Calling it 'outrageous' and 'insulting', the attorney for John Cramsey has rejected a plea deal offered to his client, who along with two others is charged with trying to enter the Holland Tunnel with several guns. Attorney James Lisa remains hopeful Cramsey will receive a pardon from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but says if that doesn't happen, Cramsey would rather go on trial than accept the plea deal, which would have put the 51-year-old Cramsey in jail for up to five years. Cramsey, Lehighton's Kimberly Arendt and Whitehall's Dean Smith were all arrested last June at the Holland Tunnel and charged with transporting loaded guns, which is illegal in New Jersey. The three say they were headed for a New York City drug house to rescue a 16-year-old girl who needed help.
A group home in Northampton County is no longer livable after a fire. The property on Pheasant Drive in Moore Township was owned by the Lehigh County Housing Authority and was home to three people. A grease fire started in the kitchen Monday afternoon and eventually spread through the house, injuring two people and destroying almost everything inside.
A longtime retailer on East Third Street in Bethlehem is closing its doors. Cleo Smith says her Silversmith Studio and Gallery will be closed for good by Memorial Day. The shop, which sells silver creations from jewelry to chandeliers, has been a mainstay in downtown Bethlehem for two decades. Smith says she's retiring to spend more time with her family.
Yesterday was the first 80 degree day in the Lehigh Valley since the middle of last October. Accu-Weather's Dean DeVore says a repeat performance is coming today. "Today we're going to go up to 84. That would tie the record from 2011," DeVore says. He says cooler temperatures will be ushered in tonight with some possible showers and thunderstorms.
Sen. Bob Casey is outlining new legislation that he says would improve mine safety. Casey visited the United Mine Workers of American in Washington County Monday to discuss the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act and the Mine and Workplace Safety and Health Act. Casey is also pushing a Miners Protection Act, which would allow workers at certain bankrupt mines to keep healthcare and pension funds.
The nuclear power plant industry's looking for state bailouts. The natural gas boom that's hammered coal mines and driven down utility bills is now hitting nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plant owners are now pressing lawmakers here in Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey, Connecticut and Ohio for a financial rescue. They say they just want the same preferential treatment given to renewables, like wind and solar. Nuclear plant owners already won billions of dollars from Illinois and New York. Pennsylvania is the nation's number-2 nuclear power state after Illinois. Analysts say that, with natural gas prices expected to stay low, shutting down nuclear plants may have no impact on electricity bills.
The State Senate will now take up the Pennsylvania budget situation. House Republicans last week approved a $31.5 billion spending response to Governor Wolf's budget plan. It now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate with a heavy emphasis on belt-tightening in human services, prisons and state operations to whittle down a massive deficit. The Democrat governor proposed a $32.3 billion spending blueprint in February. It's a relatively austere plan compared to his two previous proposals. Under "both" plans, income and sales tax rates would not be increased, but counties warn that House GOP spending cuts in human services and criminal justice programs would force increases in county property tax bills.
Two former members of the Chris Christie administration are appealing their convictions in the Bridgegate scandal. Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly were sentenced last month for their roles in the 2013 lane shutdowns at the George Washington Bridge that gridlocked traffic in Fort Lee. Both filed notices of appeal Monday in Newark. Baroni is the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority. Kelly is a former aid to Gov. Christie, who says he didn't know about plans to close the lanes. He has not been charged with wrongdoing.
The NFL pre-season schedule is out for the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia will play at Green Bay in Week 1, at home against Buffalo and Miami for weeks 2 and 3, and at the New York Jets for the final week of the pre-season action. The NFL released the pre-season schedules Monday leading up to releasing the 2017 regular season schedule for all 32 teams.