Truck erupts in fire; flames spread to homes in Reading

Posted by 69News:.

Investigators are assessing the damage cause by a fire that spread from a truck to at least two homes in Reading.

Flames erupted from the truck, which was parked on Muhlenberg Street at South 16th, shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Initial reports from the scene were that the truck’s crane may have come in contact with some overhead power lines, sparking the fire.

Flames damaged the facade of two homes on either side of Muhlenberg Street.

There were no reports of injuries.

Community prepares to “Go Red” at annual luncheon

Posted by 69News:.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.

It kills nearly half a million women each year at the rate of about one per minute.

That’s why, each year, hundreds of people gather at the Lehigh Valley Go Red for Women luncheon, which is right around the corner.

To tell us more and to tell us how we’re doing in the fight against heart disease in the Lehigh Valley, Winnie Melinsky, Board President of the American Heart Association and Dr. Dwithiya Thomas, a cardiologist at St. Luke’s University Health Network sat down with WFMZ’s Eve Tannery on 69 News at Sunrise.

A-Treat has a new owner, new lease on life

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A-Treat soda is back on the map, three months after closing its doors.

Allentown businessman Paul Eifler has announced he purchased the Allentown bottling company’s name, trademark, and flavor formulas  two months after submitting a letter of intent to buy the company’s assets.

Eifler said the next 90 day will be busy for him and his team.

During that time frame the group will:

–reconnect with staff and distributors
–select a third-party bottling service
–establish a warehouse and office location
–begin test runs for quality assurance
–produce 8 classic A-Treat flavors in time for summer enjoyment

Eifler is co-owner of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Salisbury Township, Lehigh County.

Before entering finance, Eifler spent more than 20 years in the flavor production industry, where he held various positions in the compounding, testing and applications of flavors used in products for major soft drink companies, according to a previous release. He also has a background in real estate investment.

“I’m thrilled to keep A-Treat soda flowing in Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and beyond,” said Eifler.

“A-Treat means so much to our community, which was obvious by the outpouring of public response when production was stopped. We want to elevate the brand to new levels of success and I will do everything in my power to ensure A-Treat’s viability and continued presence in our community.”

Eifler bought the company from the Gary/Egizio family, which has owned A-Treat from its founding in 1918 by Joseph and John Egizio until operations ceased on January 23.

The family will continue to play an integral role in the company as advisors, according to a news release.

Eifler said meetings with former employees and distributors will be scheduled within the next two weeks.

He said production will begin with eight classic A-Treat flavors, which will be announced in coming weeks.

A tasting and quality review board will be assembled to give the public a say in the process.

Don Cunningham, with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation, previously said nearly a half dozen interested parties had thrown their name into the mix, including Northampton County businessman Thomas Coombs.

The property on Union Boulevard was previously listed for $3 million, but Eifler did not purchase the buidling.

Production of the A-Treat line of sodas will take place elsewhere in the Lehigh Valley through a third-party bottler.

The sale of the company was under confidential and private terms.

WFMZ’s Jamie Stover will have a full report, including an exclusive interview with new owner Paul Eifler, starting with 69News at Noon.

Jim Brickman soothing people with new music, book

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Pianist Jim Brickman is known for his relaxing music. But he never thought to listen to his own music to relax until he was forced to during a hospital visit.  Not only did it relax him, but it inspired him to launch his new book and CD called Soothe.  He shared some relaxation techniques with WFMZ’s Jaciel Cordoba on 69 News at Sunrise.

Pen Argyl Borough building burglarized; suspect sought

Posted by 69News:.

Police in Northampton County are looking for the suspect who broke into a borough building last week.

Slate Belt Police released a surveillance photo of the man who’s wanted in connection with a burglary at the Pen Argyl Borough building.

The incident happened around 3 a.m. on Saturday.

The suspect is seen on video trying to get into the building through several doors, and is able to get in through a back door.

He flees after setting off an alarm inside the building, police said, and is last seen running out the front door, heading west on Bell Avenue.

The suspect is described as a white male, with close cropped hair, wearing a hooded sweatshirt. No vehicle was seen in the surveillance video.

Anyone with information is asked to call Slate Belt Regional Police at 610-759-8517.

From the newsroom to the ballroom

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WFMZ’s own Eve Tannery will take center stage Friday night for “Dancing with the Lehigh Valley Stars.”

For this performance, she’ll need to channel her inner 6th grade ballerina.

“It is scary,” Eve said.

Monday afternoon, Eve took charge of her first rehearsal, as she gets ready to shake it in a salsa routine.

“The salsa is a Latin dance, it is a sexy dance,” professional dancer, Brian Gonzalez said.

The rehearsal covered the basics, and Eve learned about one third of her routine. That was when the reality of the upcoming event set in, and the butterflies started fluttering.

“What I’m worried about is we only do one song,” Eve said “So there is no shot to redeem yourself in the second song.”

Eve’s coach and partner are confident her performance will be a hit.

“A winning partner is definitely a partner that performs,” Gonzalez said. “It is how well their presence is on stage.”

And that is something our Eve Tannery has in spades.

Biden, energy secretary visiting Philadelphia utility

Posted by 69News:.

Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will travel to Philadelphia to speak at a utility company Tuesday.

They are visiting the headquarters of Peco Energy in Philadelphia’s Center City during the afternoon.

The two will tour the facility and afterward the vice president will discuss the importance of investing in the nation’s energy infrastructure.

This is Biden’s second visit to Philadelphia this year. In January, he attended a policy retreat for House Democrats.

Penn St. alumni trustees ask court for access to Freeh docs

Posted by 69News:.

Seven alumni-elected members of Penn State’s board are asking a county judge for access to documents used by the team of former FBI director Louis Freeh that produced a report about how university leaders handled complaints about Jerry Sandusky.

The alumni trustees on Monday filed a petition aimed at forcing the school to let them see everything the Freeh team reviewed, gathered and produced in connection with the 2012 report.

The seven trustees say the material affects the school’s finances, operations and what they called its “very culture.”

Penn State’s president and board chairman have said the alumni trustees have declined confidentiality measures offered as a compromise.

The alumni trustees say the compromise would give them access to some of the source material, but not all of it.

Year one in the books for Lehigh Valley Phantoms

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The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are now in their off season.

It’s their first one since they’ve been playing at the PPL Center.

They played their last game at the PPL Center Sunday afternoon.

Now it’s time to gear up for next year and take a look back at how the season went in Allentown.

Chris Porreca is the executive vice president for the Lehigh valley Phantoms .

He said, “It was quick. It was a great first season. Crowds came out. We had tremendous support from the Lehigh Valley. It was everything that we had hoped and wanted coming into this area.”

Porreca said they had 22 sold out games and items like customized jerseys and anything MeLVin were hot buys.

Porreca said he can’t give us exact numbers on the progress the Phantoms have made in the Lehigh Valley when it comes to ticket sales or how much money the team raked in, but there are plans in the works to discuss the season.

He said, “Right now we are kind of just reflecting on this past season and later in the week here we will definitely sit down and start talking about those things, of what was good, what was bad and what we want to improve on.”

After being in several places in the past. Porreca said the Phantoms have enjoyed calling the Lehigh Valley home and the perks of the PPL Center.

“I think in this building with the video board and the ribbon board and everything we have to offer with the suites and the ice suites and everything that’s on here,” said Porreca.

Although the season is over, Porreca said they are already planning for year two. He said surveys will likely go out to fans at the end of the year.

After escape, adventure, parakeet finds way home to Palmer from Lopatcong

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Harry found his way to Lopatcong Township, where the parakeet was eating from neighborhood bird feeders and hanging out with sparrows.

An escaped pet parakeet who navigated across the Delaware River reunited with his owners thanks to social media and a cellphone recording of his companion.

Jasmita Saini said she was sitting outside her home in Palmer Township about 5 p.m. April 13, reading for her graduate class at Lehigh University. Harry, her green and yellow parakeet, and Rio, a blue parakeet, were sitting outside with her in their cage to get some fresh air. 

Harry and Rio.jpegJasmita Saini’s other parakeet, Rio, is excited to have Harry back at home. The two, shown here before Harry’s adventure, have been trying to give each other little kisses since Harry’s return, Saini said. 

Saini eventually brought the birds inside and let them out of their cage to fly around the house. As Saini returned from retrieving her book from outside, the door blew open and Harry flew out, she said.

Her family used to joke that if the duo ever escaped, Harry would survive because he’s much more adventurous and adept at taking care of himself than Rio.

“I never thought I’d actually have to find out,” Saini said. “No matter how smart he is, he’s still a pet.”

Saini said she wondered if Harry would find a place to eat and sleep, or if he’d be attacked by other animals. She checked lost pet listings online every night before bed.

She got another bird for Rio after he flew around the house chirping loudly as he searched for Harry. Rio became angry and refused to eat, she said. The family purchased Harry as a companion for Rio.

Harry had found his way to Lopatcong Township, where he was eating from neighborhood bird feeders and “hanging out with a family of sparrows,” resident Juniper Leifer said.

Leifer posted a picture on Facebook of the bird in her bushes. One of her friends pointed her to a Pennsylvania lost-and-found pets page, where someone posted they were seeking a missing parakeet from Carlisle.

It seemed “far-fetched” that it was the same bird, Leifer said, but she posted the picture of the one in her yard anyway. That caught Saini’s attention, and she started sending Leifer messages. 

Saini said she was skeptical the parakeet in Lopatcong was really hers. She went to look at a bird in the Allentown area Wednesday, but it wasn’t Harry, who’s identifiable by a partially missing toe and nail.

Saini hung Harry’s cage in Leifer’s neighbor’s yard Saturday evening. Saini brought treats and a cellphone that played Rio’s chirping on loop to help bring Harry home, she said.

He was back in his cage by 9 a.m. Sunday. 

“It was relief and astonishment and disbelief at first,” Saini said. “Rio’s really excited to have him back. They’ve actually been trying to give each other little kisses, but Harry is quarantined until he gets checked.”

The roughly 2-year-old parakeet’s journey would have been 6.2 miles by air, said Saini, who calculated that using Google maps. 

Leifer said when her kids watched Harry in her bushes, he looked like he was having a hard time staying awake. Other than that, he appeared healthy. Harry was happy to find his creature comforts, and his owners were happy to find him, she said.

“They were so emotional, clearly the bird was well-loved,” Leifer said. “The chances of all this happening just the way that it did are absolutely mind-blowing to me.”