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Monroe County Head Start
Monday February 29th 2016

This morning Monroe County Head Start held an open house at their new classrooms which are located at the Tobyhanna Elementary Center. Head Start officials say the program is for students from three to five years old and are working on a program for new born babies. Despite the current state budget issues, money became available to add these additional classrooms. Head Start officials were also able to add additional classrooms in their East Stroudsburg facility.

Concerns Over Bridge Replacement In Monroe County's West End
Monday February 29th 2016

A business owner in Monroe County's West End is worried about a bridge replacement next year hurting her deli. The project near the Route 209 and 534 intersection in Kresgeville is taking the front of her parking lot through eminent domain. Sandra Domenico is in her 12th year of running Kresgeville Deli and says her customers depend on its convenience. If the project takes away those spots she says her business will have a hard time surviving. The side parking lot doesn't offer enough room for maneuvering bigger vehicles. After the construction is completed, we're told Domenico will have her parking access back to use the same as she is now. But Domenico doesn't like that she won't own it and is concerned. A spokesperson of the private contractor says eminent domain is a lengthy legal process and they're not going to go through it again if the road needs a turning lane added in the future. He says Domenico shouldn't be affected after the construction for at least 30 years, if at all.

Monroe County Power Outage
Friday February 26th 2016

According to people living on Anna and Wade Courts in Stroudsburg off of Dreher Avenue, they have been without power since Wednesday. Alot of the homes there are equipped with generators because their neighborhood loses power often and for long periods of time. Neighbors say after Hurricane Sandy they were left without power for almost a week. Some residents aren't lucky enough to have a generator. Stroudsburg resident Ashley Roman says, "It's horrible the house right now is like probably like fifty degrees at the warmest no electricity, no food, cant make anything I go to my car to charge my phone to stay a little bit warm." As of right now, we've been told most areas have their power back on and anyone still without power should have it back by seven this evening.

Continuing Clean Up After Last Night's Storm
Thursday February 25th 2016

Heavy downpours, high winds and lightning whipped up quite a mess in Monroe County. But it's tonight's temperature drop driver's now need to be ready for.
Middle Smithfield Township's Road Maintenance Crew was called out at 6:30 this morning to clear drainage ditches of debris and cut down trees hanging over the road. Their main concern was flooded roads. They were working on getting the water off the road before it turns to ice tonight. Officials recommend driving slowly tonight. There may be black ice and fallen tree limbs on the road. Either could cause a lot of damage to your vehicle, if not cost you your life.

Shafers Schoolhouse Road
Thursday February 25th 2016

This morning a public meeting was held at the Stroud Township Municipal Building that lasted for over two hours. Residents and officials were in attendance asking PennDOT to delay the closure of the intersection of Shafers Schoolhouse Road and Route 209 and consider alternatives. Stroud Township Supervisor Ed Cramer says, "It seems their mind is made up that the closure is the only way to go but I think before that, why cant we take a step back why cant we try some alternative methods."
One of the major complaints from residents during the meeting was that they felt this project is being done not because of the number of fatalities but because of a future I-80 project that's going to be happening very soon. According to PennDOT officials a part of the I-80 project they will be adding a new interchange near the current 209 and 80 interchange. Michael Rebert District Executive of PennDOT District 5 says, "So when we put that interchange there the thought was that kind of trumps the need for this intersection but we also were taking a look at all the crashes and at the same time we were looking at the 80 project a number of fatal accidents happened at this location in the end." PennDOT officials say they will go over the alternatives presented today and will hold a public plans display meeting soon.

Senator Yudichak's letter to FERC
Wednesday February 24th 2016

State Senator John Yudichak is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the PennEast Pipeline project. Since the project was announced, some residents in carbon County have been very vocal in voicing their opposition to the project. Yudichak acknowledges their concerns, but cites long term benefits to Northeast PA.

Are You NIMS Compliant?
Wednesday February 24th 2016

When an emergency happens, it's important local officials know how to work together and by the same rules. That's why the United States Department of Homeland Security requires officials to be trained on the National Incident Management System or NMS. They need to know their role and responsibility for a successful emergency response. Now there's an easier way to be compliant and the course is being offered at the Monroe County Public Safety Center. The basics that everyone needs are available in a two hour class. To register for the afternoon or evening sessions on March 15th just call the center at 570-992-4113.

Help A Marine Keep His Home
Tuesday February 23rd 2016

Volunteers are working hard to help a Marine keep his home in Monroe County. The house in Polk Township was on the verge of becoming unlivable due to a roof that's leaking and falling apart. Now a veteran's group organizing the effort just needs a little more community support to complete the job. Founder Mark Baylis of the Valor Clinic says whatever you can do whether offering your skills, money or providing materials will make a huge difference. For more information, a list of the materials needed or to volunteer, just text Baylis at 570-994-5188.

Snow money request
Tuesday February 23rd 2016

Snow budgets got hit hard by last month's snow storm. Now Governor Tom Wolf is requesting federal aid to help foot the bill. Tamaqua borough spent about $35,000 in one weekend to tackle the late January snow. In Northampton county, Lehigh Township officials paid for about 175 hours of overtime to clean up the snow. The governor is requesting the president declare a major disaster in the state in order to release $55 million dollar in federal disaster aid. No word on when the president will make a decision.

Stroud Area Regional Police Chief on the Move
Tuesday February 23rd 2016

Stroud Area Regional Police Chief William Parrish will be leaving the department and he will begin a new career as the East Stroudsburg University campus police chief. "This is my hometown and it's been my job for a long time to keep my hometown safe and I relish that I really enjoyed my role in making that happen", says Parrish. In 1982 at the age of twenty five Parrish began working as an officer in the Borough of Stroudsburg, after serving in the army twice. Parrish worked there for six and a half years and then transfered to Stroud Township in 1989 and became a detective/investigator. May 1, 2000 East Stroudsburg Borough, the Borough of Stroudsburg, and Stroud Township Departments regionalized to form today's Stroud Area Regional Police. He became the chief in 2012 and he says he will miss the department and the young officers he has taught over the years. Parrish says he is excited to work at ESU and embraces the opportunity to help the youth. Parrish's first day working at the university will be March 21st.

Pike County Gets AED's
Monday February 22nd 2016

Through a safety grant, the Pike County Sheriffs department will be getting three new Automated External Defibrillators.
The AED's will be installed in the Pike County Administration building, Courthouse, and the John Street Court. Every member of the Sheriffs department must be certified to use the device.
The Sheriffs department hopes to have these installed in all three buildings by next month.

Monroe County Court To Appoint Fifth Pocono Township Commissioner
Monday February 22nd 2016

Monroe County Court is now accepting applications from any Pocono Township resident and registered voter interested in filling the fifth commissioner seat. Officials will accept applications until next Monday at 4pm. A court panel will then review the resumes and conduct interviews. A target date is set for March 8th for the panel to vote on the candidates and choose one to be the fifth commissioner. A notice of how to apply will be posted on both Monroe County and Pocono Township's websites, as well as at both facilities.

Preparing for the unthinkable
Monday February 22nd 2016

Local law enforcement hope to never have to respond to an active shooter incident like the one in Michigan over the weekend, but they're doing what they can to train for such a situation. Officer Robert DeFuso with Lehighton Borough Police says they train three times a year on active shooter situations. DeFuso reminds residents they're the first line of defense and should be vigilant and report any suspicious activity in the community.

Polar Plunge For Camp Papillon
Friday February 19th 2016

Looking at the mostly frozen pond at Camp Papillon's Shelter, you're probably not getting the urge to splash around in this frigid weather. But dogs and cats don't get to decide. Animals are found left out in the cold by their owners or often times abandoned. That's why a polar plunge was started two years ago. It's an icy dip to raise awareness and spread the hope for stiffer laws against animal cruelty. Plus the money raised goes right to homeless pets. This year organizer Eric German chose to give 100 percent of the proceeds to a new safe haven for all animals in need of a forever home. Camp Papillon Pet Adoption and Rescue purchased the former Camp Brainerd property located in Snydersville. They've only been up and running for a few months on the 33 acres, but the shelter already has almost 30 cats and over 40 dogs. So the teeth chattering time could really help out the new shelter. It can't happen with you donating on Camp Papillon's website or raising $100 and plunging Saturday, February 27th at noon into the shelter's pond. The Willow Tree Inn is once again sponsoring the event and complimentary catered lunch will be provided beforehand.
If you're not yet ready to rock a bathing suit, tomorrow an Awareness and Adoption Day is happening at Keystone Harley-Davidson located in Parryville from 11am-2pm. Animals from Camp Papillon are looking forward to meeting you there.
For more information on either event, just contact Camp Papillon.

St. Luke's Monroe County Construction
Friday February 19th 2016

The 800 million dollar Saint Luke's Hospital in Monroe County has officials excited. The building is around 180,000 square feet and will feature some state of the art technology. The President of the new Monroe County facility Donald Seiple says, "we are able to provide our physicians and our staff with some of the best equipment to care for our patients and really provide some of the best outcomes for our patients." Seiple says the building will feature 108 patient beds, 4 operating rooms and 33 emergency rooms. Officials say they will partner with the local university to provide students with internships and opportunities to get involved and the hospital will also help boost the local economy. "When we open our doors here in Monroe County with our newest and our seventh hospital we'll be creating over 350 jobs in the county", says Seiple. Officials expect the project to be completed in the fall of this year.

AUTHORITIES SEARCH FOR ANSWERS IN MONROE MANS DEATH
Thursday February 18th 2016

Authorities are waiting for test results to show what caused the death of a Monroe County man involved in a crash in Northampton County. Police say 51-year-old John Platia of Polk Township hit a patch of ice before hitting a large truck on Route 33 near the Windgap exit. According to police, Platia did not go to the hospital after the crash and did not appear to be injured. The Monroe County Coroner says he died four days later at Pocono Medical Center. A go fund me page has been set up to help Platia's family. More than three thousand dollars has been pledged as of this afternoon. www.gofundme.com/s54zd7vg

Student Organization Earns National Recognition
Thursday February 18th 2016

A student organization at East Stroudsburg University earns national recognition.
The National Society of Minorities in Hospitality organization at the college just received the best new chapter award at the annual national conference, beating out four other schools across the United States. Bria Waters-James started the chapter at ESU just last year after changing her major to Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. The leap of faith and hard-work is paying off with her future career too. She also secured a summer internship at the conference. Waters-James learned determination goes a long way and you should never give up on your passion.

81 Year Old Woman Chases Robbers
Thursday February 18th 2016

An 81 year old Mount Pocono woman took the ride of her life when she chased down the robbers of her purse earlier this week. According to the woman's testimony, on Tuesday afternoon she was leaving Rite Aid in Mount Pocono when she was approached by a man who asked for ten dollars for gas. She didn't have a ten so she gave him a twenty. As she started driving back to her home she first stopped off at her friends house on Knob Road. A car had pulled in behind her in the driveway and the same man from before got out of the car and he started questioning her. He then grabbed her pocket book and then jumped into his car. She then took her car and rammed it into his vehicle to stop him and the others in the car but it didn't work and he was able to take off. She followed them until they began to run stop signs so she gave up on the chase and returned home. Police officials found the vehicle with the robbers at the Shop Rite in Mount Pocono based on the vehicle description. William Hayhurst, 34, of Swiftwater and Erin Vanmatre, 30, of Cresco were arrested and charged with robbery and theft. James Castellano, 34, of Pocono Summit was arrested because there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The two robbers will have their preliminary hearing on February 25th.

Monroe County Reassessment
Wednesday February 17th 2016

The last time Monroe County had a property assessment George H. W. Bush was the president of the United States. With that being said Monroe County Commissioners are preparing for an assessment to happen in the near future. The commissioners are currently narrowing down their choices for a company to do the assessment and they say that should be done by the fall or the end of the year. The assessment process time frame will vary depending on how easily the properties are assessed. Officials fear a certain group of people will be hurt by the assessment. "About a third of the properties stay the same a third go up and a third go down and our fear is that the third that go up will be made up disproportionately from older people and possibly older people who are on a fixed income",said Monroe County Commissioner John Moyer. The commissioners are currently working on a solution to the issue. Officials say the project is estimated to cost from 5 to 7 million dollars and may take 3 to 4 years to complete.

Working To Solve Water Issues For A Monroe County Community
Wednesday February 17th 2016

Officials are working together to help a community in Chestnuthill Township solve its water issues. It's about eight months since residents at Sun Valley's mobile home development were left high and dry by their water company.
Some residents are in their fourth day without water, which is nothing new. The water has been off and on since the owner of Sun Valley Water Company died last June, and no one was assigned to take his place. But this time we're told it's because some residents are tampering with the well house that controls the pump. They're so frustrated with the unreliable system, some are now taking it into their own hands. But that's still hurting others in the community. Senator Mario Scavello's office has received numerous calls and complaints on the matter. He tells us a solution to permanently fix their water issues is on the table and everyone is working together to make it happen. Recently he held a meeting with State Representative Jack Rader, officials from the Department of Environmental Protection, Chestnuthill Township Supervisors, Sun Valley property owners and Aqua America.
Residents have been calling DEP and the Public Utility Commission for help since there's no one else to call. But the two can only regulate the water company when there's an owner.
Officials have been trying to locate an owner. Scavello says Aqua America has pretty much made a commitment that they're going to take over the system and are currently doing their due diligence to fix the water lines. Scavello says the goal is to see something happen this year and is asking residents for their patience.
Meanwhile DEP officials told us a month ago, they issued an order last July to the former owner's wife and another party involved to begin operating the water system. But they received no response. Typically they have six months to comply. DEP is in the process of preparing legal arguments to take the matter against the two to Monroe County Court.

James Storm Battle Preliminary Hearing
Tuesday February 16th 2016

James Storm Battle, 20 of Tamimant appeared at the Monroe County Courthouse for his preliminary hearing this morning after he was accused of shooting a man in East Stroudsburg. This morning the victim of the shooting took the stand. According to his testimony he says him and James Storm Battle were at the Prospect Hills apartment complex off of Greentree Drive in East Stroudsburg for a street fight between him and another man. He says the defendant was going to pat him down before the fight when the defendant pulled a gun to his face. The victim then pushed the gun down and the gun went off, as the victim began running away to his apartment he says he was shot. We spoke with James Storm Battle's mother who said this about her son, "My son is not about being physical so this image that I hear in this courtroom is bewildering to me its beyond my imagination that they can create this so called street name of someone being in a gang, my son is a true leader now if he's following anybody he's following god."
Battle's bail is set at $250,000 and he may have to wear an ankle monitor until his trial.

Tobyhanna Home Completely Destroyed By Fire
Tuesday February 16th 2016

A Monroe County home is completely destroyed by fire. The blaze started around 12:30 this morning on Main Street in Tobyhanna. The winter storm overnight made putting the flames out an uphill battle for firefighters. They dealt with freezing equipment and the icy roads made it a challenging drive both to the station for their gear and then to the burning home. Officials say the fire isn't suspicious. It's believed to have started on the first floor by an electric heater. The American Red Cross of the Poconos is assisting the family of four generations, eight members in all that lived at the home. You can contact the non-profit at 570-476-3800 if you'd like to help. We're told everyone made it out ok except two out of the three pets.

Prpearing For Bad Weather Tonight
Monday February 15th 2016

It's a slippery rush hour in the Poconos. Snow, sleet, rain and high winds are in the mix for tonight's storm. And the roads are already starting to get bad in Monroe County. We caught up with a lot of people preparing for the storm today so they wouldn't have to be one of the vehicles on the road now or tonight.
Residents in Monroe County's West End know a wintery-mix storm is nothing to mess around in. That's why they were out early this morning getting the usual necessary items like milk and bread from Kinsley's ShopRite in Brodheadsville. And Chestnuthill Township Officials say people planning to stay-in for the storm have the right idea. It's not only safer, but less traffic on the road makes it easier to lay down salt and cinders.
Both township officials and PennDOT crews are prepared and ready to keep the roads clear. Just remember, if you do have to head out, take it slow. You might not see the ice till it's too late.

Sanofi Pasteur Zika Virus Vaccine
Friday February 12th 2016

The Zika virus is a global illness that is spread through a bite from an Aedes mosquito. These mosquitos were originally found in tropical and sub-tropical zones but now are spreading to many continents. There are two cases of the virus in Pennsylvania and officials say due to the global fear its causing they are working hard to find what they think is the best solution...a vaccine. The head of research at Sanofi Nicholas Jackson says, "A vaccine is a way to go in and prevent the infection and the disease and help rest that spread and help deal with the disease outbreak." Jackson says since they recently discovered the vaccine for Dengue which is a similar virus to Zika, they believe that will help them. Jackson says it's too early to discuss the financial end of the project but due to the fact the same mosquito spread Dengue to over 100 countries they look to do whatever it takes to solve the issue. Officials say making vaccines can take over ten years but due to their knowledge of the illness and having the dengue vaccine, they feel they can shave a large amount of time off. Jackson says Sanofi has intentions to partner with like-minded scientists across the globe to help make this vaccine.

Give The Gift Of Life
Friday February 12th 2016

A Monroe County man is reflecting on the greatest gift of love this Valentine's Day. He was given a new heart about two months ago from the Gift of Life Donor Program, which serves the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. Without a donor providing the needed organ, he wouldn't be here to celebrate the holiday with his family. Tom Ross Junior of Kunkletown says he'll always love that person and remember them. He says he or she is just an amazing person. You can spread that love to someone else when you renew your driver's license. That's when you can make the decision to donate your organs after death. Last year 483 generous donors helped nearly 1,300 people receive the gift of life. It's the largest number of donors ever recorded in the United States. But the program still has about 6,000 people waiting on the organ transplant list.

AWSOM Recognized State-Wide
Thursday February 11th 2016

Monroe County's Animal Shelter just received an "AWSOM" grant. The non-profit was recognized state-wide for its exemplary work in the fight to end animal suffering and accelerate adoptions. The honor and a $3,000 check comes from MuttNation, a foundation started by Grammy Winning Country Star Miranda Lambert. 50 shelters in 50 states were selected for the Mutts Across American Grant Program. The grant is for shelters they find who support their efforts. Just last year AWSOM placed over one thousand animals in forever homes. They also have a high volunteer rate, help others, support spay and neuter and are passionate about what they do. The money really means a lot to the shelter and is already being used to help the animals. If you'd like to donate, just go to their website at awsomanimals.org.

Preparing For The Cold
Wednesday February 10th 2016

If you're like most people in the Northeast, you probably think this year's winter was a one hit wonder. But it'll be back over the next four days. Below zero temperatures are creeping in and it's important to be prepared. Frozen pipes will make you feel the heat in your wallet. Plumbing and heating specialist Leon Clapper says it's in your best interest to make sure your pipes are insulated. And it's an easy fix by either covering them or keeping them closed up. Safety should also be a concern. Make sure everything is in good condition.
Just remember if you wait till the last minute, it might be too late to avoid a bursting pipe.

Route 209 Commercial Traffic
Tuesday February 9th 2016

For years there was a bill allowing up to 100 commercial vehicles from Orange and Sullivan counties in New York and local trucks from Pennsylvania to access the Delaware Water Gap National Park Area on Route 209. That bill expired last year and since then congress has been held up with the national budget and wasn't able to renew the bill, so currently no trucks can travel through the park. Now congress is working on passing a bill to allow things to go back to normal. U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa says, "Our bill it preserves the character and integrity of the park...also allows certain commercial traffic access through this road and that's critically important for jobs and goods and services that are provided." The bill to extend the permit for another 5 years is waiting for a vote on the house floor.

Social Media Acting As A Watchdog
Tuesday February 9th 2016

Social media is increasingly being used as a tool for both police and school officials.
When it comes to a situation that's based on he said-she said, a video capturing exactly what happened can make all the difference. That's exactly what Stroudsburg School District Officials experienced just last week. Officials received various reports of two student fighting in a bathroom at the Stroudsburg Middle School. The incident was investigated but then a student posted a video of it on social media. The superintendent says it was helpful in making a more just decision.
It isn't the first time social media proved helpful. Stroud Area Regional Police tell us their school resource officer program has utilized video to prosecute numerous fights. But people looking to social media to help with crime in general seems to be on the rise. Captain Jennifer Lyon says people post actual videos on their Facebook page via private message, which has aided in the prosecution of cases.
The school works to teach students daily how to be smart using social media through various programs and education.

PennDOT Working on the Roads
Monday February 8th 2016

Last year at this time PennDOT workers were constantly in their snow plows making sure the roads were clean because of the major snowstorms. This year since the amount of snowfall has been at a minimum PennDOT officials have been able to do more road maintenance including road patching. Residents we spoke with today are excited with the roadwork and say it's much needed.

701 Main Street Proposed Tax Exemption
Monday February 8th 2016

Officials are tying up loose ends on a Stroudsburg building purchased by Monroe County. Two plans are on the table for how 701 Main Street will be taxed this year. And before any decision is made, Stroudsburg Borough wants to have their say.
701 Main Street is purchased by Monroe County through eminent domain so it's entitled to be off the tax rolls. Assessment officials found about 73 percent of the building is being used by the county and about 27 percent is being used by private corporations. Commissioner John Moyer tells us two plans are being discussed for partial tax exemption. Stroudsburg Borough and Stroudsburg School District would be paid for what's leased out privately.
Borough officials don't have a problem with either plan because they'd receive the same amount of dollars. They're concerned over the percentage numbers of what's being used. Through those numbers the loss to the borough is set to be a lot. Borough Manager Cathy Thomas estimates between 12 and 13 thousand dollars. That's why borough officials requested more time to do their own assessment. They want to make sure they'll receive exactly what the borough is owed by verifying those numbers. Thomas says county officials were very understanding and tabled their decision until the next assessment meeting scheduled in March. By then she believed they'll be ready with their own numbers.

Game Commission Seeks Info on Dead Eagle
Friday February 5th 2016

The Northeast Region Office of the Pennsylvania Game Commission is seeking anyone who may have information on an immature bald eagle that was found dead in Towamensing Township, Carbon County. Wildlife Conservation Officer Cory Bentzoni reports that the eagle was shot and killed with a firearm, likely before Jan. 23. The eagle was discovered on Sunday, Jan. 31, in a wooded area near the intersection of Trachsville Hill Road and Pohopoco Drive. The bald eagle is federally protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is a protected species under the Game and Wildlife Code. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the NE Region of the PA Game Commission at (570) 675-1143.

Lehighton Fire/Baby Death Cause Released
Friday February 5th 2016

Authorities release the cause of a Lehighton baby's death after a fire at her family's home several months ago. The Carbon County Coroner says 7-month old Nevah Hoffman died from carbon monoxide toxicity. A cigarette lighter caused the October 23rd fire at the apartment on First Street. The coroner says her death is accidental. No one else was hurt in the incident.

Students Host State Representative For Forum
Friday February 5th 2016

Students in East Stroudsburg get to experience their government classes at work. Over 140 students hosted State Representative David Parker at their South High School. They got to ask him questions one on one. The long overdue state budget took center stage. Education funding is at the center of why one hasn't passed yet, and it's a major issue in Monroe County. The representative appreciated the students asking questions about something he's most passionate about. Education is the biggest topic Parker is working on in Harrisburg. Students have more forums already scheduled for this year where they'll interact with other government officials and people who make a difference.

Pocono Township Commissioners Keeping Seats
Thursday February 4th 2016

Monroe County Court ruled today on the fate of the Pocono Township Commissioners. A hearing was held this morning for a judge to decide whether or not to appoint new commissioners. Township residents filed a petition for the action after the commissioners couldn't agree to organize within 30 days of the new year. A judge found that action to be unconstitutional- the court does not have the power to vacate their seats. Instead, he decided to give the commissioners one more chance to work it out. He continued the hearing to the 22nd. The commissioners tell us they were already working together before today's hearing and want to reassure residents they're going to move forward. They have agreed to meet next week and organize.
If the commissioners can't come together before the 22nd and select a fifth commissioner, it's their duty to petition the court before the 18th to appoint one.

Two Charge in Carbon Animal Cruelty Case
Thursday February 4th 2016

Clyde "Renny" Shoop and Kimberly Shoop have each been charged with 11 counts of Animal Cruelty after officials discovered a number of dead horses on their Lower Towamensing Township farm. Officials say horse carcasses were found scattered around the property at 20 Sunny Rest Road, and even uncovered a mass grave with numerous animals. Thirteen horses were saved by officials along with sheep, dogs, a pig, turkey and a number of other animals. Clyde, a veterinarian, and Kimberly both refuse to claim the horses.

Martin Luther King Day of Service
Thursday February 4th 2016

East Stroudsburg University has been holding numerous events thus far for African American Heritage Month. During this time students will be introduced to the history and heritage of the African American culture through motivational speeches, dancing, community service work and more. Today students and school officials made care packages which will be given to Street2Feet to help the homeless community. Monday ESU will be holding an Honest Conversation at 7 pm at Linden Lounge. Students of color will be talking about everyday issues they face on and off campus.

Neighbors Praise Firefighters Battling Blakelsee Inn Blaze
Wednesday February 3rd 2016

A popular landmark in Monroe County suffered a devastating fire today. The blaze started this morning just before 8:30 at the Blakeslee Inn and Restaurant located on Route 940 in Tobyhanna Township. Firefighters spent all day in the wind and rain trying to get it under control. Neighbors say the firefighters did a great job knocking the blaze down and they call them heroes. As we were standing there, crews were up on ladder trucks and swarming the roof on foot. The heavy smoke, rain and wind made it a challenge. Over 20 different fire companies from four counties responded. Fire trucks and tankers were flying up and down Route 940 all day. Police and emergency responders shut it down in the area of Tobyhanna Township. Officials say tankers used a nearby pond for water to battle the flames.
Neighbors say they were told the fire started in an office area in the back of the establishment. We're told no one was staying at the inn at the time but some employees may have been on site. Officials say one firefighter suffered a minor eye injury but no serious injuries were reported.
Neighbors tell us the inn was recently renovated and remodeled. They feel awful this happened. We spotted fire marshals on scene but no word yet on the cause.

BRC Food Drive Underway
Wednesday February 3rd 2016

The 14th annual Blue Ridge Communications food drive is underway. The drive benefits area pantries.Last year thanks to your donations we collected 1500 pounds of food. You can drop off a donation at any of our 14 offices throughout our coverage area between 8 am and 5pm. In addition to baby food and canned goods, personal items are also needed. The Community Cupboard Food Drive runs through March 1st.

East Penn May Cut Police Force
Tuesday February 2nd 2016

East Penn Township Supervisors are deciding whether or not to abolish the township police force. Officials say they've been without local police coverage since the beginning of the year when the chief retired and the only other officer went on disability. Since then, state police have responded to calls. Chairman William Schwab says the township could save around $140,000 by cutting the department, and that may residents have favored that move. However the supervisors don't seem ready to completely disband the force. Schwab says state police most likely wouldn't respond for nuisance calls, and thinks maybe having one part-time officer could be a good option. There's no timetable for the supervisors to make a decision.

Groundhog Day Dilemma
Tuesday February 2nd 2016

Early this morning people gathered at Cherry's Sunset Restaurant in Kresgeville to see Sammi the groundhog announce whether we will have 6 more weeks of winter or if Spring will be coming early. This year Sammi predicted there will be 6 more weeks of winter, but his better known relative, Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow and announced spring is coming early. The opposing views has the public confused on who and what to believe. One of the people we spoke with said, " I don't think one groundhogs going to be right and one is going to be wrong its just seasons they end when they're supposed to." Unfortunately today's event in Kresgeville was held without their longtime translator Harold Kreger who recently passed.

ESU Looks To Attract More Out-Of-State Students
Tuesday February 2nd 2016

Out-of-state tuition at East Stroudsburg University is going down. The college just approved two new money saving awards for non-Pennsylvania, undergraduate students starting this fall semester. The goal is to not only attract more students from other states but to keep them there.

Weatherly Child Porn Arrest
Tuesday February 2nd 2016

A Weatherly man is accused of possessing and distributing child pornography. According to the Attorney General's Office, authorities found the images on 61-year-old James Kessell's computer. He was arrested and charged with 12 counts of possession and one count each of distribution and criminal use of communication facility. He was released from the Carbon County Prison after a bondsman posted bail. His preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for next week.

Library In Monroe County Celebrates 100 Years
Monday February 1st 2016

The oldest library in Monroe County turns 100 years old today. Those attending the birthday party this morning at the Eastern Monroe Public Library got to take a step back in time. Two women blasted in from the past to share how they not only founded the establishment but how its grown and moved over the years. Now library officials tell us they want to keep evolving with the times to reach their 200th birthday. They already have plans to grow this year by adding a small café where patrons can purchase coffee and something to eat. Officials ask you to be on the lookout for a capital campaign to start for the project along with events to continue celebrating 100 years all year long.

PennDOT Plans 443 Widening Project
Monday February 1st 2016

PennDOT is planning to widen RT 443 in Lehighton from the McCall Bridge to the Carbon Plaza Mall. Officials tell us the expansion will make 443 a three-lane highway, two lanes for travel and one for turning. PennDOT cites high congestion and safety concerns as the reasoning behind the project. One hurdle they'll have to contend with is businesses along the route who say they can't afford to lose space for parking. The project isn't expected to begin until 2018 at the earliest. PennDOT officials are planning a public meeting for an undetermined date in March of this year.

Pleasant Valley Obesity Lecture
Monday February 1st 2016

Officials say 1 in 5 kids in America are considered obese. This morning Dr. Musa Tangoren an anesthesiologist from Pocono Medical Center spoke to Pleasant Valley High School students on the national issue of child obesity. Tangoren says according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' body mass index percentile range, any child in the 85 to 95 percent range is overweight and those above 95 percent are considered obese. Pocono Medical Center holds a challenge called the Biggest Winner which helps people lose weight and those who lose the most win an iPad.

Catholic Schools Week
Monday February 1st 2016

The 42nd Annual Catholic schools week kicked off Sunday. It's purpose is to promote Catholic education. Catholic in our area are celebrating by holding special activities and open houses to attract more students. A spokesperson for the Diocese of Allentown says enrollment is down at Carbon County schools, but is up at Schuylkill County schools.

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