Muhlenberg College students in Nepal at time of devastating quake

Posted by 69News:.

Three Muhlenberg College students were in Nepal at the time of Saturday’s devastating earthquake that has claimed nearly 1,500 lives.

All of the Muhlenberg students are safe and have been in contact with their families, said Mike Bruckner, the college’s vice president of public relations.

Four Muhlenberg students are studying abroad in the region, he said. Three were in Nepal when the quake hit; the other student was in India at the time. Two of the students are female and two male.

Earlier today, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake centered less than 50 miles from Kathmandu rocked Nepal with devastating force, toppling homes, temples and historic buildings and leaving at least 1,457 people dead, authorities said.

Peace march held in Reading

Posted by 69News:.

A peace rally held in Reading on Saturday was a call for change.

“They want what is good, most of our kids feel that way,” rally leader, Mary-Liz Eshbach said.

Saturday, citizens in Reading drew attention to violent crimes in their area with a peace rally.  The intention of the rally was to put an end to violent activity.

“We want our kids to embody that and take on peace,”  Eshbach said.

The peace rally comes on the heels of a shooting on Thursday night, that killed 34-year-old Jose Correa-Gonzalez in the 1200 block of Allegheny Avenue.

Correa-Gonzalez was a professional boxer in Puerto Rico who was staying with family in the area.

Police do not have any suspects for Correa-Gonzalez’s killing.

The voices at Saturday’s rally are hoping to be a part of the awareness, to lead the neighborhood into a more peaceful future.  

“We’re better than what everybody says,” rally participant, Datnilza Metz said.  ”We can do a lot more than people think we can,”

Back in March, the Reading Police Department reported the city’s crime rate had fallen to the lowest level in decades.  They also say there is still a lot of work to be done.

 

More than 700 volunteer for Great Allentown Clean Up

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The 9th annual “Great Allentown Clean Up” was held in different spots in the city today.

More than 700 volunteers helped pick up trash, sweep streets, and make things look a little nicer.

Ann Saurman, manager of the city’s Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste, said of the big volunteer turnout:  “It makes your neighborhood proud of where you live, community spirit, it helps the stores in the neighborhood and the city of Allentown in general as we continue to develop and grow.”

The 69 News Community Care Crew even helped out with the clean-up this morning on 7th street.

Diocese of Allentown welcomes 47 permanent deacons

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Forty-seven men, called from each of the five counties of the Diocese of Allentown, were ordained permanent deacons by Bishop John Barres at St. Thomas More Church in Allentown on Saturday.

According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, this is probably the largest group of permanent deacons being ordained in any diocese in the country this year.

The church says a deacon witnesses the servanthood of Christ. He is called to promote charity and to proclaim and live the Word of God. As a sacramental minister, the Deacon is an ordinary minister of the Eucharist. He may baptize, witness marriages, conduct funeral services, and preside at prayer services and devotions. He may also preach at Mass, give instructions to people wishing to become Catholic, be involved in religious education, and conduct marriage and family enrichment programs. Deacons also serve in special ministries, such as soup kitchens, nursing homes, and prisons.

Preparation for reception of the order of deacon involves a period of six years.

Even though a deacon receives a sacred order, he does not necessarily function in the diaconate as a full-time occupation. A deacon who is not retired is still responsible for himself and his family through a secular occupation. At minimum a deacon devotes 10 to 12 hours a week to his work in the church.

The men to be ordained on Saturday include two men whose late fathers were permanent deacons in the Diocese and one man whose son is a priest of the Diocese. Their secular occupations include a hotelier, two chefs, a pharmacist, a chiropractor, a transportation executive and an elementary school principal. They range in age from 49 to 68. Combined they have 127 children and 117 grandchildren and great grandchildren

In a letter to the people of the Diocese, Bishop Barres wrote, “God has exceedingly blessed us in the gift these men are making of themselves to the life of our Church.”

The following is an alphabetical list by county of the 47 men ordained permanent deacons:

Berks County

James A. Bardi, Ed.D., 67, of Douglassville, is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish. Married and a father of three and grandfather of three, Bardi is retired director of hotel, restaurant and institutional management.

Dr. Charles A. Giordano, 65, of Bechtelsville, is a member of St. Columbkill Parish, Boyertown. Giordano is married and has a chiropractic practice.

James A. Kochu, 57, of Boyertown, is a member of St. Columbkill Parish. Married and the father of three and grandfather of three, Kochu is a chef and small business owner.

Frederick Lanciano, M.A., 61, of Sinking Spring, is a member of St. Ignatius Parish. Married and the father of five and grandfather of three, Lanciano is a theology teacher at Berks Catholic High School.

Felix J. Lombardo, 62, of Wyomissing, is a member of St. John Baptist de la Salle Parish, Shillington. Married and the father of two, Lombardo is a new business development manager.

Christopher May, 61, of Wyomissing, is a member of Sacred Heart Parish, West Reading. A father of two, May is a book publisher and distributor.

Joseph Petrauskas, 62, of Sassamansville, is a member of St. Columbkill Parish, Boyertown. Married and the father of three and grandfather of four, Petrauskas is product manager.

Edward L. Sanders, 61, of Shillington, is a member of St. Ignatius Parish, Sinking Spring. Married and the father of three and grandfather of three, Sanders is a sales representative.

Howard J. Schultz, 63, of Fleetwood, is a member of St. Columbkill Parish, Boyertown. Married and the father of three and grandfather of one, Schultz is a production manager and superintendent.

John Stapleton, 57, of Leesport, is a member of St. Margaret Parish, Reading. Married and the father of two and grandfather of two, Stapleton is branch manager with a supply company.

Bruce S. Swist, 64, of Temple, is a member of St. Catharine of Siena Parish, Reading. Married and the father of three and grandfather of four, Swist is a computer consultant.

Carbon County

Joseph T. Cannon, 57, of Lansford, is a member of St. Katharine Drexel parish. A widower and the father of two, Cannon is an associate maintenance manager with a trucking company.

James Warnagiris, M. Ed., 66, of Weatherly, is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. Married and the father of two and grandfather of two, Warnagiris is a retired state employee.

Joseph C. Wilhelm, Jr., 58, of Lehighton, is a member of SS. Peter and Paul Parish. Married and the father of one, Wilhelm is the plant manager at his parish.

Lehigh County

Ricardo Ceballos, 53, of Whitehall, is a member of Sacred Heart Parish, Allentown. Married and the father of two, Ceballos is a computer technician.

Claudio Cruz, 67, of Bethlehem, is a member of Sacred Heart Parish, Allentown. Married and the father of five, grandfather of 17 and great-grandfather of two, Cruz is a textile supervisor.

Christopher C. Kinsella, 57, of Allentown, is a member of St. Thomas More Parish. Married and the father of three and grandfather of two, Kinsella is an estate planner.

Michael T. Meder, 61, of Macungie, is a member of St. Thomas More Parish, Allentown. Married and the father of three and grandfather of four, Meder is a pharmacist.

John C. O’Connell, 64, of Whitehall, is a member of St. John Fisher Parish, Catasauqua. Married and the father of two, O’Connell is a retired electronics technician.

Sherwood C. Readinger, 64, of Schnecksville, is a member of St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Orefield. Married and the father of two and grandfather of two, Readinger is a retired engineering manager.

Peter H. Schutzler, M.S., 50, of Macungie, is a member of St. Thomas More Parish, Allentown. Married and the father of two, Schultzler is the principal of St. Thomas More School.

C. Miguel A. Vargas, 58, of Allentown, is a member of Sacred Heart Parish. Married and the father of five, Vargas is an upholsterer.

Northampton County

Gerardo Berrios, 59, of Bethlehem, is a member of Holy Infancy Parish. Married and the father of three and grandfather of four; Berrios does free-lance work.

Francis A. Elchert, M.S., 54, of Pen Argyl, is a member of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish. Married and the father of four, Elchert is a solution product manager.

Thomas J. Ely, 67, of Northampton, is a member of Holy Family Parish, Nazareth. Married and the father of five and grandfather of 11, Ely is a manager with a high-tech manufacturer.

Stephen T. Gorbos, M.Eng., 66, of Bethlehem, is a member of St. Anne Parish. Married and the father of three and grandfather of two, Gorbos is a retired electrical engineer.

Stewart T. Herman, 68, of Hellertown, is a member of Assumption B.V.M Parish, Colesville. Married and the father of six and grandfather of 15, Herman is a retired environmental engineer.

Isidro Gonzalez-Rivera, 49, of Bethlehem, is a member of Holy Infancy Parish. Married and the father of two and grandfather of two, Gonzalez-Rivera is a bank assistant vice president.

Joseph Juhasz, 53, of Bethlehem, is a member of Sacred Heart Parish. A father of one, Juhasz is an employee trainer.

Maurice E. Kelly, 55, of Hellertown, is a member of Assumption, B.V.M. Parish, Colesville. Married and the father of two, Kelly is an information technology manager.

Jose A. Ocampo, 55, of Bethlehem, is a member of Holy Infancy Parish. He is a computer programmer.

Charles V. Palmeri, 61, of Martins Creek, is a member of St. Rocco Parish. Married and the father of two and grandfather of two, Palmeri is a transportation company executive.

Ronald R. Pasquino, 61, of Mount Bethel, is a member of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Bangor. Married and the father of two, Pasquino is a chef.

Edward J. Saukulak, 53, of Bethlehem, is a member of Sacred Heart Parish, Bath. Married and the father of three and grandfather of two, Saukulak is a small business owner.

Gene Schroth, 61, of Easton, is a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Bethlehem. Married and the father of two and grandfather of three, is a retired electrician.

Richard Scrak, 56, of Bethlehem, is a member of St. Anne Parish. Married and the father of three and grandfather of seven, Scrak is a realtor. His late father was also a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Allentown.

Richard T. Sewald, 61, of Northampton, is a member of Notre Dame of Bethlehem Parish. Married and the father of four and grandfather of seven, Sewald is a retired security officer. His late father was also a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Allentown.

Ralph K. Sullivan, 57, of Easton, is a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Bethlehem. Married and the father of one, Sullivan is an information technology director.

Stephen J. Synoracki, 57, of Bethlehem, is a member of Sacred Heart Parish. Married and the father of three, Synoracki is a technical product support leader.

Michael J. Toolan, 64, of Bethlehem, is a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. Married and the father of four, Toolan is an information technology generalist.

Fred W. Wall, 58, of Bangor, is a member of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, Pen Argyl. Married and the father of four and grandfather of one, Wall is a senior manager with a chemical company.

Kevin C. Wasielewski, 58, of Easton, is a member of St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish. Married and the father of three and grandfather of two, Wasielewski is a self-employed heating, AC and refrigeration mechanic.

Kenneth L. Weiland, 65, of Easton, is a member of St. Anthony of Padua Parish. Married and the father of three and grandfather of one, Weiland is a retired risk control and safety manager.

Schuylkill County

Thomas B. Drogalis, 55, of Orwigsburg, is a member of St. Mary Parish, Hamburg. Married and the father of two and grandfather of one, Drogalis is Executive Director of the Schuylkill County Historical Society.

Edward J. Girard, Ph.D., 58, of Coaldale, is a member of Sacred Heart Parish, Palmerton. Married and the father of one and grandfather of two, Girard is Coordinator of Religious Education at his parish.

David J. Henninger, 49, of Mahanoy City, is a member of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish. Married and the father of two and grandfather of two, Henninger is a retail store manager.

Lawrence J. Lonergan, 64, of Pottsville, is a member of St. Patrick Parish. Married and the father of three and grandfather of one, Lonergan is a retired schoolteacher. His youngest son was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Allentown last June.

‘Lake’ graffiti spreads in Allentown, Bethlehem

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Investigators are working to figure out who has been spray painting graffiti in different places in Allentown and Bethlehem.

Neighbors are upset and call it a “Quality of Life” issue.

The word “Lake” has been spray painted on a few different locations in Allentown and Bethlehem, including on a former car dealership on Hanover Avenue in West Bethlehem.

Officials say they don’t know what the word means, or who is responsible for the vandalism.

“I just wish people would be more respectful of the area,” said one concerned neighbor.

Authorities say the graffiti is under investigation. They’re hoping to catch whoever is behind it, something neighbors say they want to see, too.

If you spot graffiti in your Allentown or Bethlehem neighborhoods, officials are asking that you call the graffiti hotline and report it.

Allentown: (610) 437- 8729

Bethlehem: (610) 865- 7060

Lehigh County man killed in Berks crash

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A 21-year-old Lehigh County man was killed in a single car crash in Berks County.

The crash happened around 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the 2800 block of Route 143 in Albany Township.

Alex Huber, of Heidelberg Township, was killed after he lost control of his car while going around a curve and crashed into a tree, according to the coroner’s office.

Huber died from blunt force trauma to the head. The death has been ruled an accident, according to the coroner’s office.

No autopsy is planned.

State Police are investigating the crash.

Upper Nazareth Townshi’s new supervisor wants to make a difference

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Upper Nazareth resident Donna Hirst was appointed to the Board of Supervisors on April 15. She is filling a vacancy left by former supervisor Andy Donello, who resigned in March.

donnahirst.jpgDonna Hirst 

Donna Hirst is ready to make a difference in the township where she has lived for two decades. 

Tired of hearing residents complain to her about political issues, Hirst sought to be appointed on the township supervisors board following the resignation of Andy Donello, who resigned last month due to health concerns.  

“If you want to complain about something, you better make sure you vote. If you don’t vote, you don’t get a voice,” said Hirst, who is a senior accounting analyst for PPL. “At this point, I felt there were a lot of issues facing the township.”   

Hirst was chosen April 15 from a pool of six candidates for the supervisor position. She was sworn in Wednesday and will be sitting on the board for its May 6 meeting.  

Board Vice Chairman Scott Sylvainus said Hirst was the board’s top pick based on her business background and ability to understand government.

“She does not have an aggressive personality, it was more of a sense she would try to work things out,” he said.

Hirst will finish Donello’s term, which ends Dec. 31.

Fiscal responsibility  

The 2010 U.S. Census was a wake-up call in determining population growth in Upper Nazareth, Hirst said.   

Township population has almost doubled, having grown from 3,414 residents in 1990 to 6,231 residents in 2010, which is the most recent data available. The growth of having more than 5,000 residents led to a state requirement for mandatory curbside recycling.

“All of a sudden no longer we were this itty-bitty township,” Hirst said.   

Moving to a single-trash hauler for the entire township was explored by supervisors in 2013 and had led to crowds of opposition and multiple town discussions. In the end, supervisors in September 2013 voted against it, but decided last month to likely revisit the topic again in 2016.

Hirst remains on the fence whether she thinks moving to a single-trash hauler is good for Upper Nazareth. She said she’d need to research the costs before deciding where she stands.   

“Is it something we could incur or do we have to increase taxes in order to do that?” she asked. “I would have to see what the bids are and whether it is feasible.”    

Hirst also wants to “dig deep” when it comes to balancing municipal budgets and plans to put her accounting skills to the test. In 2012, residents received an 83 percent tax hike and then put off an estimated $7 million worth of road repair projects. The township still has at least seven miles of roads in total disrepair, according to Sylvainus.    

“Supervisors are looking at the top-of-trees level and I say, ‘Lets get down into the dirt to see where to cut,'” Hirst said. “Ask, ‘Are we spending too much on whatever?’ The nickels and dimes add up. I want to make sure everyone is getting the biggest bang for their buck.”
   
Finding a township manager    

Earlier this month, Sylvainus said now might be the “perfect time” for Upper Nazareth to hire a new township manager.   

The township has not employed a township manager since Stephen Salvesen, of Hanover Township, Northampton County, was hired in November 2007. The township in January 2009 ousted Salvesen in a 3-2 board vote following a closed-session meeting during its reorganization meeting. They did not provide a reason for the termination at the time.  

In May, office manager Joan Lyons, who is paid an annual salary of about $40,000, will retire. Sylvainus had said the township would just have to pay an additional $45,000 for so or the new township manager while combining Lyons’ salary.    

Hirst also is keen on the idea, but said the candidate would have to be the right fit for Upper Nazareth.  

“I’m completely open to the idea,” Hirst said. ” It has to be someone who has a very good track record and a person who freely can communicate with the board.”   

When asked what Hirst plans for the future while sitting on the board, she said time will tell. She wants residents to feel comfortable coming to her with complaints, concerns and issues.  

“I’m going in completely open-minded,” she said.

Pamela Sroka-Holzmann may be reached at pholzmann@express-times.com. Follow her on Twitter @pamholzmann. Find Nazareth area news on Facebook.

Pen Argyl Little League opening day ceremony (photos)

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Opening day of the Pen Argyl Little League was celebrated at the newly-renovated Green and White Sports Complex.

Opening day for the Pen Argyl Little League had a new look this year as the teams celebrated the start of the season Saturday at the newly-renovated Green and White Sports Complex on West Main Street in downtown Pen Argyl.

Players from the little league, minor league and T-ball divisions were recognized on the field before the start the day’s schedule which included games for all three clubs.

Former little league all-star Kyle Young, of Pen Argyl, threw the ceremonial first pitch.

The Green and White Youth Association that the little league is a part of had won a field makeover contest, sponsored by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Susquehanna Bank, and front office personnel from the two organizations worked to rejuvenate the field last week.

Matt Smith may be reached at msmith@express-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @msmith_photo. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

Peaceful Pot Rally 2.0 set for May 2 in Easton

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The rally was rescheduled due to rain.

A Peaceful Pot Rally canceled due a forecast of rain has been rescheduled for May 2.

Called Peaceful Pot Rally 2.0, organizers have scheduled it for 2:30 p.m. immediately following the Easton Farmers Market, which ends at 2 p.m. in Centre Square.

“No, really this time! Immediately following the farmers market in Center Square, join LVNORML,” wrote organizer Kendra Cooper on the rally’s Facebook page. “Get educated and stand united to change senseless marijuana laws in our community and our state.”

Cooper founded the Lehigh Valley chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in January. The group’s page has more than 900 “likes.”

The rally will feature a speech from Deena Kenney of Bethlehem, one of the mothers who founded Campaign 4 Compassion to get medical marijuana access for seriously ill children.

The rally had been scheduled for April 20, or 4/20, the unofficial international holiday for marijuana smokers.

The group seeks legalization of marijuana, or at least the right for sufferers of some illnesses to ingest it for medicinal use.

Reading residents rally for peace

Posted by 69News:.

A peace rally held in Reading on Saturday was a call for change.

“They want what is good, most of our kids feel that way,” rally leader, Mary-Liz Eshbach said.

Saturday, citizens in Reading drew attention to violent crimes in their area with a peace rally. The intention of the rally was to put an end to violent activity.

“We want our kids to embody that and take on peace,” Eshbach said.

The peace rally comes on the heels of a shooting on Thursday night, that killed 34-year-old Jose Correa-Gonzalez in the 1200 block of Allegheny Avenue.

Correa-Gonzalez was a professional boxer in Puerto Rico who was staying with family in the area.

Police do not have any suspects for Correa-Gonzalez’s killing.

The voices at Saturday’s rally are hoping to be a part of the awareness, to lead the neighborhood into a more peaceful future.

“We’re better than what everybody says,” rally participant, Datnilza Metz said. “We can do a lot more than people think we can.”

Back in March, the Reading Police Department reported the city’s crime rate had fallen to the lowest level in decades. They also say there is still a lot of work to be done.