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Stroud Mall Officials Predict The Earlier Opening Is Here To Stay
Friday November 29th 2013

People ready and willing to spend, flocked to the Stroud Mall today--but in stride. Stroudsburg resident Katherine Pelaez says there's less traffic, better parking and a slower pace. Everyone agreed the constant, manageable flow of the holiday rush today resulted from the earlier opening time this year. JCPenney Manager Kevin O'rourke says the night started out busy yesterday at 8PM with about 75 people in line waiting outside, but the business was then spread out. He says it allowed customers to shop when they wanted to shop. Store officials predict the earlier opening on Thanksgiving to be the norm for years to come.

Small Business Saturday Helps Local Shops
Friday November 29th 2013

When black friday comes around we usually only hear about the big chain stores and the smaller shops get overlooked.
Small Business Saturday on the other hand is all about local shops and business owners in the area say it's a big help to them.
If you weren't able to make it out for Black Friday you still have time to come out this weekend for small business Saturday.

Holiday Shopping Safety
Friday November 29th 2013

Authorities remind people to have "safety" at the top of their list while shopping. Keep only a minimal amount of cash on your person. Preferably use only one credit or debit card. This way, if it becomes lost or stolen, you'll only have to cancel one card. When shopping, only buy what you can carry. Also, remember to park in a well lit parking lot if shopping at night and always put your purchases in the trunk. Don't take out your credit or debit card until the clerk asks you for it. Thieves can snap a picture of the card on a cell phone and use your information to shop online later.

Shingles Vaccines Available in Carbon County
Wednesday November 27th 2013

The Shingles Vaccine will be administered at the Senior Centers in Carbon County by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus stays in the body and can resurface any time as shingles – a painful, blistering rash. Your risk for shingles increases as you get older. You are eligible for the vaccine at low ($5.00) or no cost if you are 50 years and older and you are uninsured or if your insurance does not cover the cost. You must pre- register by calling the Department of Health at 570-325-6106. Distribution times at all Centers are from 10 am to 12 noon. Dates and locations are:
December 6, Jim Thorpe Senior Center, 995 State Route 903 Jim Thorpe
December 20, Weatherly Senior Center 335 Third St, Weatherly
January 10, Panther Valley Senior Center, 90 E. Catawissa St, Nesquehoning
January 17, Palmerton Senior Center, 501 Delaware Ave, Palmerton
February 14, Lehighton Senior Center, 243 S 8th St, Lehighton

Flyers Luck Out In Lehigh Valley
Wednesday November 27th 2013

Travelers at Lehigh Valley International Airport today had something extra to be thankful for this holiday-- cancelled and delayed flights were few and far between. The predicted inclement weather did not hit ABE, but travelers elsewhere weren't so fortunate. Hub airports on the East Coast like Philadelphia and Newark were reported to have difficulty this morning. Flyers at ABE gave two thumbs up for the single busiest day of travel.

Jim Thorpe High School Student Arrested
Wednesday November 27th 2013

Samir Johnson of Albrightsville is behind bars tonight. The 18-year old is charged with possession of a weapon on school property. Police records show Johnson had a Black Ops air propelled revolver and six bullets in the school. Police responded to the school after a group of students reported seeing the suspect with the weapon. Johnson was secured and the weapon recovered while police swept the building to ensure no other weapons were on site. During the incident the school was on lockdown mode. No one was injured. Johnson is in Carbon County Prison on $100,000 straight cash bail.

Pocono Township Police Chief Moving On
Wednesday November 27th 2013

Pocono Township's Police Chief, Phil Riley, is turning in his badge and moving on to his newly elected position as District Judge for Paradise, Barrett and Price Townships.
Friday will be his last day working as Police Chief, but January 1st will be his official last day.
With sick and vacation time he's accumulated over the years, he's chosen to take a couple weeks off for leisure activities and then take off the entire month of December.
The Assistant Chief of Police is expected to fill his position, but they're waiting on a final decision from the board.
The board is scheduled to meet Monday, but authorities say it's uncertain if they will address the new appointment.
With the township changing to a first class township in January officials aren't sure if the current board will make the decision or the newly elected board. In the mean time the Assistant Police Chief says he will be making sure the department runs smoothly.
Pocono Township

Stranger Gives Couple a House
Tuesday November 26th 2013

A stranger's random act of kindness is giving one couple a roof over their heads. Michael Price, owner of Global Real Estate Solutions in Stroudsburg, purchased a Tamaqua home in a sheriff's sale. He promptly gave the house back to Gary and Kirsten Smith after noticing Gary was a military veteran. The Smiths have been struggling to pay the bills after Gary needed surgery for his arm and could not find work. The Smiths are beyond grateful for Price's random act of kindness and hopes to pay it forward.

The Salvation Army Needs Your Help!
Tuesday November 26th 2013

Monroe County's Salvation Army's annual Christmas Kettle Campaign is more important than ever to families who desperately need a helping hand. Not only are many people still without jobs, but foreclosures are up and there's been a reduction in food stamps. There are many whose holiday spirits are crushed by the harsh realities of simply making ends meet. The kettle campaign not only gives people hope by providing holiday essentials like food and toys, but it's needed to fund programs all year long.
The bell is ringing louder for community support this year. The Salvation Army is not only facing a lack of funding but donations are down, and even the date of Thanksgiving is taking a toll. Certain major store locations only allow the campaign to start the day after, so with Thanksgiving falling late this year, a whole week was lost.
Salvation Army officials have the goal of raising $130,000 this year based on needs so keep an eye and ear out for your chance to help fill up kettles of hope this holiday season.

Stroud Mall Open For Thanksgiving
Tuesday November 26th 2013

Stores are opening earlier and earlier on Black Friday. This year Stroud Mall is opening up as early as 8 pm Thanksgiving Night.
Some people think this is a good thing for shoppers and business, but some says retailers are going too far.
Black Friday is known to get a little hectic. Malls get congested and shoppers become frustrated, but
Stroud Area Regional Police are hoping there won't be any problems this holiday and they're encouraging people to be on their best behavior.

Tricky Driving Conditions
Tuesday November 26th 2013

PennDot crews are out maintaining the roads. Officials ask drivers to keep a safe distance between cars and slow down. For up to the minute driving conditions call 511 or log onto

Tamaqua Family Loses Home in Fire
Monday November 25th 2013

Late Friday night into Saturday morning, Kenneth Perpignan was enjoying time with his girlfriend and son when flames started ripping through his home on 317 Glenwood Avenue. Perpignan tried to contain the fire himself but couldn't. Emergency responders responded quickly and contained the flames. The fire gutted the entire second floor and most of the first floor. Members of the Tamaqua Volunteers group have banded together to help the family. Anyone willing to donate to aid the displaced family can donate to any Wells Fargo bank under the "Fire at 317 Glenwood Avenue" benefit account.

Helping End Hunger
Monday November 25th 2013

Nearly 200 volunteers showed up to Trinity Lutheran Church in Lehighton yesterday. Together they packaged 25,000 macaroni and cheese meals to be delivered to food pantries in Carbon County. Outreach Inc., together with the Carbon County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Christians organized the event. Organizers say 8,000 people in the county don't get enough to eat. The meals will help supplement the bags of food the pantries give out. To donate to the cause go to the non-profit's Facebook page

Carbon County Veterans Expo Postponed
Monday November 25th 2013

A Carbon County Veterans expo schedueld for Tuesday, 11/26 has been postponed. State Representative Doyle Heffley says he doesn't want anyone to drive in the poor weather conditions predicted. He has moved tomorrow's expo to Monday, December 2nd. It will still be held at the Lehighton American Legion from 4 to 7 p.m. All veterans are welcome to attend.

Mahoning Tree Farm Selected for White House Christmas Tree
Monday November 25th 2013

The President of the United States and his family will celebrate Christmas around a Carbon County grown tree. The National Christmas tree for the Blue Room was grown by Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Mahoning Township. While this is the third year they've provided the White House tree, this year's honor comes as a surprise. Crystal Spring isn't technically eligible for the job. The White House Christmas tree is always selected from the country's National Championship Grower. After a grower wins they have to wait 4 years to compete again. Crystal spring won in 2006 and 2010 - so they couldn't compete until 2014. But this year's winner from New Jersey didn't have a tree big enough. So Crystal Spring got a call to help out. The 20 foot tall tree was cut down this morning and will be hand delivered by Crystal Spring Tree Farm to the First Lady Friday at the White House.

Firearms Bear Season Has Arrived
Monday November 25th 2013

The season for bear hunters to bring out their firearms is here and the game commission has been busy checking in bear since Saturday.
Bear hunting season usually runs from Monday to Wednesday, but this year they decided to extend it.
In December wild life conservation officers say the season will be extended even further into deer season.
Brian Mowrer who's a wildlife conservation officer for Monroe County says hunting plays a key role is conserving wildlife and they're able to manage the black bear population better. With the extension wildlife conservation officers are hoping hunters will be able to bring in more bear and reduce the amount of bears in the neighborhoods, which presents social issues and conflicts.
By law, authorities say you have to have a license to hunt and when you do you have to bring in your harvest to a check point in Pennsylvania.
By law you're required to wear orange vest or something bright so other hunters can identify you and not mistake you as game.
If you are interested in hunting in Pennsylvania you can contact the game commission for more information.

« Take SOT Runs.. 0:20 ..THE BEARS"

Housing For The Homeless
Monday November 25th 2013

Monroe County Homeless Initiative has never been so successful in providing housing for so many homeless people in such a short amount of time-- 13 homeless individuals or families have been given a home in less than a two-week span. It's all a result of changed tactics because too many people were falling through the cracks. The Homeless Initiative can only do so much. So before, people were referred to other agencies to get housing. Those people remained on the street because of a communication problem. Now one case is focused on by all the local agencies at the same time. With everyone working together, a lot more is getting done quicker.
But the Homeless Initiative is also depending on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or "HUD" for other special cases to achieve housing before harsh winter weather arrives. The Housing Choice Voucher Program assists very-low income families, the elderly and the disabled to afford and find their own housing. Homeless Initiative Outreach Director Barbra Perkowski says Monroe County has received nine vouchers for the first-time, and since November, she's been trying to track them down. She has nine people on a waiting list who qualify that she believes won't make it another cold winter outside trying to survive. We've contacted HUD to find out why the vouchers are not being issued, and they say they will speak with Homeless Initiative Officials to discuss this further.

Communty Support Overwhelming At Fundrasier
Friday November 22nd 2013

Students have heavy-hearts over the loss of Pocono Mountain East student Steve Dienno. But last night's fundraiser at Big Daddy's Family BBQ in Bartonsville on 611 helped ease some of the pain they feel each day walking through the halls at school.
Community Support poured through the restaurant's doors. One hundred percent of the proceeds from wing night, along with the money raised from raffle baskets, t-shirts/buttons sold, and donations are going to the boys and their families.
Dienno, a high school football player, was driving with two of his teammates when they crashed into two trees on Bush Road in Paradise Township back in September. Dienno was found underneath the car. He and his passengers, Justin Bullock and Michael Kenosky, were all rushed to the hospital after the crash. Kenosky was released and Bullock is recovering at Good Sheperd.

Weatherly Man Arrested on Child Abuse Charges
Friday November 22nd 2013

Police arrested 30-year old Michael Pringle of weatherly yesterday. He faces several charges including a felony count of endangering the welfare of a child. Last Friday, the a caretaker for the child noticed bruises all over the boy's body. She took the infant to Hazleton General Hospital where a nurse cared for the boy and called police. According to police records, Pringle admits he threw the baby 7 to 8 feet onto a bed and neglected to feed and change the boy for long periods of time. Pringle is in Carbon County Prison on $150,000 cash bail.

Commissioners Propose Budget for New Year
Friday November 22nd 2013

Monroe County Commissioners have proposed a budget for the new year. Commissioners say the budget will save taxpayers from paying more money.
Commissioners say they were able to build their fund balance and carry over funds from previous years to prevent raising taxes in the new year.
While commissioners think this proposal will be the final budget for 2014 there might be tweaks and it won't be adopted until December 20th.

The Annual Salvation Army Food Drive Come To The Rescue
Thursday November 21st 2013

With Thanksgiving just a week away, some people are finding it difficult to be thankful when their pantry is empty. That's why the annual Salvation Army Food Drive is so important.
Turkeys and all the fixings for a nice Thanksgiving dinner, along with bread, drinks and extra food were given out today to people in need. Stroudsburg Resident Nancy Halterman says she wouldn't be eating without it, so she really appreciates the help.
And the cars just kept pulling in. Volunteers say they've never seen this many people. Last year there were 383, and this year the total will be 490 families.
Salvation Army Volunteers say the community support has been amazing, but they hope it continues after the holidays because people will still be dealing with the hardships of the current economy. Food is always needed, just drop it off at the Salvation Army in East Stroudsburg.

Transportation Bill Could Increase Gas Prices
Thursday November 21st 2013

State officials have been trying to figure out a way to fix bridges and roadways in Pennsylvania and legislators have come up with a Transportation Funding Bill to fund the repairs.
If the bill is passed State Representative Mario Scavello says it will be a good thing for the state. Scavello says, safety is his major concern and while it was a tough vote for him he voted in favor of the bill to prevent any tragedies from occuring.
The bill would impose a franchise tax on oil companies and then it would be up to them to pass it on to consumers through an increase of gas prices.
Scavello says prevailing wage would be increased from 25 thousand to one hundred thousand dollars. He says, Municipalities would safe 30 percent of costs to pave and fix roads and bridges. Scavello says this could be a plus for tax payers when it comes to property taxes.
The house rejected the bill Monday, but passed it Tuesday. The Senate passed the bill yesterday. The house is expected to vote on it sometime today and officials say the bill could be signed by the govenor tonight or tomorrow, but it wouldn't take affect until February.

Local Church Gives Away Turkeys This Holiday
Wednesday November 20th 2013

The Seventh Day Adventisit Church held a turkey giveaway today at their community center in Stroudsburg.
The economy hasn't been great this year and members of the church don't want families to go without a turkey this year.
The church has these giveaways every year. This year they had a pretty big turnout. They gave away 63 turkeys and had to turn some people away after running out.
The director of the church's community center, Jamala Asiyo says, they're hoping they'll be able to give away more next year.
If you would like to help out with the turkey giveaways and donate you can contact the church at (570) 476-0039.

Walnutport Man Arrested for Selling Drugs
Wednesday November 20th 2013

A Walnutport man is charged with selling cocaine in Slatington. According to the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office, in September a confidential informant told a detective that 27-year-old Jerel Graham was selling drugs. The informant then purchased crack cocaine from Graham on two seperate occasions. He was charged yesterday with multiple drug related offenses.

Tamaqua Man Arrested for Burglaries
Wednesday November 20th 2013

A Tamaqua man is arrested for burglary after saying he was looking for his missing dog. Police say yesterday, 37-year-old Ian Thrasher knocked on a Rush Township man's door. When the guy answered, Thrasher asked if anyone saw a dog around. The homeowner called police saying he didn't think the guy was really looking for a dog. Police then spotted a man walking on Claremont Avenue who fit the description. As Thrasher was talking to police he threw jewelry and old coins on the ground. Thrasher admitted to burglarizing two homes on Ye Old Hauto Road - one yesterday and one in late October. He told police he steals to fuel his heroin habit. Thrasher was unable to post bail.

Pocono Medical Center Officials Ask For Forgiveness
Wednesday November 20th 2013

Not all of the Monroe County Commissioners were on board to forgive the Pocono Medical Center Officials for overlooking due diligence at today's Commissioners' Meeting. Commissioners say the hospital failed to pay or appeal its 2013 County Real Estate Tax on the new Hughes Cancer Center building in East Stroudsburg. And Commissioner John Moyer didn't find the hospital's excuse acceptable.
Hospital officials say if the tax notice was sent to the correct office and not just to the hospital's mailing address, it would have been taken care of and not overlooked. They would have appealed in the time allotted. But Moyer says it's not a valid argument because it's only required by law to send the notice to the address of the owner. Hospital officials asked for the amount of almost 13 thousand dollars to be waived by the commissioners. They argued the money could be better used for health services, and further argue the building has already been exempt from being taxed next year. The new Hughes Cancer Center was recently approved to meet all requirements of a non-taxed organization. All commissioners agree it should not be taxed going forward, but Moyer voted the hospital should be charged for the time that was missed. Moyer says set policies should be adhered to, but the other two commissioners voted for forgiveness.
Pocono Medical Center won the decision on a two to one vote. The county tax excused does not include the borough or school tax.

Search for Carbon County Teen Called Off
Wednesday November 20th 2013

Search and rescue teams spent the day looking for 16-year old Collin Moore of Summit Hill. A Medivac helicopter aided in the search, but found nothing. Officials report the teen's family has received information leading them to believe the teen may be in a nearby town. Moore was last seen yesterday morning when he took off from his home. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call (610) 462-6966 or (484) 903-6070.

Plans to Renovate Elementary Schools
Tuesday November 19th 2013

Lehighton School Board voted to move forward with renovation plans for two of the district's elementary schools. Design plans are in the works for Mahoning and East Penn elementary schools. The renovations will include replacing the roof on both buildings, updating electrical and plumbing systems and updating security systems. Officials hope to have design plans by next month's scheduled meeting on December 9th.

Businesses Seeking Donations for Typhoon Victims
Tuesday November 19th 2013

Local business owners are collecting canned foods and toiletries to send to victims of the typhoon in the Phillipines.
Melanie Samoy Lutz who's the owner of One Stop Travel in Tannersville started the initiative and Bert Hanselmann who's owns a jewelry repair shop not too far away. Hanselmann's wife is from the Phillipines and he says they know several people there who were affected.
Atlas Shipping Company has agreed to provide boxes and shipping at no cost throughout the rest of the month.
Hanselmann says they're sending boxes out every Monday. So far they've sent a total of three boxes.

Monroe County Municipality Becomes Official Trail Town
Tuesday November 19th 2013

Having the Appalachian Trail as part of your backyard makes where you live quite a destination, especially if your town is nationally recognized. Delaware Water Gap is now designated as a "Appalachian Trail Community."
The borough is located close to the halfway point on the 2,180-mile trail, and has always supported its thru-hikers. Not only is there a gear store, but there's also a hostel run by a church where hikers can stay, and a shuttle is also provided for people who want to do shorter hikes.
The Appalachian Trial Conservancy-- a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and managing the Maine to Georgia hiking trail-- will now be promoting Delaware Water Gap on its website and in announcements. Residents are looking forward to the economic boost.
The designation will be launched at the borough's annual Founders Day Celebration on the last Saturday of June 2014.

Kunkletown Man Sentenced for Shooting
Tuesday November 19th 2013

A Kunkletown man is in Carbon County Plea Court after he's accused of shooting at another man in Lehighton last year. Police say on October 4th, 2012 - 43-year-old Joseph Pellegrino fired at the man after a confrontation over a small amount of money owed. The victim was not hit. According to court officials, today Pellegrino plead guilty in the case. The judge then sentenced him to state prison.

Plea Court for Lansford Stabbing
Tuesday November 19th 2013

Two people invovled in a love triangle stabbing two years ago in Lansford plead guilty to their roles in the incident. According to court records, the victim, Christopher Herman, told police his girlfriend, 36-year-old Jennifer Steigerwalt, was having an affair with 26-year-old Kevin Brandwein. On October 21st, 2011 Steigerwalt, Brandwein and two other men went to Herman's apartment. They allegedly attacked him after he went to bed. Herman was stabbed four times. Today, court officials say Steigerwalt and one of the men involved, 28-year-old Steven Walck, plead guilty in the case. They will be sentenced at a later date. Brandwein plead guilty over the summer and was sentenced to state prison. The case against the fourth person invovled, 19-year-old Raymond Ziegenfuss, is still making its way through the court system.

Dream Come True Telethon Wrap-Up
Monday November 18th 2013

Volunteers of the Dream Come True Blue Ridge Chapter can hardly put into words how happy they are with the money raised this year. Last night's annual telethon at Penn's Peak was the icing on the cake of a successful community effort. Those who had events that raised money during the year were thanked and many calls came in adding to the over $76,000 raised this year. Volunteers say the final tally is about $30,000 more than last year. The extra money came from new events added this year such as an Octoberfest and a motorcycle run, along with continued fundraisers like Becky's Drive-in bringing in more money than before.

Proposed Lower Speed Limit on Palmerton Road
Monday November 18th 2013

A proposed ordinance in Palmerton would lower the speed limit on part of Mauch Chunk Road. Borough Council will vote on the measure on December 5th. If approved the speed limit on the road, starting on Walnut Street and East to Delaware Avenue, would be lowered to 25 miles per hour. Currently it's 35 miles per hour.

Area Schools Prepare for Grant Deadline
Monday November 18th 2013

Area schools are seeking state funding to make their schools safer.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education is offering two competitive grant programs to schools statewide. One of the programs offers a maximum of $60,000 for school resource officers and $40,000 for school police. The second part of the grant program offers $25,000 for school safety programs or security related technology.
The deadline for the Officer Competitive Grant is scheduled for this Friday, November 22 and December 6 for the Safe Schools Initiative Competitive Grant.
Once the schools have applied the state will then review the applications and determine which school districts are the most in need.

Snowflakes Are Bound To Be In The Forecast Soon
Friday November 15th 2013

PennDOT has been getting ready for this winter since last spring. The salt is all piled up, the anti-freeze is ready and the plows are checked and raring to go. So if it snows tomorrow, they're ready. They "plan for the worst but hope for the not worst." Budgets are tight, just like everywhere else, so the less materials used this winter, the more money left to repair roads. Besides keeping our roads clear, PennDOT offers a useful tool drivers may not know about.
PennDOT has two more new cameras positioned on Interstate 80-- one at Long Pond Road and one at Tannersville. There's also one at Marshalls Creek and one on 380 at 940. The cameras can show you what the roads are like in those particular areas before you even leave your house. For more information on road conditions, check PennDOT's website.

Winter Tourism
Friday November 15th 2013

Tourism experts are gearing up for a busy season. Area ski resorts are blowing snow and downtowns across the region are getting ready for upcoming festivals. Officials enjoy welcoming visitors, but would like to see locals take advantage of the many happenings in their backyard.

Officials Urge Home Owners To Be Safe This Winter
Friday November 15th 2013

With temperatures dropping officials want people to take safety precautions when heating their homes. Officials say heating sources are the leading cause of fires during the months of December, January and February.
If home owners are going to use devices such as space heaters, fireplaces or heating stoves officials say you have to follow the safety rules.
With the holidays around the corner people are going to start putting up holiday decorations and officials recommend not to overload outlets and handle candles that may be used with care.

Security Beefed Up For Newell Trial
Thursday November 14th 2013

Security at the Monroe County Courthouse was beefed up today for Rockne Newell's first apperance in court.
Several streets around the courthouse square were blocked off to traffic.
A special response team and local police were put in place andn people entering the courthouse had to go through tight security checks.
Some business owners found the security measures to be an inconvience, but some say they weren't affected.
Lt. Kevin Transue of Stroud Area Regional Police says they plan to continue the level of security at the courthouse throughout the trial. Depending on how future proceedings go Transue says they may need a little more or a little less.
Parking and traffice restrictions have been lifted as of 2:30 this afternoon.

Accused Ross Township Shooter Appears In Court
Thursday November 14th 2013

Accused shooter Rockne Newell had his eyes closed most of the time and seemed unmoved, while audience members and witnesses could barely hold it together. A lot of them crying at today's preliminary hearing at the Monroe County Courthouse.
The night of the Ross Township shooting came alive inside the courtroom. A recording of the township meeting revealed the rapid gunfire and then yelling and screaming. People moaning after being shot. Then silence and Bernard Kozen yelling, "He's coming back." Then Linda Kozic yelling to her husband Jerry to stay with her and to breathe. Previously, Newell told police he went to the meeting because it was the only time he could get all three township supervisors and solicitor John Dunn together in one location. Rockne's father was there in support and says Rockne just snapped losing his home after a decades-long property battle, and that he's not a murderer.
Rockne's father says his son told him he's sorry for what happened, but he was pushed too far. Newell now has the additional charges filed against him for what he's accused of doing August 5th including one count of reckless endangerment for the other people in the room at the time of the shooting and four extra counts of attempted murder for the supervisors and the solicitor. These charges are added to the already three counts of criminal homicide, two counts of attempted homicide and two counts of aggravated assault.
The district attorney says he is calling for the death penalty in this case. Newell remains in jail as he awaits trial.

Help After Mortgage Foreclosure Notice
Wednesday November 13th 2013

Monroe County is on track to have the most mortgage foreclosures filed this year than ever before. Prior, the highest year to date was 2010, and that was when an important tool was introduced to help people-- The Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program. The program stops the whole foreclosure process and focuses on the possibility of the borrower recovering on the mortgage.
Before the program, many people were losing their house when they didn't have to because of miscommunication between the lender and borrower. Through the program, people are brought together face to face with their lender by a conciliator to work out a solution to keep them in their homes. There are three working conciliators assigned to Monroe County who's job is to ensure the fair exchange of information. You just need to go to the Prothonotary on the third floor of the Monroe County Courthouse and fill out the certification of participation. Then it's really important to get the required paperwork filled out for the interaction. The longer the mortgage foreclosure goes on, the harder it is for the bank to give a modification.

Nesquehoning Man Arrested - Meth Lab Suspected
Wednesday November 13th 2013

A Nesquehoning man is in jail after police find the supplies to create a meth lab in his basement. According to court papers, last night officials took 38-year-old Chad Conklin into custody for a parole violation. Police and parole agents then searched the home in the 100 block of East Catawissa Street. Three digital scales were found in Conklin's room. They also found a backpack in the basement containing materials commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine. Conklin admitted to police all the items were his. He has been charged with multiple offenses and was taken to the Carbon County Prison.

Nesquehoning Woman Cocaine Trafficking Plea
Wednesday November 13th 2013

A Nesquehoning woman pleads guilty to federal cocaine trafficking charges. According to the United States Attorney's Office, 27-year-old Ceres Lozada admitted to participating in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and powder cocaine in the Carbon County area between January 2010 and December 2012. Two other Carbon County women previously entered guilty pleas in the case: Bonnie Vosburgh of Nesquehoning and Victoria Argott of Lansford. The maximum penalty in this particular case is 40 years imprisonment. The Nesquehoning and Lansford Police Departments assisted federal agents in this investigation.

I-80 Drug Arrest, Kidder Township
Wednesday November 13th 2013

A Philadelphia man is arrested in Kidder Township after police find drugs in his car. Troopers say on November 6th they stopped 31-year-old Sylvester Greene Junior for speeding on Interstate 80. Troopers observed multiple indicators of illegal activity and got consent to search the vehicle. Greene was arrested after they found 60 grams of cocaine in the car. Troopers say he also had a small amount of heroin in his possession. He is currently in the Carbon County Prison.

Packer Township House Fire
Wednesday November 13th 2013

One person is hurt and a home destroyed after a fire this morning in Packer Township. Numerous fire companies from Carbon, Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties were called to the home on Railroad Drive. The blaze was first reported as a kitchen fire. Fire fighters at the scene say it was hard to cut into the roof to fight the fire because the structure was built well and heavily insulated. We're told a teenager in the home was taken to the hospital with burns.

Copper Thieves Strike Jackson Township
Wednesday November 13th 2013

Fern Ridge State Police are investigating a few burglaries in Jackson Township.
Thieves took copper pipes from a home under construction and another that may have been foreclosed.
Authorities say copper theft is familiar to the Poconos and local law enforcement is looking for ways to catch these theives.
Joseph Coddington of the Monroe County District Attorney's Office says right now they don't have anyway to track stolen copper piping, but they're working on creating a database that would help them track copper thieves. Before they can create the database Coddington says townships have to create an ordinance.
Right now he says Middle Smithfield Township is the only place in Monroe County with an ordinance, but other townships are in the process of creating them.
Coddington says they have a database by the name of Precious Metals, that allows them to track stolen jewelry and he says he has solved about 12 burglaries within a matter of a week using it.
While a database would help track down copper thieves, local scrap yards are helpful to law enforcement as well.
Mike Olejar, who's the general manager for APS Recycling says when someone brings in material they're required to record their license information and they keep their information in their system.
Coddington is hoping to have the copper database up and running in about 6 months.

Home Burglary
Wednesday November 13th 2013

Lehigh Township Police are investigating a burglary at a home on Dogwood Road. It happened around 2:30PM. Authorities say a person posing as a roofing contractor approached the homeowner and offered to do work. While the homeowner was distracted, another person went into the home and burglarized it. The suspect is described as a white man about 5'8" to 5'10" and a tan jacket and black pants. The suspects took off in a red 4-door Dodge Ram with a loud aftermarket exhaust system. Anyone with information is asked to contact Lehigh Township Police.

Too Many Cats
Tuesday November 12th 2013

Overcrowding at Awesom is creating an even bigger problem for Monroe County residents, and more importantly, our four legged friends. Calls are coming in right and left with people needing a place to take pets they can no longer take care of. But with no room to offer, people are resorting to abandonment. One woman has made it her job to help the animals that can't talk.
70-year-old Naomi Gauntlett started the adoption group Animals Can't Talk out of her home because there's no place for the cats to go. And recently, it's getting worse. Pets are being found in boxes everywhere. Gauntlett has cats in every room of her home, while they wait to be adopted out of PetSmart in Stroudsburg. She isn't even sure how many she has, she thinks somewhere between 80 and 100 cats.
She could use any help offered, including money, food and volunteers. She also hopes people will open up their hearts and adopt. Just call 570-242-2846 for more information on how to get involved.

Rush Township Power Outage
Tuesday November 12th 2013

Traffic lights in Rush Township went dark just before noon today along with 663 PPL Electric customers. Fire police directed traffic at Route 309 and Tide Road, along with Route 309 and Ben Titus Road. A generator was hooked up at one light. PPL officials say the intentional outage allowed crews to make safe, permanent repairs to a burned wire outside a local substation. The power outage lasted until 1 o'clock.

Carbon County Ski Resorts Getting Ready
Tuesday November 12th 2013

The temperatures are dipping and snow flakes are starting to fall in some of the viewing area. That means local ski resorts are getting closer to opening for the season. Jack Frost picked up a very light coating of the white stuff last night. With chilly temperatures expected again tonight, snow making could start this evening at Jack Frost's sister mountain - Big Boulder. They'll focus on opening Freedom Park first. Officials at Blue Mountain Ski Area outside Palmerton tell us they hope to start making snow soon too and be open by Black Friday. But it all depends on Mother Nature.

Military Mail for Holidays
Tuesday November 12th 2013

Holiday shipping deadlines for military mail are quickly approaching. The USPS reminds customers the rates will go up as it gets closer to Christmas. When sending out a package remember to write out the service member's full name in the address. Also, include the unit and APO/FPO/DPO address with the 9-digit zip code, if one is assigned. Plus, include a return address. For a list of shipping deadlines visit

Reconstruction Begins for Shooting Survivor
Tuesday November 12th 2013

Volunteers of the community are coming together are reconstructing the home of Linda Kozic, who survived the Ross Township shooting.
Linda lost her husband Jerry in the shooting and she was shot in the leg.
Kent Heckman who's been a friend of the Kozics is the one who started this project. Heckman says over 20 companies and organizations have contributed to the project and donated resources to make it all possible.
They're adding new panel with happy color, putting in a new showerm, expanding the bathroom, upgrading the electricity, putting in new kitchen counter tops and sprucing up the hard wood floors.
Kozic says she believes the changes will help with her healing process. Once she gets back into her home she says she plans to begin physical therapy.
Heckman say he plans to have the home ready for Kozic to move in by Thanksgiving.

November 11 is Veterans Day
Monday November 11th 2013

Several people bundled up and braced the cold this morning to gather at the Palmerton Veteran's Memorial for Veteran's Day today. Veteran's Day is a day to honor or thank those who served the United States in all wars. Over 22 million veterans currently reside in the United States. Henry Desrosiers, a veteran himself, is also Director of Carbon County's Veterans Affairs Office. Desrosiers encourages people to take some time out of your day to thank a veteran.

Truck Crashes Into Nesquehoning Home
Monday November 11th 2013

It happened around 9AM on the 300 block of East Catawissa Street. An eyewitness tells us the truck struck a parked car and utility pole before crashing into the home's porch. Officials say a woman was home at the time, but wasn't injured. The driver and passenger in the Shawn Kresge Electrician and Air, Inc. truck also weren't injured. Police closed the road for several hours. Once the truck was removed from the scene, crews worked to replace the utility pole.

Barrett Township Fire Claims Life
Monday November 11th 2013

Barrett Township and Marshalls Creek Firefighters along with The State Police Fire Marshall responded to a house fire Saturday night on Roth Lane in Barrett Township. Fifty four year old Richard Zegilla of Barrett Township was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities say firefighters didn't realize there was someone in the home until they were able to get the fire under control. Zegilla was found on the third floor in his bedroom.
Officials say the fire may have started on the first floor, in the back of the home, where he kept plants and heating lights.
According to an autopsy Zegilla died from smoke ventalation and thermal burns.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

A Community Mourns The Loss Of A Pocono Mountain East Student
Monday November 11th 2013

The community is mourning the passing of Steve Dienno who died Friday night after a two month battle in the hospital. Dienno was one of the three football players involved in a car crash on Bush Road in Swiftwater back in September.
Not only are those who knew the three boys deeply affected, but the community is coming together to show their support. Big Daddy's Family BBQ in Bartonsville on 611 will be contributing all proceeds received during wing night November 21st to the boy's families involved in the crash. Baskets are also needed for a raffle during the fundraiser, and they can be dropped off at Big Daddy's.
The viewing for Steve Dienno will be Wednesday night from 5 to 8 at Bullock Funeral Home in Paradise Valley, and a funeral mass will be held Thursday at 10am at Saint Mary of the Mount Church in Mount Pocono.

Tamaqua Church Vandalism
Friday November 8th 2013

Reverend Rodney Hall is picking up the pieces after thieves broke into the Tamaqua Primitive Methodist Church on Hunter Street. Hall says his wife discovered the crime on Wednesday morning. The vandals broke in through a basement window, cut through the ceiling and stole all the copper pipes. The thieves also stole about 200 lbs of meat from the church's food pantry freezers. Despite the loss, Hall maintains a positive attitude. The investigation is on going. Anyone with information is asked to call Tamaqua Police at (570) 668-5000.

Cold Case Homicide Goes To Court 45 Years Later
Friday November 8th 2013

A man accused of murdering a Bethlehem Steel employee 45 years ago in Chestnuthill Township will be tried for the crime in Monroe County Court.
40-year-old Alfred Barnes was murdered in 1968. His body was found in a field off a dirt road now called Evergreen Hollow Road. He had been shot to death. Richard Keiper was recently brought back from Texas to face charges in the 45 year old murder. Not only has the scenery changed, but the laws have changed too.
When a crime is committed, the laws at that time apply. The Penal Code from 1939 governs this case. A copy had to be borrowed from a library just to determine charges in this case. Today, 67-year-old Richard Keiper appeared for his preliminary hearing. He faces life in prison for murder, because the death penalty didn't exist in 1968.
Keiper was first linked to the murder in 1971 after allegedly trying to sell a gun. That witness was recently interviewed, and since then Keiper's interviews with police have generated several differing accounts of the incident.
Not only is the evidence that is available old and not processed as it would have been today, but another difficulty is the original investigators have passed away. And the case is complicated all around. Saylorsburg resident Lee Hoffner found the victim while hunting. He's now 71 and the coroner who was called to the scene is now 96. Both are testifying about something that happened a very long time ago.
Today, all charges were bound over to Monroe County Court and Richard Keiper remains in custody.

What's Next For Pocono Township?
Thursday November 7th 2013

Pocono Township residents are on board for change. About two thirds voted in favor of the township becoming first class January 1st, instead of its current second class designation.
A First Class Township means there will be a board of commissioners that will each serve a four year term, instead of the current three supervisors that serve a six year term. The commissioners will receive a base pay but they are banned by state law from taking township jobs. No longer will elected officials be able to appoint themselves to jobs such as Roadmaster or Secretary/Treasurer. This became an issue earlier this year when some residents opposed the removal of Supervisor Harold Werkheiser from the Roadmaster position. The board then appointed Supervisor Henry Bengel.
Monroe County Court is required by state law to appoint the five commissioners who will take office in January for a two year transition period until the next municipal election. President Judge Margherita Worthington's Office told us today a statement will be issued on November 15th, once the current trial term ends, explaining the process to be used for appointing township commissioners. Those wishing to apply should wait for those instructions.

Zoning Board Grants Approval For Homeless Shelter
Thursday November 7th 2013

The Stroud Township Zoning Board has decided to let the Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church use its gymnasium as an overnight shelter.
The church went to the zoning board in April to get permission to open their gym, but some people in the community were against the idea and the process was pushed back.
Joseph McDonald, who's the solicitor for Stroud Township's Zoning Board says the board was really careful considering all of the testimony.
Even with the approval the church has to wait to receive the final approval letter from the zoning board and make final preparations before they can open their doors. They're hoping to have their gym open in the next few weeks. The church is looking for volunteers to stay overnight while the shelter is in operation. If you would like to help out you can contact the church at (570) 421-0750.

Jim Thorpe Train Station Renovations
Thursday November 7th 2013

Renovations will begin in January at the Train Station in Jim Thorpe, Carbon County. The building houses the visitor's center. The floors will fixed and refinished. The walls will be painted to match the recently renovated bathroom area. Television monitors will play Pocono Tourism video. The project is being funded by the County and the Pocono Mountain Visitor's Bureau. The renovations are expected to last about a month. The center will be closed, but the bathrooms will remain open.

Help Our Kids Help Feed the Hungry
Wednesday November 6th 2013

The Boy Scouts of America-Minsi Trails Council have a goal of reaching over 150,000 pounds of food with their community food drive, "Scouting For Food." But they need your help. This past Saturday, 250,000 door-hangers with information about the food drive were distributed to residents in the area. Non-perishable foods should be placed in a bag visable from the street before 8AM this Saturday, November 9th to be collected by the boys. And don't worry if you didn't receive a door-hanger, you still have an opportunity to lend a helping hand. Public food donation drop-off boxes are available until the 15th of November. Just go online for about 80 business locations participating at

Tamaqua Man Sentenced for Drug Trafficking
Wednesday November 6th 2013

A Tamaqua man is sentenced to prison for drug trafficking. According to the United States Attorney's Office, 43-year-old Michael Beaver previously admitted to conspiring with at least two others to distribute 80 milligram oxycontin pills. The drug trafficking ran between Schuylkill and Berks Counties in 2011. Today Beaver was sentenced to nearly seven months in prison. He has also been placed on supervised release for three years, including six months on home confinement with electronic monitoring. Two of Beaver's co-defendants previously entered guilty pleas and have been sentenced.

Lake Harmony Explosion Update
Wednesday November 6th 2013

Kidder Township Police say a criminal investigation is under way regarding a theft that took place at the site of the fatal home explosion in Lake Harmony on Monday. Three weeks ago police were notified someone stole all the copper pipes for the water lines from the basement of the home. Police say they have suspects and the investigation could result in charges being filed. Monday's accidental propane gas explosion killed 29-year-old Melissa Barwis. Bruce Barberio of Albrightsville was also at the home at the time of the explosion. He's in stable condition at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

Suzanne McCool Addresses Controversy
Wednesday November 6th 2013

Monroe County Commissioner Suzanne McCool is facing heat for letters sent to several congressmen and senators. In the letters she labeled them racist and recommended their resignations.
Today she spoke out and apologized for her choice of wording, but she says she will not apologize for the reason she sent the letters.
a county resident questioned McCool and criticized her for her actions.
She has been criticized not only for calling other politicians names, but for using county resources to send the letters.
Ed Krawitz, who's an attorney at Krawitz & Krawitz lawfirm says political figures have the right to exercise their freedom of speech and voice their opinions without hesitation because they're worried about a lawsuit for slander or libel.
McCool says she's reimbursed the county for the resources and now with her apology she's hoping it will end here.

General Election Day
Tuesday November 5th 2013

It was a quiet day at the polls in several polling places in Carbon and Schuylkill counties. Poll workers expected this to happen. Erin Joseph, Judge of Election for the 4th Ward, 17th District (Jim Thorpe), tells News 13 empty polling places are typical for elections that aren't presidential.

Lake Harmony House Explosion: Barberio Family Fund
Tuesday November 5th 2013

A fund has been set up for the Barberio family affected by Monday's house explosion in Lake Harmony. Donations can be dropped off at the Albrightsville branch of Mauch Chunk Trust, or mailed to the Albrightsville Fire Company. Make checks payable to the Albrightsville Fire Company - Memo: Barberio Family Fund
Mail to:
Albrightsville Volunteer Fire Company
Barberio Family Fund
P.O. Box 133
Albrightsville, PA 18210

Police Determine the Cause ot the Lake Harmony Home Explosion
Tuesday November 5th 2013

Police say a damaged propane line is to blame for the accidental gas explosion at a home on Tobyhanna Street that killed one person. Twenty-nine year old, Melissa Barwis, of Albrightsville died in the blast. Forty-year old Bruce Barberio was also in the home at the time of the explosion. Neighbors helped him out of the garage and he was taken by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital where he is in intensive care. Barwis and Barberio are the caretakers of the home.

Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort Has Snow Early
Tuesday November 5th 2013

Shawnee Mountain Ski Resort is making snow early to prepare for the upcoming season.
Temperatures were pretty cold Sunday night and Jim Tust, who's the managing partner for the resort says they thought it would be a great time to test their system and make sure it's working properly.
If you would like to keep up with snow making at Shawnee Mountain you can log on to their webiste at

Tis The Season To Watch Out For Deer
Monday November 4th 2013

The month of November begins the peak season for deer versus car collisions and runs through December.
Officials say drivers should be extra cautious around this time of year.
There was a fatal car crash over the weekend that claimed the life of a 60 yo man, after hitting a deer in Middle Smithfield Township
Male deer are actively looking for breeding females around this time of year. Officials say, sometimes they dont pay attention to their surroundings when they're chasing.
State Police are investigating the crash that took place this weekend. Witnesses reported two white males in a white SUV
stopped and took the dead deer from the scene and State Police need the deer as evidence.
If you witnessed the incident and or have any information you are asked to notify State Police.

Cancer Presumption Law Creates A Mess For Firefighters
Monday November 4th 2013

A state law meant to further protect volunteer fire fighters is now hurting them. The Cancer Presumption Law was passed in 2011, allowing firefighters to receive workers' compensation benefits if they develop cancer and can show that it could have been caused by their volunteer service. Insurance companies, township municipalities and firefighters all met and agreed on the legislative Act 46.
But unintended consequences have been rising. The insurance companies and the insurance trusts that work with the municipalities are finding an increased cost with the claims coming in. They're now dropping their coverage or raising their premiums.
Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder Fire Chief Leon Clapper says his company lost their coverage because of the Cancer Presumption Law, and now he is seeking coverage through the state. But it's confusing. Clapper says there's too many gray areas and too much left to interpretation when reading the workers' compensation packet. Clapper and other fire chiefs want a definite answer in what is covered, and State Representative Rosemary Brown says she'll put together a seminar for the fire companies to understand the changes. But the bottom line is, she believes we need to protect the people who serve us, and that includes cancer. Brown strongly believes legislative action needs to happen, and is hoping it will get resolved at a hearing with the Labor and Industry Committee and the Emergency Preparedness Committee November 21st in Harrisburg.

Lake Harmony Home Explosion
Monday November 4th 2013

Officials are investigating the cause of the explosion. It happened shortly after 2PM at a home on Tobyhanna Drive in Kidder Township. One person was taken by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital. No word on his name or condition. Officials recovered the body of a woman from the rubble. No word on her name.

More Jobs For Carbon County Residents
Friday November 1st 2013

The once burned out barn, turned world-class manufacturer of capital equipment for the rubber and plastics industries is expanding once again. Technical Process and Engineering, Incorporated is planning to add a six thousand square-foot expansion to its existing 22 thousand square-foot faciltiy in Lehighton. 16 news jobs will be created, along with 18 retained jobs for Carbon County Residents.
The project is expected to be completed in May 2014, and everyone is excited for the ribbon cutting ceremony. It's just another positive example that the economy is looking brighter for Carbon County.

Salvation Army Basket Drive Sign Ups
Friday November 1st 2013

The Salvation Army in Tamaqua is holding sign ups for Thanksgiving and Christmas Baskets. No appointment is needed to register. Sign ups are Monday through Wednesday, November 4th through the 6th, from 9AM until 2PM. You will need some documents with you: proof of income for everyone in the household, proof of expenses, proof of everyone residing in household and a photo ID for the person registering.

BRC13 News Archive