Rain Not Putting An End To Severe Drought
Wednesday November 30th 2016
Monroe County is in a severe drought. Extremely low rivers and creeks, along with recent forest fires are all signs of the lack of water throughout the Poconos. Officials say our aquifers are slowly being depleted in our area and surrounding areas. They add the rain yesterday and today isn't going to make up for months of low precipitation. The manager of the Monroe County Conservation District says it's a lot of water that's falling but it's happening in a short amount of time so it doesn't have a chance to absorb into the ground. The Department of Environmental Protection has declared Monroe County along with three other counties in a drought warning. That means everyone is being asked to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10 to 15 percent. You can do that by not letting the water run when you're not using it, such as turn it off while you're brushing your teeth.
Vandalism in Smithfield Township
Wednesday November 30th 2016
Smithfield Elementary School officials and residents living on Hollow Road in Smithfield Township were greeted earlier this week by large tire marks on their yards. Over the weekend police were dispatched to the Sun Mountain Recreation Center and a home both on Hollow Road and the Smithfield Elementary School on River Road for damages to the grass yards of the properties. School officials say they are aware of the situation and don't feel it's any threat to the students. People living in the area say this isn't the first time they've seen this. Marie Steeger of Smithfield Township says, "I was actually a little surprised I drove down Hollow Road the other day and saw the damage done on the neighbors lawn, but it's my understanding it isn't the first that this type of vandalism has occurred in the area its sad." Police say if anyone has information on the vandalism to contact the Swiftwater State Police barracks at 570-839-7701.
A Monroe County Man Is Taken Off Death Row
Tuesday November 29th 2016
A Monroe County judge has decided to remove a man from death row. The Kunkletown man was convicted of a double homicide at a Polk Township home in 2001. His appeal of the penalty phase of his trial ultimately resulted in today's ruling of his sentence changing to life at a state correctional facility without parole. Victim John Mendez's mom was outraged over the outcome. A jury says Manuel Sepulveda killed her son and Ricardo Lopez after an argument over stolen guns. She feels justice will only be served if Sepulveda suffers the same fate. Sepulveda did tell us he does feel sorry for the victim's family but he does plan to appeal the sentence. Sepulveda has 30 days to appeal the new sentence.
Uber Drivers on Strike
Tuesday November 29th 2016
Thousands of workers nationwide are on strike today as part of the National Day of Disruption. The demonstrations are all in an effort to increase minimum wage to $15. A lot of Uber drivers have joined the fight leaving many cities with little to no service, luckily those in Monroe County weren't affected. We spoke to a local Uber driver who says she feels the strike for drivers is unnecessary. Christina a local Uber Driver says, "I think it's a little ridiculous Uber drivers sign up knowing they're independent contractors knowing what they are going to make per mile and per minute, if you want to make more go find another job something more conventional." Officials say the national strike includes fast food cooks, airport workers, child care workers and other part-time workers. Ever since the fight for $15 minimum wage started four years ago wages have increased in more than nine cities across the country.
First Day Of Deer Rifle Season
Monday November 28th 2016
Deer rifle season started today with good weather in Monroe County. Joseph Lombardi of New Jersey got his trophy buck just before 10 this morning on Pocono Manor's property. He's been coming to the Poconos to hunt since the 1970s and says this 10-pointer is the best deer he's ever got in Pennsylvania. But it's going to be used like all of his other kills. That's why we ran into him at Martinell's Deer Processing in Tannersville. Lombardi's buck is only the third one to be dropped off this morning to be made into various meat cuts. And the owner isn't expecting a high number today. Dan Martinell says the increasing popularity of archery season along with it being illegal to hunt doe the first week of rifle season is causing the decrease. Hunters tell us the warmer weather is also playing a role because the deer aren't moving as much as when it's cold. Deer rifle season lasts 11 more days so there's plenty of time to get that trophy buck. Doe also opens on Saturday.
Black Friday Shopping At The Stroud Mall
Friday November 25th 2016
The holiday shopping season has officially kicked off today. But some store owners at the Stroud Mall wish they had started it on Thanksgiving. The flow of customers is different this year because the mall officials chose to not open on Thanksgiving at all. Both employees and shoppers tell us they appreciated that decision, but not all agree on those hours for next year. Others we spoke with are undecided on whether the mall should open on Thanksgiving. They're waiting to see how the rest of the day goes and this weekend.
Service Dogs For Veterans
Tuesday November 22nd 2016
A veterans rehabilitation center in Monroe County's West End now has a new way to further help those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The former Hotel Jonas now called Paul's House is providing veterans in need with trained service dogs. They are able to travel with their owner everywhere because they are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Just this week they're placing four dogs with four vets. Officials partnered with two other agencies to make it happen-- SD Gunner Foundation and Star Mark Training Academy. The Valor Clinic now has an application available for any veteran interested in receiving a trained service dog. Just call 570-664-6468.
Interstate 80 Medians
Tuesday November 22nd 2016
A fatal crash last Friday on Interstate 80 near Tannersville marks the second one in a matter of months at that section of highway. Both fatal accidents involved a vehicle crossing into opposing traffic and officials believe things could've been different if there were stronger barriers in place. Senator Mario Scavello says the interstate is in need of work and fast. "In between Stroudsburg and Scotrun there are more accidents more fatalities then anywhere else it's the oldest highway especially the Main Street piece through the Burgs that was built for about 10,000-15,000 cars a day and this stretch is no different, says Scavello. PennDot officials say they have a project planned for the Spring to add guiderails where there aren't any currently on the interstate.
Abolishing Electoral College
Thursday November 17th 2016
As the numbers continue to be tabulated in this year's presidential election, it seems Hillary Clinton gained a million more votes than Donald Trump, but since he won more electoral college votes, he was named President-Elect. Now California's retiring Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer is introducing a bill to abolish the electoral college. Officials say if they get rid of the electoral college the larger states will have too much power over the nation. Senator Mario Scavello says, "Philadelphia and Pittsburgh votes together it's almost impossible to get anything passed because they are the ones that control it." "The two populated areas pretty much control the rest of the state so it's the same situation that you would have if you went that way with the popular vote, so big states would be making all the decisions." The proposed constitutional amendment now requires passage by two thirds majorities in the House and Senate and in three quarters of States.
Monday November 14th 2016
Michael Horvath, 49, of Ross Township is accused of kidnapping and killing his co-worker Holly Grim in 2013. According to police reports Grim went missing on November 22nd, 2013. She was last seen at her mobile home by her neighbor. Police searched the home and found blood on the trailer door that officials would later match with Horvath. Horvath was late to work the day Grim disappeared, officials searched his Ross Township property on September 22nd. After days of searching they found no traces of blood in or outside of the home, but they did find bones on the property that later matched Grim. Authorities testified that Grim died of a gunshot wound to the chest, they also say Horvath had been stalking her for years. They found a thumb drive at Horvath's home with images of where Grim lived. The defense claims they believe the information presented today didn't truly show a motive of Horvath kidnapping Grim, but the district judge bound all charges over to county court.
Historic Voter Turnout In Monroe County
Wednesday November 9th 2016
Officials confirm Monroe County had an historic voter turnout yesterday. Voter registration officials tell us unofficially about 70, 608 opinions came through the machines and absentee ballots. That number has surpassed the 2008 tally for the race between President Barrack Obama and John McCain. Although election day is behind us, the voter registration office's job is still not done. Officials say it will probably take till December to get everything cleaned up, put away and recorded. Then it's time to start working on next year's election.
Heavy Voter Turnout In Monroe County
Tuesday November 8th 2016
Monroe County is seeing a high voter turnout today as voters render a presidential decision. Long lines greeted some voters with a wait time over 30 minutes to cast a ballot. However every place we stopped at today was running smoothly.
Monroe County Officials Prepare For Election Day
Monday November 7th 2016
Tomorrow we find out who will be the next president of the United States. But before that can happen a lot of preparation is currently in the works today. We stopped by Monroe County's Voter Registration Office to see how officials are going to keep things running smoothly this historic election. Officials are expecting lines but tell us they have a good system set up. They advise to get there early rather than later. Officials say the longest lines are usually between five and eight at night because many chose to go after they get out of work at five. We're told there's also a lot of newly registered voters. If you're a first-time voter, don't forget to bring your ID. And most importantly officials are asking for your patience.
Man Charged With Crash That Claimed Two Lives Appears In Court
Friday November 4th 2016
According to court paperwork- 53-year-old Daniel Gaughan of Bethlehem was driving a tractor trailer on October 13th, 2014 that crashed into the back of a car containing four people at the intersection of four lane Route 209 and Shafers Schoolhouse Road. The two back passengers-- 78-year-old Jean Singlemann and 76-year-old Mae Rienstra both of East Stroudsburg died as a result. After contact with the first car, Gaughan struck it again and then continued southbound on 209 through the red traffic signal and hit a second vehicle as it was crossing through the intersection. Data received from the tractor trailer shows Gaughan was going 53 miles per hour with no braking one half a second prior to the crash. That's why the prosecution says Gaughan is charged with vehicular homicide and other offensives related to reckless driving. Court paperwork states he failed to react to approaching traffic conditions. The defense admits Gaughan is familiar with the intersection but says the intersection itself should have some of the blame. It's known for fatalities and has been a concern for quite some time. The defense attorney says Gaughan is no longer employed as a truck driver. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing today and remains out on bail. All charges were held for Monroe County Court.
Monroe County Hoicide Trial Starts
Wednesday November 2nd 2016
A trial begins for a California woman accused of helping her ex-husband kill and dismember a Wilkes Barre man's body, and later disposing of it in Jackson Township. According to police reports in 2002 Stacy and her husband James Britton, 36, murdered Robert Roudebush of Wilkes Barre and dismembered his body. His remains were later found in a burning barrel off North Road in Jackson Township. Today Stacy's attorney Brandon Reish says he feels this case will not be an easy one for the jurors. "The evidence the Commonwealth has, the dismembered body is really hard I think for people to get by and it is shocking but that's not the main issue in the case, the main issue is whether my client is responsible in some way in the murder itself", says Reish. The case will continue with witness testimonies tomorrow morning at 9 at the Monroe County Courthouse.
Slow Down Signs On Paradise Trail
Tuesday November 1st 2016
Ronald Strunk has had it with people speeding on his road. He lives on Paradise Trail located in Analomink and tells us it's a struggle just to pull out of his driveway. That's why he took the problem into his own hands and posted signs on both sides of the roadway. The message "SLOW DOWN" can be seen both day and night. The signs have been up for several weeks and some neighbors are noticing a difference. But others including Strunk who remember crashes like the vehicle that hit the Analomink United Methodist Church back in June know the signs aren't enough. They'd like to see a police presence targeting speeders in the area. We spoke with Stroud Area Regional and they tell us no one has called them about the problem. They'd be more than happy to look into it.