Many young people are dealing with the disappointment of canceled school activities, including spring sports and one of the mainstays of the high school experience — the school musical. Easton’s State Theatre this week canceled this year’s Freddy Awards program, following Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to keep schools closed for the rest of the academic year. The Freddys showcase performers and support staff for high school productions in the Lehigh Valley and Warren County. The live telecast by WFMZ has become a highlight of the regional performing arts scene. One aspect of the competition will carry on, according to State Theatre President and CEO Shelley Brown — the awarding of scholarships and grants to young singers and dancers. Students are encouraged to apply by checking the Freddy Awards website. Brown said the Freddy program is still looking for a way to celebrate the participating schools in some way.
OraSure Technologies, the Bethlehem-based company that developed speedy tests for HIV and Ebola, is setting its sights on an in-home test for coronavirus, after receiving a $710,310 federal contract. Orasure said it expects the research and development will take four to six months, after which it will ask to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve sales in the U.S. market. OraSure President and CEO Stephen S. Tang said in-home self-testing “will dramatically increase the capacity for SARS-coronavirus testing and give our healthcare systems and labs some much-needed breathing room.” The company’s HIV test allows an individual to detect antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 with an oral swab, getting results in as little as 20 minutes.
After social distancing rules put the kibosh on Easter egg hunts, the members of Lookout Fire Co. in Pen Argyl began looking for a safe way to deliver holiday treats to kids in the borough. Today they will be giving out candy-filled plastic eggs to kids 10 and under who come out to greet fire trucks as they drive down the street. Recipients will be asked to remain on porches or sidewalks; the volunteers will toss a bag of eggs to them. Gloves and masks were used while packing the eggs, and the bags can be easily disinfected inside the home. “We already purchased the eggs. We figured, let’s give them out,” said Fire Chief Dean Parsons. The event begins at 11 a.m. today for homes north of Route 512, and should get to homes south of Route 512 between noon and 1 p.m.
Bethlehem resident Patrick Sobrinski had to close his painting business temporarily under the state’s anti-coronavirus measures. But he found a way to entertain others, and maintain social distance, as he walks for exercise. He’s been strolling city streets while playing his grandmother’s Hohner Diatonic concertina accordion, something he learned to do with tutoring from Musikfest veteran Alex Meixner. He puts on sneakers and a face mask while playing old-time American songs. “There is sort of a piercing sound of an accordion that must make its way right through windows,” Sobrinski said. ”A woman took a picture of me from her window and put it out on social media — it made me laugh.”
Until recently the Post Time Pub in Blairstown had been open for takeout and delivery during the state-mandated shuttering of nonessential businesses. Those services are permitted, but the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control alleges the pub went beyond that, allowing patrons to buy and consume drinks inside the bar while waiting for takeout orders. The pub faces the potential loss of its license under charges brought by the ABC, after a Blairstown police officer witnessed people drinking inside on two occasions. A recording on the pub’s answering machine said, “We will be closed until (the officer) and the Blairstown PD can figure out what’s right and what’s wrong. Hopefully that will be soon.”