What You Need to Know: The primary election, vaccinations for kids, and Catholic churches open to full capacity

Written by on May 21, 2021

What You Need to Know: The primary election, vaccinations for kids, and Catholic churches open to full capacity

By Brad Klein & Jen Rehill

May 21, 2021

“Vote!” by kgroovy is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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 election results from Tuesday’s municipal primary elections; vaccinations for kids 12 and up; and Catholic churches open this weekend with much-reduced pandemic restrictions.

Listen to the story.

Brad Klein

“Hi Jen.”

Jen Rehill

“Hi Brad.”

Klein

“Of course, the big news this week was the municipal primary elections on Tuesday.”

Rehill

“And the big races this year were Allentown mayor and Bethlehem mayor.  And the primary, Brad, was the big election for these two cities. They’re both heavily Democratic-leaning, so the expectation is that the winner in the primary is probably going to be the next mayor in both cities.” 

Klein

“And in Allentown, that winner was Matt Tuerk.” 

Rehill

“And boy, that was a big surprise, I think, to many observers of that race. It was a four-way contest that included incumbent Mayor Ray O’Connell.  And the spread from top to bottom among those candidates was just 246 votes. Now, that election has not been certified yet, but Tuerk is the presumptive winner and he’s going to face Republican Tim Ramos in the fall. Here’s what Tuerk had to say about his win.” 

Matt Tuerk

“The feeling that I have for the people of this city is so deep and genuine.” . 

Klein

“I know Tuerk credits his win to just getting out more and knocking on more doors in the race. In Bethlehem, the race was less of a surprise and there were two people running for the Democratic nomination, William Reynolds and his challenger, Dana Grubb.” 

Rehill

“Reynolds was the winner there, as was expected. He has long experience on city council and he was endorsed by current Mayor Bob Donchez, who was term-limited . But Grubb did run a respectable challenge if the number of yard signs in my neighborhood were anything to go by, and an unexpected challenge. Reynolds is going to face former Lehigh County administrator, and Republican John Kachmar in the general election this fall.” 

Klein

“I think it’s worth mentioning the statewide ballot measures. The first two especially, which will change the constitution and greatly weaken the governor’s power during an emergency declaration, like the one we’ve been in over the pandemic, and hand those powers over to the legislature. Republicans in the legislature are really trumpeting that. It’s a big win for them.” 

Rehill

“They disagreed with Wolf’s policies, his shutdowns, the way he segregated which businesses were shut down, and how the shutdowns and reopenings all rolled out. This is their way of trying to take some of that power away from the governor and they succeeded.”

Klein

 “I know that you have a couple of teenagers in your household, I’m going to ask innocently about any newsworthy events in their lives this week.” 

Rehill

“As a matter of fact Brad, yes. I just took my young daughter, she’s 13, for her first COVID-19 shot. Pennsylvania and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now recommending the Pfizer shot for kids as young as 12. And here’s what she had to say about that.” 

L:

“Well, it didn’t hurt at all, not even a pinch. And it was a little weird in there, like there weren’t that many people doing vaccines. And the line was really long.”

Rehill

“We went to the Wind Creek Casino Event Center for that. A truly dystopian experience, Brad, taking your kid to get a shot at a casino.” 

Klein

“Just one more way the pandemic has changed our lives in unexpected ways. Lehigh Valley’s Catholic churches are back to full capacity in-person Mass this weekend, right?” 

Rehill

“That’s right. Now, they are asking people who aren’t vaccinated and young children to wear masks but for everyone else, masks are optional. And I think Mass is going to feel very different this Sunday for the area’s Catholics.” 

Klein

“Well, thanks so much for joining us, Jen.” 

Rehill

“Thank you, 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.

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