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New Emergency Management Team Comes to Town
Friday November 21st 2014

Monroe County has a new emergency management team, but with some familiar faces.
Emergency Management is reorganizing and adjusting to the changes.
Brue Henry started out as operations and training officer. About 8 years ago he was promoted to deputy director. Now he's the new director of emergency management. The deputy director position now belongs to Maryellen Keegan. She was mainly in charge of planning and community outreach. The new training and operations officer, Ronald Eick is coming from the Monroe County Coroner's Office.
However, he's worked with emergency management in the past.
Although there haven't been any recent disasters.
Officials are preparing for intense winter storms and Ebola if they come our way.
They did assist in the manhunt for Eric Frein, providing food and equipment.
Officials say, majority of the funding was provided through a homeland security grant. They already had the equipment used in the search.

Good News For Monroe County Residents
Friday November 21st 2014

20-15 will be the third year in a row that there will not be a tax increase.
The Monroe County Commissioners announced the budget today at a special meeting. At 95 million, it's slightly higher from this year's. The major difference from last year is added capital projects.

Cold Day But Giving Warms The Heart
Thursday November 20th 2014

The cold is no match for warm giving hearts, and there were plenty of them on hand today. It's The Salvation Army's annual Thanksgiving Food Distribution.
This morning vehicles stretched from The Salvation Army in East Stroudsburg down Washington Street to Day Street. Families patiently waited to receive their Thanksgiving meal. It's something that happens annually but each year more and more are added on to the long list of people in need.
Assistant Food Pantry Director Lewann Stewart says, "Right now, we're at 436 families so I mean it is up from last year. But we're still doing applications so it's going to go up even more."
Unfortunately, Stewart says donations are still down so families are getting less in their grocery bags.
But the people in line are just thankful. The ones we talked to tell us they don't know what they'd do without the Salvation Army's food.
And the weather today somehow makes it mean more. That's what's keeping the volunteers going-- recipients smiles.
The shelves inside The Salvation Army are full now, but after today they will be bare. And the Christmas season is right around the corner.
That distribution is December 12th, just call The Salvation Army for more information if you'd like to donate at 570-421-3050.

No Tax Hike in Carbon County
Thursday November 20th 2014

For the second year in a row there will not be a tax hike in Carbon County. Commissioners made the announcement today. The county expects to spend just over $62,000 more next year compared to his year. The expected growth in the tax base is less than one tenth of a percent for next year. Officials say a sluggish housing market is to blame. In order to avoid a tax increase, officials have implemented several measures including a hiring freeze. They are also denying requests for new equipment for some county offices.

West End EMS Recognized for Excellence
Thursday November 20th 2014

This afternoon representatives from Northeastern, PA EMS council recognized the West End Community Ambulance association for their achievements.
They are now the 5th agency in the 6 county, EMS council region to receive the gold standard of excellence. Officials say, they are the only EMS agency with these credentials in Monroe County. They were also awarded for excellence in child care.
The recognition for West End Ambulance will be valid for three years. Officials are hoping more local ambulance companies will achieve this recognition in the future.

Homeless Hit By Vandals and Theives
Wednesday November 19th 2014

As winter rolls in, officials from the Monroe County Homeless Initiative are looking for ways to end homelessness. They've been working to provide shelter for the homeless, feed them and keep them warm. They've supplied them with warm tents, cots and other cold weather supplies. Now someone is going around robbing the homeless and cutting their tents.
Some homeless believe the woman robbing the homeless and cutting tents is also accused of stealing from a family who welcomed her into their home. A report has been filed and Stroud Area Regional Police are investigating that incident.
The woman suspected of the theft and vandalism has not yet been charged.

Agencies Assist Businesses Impacted By Manhunt
Wednesday November 19th 2014

Now that suspected cop killer Eric Frein has been captured, businesses are trying to get back to normal. Today a Pocono Region Business Recovery Event at Skytop Lodge was held to help owners get to that point quicker. State and local agencies were on hand to provide information and assist businesses that were negatively impacted by the manhunt.

Pocono Proud Celebration
Tuesday November 18th 2014

State and local officials gather today to say thank you to the Pocono Community for all of the support during the Eric Frein manhunt. The celebration at Pocono Mountain East High School recognized 500 organizations and businesses involved in some aspect of the search like delivering food, cooking meals and collecting money. It's all about a new catchphrase-- Pocono Proud.

Armed Robbery - Penn Forest Twp Bank
Tuesday November 18th 2014

State Police are searching for a man who held up a bank this afternoon in Penn Forest Township. It happened around 4 pm at the Jim Thorpe National Bank on Route 903. The bank had just closed but there were tellers still inside. Police say the man gained access by breaking the front door. He took an undisclosed amount of cash. At the time the suspect was wearing a black ski mask, a dark jacket and shirt and blue jeans. He was also carrying a black handgun. The man fled the bank, running across route 903 and into the woods. No one was hurt. Anyone with information is asked to contact State Police at Lehighton.

Power Outages - Franklin and Lehighton
Tuesday November 18th 2014

A windy day leads to power problems in Lehighton Borough and in Franklin Township. Around 11 am wires were reported down at Long Run and Maury Roads in Franklin Township. A PPL crew was working on scene for several hours to repair the lines. According to PPL's outage page, over 500 customers were left in the dark. Shortly after that outage was reported, a pole fire was called in on Bridge Street in Lehighton. That was around 11:15 am. Borough Power and Light officials tell us a tree branch fell on a line. Power was knocked out to the south half of town. Power was restored within an hour.

Hicks' Sentencing Phase Starts
Monday November 17th 2014

A jury is deciding on the sentence of a Monroe County man. On Friday, 40-year-old Charles Hicks of Tobyhanna was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of 36-year-old Deanna Null of Scranton. Now the penalty phase of the trial is underway to determine whether Hicks will face life in prison or death. Today Hicks shed some tears while hearing his mother and two sisters testify on his behalf. They don't want to lose him.
The defense is focusing on drugs being the culprit behind his grisly act. They say since Hicks has been in prison, he's been "somewhat of a model person," having extra duties that he's earned and started a work out program for him and fellow inmates. Hicks' family and ex-girlfriend describe him as very routine oriented, being a body builder and being in the Navy before getting involved with drugs.
Testimony is expected to continue over the next several days before the jury decides whether he will face life in prison or death.

Carbon County Psychologist Sentenced
Monday November 17th 2014

A Carbon County Psychologist is sentenced on charges he had sexual contact with a patient. A judge has ordered Doctor Michael Degilio of Penn Forest Township to serve between 4 and 8 years in state prison. In May, a jury found him guilty of having inappropriate sexual contact with a female patient. According to court testimony, Degilio coaxed the victim into performing a sexual act on him during a visit to his Lehighton office. The victim had recently checked herself out of the behavioral health unit at the hospital - and was suicidal and on a strong anti-depressant. Degilio is in Carbon County prison on $100,000 straight bail. He has 30 days to appeal his sentence.

Guilty Verdict In A Grisly Murder Trial In Monroe County
Friday November 14th 2014

A Monroe County jury has found 40-year-old Charles Hicks of Tobyhanna guilty of first degree murder in the death of 36-year-old Deanna Null of Scranton six years ago. He's also guilty of tampering with evidence and abusing a corpse.
The jury found Hicks guilty on all charges after deliberating for about two hours this afternoon. Closing argument wrapped up just before noon.
Earlier today, the defense told the jury Hicks admits to dismembering Null and dumping her body parts along Interstates 80 and 380. But that he did not kill her. Instead, the defense argues alcohol and cocaine were found in her system and she died of a drug overdose.
The jury will return Monday for the penalty phase of this case. Hicks faces life in prison or the death penalty.

Jim Thorpe Man Allegedly Steals Vehicles
Friday November 14th 2014

Police are searching for a Jim Thorpe man in connection with several stolen vehicle. 20-year-old Avery Ziegenfus is accused of stealing the vehicles over the past two days. Police believe he first stole a PennDot pick-up truck. Then he took a green Ford Escort from a house on White Street in Bowmanstown. The Escort was located on Long Run Road in Franklin Township. Now police believe he is driving a stolen blue Nissan Sentra. Ziegenfus is also accused of burglarizing a house in Bowmanstown and taking a Smith and Wesson revolver and cash. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Avery Ziegenfus asked to contact State Police at Lehighton.

Barrett Township Residents Upset They Could Lose their Police Force
Thursday November 13th 2014

A Monroe County municipality is looking at cutting its police force. Barrett Township Supervisors say costs keep going up and balancing the budget is getting tougher. The township police force cost 712 thousand dollars to operate this year. One option is to disband the department and join with Pocono Mountain Regional Police at a savings of 235 thousand dollars. And at the same time, have Barrett's current officers move to Pocono Mountain Regional. Supervisor Chair Ralph Megliola says no decision has yet been made and the board hasn't voted.
Residents don't think it's the answer and it's bad timing right after the Eric Frein manhunt primarily took place in their town. They would rather pay more taxes and keep the department as it is. Police Chief Steven Williams wishes it didn't come out during a peak in community support, but says now openings are available. Williams also says 24/7 coverage will continue. Residents fear it won't be the same type of coverage and familiarity.
Supervisors say taxes in Barrett Township are maxed out and can't be increased without court approval. They plan to meet with the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief on the 25th to discuss options.

Dream Come True To Host Telethon
Thursday November 13th 2014

Every year the Blue Ridge Chapter of dream come true strives to fulfill the dreams of seriously ill children in the area.
This Sunday you'll be able to hear from kids whose dreams have come true at their annual telethon.
The event is from 5-9 at Penns Peak. It will also be live on TV-13.

Eric Frein Look Alike Buys a Car
Wednesday November 12th 2014

The Canadensis man mistaken for Eric Frein, during the 48 day manhunt has been doing some car shopping. Today he was at Halterman's Toyota in East Stroudsburg and he left the lot with a new 2007 Subaru Outback. He paid a little under $10,000.
Tully says, the rest of the money is going to be saved for maintenance and gas.
The community raised over $24,000 for him to buy the car, through go fund me.com, after he claimed he was assaulted by a law enforcement officer who'd mistaken him for Frein.
He was taken to the hospital with bruised ribs.
The last time we spoke with Tully he was trying to find the officer who assaulted him to press charges. Now Tully says he doesn't plan to file any suit. He's planning to just enjoy his new car and continue to support his family.

Africa Comes To The Poconos
Wednesday November 12th 2014

Come summer-- an African Safari experience will open in the Poconos. We're talking about the Kalahari Resort from Wisconsin currently building its first hotel and waterpark on the east coast at Pocono Manor. Today we were on the hard hat tour of the 350 million dollar project construction site.
The infrastructure is in place for all four phases of the Kalahari Resort. The first phase is right on schedule to open sometime in June despite last winter's severe weather.
The family owned resort will initially have 457 guest rooms, 100 thousand square-feet of indoor waterpark space, an outdoor waterpark, 65 thousand square-foot convention center, 10 thousand square-foot spa, restaurants and entertainment all with an authentic African theme.
Owner Todd Nelson says businesses are already booking the convention center and they are also taking room reservations. For more information, just go to their website at www.kalahariresorts.com.

Hearing for Lehighton Man Accused of Robbing Pharmacy
Wednesday November 12th 2014

A Lehighton man accused of robbing a borough pharmacy will now face charges in Carbon County Court. On October 18th, 50-year-old John Eremus is accused of brandishing a gun as he demanded Oxycodone from the First National Pharmacy. Investigators later discovered the gun was a toy painted to look real. He got away with over $1,200 worth of drugs. The next day Eremus's mother reported he had stolen her vehicle. His family told police he was acting suspicious, even giving one of them an Oxy tablet to hold for him. Investigators say he was hospitalized twice for overdosing before they were able to question him. He later admitted to the robbery. Today Eremus waived his right to a preliminary hearing. He now faces multiple charges in county court.

Panther Valley Sues Governor Corbett
Tuesday November 11th 2014

Superintendent of the Panther Valley School District, Dennis Kergick, says the lawsuit has been in the works for about a year and a half. Six school districts are involved in the case and are suing several top officials including, the PA Department of Education, Governor Tom Corbett and the PA State Board of Education. According to the lawsuit, the state has implemented tough academic standards, but hasn't supplied equal resources to students who need them. The lawsuit says although the cost of meeting state academic standards has increased funding cuts continue. The plaintiffs are calling for changes to the way money is distributed among schools in the commonwealth.

Veterans Day Takes On New Meaning For Some Locals Who Have Served Our Country
Tuesday November 11th 2014

The Former Hotel Jonas in Polk Township is now operating as the Major Paul Syverson Veterans Sanctuary. And it's already making a huge difference in getting local homeless veterans back on their feet.
Veterans Day means much more today to 31-year-old Corporal Army Veteran Daniel Turner who served during the Iraq War.
Turner says, "Past Veterans Days have really just come and gone. I have the opportunity to be surrounded by veterans and people that care about veterans, which means a lot to me."
Community volunteers stepped up to renovate the Hotel Jonas into a veterans rehabilitation center. It's something that's been Valor Clinic Founder Mark Baylis' dream for three years. And now, Turner is thankful to participate in the program.
Since Turner was honorably discharged in 2011, he ran into some tough times living in Maine. He ultimately ended up in Stroudsburg trying to get help dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Turner was basically homeless staying with different people, had no family contact except his five-year-old daughter and couldn't keep a job.
Turner says, "A lot of veterans look for and why they join is to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Coming back, they kind of don't know what to do with themselves."
Turner is now helping others through the program's community service outreach. The program also focuses on a daily routine and proper nutrition. Tonight life skills classes start and peer sessions start Thursday. It's only been a week out of the 90 days Turner will be staying at "Paul's House" but says the light at the end of the tunnel is now in plain sight.
Turner says, "It's going to give me coping skills to help with PTSD. It's going to help me get back out into the real world and basically make that transition from solider to civilian."
Four other veterans currently live there that range from the Iraqi War all the way back to the Korean War. But there are 12 rooms in total.
Baylis says by the end of next week Paul's House should be full through their own recruiting and partnerships. Right now he says it's been amazing to know the ones being helped currently are already planning on coming back to pay it forward.
If this mission inspires you and you'd like to help the cause, they could use wood to alleviate heating costs and warm footwear to hand out to homeless people in the community this winter.

It's A Call You Need To Answer
Monday November 10th 2014

Monroe County's Salvation Army is ringing out for your help. Like every year, it's Red Kettle Campaign started November first. It provides money for food, clothing, toys and emergency assistance to community members in need of a helping hand. Last year the effort fell short by $36,000. While they were able to balance their budget, the food program suffered. They had to make the tough decision whether to cut back on food per person or not serve everyone. This year officials hope to change that.
Commanding Officer Major James Gingrich says, "We made the choice of giving less food to each family in order to continue to help all the families. Now we would love to get back to the point where we're helping families with as much food as we did before."
And that depends on you. Luckily so far, money from the first week is up $200 from last year. But there's still a long way to go to reach the required $150,000. You just need to find a bell ringer.
And the Red Kettle Campaign isn't just for Christmas, it also provides for Salvation Army programs all year long, including a new program. The Soup Kitchen is expanding to better serve the homeless population. Now instead of just lunch, it's open for breakfast from 6:30 to 9:30 in the morning Monday through Friday. Right now 28 people are having breakfast but that number is expected to rise because they average 70 people coming in for lunch. The Salvation Army can always use more volunteers and donations, just call them at 570-421-3050.

Stop Sign Issue
Friday November 7th 2014

Reckless driver's are wreaking havoc in Monroe County's West End. People living in the Birches Development off of Route 715 are tired of speeders flying through stop signs in their development. Those Chestnuthill Township residents are calling for action.
Birches III Resident Robin Dahl contacted News13 worried someone is going to get hurt. The main road through her development-- Hawk Terrace-- has two stop signs that people not only don't abide by, they speed through. One sign is in front of her home.
We were there today for just a half hour and caught two vehicles on camera, but all together witnessed six. There's even a warning sign alerting drivers they need to stop soon. Like Dahl, many other residents worry about their children's safety. Hawk Terrace is also a bus route.
Neighbor Saveena Mclean says, "Seems like a raceway because even days when the school bus stops, people tend to ignore the stop sign that school kids are there. And they just zoom by."
Dahl says it's a neighborhood where you have to be afraid your dog could get hit. And Mclean agrees-- taking a walk is at your own risk.
Dahl runs a business out of her home called "Lighten Up Décor." Customers have noticed the problem too.
They say other neighbors have called police. They want the laws to be enforced and violators reprimanded. But so far there hasn't been an officer present. We checked with Fern Ridge State Police who cover the area and they say nothing's been reported. Now they'll check into it, and continue enforcement depending on what they find.
Station Commander Sergeant Joseph Racho of the Fern Ridge State Police Barracks says, "What we do is we set up a traffic memo and the troopers are instructed to go to that area, look for those violations and report back."
But residents also believe a police presence isn't enough and have other solutions. They say speed bumps and speed limit signs could help.
We also spoke with the Chestnuthill Township Road Master. He didn't know anything about it either, but says he's now checking into it too.

Truck Driver Says Seat Belt Saved His Life
Thursday November 6th 2014

A truck driver survives a tractor trailer rollover this morning in Snydersville at the Route 33-209 split. The dirver tells us he's lucky to be alive and more surprising, he's not injured. He says a simple decision saved his life.
Looking at the twisted rolled over tractor trailer, it's hard to imagine you'd see the driver standing a few feet away simply making calls on his cell phone. But that's exactly how we found truck driver Arvinder Nahal. He's thanking God and a seat belt.
Nahal tells us he was traveling on Route 33 South in the right lane just before the Business Route 209 Snydersville Exit when a car in the left lane pulled into his lane and slowed down.
BGF Truck Driver Arvinder Nahal says, "There was nothing in the left side, he could've stayed on the left side because of that. I tried to control it, if I didn't stop I would've crushed him."
Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder Volunteer Firefighters were called to the scene because of a fuel spill.
Nahal says he was glad he was doing the speed limit because the slippery conditions could've made it worse. He says he's been driving for five years and this is his accident. State Police were still investigating and had no comment. Nahal is glad he had eye witnesses since the car that cut him off never stopped.
Schlier's Towing company had their work cut out for them with the mangled truck. But there was a positive-- only one lane was closed going 33 South.
Nahal's trailer was filled with appliances making it heavy, so it's harder for him to stop. He hopes other drivers heed this warning, "Please maintain distance as much as you can for the truck drivers. Because it's a big machine and we try to stop as much as possible, but all the weight, someone could lose their life."
Nahal says he talked to his boss and the damage is covered by insurance. He's just happy to go home to his family.

Calling All Businesses Impacted By Frein Manhunt
Tuesday November 4th 2014

People are once again visiting the Poconos now that suspected cop killer Eric Frein has been caught.
But a little survey could mean big help for Monroe County businesses negatively impacted by the Frein Manhunt. Officials with Monroe County Emergency Management just need business owners participation to figure out exactly how much money has been lost. So far only nine businesses are, and that's not enough to get a clear picture.
Deputy Director Maryellen Keegan says, "There are certain programs state and federally that we could potentially qualify for, but at this point there is no guarantee that we will qualify. It is really important that we get these surveys back so that we can see what impact we've had and where we can plug that into."
If you would like to participate, just call Monroe County Emergency Management at 570-992-4113. You have until the end of this month.

High Ranks
Tuesday November 4th 2014

A Carbon County man will become the Army's highest ranking enlisted soldier. U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major of Training and Doctrine, David Dailey, will take over the position of Sergeant Major in January. The Palmerton native is one of four brothers and comes from a military family. The Command Sergeant Major has been deployed five times over his 25 year career. He's married and has a son in college. Dailey says he wouldn't be where he is today if it wasn't for his family. The Command Sergeant Major is currently responsible for training and mentoring soldiers.

Arson Fires Where Eric Frein Was Captured
Monday November 3rd 2014

An investigation into arson fires where suspected cop killer Eric Frein was captured last week puts rumors to rest.
After police left the former Birchwood Resort area near Tannersville late Friday afternoon, someone started two fires. It seems many people are attracted to the area, wanting to see where Frein was found.
Many people tweeting Friday night thought the fires were set inside the hangar where police found Frein's weapons. But that's actually not the case.
Pocono Township Police Officer Jack Manuel says no buildings were damaged at the abandoned Birchwood Resort Friday night. The only thing that went up in smoke was leaves and brush along the main road, Birchwood Road that runs through the resort. Both Pocono Township Volunteer Firefighters and police responded to the incident before eight.
Manuel says, "There was actually a match book collected which was probably thrown from a moving vehicle."
Police aren't exactly sure what was behind what is believed to be thrown matches. Friday night was Halloween but it was also when police finished searching the area for evidence and Birchwood Road was opened back up to the public.
Manuel says, "I don't know if it was just people coming out and they wanted to cause more attention for the area, I mean I don't know, it's still under investigation at this point, but as far as we can tell, it was just a simple mischief thing."
What is for sure is people are definitely curious and are coming to see where Frein-- who'd been on the run for over a month-- was taken into custody. We ran into two women doing exactly that this morning heading toward the high grass near the hangar.
The former resort is private property and police are trying to keep people out.
Manuel says, "It's a vacant resort. We don't want anybody else getting hurt. There's spots in the floor that are rotted out, the buildings are dilapidated. We don't need any more issues back there than we've already had."
Pocono Township Police say it's fine if you want to drive by. Birchwood Road is a public road. But don't walk on the property.

A Challenge to Carbon County Communities
Monday November 3rd 2014

Drug use in our communities has reached epidemic proportions in our area. That's why Weatherly borough is taking the next step in an effort to get drugs off the streets. With the help of The Carbon Monroe Pike Drug and Alcohol Commission and local officials, Weatherly has put together an informational brochure. The brochure highlights local resources for those battling an addiction. The customizable brochure template is available for other Carbon County communities to use and officials challenge other communities to follow Weatherly's lead.



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