Archive for category Bethlehem

Sands casino patron used Valium to tip, police say

The 46-year-old New Jersey man was released without bail, according to court records.

A 46-year-old New Jersey man was arrested Thursday evening after tipping a drinks server wit…

Favorite photos of 2016: Picks from a Lehigh Valley newcomer

A look back at Saed Hindash’s favorite photographs from the Lehigh Valley in 2016.

After 15 years as a photojournalist documenting the hustle and bustle of New Jersey for the state’s largest newspaper and website, the Star-Ledger and, I moved to The Express-Times and in April.

Was I ready for this change? I wasn’t so sure, but I was ready for the new challenge. 

Commuting from central Jersey every day was going to be interesting. I was giving up a cluster-cuss of standstill hour-plus traffic for a relaxing, scenic, hour-plus drive. I wasn’t going to have to fight traffic to cover New York Yankee games anymore, or concerts at Madison Square Garden, or assignments that required me to navigate the chaos that is the Garden State Parkway.

My new commute was through lush farmland with rolling hills and breathtaking views. Working in Downtown Easton has been a nice change, too. As a coffee lover, I enjoy walking out of our office and heading over to the Easton Public Market for lunch and a great cup of coffee at Fieldstone Coffee Roasters. 

But more importantly, this change gave me a new challenge: Reconnecting with community-based journalism. From fairs to longstanding traditions, I found myself working hard to capture everyday moments in eye-catching ways.

One event that stood out for me was the deep tradition of the Easton-Phillipsburg high school rivalry. That week leading up to the Thanksgiving Day football game was very impressive. I’d heard about it, but seeing it first-hand was quite different. I was on hand to document the building of the Easton Area High School bonfire and the Thanksgiving Day football game, too. 

Another favorite: Easton After Dark. I spent hours after dark for five days strolling the streets of Downtown and discovering its nocturnal beauty.

To celebrate Labor Day, I created a video series called, “Workers’ own words: What Labor Day means to them,” highlighting various workers and learning what Labor Day means to them. 

I finished off my year spending a few days with the Fernandes brothers, who wrestle for Voorhees High School and spend their spare time working hard on their family farm.

How farming pays off for wrestling brothers

Some of my favorite images from 2016 document the extraordinary in the ordinary, while others are defining moments that go beyond the expected. Please check them out by scrolling through the gallery at the top of this post.

Saed Hindash may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SaedHindash. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.

Medical helicopter hits wires on approach to St. Luke’s

No patients were on board but power was knocked out in the Coaldale area, the health network said.

A PennSTAR helicopter landing early Thursday morning at St. Luke’s Hospital in …

Bethlehem man allegedly fails to return from work release

The 21-year-old man has several tattoos, authorities said.

A Bethlehem man failed to return Wednesday to the Community Corrections facility in West Easton after a shift of w…

Bethlehem man kills teacher and their son, police say

The suspect was a student of the victim’s, and they had the child after beginning a sexual relationship.

Police say a former New York City high school student who in 2012 fathered a child with his then-teacher has killed the woman and their 4-year-old son.

Authorities on Tuesday say 23-year-old Isaac Duran Infante, now living in Bethlehem, confessed to killing Felicia Barahona and Miguel Barahona. He’s been charged with murder.

Mom kills toddler, herself, authorities allege

Barahona was found Monday in her Harlem apartment with an electrical cord around her neck. Her son was found in the bathtub.

It wasn’t clear if Infante had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

He said that he killed them because he was angry that she dressed their child in girl’s clothing, sources said

— New York Post Metro (@nypmetro) December 27, 2016

A 2012 report by school investigators determined the 36-year-old Barahona began a sexual relationship with Infante when he turned 18.

The report found Barahona believed she and Infante would get married before their relationship ended.

She was subsequently fired from the Bronx school.

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Martial artist Tased after allegedly assaulting brother, police

The 35-year-old faces 16 counts, including felonies, after the Lower Saucon Township incident.

A Lower Saucon Township man described as a martial arts master injured his bro…

Why Northampton County’s DA may stop prosecuting Sands cases

He says if the casino doesn’t want to be a good corporate citizen, he won’t waste money prosecuting cases on its behalf.

Northampton County’s district attorney says if the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem doesn’t want to be a good corporate citizen, his office won’t waste resources prosecuting cases against folks who steal money from the casino.

sands casinoNorthampton County District Attorney John Morganelli wants the Sands Casino in Bethlehem to reconsider its stance on its host fee payment.File photo | 

District Attorney John Morganelli put the casino on notice in a Dec. 27 letter to the Bethlehem casino’s President Mark Juliano, whom he asked in a Dec. 20 phone letter to reconsider the casino’s stance on its $10 million host fee.

Morganelli is upset by the Sands’ decision to “wait and see” what Pennsylvania lawmakers do to address the state Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down the host fee as unconstitutional. Casinos across the state have begun to make deals with their host communities to still pay the fee, but the Sands has declined to do the same.

“As perhaps the most successful casino in the state of Pennsylvania, it is disheartening to see that the Sands does not believe it has to be a good corporate citizen,” Morganelli writes.

Sands Casino officials declined to comment on Morganelli’s comments Tuesday.

The host fee was a promise made to Bethlehem and Northampton County when it was first pitched and the Sands should make good on that promise, he said. Since 2014, local law enforcement has been awarded $5.3 million in casino grants.

The district attorney’s office “expends enormous resources” prosecuting crimes where the Sands Casino is the victim, Morganelli said. The casino is the county’s top victim of bad check cases and the office also prosecutes scams on the casino floor, like sleight of hand crimes or the theft of casino chips.

“Through our efforts, thousands and thousands of dollars have been returned to the Sands Casino,” Morganelli writes.

The Sands’ “wait and see” approach on the host fee means the taxpayers of Northampton County will be footing the bill on criminal prosecutions without knowing if it will receive any money, he said.

If lawmakers don’t act and the Sands does not volunteer to pay a host fee, “it will be difficult for this office to continue to expend precious resources to serve the needs of the Sands,” Morganelli writes.

“I would not in good conscious be able to justify the use of my limited resources to help a profitable billion dollar corporation while the Sands maintains the position that they are an island onto themselves,” Moragnelli said.

If this were to happen, Morganelli plans to exercise his prosecutorial discretion to ignore such cases and allow the Sands to pursue civil action against those that scam the casino with bad checks and the like.

Morganelli notes he hopes the matter is resolved by lawmakers or through a deal with the city. State lawmakers unsuccessfully tried to tackle a host fee fix before their November recess.

“It would not be in anyone’s interest if scam artists and those who excel at ‘sleight of hand’ tactics believe they could have free reign at the Sands Casino,” Morganelli said.

As the chief law enforcement officer in the county, Morganelli says he supported the casino because he thought any negative impacts would be offset by the host fee and other money paid to the county.

The casino came with real costs through crime on the gaming floor and around the casino as well as a spike in the money spent on translators for the casino’s non-English speaking patrons, he said.

Bethlehem just passed a $74 million no tax increase budget that relies on it seeing all of its 2017 host fee, of which about $8.8 million is in jeopardy. City officials have expressed confidence that lawmakers will be able to solve the host fee before it starts impacting the city’s cash flow.

If a new deal is not in place by July, the city plans to take out a roughly $4.3 million short-term loan, known as a Tax Revenue Anticipation Note, to carry it through to its next casino payment.

Sara K. Satullo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @sarasatullo and Facebook. Find on Facebook.

The most memorable musical performances of 2016 (PHOTOS)

Some big-name entertainers showed up in the Lehigh Valley in 2016.

The Lehigh Valley music scene hit all the right notes in 2016.
From Stevie Nicks at the Sands Bethlehem E…

Vehicle flips on Route 33 at William Penn Highway

It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was hurt in the predawn accident.

A rollover crash was reported at 5:38 a.m. Monday on Route 33 North at the William Penn Highway interchange, authorities said.

At least one person was initially trapped in the vehicle at mile marker 3.6 in Bethlehem Township, according to a Northampton County emergency dispatch shift supervisor.

EMS was dispatched but it wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was hurt.

Pennsylvania State Police were on scene and confirmed the crash.

Tony Rhodin may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TonyRhodin. Find on Facebook.

A soup kitchen for pets? Meowy Christmas

Hanover Township-based Freshpet donated meals to 30 stray animals.

Watch video

A desperate homeless person turns to a soup kitchen when he or she needs something …