What You Need to Know: Pa. open to gathering, vaccines for county jails, CACLV’s new executive director, and a visit from the second gentleman

Written by on May 7, 2021

What You Need to Know: Pa. open to gathering again, vaccines for county jails, CACLV gets a new executive director, and a visit from the second gentleman

By Brad Klein and Jen Rehill

May 6, 2021

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks about his legislative priorities for the fall during a press event at Discovery Kids Child Care in Middletown on Aug. 25, 2020. Photo | Kate Landis / WITF

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: the long awaited end to pandemic restrictions on most businesses statewide is coming on Memorial Day; a visit from the country’s second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, to Allentown; and the WLVR interview with Dawn Godshall, the incoming executive director the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.

Listen to the story.

Brad Klein

“Hi Jen.” 

Jen Rehill

“Hi Brad.” 

Klein

“Well, another week, another pandemic milestone. But this one a victory.” 

Rehill

“Brad, It’s starting to look like we could have something that resembles a normal summer. Pennsylvania is going to lift COVID-19 mitigation orders on Memorial Day. And what that means is capacity limits will be gone for restaurants, for bars, for outdoor events and indoor events. So that includes concert arenas, sporting events and all of the other things that people love to do in the summertime, that’s going to happen again on May 31.“ 

Klein

“But Gov. Wolf also said that masking mandates in which the state is pretty much following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations remain in effect until 70% of Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated. And right now we’re at nowhere near that number.” 

Rehill

“Yeah. right now, according to the latest state data, we’re at about 42%. So it’s unclear when that might happen, but we are seeing declines in the statewide rates of infection. So the current statewide rate of infection is about 7.6% . That’s a statistic that Department of Health officials watch. So that’s a positive. But it’s unclear when masking might end.”  

Klein

“So that means masks pretty much when you’re indoors around people who you don’t live with or know. What other news from the pandemic?”  

Rehill

“Well, we also got news on a story that Reporter Tyler Pratt has been following about county jails and the availability of vaccines to folks who are incarcerated. There was an issue, and we reported on that last week, that the county jail is not able to get vaccines. And this week we found out that Lehigh and Northampton county jails will be getting about 2,000 vaccines and they’ll be holding vaccination events next week for those who are incarcerated and for staff who haven’t been vaccinated yet.” 

Klein

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it’s been a desperate situation in county jails.”

Rehill

“We saw a real spike in cases back in December in Lehigh County and those congregate settings are places where COVID can really spread. And we had the death of an inmate and a staff member at that jail.” 

Klein

Allentown had a visit from Doug Emhoff this week, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris. That was on May 5.” 

Rehill

“That’s right. The second gentleman came to Allentown and met with small business owners to discuss the impact of the pandemic. And he was also here to push the President’s multi trillion dollar infrastructure plan.” 

Klein

“As a Morning Edition host, I had to get used to this phrase, the second gentleman. It reminds me a little of Gisele Fetterman, the wife of our lieutenant governor John Fetterman, who on social media refers to herself as the ‘Slop’: the second lady of Pennsylvania.” 

Rehill

“You’ve got to love that. That is a very bold and confident moniker she’s given herself.” 

Klein

“Earlier this week, I had a chance to interview the incoming executive director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley. Now, that’s a very important nonprofit here in this region.” 

Rehill

“Yeah,Brad. CACLV is one of the seminal organizations here in the Lehigh Valley, providing food and housing insecurity assistance, and economic opportunity for residents. The outgoing director there, Alan Jennings,  has held the job for more than 40 years. Dawn Godshall came up through the organization, Brad. What did she tell you about what her plans are?” 

Klein

“Well, one of the most interesting things she emphasized was educational opportunities programs to help high school students with SAT preparation and paying for their SAT tests. And she revealed that she herself had grown up in foster care and that the family she grew up with really prized education over everything. She and her siblings went to college. It was really a fascinating insight to someone who’s played many different roles in the organization, from very hands-on supervision of services to an executive position, like the one she’s going to be starting in June.”

Rehill

“That’s really a striking trajectory.”

Klein

“We’re certainly going to follow more of its efforts here in the Lehigh Valley.

“Jen Rehill, thanks for joining us.” 

Rehill

“Thanks so much, Brad.”

Klein

“That’s Jen Rehill,  news director here at WLVR. For more of ‘What You Need to Know,’ sign up for our weekly newsletter at WLVR.org .

“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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