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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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