Residents Gather To Watch Frein Outside Court

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MILFORD — Dozens of people who work and live in Milford waited out in the cold to catch a glimpse as heavily armed officers escorted Eric Frein in and out of the courtroom. Many were loud, even cheering for troopers, and heckling the accused cop killer. While news crews from across the northeast lined the […]

Eric Frein Arraigned On Murder Charges

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MILFORD — A crowd cheered outside the Pike County Courthouse in Milford as accused cop killer Eric Frein was brought before a judge and charged with first degree murder. After nearly seven weeks of searching, a suspected cop killer is locked up. Authorities captured Eric Frein Thursday in Monroe County. Friday morning, charges including murder […]

LIVEBLOG:Frein Taken to Arraignment in Pike County, News Conference

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MILFORD — Suspected cop killer Eric Frein was taken to the Pike County Courthouse Friday morning to be arraigned on charges related to the shooting of two state troopers. Authorities believe Frein killed Corporal Bryon Dickson and severely wounded Trooper Alex Douglass outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks in Pike County last month. U.S. […]

Alleged cop killer Eric Frein arrives for arraignment as onlookers shout insults

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The short hearing was planned for 9 a.m.

Media outnumbered gawkers Friday morning in Milford, Pennsylvania, as a street was closed next to the Pike County Court House in preparation for alleged cop killer Eric Frein‘s arrival for his arraignment.

About a dozen TV satellite trucks, dozens of reporters and two dozen onlookers lined both sides of West High Street, which was shut at Broad Street.

Frein, accused of killing Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson II and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass on Sept. 12 outside the barracks in Blooming Grove Township, was to be arraigned at 9 o’clock.

He arrived in a state police armored vehicle, which was escorted by several trooper cruisers with their flashing lights on. Onlookers cheered as the convoy passed by, expressing support for police before individuals screamed at Frein as he entered through a back door to the red brick courthouse — which looks like an old school building.

Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin is expected to talk to the media after the short court hearing.

“So all understand my comments will be confined within the ethical rules governing prosecutors in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” he wrote in an email.

Five things to know about this week’s Parkland School Board meeting

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

School directors met Tuesday at the district administration center.

The Parkland School Board this week held its second regular meeting of the month, where they learned it will cost nearly $1.5 million to install artificial turf at the high school’s soccer field. Here are five more things that you should know occurred during the meeting:

Retirement: Robert Thornburg, Parkland’s longtime director of students services, is retiring this summer after a 36-year career in public education. The board approve his retirement, which is effective June 30.

robert thornburgView full sizeRobert Thornburg 

Superintendent Richard Sniscak and board members praised Thornburg, saying he was passionate about his job and that made him an excellent advocate for Parkland’s special education students. Officials in their remarks described him as inspiring, respectful and fair.

They also noted that Thornburg’s big smile would be missed when he retires.

Resignation: Director of Food Services Todd Holmes is leaving Parkland to pursue a job in the private sector. He’s served in that role for 12 years.

The board approved Holmes; resignation, but an effective date has not been set.

Comprehensive Plan: School directors approved Parkland’s comprehensive plan for Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017. The district is required to submit the plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education by Nov. 30.

Library Cards: September’s “One Card, Every Child” initiative yielded 800 new library sign-ups, according to school director Robert Cohen. Parkland schools partnered with the Parkland Community Library in effort to get elementary school students and their families signed up for cards.

Fogelsville Elementary School won the initiative’s participation contest, earning a visit from Curious George, the mischievous money featured in the eponymous children’s book serious, Cohen said.

Leadership Conference: Parkland was well represented at last week’s PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania, according to board President Roberta Marcus.

Teacher Frank Anonia directed the student showcase and student Abby Kern served as its mistress of ceremonies, Marcus said. The Parkland High School Chorale performed during the event, which also was attended by two student delegates and an advisor, she said.

Precious Petty may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @precpetty. Find Lehigh County news on Facebook.

East Stroudsburg University eliminating music curriculum, report says

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Two professors are advised of their impending layoff, reports.

East Stroudsburg University has taken another step toward eliminating its music curriculum, a news website reports.

The university, as required by contract, advised two music professors on Wednesday that their jobs are being eliminated, reports. All music courses, the choral program and the orchestra are being discontinued at the end of the year, the website said.

While officials from the state education system couldn’t be reached, a union official at Cheney University, which will have six layoffs, asked why East Stroudsburg was eliminating programs when the school was projecting a budget surplus this year.

University spokeswoman Brenda Friday told the website the music program was placed last year in moratorium for elimination, which is part of the process.

But an East Stroudsburg union official said the faculty was working with the state system to reduce possible layoffs, the website said

“We have never been able to understand why any four-year comprehensive university would eliminate all three-credit music courses,” Nancy VanArsale told the website.

Proposed Parkland High School artificial turf project would cost nearly $1.5M, officials say

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Superintendent Richard Sniscak said Parkland's options for financing the project would be laid out next month.

Installing artificial turf at Parkland High’s soccer field would cost the school district an estimated $1.475 million, board members learned at this week’s meeting.

That figure includes a new drainage system for the field — about 35 percent of the total cost — and cushion for contingencies, Alvin H. Butz senior project manager Tom Daniels and Parkland Athletic Director Jeff Geisel said during their Tuesday night presentation. Installing the turf will run the district a little under $670,100, or 46 percent of the total, they said.

Superintendent Richard Sniscak said Parkland’s options for financing the project would be laid out next month. If the board were to approve the project in November, the five-month permitting process could begin, the artificial turf would be installed in summer 2015 and ready for use that fall, officials said

Parkland’s soccer, lacrosse and field hockey teams play on the field and the existing natural turf is beat up because the grass doesn’t get enough time to recover between uses, officials said. Crab grass contributes to the field’s deterioration, as well. 

With artificial turf in place, all three sports’ teams could use the field for home games, which would reduce the district’s transportation costs, officials said. There are savings tied to the field’s maintenance, as well.

The life expectancy of artificial turf fields is 10 years and in that time Parkland would save about $50,000 on busing, officials said. Annual transportation costs range from $4,800 to $5,300, depending on whether teams qualify for post-season play.

Upkeep of the existing field costs Parkland $15,335 a year, whereas annual maintenance of artificial turf is estimated at just under $1,900, officials said. Over a decade, the district would save roughly $135,000.

On top of savings, officials said the district could generate approximately $500,000 in revenue over 10 years by renting the field to youth athletic leagues and other groups. 

Daniels and Geisel during their presentation discussed the materials and chemicals used in artificial turf fields, as well statistics on player injuries. The findings of a study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed that paying on artificial turf is safer than playing natural turf.

Athletes suffered a lower rate of concussion, ACL trauma, severe injuries and ligament tears on synthetic surfaces, the study showed.

Other potential improvements associated with the artificial turf installation proposal are resurfacing the track, which surrounds the soccer field, and construction of a ticket booth and team rooms. Those projects would cost an estimated  $283,000 and $316,00, respectively, officials said.

The district in August hired Butz, an Allentown-based construction management firm, to conduct a cost analysis for the project. Butz has handled similar projects for Lehigh and DeSales universities.

Precious Petty may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @precpetty. Find Lehigh County news on Facebook.

University Hosts Annual “Trick-or-Treat for Change”

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LEWISBURG — Bucknell University students aren’t asking for candy this Halloween but spare change instead. The school’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity is holding its 13th annual “Trick-or-Treat for Change” in Lewisburg. Club members have attached envelopes to doors of homes and are hoping residents will make a monetary donation that will be used on […]

Man Charged with Assault in Northumberland County

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SUNBURY — A man shot by Sunbury police now faces charges for the attack that triggered the gunfire. According to officials, Erick Trometter was charged on Thursday for assault. Sunbury’s police chief shot the suspect in the leg after cops said the man threatened him with a knife. Police said the suspect is accused of […]

Top Greenwich Township committeemen face challenge from write-in candidates

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Former mayor Bill Kanyuck and retired Lopatcong Township police Sgt. Will Spencer aim to unseat Mayor Joseph Tauriello and Deputy Mayor Tom Callari.

The Greenwich Township Committee candidates are attacking each other’s record on finances.

Former Mayor Bill Kanyuck has joined retired Lopatcong Township police Sgt. Will Spencer to wage a write-in campaign aimed at unseating Mayor Joseph Tauriello and Deputy Mayor Tom Callari. All the candidates are Republicans.

Kanyuck, 56, and Spencer, 42, hammered their opponents for this year’s budget, which cut $15,000 from the Stewartsville Volunteer Fire Co. stipend and $7,000 from the Greenwich Township Emergency Squad stipend. Spencer questioned the wisdom of cutting township staff, including the police secretary’s position.

“To sit there and eliminate a position that is a vital part of the office and replace it with a person that’s making three times the salary is unheard of,” Spencer said.

With Interstate 78 dividing the township, officials need to maintain first responders for when the effects of drug and other traffickers spill over, Kanyuck said. New Jersey State Police cover the highway. 

Tauriello, 49, said he rejected the premise the committee replaced the secretary with a police officer. Officials had a choice between cutting police — a direct service to the taxpayer — or cutting the police secretary, he said. They make choices to benefit the township’s 5,500 residents rather than a select few, Tauriello said.

Callari, a 44-year-old director of planning and logistics for a pharmaceutical company, said officials were able to bring back a full-time police officer. That’s a better service to the taxpayer than the secretary, he said. He pointed out township police Chief Richard Hummer said the secretary spent some of her work day reviewing police reports for grammar.

“Quite frankly, for the money, I’d rather have a police officer on the street protecting the citizens than doing that,” Callari said.

He said he’s been the volunteer deputy emergency management coordinator for years. He went door-to-door with the fire chief during Superstorm Sandy to deliver water and assess people’s needs, he said.

When former Mayor Dan Perez wanted to spend $1.5 million to buy two new firetrucks last year, Tauriello and Callari talked with Chief Joe Mecsey III about the fire company’s true needs. Officials were able to buy a used, 100-foot aerial platform truck instead for less than $400,000, Tauriello said.

“That is exactly the type of partnership and collaboration that Tom Callari and I bring in order to ensure that operational needs are met in the most cost-effective manner,” Tauriello said.

Kanyuck, an auditor of schools and libraries, said he wants to see more agreements between the township and school district to share services for lawn care and snow removal.

He and Spencer said the township seems to incur a lot of unnecessary legal fees. 

“That’s costing me tax money that should be in my pocket,” Kanyuck said.

Township officials this year reduced the budget for legal fees by $50,000 to $160,000. Tauriello said they’ve only spent 60 percent of the lower appropriation.

Tauriello said it’s “shameful” for Kanyuck to make comments about his decisions costing the township money after officials in 2008 learned Kanyuck took payment instead of health care benefits the prior year without their permission. The director of the New Jersey Division of Local Government Services at the time said Kanyuck should pay back the $5,668. 

Kanyuck said he paid back the money he collected. He said he received inaccurate advice from the township professionals at the time.

Kanyuck, in turn, questioned Tauriello’s response after the current chief financial officer alerted Tauriello that Committeewoman Elaine Emiliani had been collecting state health benefits this year to which she was not entitled. Tauriello has said he sent the CFO’s email to the township attorney, who contacted the New Jersey Division of Community Affairs to decide the matter.

Sarah Peters may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @PhillipsburgNow. Find Phillipsburg, NJ on on Facebook.