State Police Name Suspect In Trooper Slaying

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eric freinBLOOMING GROVE TOWNSHIP — State police announced arrest warrants for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a trooper over the weekend.

Investigators said Eric Matthew Frein, 31, of Canadensis is a suspect in the killing of Corporal Bryon Dickson and the wounding of Trooper Alex Douglass Friday night outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks.

Troopers said Frein is not in custody and is considered armed and very dangerous.

The warrants are for long list of charges including first degree murder.

State police said a local resident walking in the woods about two miles from the barracks found a vehicle slightly submerged in a pond. Evidence in the vehicle, including shell casings, match evidence found at the scene.

Troopers found papers belonging to Frein, along with camouflage face paint, empty rifle cases, and various military gear.

Investigators also said a search warrant for Frein’s house in Canadensis yielded spent rifle casings that matched the shells found at the crime scene.

“This fellow is extremely dangerous. We have now idea where he is in the community. He has been described as a survivalist. He has a lot of training in that particular area. He has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officers and also to commit mass acts of murder,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan.

Follow our complete coverage here.

Accused Officer Sentenced To Probation

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LANSFORD — A police officer in Carbon County who pleaded guilty to corruption of minors was sentenced Tuesday.

Robert Shubeck was sentenced to 36 months probation after pleading guilty in July to one count of corruption of minors.

Authorities said Shubeck had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old boy in 2012.


Reports: Zeroing In On Suspect

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BLOOMING GROVE TOWNSHIP — As an army of troopers once again scour the woods Tuesday, there is word that investigators know who they’re looking for.

State police announced that another news conference is planned for this afternoon on the investigation into the search for the person who killed a state police corporal and injured another trooper in an ambush at the Blooming Grove barracks Friday night.

There is word out there is a possible suspect in the case.

The search for the shooter seemed to intensify overnight and into the morning hours spanning both Pike and Monroe Counties.

WPVI, our ABC affiliate in Philadelphia is reporting police believe they know who they are looking for.

Armored vehicles now sit at the Blooming Grove Baptist Church near the barracks, an area that had been cleared of police vehicles less than 24 hours ago.

Officials tell WPVI that a jeep was found in swampy area near the barracks in Blooming Grove. Inside that jeep was evidence that connects the suspect to the ambush.

WPVI reports that state police say the Jeep is registered to the suspect’s father, but is owned by the suspect who lives and works in Delaware.

Police were seen searching in two locations late last night between Pike and Monroe Counties and have been seen armed outside the barracks all morning long.

Our crews in the area have been told to stay away and that the area around the barracks is not safe.

the state police plan to hold another news conference at the pike county training facility this afternoon, where we are hoping to learn just how much closer troopers are to catching the person responsible.

Follow our complete coverage here.

Doylestown teacher faces charges for having sex with 14-year-old

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A teacher in the Central Bucks School District is accused of having sex with one of her 14-year-old students.

Bucks County officials charged Bridgett Szychulski Tuesday with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault.

The charges stem from a sexual relationship she had with the student while she was a band teacher at Lenape Middle School in Doylesteown, officials said.

She will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.

Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler thanked Central Bucks Superintendent David Weitzel for the district’s prompt report of this matter to law enforcement.

The case is ongoing.

The DA’s office asks that any additional people who may have been subjected to any inappropriate contact with the defendant call Detective Mark Zielinski at 215-348-6629.

Trump Plaza shuts down; 4th Atlantic City casino to close in 2014

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Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino closed its doors early Tuesday, the fourth Atlantic City casino to go belly-up so far this year.

When it opened on May 14, 1984, Donald Trump called it the finest building in Atlantic City, and possibly the nation.

But since then, The Donald has left town and cut ties to its casinos, and the Plaza, like many Atlantic City casinos, has seen better days.

A downward spiral that saw it ranked last among the city’s casinos ended Tuesday morning as about a half-dozen gamblers who stayed to the end got up from the lone blackjack table in operation or from a few slot machines and walked out beneath the dozens of glittery chandeliers for the last time.

Dealer Ruth Hardrick worked at Trump Plaza for 26 of its 30 years, but is now without a job. She’s in a large group: About 8,000 Atlantic City casino workers have lost their jobs this year, and another 3,000 could join them if Trump Plaza’s parent company makes good on its threat to shutter the Trump Taj Mahal Casino resort in November.

“What’s the next step? Where do we go from here?” she asked. “It’s happening all over. A lot of us are in the same boat. You think something will come along [to save the casino], and it didn’t.”

Atlantic City began the year with 12 casinos. It now has eight.

Unlike Revel, which opened just more than two years ago and was considered new and luxurious before closing, or the still-profitable Showboat, shuttered by its owner in the name of reducing competition for the remaining casinos in town, the demise of Trump Plaza could be seen a long way off.

Despite its prime location at the heart of the boardwalk and the end of the Atlantic City Expressway (its motto had been “The Center Of It All”), gamblers have been abandoning Trump Plaza for newer, ritzier casinos for years. Its owners, Trump Entertainment Resorts, let it deteriorate in recent years, particularly after a sale for the bargain-basement price of $20 million to a California firm fell through last year.

Jim Redmond is a 60-year-old from Montreal who loves Atlantic City and regularly stayed at Trump Plaza. He said its decline was obvious over the last seven years.

“It did slip every year,” he said. “This year they had no bedspreads and they totally gave up on the ice machines. This year the Plaza bar was closed and the 24-hour cafe closed at 2 p.m. The higher-end restaurants were closed. It was so sad to see it get a little worse every year. They really seemed to give up about five years ago.”

One only had to walk from the parking garage through a glass-enclosed walkway over Pacific Avenue to the casino and be enveloped in searing heat that approached 100 degrees from the sun beating down on the glass to experience the property’s frantic cost-cutting moves; air conditioning the area was one of the expenses that was deemed non-essential.

Illuminated letters advertising the casino’s name on its front and back facades burned out and were never replaced. Visitors to the Miss America pageant last week at Boardwalk Hall next door saw a neon sign proclaiming “Trump Plaz Hotel & Cas.” On the Boardwalk side, the sign read, “U Laza.”

Many restaurants on the first and third floors have been shut down for months. Along an escalator leading to them, fake plastic plants were either missing or stolen from row after row of trays. A self-serve kiosk to redeem player’s club points near the parking garage was disconnected and covered in dust.

So far this year, Trump Plaza has won just $36.8 million from gamblers. That’s down 31.5 percent from the same period last year, and about the same amount as the Borgata wins during an average two-week period.

Multi-vehicle accident sparks ‘major’ gas leak in Reading

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A two-vehicle accident and gas leak prompted the need for a quick evacuation of a Reading neighborhood.

The accident happened around 10:15 a.m. Tuesday at North 11th and Spring streets, with one of the vehicles striking a gas meter in front of a home in the 1000 block of North 11th and causing what police described as a “major” leak of natural gas.

The first officers to arrive on the scene immediately went door-to-door to evacuate residents from their homes in the immediate area, including the 900 and 1000 blocks of North 11th and the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Spring.

Reading fire and UGI crews rushed to the scene and quickly stopped the leak, bringing the situation under control in about a half-hour.

Residents were allowed to begin returning to their homes around 11 a.m.; the streets that were closed reopened to traffic 15 minutes later.

The accident also caused a significant spill of gasoline.

Initial reports from the scene were that at least one person was injured and taken to the hospital.

WFMZ’s Ryan Hughes will have much more on this developing story in a live report on 69 News at noon and again at 5:30.

New uniforms on tap for Freedom High School band

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The Bethlehem Area School District moved several items to the regular board meeting as the result of two committee meetings Monday night.

During the Finance Committee meeting, directors forwarded an item that authorizes the administration to award a contract to Stanbury Uniforms Inc., for band uniforms for the Freedom High School Band in the amount of $105,375. 

The uniforms are purchased on a cycle where bids for Freedom High School were last awarded in February 2003, according to Stacy Gober, the district’s chief financial officer.

In addition a total of 11 bids for the 2014-2015 winter and spring sports supplies in the amount of nearly $51,000 was advanced to the regular board meeting. 

The award for the 2013-2014 school year was $43,226, according to board documents.

Directors also heard a presentation from Scott Shearer, of Public Financial Management, about their options concerning a floating rate bond note that is scheduled to expire on December 29th.

The note has an interest rate that carries a termination value of about $6.7 million, according to documents presented at the meeting.

Shearer told directors his advice would be to roll over the existing debt into a new public offering.

He will elaborate upon that recommendation at a board meeting next month.

During the Human Resources Committee Meeting, directors forwarded an addendum to an agreement between the district and EduLink, Inc. to provide a software program to support administrators and teachers with the implementation of the Education Effectiveness System.

Originally EduLink was established solely for the purpose of formal evaluation of classroom teachers. EduLink has enhanced its software product.

The software will now allow the district to better manage all data related to classroom teacher observations and evaluations within the Pennsylvania Educator Effectiveness System.

Car crash leads to arrests for illegal gun possession

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Two New Jersey men are facing gun possession charges after an illegal gun was found in their car after it crashed.

Hunterdon County officials said police responded to a one-car accident on September 7 on Ellis Road in Holland Township.

The driver — 29-year-old Afrika Fuller– and her passengers — 37-year-old Niger Scott and 20-year-old Allen Williams, all of Bridgeton, Cumberland County, were all injured in the crash.

Fuller was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, where she was treated an released.

Scott and Williams were flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township.

According to Hunterdon County District Attorney Anthony Kearns, during the investigation,  a 9mm handgun was seen in the passenger area of the car.

Scott and Williams were charged with illegal possession of a handgun.

The two were released from the hospital and taken to the Lehigh County Jail where they are awaiting extradition back to New Jersey.

Weapons charges were also approved for Fuller.

The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending.

Anyone with information can contact the Hunterdon County prosecutor’s office at 908-788-1129.

This week on H&B: Touring a Hot Tub Factory \\ Keeping Your Garden Colorful in Fall

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Home & Backyard airs Saturday mornings at 9, only on WNEP.

Bill Cosby to loan art collection to Smithsonian

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After amassing a private collection of African-American Art over four decades, Bill Cosby and his wife Camille plan to showcase their holdings for the first time in an exhibition planned at the Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art announced Monday that the entire Cosby collection will go on view in November in a unique exhibit juxtaposing African-American art with African art.

The collection, which will be loaned to the museum, includes works by such leading African-American artists as Beauford Delaney, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence, Augusta Savage and Henry Ossawa Tanner. The Cosby collection of more than 300 African-American paintings, prints, sculptures and drawings has never been loaned or seen publicly, except for one work of art.

“It’s so important to show art by African-American artists in this exhibition,” Cosby said in a written statement. “To me, it’s a way for people to see what exists and to give voice to many of these artists who were silenced for so long, some of whom will speak no more.”

Cosby, 77, is a comedian, actor and author best known for the smash hit TV show he crafted, “The Cosby Show,” which aired on NBC from 1984 to 1992. The groundbreaking show featured a successful black family. He later starred in a CBS sitcom and is now in talks with NBC for a new extended-family sitcom with Cosby as the patriarch. The new project could air in 2015.

The exhibit “Conversations: African and African-American Artworks in Dialogue” will open Nov. 9 and will be on view through early 2016 in Washington. It will be organized by themes, placing pieces from African artists in the Smithsonian collection near similar works from African-American artists in Cosby’s collection. Curators said it will explore ideas about history, creativity, power, identity and artistry.

Some highlights include rare 18th and early 19th-century portraits by Baltimore-based artist Joshua Johnston, explorations of black spirituality in the 1894 piece “The Thankful Poor” by Henry Ossawa Tanner and Cosby family quilts.

“The exhibition will encourage all of us to draw from the creativity that is Africa, to recognize the shared history that inextricably links Africa and the African diaspora and to seek the common threads that weave our stories together,” said Museum Director Johnnetta Betsch Cole, in announcing the exhibit.

The exhibition of Cosby’s collection is part of the African art museum’s 50th anniversary.