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Get Prepared for Natural Disasters Before They Hit
Friday August 31st 2012

If a hurricane or other natural disaster hit tomorrow, would you be ready? For most people the answer is probably no. That's why the government is urging everyone to get prepared. September is National Preparedness Month and our local EMA officials are helping get the word out. Officials recommend storing about three gallons of water for every person in your house. They also say to keep canned food, flashlights, batteries and a first aid kit handy. To help get you started, EMA officials will be handing out free emergency bags at the "Palmerton Community Festival" next weekend. You can also sign up for a chance to win an entire tub of emergency supplies! It's completely free and they could come in handy.

Palmerton Couple Sentenced for Their Baby's Death
Thursday August 30th 2012

Today, Kimberly Taschler, and her husband Jacob were sentenced for the death of their 11 month old daughter Kayla. Autopsies revealed, at 13 pounds, Kayla died of dehydration. She was also starved and her skin was eroding. Her mother, Kimberly will serve up to 3 and a half years in state prison and 2 years probation. Kimberly told the judge she needed support and was overwhelmed. That's why she left her daughter alone, locked in a bedroom on the second floor, strapped in a car seat for 16 hours. Kayla's father, Jacob, faces a lesser sentence -- one day less than 2 years in the Carbon County Correction Facility. He was at work when the death occurred and he wasn’t the primary caregiver. Once the two are out of jail their attorneys say they’ll head back to court. This time to try and re-gain custody of their other two sons.

Fracking in the Media
Thursday August 30th 2012

The Pike County Planning Board is concerned national media is making Pike County look bad due to nearby natural gas tracking.

During a special presentation at this weeks planning board meeting, members learned that many national media groups are implying that all of Eastern Pennsylvania are being polluted by natural gas fracking. Board members say this isn't the case for Pike County and they are getting many calls by potential residents interested in the area with concerns about what they hear on TV.

Board member say it will take great efforts to correct and they plan to advertise and educate the public about the current health of the county..

Be Careful Behind the Wheel - School is in Session!
Wednesday August 29th 2012

It that time of year again -- kids are heading back to school. Police are reminding drivers to be careful. In the past two days alone, Lehighton police have already cited about a dozen drivers. By law, when approaching a school bus with flashing red lights, all drivers must stop about 200 feet away. The only exception is when there's a divider between you and the school bus. If you violate the rules, be prepared to face some steep penalties - like a $300 fine, 5 points added to your license and a license suspension. Those penalties increase when violations occur within school zones, where many students walk. According to AAA, in the past decade more than 1,200 students were killed while walking home between the hours of 3 and 7 p-m. So make sure to watch out and slow down -- it could mean a child's life.

Pike DUI Crackdown
Wednesday August 29th 2012

Pike County and New York police officers are teaming up this Labor Day weekend and they are on the hunt for Drunk Drivers.

Today Eastern Pike Regional and Port Jervis Police officers kicked off the Bi-State DUI Crackdown. With the help of their mobile comp and units the two police departments will be setting up random check points through out the area and checking for impaired drivers. Since the two departments teamed up they say they have seen a decrease in DUI arrests.

The Bi-State DUI Crackdown will run in conjunction with the nation wide "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign and will run from now until September third.

Packerton Yard Plans Shut Down Again
Tuesday August 28th 2012

After many attempts, Mahoning Township Supervisors once again shot down plans for a proposed industrial park in Carbon County. Developing Packerton Yard has been an ongoing battle -- the big debate is over sidewalks. County officials don't want them near the industrial park's entrance. Since the township requires sidewalks, however, commissioners had new maps drawn up. Instead, they include walking trails from the railroad crossing to the entrance of Route 209. According to township supervisors, that's not good enough. Now the township is requesting both sidewalks and walking trails. For safety reasons, they also want a separation between the walkways and the road. Space is an issue for the county. Commissioners are deciding whether to call it quits all together or make a court appeal.

Lehigh Valley Businesses Save Energy and Money
Monday August 27th 2012

Electricity prices are on the rise. In tough economic times, that's forcing many business owners to look into energy-efficient alternatives. One way to lower your electricity bill is to swap out old light bulbs for the newest technology. Today, business owners in the Lehigh Valley visited General Electric's "Lighting Revolution Tour." Officials recommend switching from traditional incandescent light bulbs to halogen, florescent or the most popular LED’s. While the initial price tag may be higher, officials say their cheaper in the end. That's because in addition to using less wattage, LED lights can last more than 10 years. If you'd like to make the switch, PPL is now offering rebates and other incentive programs not only to businesses, but also to every homeowner. For more information, check out PPL's website: www.PPLElectric.Com/E-Power

West End Fair Kicks Off This Sunday
Friday August 24th 2012

If you love carnival rides, greasy food and lots of games, you’re in luck. Starting this Sunday, thousands of people will flock to Gilbert for the 91st annual West End Fair. They’ll kick off with a firework display and an opening ceremony. The excitement will continue all week long with live music, rides and of course food. There will be 200 vendors and once you've paid them a visit, don't forget to check out the livestock! News 13 will be coming to you live from the fair next week and if you want to join in on the fun the fair runs until next Saturday.

Governor Tom Corbett Kayakes
Friday August 24th 2012

Governor Tom Corbett finished his two day kayak tour of the Delaware River today. And while he had a great time, he was met with some resistance.

Governor Tom Corbett ended his two day tour of the upper Delaware River at Smithfield Beach today. The trip is to promote Pennsylvania’s natural resources, but protesters who have followed him along his tour on the Delaware say it's hypocritical.

Governor Corbett supports natural gas fracking in Pennsylvania; something residents say would be detrimental to the very resources Corbett is promoting. Corbett says, “The government has a responsibility, and it is possible to explore natural gas drilling if it is done in a responsible way.”

AAA Predicts Boost in Labor Day Travel
Wednesday August 22nd 2012

While gas prices are the highest they've ever been this time of year, AAA officials predict a boost in Labor Day travelers. The national average for gas has risen to $3.72 -- that's $0.14 higher than this time last year. With a temporary oil shortage due to pipeline and refinery problems, those gas prices are just expected to rise even more. However, that doesn't mean people aren't traveling. Many people are just choosing closer destinations. In fact, the number of cars on the road this Labor Day weekend is predicted to be up from last year by 2.9%. If you're planning a trip and have a smart phone, AAA does have an app you can download. It tells you where the cheapest gas stations are and you don't need to be a member to use it.

Ross Township Man Will Be Evicted
Tuesday August 21st 2012

After fighting with Ross Township Supervisors for about 20 years, one resident will soon be evicted -- leaving him homeless. 58-year-old Rockne Newell has less than a month to move out of his home on Flyte Road. He also has less than 2 months to remove all of this junk from his property, but the courts issues are far beyond appearance. Since Newell doesn't have a sewage permit, the court claims he stores human fecal matter in buckets found all around his property. According to Newell, however, these buckets contain nothing more than water and paint. Instead, he has a compost toilet, meaning the waste de-composes. To Newell, that means he doesn’t need a sewage permit. Other issues include zoning permits. Newell will be evicted on September 5th.

Update: Double Homicide in Monroe County
Monday August 20th 2012

Autopsy results are in for two East Stroudsburg men found dead at a Tobyhanna Park last Friday. Police found multiple bullet casings near both victims.
Officials believe the first man shot was 38-year-old Joseph King of East Stroudsburg. Then the gunman went for King's co-worker, 55-year-old Bertaldo Velez. When police arrived on scene, they found Velez lying dead outside his Chevy. His head was bashed in, and close by was a rock covered with blood. Today, flowers and lit candles can be found at Coolbaugh Township Park along Route 423, where the shooting took place. All bullet casings and other evidence have been sent to the lab for testing. Pocono Mountain Regional Police are still investigating.

Electronics Stolen from Hometown Walmart
Monday August 20th 2012

Over $10,000 worth of electronics are stolen from a Rush Township store. Police are trying to identify three black males who they say stole the goods from the Hometown Walmart around 12:30 this morning. The men broke into a Kindle case with a crowbar and wiped it out. They then used bolt cutters to gain access to a laptop case where they also stole everything. There were two vehicles invovled in the operation. At least one of the drivers was a black female. The thieves escaped through a fire door on the outside patio in the lawn and garden section of the store. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Rush Township Police Department.

Rush Township Crash - DUI
Monday August 20th 2012

Rush Township police are investigating a DUI crash from Sunday afternoon. It happened just before 3:30 p.m. along Fairview Street. Police say 20-year-old Kyle Kuczynski of Mahanoy City admitted he had been huffing air duster prior to the crash. A 14-year-old passenger also from Mahanoy City told police Kuczynski blacked out while driving down the road. The teen tried to steer the car, but was unable to avoid hitting the pole. Kuczynski also admitted to smoking marijuana earlier. He was taken to the Pottsville Hospital for a blood alcohol test. Both suffered minor injuries.

Man Barricades Self on Route 903
Monday August 20th 2012

A Blakeslee man is in jail after barricading himself in his vehicle along a busy Penn Forest Township highway this weekend. Police say Donald Brozoski parked his truck across both lanes of Route 903 at six o'clock Sunday morning. He allegedly refused to comply with troopers commands and was throwing objects from his truck. Sources at the scene say Brozoski remained in his truck until about nine o'clock. He was eventually arrested and charged with numerous offenses including terroristic threats and disorderly conduct. Route 903 was shut down for several hours.

Double Homicide in Monroe County
Friday August 17th 2012

Two East Stroudsburg men are dead after a shooting sometime overnight at the Coolbaugh Township Park in Tobyhanna. During a routine patrol, police found 55 year-old Bertoldo Velez of East Stroudsburg dead outside this Chevy. His co-worker – 38 year old Joseph King was also found dead close by in the passenger seat. Both men suffered multiple bullet wounds. Police say this murder wasn’t a random act of violence -- Velez and King were the targets. Autopsies for Velez and King are scheduled for tomorrow at the Lehigh Valley Hospital. If you have any information on this shooting, you’re asked to contact Pocono Mountain Regional Police.

Early Retirement Incentive Not So Popular
Thursday August 16th 2012

Members of the Pocono Mountain School Board are shocked more teachers didn't sign up for their early retirement incentive. So now they're being forced to expand the offer. The board originally tried to use an extra $1.3 million from the state to create an early retirement incentive. It was offered to 160 teachers, but only 5 jumped on board. Now the district is expanding the offer to support staff. The program was designed to help bring back some of the 150 teachers laid off earlier this year. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for September 5th.

Child Possession Charge
Wednesday August 15th 2012

A Coolbaugh Township man had his day in district court, after Monroe County detectives found hundreds of files with child pornography on his computer.

After conducting a search on a peer-to-peer sharing network, used to track the movement of files containing child pornography. They were led to the computer of Helge Francois.
Detectives say Francois had over three hundred child pornography files on his computer.

He is being charged with 30 counts of possession of child pornography as well as one count of dissemination. His attorney decided to wave his preliminary hearing, so he will now face his charges at the county courthouse.

Bids Are In For Food Pantries
Wednesday August 15th 2012

Bids are in from retail stores interested in supplying our local food pantries, but Monroe County Commissioners aren't happy with the selection. While officials were hoping retailers in Monroe County would bid, that wasn't the case. Out of three bids, the closest was in Wilkes-Barre. Food pantry officials have written numerous letters to local legislators. They want to spend their money at local retailers, like they have in the past. They're still waiting for a response... But commissioners say there may be a loop-hole. Since bids had a huge price range, commissioners feel bidders may have misunderstood what they are actually bidding on. If there is an error, commissioners could re-open the bidding. Right now, they're investigating and hope to have things figured out by September 5th.

LCCC Bomb Threat
Tuesday August 14th 2012

Lehigh Carbon Community College is evacuated today after a bomb threat at the Schnecksville campus. Finals were scheduled today for students in summer classes. State police and several other emergency officials were called to the campus to conduct a sweep. The campus will remained closed Tuesday and is expected to re-open normal business hours Wednesday.

Dog Cruelty Case in Monroe County
Tuesday August 14th 2012

A Smithfield Township couple faces charges for alleged animal cruelty and running an illegal kennel. 5 dogs and one miniature horse were already taken from the owners of this property – 59-year-old Dan Sweeny and 57-year-old Julie Forsyth. The two are charged with more than 200 violations of the state dog law and running an unlicensed kennel. Now, officials plan to work with the state to get their place up to par. According to officials, running a licensed kennel that passes inspection could get pretty pricy. In fact, just one large dog enclosure could run around $2,000. While the couple works to reduce their number of animals and clean up their property, state officials say they may visit from time to time and check up on the animals.

Monroe County Nursing Home in Debt
Monday August 13th 2012

A Monroe County owned nursing home is facing unmanageable debt. Now, commissioners are trying to come up with a solution that will protect seniors living at Pleasant Valley Manor. The county is around $1 million in the red. Monroe County Commissioners have some tough decisions to make. But before anything can be done they must come up with a plan they all agree on, which is not an easy task. Commissioner Suzanne McCool feels one solution is increasing taxes. Commissioner Charles Garris disagrees. Instead, he would like to see Pleasant Valley Manor become a private enterprise -- like many nursing homes in neighboring counties. Commissioner McCool is against that option. Right now commissioners are talking to local philanthropists and banks to see if they could help with funding.

Fatal Crash, Packer Township
Monday August 13th 2012

A Freeland man is dead after a crash early Saturday morning in Packer Township. Police say 33-year-old Nathan Hoffman was heading north on Route 93 when he crossed over into the south bound lane and went off the road. His pickup truck hit a dirt embankment and flipped onto its side. Hoffman was pronounced dead at the scene by the Carbon County Coroner. Investigators say he was not wearing a seat belt. Rainy weather may have played a role in the fatal crash.

Mahoning Township Crash - DUI?
Monday August 13th 2012

Alcohol may have played a role in a Saturday crash in Mahoning Township that left two people injured. Police say Kevin Loar of Lansford was driving his motorcycle east along Beaver Run Drive when he drove off the shoulder of the roadway and hit a mailbox. A female passenger on the motorcycle was taken to the Lehigh Valley Hospital for treatment of significant injuries. Loar was taken to the Lehighton Hospital. He was given a blood test for suspicion of driving under the influnce. Charges are pending the results of the test.

Multi-Tractor Trailer Accident on Route 33
Friday August 10th 2012

Today's heavy rains caused a multi-tractor trailer crash in Monroe County early this morning, leading to major backups throughout the area. The accident happened around 9 a.m. on Route 33 south bound near the Snydersville exit. It started when a Wal-Mart truck driver lost control and crashed into the grassy median. Within just seconds two other tractor trailer drivers tried to slow down and avoid the accident, but wound up colliding into each other. Then a fourth tractor trailer driver tried to avoid that collision and crashed into a car. No drivers were injured. The accident was cleared in a few hours and Route 33 south bound re-opened to traffic right before 1 this afternoon.

Shohola Woman Suing Township
Friday August 10th 2012

A Shohola Township woman feels a replacement supervisor was appointed behind closed doors and now she's suing the township.

According to Carrie Thomas. When reviewing candidates to fill a vacant supervisor seat… current supervisors took an executive session an did not present this candidates to the public. She is suing for a breach of the Sunshine Act but the township solicitor says he miss advised the council and the session was simply not called to public session.

The suit will have no financial gain or loss for either party if brought before a judge. The township is working on a settlement.

Polycythemia Vera Field Testing Almost Done
Thursday August 9th 2012

For the last 4 years, researchers have been trying to determine what caused a rare blood cancer in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne Counties. Now, field testing is about to wrap up. 14 field studies on Polycythemia Vera will end by next month. One other study, testing environmental factors, was given a six-month extension. While it hasn't been confirmed, many people feel the 165 local cases of PV and a number of other cancers were sparked by Superfund sites and illegal dumping. To know if that really is the cause, Equity Environmental Engineering is looking for volunteers to test well water. Every local resident is urged to get their well tested. If you would like to volunteer contact Peter Jaran with Equity Environmental Engineering at: (973) 527-7451 Ext. 102. Officials say volunteers are crucial in helping to determine a cause for this fatal disease.

Teaching Kids to Eat Healthy
Wednesday August 8th 2012

About 17% of children in the U.S. are obese, and that number continues to grow. Now, with school right around the corner, officials are working hard to turn things around. Today, Nutritionist Michele Varley visited the Jim Thorpe library and gave kids a crash course on healthy eating. Many of those kids were only 5 years old. Officials were also happy to see some parents there, because that’s who can enforce a healthy diet - even when their child is at school. Varley recommends packing your child’s lunch. For any snack that has a shelf life - like chips - it's preserved with chemicals that are hard to digest, and you're usually left unsatisfied. Eventually that leads to overeating, which is just one reason why officials recommend sticking with the basic fruits, vegetables, and proteins.

Carbon County Fair Celebrates 4-H 100 Years in Pennsylvania
Tuesday August 7th 2012

The 13th annual Carbon County Fair kicked off today. For many that means a week full of food and rides, but for a select few, this year is very special. 4-H has now been in Pennsylvania for 100 years. To honor this anniversary, the fair will have special booths set up, as well as annual livestock judging. Throughout the week, judges will see a number of different animals - like cows, sheep, pigs, even chickens. Whoever takes their animals into the show ring has the same goal – to win grand champion. Come Saturday, there will be a livestock auction. The bigger the animal and the more titles it wins, the more cash that animal is worth. Some animals even sell for thousands of dollars! The Carbon County Fair runs until Saturday.

Kids Learn About Careers in Wildlife
Monday August 6th 2012

For the next week, a group of young campers will get a crash course on careers, but probably not the ones you're thinking! Today the Lehigh Valley zoo kicked off their "Wildlife Careers" Camp. Kids between 11 and 14 years old will learn about marine biology, chemistry, animal diet, even resume writing! They started their day as wildlife photographers. While these kids may be young, officials say this is just one step toward paving their life's path. Kids are also looking forward to a special overnight lesson at the end of the week -- where they'll get to watch nocturnal birds. The camp runs until this Friday, but the Lehigh Valley Zoo will have other camps this summer.

Man Bit by Rabid Beaver
Monday August 6th 2012

A Boy Scout leader is undergoing rabies treatment after a rabid beaver bit him several times in the Delaware River.
Last Thursday afternoon a Boy Scout troop leader from upstate New York was attacked and bit approximately 15 times by a beaver. The incident happened at the Eshback boat access in the national park service. Boy Scouts used rocks and sticks to kill the beaver which attached itself to the man's arm. Test results from the dead animal proved positive for rabies.
The national park service says there is a possibility another rabid animal could be in the area and are asking visitors to report suspicious or dead animals.

New home for Lehighton State Police
Friday August 3rd 2012

Last summer, the Towamensing Township Zoning Board shot down a developer's plan to build new state police barracks on a residential lot. But the developer appealed that decision, and a judge sided with the developer. Now they're moving forward with plans to build on the corner of Route 209 and Sei Pike Lane. Towamensing Township Supervisors are holding a special meeting on August 13th; that's when engineers hope to get conditional approval for their plans. The meeting starts at 3 p.m. and it is open to the public.

DUI Patrol For Race Weekend
Friday August 3rd 2012

This weekend, thousands of race fans from our area will head over to Pocono Raceway, and many will kick back with a beer. That means one thing for local police - it's time to bump up enforcement. Starting tonight, police will be on heightened lookout for drunk drivers. Sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols will be set up on routes 93, 209, 248, 443, 534, 902, and 903. If you do get caught with alcohol or drugs in your system, you will face the consequences, such as ARD, license suspension, steep fines and maybe even jail time. This DUI checkpoint patrol runs until next Sunday - the 12th.

Concussion Prevention Training
Thursday August 2nd 2012

More than 1.7 million sport-related concussions are reported in the U.S. every year -- many resulting in long-term injuries. After more than 2,000 lawsuits against the NFL, concerns over concussions are at an all time high. It's now mandatory for coaches to take a training class. It's part of the "Safety In Youth Sports Act.”
Today, around 50 athletic trainers, coaches and physicians participated. The class highlighted the importance of rest -- and keeping injured athletes off the field for an appropriate amount of time. If an athlete comes back too soon, they risk another injury and major long-term effects. Coaches will be required to take this class every year before their season begins.

Police Investigate Lehighton Scam
Thursday August 2nd 2012

Around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, a white male, about 5'8" with a thin build, posed as a plumber to get inside a 92-year-old woman's home. Once inside, police say he stole close to $70,000 from a lock box. Officers say you should never let a contractor inside your home if you didn't make an appointment -- and keep large sums of cash in a bank, not your house. Anyone with information on yesterday's theft is urged to contact Lehighton Police at 610-377-4003.

Crash & Power Outage Rush Township
Wednesday August 1st 2012

A teen admits to drinking after crashing his car this morning in Schuylkill County and fleeing. Rush Township Police were called to Marian Avenue around 5:30 a.m. Officers found wires and pole knocked down and burning. The car hit the pole and continued approximately 200 yards through a field before coming to rest. The driver was not at the car but the 16-year-old Quakake boy was found nearby. He had minor injuries and was taken to the hospital. The teen showed signs of intoxication and admitted to police he had been drinking. He is facing DUI and other charges pending the results of a blood alcohol test. PPL Electric customers in the area were without power after that crash.

Stolen Truck and Gun, Carbon County
Wednesday August 1st 2012

Two Carbon County men steal a vehicle and are later found with a stolen gun. Police say on July 23, 22-year-old Alan Arthofer and 23-year-old Chad Mack of Palmerton stole a truck from a Lower Towamensing Township man. Arthofer and Mack fled to Parryville where police say they caused a small disturbance before fleeing. The pair was then stopped on Cherry Hill Road near Route 209. The men had a loaded Savage Rifle which had been stolen. Arthofer was allegedly under the influence of marijuana and in possession of drug paraphernalia as well. Both were arrested and taken to jail.

Affordable Care Act provisions begin to take effect
Wednesday August 1st 2012

Being a woman just became a bit more affordable. Starting today, private insurance companies can no longer charge co-pays and deductibles for many preventative health services -- including contraceptives. Planned Parenthood estimates that 99 percent of women who are sexually active have used some form of birth control at some point in their lives. Other services include annual wellness exams, screening and counseling for domestic violence, screening and counseling forHPV and HIV, counseling for other sexually transmitted infections, breast-feeding supports, and gestational diabetes screenings for pregnant women.

Spruce Lake Retreat Expanding
Wednesday August 1st 2012

After 6 months of hard work, Spruce Lake Retreat in Barrett Township is finally able to expand its facility -- without any expense to you - the tax-payer. Today, Monroe County Commissioners approved a $5 million tax exempt finance for a new, and much needed, hospitality center. To give the thumbs up, commissioners needed to find the project worthwhile to the community. They say, not only will this increase employment opportunities in the community, but the camp also runs a bus to local attractions like The Crossings and Camel Beach. The plan is to break ground September and build a new 51 thousand square foot building, which will house a 350 seat dining room, meeting rooms, 48 new guest rooms and enhanced handicap accessibility. The new building should be open to visitors next June.

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