What You Need to Know: Voting issues, revised masking guidelines, and the principal of the year

Written by on April 30, 2021

What You Need to Know: Voting issues, revised masking guidelines, and the principal of the year

By Brad Klein and Jen Rehill

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

April 30, 2021

In our regular Friday feature, “What You Need to Know,” WLVR’s Brad Klein speaks with News Director Jen Rehill about the week’s top local news. This week: A look at the Allentown and Bethlehem mayoral primary races coming up May 18th. And changes to the Pa. COVID-19 mask mandate and vaccination opportunities. Farmers markets opening. And Liberty High School Principal, Harrison Bailey recognized by the Pennsylvania Principals Association.

Brad Klein

“This is WLVR News. I’m Brad Klein. It’s our regular Friday feature, ‘What You Need to Know.’ I’m joined by WLVR News Director, Jen Rehill. Hi Jen…. “

Jen Rehill

“Hey there, Brad.”

Klein

“Well, let’s start with the upcoming election. Two weeks from Tuesday, May 18,  it’s a municipal primary election. So anyone can vote on ballot measures and there are four of them. But depending on your party affiliation and your district, you’ll have different races to vote on. It’s not too late to register, right?”

Rehill

“No, it’s not  But that deadline is coming up quickly. Monday, May 3, is the last day to register or change parties before the primary election. And May 11, that’s another important deadline coming up. That’s the last day to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot. 

“Plus, coming up in the next week, WLVR and PBS39 are hosting two mayoral debates, Brad. We have an Allentown mayoral debate coming up next Thursday, May 6, and that is on Latino affairs. We’re co-hosting that together with La Mega radio and La Razon newspaper and that’s going to be hosted by our politics reporter and host Genesis Ortega. And that’s all of the candidates who are running, Democrat and Republican. 

“And then the following week here on WLVR and PBS39, the Bethlehem Democratic mayoral candidates are going to face off. Both of these debates are live. I’m going to be hosting and co-moderating the debate with Lehigh Valley Live journalist Kurt Bresswein in two weeks’ time. And those debates will also be streaming on our website and Facebook pages as well.” 

Klein

“And those are among the most interesting races I think in the Lehigh Valley coming up in this election.” 

Rehill

“I think so, and I think that what’s really important about these mayoral elections that are happening in the primary is both Allentown and Bethlehem are heavily Democratic cities and the primary winner at least over the last two decades has turned out to be the next mayor. Now, there are GOP challengers in both races who are running unopposed in the primary, but it’s been nearly 20 years since Allentown has had a Republican mayor and it was since the late 90s that Bethlehem last had a Republican mayor. So the stakes are high in the primary in this season.”

Klein

“In pandemic news this week, on April 27, Pennsylvania revised its mask mandate to comply with new federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines, to be just very brief, are vaccinated people outside in small groups can do without masks. But all of that hinges on the word vaccinated. What about people who still need to get a shot?” 

Rehill

“Well this week we’ve got good news, Brad, and that is that there are now no appointment options, walk-in options. Through three of the major providers of vaccines here in the Lehigh Valley, the Allentown Health Bureau at its Fairgrounds vaccine clinic has opened to walk-ins on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Coming up, Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network both have walk-in options at different sites. 

“Now that said, most sites still do require an appointment but they are plentiful. As a matter of fact, you know, I was looking around at some of the sites, there are lots of appointments open and teenagers 16 and up can now get the Pfizer shot. I just scheduled my own son for that shot.” 

Klein

“It’s really a sea change in the way we’ve been reporting this. Finally, supply has caught up with demand and presumably will, sort of, exceed it shortly.” 

Rehill

“And Brad, the numbers are pretty good for the Lehigh Valley. More than half a million people have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine in Lehigh and Northampton counties, according to state figures.” 

Klein

“And nationwide we’re seeing the effect of all this vaccination too, which is really a positive development.

“Speaking of positive developments, I’m going to mention an important seasonal milestone for me: Bethlehem’s Farmers Market opened on April 29 and this weekend markets open in Easton, Nazareth, Trexlertown and Saucon Valley. I am a big fan of buying local produce, so that’s a big positive story for me.

“What else is happening on an up note that we can go out on?” 

Rehill

I think those farmers’ markets are the most wonderful sign of spring, so I join you with that, Brad.

“We also had a bit of fun surprise news: Bethlehem’s Liberty High School Principal Harrison Bailey was named Principal of the Year by the Pennsylvania Principals Association and they had a surprise celebration for him at the high school on April 29.”

Klein

“I always love to hear about educators who are being recognized for their work. Thanks so much for joining us, Jen.” 

Rehill

“Thank you, Brad.”

“What You Need to Know” is a regular Friday feature on 91.3 WLVR. Catch up with the least episodes HERE.

Sign up for our WLVR weekly newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news from the Lehigh Valley and across Pennsylvania.


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