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BRCTV-13 News Archive

SUPER BOWL PREPARATIONS IN THE POCONOS
January 30, 2015

Restaurants and bars in Monroe County are gearing up for the big kickoff this Sunday. The New England Patriots will go head to head with the Seattle Seahawks for Super Bowl 49. And locals we talked to are just ready to celebrate no matter who plays.
The Poconos isn't as close to the action this year, but Super Bowl 49 in Arizona is still number one on locals minds. Everyone just seems to have plans getting together and eating great food. That's why restaurants and bars are already preparing for the big game between the Seahawks and the Patriots. Rooting on a team has taken a backseat as some people today couldn't even tell us who was playing.
Whether you want to order in or eat out, Monroe County establishments have got you covered. Employees at Dickey's Barbecue Pit located near Bartonsville are especially looking forward to Sunday. Last year they had just opened and weren't that busy.
General Manager Matt Bonefede says, "We have a lot of catering options. We have a lot of extra large family packs and family packs, and hopefully people come out and grab them all."
But if today's lunch crowd is any indication, we're sure they'll be getting a lot of calls for their one-of-a-kind taste.
Bonefede says, "All kind of smoked meats, all kinds of different sides, and we have our own smoker in house so it's not like we're bringing it in already smoked."
Now even if your team loses, there's still a place in Stroudsburg that you could leave still being a winner.
Jock N' Jill's Owner Barry Lynch explains,"200 prizes to give out, yeah a lot of the beer companies get involved and you know we have things like mountain bikes, beer refrigerators and an entertainment center."
Lynch says this is their fifth year throwing a Super Bowl party and it just keeps getting bigger. He says besides just a perfect atmosphere with about 28 TV screens and of course the prizes, there's great deals and themed food, along with their regular menu.
Lynch adds, "Chef is doing a wing sauce for each team this Sunday so there'll be one for the Patriots and the Seahawks."
Kickoff is at 6:30 Sunday night and no matter where you celebrate, stay safe, don't drink and drive.

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY MURDER IN COURT TODAY
January 30, 2015

The highly-profiled disappearance and murder of Jessica Padgett of Northampton was brought to the courtroom today. Gregory Graf, Padgett's step-father is accused of murdering the 33-year old to perform sexual acts on her corpse. Graf was advised to waive his right to a preliminary hearing today and did so. Northampton County District Attorney, John Morganelli believes the county has overwhelming evidence to convict Graf of the murder-one charge. However, Graf's defense attorney Jack McMahon says the defense will be looking deeply into his client's mental state mental state at the time of the murder. Graf is due back in court in April.

NURSES AT PMC DECIDE NOT TO STRIKE
January 30, 2015

JNESO unionized registered nurses at Pocono Medical Center have ratified a new contract with officials at PMC, avoiding a strike of roughly 500 nurses. Understaffing is one of their biggest concerns.
Hospital spokesman Geoffrey Roach released the following statement:
"We have reached an agreement that is fair and in the best interests of our patients, employees and community."
JNESO Director of practice, Barbara Conklin says they've agreed to look at understaffing in 3 of the worst areas: the emergency room, the med surge areas and the telemetry floor.
Conklin says they will still continue pursuing staffing ratio issues through legislation.
The current contract expires tomorrow. Officials are working to finalize the new one which will come into effect Feb 1 and extend through Jan 31, 2018.

STEPPING IS MORE THAN JUST ABOUT THE BEAT
January 29, 2015

February is Black History Month, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate. One club at a local community college always honors the culture.
They call themselves Shadow Steppers- the Northampton Community College stepping club that meets and practices at the Monroe Campus dance studio in Tannersville. Their stomp, clap and slap the body routines have everything to do with African American roots.
Shadow Steppers Club Advisor Denise Harris explains, "When the men and women had to work in the coal mines, they were not allowed to speak so they had to learn other ways to communicate."
Now those movements of communication have transformed into the entertainment art form you see today. But it's still bringing home the message of Black History Month.
Shadow Steppers Club Co-Advisor Aliya Kenyatta adds, "Moving forward and bringing everyone together to celebrate a specific culture too so it's not to take away from its origin but we want to include everyone. And that's what Black History Month is all about."
That's why they're looking for more students to join in on the beat. And they've also incorporated dance into their routines.
Harris started the club in 2011. She only requests commitment in showing up for every practice and being ready to perform in front of people. They are willing to teach you. So if you're an interested student, just come to Kapp Hall Room 22 and join in on the fun Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 in the morning.

STATE LEGISLATORS RECONSIDER MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL
January 29, 2015

The state could be closer to allowing medical marijuana use.
Legislators are taking another look at legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. Last year the senate passed bill 1182 to allow it, but it died in the house of representatives.
Senate Bill 3, vey similar to that bill is before legislators again, but it may have new supporters this time around. State Senator Mario Scavello is one who's had a change of heart.
No votes have been taken yet, but there has been discussion. Legislators in the senate are expected to pass the bill and the governor has shown support.

POLICE NEED YOUR HELP
January 28, 2015

Police ask for your help finding a suspected drug dealer. Earlier this month, our viewers tipped us off to authorities making an arrest on Main Street in Stroudsburg. Now we know it was a drug bust, but the man taken into custody is currently on the run.
Stroud Area Regional Police and Monroe County Detectives are in search of Randy Cruz. Police say they arrested several heroin addicts in the Stroudsburg-East Stroudsburg area. Interviews led police to Cruz being the supplier. Police say Cruz's distribution of heroin led to other crimes in their area, and it became a quality of life issue for residents.
Police say an investigation began a little over a month ago with the help of detectives. They had someone buy narcotics from Cruz on two occasions. Then a third meeting was set up early afternoon on January 12th for his arrest.
The drug bust happened on Main Street in Stroudsburg in front of Jock N' Jill's. Many people couldn't believe what they saw, especially FBI agents.
Detective Joseph Coddington of the Monroe County District Attorney's Office says FBI agents from Scranton were in the area for another case and they appreciated the manpower.
Cruz was then released, and is now on the run. He's described as 26-years-old, Hispanic, having a face piercing and covered in tattoos. There is now a felony warrant for his arrest.
Police say they held off on providing information on the drug bust for their informant's safety and it was still an on-going investigation for a possible bigger supplier. If you have any information on Cruz, please contact either Stroud Area Regional Police or Monroe County Detectives.

ALPINE BACK IN BUSINESS
January 28, 2015

Skiers are enjoying all the left over snow we got over the last couple days at Alpine Mountain.
The winter started out slow for them with a lack of snow, but now the owner says mother nature is making up for it.
Alpine is considered a beginner and family friendly ski and snowboarding resort. They use wider skis that help with balance.
They begin lessons at 4 years old.
The owner wants to build a nursery next year that can entertain kids while parents ski if they're not up for it.

THE COST OF WOOD STOVES MAY DRAMATICALLY RISE
January 27, 2015

A popular heating source in the Poconos that saves people money, may no longer be as affordable to newcomers. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed last year updated regulations to reduce air pollution by wood stoves and wood heaters. If the law goes into effect, manufacturers producing new stoves will need to redesign them this May. The standards haven't been changed in more than two decades, but Manager Doreen Carmean at Stoves 'N Stuff located on Route 611 in Stroud Township says the EPA is missing the real problem. Carmean says stoves created after 1988 are already of great quality.
Doreen adds, "It's the old products that people can't afford to replace, and we need them to have an incentive to replace anything built prior to 1988 with things built now."
Stoves 'N Stuff actually has an example of a wood stove with the new regulations at a cost of about $4,000. That's a difference of about $2,000 over current stoves. The reason- besides just normal redesigning costs- is the stove will transform into a double re-burning system with a catalytic filter and second chamber.
Carmean says, "We believe it will harm not only people who can't afford a wood burning stove, but also businesses like ours that depend on selling wood stoves."
Carmean also says what the EPA wants is an attack on the entire industry:
"We actually have legislators and lawyers that are constantly going to the EPA and fighting this process."
An EPA spokesperson says Carmean's comments and nearly 6,000 others, either for or against the new regulations are being considered. You are no longer able to weigh in and a public hearing was held. The agency is under a court order deadline to sign a final rule by February 3rd.

QUESTIONS SURROUND A TRAFFIC PLAN
January 23, 2015

No matter who we talked to today shopping at Steele's True Value Hardware Store in Pocono Township, they all referred to the Route 715 and Sullivan Trail intersection in Tannersville as the biggest travel pain on the weekends. The shopping, skiing and various other destinations are too big of a draw. Pocono Township officials announced this week The Crossings Premium Outlets will provide a way to alleviate the problem. According to the minutes of the Commissioner's meeting-- The Crossings would pay Pocono Township Police to direct traffic at the intersection on the known busy days.
Today, the general manager of the Crossings sent us a statement that the announcement made by township officials was premature and no agreements have been reached yet.
Other details were hired flaggers directing parking in the Crossings' lot and possibly using Northampton Community College's lot for parking. While Crossings' officials agree these are all on the table, they're not able to confirm anything at this time.
We will keep you updated on this story as we receive more information from the Crossings' management.

LB MORRIS CLOSED - NO HEAT
January 23, 2015

A Jim Thorpe School is closed today after the heating system fails. The superintendent says boilers at LB Morris were not operational this morning and as a result school was cancelled. Parts of both boilers failed and prevented them from operating at full capacity. As of mid-morning, one boiler was back up and running. A part for the second boiler was on the way. The superintendent says school will be back in session Monday unless the district is affected by the forecasted snow.

THEFT FROM FATAL CRASH MEMORIAL
January 22, 2015

A Palmerton woman is accused of stealing from a memorial site set up for victims of a fatal crash in Lower Towamensing Township. Troopers say 24-year-old Amanda Everitt stole a sliver and ruby necklace from a memorial on Dairy Road. Four teens were killed there December 19th. Everitt took the necklace between December 20th and January 20th. She's then accused of trying to sell the jewelry on Craig's List and Facebook. The family of one of the deceased saw a picture Everitt posted and a description of the necklace. Troopers got the necklace back and charged Everitt with theft and other related offenses.

STROUDSBURG SCHOOL BOARD MEETING DISAPPOINTS ATTENDEES
January 22, 2015

Residents attending last night's Stroudsburg School Board Meeting say they have a lot to be upset about.
First, their efforts to get Superintendent John Toleno's contract renewed have failed. The board voted five to four again. Students used social media, handed in a petition of 400 student names and community members manned phones getting the word out to #savetoleno.
While Toleno can apply for the superintendent position, he says he's looking to move on to another district.
Toleno says, "I have some future plans. I'm sure I'm going to land on my feet. I'm holding my head high. I'm very proud of what we did have here in Stroudsburg."
Then, the board approved a plan to close Clearview at the end of this school year and use the other four elementary schools as kindergarten through fourth grade. The next step is to finalize transportation and organization plans.

NORTH WHITEHALL HIT & RUN
January 21, 2015

State Police are looking for a vehicle that hit a Coplay woman last night on Route 873. The incident happened just before 9 pm near the McDonald's in North Whitehall Township. Troopers say the vehicle hit 42-year-old Jennifer Dietrich as she was walking across the street. The driver is believed to have fled north on Route 873. The vehicle is either a truck or SUV, dark in color. The vehicle may have damage to the front passenger area and a smashed passenger side headlight. The pedestrian was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. Anyone with information is asked to contact State Police at Bethlehem.

STROUDSBURG MUSIC TEACHER ARRAIGNED
January 21, 2015

A Stroudsburg music teacher accused of having sexual contact with a minor was arraigned on related charges today.
According to police 90,000 messages exchanged from Brandon Flatley and a 17 year old girl were found. Police say he met her in one of his classes, when she was 10 years old.
A judge set bail at $75,000 with special conditions. Flatley is not allowed to be around any minors with the exception of his children or use social media. His preliminary hearing is scheduled January 30th.

SNOW SAFETY
January 21, 2015

Skiing, snowboarding and sledding...the perks of living in the Poconos. Winter sports can be a lot of fun, but can be dangerous too. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission more than 440,000 people were treated at hospitals, doctor's offices and emergency rooms for winter sports related injuries in 2010. That's why safety experts emphasize the importance of wearing the proper gear, like safety helmets. Physical therapists also recommend stretching your calves and hamstrings before hitting the slopes.

SECURITY UPGRADES AT MONROE COUNTY DISTRICT COURTS
January 21, 2015

Many high profile and dangerous cases come through the local magistrate offices first before going to the courthouse. Sometimes things can get out of hand. So Monroe County officials are focusing on providing security upgrades to be proactive. One is a new response plan called "All-Call." Now if staff at a district court hit a panic button, the closest officer can respond. And that's not all that's happening thanks to state grant money.
Monroe County Deputy Court Administrator for Special Courts Deb Rivera says, "Door buzzers to secure areas where people just can't walk into to. Most of the offices are expanding their security cameras to include back hallways and parking lots."
Rivera also says more panic buttons will be provided. District Judge Michael Muth's office recently also got approved for bullet resistance glass. His staff currently works behind a thin pane of sliding glass. They're the last magistrate office to get it out of the ten.

SCHUYKILL COUNTY HOMELESS COUNT
January 20, 2015

The Salvation Army in Tamaqua is one of 11 base sites participating in the Schuykill County Local Housing Options Team homeless count. On January 29th, people who are homeless are encouraged to show up at the Salvation Army between 5 and 7 PM. The non-profit will be offering a meal to those who stop by and vouchers to a local grocery store, plus temporary accommodations at area motels.

CONTROVERSY IN BARRETT TOWNSHIP
January 20, 2015

Some Barrett Township residents are outraged. They believe their supervisors have no fiscal responsibility. It comes after the part-time township executive secretary/treasurer was replaced with a full-time employee with benefits.
Everything discussed at today's supervisor meeting will be handed over to the township solicitor to be addressed. Supervisors hope everyone shows up for the next meeting on Tuesday at 9:30AM.

RAPID BRIDGE REPLACEMENT FINALIZED
January 20, 2015

Penn-DOT has finalized a new program to replace more than 550 bridges across the state. The rapid bridge replacement project will replace two bridges in Pike County, eight bridges in Wayne County and 16 structures in Monroe County are also on that list. Some of the projects will start this summer and all of the bridges must be replaced within three years. The full list of bridges included in rapid replacement is available through this link
http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/P3info.nsf/Bridge?ReadForm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MLK!
January 19, 2015

Today East Stroudsburg University held its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration breakfast. The event continues to grow every year. This year 450 people attended, the most ever. That's why they moved the 18th annual event to a larger space on the campus-- the Mattioli Recreation Center.
ESU Multicultural Affairs Director and Event Host Cornelia Sewell-Allen says, "Last year we had it in Keystone and we had about 326 attendees, but it was pretty tight, almost to a fire hazard."
Eventually the breakfast will be moved back to Keystone. School officials confirm plans for a new building.
Sewell- Allen says, "The new Keystone Room will be able to accommodate over 500 people."
In the meantime they're hoping even more people come out next year to honor the iconic man with a dream.

GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
January 16, 2015

Some new legislators representing Monroe County are just getting started. That's why a lunch was held today with the business community to meet and greet their newly elected: State Senator Mario Scavello and State Representatives David Parker and Jack Rader. It was put on by the Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce in an effort to get the conversation started on a plan for the economy. All three have a lot on the agenda in Harrisburg this year including property tax reform.

CARBON COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER REPORT
January 16, 2015

The number of calls going to the communications center continue to increase, but funding continues to decrease. That's according to the recently released annual report. Dispatchers at the center handled nearly 76,000 calls than in 2013. However, revenue from phone bills last year was nearly 24,000 less than the previous year. The communications center receives $1.50 for every land line directly from phone companies. Wireless callers pay a $1.00 911 fee on their cell phone bill, but that money goes to the state and requires the center apply for it. Legislation scheduled to be implemented this summer is expected to address the issue.

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
January 15, 2015

A home in Stroud Township is slated to be demolished. That's something the Casalino's living next to the eyesore in Penn Estates have been pursuing for two years.
Teresa Casalino says, "The house is so deplorable that it's brought down the value of our house, and even if we try to sell it to move, we can't get what we want for it because it wouldn't even cover the mortgage."
Stroud Township officials confirm it is a lengthy process because it adheres to the property owners' rights. They did find the home is in disrepair and unsafe.
Stroud Township Planning Administrator/Zoning Officer John DeCusatis says, "The hearing was held in December. The property owner received notice to demolish the property on December 26th, giving her 30 days."
The property owner now has until January 25th. If it isn't demolished by then, township officials will begin proceedings to demolish it themselves. Township officials say the Casalino's did the right thing by seeing it through and thank them for their patience. The Casalino's tell us it was all worth it.

VOLUNTEERS PLAN FOR ANNUAL HOMELESS COUNT
January 15, 2015

Volunteers are preparing for the region's annual homeless count.
Representatives from the Monroe County Homeless Initiative are looking for helping hands. The more people they find, the more money they get from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development.
Volunteers from the Valor Clinic are using their military skills to map out old and new areas where homeless are staying.
So far they have 20 volunteers prepared to help in the search.
Volunteers are also receiving help from ESU students.
Day center officials will be holding a meeting for volunteers on the 20th and 26th at 4pm. On the 27th the valor clinic is holding a meeting at 7pm.
The count is scheduled for the 28th.














THE MONROE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ARE TAKING IT TO THE SKIES
January 14, 2015

Monroe County officials will be taking a closer look at your property. It's part of the aerial photography project county commissioners just agreed to have done this year and in 20-18. The goal is to update the Geographic Information System (GIS) and tax assessments.

ESU STUDENT SENTENCED FOR RAPE
January 13, 2015

A 19 year old ESU student will spend up to 4 years in state prison, after a judge's decision this morning.
The sexual assault happened in a dorm room, back in November 2013.
Before this incident, attorney's say the young man had no criminal record.
Now he's not only serving prison time, but he'll be on the Meghans law list for the rest of his life.

LONG TIME TRAFFIC PROBLEM IS COMING TO A HEAD
January 13, 2015

Traffic may be flowing freely today at the Route 715 and Sullivan Trail intersection in Tannersville, but on the weekends it's a different story. The shopping, skiing and various other destinations are too big of a draw.
Pocono Township Chief Kent Werkheiser says, "It's backed up on Route 80, the 715 Corridor, Sullivan Trail which then equates into 611, and I've seen it as long as all the way down to Bartonsville."
And now a procedure used to help alleviate the traffic jams is no more.
Pocono Township Manager Gregg Schuster explains, "The Crossing's had contracted out with crossing guards and the township police had shut down the traffic light and turned it over to a private party. That made all of us somewhat nervous."
Concerns over safety and liability with the hired flaggers directing traffic are now forcing a better solution. Unfortunately a permanent one is a few years from occurring.
Schuster says, "There's nothing you can do with roads that are not designed for the traffic that they're handling. PennDOT has some preliminary plans to go ahead and improve that intersection and widen some of those roads."
And locals are fed up.
Schuster believes a lot of the problems can be alleviated by people abiding by the traffic lights. But meetings have been set up with Crossing Outlets and Camelback officials to brainstorm other ideas to help fix the problem in the meantime. The first one is scheduled for this Thursday. They hope to come up with a plan for the next heavy traffic time-- Presidents Day in February.

DINGMAN SHOPPING CENTER UPDATE
January 13, 2015

A vacant lot in pike county could soon be turned into a retail shopping complex. Back in July, plans were announced to build a major retail shopping complex on route 739 near the intersection of log tavern road. The complex would be anchored by a supermarket along with 15 additional retail stores. This morning, Mike Sullivan had a promising conversation with one major supermarket chain, though he wouldn't answer directly what store it was, he did say things are moving very quickly and they have expressed serious interest.

TAMAQUA DRUG SWEEP
January 12, 2015

Schuylkill County officials continue to crack down on drug dealers.
District Attorney Christine Holman is hands on, making sure drugs won't be tolerated. She's one of the many assisting Tamaqua Police in a drug sweep that started at seven this morning.
Tamaqua Police Chief Rick Weaver says, "The District Attorney supports us wonderfully to say the least and other police departments under the Drug Task Force. We had Rush Township, Higgins Township, state police and county detectives here."
Tamaqua Police are happy a six month investigation into people selling either heroin or meth is finally coming to a close. Six of the eight charged are now arrested, arraigned and behind bars at the Schuylkill County Prison. The two still wanted are Derek Hunsicker and Zachary Hoffman. Police warn not to help them avoid capture.
Weaver says, "You're in a house and they're there and you tell police they're not there and we find out they are there, you could be arrested for hindering apprehension."
That's what one defendant's girlfriend was charged with in today's arrests.
Weaver says, "She was put in Schuylkill County Prison under $10,000 straight cash bail."
If you have any information on Hunsicker or Hoffman, please contact Tamaqua Police at 570-668-6100.

RESTAURANTS CAN NOW DELIVER BEER
January 9, 2015

Ever want a cold six-pack with that large cheese pie? Well soon you might be able to get both delivered right to your door. According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, establishments that currently have a license to serve beer, can apply for to deliver it.
But this isn't a new rule. It's simply one businesses didn't know about until recently.
Many local businesses are on the fence, however. Those we talked to either wanted more time to look into the rule or weren't for it at all. But they didn't completely dismiss the idea. It remains to be seen if any restaurants in our area will apply for the license.

FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOR STUDENTS?
January 9, 2015

President Barrack Obama proposes students could get the first two years of community college education free, if they're willing to work for it. It's called "America's College Promise" and it would mean a savings of $3,800 in tuition per year for full-time students.
Northampton Community College President Mark Erikson believes the plan will open up increasing opportunities for students and change lives.
Erikson says, "Breaks my heart when I see a student who I know could and should come here, but for financial reasons is not able to do that."
Under Obama's proposal, students would have to attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA and stay on track to graduate. It's something that most students we talked to say they're behind, but they wonder where the money is going to come from and if taxes will increase.
Obama says federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost and states will pick up the rest of the tab. Other students are just opposed altogether and are just content with how things are now.
Northampton Community College student Katelyn Vettel says, "I don't think it's realistic. Personally I work for everything I have. Nothing really is free. I go to work, I work a full-time job and I work two jobs actually. I have to pay for everything that I do."
If lawmakers pass the president's plan, it's estimated it could help nine million students. The plan has not been presented to Congress at this time.

WORKING IN THE COLD
January 9, 2015

Temperatures again today were well below freezing, but many arctic warriors were out fighting the freeze to pay the bills. Construction workers like Michael Dye, got up at six this morning to finish a home he's been working on for a week. For Dye, it takes plenty of layers, coffee, and sheer will to battle these unruly elements. Other workers like Nick Shoules, also has been out all day in the bitter cold, he tells us that it takes a certain mindset, to battle through frigid temperatures. No matter how these people worked through the frigid weather, both were clear, that one thing acted as the true motivator. Michael Dye told us he needs to pay the bills no matter what, and Shoules echoed that sentiment saying "Im fortunate enough to have a job, while others aren't, besides I love what I do " He might need that strong passion, the Pocono Region is expected to be hit hard by an ice storm early next week.

BOARD DECIDES NOT TO EXTEND TOLENO CONTRACT
January 8, 2015

The Stroudsburg School Board decided not to extend Dr. John Toleno's contract as superintendent at last night's board meeting.
His contract runs out at the end of the school year and they're currently looking for a new superintendent.
Under state school code, the board had to decide on extending his contract this month. Some parents weren't happy about the news.
Dr. Toleno will be the Stroudsburg superintendent until the end of June. One of his options is to re-apply for the position.

GOOD DEEDS PAY OFF
January 8, 2015

An East Stroudsburg boy spends his time helping people who need it most. Now the saying "good deeds pay off" is coming true in a big way for him.
Brett Ruben wants those going through a hard time to know there will be brighter days. That's why the East Stroudsburg High School South Senior has spent his time volunteering since seventh grade. He started at Headstart which helps low-income preschool kids and then moved on to soup kitchens--most recently the one every Monday at East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church...
At one point hope was all Ruben had. He says his mom helped him but he didn't have a good family situation growing up and money was scarce.
Now all of the hope he's given to others is coming back to him with a full ride to East Stroudsburg University. It happened on Immediate Decision Day when ESU Director of Admissions Jeff Jones came to the high school and sat down with Ruben. Jones says he opened up to him and something about him touched him deeply. Jones wanted to make it easier for Ruben to just think about being successful. He didn't even know about his community service. It wasn't until members of the University Relations Department volunteered at his soup kitchen. They learned Ruben's story and then got his permission to publish it on the website.
Ruben is set to start in the fall and be a physics major with the goal of being an engineer. He will continue to volunteer at the soup kitchen and will strive to get other ESU students to participate in community service projects. A little hope goes a long way in Monroe County.

CELEBRATING RECOVERY
January 7, 2015

Blue Mountain Community Church in Towamensing Township is commemorating two years of its "Celebrate Recovery Program." The program deals with issues like alcoholism, drug addiction and anger management or "life lessons" as they're called in the program. The church is now offering its services to people outside its congregation. Anyone interested in learning more about the program is invited to attend an open house at the church on February 13th starting at 6:30PM.

FLU EPIDEMIC HITS MONROE COUNTY
January 7, 2015

Flu season is here and doctors are predicting a record year of flu cases.
According to The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention 21 children have died from influenza and 43 states are experiencing a widespread of flu activity. Pennsylvania is one of them.
Pocono Medical Center in Monroe County has had 6 hospitalizations and 50 people diagnosed with the flu, but not hospitalized.
The latest CDC Flu View Report shows that flu related doctor visits are almost high as the 2012/2013 peak season. Doctors say it's important for parents to pay attention to symptoms, treat them as soon as possible and properly. Flu symptoms usually include severe body aches, tiredness, high fever, headaches, diarrhea and vomiting.
Doctors also recommend you wash your hands frequently and avoid crowds or people who look sick.

CHARGES IN MISSING MONEY CASE AT SCHUYLKILL CONSERVATION OFFICE
January 7, 2015

A Pottsville woman is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the Schuylkill Conservation District while working there. State Police say an audit shows over $449,000 was stolen by 52-year-old Virginia Kunigonis. Investigators say she wrote fraudulent checks to herself and made personal unauthorized credit card purchases. She's accused of forging the names of employees at the conservation district and then altering the cancelled checks. The thefts took place between 2007 and May of 2014 when the investigation was launched.

JIM THORPE BANK SUPERVISOR SENTENCED
January 7, 2015

A former Jim Thorpe National Bank supervisor is sentenced to prison for embezzlement. According to the United States Attorney's office, 42-year-old Shelly Ann Kocher of Lehighton was sentenced today to 27 months in jail. She's also ordered to pay over $444,000 in restitution and serve three years supervised release. She's accused of taking over $376,000 while she was employed as a customer service supervisor at one of the Jim Thorpe branches. She made unauthorized withdrawals from customers' CD and savings accounts. When they learned of Kocher's actions, the bank reimbursed the victims for their losses.

ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL COMING TO MONROE COUNTY FALL 2016
January 7, 2015

St. Luke's officials say it's now all systems go for a permanent home in Monroe County. They estimate about 1,000 Monroe County residents per year travel to Lehigh and Northampton counties for their hospital services there. Thanks to the Monroe County Commissioners this morning they soon won't have to. An inpatient facility, emergency room and outpatient services will be in their backyard.
St. Luke's Hospital Chief Financial Officer says, "They approved that St. Luke's could finance up to 100 million dollars in tax-free bonds for the construction of our hospital."
The hospital will be located on 41 acres previously purchased off of Route 611 in Bartonsville on Blue Bird Drive, which allows for easy access from Interstate 80. The Monroe Campus will mirror the St. Luke's Anderson Campus located on Freemansburg Avenue in Bethlehem. Phase one will just be the hospital but plenty of room will be left for growth if needed. The new hospital will have approximately 108 beds. Officials estimate over 200 local construction jobs will be created and about 300 employees will be required once it opens. Construction is expected to start in March and be completed in the fall of 2016.

HICKS SENTENCED TO DEATH, VICTIM'S FAMILY SPEAKS OUT
January 6, 2015

The family of a murder victim whose body was thrown on a Monroe County Highway speaks out for the first time today. 36-year-old Deanna Null of Scranton was killed almost seven years ago by a Tobyhanna man, and a jury found him guilty back in November. Today the President Judge officially sentenced 40 year-old Charles Hicks to death.
Charles Hicks showed no emotion as he stood before the judge today now shackled awaiting his formal sentencing. Both Deanna Null's mother and sister addressed the court, finally sharing who she was and telling Hicks how they felt, calling him evil. A jury found Hicks guilty of murdering Null in 2008. He then dismembered her body and threw the body parts along Interstates 80 and 380.
Null introduced her sister to her brother-in-law. They're now taking care of three of her four kids now ranging between 13 to 23. The family describes her as loving and always smiling. Null's mother showed her graduation picture and said she played soccer and loved rollerskating. She was someone who was always there for them, now it's hard to bare she was taken away.
The family is satisfied with the judge's decision of the death penalty. Hicks didn't say he was sorry to the family, instead he complained his lawyers did a bad job. Monroe County First Assistant District Attorney Michael Mancuso says this is the most brutal murder he's ever seen and it may not be the only one Hicks is guilty of. Similar crimes have occurred in Texas and authorities there are looking into a possible link to Hicks.
Null's family is grateful for his work and everyone else who tried to get Deanna justice, they'll be donating money to the Tri-State Troopers' Fund.

CASE OF 4-YEAR-OLD DEATH GOES TO TRIAL
January 5, 2015

A Stroudsburg woman appeared in court today for the death of a four-year-old.
57-year-old Mary Winbush is charged with involuntary manslaughter and other offenses. She's accused of giving the girl Oxycodone, causing the child to overdose back in May. Officers say they were called to Winbush's home on North Second Street for the unresponsive girl, Janessa Davis. A later search warrant revealed the controlled substance in Winbush's possession, but the caregiver denies giving Davis Oxycodone.
Stroud Area Regional Detective Richard Wolbert says, "When she realized what was in the toxicology (report) that Janessa passed away from Oxicodone overdose, she went upstairs and tried to hide the pills from me. It's a consciousness of guilt as far as I'm concerned."
Police also found at least four other kinds of controlled substances without a valid prescription. All charges are held for a later Monroe County court date. Winbush remains out on unsecured bail set at $250,000 and is to have no contact with minors unless supervised by officials from Monroe County Children and Youth.

DONATE TO EAST STROUDSBURG FIRE VICTIM
January 5, 2015

http://www.gofundme.com/j4vtjw

SCARY START TO THE NEW YEAR FOR BUSINESS OWNER
January 2, 2015

Police are investigating a case of attempted arson in Hamilton Township. It happened New Year's Eve morning at a business located at the intersection of Route 209 and Rim Rock Road in Snydersville. Someone threw a Molotov Cocktail through Shooting For The Moon Spiritual Development Center's side window. Luckily it failed to light.
Owner Kathy Agate Brown doesn't know if she was targeted. A bail bondsman is also located in the building. Brown says no threats have been made and no one comes to mind who would want to do her harm. Swiftwater PA State Police are actively investigating the incident and ask anyone with information to contact them at 570-839-7701.

BIG MOVE FOR CAT SHELTER
December 31, 2014

Carbon County's only cat shelter is actually making a long-time New Year's Resolution come true for 2015. It's a move to a new building in Jim Thorpe where there's enough room for the cats to be free-roaming.
Carbon County Friends of Animals is now located across the bridge on West 13th Street. Volunteers are busy preparing and cleaning everything to be open for the public on the first Friday of the new year.
The shelter could still use your help. They need volunteers, handymen and donations. For more information, just contact them at 570-325-9400.

PA FARM SHOW PHOTO CONEST
December 31, 2014

Capture the spirit of the 2015 PA Farm Show in a photograph for your chance to win. Anyone visiting the show is eligible, and the top three entries will be featured in the 2016 farm show visitor's guide. First place wins $100 and a VIP parking space for the 2016 show. Second-place gets $75 cash prize, and third-place earns a $50 prize.

Contest guidelines:

- Photograph must be taken at the 2015 Farm Show.
- Photograph must be in color, sized 4x6 inches.
- If a digital camera is used, the resolution must be at least 300 dpi.
- Entries are limited to one per person and must be submitted by March 31,
2015.
- Include contact information (name, address, phone number, email address) and caption with entry.
- All photo entries become the property of the Pennsylvania Department of
Agriculture.
- Department of Agriculture employees are not eligible.
- The contest is only open to non-professional entries.
Email digital photos and entry information to farmshow@pa.gov. Mail print photos and entry information to the department's Farm Show Complex and Expo Center (care of Farm Show Photo Contest), 2300 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg PA 17110

RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH MOCKTAILS
December 31, 2014

Drink responsibly this new year's eve or skip the alcohol altogether. We did just that here at News 13. Here's the recipes of the "mocktails" we mixed.

*Almond Palmer
12oz Iced Tea
12oz Lemonade
Garnish with a lime

*Coquito
1 can coconut cream
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk

*Tornado Twist
Cranberry-Raspberry Juice
Lemon-lime seltzer
Garnish with cherry

Serve all drinks over ice and enjoy!

HOME IN NEED OF A FAMILY
December 30, 2014

Monroe County's Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. Their latest home is waiting for a family. It's a townhouse vacant for a year in East Stroudsburg. That's why Habitat officials want to get the word out about their partner family program. Participating could really help a family out. They're offered an interest-free monthly mortgage.
Executive Director Kelly Kemmerer says, "They're able to have the security of being homeowners and saving some money. It would be a great gift for somebody who's a renter now. Rents are very high in the Poconos."
To qualify, applicants must have lived in Monroe County for at least a year and have a steady income to pay the mortgage payment. In this case $750 a month. They must also contribute to "sweat equity."
Kemmerer explains, "Office work, I need help with administrative tasks, we have a lot of committees that need help on, and also work on our houses or our home repair projects."
The income guidelines for an individual is $36,000 per year and about $48,000 for a family of four. For more information, just contact them at 570-476-9846.

MATCH DRIVE: YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
December 29, 2014

An anonymous donor is challenging people in Coolbaugh Township and Mount Pocono Borough to support their library. They will give $10,000 to Pocono Mountain Public Library if the community can match it. The money will be used to fulfill patrons' requests for more programs, computers, books and staff.
Director Ann Shincovich says, "With $10,000 of our own that we get through fundraising, then they'll give us their gift at the end of January, and in total we'll have received $20,000."
Since November the library has raised $2,500 toward the matching drive, but there's not much time left to raise the rest. The money has to be in by the end of January.
Shincovich says, "Really helpful for us to get a whole variety of gifts from people. Whatever they can give us, we certainly appreciate and it all goes into the pot to release this $10,000."
If you would like to donate, either come into the library on Route 611 for a form or you can print one off of their Facebook page. For more information just contact them at 570-894-8860.

2015 IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED IN STROUDSBURG
December 29, 2014

Stroudsburg borough officials are preparing for the New Year as 2014 come to a close.
There are a number of improvements in the works already, but more are expected in 2015.
Right now there are three projects they're focusing on for the new year.
At the first borough meeting, January 6th, borough manager, Cathy Thomas says, they'll be taking bids from contractors to decide who'll be doing the work. Architects already have plans drawn and the cost is around $2 million.
They're hoping it'll be completed by fall. Before renovations, Thomas says the fire department will have to move everything out and be relocated.
Stroudsburg Fire Chief, Mike Seip says, they've been pushing for these improvements since 2007. One of the things they're expecting is a better ventilation system.
Officials are also working to make Second St. from McConnel to Third and Clermont Ave. from Broad St. to Huston Ave more handicap accessible, adding ramps and curbing. On Clermont Ave. They're going to be paving the road as well.
Borough Officials plan to meet with engineers to come up with a list of other areas in need of improvement and then budget for those projects.

ALPINE MOUNTAIN TO OPEN
December 26, 2014

It's been a challenging year for officials at Alpine Mountain.
In July they were hit by thieves, then in September, they found themselves in the middle of the manhunt for suspected cop killer, Eric Frein.
Over the last several weeks their biggest challenge has been weather.
The owner is expecting to open for the first time Monday, under new management and a new look. The owner was hoping to open two weeks ago, but it's been too warm. We've been getting a lot of rain and not snow. They've made snow, but they can't keep it on the mountain. It melts too quickly.
Most of the renovations are done, but Fabiano plans to have all the work completed by Monday in time for the opening.

HOLIDAY BUSTLE WITHOUT THE HUSTLE
December 26, 2014

The holiday shopping season is not slowing down. Christmas may be over but there seems to be no end in sight for the doorbusters and deals to be had at the stores. The only difference shoppers tell us is the feeling they have.
Shopping takes on a new form of excitement the day after Christmas. The Stroud Mall's parking lot in Stroud Township this morning is still jam-packed but somehow that's the furthest thing from shoppers' minds. Sure they're making returns and getting more presents for themselves with giftcards, but it's all about special moments. Like bumping into people you know or spending time with family members. Shoppers tell us they are fully enjoying the relaxed and fun atmosphere.

PEACEFUL KNIGHTS EXPANDING THEIR CRUSADE
December 24, 2014

Peaceful Knights was founded in 2007 to help all homeless people in Carbon County. Before that the homeless had no where to turn. Now the group is expanding. Not only do they have a new director named Bob Fatzinger, but they're also working on acquiring a building that they can run their temporary housing program out of. They also hope to make that an emergency shelter. They're asking for volunteers to help with that like painters, cleaners, carpenters, ect. and also volunteers for daily duties and fundraising. For more information, just contact them by phone at 610-340-4786 or go to their website at www.peacefulknights.org.

SALVATION ARMY SHORT ON DONATIONS
December 24, 2014

Today marks the final day for the Salvation Army's bell ringers. But this year, they're coming up short. Coming into today, they had collected $36,000 out of their $60,000 goal. But starting a week late hampered the Salvation Army's plans. You can still donate through tonight as bell-ringers will be out across Carbon and Schuylkill County. Every penny counts!

ROTARY CLUBS GIVES LOCAL CHURCH X-MAS GIFT
December 23, 2014

Santa may be bringing the Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church a special gift to help people in need this Christmas.
The church has done a lot for the needy in the community with their homeless shelter and food pantry. The Stroudsburg Rotary Club group has ordered a freezer for the pantry to store more food for those in need. They're waiting on it to be delivered. Santa is a little busy this holiday season.
Church connections ministry director, MaryAnn Broschart says, they serve over 100 people at their food pantry twice a month, on the 1st and 3rd Friday. Officials are hoping they'll be able to store more meat with the new freezer especially.
Broschart says the rotary club matched donations from the congregation.
If you would like to volunteer at their food pantry you can contact the church at (570) 421-0750.

ATTENTION DRAWN TO COURTROOM RECORDINGS
December 22, 2014

Attorneys are calling for a change with audio recordings inside Monroe County Courtrooms. This comes after a county judge may have misused the recording during a recent trial.
Monroe County Courthouse officials are working to make sure everyone understands when and how recording devices are used inside the courtroom. New operating procedures and technological advances are also being discussed to make them better suited for both attorneys and the public.
Deputy Court Administrator Renee Kimball says. "Began a collaborative process with the Bar Association to review the policy in draft form and provide any comments."
Kimball says recording devices were implemented in 2002 to have a transcript of testimony and conversations on the bench. This is normal practice in most county courthouses. But these new discussions are a result of attorneys alarmed over recent allegations involving Judge Jennifer Sibum listening back to private conversations on those recordings.
Attorney Kimberly Fedrigon says, "I don't think anyone realized that we were being recorded when court was not in session."
Fedrigon says this knowledge has raised a lot of questions and is a huge problem.
"How do we know that now that comments made in what we think is private has been used against our clients or ourselves, we have no way of knowing that."
Currently Sibum is not hearing criminal cases. Kimball confirms shortly after the incident Sibum requested to be moved to civil trials because of a conflict of interest with the District Attorney's Office over recordings made in open court.
Fedrigon says the only solution is to have an on-off switch to determine when the recording is happening through their microphones. Kimball says that's part of the goal to the discussions but no funding requests have yet been made.

LOCAL POLICE ON HIGH ALERT, AFTER COP KILLINGS
December 22, 2014

Local police are on high alert, after recent police shootings. This Saturday, two New York Police officers were shot and killed, "execution-style" in Brooklyn. In September, two state troopers were ambushed in Pike County, which led to the 48 day manhunt for Eric Frein.
Early Sunday, another police officer in Florida was shot and run over, after responding to a noise complaint. He died also.

MONROE CRASH CLAIMS TEEN'S LIFE
December 22, 2014

Police are still investigating a crash that claimed a life early Saturday morning in Monroe County. Pocono Mountain Regional Police say 19 year old Alex Lugo of Tobyhanna died when the car he was a passenger in went off Route 196 in Coolbaugh Township. Officers say 22-year old Dominique Camacho was driving the dodge neon when it hit a tree. The crash happened around 4:30 Saturday morning. Lugo was pronounced dead at the scene. Camacho was taken to the hospital. Route 196 was closed for nine hours while police investigated the crash. An autopsy was scheduled for today.

PIPELINE COMPANY FINED
December 22, 2014

The state Department of Environmental Protection says a pipeline company will pay an 800-thousand dollar settlement for violations. D-E-P announced the settlement with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company for multiple violations of the clean streams law in 20-11 and 12. D-E-P says the violations took place in Wayne Pike and two other counties. The 800-thousand dollar settlement includes a 210-thousand dollar civil penalty and 540-thousand dollar for a fund to clean-up illegal dump sites. D-E-P says inspectors found sediment pollution during the construction being released into high quality and exceptional value waterways.

FUND CREATED FOR FIRE VICTIMS
December 22, 2014

A fund has been created to help a family hit by a fire in East Stroudsburg. Half of a duplex was gutted by fire around five Friday night at 510 North Courtland Street. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the right side of the building. The left side sustained smoke damage. No one was home at the time but a single mother and three children lived there.
A go fund me account has been created at this link - www.gofundme.com/j4vtjw
The Red Cross also is accepting monetary donations for the family after that fire in East Stroudsburg.

FUNDS FOR CRASH VICTIMS
December 22, 2014

The families and friends of four teens killed in a two-vehicle crash on Friday night in Palmerton have set up fundraising sites to help offset funeral costs:

http://www.gofundme.com/j4sy24 (Nathan and Courtney Murray)

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/y327 (Michael Muniz)

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/dy17 (Austin Hunsicker)

CRACKDOWN ON PROSTITUTION IN POCONO TOWNSHIP
December 19, 2014

Three massage parlors were raided today on Route 611 in Bartonsville and Tannersville. Pocono Township Police Chief Kent Werkheiser says employees at Tokyo Luxury Spa, American Dolls Spa in Pocono Peddler's Village and Affinity Massage located across from The Crossings Premium Outlets were engaged in acts of prostitution. Police shut down all three businesses after executing search warrants with assistance from Monroe County Adult Probation, Department of Homeland Security, Pennsylvania Department of State and the Monroe County Detective Office. It's the end result of a two year investigation by Pocono Township Police and the Monroe County District Attorney's Office. Police say it's not only a warning to the owners of the properties but a message from the community-- prostitution won't be tolerated. Police say the investigation is ongoing and charges are pending. Those businesses will remain closed.

BASEBALL STARS IN HAZLETON
December 19, 2014

Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon grew up in Hazleton. During the offseason, Maddon would visit his hometown and progressively saw the city taking turns for the worse. He decided to act. Maddon helped establish the Hazleton Integration Project 18 months ago to bring kids from across the city together. The project got a major boost last night as the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation donated $180,000 to help renovate HIP's headquarters at the Hazleton One Center. MLB Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. was on hand to present the check along with various other baseball greats. HIP runs largely off volunteer help. If you'd like to get involved, visit the project's website at www.hazletonintegrationprojcet.com

OFFICIALS PROJECT IMPACT OF 80 PROJECT
December 18, 2014

Penn Dot officials are narrowing down various alternatives and weighing the impacts of all of them.
Penn Dot officials are predicting as many as 106 people could lose their properties, through eminent domain.
Construction is expected to begin in 2022. You can keep up with progress, and sign up for alerts on the project website.

MIXED FEELINGS ON NEW CUBA RELATIONS
December 18, 2014

Locals react to what some call an historic change with American-Cuban relations. President Barrack Obama is normalizing trade and tourism after over a 50 year embargo. It's an important topic to a growing Latino population in Monroe County. And East Stroudsburg Resident Professor Emeritus of Brooklyn College Anthony Stevens-Arroyo says it's exciting for all Latino's future.
"At the end of a Cold War, people always ask who won and who lost. And the good thing is we don't have to ask that question today. We're just starting a new."
While it is a step in the right direction, Cuban-American and Member of the Pocono Republican Hispanic Alliance Jorge Estevez doesn't believe it was done in the right way.
"Obama will put an embassy in Cuba. What is that going to do? It's going to cost us millions of dollars. It's not going to help the Cuban people, it's just going to help the regime. All the money coming in, they have control over."
Estevez says Cubans are still suffering under the Communist government. Good or bad the process is still in its early stages.

THE SALVATION ARMY SPREADS CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
December 17, 2014

Monroe County's Salvation Army transforms today into Santa's workshop. An estimated 20,000 toys will be distributed to those in need in hopes of making their kid's Christmas bright.
Toys, toys and more toys, plus stocking stuffers and clothing at the Salvation Army located in East Stroudsburg. Major James Gingrich says enough to provide five to seven items under the tree for an estimated 4,000 children. Right now 300 more than last year, but that's expected to increase. Today is the first day parents get to come in and shop for what their sons and daughters would really want for Christmas. Some were brought to tears. The generous community is everything to them.
And the Major tells us this will mean so much more to the community than just toys underneath the tree for the kids, and it's all thanks to the Marine Corp.'s Toys for Tots and the Pocono Record's Toys for Joy.
Gingrich says, "They've kept our costs way down because of their phenomenal effort this year in collecting toys. And we will continue to experience the effects of that well into the new year."
Now the thousands of dollars the Salvation Army saved will help people with things like utility bills and renters' insurance. The Salvation Army's annual Christmas distribution continues through Monday. They have plenty of toys for people who missed the sign-ups, just call them for more information at 570-421-5711. One gift at a time is making a huge difference and spreading the true meaning of Christmas.

COMMUNITY BRINGING CHRISTMAS TO LESS FORTUNATE
December 17, 2014

Members of the community are working to bring Christmas to the less fortunate.
Simcard Wireless in Stroudsburg is offering free cell phones to people in need and the Wesleyan Church is giving away cold weather supplies with the help of the community and a Stroudsburg girl scouts troop.
Simcard Wireless is collecting old cell phones you may have. You can drop them off Monday through Friday from 11am - 5pm.

SPREAD HOLIDAY CHEER TO AWSOM DOGS AND CATS
December 16, 2014

Our four-legged friends deserve to be part of the holiday festivities and spirit too. That's why AWSOM Animal Shelter is offering a program to get its dogs and cats out of their cages and home for the holidays. You're invited to come chose one and pick it up starting this Friday or any time before Christmas and then return it after New Year's Day by the fourth. If you fall in love with the pet, you're welcome to adopt it. For more information, just go to their website at www.awsomanimals.org.

LOCAL EDUCATOR DRAWS NATIONAL RECOGNITION
December 16, 2014

Shoppers at the Lehigh Valley Mall were treated to a free concert featuring holiday music today. Middle school students from Parkland school district showed off their talents under the direction of orchestra director, Debra Reilly. She's in the running to receive a Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. Seven thousand music teachers were nominated. Reilly is among the top ten. The winner receives a $10,000 honorarium. The recipient will be honored at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards scheduled for February.

AVOID THE HOLIDAY RUSH TO SAVE YOUR HOLIDAY CHEER
December 15, 2014

With just 10 days left until Christmas, there's a lot to do with a little time. Which usually results in aggressive driving, and that can easily lead to an accident. Police say to give yourself enough time so you don't have to rush and drivers agree-- take a deep breath and keep your holiday spirit alive.
They say not to let it bother you and drive defensively-- let them speed, they'll get caught.
It's also important not to become the victim. Police say not to get involved. Call them instead with a description of the vehicle and let police handle it.

TOWERS RISE IN BUSHKILL
December 12, 2014

Better electricity comes at an ugly price on Route 209 in Bushkill-- at least that's what people are saying about two power line poles that just arrived there about a week ago. They stand at 195 feet and people say they're hard to miss.
People we talked to today say the towers on Fernwood Resort's property are a rusty mess and look like they could fall over. They're part of the multiphase, multimillion dollar Susqehanna Roseland Power Line Project that stretches about 80 miles to Berwick. Bushkill is the final area of construction. The idea is to provide more reliable electric service to everyone in Pennsylvania and throughout the multi-state region.
PPL Electric Utilities officials tell us that grid hasn't been updated in decades and the new line is actually replacing one that was there for 90 years. The people we talked to today say it is necessary. They just don't understand why it couldn't have been done in a more tasteful way for the area.
While people driving by wish the towers could be hidden or covered up, the PPL Spokesperson says that's not going to happen. But he does say they may look better in a couple of months.
Spokesperson Paul Wirth says, "It'll weather to an even more darker brown and that'll be the permanent color."
And you'll be happy to know the steel that they used is designed to rust and preserve itself so that PPL's customers are saved money in maintenance in years to come. The entire project is expected to be completed this May.

WILDLIFE CARE CENTER IN NEED OF PERMANENT HOME
December 11, 2014

Saylorsburg Resident Jim Vogt rushed into the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center worried an animal he found wasn't going to make it. He's just one of the many people Pocono Wildlife helps with an animal in crisis. For the past 34 years, it's the only facility in a six-county area that takes in all Pennsylvania native birds, mammals and reptiles. Director Kathy Uhler says the center yearly cares for about 1,100 animals with the goal of releasing them back into the wild healthy. And that's not all they do that's important to the area.
Uhler says, "If they have a skunk living under their deck and they want to encourage him to live elsewhere, we can help them with that. It's not just injured and orphaned animals, we're a resource for the community."
But the center has never owned the property it's located on in Stroudsburg. For over a decade it's been leasing from the Nature Conservancy. Now the offer is on the table to buy their portion. The idea is to have a permanent home forever.
First Pocono Wildlife has to raise $300,000 to cover the cost and renovations. The goal date is March and that's where you come in. The center is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that depends on donations.
Uhler says, "We really, really need help and we need corporate sponsors too, not just individuals. But if everyone could kick in 5 or 10 bucks even."
There's also incentives to donate more. You receive a tax receipt and a sterling silver paw pin for $50, $100-- add on a Center license plate and for $500 either a personal tour of the facility for up to six people or a live educational wildlife presentation anywhere you want. The money is actually going to more than you may realize.
Uhler says, "It will eventually go to the Nature Conservancy so they can buy another piece of property to protect so everybody's donation is going to do double good."
If you'd like to contribute to the center and help provide them with a permanent home, just go to their website at www.poconowildlife.org.

VOLUNTEERS PLAN FUNDRAISER FOR FIRE VICTIMS
December 11, 2014

The Tobyhanna family whose home on Main St. went up in flames last week is receiving a lot of community support. Carmen Bonilla and her family lost everything in a fire a week ago. While no one can replace memories lost, members of the community are working to help replace what they can. A fundraiser is planned at Black Horse Bar and Grill to help do that. Volunteers held a planning meeting today at the Amazon Art Studio.
The Fundraiser at Black Horse Bar and Grill is December 20th from 11am to 2pm.
A go fund me account has been set up to help. So far, over $2,000 has been raised. The goal is to raise at least $6,000.

Click On The Link Below to Donate
http://www.gofundme.com/i92sgk

NORTHERN LEHIGH FATAL CRASH LEADS TO PETITION
December 11, 2014

After a fatal crash claims the life of a Northern Lehigh teen, community members are calling for changes to the roadway. 17-year-old Crystal Schaller died Tuesday after crashing on Mountain Road in Washington Township. A moveon.org petition is asking for a guide rail to be installed in that section of the roadway. The organizer says two young people have died on that deadly turn. Penndot tells us the District Traffic Engineer went to the location this morning to take a preliminary look. However, due to the snow he could not get too in-depth. The Traffic Unit will return when conditions are more favorable to conduct a traffic study. Penndot officials say they will then determine what, if any changes are warranted. Schaller was a junior at Northern Lehigh High School. A candle light ceremony will be held in her memory tomorrow night at the Covered Bridge in Slatington. It starts at 6:30 pm

SOCKS FOR SENIORS COLLECTION WRAPPING UP
December 11, 2014

The Socks for Seniors Project is wrapping its third year. Mary Ann Dulaney and daughter, Jessica Kutza, coordinators for the project, with the assistance of area businesses are collecting donations to distribute to local nursing home & rehab center residents for the holiday season.
Suggested Donations:
- non-skid & regular socks
- personal care items (shampoo, lotion, chap stick, deodorant, brushes, combs, aftershave, shower caps, small hand sanitizers)
- individually wrapped snacks or sugar free candy
- soft tissues
- costume jewelry
- garden gloves (for wheelchair use)
- back scratcher
- puzzle books

New, unwrapped items can be dropped off at:
Coaldale: Tommyís Restaurant, Angela Triplex Theater
Lansford: Sports Zoo, JJís Hair & Tanning, First Niagara Bank, Jim Thorpe National Bank
Summit Hill: Hiles Brothers, Batterís Box
Nesquehoning: Classic Beverage
Jim Thorpe: Mauch Chunk 5 & 10
Lehighton: Midas, Beacon 443
Tamaqua: Dr Pudduís office, M&S Hardware, AAA
Palmerton: Carbon County Office on Aging

The deadline is December 12.

ARRESTS MADE IN TWO YEAR OLD SHOOT OUT
December 10, 2014

Three people are charged with attempt to commit criminal homicide for a shooting over two years ago in Mount Pocono. Pocono Mountain Regional Police say this weekend they arrested 29 year old Kerey Cousar of Stroudsburg, 26 year old Ronnie Washington of Tobyhanna and 41 year old Gregory Cousar, who's currently serving time at the state correctional institute in Pitsburgh. They say the three exchanged gun fire with 38 year old Eric Williams of Marshalls Creek outside the Copa Bar on Fork Street in Mount Pocono. It happened on March 5th of 20-12. Both Williams and Gregory Cousar were treated for gunshot wounds. The shooting was a result of a confrontation three weeks earlier.

SNOW DAY TURNS RAINY
December 9, 2014

Area schools were closed today due to winter weather.
It's just been raining for most of the day, but roads were slushy this morning and schools were closed as a precautionary measure.
We ran into a few students today, staying indoors.
Even though you may not see snow on the roads, Penn Dot officials say, there may be ice and drivers should slow down and drive safely.

GANG ACTIVITY IN MONROE COUNTY BECOMING ALARMING
December 9, 2014

Gang activity in Monroe County is on the rise and the crimes are becoming increasingly more violent. Most notably this year you may remember the gang related drive-by shooting in Hamilton Township where an innocent bystander-Darcey Kravchenko- was killed inside his home.
Currently there's not enough resources to address this new challenge. That's why the District Attorney is asking the Monroe County Commissioners for help.
District Attorney David Christine says, "They very graciously granted to me in the budget for 2015 three new positions in the District Attorney's Office-- a secretary, a county detective and a part-time prosecutor."
Before Monroe County Detectives primarily focused on drugs when it came to gang related activity. But now they'll be able to branch out and go for all aspects. The now sixth detective will focus primarily on gang investigations. The District Attorney says the extra support will help combat the problem.

FATAL PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT
December 8, 2014

A Slatington man is killed in a pedestrian accident on Route 873. The incident happened Saturday night around 9:30 in Washington Township near Airport Lane. State Police say 23-year-old Keanu Davis was wearing dark clothing at the time. He was either standing or walking on Route 873 when he was struck. Davis was pronounced dead at the scene. The coroner ruled his death an accident. The driver of the car 40-year-old Douglas Albert of Slatington was not injured. State Police say they are still investigating.

STROUDSBURG HOME GOES UP IN FLAMES
December 8, 2014

Eight people are displaced, after a four unit apartment building went up in flames, around 4 o'clock this morning.
Tenants say the fire started upstairs in a rear apartment, where most of the damage is.
Luckily no one was injured and everyone got out, including the pets.
Former Pocono Township Supervisor, Frank Hess owns the building.
The Red Cross is providing shelter for the family, along with food and other necessities.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

SNOW IS NO JOKE IN THE POCONOS
December 8, 2014

Another winter storm is in our forecast starting tomorrow. We caught up with a lot of people preparing to hibernate. Many say they don't want to take a chance with having to go out in nasty conditions.
Bushkill Resident Lourdes Rodriguez doesn't know how much snow to expect but she says after last winter and the first major snow storm this year, it's just better to be prepared-- It's the Poconos. She has two shopping carts full of enough food for a week.
But grocery stores weren't the only busy place. Cramer's Home Building Center in East Stroudsburg sees people picking up what they need to dig out but some are also trying to make some quick fixes.
Bushkill Resident Darryl Arawjo says. "Two days before the last storm my generator kicked out on me so I brought it in here to get it fixed and now I'm kinda worried about losing power again for this storm so I want to see if my generator is fixed."
And while it's been a busy day with people coming in for last minute preparations, Cramer's employees tell us the sales have been great, especially when it comes to snow throwers. If you didn't get one yet, now is the time.
Sales Employee Stephen Manhart says, "Pretty much out, we have four single stage throwers left here, good for sidewalks or pavement and that's about it. Usually we have snow throwers going into February and March."
If we've learned anything from last year's winter, the snow is nothing to take lightly.

GOOD NEWS FOR DOWNTOWN STROUDSBURG
December 5, 2014

What's good for one is good for all, at least for businesses on Main Street in Stroudsburg. Eyesores and empty store fronts are being filled, attracting more people to the downtown. Stroudsburg Borough Manager Cathryn Thomas describes it as an upswing and resurgence. For example, Tina Angradi and her son just opened "The Dog House" at the end of August in a spot that's not seen action in quite some time.
Angradi says, "I believe it's been vacant for about two years. It used to be a coffee shop for a long long time and then it went out of business."
Now lunch rushes are the norm.
Thomas believes the positive roll the downtown is on will only continue for the community.

HEALTHCARE INSURANCE DEADLINES APPROACH
December 5, 2014

Have you found health coverage for the 2015 year? Deadlines for health insurance are quickly approaching.
If you haven't health insurance agencies, such as Health Markets will help you find the coverage you need.
If you want to be covered starting January 1st, the deadline is December 15th. The very last day to enroll for 2015 health insurance is February 15th. The coverage will begin in March.

LET'S TALK DISTRIBUTING FUNDS TO PA SCHOOLS
December 4, 2014

Local school officials say it's time to fix the formula for distributing state funds to Pennsylvania schools. That's why a commission of legislators has been holding hearings since September to let experts and various communities weigh in. Today Monroe and Pike Counties got the chance to give testimony at East Stroudsburg High School South. Two areas experiencing the unfairness firsthand.
PA State Representative Rosemary Brown of the 189th District, who hosted the event, says, "You have areas getting 60 percent of their funding from the state and you have areas, such as some of our school districts, getting 21 percent of their funding from the state."
Brown says once the information is collected a report will be created for the legislators to change the formula. The majority will then have to agree to pass what is decided. Brown is hopeful that will happen because it's a big piece of the puzzle in solving the big issue of property taxes.

FAMILY SEEKS LOVED ONE'S KILLER FOR 7TH YEAR
December 4, 2014

Today marks the 7th anniversary of a Monroe County man's murder.
In 2007, he was gunned down near state game lands and his killer is still out there. The family is determined to find the person who murdered him, no matter how long it takes.
The family and police are hoping someone will come forward, whether it's a hunter or shooter. If you have any information that could help in this investigation contact Pocono Mountain Regional Police or the District Attorney's Office. The family is offering a monetary reward.

FLU STRAIN MUTATES
December 4, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control are notifying the medical community that this year's flu virus strain has mutated from the A-H3N2 vaccine component. Despite the drift, doctors are still urging people to get their flu shot, especially those who are at high risk for getting ill. The Director of Infection Control and Prevention at Lehigh Valley Health Network, Terry Burger, says it's not too late to get your shot. Flu season runs through April.

FATAL PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION
December 3, 2014

A section of Route 209 is shut down in Franklin Township as police continue to investigate a fatal pedestrian accident. Around 9:30 this morning, the southbound lanes were shut down in the area of the Square One Mini-Mart as a State Police re-construction team investigated the November 24th incident. That night police say 89-year-old Agnes Szpak parked her car on the northbound side of the road and was crossing the highway to go to the mini-mart. The Nesquehoning woman was hit by a southbound PT Cruiser driven by a young woman from Kunkletown. Szpak was flown to Saint Luke's where she later passed away. The Kunkletown woman was taken to the hospital for a DUI test. Police tell us today they are still waiting for the results of the toxicology test. No charges have been filed at this time. Route 209 re-opened around 11:30 this morning.

CREATING HOLIDAY MEMORIES
December 3, 2014

Do the holidays have you stressed out? Mindy Graver is the Family Educator at Penn State Carbon County Extension. She says this time of year many parents are stressed about buying all the items on their child's Christmas list. Instead she says parents should buy one or two special items off the list. By doing so, your child will appreciate the gift a lot more and you won't break the bank. Instead of focusing on gifts, Graver reminds parents to focus on creating holiday memories like making a gingerbread house or making homemade gifts for family and friends.

TECHNOLOGY BENEFITS TOURISM IN THE POCONOS
December 3, 2014

Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau says using technology is helping to market the region. President/CEO Carl Wilgus says their website is the most visited of any generated in the region. Also they've incorporated it to be on-the-go for mobile devices and tablets this year. A big hit is also their "Take On Pocono" campaign. Fourteen thousand images have been posted by visitors on social media.
Wilgus says, "In terms of website visits, in terms of Facebook friends, we have almost doubled what a convention visitors bureau our size would do literally anywhere else in the country."
To get all of the Pocono Mountains information at your fingertips, you can access the visitors bureau's mobile website through your phone or tablet's browser.

THEIVES STRIKE ANOTHER BUSINESS IN MONROE COUNTY
December 3, 2014

Earlier this week we spoke to the owner of Fermato Enterprise in Stroud Township, who'd be burglarized twice this year. Now another business owner in Effort is coming forward.
Dot and Mark's Automotive shop owner, Mark Abrams came to work on the morning of November 2nd to find about $80,000 of tools and equipment missing.
He's working to replace material for the third time.
In January his previous shop was burned down, in March his storage unit was burglarized and now this.
They had security cameras, but they weren't working that day.
Vector Security sales consultant Jordan Madrid says, technology is advancing as the demand for security grows. If you have a surveillance camera, you can now monitor your business or home on your smartphone or laptop. Abrams plans to upgrade his security. Fern Ridge State Police are investigating this case. Abrams says police do have some leads. They found a few tools down the road, along with footprints and tire tracks, but no other results.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING SAFETY
December 2, 2014

Chances are you've been hitting the stores since Black Friday, but while you're out shopping for the perfect gift, officers warn, others may be shopping for your personal information. Shoppers are encouraged to keep an eye out for "shoulder surfers." People who glance over your shoulder to snap a picture of your credit or debit card information. Also, keep your receipts and check your bank statements regularly. Mauch Chunk Trust Company President, Patrick Reilly, says despite the many security breaches at popular retailers, it's still a good idea to use your debit or credit card for your purchases instead of carrying around large sums of cash on you.

#GIVINGTUESDAY CATCHES ON IN MONROE COUNTY
December 2, 2014

You've heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but did you know today is "Giving Tuesday?" It's a relatively new term that's only in its third year.
We have a day for giving thanks. We have two days for getting deals. But today Giving Tuesday may be the one that needs to catch on the most. After all, it's what the entire holiday season is about.
Giving Tuesday is about celebrating generosity and unselfish acts. It's something the American Red Cross has fully embraced this year, including our Pocono Chapter. They're using all of their social media outlets to thank their supporters and to further their cause. The word is spread through the hashtag givinigtuesday and through a new selfie, hashtag unselfie. An unselfie is when you take a picture of yourself showing and getting recognition for what you're doing for the community.
And you don't have to pick an already established campaign, there's plenty of charities and causes going on in Monroe County that you can just simply take a picture and spread the word.
One you may not know about is happening at Frailey Insurance and Financial Services located in Stroudsburg. They were given 70 names of seniors through the Monroe County Area On Aging to give Christmas gifts. All you need to do is take an angel off their tree that has the senior's name and two wishes on it. Go get what they want and bring it back to the tree wrapped by December 10th.
Giving Tuesday is all about getting the awareness out throughout the holidays.

WEST END HOME GOES UP IN FLAMES
December 2, 2014

A home on the West End is destroyed after an early morning fire. Volunteers from four fire companies responded to extinguish the blaze.
The husband and wife who lived in the home made it out with the dog, but they lost two cats.
The family dog is being called a hero for alerting the family of the fire. The owner believes the fire may have been caused by an electrical issue.
Fire Marshalls are investigating the cause of the fire. The family friend tells us they're staying with him in the meantime.

BRCTV-13 News Archive



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