallon told the Press Enterprise that she was behind the pickup when it was hit on the passenger side by the dump truck, tearing off the front panel of the trailer and sending more than a dozen crates tumbling out.

She and another motorist who stopped to help were standing near the scene when the other driver said he thought he saw a cat run across the road, Fallon said.

Fallon peeked into a crate and saw a small monkey looking back at her, she told the newspaper.

“They’re monkeys,” she told the other motorist.

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This story corrects the first name of a state trooper to Lauren, not Laura, Lesher.

Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Woman Who Had Just Gotten Off Bus

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A driver struck a 50-year-old woman who had just gotten off the bus, then drove over a median with the victim still on the hood of the car before fleeing the scene and leaving her to die, police said.

The woman had just gotten off the bus and was crossing the street near the intersection of Broad Street and Allegheny Avenue in North Philadelphia around 11:30 p.m. when a driver in a Chevrolet Impala hit her, the Philadelphia Police Department said.

With the woman still on the hood of the car, the driver went over a median before coming to a rest on the northbound lanes of Broad Street, the PPD said. “Several” people in the vehicle then ran away, leaving the woman behind, the department added.

The unidentified victim was rushed to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Separately, another hit-and-run driver killed a 46-year-old woman in the Eastwick neighborhood after striking her on the 2700 block of Island Avenue around 8:55 p.m. Friday, police said. Medics rushed the woman to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 9:54 p.m.

Police did not have a vehicle description in the second incident.

Both cases remain under investigation.

Smoke Billows Over Philly Skyline as Fire Burns at High-Rise

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Thick black smoke billowed over the Philadelphia skyline as a fire burned in Center City Sunday morning.

The blaze appeared to be emanating from a high-rise on Market Street. Firefighting crews were responding, with some seen on the roof of the building.

It was not immediately clear if anyone was injured.

This is a developing story and will be updated.






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