Controversey Erupts Over Killed Swan
Friday January 20th 2017
Controversy erupts over a swan shot and killed in Monroe County. It happened near a Smithfield Township community where some residents are up in arms over their safety. But officials tell us the hunter did nothing wrong.
There are now only two mute swans for residents of the Lake Valhalla community to enjoy. Hunter Jason Cobb harvested the third one yesterday just before noon. He was given permission to be on the middle peninsula, which is private property. Cobb tells us he took aim when the bird was in flight over the lake. The PA Game Commission finds the kill legal. But residents are also alarmed the shot was taken too close to their homes. We're told five shots rang out. Plus, the school bus stop is located right by the lake, across the street. Valhalla Lake Association Treasurer Richard Collin received numerous calls this morning who had kids afraid to wait for the bus. An officer from the Game Commission was out investigating their concerns this morning and found cobb did everything he was supposed to. He was outside the 150 yard lawful safety zone of any occupied structures. Cobb posted a picture of the dead swan on Facebook and he wants people to know it was a conservation effort. He also plans to eat and utilize every part of the bird. Social media is erupting with comments both in favor of the hunter and against the hunter, but officials are worried about the posted threats. They say rather than getting emotionally involved, it's best for the public to report the matter and let the proper authorities handle it. While the act was determined lawful both by state police and the Game Commission, residents still don't feel it was ethical or good sportsmanship. Cobb does apologize for upsetting people and says people are entitled to their opinion but it's not going to change what he does in the future. The Lake Valhalla community consisting of 250 homes would like to re-establisj an understanding with hunters by setting up new boundaries.
Flu Widespread In PA
Thursday January 19th 2017
Flu cases are widespread in Pennsylvania, including our area. While health officials tell us the high number of cases right now isn't too out of the ordinary, February is the typical time to see such a spike. That's why they want you to know its not too late to get a flu shot. Anyone over the age of six months is safe to receive one. Flue shots are available at most pharmacies. You can typically get one free with insurance.
Business Helps 79 Families With Heating Bills
Wednesday January 18th 2017
79 families in Monroe County won't have to worry about a heating bill this winter. It's all thanks to Halterman's Toyota in East Stroudsburg that made a $25,000 donation to the Salvation Army today. It's actually the second year in a row the business is stepping up to assist the Salvation Army in helping people stay warm inside their homes. Officials of the nonprofit tell us their Emergency Assistance Program only stretches so far without the help of community members. Major James Gingrich says they get funds from the government to help 40 families but this donation more than doubles that. Without the donation those 79 families would be on their own. If you would like to donate to make a difference, just contact the Salvation Army.
19 Arrested In Monroe County Prostitution Sting
Tuesday January 17th 2017
19 people are arrested in Monroe County on prostitution related charges. County detectives set up the sting Friday night at a hotel in Stroudsburg with assistance from other law enforcement agencies. The arrests also led to two women being rescued from sex exploitation. The detectives want men paying for sex to realize that it's not always consensual, the women are being forced to do the acts. Their main goal is to recover victims of human trafficking and offer them resources to help them.
New Laws Kicking In This Holiday For Alcohol Sales
Monday January 16th 2017
People in Pennsylvania are celebrating two new firsts for alcohol sales this holiday. Hundreds of fine wine and good spirits stores were open today on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and will be open for Presidents Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July this year. Plus you can now buy a six-pack at beer distributors. Previously they were only allowed to sell 12-packs, cases and kegs. But a new law has changed that and we're told it's a long time coming. Brewskies Beverage located in East Stroudsburg just started selling six-packs today, but the law officially kicked in on Saturday.
Teen Dies In Tragic Skiing Accident In Monroe County
Friday January 13th 2017
Blair Academy, a school located in New Jersey, is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of boarding student, 15-year-old Juliette Dajani of Singapore. She died at Pocono Medical Center after a skiing accident on a Shawnee Mountain trail. She was there with the school's racing team. Officials of the school sent us this statement, "As a community, we are collectively grieving this loss, and we ask that you respect the privacy of our students, teachers and families as they continue to cope during this difficult time."
Officials tell us she was traveling at a high rate of speed on a black diamond when she lost control and skied off the bottom of the trail colliding with an orange safety fence. Autopsy results list the cause to be multiple blunt force injuries. Officials of the coroner's office tell us she was wearing all of the proper safety equipment including a helmet, elbow pads and knee pads. She just failed to stop. Employee Country Fish of The Loft located in Tannersville says the fences aren't in place to make sure you stop, they serve as a warning that there's a tree line. She's an experienced skier who knows it's important to never let your guard down because accidents can easily occur on the slopes.
Help Police Department Get k-9 Unit Back
Thursday January 12th 2017
A police department in Monroe County is looking to get man's best friend on the force. Stroud Area Regional Police hasn't had a K-9 Unit in five years due to a lacking of funding. Now they're hoping the community will help them bring the program back with two four-legged officers. The cost to re-establish the program is over 100 thousand dollars because of the training and equipment needed. The community is already stepping up like Trackside Station Grill and Bar. They're donating 20 percent of the proceeds this Sunday afternoon from one to six. For more information just call the department or you can send a check made out to Stroud Area Regional Police Commission Foundation with a footnote designating that it's for the K-9 Unit.
ESU Dorm Construction
Thursday January 12th 2017
Construction crews have been working on East Stroudsburg University's new dorm since the summer of last year. With it expected to be completed in a few months you can now see the structure finally taking shape, but school officials say after this project they have another one on deck called the Keystone Project. Kenneth Long VP of Administration & Finance at ESU says, " That will start taking place hopefully sometime in 2017." "Long over-waited but we still have some finishing touches to do on design work but once that's complete the state will put the bids out to start demolition of the old Keystone room and construction of the new project." Officials say construction of the suite, the Keystone project, and additional renovations of the existing academic buildings, residence halls, and bathrooms will cost a total of 200 million dollars.
Easter Eggs for Visually Impaired Children
Wednesday January 11th 2017
Bomb squads throughout Northeast Pennsylvania are in Monroe County today to help children who are visually impaired. They are assembling eggs that will give kids who are deprived of sight the opportunity to participate in an Easter egg hunt this year. It's the technology in the eggs that makes this possible! Lucas Fuller Bomb Technician of Bethlehem Bomb Squad says, " We create an electronic circuit with some piezo electric beepers a battery switch and when they switch them on what they do is they beep, so the kids who have impaired sight are able to have an Easter egg hunt and find Easter eggs just like everybody else. Officials say the Easter egg hunt will take place on April 8th for the 50 plus members of the program. For more information contact The Greater Wilkes-Barre Association for the Blind at 570-693-3555.
Bill To Help Homeowners In Private Communities
Wednesday January 11th 2017
A local state representative is back in Harrisburg trying to protect homeowners in private communities. Rosemary Brown wants these residents to be able to have specific complaints investigated by the Attorney General's office. Right now, residents having a problem only have the option of a private lawsuit. Time ran out during the fall session to get the bill passed. But she is working on it again. If you would like this bill to pass, you can help by calling or writing to your local representative about its importance.
Whitmore's Garage on fire
Tuesday January 10th 2017
At about 8 pm last night fire crews were called to extinguish a blaze at Whitmore's Garage in Stroudsburg. Officials say nobody was in the building at the time of the fire, but workers and customers who have their trucks serviced at the garage gathered this morning to see what the fire left behind. Officials say as of now the fire doesn't appear suspicious and it will take days to determine the cause. As for the business the owners plan to rebuild.
Home Destroyed By Fire In Hamilton Township
Tuesday January 10th 2017
Firefighters were called just after six this morning to a fully involved house fire on Smith Road in Hamilton Township. Over 30 volunteers responded from four different companies. And the bitter cold just added to the challenges they faced in putting the flames out. The two tenants did not want to be on camera, but one tells us he woke up to smoke filling the home. They made it out safely and flagged down a passerby who called 911. The tenant tells us he's lost everything including his business that he ran out of the home. He's thankful that the Red Cross will be helping to provide shelter, food and clothing. If you would like to help the two tenants and others in the community who lose their home to a fire. Just donate to the American Red Cross of the Pocono Mountains or sign up to be a volunteer. The cause of the fire is undetermined and a fire marshal is investigating.
Reassessment Officials Want You To Know
Monday January 9th 2017
Please refrain from using all capital letters, it is unsuitable for body copy & difficult on the end-user's eyes!
Reassessment Officials Want You To Know "They're Your Friend"
Monday January 9th 2017
You may soon receive a knock on your door from a Tyler Technologies official wearing a neon vest with the companies name and carrying a county ID badge. Tyler Technologies is the company Monroe County hired to gather the information for the reassessment that's expected to be completed by 2019. Officials are done in the Stroudsburg area and are now going door-to-door in East Stroudsburg and Middle Smithfield Township. The Senior Project Supervisor tells us he's still receiving calls daily from concerned citizens about the legitimacy of the data collector at their door. But there is a reason to be concerned. We're told in the past three counties that they've worked in, there has been an impostor in each one. The big difference is the worker will never enter your house regardless of the weather. They'll just ask you questions and measure the outside of your home. It's also important to comply, they're trying to help. A data mailer will be sent out starting in March or April with the information they collected about your property. If there's anything incorrect, you'll be able to correct it on the mailer or by phone.
Home Destroyed By Fire In Polk Township
Friday January 6th 2017
A home in Monroe County's West End is completely destroyed by a fast moving fire. Flames broke out last night in Polk Township while the tenant was at work. Neighbor Herman Heisler spotted the flames around 11:30 as he was walking his dog and called 911. Then he tried to help until firefighters arrived but the log cabin style home located on Fremont Drive was already engulfed in flames. Five fire departments responded with around 40 volunteers and they had their work cut out for them. The weather and remote location near Merwinsburg made it tough for firefighters to extinguish the blaze. The tenant tells us he does have somewhere to stay. The cause of the fire remains undetermined and a fire marshal is investigating. Officials tell us the fire does not seem to be suspicious.
Armed Robbery At Main Street Laundromat
Thursday January 5th 2017
Police are investigating an armed robbery in Monroe County. It happened this morning just before nine at the Main Street Laundromat in Stroudsburg. The employee behind the counter was threatened by a suspect holding a large hunting type knife. The suspect fled the scene after taking an undetermined amount of money. Police say no one was injured. The suspect is described as a black male between the ages of 18 to 27, 5'9 to 6 foot in height with a thin build. He was wearing a black face mask and the only area around his eyes were exposed. He was wearing a green hooded military style coat and khaki colored pants. If you witnessed anything or have any information on the robbery, you're asked to call Stroud Area Regional Police.
Medical Marijuana Possibly in Pocono Township
Thursday January 5th 2017
Medical marijuana was officially legalized in Pennsylvania last April and now there's a company that would like to grow it in Monroe County. The California based company CannaMed wants to build a 45,000 square foot building in Pocono Township to grow and process pot. Officials tell the public that if approved the center will have high security, surveillance, and the only sign on the building will say no one under 18 is permitted on the property. Also they will require background checks for all employees and owners.
School Property Tax Debate Returns
Wednesday January 4th 2017
School property tax is a hot topic once again in Harrisburg. Lawmakers have returned to the state capitol with former vetoed House Bill 76 that they believe will eliminate or dramatically reduce property tax, by increasing state sales tax to 7% and personal income tax by 60%. In 2015 the legislation was defeated by the Senate 25-24 with Lieutenant Gov. Mike Stack casting the tie-breaker. Senator Mario Scavello says, "We have many new members and according to Senator Argall first off we feel that we do have the votes and it'll be introduced and we are going to get the bill to the floor and see what happens." Scavello says they will also be introducing another bill that will change the State Constitution by eliminating property taxes only on owner occupied residential homes.
Armed Bank Robbery In Barrett Township
Wednesday January 4th 2017
Police are looking for two suspects involved in an armed robbery in Barrett Township. It happened this morning around 9 at NBT Bank of Mountainhome. Eyewitnesses spotted a masked man wearing a black hoodie, jeans and sneakers running down Route 390. He was then seen jumping into the back of a get-away car described as a blueish-gray Volkswagen possibly a Passat that tore out of the Verizon parking lot traveling south on Route 390. Police say the suspect is described as a white male about five foot nine to about six foot. He entered the bank and had a black handgun. He jumped over the counted and took an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured. Recently there have been many robberies at various banks and stores in Monroe County. Police are looking into whether or not this one is connected. If you have any information on the NBT Bank robbery call Pocono Mountain Regional Police.
Monroe County Representatives Sworn In
Tuesday January 3rd 2017
Pennsylvania lawmakers are back in session after they took an oath of office today in Harrisburg. Monroe County has a new face as part of its three state representative lineup. Representative Maureen Madden is excited to start working on the issues in the 115th District. All three, which also include Representative Rosemary Brown of the 189th District and Representative Jack Rader of the 176th District, seem to be focused on the same issues of property tax reform and fair education funding.
Lost Veteran Service Dog In Monroe County
Monday January 2nd 2017
Your help is needed to find a service dog in Monroe County's West End. The black lab has now been on the run for four days from a veterans rehabilitation center in Polk Township. We're told there have been sightings of the dog named Dora but she keeps getting spooked before someone can grab her. Dora and her sister Spider arrived from North Carolina at Paul's House. a place that gets veterans off the street and back on their feet, only two days before she went missing. She took off down Jonas Road. Both Dora and Spider were just starting their training to be companion service dogs for two veterans in need. Dora had already met her new owner, a bronze star Vietnam Vet who's currently staying at Paul's House. Richard Serfass was out looking for Dora right before we spoke with him. He's been out looking for the five-year-old lab every day since she disappeared. Officials of the Valor Clinic which operates Paul's House also have an ASPCA officer helping to find the dog. If you spot the black lab please call 570-216-8128 immediately. Remember to not chase her and just report where she is located.