Allentown Local News

 

LOCAL NEWS FOR THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014

LOCAL NEWS FOR THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014

  PENNSYLVANIA'S GOVERNOR SAYS HE WON'T APPEAL A COURT DECISION THAT STRUCK DOWN THE STATE'S GAY MARRIAGE BAN.  GOV. TOM CORBETT'S DECISION MEANS THAT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE WILL REMAIN LEGAL IN PENNSYLVANIA, WITHOUT THE THREAT THAT A HIGHER COURT WILL REINSTATE THE BAN.  THIS PENNSYLVANIA MAN IS THRILLED.  "IT MEANS HAVING THAT RECOGNITION, PLAIN AND SIMPLE, AND NOT JUST BEING TWO GUYS WHO OWN A HOME TOGETHER," THE MAN SAYS.  CORBETT'S DECISION GOES AGAINST HIS POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.  HE OPPOSES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND SUPPORTED THUS-FAR UNSUCCESSFUL EFFORTS TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO BAN GAY MARRIAGE.  BUT HE SAYS AN APPEAL WOULD BE "EXTREMELY UNLIKELY TO SUCCEED."  PENNSYLVANIA IS THE 19TH STATE TO RECOGNIZE SAME-SEX MARRIAGES. 


  FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NORTHAMPTON COUNTY'S 262-YEAR HISTORY, A MARRIAGE LICENSE HAS BEEN ISSUED TO A GAY COUPLE.  43-YEAR-OLD ROBERT KISTHARDT, OF BATH, AND HIS PARTNER HAVE BEEN TOGETHER FOR 19 YEARS.  WEDNESDAY MORNING, ONE DAY AFTER A JUDGE DETERMINED SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS LEGAL IN PENNSYLVANIA, THE TWO MEN WERE ISSUED A MARRIAGE LICENSE BY THE COUNTY'S REGISTER OF WILLS OFFICE.  KISTHARDT AND HIS PARTNER PLAN TO SAY 'I DO' NEXT WEEK.  TWO MORE GAY COUPLES WERE ISSUED MARRIAGE LICENSES LATER IN THE DAY IN NORTHAMPTON COUNTY WHILE SIX SAME-SEX COUPLES WERE GIVEN LEHIGH COUNTY'S FIRST GAY MARRIAGE LICENSES ON WEDNESDAY.


  IN A 6-1 VOTE, ALLENTOWN CITY COUNCIL HAS OK'D A NEW SET OF RULES ON PUBLIC COMMENT AT MEETINGS.  RESIDENTS WILL NOW BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK ABOUT BILLS AS THEY ARE BEING INTRODUCED AND CAN NOW TALK DURING THE PUBLIC COMMENT PORTION OF THE MEETING ON ANY ITEM ON THAT NIGHT'S AGENDA.  COUNCIL PULLED TWO IDEAS FROM THE BILL IT PASSED.  ONE WOULD HAVE ALLOWED POWERPOINT PRESENTATIONS FROM RESIDENTS AND THE OTHER WOULD HAVE CREATED A SIGN-IN SHEET FOR RESIDENTS WHO WANTED TO SPEAK.


  A NORTHAMPTON COUNTY MAN DROWNED AFTER HIS KAYAK CAPSIZED NEAR A DAM ON THE LEHIGH RIVER.  THE NORTHAMPTON COUNTY CORONER SAID 26-YEAR-OLD JEREMY DEEMER OF FORKS TOWNSHIP WAS STEERING HIS KAYAK TO GO OVER THE CHAIN DAM WHEN THE VESSEL CAPSIZED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON IN EASTON.  EMERGENCY CREWS RESPONDED TO A REPORT OF SOMEONE FLOATING FACE DOWN. RESCUERS TRIED TO RESUSCITATE DEEMER, BUT HE WAS UNRESPONSIVE AND WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD AT A HOSPITAL.  A SECOND KAYAKER WAS HOSPITALIZED.


  A 9-YEAR-OLD BOY RIDING HIS BIKE IN ALLENTOWN HAS FOUND THE BODY OF AN UNIDENTIFIED MAN LYING FACE-DOWN IN THE JORDAN CREEK.  POLICE SAY THE BODY WAS FOUND AROUND 5:30 WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE CREEK AT LIBERTY AND MEADOW STREETS.  AN AUTOPSY IS BEING DONE TODAY.


  PPL IS INCREASING ITS ELECTRIC RATE BY 3.2 PERCENT THIS SUMMER.  IT'S AN INCREASE THAT WILL ONLY APPLY TO PPL CUSTOMERS WHO USE PPL AS THEIR ELECTRICITY SUPPLIER AND NOT THOSE CUSTOMERS WHO HAVE CHOSEN ANOTHER ELECTRIC PROVIDER.  PPL ORIGINALLY EXPECTED A SUMMER RATE DECREASE.


  DEMOCRAT TOM WOLF IS SUGGESTING HE'LL BE A BETTER HANDLER OF PENNSYLVANIA'S BOOMING NATURAL GAS INDUSTRY THAN THE MAN HE HOPES TO UNSEAT, REPUBLICAN GOV. TOM CORBETT.  WOLF SAID WEDNESDAY THAT IT IS WRONG TO SUGGEST HE DOESN'T SUPPORT THE BOOMING INDUSTRY AND CORBETT DOES.  RATHER, HE SAYS THE INDUSTRY COULD BE A GREAT BENEFIT TO PENNSYLVANIA'S ECONOMY IF IT'S HANDLED CORRECTLY.  WOLF SPOKE TO REPORTERS WHILE VISITING A RESTAURANT NEAR HIS HOMETOWN OF MOUNT WOLF IN CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA A DAY AFTER HIS RESOUNDING PRIMARY VICTORY.  CORBETT PLANS TO REAFFIRM HIS SUPPORT FOR THE NATURAL GAS INDUSTRY IN A JOINT APPEARANCE WITH TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA LATER WEDNESDAY.  WOLF, A MILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN, WON A FOUR-WAY CONTEST WITH 58 PERCENT OF THE VOTE IN TUESDAY'S BALLOT.


  TOM WOLF'S PEOPLE AND GOVERNOR TOM CORBETT'S PEOPLE HAVE MORE THAN LIKELY PLANNING A GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN FOR SOME TIME NOW.  POLITICAL ANAYLST TERRY MADONNA TELLS YOU WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE GOVERNOR'S CAMPAIGN.  "THE BASIC THEME WILL BE WOLF IS A BIG-SPENDING LIBERAL DEMOCRAT, WHO WILL RAISE YOUR TAXES.  THAT'S THE APPROACH THE CORBETT CAMPAIGN WILL USE," MADONNA SAYS.  ON THE OTHER HAND, MADONNA SAYS WOLF WILL LIKELY REPEATEDLY CLAIM CORBETT HAS GUTTED PENNSYLVANIA'S EDUCATION SYSTEM IN HIS FOUR YEARS IN OFFICE.  "IT'S THE MOST POPULAR ISSUE WITH VOTERS AND ON THE ISSUE SIDE OF THINGS IT'S THE PLACE WHERE TOM CORBETT IS MOST VULNERABLE," MADONNA SAYS.  PRE-PRIMARY ELECTION POLLS SHOWED WOLF LEADING CORBETT BY NINE TO 13 POINTS IN A HYPOTHETICAL MATCHUP.  MADONNA FIGURES THE FIRST POST-ELECTION POLL WILL SHOW SIMILAR NUMBERS.


  A LAWYER FOR FORMER FBI DIRECTOR LOUIS FREEH HAS ASKED AN APPEALS COURT NOT TO DELAY A DEFAMATION CASE OVER FREEH'S PENN STATE SEXUAL-ABUSE INVESTIGATION.  THE SCHOOL'S FORMER PRESIDENT, GRAHAM SPANIER, IS SUING FREEH OVER THE DAMNING REPORT HE PREPARED ON THE JERRY SANDUSKY SCANDAL.  BUT SPANIER WON A COURT DECISION TO DELAY THE CIVIL CASE UNTIL AFTER SPANIER'S CRIMINAL TRIAL.  SPANIER IS CHARGED WITH HELPING COVER UP COMPLAINTS THAT FORMER ASSISTANT FOOTBALL COACH SANDUSKY WAS MOLESTING CHILDREN. SANDUSKY WAS CONVICTED AND IS SERVING A PRISON SENTENCE.  A SUPERIOR COURT PANEL HEARD ARGUMENTS WEDNESDAY ON FREEH'S REQUEST FOR THE CIVIL SUIT AGAINST HIM TO GO FORWARD.  FREEH'S LAWYERS SAY THEY WANT TO CLEAR HIS NAME SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.  THE COURT DIDN'T SAY WHEN IT WOULD RULE.


  TWO PHILADELPHIA-AREA STATE LEGISLATORS WHO ARE FACING CORRUPTION CHARGES LOST THEIR SEATS IN PENNSYLVANIA'S PRIMARY ELECTION.  ELECTIONS RETURNS FROM TUESDAY'S BALLOTING SHOW VOTERS REJECTED RE-ELECTION BIDS BY SEN. LEANNA WASHINGTON AND REP. J.P. MIRANDA, BOTH DEMOCRATS.  ALSO, HUNTINGDON COUNTY REP. MIKE FLECK, THE LEGISLATURE'S ONLY OPENLY GAY REPUBLICAN, IS AWAITING THE RESULTS OF A WRITE-IN CHALLENGE BY RICHARD IRVIN, THE HUNTINGDON COUNTY TREASURER.  WASHINGTON'S BEEN CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH ALLEGATIONS SHE HAD HER TAXPAYER-PAID STAFF WORK ON CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISERS.  SHE WAS DEFEATED BY CHELTENHAM LAWYER ART HAYWOOD.  THE DISTRICT INCLUDES PARTS OF PHILADELPHIA AND MONTGOMERY COUNTY.  MIRANDA IS CHARGED WITH ALLEGEDLY FUNNELING TAXPAYER MONEY TO HIS SISTER USING A "GHOST" EMPLOYEE.  HE FINISHED LAST IN A FOUR-WAY RACE IN HIS PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT THAT WAS WON BY SOCIAL WORKER LESLIE ACOSTA.


  GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE'S PLAN TO BRIDGE A BUDGET GAP OVER THE NEXT 13 MONTHS RELIES HEAVILY ON SLASHING PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS, BUT THAT IS NOT THE ONLY MEASURE.  STATE TREASURER ANDREW SIDAMON-ERISTOFF TOLD LAWMAKERS ON WEDNESDAY THAT THE STATE IS ALSO CUTTING $15 MILLION THIS YEAR IN ITS SUBSIDY FOR NEW JERSEY TRANSIT AND SKIPPING A $13 MILLION ONE-TIME PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY PROVIDERS OF SERVICES TO PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES.  MEMBERS OF THE ASSEMBLY'S BUDGET COMMITTEE QUESTIONED THE LEGALITY AND MORALITY OF MAKING THOSE CUTS.  CHRISTIE ANNOUNCED TUESDAY A PLAN TO REDUCE THE STATE'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PENSION FUNDS FOR PUBLIC WORKERS BY ABOUT $2.5 BILLION BETWEEN NOW AND JUNE 30, 2015.  THE COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA SAYS IT INTENDS TO FILE A LAWSUIT TO TRY TO BLOCK THE PENSION CUTS.

 

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