Mark and Mike’s Excellent Adventure – Part 2

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Earlier this month, I posted Mark and Mike’s Excellent Adventure. It’s about the curious relationship between City of Easton Community Development Specialist Michael Brett, who also sits on the Zoning Hearing Board, and the City’s latest Revelopment Superhero, Mark “I’m not Swytlick” Mulligan.It just happens that Michael the public employee has parked his realtor license over at Mulligan’s VM Realty, a subsidiary of his VM Development Group.

Mulligan has the Simon Silk Mill, Wolf Building, Northampton National Bank and Pomeroy Building. Mulligan has taken advantage of every tax handout the City has been willing to pass along, and there’s been about $9 million so far.

Of course, when a city real estate redevelopment employee who also sits on the Zoning Hearing Board has a relationship with a developer like Mulligan, all kinds of alarm bells should be sounding. But not to Mayor Sal Panto. He promised to get a whitewash from the Ethics Commission, but also demanded, “Show me the beef!”

He might find a burger or two if he looks into the city records for 356-358 W. Wilkes-Barre Street. In 2012, that South Side brick twin was badly damaged when a fire broke out – twice – within the span of six hours.

The property (there are actually two attached row homes) was sold after the fire, in 2013, to an outfit that seemed to be created just for the purpose – 356-358 Wilkes-Barre L.P.  According to state corporation records, its address is located at 130 Main Street in Flemington. Its General Partner is identified as 356-358 Wilkes-Barre 1A, LLC.  That corporation’s address is listed as 400 Northampton Street in Easton, Suite 700.

The amounts paid – $21,900 and $17,700 – are well below what the properties are worth, even with the fire damage. Plus the new owner has access to monies in escrow with the City from the insurance company to ensure repairs are completed.

Whoever bought this property has gone to great lengths to conceal his identity, even to the point of creating a corporation and a partnership. But the identity of at least one of the partners in this venture can be determined by looking at the addresses listed – 130 Main Street and  400 Northampton Street, Suite 700.

It’s Mulligan.

Why would Easton’s biggest developer go to such great lengths to conceal his identity concerning a small South Side property?

It appears he may be trying to protect one of his partners. If you call the phone number for the permits issued to 356-358 Wilkes-Barre L.P., Michael Brett will answer the phone.

Sal, I’ll take pickles, ketchup and A-1 steak sauce on that burger. Maybe we can eat it at Cheeburger, Cheeburger.

Another interesting point is that the attorney who did all the deed transfers for this property is none other than Karl Longenbach. He just happens to be the father of Easton RDA Exec Director Gretchen Longenbach. Seems he’s been doing a lot of legal work for Mulligan lately.

Maybe I’ll have two hamburgers.

Sausage company rolls out at Musikfest

Posted by 69News:.

If music is the star of Musikfest, then the food is the backup singer.

“We see Musikfest as a platform to launch ourselves in the Lehigh Valley,” Dan Falco said.

Falco represents the soon to be open Bethlehem Sausage Works, a family owned New Jersey company that’s moving into the Lehigh Valley. The company plans to sample their signature sausage during the 10 day event.

“To have Musikfest rolling up the same time we are ready to launch is perfect to reach tons of people,” Falco said.

Mark Demko of ArtsQuest, says the festival has become a stage not just for new musical acts but for new food vendors too.

“We see more and more business reaching out to us every year. They know the role Musikfest has in the community, and how is provides an opportunity to create and spread awareness of brand,” Demko remarked.

So the big question, at least for BSW, is the taste test, which starts Friday.

Carbon County wreck leaves motorcyclist injured

Posted by 69News:.

A motorcyclist was injured after an accident in Carbon County.

It happened at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Troxell Road in Mahoning Township.

We’re told the motorcyclist lost control on a curve and the bike flipped onto its side.

There’s no word on his condition.

Motorcycle operator injured in Lower Macungie crash

Posted by 69News:.

A motorcycle was involved in an accident about 5:50 p.m. Wednesday in Lower Macungie Township.

The accident occurred along Mountain Road, apparently just south of the borough of Macungie, according to information provided by the Lehigh County Communications Center.

The injured motorcycle operator was flown by Medevac helicopter to Lehigh Valley Hospital.

State police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Fifteen-year-old boy arrested for Bethlehem robbery

Posted by 69News:.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested by Bethlehem police early Wednesday after police say he knocked down and attempted to rob a 36-year-old man who was walking home from work.

The robbery was interrupted by an off-duty state trooper who chased off the thief. Police Chief Mark DiLuzio praised Trooper Louis Rosenthal for his “outstanding” assistance.

The incident happened at 12:05 a.m. Wednesday  at the intersection of New Street and Union Boulevard in Bethlehem.

“I was running on the sidewalk and I saw them up ahead and they were rolling around and it wasn’t until I got closer until I realized something was wrong,” Rosenthal told 69 News.

Here’s what happened, according to city police:

The teen walked past the man and asked for a lighter. The man replied he had none and kept walking.

The boy attacked him from behind, knocking him to the ground and trying to remove his wallet and cell phone.

“He appeared to be grabbing at him, like grabbing in his pockets and trying to gain leverage on him,” said Rosenthal. “It looked like a struggle going on.”

The man attempted to fight back, receiving minor injuries.

“I scared him away. We made eye contact, myself and the suspect. He saw me and he jumped up into the air and just took off,” Rosenthal explained.

Rosenthal chased him a short distance, but lost him. He flagged down a car that happened to be an unmarked police car.

Police arrived in the area and set up a perimeter around the area where Rosenthal lost sight of the boy. 

They observed a broken wood fence and found the attacker hiding under the rear deck of a home in the first block of West Garrison Street.

“Thank goodness for Bethlehem City PD. They were on the ball, they did what they had to do and they took care of business,” said Rosenthal. “I didn’t do anything heroic. I basically just used common sense.”

Praising Rosenthal, the police chief stated in a news release that he “saw a crime being committed and immediately intervened, thus stopping the assault and robbery of a citizen and stopping the possibility of serious bodily injury to that citizen.”

DiLuzio said Rosenthal’s help also resulted in the apprehension of the robbery suspect. The boy is being held in Northampton County Juvenile Detention.  He is charged with robbery, recklessly endangering another person and harassment. City detectives are continuing the investigation to determine if additional charges will be filed in relation to other incidents.

Coroner called to accident involving motorcycle in Berks County

Posted by 69News:.

The coroner was called to the scene of an accident in Heidelberg Township.

It happened around 9:00 p.m. Wednesday on Route 422 near Weiser Lane.

Initial reports indicate a motorcycle was involved.

A 69 News crew is on scene

Stay with 69 News and for more information.

Israeli Scouts Visit Wilkes-Barre, Talk About Violence

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WILKES-BARRE — They are known as Scouts, the Tzofim Friendship Caravan, and Wednesday night they performed at the Jewish Community Center of the Wyoming Valley.

The special group of Israeli youths have spent the past few months touring the United States. One of their goals is to connect with American Jewish people and “project Israel in a positive light.”

“The reason I came to this project is I think it’s really important to show the world, show the communities in the United States the real Israel, the beauty side,” said group leader Tomer Shaked.

While the group of young people have been touring here, violence has escalated in their homeland, as attacks between Hamas and Israel ramp up and the death toll rises.

“It is very hard to be away from home right now for all of us, but we deal with it. We get news reports every time and we try not to think about it that much, but it happens and we deal with it,” said Bar Peres, a Scout.

“We are kind of used to it. It’s not the first time, but we are always worried,” agreed Hadas Ben Assayag.

Group leader Shaked has served in the Israeli Army and said because of what is happening at home, he allows the Scouts to call home more regularly than usual.

“It’s really, really difficult actually. This morning a very good friend of mine got injured pretty seriously and you have to be here and you know your heart is over there with your friends.”

For more information on the group and its mission, click HERE

Phillipsburg Middle School music teacher arrested

Posted by 69News:.

Vincent J. Pettinelli, a music teacher at Phillipsburg Middle School, is accused of recording a student’s “intimate body parts” and was charged with invasion of privacy by Phillipsburg police Wednesday.

Evidence obtained during a police investigation showed Pettinelli used an iPod to record the student inside the school.

Phillipsburg Superintendent George Chando said the district was notified on Wednesday afternoon that Pettinelli had been arrested.

Chando said the teacher was placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the results of the investigation.

“The district has no further comment on this confidential matter,” said the superintendent.

Chando could provide no information about the victim.

Pettinelli was being investigated for several months by the special victims unit of the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office and the Phillipsburg Police Department’s criminal investigation unit. That investigation is continuing.

A police report about the arrest did not reveal when and how the student was recorded or where it happened in the school.

The 41-year-old Pettinelli resides in the 200 block of William Street in Alpha, N.J.

Pettinelli was released after posting 10 percent of bail, which was set at $35,000.

Family Plans to Sue 911 System over Dispatching Mistake

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MOCANAQUA — Newswatch 16 has learned the family of a woman who died in a fire in Mocanaqua plans to sue Luzerne County’s 911 system.

An investigation revealed it was human error that caused fire crews to be sent to the wrong location back in May and not a problem with the county’s computer dispatch and phone system. 52-year-old Michelle Dzoch died in the fire.

One Luzerne County dispatcher was fired and another suspended as a result of the mistake.

Terry Scott Souders of Trexlertown arrested

Posted by 69News:.

A 50-year-old Trexlertown man who was carrying drugs and a handgun in the saddlebags of his motorcycle was arrested Wednesday by the Lehigh County Drug Task Force.

Terry Scott Souders was the subject of a narcotics investigation.

Souders was arrested at his home  in the 1100 block of Walter St. at 6:20 p.m. Tuesday.

When arrested, he admitted to police that he had a Taurus 9mm handgun, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the saddle bags of his motorcycle.

After receiving permission to search his home, police found smoking devices, digital scales, packaging material, mushrooms (psilocybin), suboxone, marijuana, marijuana grinders and other drug paraphernalia.

Souders was charged with carrying a firearm without a license, drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police determined the gun had been stolen in Allentown.