Allentown Local News

 

LOCAL NEWS FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014

LOCAL NEWS FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2014

  GOV. TOM CORBETT IS TELLING LAWMAKERS THAT HE'S AGAINST SOLVING THE STATE'S GROWING BUDGET SHORTFALL WITH NEW TAX INCREASES.  SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN JAKE CORMAN SAID CORBETT TOLD HIM AND OTHER TOP REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS IN A MONDAY MEETING THAT HE WANTS TO BALANCE THE BUDGET WITH SPENDING CUTS AND ONE-TIME MONEY TRANSFERS.  CORMAN SAYS HE'LL EXPLORE WHETHER THE SENATE'S REPUBLICAN MAJORITY WILL SUPPORT SUCH A PLAN.  BUT CORMAN DIDN'T WANT TO REVEAL DETAILS BEFORE HE BRIEFS RANK-AND-FILE REPUBLICAN SENATORS.  A CORBETT SPOKESMAN ALSO WOULDN'T GIVE DETAILS OF CORBETT'S PLAN.  MAY'S TAX COLLECTIONS ADDED MORE BAD NEWS, WITH THE REVENUE DEPARTMENT SAYING THE STATE COLLECTED $108 MILLION BELOW EXPECTATIONS.  THAT COMPOUNDS A GAP OF MORE THAN $1 BILLION PROJECTED IN CORBETT'S PROPOSED BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1.


  EASTON CITY COUNCIL HAS PASSED A RESOLUTION TO ASK STATE LAWMAKERS TO PASS A BILL THAT WOULD PROVIDE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS A CHANCE TO GET A DRIVER'S LICENSE.  NORTHAMPTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY JOHN MORGANELLI IS NOT A FAN OF THE IDEA.  "STATES WHICH GRANT DRIVER'S LICENSES TO ILLEGAL ALIENS BECOME MAGNETS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION," MORGANELLI SAYS.  THE D.A. SAYS TERRORISTS, LIKE THOSE ON 9/11, COULD GET LICENSES WITH THE INTENT TO CARRY OUT ACTS OF TERRORISM HERE AND ELSEWHERE IF BILLS LIKE THE ONE CURRENTLY IN HARRISBURG ARE PASSED.


  A NORTHAMPTON MAN IS DEAD AFTER HIS MOTORCYCLE COLLIDED WITH A TRACTOR TRAILER IN EAST ALLEN TOWNSHIP.  POLICE SAY 30-YEAR-OLD NICHOLAS ARONIS WAS RIDING HIS MOTORCYCLE ON SILVERCREST ROAD, JUST SOUTH OF BATH, WHEN HE COLLIDED WITH A TRACTOR-TRAILER THAT WAS MAKING A LEFT TURN INTO THE ENTRANCE OF THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC.  POLICE ARE ASKING ANYBODY WHO SAW THE CRASH TO CONTACT THEM AT 610-861-2026.


  A NORTHAMPTON COUNTY WOMAN HAS DIED FROM INJURIES SUFFERED IN A WEEKEND ACCIDENT.  THE LEHIGH COUNTY CORONER'S OFFICE SAYS 27-YEAR-OLD NICOLE GEIS, OF FORKS TOWNSHIP, DIED MONDAY NIGHT AT ST. LUKE'S UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL-FOUNTAIN HILL FROM INJURIES SUFFERED WHEN HER VEHICLE SLAMMED INTO A TREE AND UTILITY POLE AFTER SHE SWERVED TO AVOID A DEER EARLY SATURDAY MORNING NEAR HILLENDALE ROAD IN LOWER MOUNT BETHEL TOWNSHIP.


  PRESIDENT OBAMA IS PUSHING HIS CLIMATE CHANGE PLAN, WHICH PUSHES STATES AWAY FROM TRADITIONAL POWER SOURCES LIKE OIL AND COAL.  PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN SENATOR PAT TOOMEY SAYS THE IDEA OF MOVING AWAY FROM COAL IS A TERRIBLE IDEA.  "IT IS AFFORDABLE.  IT IS LOCAL.  IT IS RELIABLE," TOOMEY SAYS.  PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRATIC SENATOR BOB CASEY SAYS A LENGTHY DISCUSSION ON THE ISSUE IS REQUIRED.  "SO WE CAN GET THE INFORMATION AND SEPARATE THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF, THE FACTS FROM THE POLITICS," CASEY SAYS.  THE PRESIDENT SAYS AMERICANS' ELECTRICITY BILLS WILL SHRINK AND THEIR CHILDREN WILL BE HEALTHIER THANKS TO HIS PROPOSAL, WHICH WOULD CUT THE COUNTRY'S CARBON EMISSIONS BY 30 PERCENT BY 2030.


  A LABOR UNION-AFFILIATED THINK TANK IS ATTACKING GOV. TOM CORBETT'S LATEST PLAN FOR REINING IN PENNSYLVANIA'S PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PENSION COSTS.  STEPHEN HERZENBERG, DIRECTOR OF THE KEYSTONE RESEARCH CENTER, SAID MONDAY THE PROPOSAL SPONSORED BY REP. MIKE TOBASH AND BACKED BY THE GOVERNOR WOULD FORCE DRACONIAN CUTS IN PENSION BENEFITS FOR FUTURE SCHOOL AND STATE EMPLOYEES.  HERZENBERG SAYS THE "HYBRID" PLAN, WHICH WOULD JOIN A LIMITED TRADITIONAL PENSION WITH A 401(K)-STYLE DEFINED CONTRIBUTION PLAN, ALSO WOULD SAVE ONLY ABOUT $3 BILLION IN TODAY'S DOLLARS.  ACTUARIES FOR THE PENNSYLVANIA EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT COMMISSION, WHICH CLEARED THE BILL FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION LAST WEEK, SAY THE CHANGES WOULD SHIFT CONSIDERABLE RISK ONTO NEWLY HIRED EMPLOYEES AND SAVE BETWEEN $12 BILLION AND $14 BILLION OVER 30 YEARS.


  THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD SAYS IT HAS RECOVERED THE COCKPIT VOICE RECORDER AND FLIGHT DATA RECORDER FROM THE PRIVATE JET THAT CRASHED THIS WEEKEND IN MASSACHUSETTS, KILLING PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER CO-OWNER LEWIS KATZ AND SIX OTHERS.  THE AGENCY HAD SAID EARLIER MONDAY IT WAS WORKING TO RECOVER THE DEVICES FROM THE WRECKAGE OF KATZ'S GULFSTREAM IV JET THAT CRASHED DURING TAKEOFF AT HANSCOM FIELD WEST OF BOSTON ON SATURDAY NIGHT.  IT SAID THEY WERE RECOVERED AT ABOUT 6:30 P.M.  THE PLANE WENT OFF THE END OF THE RUNWAY. IT COULD BE SEEN MONDAY WITH THE NOSE RESTING ON A HILL, AND THE BURNED-OUT FUSELAGE LYING IN A RAVINE.  KATZ WENT TO MASSACHUSETTS ON SATURDAY WITH THREE FRIENDS TO ATTEND AN EDUCATION-RELATED EVENT AT THE HOME OF HISTORIAN DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN.  THE PLANE'S THREE CREW MEMBERS ALSO DIED.


  A PROPOSAL TO AUTHORIZE PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOLS TO POST "IN GOD WE TRUST" AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS ON ITS WAY TO THE STATE SENATE AFTER FINAL PASSAGE IN THE HOUSE.  THE HOUSE VOTED 172 TO 24 ON MONDAY IN FAVOR OF THE BILL, WHICH HAD BEEN WATERED DOWN FROM AN EARLIER VERSION THAT MANDATED THE NATIONAL MOTTO BE POSTED.  THE NATIONAL MOTTO DISPLAY ACT CREDITS A 19TH CENTURY PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR, JAMES POLLOCK, WITH SUGGESTING THE PHRASE BE ADDED TO CURRENCY.  CONGRESS AND PRESIDENT DWIGHT EISENHOWER MADE IT THE NATIONAL MOTTO NEARLY 60 YEARS AGO.  AN OPPONENT, PHILADELPHIA DEMOCRATIC REP. MIKE O'BRIEN, CALLS THE BILL "AN EXERCISE IN SILLINESS."  A SENATE REPUBLICAN SPOKESMAN SAYS THE BILL WILL BE REVIEWED, AND THERE'S CURRENTLY NO TIMETABLE FOR IT TO BE CONSIDERED.


  A BUILDER OF FOR-PROFIT YOUTH DETENTION CENTERS HAS REPORTED TO PRISON FOR HIS ROLE IN A JUVENILE JUSTICE SCANDAL IN WHICH THOUSANDS OF YOUNG OFFENDERS WERE SENT TO HIS FACILITIES BY A JUDGE WHO TOOK MONEY FROM HIM.  ROBERT MERICLE REPORTED MONDAY TO A MINIMUM SECURITY PRISON IN SCHUYLKILL COUNTY.  HE WAS SENTENCED IN APRIL TO A YEAR IN PRISON AND ORDERED TO PAY $250,000 STEMMING FROM NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA'S SO-CALLED "KIDS FOR CASH" SCANDAL.  PROSECUTORS SAID TWO JUDGES ACCEPTED $2 MILLION IN ILLEGAL PAYMENTS FROM MERICLE.  FORMER LUZERNE COUNTY JUDGES MICHAEL CONAHAN AND MARK CIAVARELLA JR. PLOTTED TO CLOSE THE DILAPIDATED COUNTY-RUN JUVENILE DETENTION CENTER IN 2002 AND ARRANGE FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE PA CHILD CARE FACILITY OUTSIDE WILKES-BARRE AND ANOTHER LOCKUP IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA.  THEY'RE SERVING LENGTHY PRISON SENTENCES.


  A NEW POLL FINDS GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE'S APPROVAL RATINGS ARE STAYING STABLE.  THE FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON-PUBLICMIND POLL ISSUED TUESDAY FINDS 44 PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS APPROVE OF CHRISTIE'S JOB PERFORMANCE.  THAT'S A 3 PERCENTAGE POINT INCREASE FROM THE LAST POLL IN MARCH.  THE SURVEY ALSO FOUND 44 PERCENT DISAPPROVE OF CHRISTIE, WHICH IS UNCHANGED SINCE THE LAST POLL.   CHRISTIE'S APPROVAL RATINGS HAD FALLEN IN RECENT MONTHS IN THE WAKE OF REVELATIONS ABOUT POLITICALLY MOTIVATED TRAFFIC LANCE CLOSINGS ON THE GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE IN FORT LEE.  BUT THE NEW FDU POLL SHOWS FEWER NEW JERSEYANS ARE PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE SCANDAL.  IT FOUND 22 PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS ARE FOLLOWING THE ISSUE "VERY CLOSELY."  THAT'S DOWN FROM 34 PERCENT IN MARCH AND 38 PERCENT IN JANUARY.  THE POLL OF 813 REGISTERED NEW JERSEY VOTERS WAS TAKEN FROM MAY 27-JUNE 1 AND HAS MARGIN OF ERROR OF PLUS OR MINUS 3.4 PERCENTAGE POINTS.

 

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