MegaMillions lottery jackpot headed to $390M for Tuesday drawing

No one matched the six numbers drawn Friday, June 24 in the MegaMillions lottery. The winning numbers were 11, 14, 54, 57 and 63, plus 11 on the Mega Ball.

The monster MegaMillio…

Former N.J. Gov. Kean to Trump: Don’t pick Christie as VP

It’s nothing personal; it’s just geopolitical reality, the former governor says.

TRENTON — Former Gov. Tom Kean has some political advice for Donald Trump: Don’t pick Gov. Chris Christie as your running mate if you hope to become president, and start surrounding yourself with better advisers.

“If I were to advise him politically, it’s not the way to win the election,” said Kean of talk about a possible Trump/Christie ticket.

Kean said the governor’s  geographically similar background does little to help New York native Trump in battleground states like Ohio, Virginia and Florida.

Kean stressed that Trump needs to build a first-class team. He said Christie, who’s Trump’s transition chief, is “just one person” and cannot provide all of the needed counsel or expertise. 

“What any president needs to do is get the best people,” Kean said. “He hasn’t done that yet.”

The former governor professed admiration for Trump’s single-handed rout of a crowded GOP field, but said his tendency to speak outlandishly and disagreeably has thus far kept many top Republicans — including himself — from embracing the mogul and offering crucial support and advice.

Like Christie, Kean was once himself considered a possible running mate — for George H.W. Bush in 1988, delivering the keynote address at the GOP National Convention that year.

Shortly after learning he’d deliver the keynote, Kean got a phone call from Democratic Gov. Mario M. Cuomo of New York, who’d addressed the Democratic National Convention four years earlier.

“Just say the kinds of things you are saying in the state,” Cuomo told Kean.

In that 1988 convention speech, Kean articulated a theme of unity through acceptance, saying, “The simple truth is: There are no spare Americans.”

He published a book later that year expanding on the theme. Entitled “The Politics of Inclusion,” the phrase he often used, it urged political cooperation among historically divided groups.

That socially liberal and fiscally conservative recipe propelled Kean to re-election in 1985 with the largest margin of victory ever recorded for a gubernatorial race in New Jersey: a staggering 47 percentage point margin. 

In the decades since, Kean has often criticized extremist responses to immigration in the GOP, such as when he derided Pat Buchanan’s February 1992 promise to “halt the invasion” over the U.S. southern border with a fence and troops within six months of becoming president.

“Not only is it a morally wrong thing to do, it’s silly,” Kean told the Associated Press in August 1992 after Buchanan delivered a controversial speech during the Republican National Convention in Houston. “What are you going to have, a wall, a great wall of China?”

Christie: I’ve already helped heal GOP’s Trump rift

Today, Trump’s embrace of anti-Muslim and racial rhetoric and, especially, the call for building a wall along the entire southern border while deporting millions of unauthorized immigrants has kept many, including Kean, from committing to the presumptive nominee. 

“He’s said some things I cannot agree with in any way,” said Kean, “And I think that if he doubles down on some of this stuff, it becomes a question of judgment.”

But as a professor of history, Kean said that he recognizes that “there’s something totally new happening in the country, and it involves the greatest economic change in the history of the revolution.”

And he credits both Trump and Christie for seeing as much early on.

Trump, for speaking to “dislocated people, who are not uneducated, but who feel that the government hasn’t done anything to help them.” And Christie for endorsing Trump when “nobody had done it yet.”

Despite Trump’s use of often divisive rhetoric, Kean said that Christie ought not be faulted for supporting Trump, nor accused of selling out.

“He couldn’t endorse [U.S. Sen. Ted] Cruz; he would’ve been a tragedy as a nominee and a president. And there was no way Kasich could be the nominee short of a brokered convention. So, no: Who’d he sell out? [Trump] was always going to be the nominee.”

In the meantime, Kean thinks Trump’s chance of winning to be “small” but still possible, provided that the mogul can begin exercising restraint and demonstrating judgment needed to win over Garden State voters.

“It’s unlikely the GOP nominee is going to win New Jersey,” said Kean. “But if Trump can carry New Jersey, he’ll be the next President of the United States.”

But what about Trump winning Tom Kean, Sr.’s vote? He says it’s not out of the question.

“I have some strong disagreements with Donald Trump has said, but I will hope to support my party’s nominee,” Kean said. “I’ll be waiting and watching.”

Pressed for what Trump might have to do or say, the former governor demurred.

“‘Waiting and watching’ means I’m not going to say anything just yet,” Kean said. “He’s been a surprise to everyone.”

Claude Brodesser-Akner may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ClaudeBrodesser. Find Politics on Facebook.

How Easton area kids in need can get new sneakers

First United Church of Christ in Easton has been coordinating the ‘Cover the Piggies’ sneaker project for six years.

What does “Cover the Piggies” sound like to you? In Easton, it means sneakers for children who need them.

First United Church of Christ at North Third and Church streets has been providing sneakers for children in need for six years. This year’s Cover the Piggies will take place on Aug. 13 at the church.

The church’s congregational assistant, Margaret Parisi, came up with the community outreach project in 2011 after she learned about a similar program called Soles for Souls, which ships shoes overseas to those in need.

Parisi said she and “mission partner” Becky Spence knew Easton also has many families who might be in need of sneakers. They learned many children attend school without sneakers, which are required for children’s physical education requirements.

The program has no income guidelines. It’s open to any families with children 18 and under who might need new sneakers for their school-aged children in Easton and surrounding areas, Parisi said.

Cover the Piggies wouldn’t be possible without community response, the organizers said.

Due to the overwhelming help from Easton Area Community Center‘s Summer Nights program, Easton Area School District‘s Family Connection”and numerous other local churches and stores, hundreds of children have received new sneakers over the past five years through the program, Parisi said.

Free outdoor movies in the Valley

Green Pond United Methodist Church in Bethlehem Township has long had connections with Downtown Easton as the church was previously based there.

Winona Master, a member of the church’s mission team, said between their connection to Easton and the worthwhile program, it was a no-brainer to participate.

She said the church enjoys contributing to the program and donated more than 40 pairs of shoes to Cover the Piggies last year.

Cover the piggies 2Room at First UCC full of sneakers before the event took place in 2014.Courtesy First UCC 

A bulk of families who receive sneakers come from the Summer Nights program.

Lisa Bedoya, who works with the program, said families are appreciative and participants ask about it each year.

The event isn’t just beneficial to those who are recipients, said the Rev. Michael Dowd, First UCC’s senior pastor. He said it’s an eye opener to simply shop for the sneakers and see the cost.

“It’s very much an excellent program,” said Carl Cooke, a church member. “It’s really incredible to see those smiles on children’s faces when they receive the shoes.”

Parisi said there isn’t a specific goal for shoe giveaways.

“We’d just like to give sneakers to any kids who need them,” she said. “It is really an amazing thing, the way it has worked. “Definitely a ‘God thing.'”

To donate shoes, contact Parisi to arrange drop-off at the church at Monetary donations are also accepted, as well as gift cards to stores such as Wal-Mart, Kmart and other local shoe stores.

There are a variety of ways to take advantage of the program. Families must register their children by Friday, July 15.

To do so:

  • Sign up through Summer Nights at Easton Area Community Center, 901 Washington St. from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays until July 15.
  • Sign up at the ProJeCt of Easton Assist Office, 320 Ferry St. from 2 to 4 p.m. 2-4 p.m. on July 6, 13 and 15.
  • Contact First UCC Church directly at 610-258-3323.

Registered children will be assigned a time to get sneakers on Aug. 13. Kids are provided with breakfast during sneaker pickup.

Ashleigh Albert is’s Russell J. Flanagan Memorial news intern. Find on Facebook.

What’s special about Mount Bethel? Find out Sunday

A presentation at 2 p.m. at the Slate Belt Museum will highlight the region’s unique natural wonders.

The northeast corner of Northampton County is home to several remarkable environmental landscapes.

Ellen Lott, program manager with the Nature Conservancy, will give a presentation at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Slate Belt Museum, 2214 North Delaware Drive (Route 611) in Upper Mount Bethel Township, which will highlight some of the natural gems specific to the area.

The presentation “What’s Special About Mt. Bethel?” will detail three unique landscapes — the Kittatinny Ridge, the Mount Bethel Fens and the Minsi Lake Vernal Pool Corridor.

“I know that the people of Mount Bethel really value the land,” Lott said. “So, it’s nice to be able to share with everyone about the special place they live in.”

The Kittatinny Ridge, also known as Blue Mountain, which crosses Pennsylvania for 185 miles from the Mason-Dixon Line to the Delaware River, is a world-renowned migratory bird corridor, a vital bridge between north and south for migrating birds of prey, according to Lott.

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The Mount Bethel Fens, wetlands comprised of several rare animal and plant species, is the only natural area categorized as “globally significant” in a Northampton County inventory completed by staff from the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program.

The Minsi Lake Corridor, on the slope of the Kittatinny Ridge, is home to one of the highest concentrations of vernal pools in Pennsylvania. Hundreds of pools, which swell from the springtime rains, dot the forests of Upper Mount Bethel Township. The pools serve as nurseries for frogs and salamanders.  

“This is an area that’s rather unusual in terms of wildlife and particularly the plant life,” Slate Belt Museum curator Walter Emery said. “People don’t realize that its even there and how special it is.”

The Slate Belt Museum exhibits displays that include artifacts from the slate, agricultural, garment and cigar industries and it is open every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free but donations are encouraged.  

Registration for the 2 p.m. presentation is not required.

John Best is a freelance writer. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.

Busy 1st week for new Slate Belt animal control officer

A regional animal control officer began her job in the Slate Belt last week.

In her first week on the job, the Slate Belt animal control officer has worked with police, team…

Have you seen these suspects? Fugitives of the week June 25, 2016

Northampton and Warren county authorities say they are looking for these suspects.

Warren County authorities seek Tristen Haspendales — fugitive of the week
Northampton County a…

Avoid hunger: Where to find food pantries, get free meals

The Easton Hunger Coalition has updated its list of food pantries and meal opportunities in the area.

The Easton Hunger Coalition is a support network for food pantries…

Mega Millions winning numbers for $363 million jackpot Friday, 6/24/2016

Check out the winning numbers in Friday’s Mega Millions drawing.

Let’s hope you’re feeling lucky — and plunked down your $1 for a Mega Millions — ticket this week — because the jackpot is one of the biggest ever.

megamillions.jpgMega Millions

Here are the winning numbers in the drawing:

11-14-54-57-63; Mega Ball: 11; Megaplier: 5X

The estimated jackpot for the drawing is $363 million.

If no one wins, the Mega Millions jackpot will get even bigger for Tuesday’s drawing.

According to the game’s official website, the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 258,890,850.

Players pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers — five different numbers from 1 to 75 and one number from 1 to 15 — or select Easy Pick. A player wins the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a drawing.

Jackpot winners choose whether to receive 30 annual payments, each five percent higher than the last, or a lump-sum payment.

Mega Millions drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays and are offered in 44 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tickets cost $1 each.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Stop hanging up on governor, government workers are told

The Pennsylvania governor’s personal touch doesn’t always get him very far.

Second-year Gov. Tom Wolf likes to dial his own phone calls, but the Democrat is finding disbelieving receptionists sometimes hang up on him. That’s what happened recently w…

North Warren Regional High School graduation 2016 (PHOTOS)

The Class of 2016 celebrated its commencement at the Blairstown school.

North Warren Regional High School held its commencement Friday night at the school in Blairstown.