Dan Holzman

Dan Holzman

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Here's what's trending for September 19.

The coroner was called to the scene of a house fire in Salisbury Township Monday night. The fire broke out around 8:30 p.m. at the home in the 3100 block of Essex Road, near the Salisbury Middle School. 59-year-old Richard Omick was pronounced dead at the scene of the fire last night. No word yet on how the fire started.

Details are starting to trickle out about a double murder last week in North Catasauqua. The teenage girl killed last week in the double homicide was physically abused and threatened with a knife just days before the murder. State police say the 16-year-old girl murdered on September 14th had been involved in an incident on September 8 in South Whitehall Township, however details of that incident have not been released. The girl and a 39-year-old woman were found dead inside their Railroad Street home. Neighbors identify the two as mother and daughter, but authorities are only saying the two were related. Northampton County's coroner says the two died from what he calls 'sharp-force trauma.' While no arrests have been made, investigators say there's no danger to the community.

While the United Auto Workers are already striking against Detroit’s three automakers, there's strike talk locally at Mack Trucks. Members of UAW Local 677, which represents workers at Mack’s Lehigh Valley Operations plant in Lower Macungie Township, voted overwhelmingly last week to authorize a strike when their contract runs out Oct. 1. The Lehigh Valley Operations plant employs 2,700, with about 2,300 represented by the UAW. Mack workers last struck in October 2019 for two weeks.

Acting Chester County Prison Warden Howard Holland says security improvements at the prison are underway. "We are planning numerous safety enhancements most of which come with technology, personnel movement, including drones and detection methods. We are going to take this facility and make it state of the art," Holland says. The changes come after the August 31st escape of convicted killer Danelo Cavalcante, who was captured 14 days later. Holland and other county officials addressed the escape and security enhancements at a Monday night town hall meeting not too far from the prison.

Authorities in Monroe County are still trying to determine what caused the death of a man. The heavily decomposed body was found in the woods near a homeless camp near Forge Road in East Stroudsburg last Thursday. Authorities say they believe they know who the man was, but a coroner is still working to make a positive identification. A forensic anthropologist is assisting in trying to determine the cause of death.

Vice President Kamala Harris is visiting Berks County today. The Miller Center at Reading Area Community College will host Harris' visit today. The venue holds more than 500 people.

Federal officials say a Pennsylvania state regulator is refusing to give them investigation reports involving the explosion at the West Reading chocolate factory. The National Transportation Safety Board says the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has refused to provide unredacted reports for UGI Utilities. The natural gas company is at the center of the probe into an explosion in March at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant. A PUC spokesman says to give the federal investigators the information in the format they've requested would violate state law. The NTSB chairwoman has told the state utility commissioner that federal law takes precedence over state law and that the inspection reports need to be handed over.

Knoebels Amusement Resort is currently installing a new ride. The new attraction is called Rock-O-Plane. First developed in the 1940's, the ride is similar to a Ferris Wheel. The ride has enclosed seats that rock and roll as the ride rotates. Knoebels says the ride is partially installed, but the amusement park isn't saying when the ride will be ready for visitors.

The Pennsylvania House has passed a proposal that would let people who win the state lottery remain anonymous. The idea would be for people who win more than 100-thousand dollars. The Pennsylvania Lottery currently releases the first name and first initial of its winning ticket holders along with the city and county where they live. However, state law also says winners who create a trust can remain anonymous. The House proposal carries the idea further to let winners remain unnamed even without setting up a trust fund.

New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer is calling on the state's Department of Banking and Insurance to reject recent rate hike requests by pet insurance companies. Gottheimer says many New Jersey families have received letters from their pet insurance companies telling them their rates will rise by as much as 56 percent. He says this is unreasonable.

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