Church Hit By Political Vandalism
Monday October 31st 2016
A church in Monroe County is hit by political vandalism. And members tell us this isn't the first time.
Wooddale United Methodist Church members are still in shock today as police are investigating who vandalized their place of worship with politically offensive graffiti. Police say it happened over the weekend between the hours of seven o'clock Saturday night and eight o'clock Sunday morning. Those attending the nine o'clock service including children were greeted by obscene sexual material and police say anti Donald Trump slogans. Within four hours it was all cleaned up thanks to a church member and two community members that just happened to be passing by. If you saw anything or have any information on the incident, you're asked to contact state police at the Swiftwater Barracks.
Hunting with Semi-Automatic Rifles
Friday October 28th 2016
Soon you may be hearing a new and rapid sound during hunting season. Legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill in the House 160-25 and in the Senate 40-7 in favor of lifting a ban allowing hunters to use semi-automatic rifles. For now Pennsylvania Game Commission Region Information and Education Supervisor William Williams says you'll have to wait before you can start dusting off those rifles. "It's important to realize for this upcoming hunting season that hunters wouldn't be allowed to use the rifles." "This bill that has been recently passed would be inactive for another 60 days and the game commission would still have to develop regulations as to the use", says Williams. If the bill is passed game commission officials would set rules and regulations on what season and which animals could be hunted with those rifles.
New Attention To Cold Case Thanks To New Technology
Thursday October 27th 2016
Your help is needed in solving a five-year-old cold case in Monroe County. An unidentified male torso was found in a garbage bag on December 26th, 2011 by passersby on Route 191 just south of Sylvan Cascades Road. No other body parts have ever been located. Police know it's likely a white male between the ages of 50 to 60. An autopsy revealed that he had open heart surgery several years prior and likely suffered from an auto-immune disorder. Now a company has provided what the victim may have looked like through using his DNA. The results sow a southern European ancestry, reddish brown to black hair, with brown or hazel eyes and fair skin. Other testing involving the victim's diet suggested he may be from Kentucky, Tennessee or the coastal areas of California. If you have any information involving this case, you're asked to call Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers at 1-800-4PA-TIPS.
Learning Firsthand The Impact Of Impaired And Distracted Driving
Tuesday October 25th 2016
Inexperience is the leading cause of crashes among teen drivers. That's why students at a school in Monroe County got to drive a special car today.
Students at Pocono Mountain East High School not only heard the message today, they experienced what it feels like to lose control of a vehicle. And we spotted a lot of cones flying. They got behind the wheel and the car showed them firsthand the impact of impaired and distracted driving. The unsettling episode provided by the PA DUI Safety Bug is not something they'll soon forget. Every student tells us they won't drink and drive or use a cellphone while operating a vehicle.
Frein Jury Selection Date Set
Tuesday October 25th 2016
Earlier this year State Supreme Court officials decided to choose a jury from outside of Pike County to offer accused cop killer Eric Frein a fairer trial. Frein is accused of ambushing state troopers in 2014 at their Blooming Grove Barracks in Pike County. Frein seriously injured trooper Alex Douglas and took the life of Corporal Bryon Dickson. Today officials set the jury selection date for his case on March 9th and the jurors will be coming from Chester County just outside of Philadelphia. Eric Frein is currently being held at the Pike County Correctional Facility as he now awaits his trial.
ESU Strike Over
Monday October 24th 2016
Students at East Stroudsburg University are scrambling this week to make up for lost work after a three day strike last week. The faculty strike came to an end Friday at Pennsylvania's 14 state run universities including ESU and now students feel they are going into their mid-term exams this week unprepared. Brooke Todd Sophomore says, "I have an exam today actually that I was supposed to have Friday and I have no clue what to study because we missed classes for review sessions so now I'm kind of going into it blindly." Union officials say in the future they're planning on reaching agreements with state officials before their contracts expire so this won't happen again. Officials will be releasing details of the new contract in a future statement.
Fatal Roll-Over Crash In Monroe County Discovered Hours Later
Monday October 24th 2016
Tire marks on Kunkletown Road in Ross Township show a vehicle coming around a curve and then going over an embankment. Police say they were called to the scene around 4:30 Saturday afternoon. They say the Chevrolet pick-up came to a final rest on its roof. 39-year-old Tara Hallingse of New Jersey was in the passenger seat and partially submerged in water. The driver- 47-year-old Howard Brown of Saylorsburg was ejected and submerged in the water behind the rear of the vehicle. Monroe County Coroner Bob Allen says they possibly could have been there since Friday. Autopsy results reveal both died from drowning but Brown also suffered blunt force trauma to the head and neck.
Kalahari Branches Out
Friday October 21st 2016
A resort in Monroe County is expanding in multiple ways. Kalahari Resorts and Conventions located in Pocono Manor is under construction to become the largest indoor waterpark in American this coming spring. Officials have also now opened an adventure course. It's called Gorilla Grove and there's something for everyone ages four on up. Eight courses make up the adventure, six are for adults and two are for kids. And there's 87 different elements to take on. The goal is to make the resort all encompassing, while making it available to both guests and locals.
Another Great Year For Tourism In The Poconos
Thursday October 20th 2016
It's a banner year for tourism in the Pocono Mountains. Tourism officials made the announcement at the annual report luncheon today for the 2015-16 fiscal year. Numbers show an overall visitation increase of more than five percent, despite poor winter weather. Now officials of the Visitors Bureau have the goal of keeping that type of momentum going. We're told they're going to be looking to expand their reach outside the mid-Atlantic states. They're also doing commercials in Chinese and Spanish.
Strike at East Stroudsburg University
Wednesday October 19th 2016
Faculty at East Stroudsburg University are on strike. The faculty and coaches at the 14 state universities have been working without a contract for more than a year. This is the first time in the State System of Higher Education's history that negotiations have resulted in a faculty work stoppage. Students at the 14 state owned colleges are told to go to class, despite the faculty strike that started at five this morning. Students at ESU tell us the classrooms sit empty as faculty members cry for a contract. Students we spoke with tell us they're not sure what to do and some had cancelled midterms. Both officials of the state system and the faculty union tell us they have been meeting since Friday in preparation for the strike deadline. Great progress was made toward settlement but they couldn't quite get there last night. Students had mixed feelings on the situation between the two sides, but we did see some joining in on the picket lines. Union officials say the strike will not end until negotiations reach a contract. State system officials say no new meetings have been scheduled at this time. As both sides seem to be at a standstill, ESU officials encourage students to stay up-to-date with classwork. The university is trying to get a count on how many classes are operational and we're told athletics are not affected. Other frequently asked questioned are answered for students on the school's website.
Costume Store In East Stroudsburg Won't Stop Clowning Around
Tuesday October 18th 2016
Amid a rash of reported clown attacks, a big chain retailer has pulled the masks from its shelves. But that's not the case at a costume store in Monroe County. The owner says clowning around is a big part of Halloween.
Halloween is now two weeks away and it seems the scariest costume this year is the clown. Over the past few months, people wearing the get-up have been accused of terrorizing the public in over 20 states. Now Target has taken action. It's stores are no longer selling clown masks. The retailer's decision comes after multiple reported incidents of clowns attempting to lure children into the woods. The owner of Frazetta's Costumes located in East Stroudsburg tells us he isn't falling for all of the hype. His store carries various versions of the clown mask, along with the entire costume and accessories. There's also creepy clowns lurking around the store. But the owner has noticed customers have been staying away from that particular theme this year. While big businesses in other area where these incidents are happening are reporting the costumes are flying off the shelves. People we talked with today have mixed feelings on whether people should dress up as a clown this Halloween. A lot of people tell us they think it's important for parents to talk with their kids about clowns. They believe it'll help them understand not to be afraid.
Stroudsburg Drug Bust
Tuesday October 18th 2016
Friday police raided a home on North 8th Street in Stroudsburg. They arrested Frederick Jamaal Harrison, 48, Joann Katz, 47, and Julio Torres, 51, all from Stroudsburg for heroin possession. The investigation initially was launched in April of 2015 when police were receiving complaints of Harrison selling drugs on Main Street. After a year and a half long investigation police were able to obtain a search warrant and arrest Harrison and the two other suspects at the home last week. Officials say if you see any signs of suspicious activity to contact Stroud Area Regional Police at 570-421-6800.
Stroud Mall Won't Be Open On Thanksgiving
Monday October 17th 2016
Employees at a mall in Monroe County tell us they've already received the best gift of all this upcoming holiday season. The Stroud Mall will be closed this Thanksgiving and will open back up for Black Friday at 6AM. Every year the trend has been for stores to start the hustle and bustle earlier and earlier. But mall officials say they're going back to the original tradition. Last year the mall opened at 6PM on Thanksgiving and employees tell us it was too much. They say the benefits don't measure up to the time they could be spending with their families. The decision does not affect anchor stores like Sears, they're left to make up their own mind. Officials from Sears, Bonton and JC Penny tell us they have not yet decided their Thanksgiving hours. But the movie theater will still open at 10:30AM.
Monroe County Man Heads To Trial On Murder Charges
Friday October 14th 2016
A Monroe County man is heading to trial on murder charges. Five years ago, a woman was found hanging in a scrap yard in Stroud Township and detectives believed it was suicide at the time. But officials say new information indicates the defendant may have killed the woman.
49-year-old James Bidwell of Tobyhanna Township is accused of killing 27-year-old Kristen Wagner. Today he was shown pictures from June 2nd, 2011 that officials took of her hanging from an electrical heating wire tied to a refrigeration unit in a trailer. They were taken at a scrap yard that Bidwell owned. We saw him shake his head back and forth and look away. Officials say the two were having an affair and Bidwell supplied her with meth and percocets. A witness today says a meth investigation was opened and Wagner came forward and told detectives about Bidwell's involvement. She said she was afraid to tell because she believed Bidwell would kill her. Bidwell was then arrested for his drug dealing enterprise. When Wagner died officials believed it was suicide. But in 2014 Richard Gerber contacted authorities and advised his coworker Bidwell admitted to him that he killed Wagner in the office trailer by choking her out and then hung her to make it look like suicide. Gerber was Bidwell's former prison mate and he trusted him. His defense lawyer says Bidwell is looking forward to going to trial and he maintains his innocence. Gerber was not present to take the stand and defense argued his statements couldn't be used due to hearsay and credibility. Bidwell was accusing Gerber of a crime at the time. But the Commonwealth says he will take the stand for the trial. They also have many more witnesses, along with evidence. Part of that evidence reveals Bidwell was not only the last person to see Wagner before she died but places him at the scene when it happened. All charges were bound over for trial and Bidwell remains in jail without bail.
St. Luke's Monroe Ribbon Cutting
Thursday October 13th 2016
Monroe County officials are formally welcoming a new hospital into the area.
The Saint Luke's Monroe County Campus in Bartonsville is the first new hospital in the area in more than 100 years and marks the first one ever in the county. Officials say in just the last week of being open the numbers have been great as they have already served over 500 patients.
Search Of Ross Township Home Leads To Homicide Charges
Thursday October 13th 2016
49-year-old Michael Horvath was arrested this morning on charges related to a violent homicide. Police say they've recovered many bones that match Holly Grim's DNA and numerous bags of evidence after searching his home for nine days on Woodhaven Drive in Ross Township. Grim went missing in November of 2013 from her home in Lower Macungie. Investigators believe the victim was kidnapped from her home and held against her will, until she was killed at the suspect's home.
The two worked together at Allen Organs for seven years. The day she went missing, Horvath was late to work and said he had a flat tire. Police say where it happened was 2.5 miles from the victim's residence. It appeared a struggle had taken place at Grim's home and blood left behind on the outside door matched Horvath's DNA. Grim's mother called her cellphone that morning looking for her. Police tracked those calls in a northern direction from her residence. Horvath told police he went back home to patch his tire.
Other items found inside Horvath's home are raising questions such as a planner suggesting he was stalking someone, along with numerous DVD's relating to murder, sexual deviance and "hunting humans." Different types of restraints, stun guns and sex toys were found.
Multiple agencies worked tirelessly on this case and all officials who spoke today at a press conference held at Monroe County's Public Safety Center offered their condolences to Grim's family. Horvath is in jail without bail awaiting his preliminary hearing scheduled for later this month.
Grant Paves The Way For STEM Transfer Students At ESU
Wednesday October 12th 2016
East Stroudsburg University is awarded the single-largest grant in the school's history. The National Science Foundation has awarded the school over four million dollars. Three professors have been working for five years to get the grant for their project called "Clear Path." The goal is to help science, technology and math transfer students graduate on time with minimal debt. They found too many were taking several extra semesters to finish because they hadn't taken the right classes at community college. About 120 community college students who transfer to ESU from those fields will be awarded scholarships based on merit and need. The grant will also fund research to help shape future student support at community colleges and four year institutions.
Man Charged in Middle Smithfield Robberies
Wednesday October 12th 2016
Oscar Rodriguez, 43, of Bushkill appeared in court this morning after being accused of robbing the Wayne Bank in Middle Smithfield Township on two separate occasions May 16th and August 24th, and most recently robbing a Subway restaurant October 1st. According to reports in both of the bank robberies the amount of money stolen was unknown but as for the Subway incident the defendant allegedly stole $140 from the register at gunpoint. This morning Rodriguez waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will now appear in county court at a later date.
Last Day To Register To Vote
Tuesday October 11th 2016
Time is running out to register to vote. It's the last day for Pennsylvanians to register for this presidential election. And officials say many people in Monroe County waited till the last minute. While it's always busy for employees at Monroe County's Voter Registration office for a presidential election, officials say there was a lot more confusion involved this year.
The phones were ringing off the hook today and there were lines of people inside the Monroe County voter registration office. But that's just what we could see. Filled out forms are piling up for the employees. Residents we spoke with have varying reasons why they waited till the last day to register to vote.
But employees say they're receiving a lot of extra work this election. A lot of people are registering twice. They've been seeing people register online and then in person or they voted in the primary but they're registering again now. The director of elections and voter registration has never seen this much confusion and adds once you're registered, you stay registered as long as you vote every five years. Officials are also getting a lot of phone calls with people complaining they registered online but they didn't get anything yet. Officials say that's because they have to process it and they have thousands to process.
And don't worry if you just realized you too need to register. You have till midnight to get online and fill out the form at votespa.com. Officials say that's the only website available to use.
PMC Parent Literacy
Tuesday October 11th 2016
A local hospital is helping educate babies early in life. Pocono Medical Center has partnered with "Story Storks" a New Jersey based group that offers a literacy program to parents of newborns, making it the first of its kind in the state. Adrienne Evans
Co-Founder of Story Storks says, "Maternity patients receive a board book with the babies footprints and information so parents, grandparents, and siblings can all interact with that literacy element." Story Storks officials say they are hoping the program will continue to grow throughout the state and the country.
Deer Carcasses Dumped In Monroe County
Monday October 10th 2016
The State Game Commission wants to know who killed four deer and dumped their carcasses in a vacant lot in Tannersville. Officials say employees of a logging company discovered four buck and one doe along Warner Road in Pocono Township. Only the prime cuts of meat were taken and evidence suggests some of the deer were taken with a riffle. Wildlife Conservation Officers believe the deer were killed sometime over the weekend of October 1st. Officers think whoever is responsible may be driving a 1990s model Dodge Truck with a broken bed light above the rear of the cab. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Game Commission's Northeast Office at 570-675-1143 or The Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-888-PGC-8001. A reward may be offered for anything that leads to a successful prosecution.
Technology Gets Kids Excited About Math At PVE
Friday October 7th 2016
Technology is getting kids excited about math at one elementary in Monroe County. And teachers are already noticing the difference in their performance.
What's seven plus six can be a scary question for students just starting first grade but those at Pleasant Valley Elementary school find it fun to answer. That's all thanks to a game called Osmo Numbers. Today is only the second time these students are using the technology. First Grade Remedial Teacher Michele Herrmann received a grant at the end of last year to purchase the Osmos. It's paired with the Ipads the school already had. The goal behind the game is for the students to fill their aquarium. But they do that by adding and subtracting. And the students aren't just excited about math, they're also learning about team work and problem solving.
Right now only first graders are using the technology but the other grades will soon be introduced to the multiplication section.
New Treatment For Heroin Addicts
Thursday October 6th 2016
The drug Vivitrol has been credited with turning heroin addicts lives around. The monthly injection helps stop the cravings, it also blocks the body's opioid receptors, so even if a person wanted to get high - they wouldn't feel a thing.
Pennsylvania has one of the highest heroin addiction rates in the entire country. Last year over three-thousand people died from overdoses.
To continue the fight against heroin, Pike County is rolling out a pilot program . Once a month, Vivitrol shots will be administered to inmates being released from the County jail. A mobile van will be setup outside the jail once a month to provide the injection, that will not only be limited to those required to stay clean, but anyone coping with addiction.
The County plans to have the Vivitrol treatment available within the next two months.
Check Fraud Ring In Monroe County
Thursday October 6th 2016
Seven people face charges for taking part in a check fraud ring in Monroe County. Six of the seven people have been arrested. They are 29-year-old Merritt Parker, 26-year-old Michael Owens, 48-year-old Charles Franklin, 46-year-old Barry Jenkins, 21-year-old Tevin Blount and 25-year-old Rashad Thomas. 39-year-old Marcus Dreher is still wanted by police. Police say the ring would create fake payroll checks and cash them at one bank that would allow withdraws of cash right away. They took around 14 thousand dollars. The seven suspects face theft, fraud and conspiracy charges.
Thursday October 6th 2016
The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program workers have been busy assisting in Monroe County for many years. Today local and state officials took the time off to recognize those men and women who dedicate their time to better the community. Senator Mario Scavello says, "They go out of their way to do this and they don't get paid for this, they do this out of the love of their heart and they give back to people because the Lord's been good to them and they want to share it with others, they're just unbelievably dedicated people." Retired and Senior Citizen Volunteer Program officials say they are always looking for volunteers, so if you are interested in volunteering to contact their Stroudsburg office at 570-420-3747.
Disaster Team Heads To South Carolina
Wednesday October 5th 2016
Red Cross Disaster Relief volunteers from our area are on their way to lend a helping hand in South Carolina. A hurricane is expected to hammer parts of the southeast coast starting over the next few days. John and Jane Hoopingarner are getting there early to prepare for the worst. While the couple doesn't know exactly what they'll be doing or how long they'll be staying, they say the volunteer work is always rewarding and inspiring. If you missed this opportunity to help, hurricane season isn't over yet. You just need to sign up for training. For more information on how to get involved in the disaster action team or any aspect of the Red Cross just go to their website or your local chapter.
Pocono Leadership Prayer Breakfast
Tuesday October 4th 2016
Hundreds of local officials united in faith this morning at Camelback Resort.
The 22nd Annual Pocono Leadership Prayer Breakfast brought together over 700 people. Today's guest speaker was Emily Colson, the daughter of Chuck Colson, who was top aide to President Richard Nixon and founder of prison fellowship. She told her story about her religious growth with her father and her autistic son. Next years event is already planned so if you're interested in attending contact the Prayer Breakfast Director Jack Muehlhan at (570) 421-8333.
Pocono Township Bank Robbery
Monday October 3rd 2016
At 10:10 this morning police were dispatched to the First National Bank on Route 611 in Tannersville because of a robbery. The suspect was able to get away even though police were only a couple of minutes behind. They arrived at 10:12 a.m., but they say their response may have been a few minutes from the actual robbery. Police have released images from the banks security camera, they describe the suspect as a 6'4 white male in a gray hooded Syracuse sweatshirt with a black scarf covering his face. Officials say the suspect was able to quickly escape on foot, police interviewed neighbors and canvassed the area with K-9 units. We spoke with many of the residents around the area and they expressed no concern of the situation. Police say the investigation is in the preliminary stages and for now the First National Bank in Tannersville is temporarily closed.
Bags Of Evidence Found At Home In Saylorsburg
Monday October 3rd 2016
It's the second week of a death investigation in Monroe County's West End. Police confirm they have found numerous bags of evidence at the Woodhaven Drive home in Ross Township. We watched today as they continued to sift through the dirt they dug up in Michael and Cathy Horvath's backyard. But neighbors are on edge as officials still remain tight lipped on what they have found. Police tell us they will continue with the same amount of manpower every day this week and should finish up Friday. They want neighbors to know it's an isolated incident and they don't have to do anything different that they don't normally do. The case they're investigating happened outside of Monroe County.
News13 confirmed last week that a human bone was found. We discovered today there is a forensic anthropologist on site when we spotted a vehicle with a Mercyhurst University sticker. The school's website says the university serves as a national center through which coroners and law enforcement officials can consult with forensic anthropologists. They apply skeletal analysis and techniques in archaeology for solving criminal cases. But linking a bone to an individual usually takes 30 to 40 days.
People on Facebook believe the case could be linked to Holly Grim of Lower Macungie who went missing in 2013. Her keys, purse and vehicle were all left at her home and there were signs of a struggle. A page dedicated to helping find her shares how Michael Horvath was her coworker at Allen Organs. The page also shared an event is being on her disappearance this Saturday night from 6:45 till 11:55. You're asked to keep your porch light on or light a candle to raise awareness. Last year 1,000 people participated.