White House Christmas tree arrives from Carbon County, Pennsylvania

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Domestic tree farmers have been presenting the White House with an official Christmas tree since 1966.

From Pennsylvania to Pennsylvania Avenue, the Christmas tree adorning the Blue Room of the White House arrived Friday from Carbon County.

Pulled up to the door by four Clydesdale horses adorned in jingle bells, the 18 1/2-foot-tall Douglas fir hails from Crystal Spring Tree Farm, 2370 Mahoning Drive East in Mahoning Township, outside Lehighton, Pennsylvania.

American tree farmers from around the country have been presenting the White House with an official Christmas tree since 1966, according to the White House. For Crystal Spring owner Chris Botek, the White House tree is becoming a bit of a family tradition: His parents, Francis and Margaret, won the White House Christmas Tree competition in 2006.

Greeting Botek and his family Friday were first lady Michelle Obama; her and President Barack Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malial and pets Bo and Sunny.
The tree will be decorated and ready for viewing in the Blue Room on Dec. 3, when the First Lady will welcome military families to the White House to get a first look at the holiday decorations. As in years past, many of this year’s decorations will honor military families for their service to our country, according to the White House.

Last year, Christmas trees from Wyckoff’s Christmas Tree Farm in White Township were selected to adorn the presidential mansion.

Easton Area High School bonfire blazes away the snow (photos)

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The tradition ahead of the annual Phillipsburg game was pushed back from Wednesday to Friday because of snow.

The snow that covered the woodpile at Easton Area High School was no match for the conflagration that is the annual bonfire ahead of the football game against Phillipsburg.

The teams’ 108th meeting, normally held Thanksgiving Day, was delayed by Wednesday’s snowstorm. Game time is 2 p.m. Saturday at Lafayette College’s Fisher Stadium.

Instead of being lit Wednesday night, the wood seasoned a little longer before bursting into flames Friday night along Route 22 in Palmer Township.

Aiming to rally the Red Rovers team and fans alike, this year’s event also featured fireworks.

Easton (12-1) takes on a 9-1 Stateliners team that is moving ahead in divisional championship play. Parkland High School a week ago ended Easton’s hopes for a state championship.

Man Dies After Being Hit by Vehicle in Dunmore

Posted by WNEP.com.

DUNMORE — A man from Dunmore died Friday evening after being hit as he crossed the street. Police identified the victim as Eugene Dunio, 71, of Dunmore. They said he was hit by a vehicle around 5 p.m. as he crossed East Drinker Street near his home. Dunio was taken to Geisinger-Community Medical Center in […]

Easton Peace Candle lighting brings more than 1,000 people Downtown

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Jim Henkel received the community spirit award and Claudia DePamphilis-Morrison ceremoniously lit the 106-foot-tall candle replica.

Easton ushered in the holiday season with more than 1,000 people Friday night at the traditional Peace Candle lighting ceremony.

With folks crowding Centre Square and along a three-block parade route that featured Santa Claus in a convertible Corvette, the event was symbolic of the resurgence of Downtown Easton.

“It’s magnificent,” said Jim Henkel, who was honored with the Gretchen Wrenshall Community Spirit Award.

Henkel is head of operations for EPS Financial, a credit card processing service company in the Alpha Building that employs about 25 and has become known for its volunteerism and community service around town, acccording to Mayor Sal Panto Jr.

“When we brought the business here from New Jersey five years ago, I fell in love with Easton,” Henkel said. “I feel like we’re part of something that’s improving every day.”

The ceremony included a choir from Easton Area Middle School 5/6 and all of the school district’s elementary schools, as well as horse-drawn carriage rides, ice carvings, a petting zoo with sheep and a llama and dozens of vendors.

“Easton has come a long way,” said Carl Dawson, who sat at the base of the 106-foot-tall candle with Diane Shamp. They came to see Shamp’s granddaughter, sixth-grader Kayla Jones, in the middle school choir.

The candle — it’s been an Easton landmark since it was first constructed around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in 1951 — was ceremoniously lit by Claudia DePamphilis-Morrison.

DePamphilis-Morrison is the childhood friend of Easton police Lt. Samuel Lobb, who bid $1,500 in an eBay auction for the honor of lighting the towering holiday display.

Lobb said he wanted his longtime friend to be able to flip the switch. She’s a retired Staten Island police officer who suffers from a terminal neurological and brain disorder that friends say she contracted working in the rubble of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“Everybody knew what I was up to, except for her,” Lobb said. DePamphilis-Morrison, who lives in Easton and graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1982, didn’t know about it until Friday night.

Lobb engaged in a bidding war with Joe Scott III, president of Easton Coach Co., who was trying to win the honor for someone else, Lobb said. When Scott heard the reasons behind Lobb’s efforts, he offered to kick in half of the $1,500 cost, Lobb said.

Mark Crouthamel, owner of the ice-carving company Ice Works that fashioned characters such as a reindeer and Olaf the snowman from ice blocks, said the candle-lighting ceremony has grown each of the past four years or so he has participated.

“For a community event, it’s great,” Crouthamel said. “It’s always a nice crowd here — very receptive.”

Phillipsburg rallies fans ahead of delayed Thanksgiving game versus Easton (photos)

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The Stateliners are in the midst of a 9-1 season and advancing in their divisional championship.

With fireworks rising from a snow-covered Bellis Field at Maloney Stadium, Phillipsburg High School students and Stateliners football fans got ready Friday night for Saturday’s game against Easton.

The teams’ 108th meeting, normally held Thanksgiving Day, was delayed by Wednesday’s snowstorm.

But that seemed to do little to dampen the community’s enthusiasm Friday night as the team was introduced amid remarks aimed at inspiring victory Saturday.

The Stateliners are in the midst of a 9-1 season and play an NJSIAA North 2 Group 4 title game on Dec. 6 at Rutgers University against Colonia.

Trolley Station Mall the scene of an armed robbery, police say

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

A victim was injured in the Friday incident on Route 191 in Lower Nazareth Township, and two male assailants with handguns fled.

Two male assailants brandishing handguns robbed a man leaving the Trolley Station Mall on Friday night, Colonial Regional police said.

The victim suffered minor injuries to his hand, elbow and knee when he was forced to the ground by the pair demanding he give them his money about 5 p.m.  at the 224 Nazareth Pike (Route 191) mall in Lower Nazareth Township.

The men fled on foot, north on Nazareth Pike, and were later believed to be in a late-model, dark charcoal or black four-door Dodge pickup truck headed west just prior to 6:45 p.m. on Hanoverville Road, according to emergency radio broadcasts.

After forcing the victim to the ground, the two perpetrators drew handguns and pointed them at the victim, who handed over money from his pocket, police said.

The assailants are described as:

  • A white male, 5 feet 10 inches tall with a stocky build, wearing a red checkered hooded sweatshirt, jeans and red face covering and carrying a small-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun with brushed nickel finish.
  • A white male, 6 feet tall with a medium build, wearing a white hooded sweatshirt, jeans and black ski mask and carrying a black handgun, possibly a 9mm.

Anyone with information can dial 911 or contact the Northampton County non-emergency dispatch number at 610-330-2200.

Holiday Lights Shine in Nay Aug Park

Posted by WNEP.com.

SCRANTON — Nay Aug park in Scranton is in the holiday spirit. For the 13th year, the Nay Aug Holiday Light Show is lighting up the park in Scranton. On Friday evening, Mayor Bill Courtright flipped the switch on just one of the 100 holiday displays you can check out. “It’s extremely popular. Extremely popular. […]

Richard Scheuermann III candlelight vigil marks 40th birthday a month after his death

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

About 40 people attended a vigil about 6 p.m. at North 13th and Spring Garden streets, where he crashed his pickup truck following a pursuit and was shot by police.

Family and friends of Richard “Richie” Scheuermann III clutched candles in gathering Friday night at the Easton street corner where he drew his last breath a little more than a month ago.

About 40 people attended a vigil about 6 p.m. at North 13th and Spring Garden streets on what would have been the Wilson Borough man’s 40th birthday.

“He was born on Thanksgiving,” his father, Richard Scheuermann II, said.

It was the first time at the scene of Richard Scheuermann III’s death for his mother, Lois Spaziani.

Scheuermann died after crashing his pickup truck into a stop sign Oct. 24 following a pursuit that began in Palmer Township, where police attempted to stop him after seeing him drive north in a southbound lane of 25th Street, investigators said.

Scheuermann led authorities on a chase through four municipalities before crashing, court records say; he repeatedly backed up his pickup truck, ramming a Palmer Township police vehicle.

Palmer Township and Easton police opened fire, striking Scheuermann, authorities said; police also fired a stun gun at Scheuermann. He was also found with a folding knife embedded in his neck.

A search warrant says interviews with Scheuermann’s family revealed he had used synthetic marijuana on Oct. 22 — two days before the chase — and could have been suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues. During a 2012 assault sentencing in Warren County, Scheuermann’s attorney said he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

Authorities have not released his cause of death. The Northampton County District Attorney’s Office will determine whether police were warranted in using deadly force, and District Attorney John Morganelli said he planned to meet with investigators next week to review the incident.

Framed by Easton Department of Public Works sawhorses, a makeshift memorial lay on the sidewalk where the crash occurred, bearing on Friday night a red cloth with bouquets of dried flowers and photos of Scheuermann staked into the ground. On the utility pole next to the memorial was taped an 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheet of paper titled, “No judge no jury,” and saying, “Richard Scheuermann was executed.”

Elizabeth Fusco, of Palmer Township, was among those in attendance Friday. Scheuermann was her cousin.

“He was my heart and soul,” she said, describing the cousins in the family as “very close.” “He was always looking out for me.”

Spaziani busied herself as the group assembled Friday with warnings about candle safety and North 13th Street traffic for the grandchildren of her husband, Barry Berman; the kids wore animal-themed winter hats in the icy night. A “Happy Birthday” balloon bobbed in a chill wind, illuminated by the candles, and there were a few inches of snow piled by the curb.

After a brief opening prayer, an emotional Spaziani read from a prepared statement:

“I’m speaking to you tonight as a mother.
“Though I am sickened by grief for losing Richie, I knew his heart, and his heart was good.
“He has touched the lives and the souls of so many.
“He was my child. He was my son.
“Every day is difficult for me. Every moment is difficult for me because I know he suffered greatly.
“With every breath within me all I know is how to love, to care and nurture the sick and those in need.
“I couldn’t help my son that night. I couldn’t help him.
“I try to find comfort through my faith and knowing that through Riche’s faith he is with our lord.
“Richie suffers no more, but he did not deserve to die.
“It is I that now suffers. It is I that relives the horrible night over and over and over again.
“I’m trying so hard to gain strength, insight and knowledge through Scripture on healing and forgiveness.
“There was a place set at the Thanksgiving table for Richie last evening.
“He told me how much he was looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.
“I told him I would make all his special dishes.
“He said, ‘Oh Mom I can’ t wait.’
“We set a place for him and we said our prayers.
“Today would have been Richie’s 40th birthday. He was born on Thanksgiving Day. Happy birthday Richie. I love you so much. I am so proud to say that I am your mom.
“I am so sorry for what you had to endure that night.
“Yes I am angry but through this anger there must come change, change for the good. It will be slow and painful. It will take time. I can only pray that something good will come out of this horrible tragedy.
“I harbor no hatred in my heart. Hatred is not a part of my vocabulary. It is not who I am.
“I also pray that somebody, someone will speak the truth, find courage and bring an end to such brutality that was bestowed upon my son by the police.
“Hear my message: It is time to clean your house.
“What drives such hatred and ignorance in some people? Is it knowing that they will be held to little or no accountability? Do they do it because they can?
“Richie’s debt was paid to society. He owed nothing. He just wanted to get on with his life. He was hardworking and productive.
“I said it before and I will say it again: It is my belief that Richie was profiled, tried, judged and executed within minutes. Why? Will there be justice for Richie? The truth must come out. The truth must be told. There needs to be accountability.
“As my message states: Clean your house and stop killing our children.”

The group then sang, “Happy birthday.”

Talkback Feedback: Thanksgiving Edition

Posted by WNEP.com.

Newswatch 16’s Scott Schaffer shows us what he’s thankful for in this Thanksgiving edition of Talkback Feedback.

Argument Over Thanksgiving Dinner Leads to Stabbing

Posted by WNEP.com.

WILKES-BARRE — A woman told Wilkes-Barre police that she stabbed a man on Thanksgiving after he started eating dinner without her. Jack-Lyn Blake was taken to jail in Luzerne County on charges including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Police say they were called to a home on Madison Street in Wilkes-Barre around 6:30 Thursday […]