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College student facing trial for allegedly threatening to kill 2 with knife

The Muhlenberg student reportedly told his friend, ‘If you tell anyone about this I will cut your heart and kill you.’

Muhlenberg College student accused of pulling a knife and threatening to kill two women is now facing possible trial in his case.

Harrison Callahan was in court Friday for his preliminary hearing on charges of simple assault and two counts each of harassment and making terroristic threats. 

The 19-year-old Callahan waived the charges, sending them to Lehigh County Court. Callahan, who lives in Chester County, remains free on $15,000 unsecured bail.

Following the hearing, Callahan’s attorney, Maureen Coggins, declined to comment about the allegations against him.

College student reportedly tells friend, ‘I will cut your heart and kill you’

A woman reported that while she was in Callahan’s room the night of Jan. 28, he became agitated over a text message she received that he was able to see. Callahan began punching his desk in his room, and then displayed a knife with a blade about five inches long, city police said.

While holding the knife, Callahan said he wanted to strangle a second woman, a victim who was involved in a disciplinary hearing involving Callahan, police said.

Callahan said he wanted to kill the second woman if he ever saw her again, according to police.

The woman in Callahan’s room told officers she tried to calm him down because she feared he would hurt her, police said.

At one point, Callahan reportedly pointed the knife to the woman’s throat and told her, “If you tell anyone about this I will cut your heart and kill you.”

Callahan put the knife away, and the woman’s friends came into his room to get her, police said. Both victims reported the incident to campus security on Jan. 30, police said.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at scassi@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

The Lehigh Valley colleges with the top 1 percenters

A new study has found that some schools have more students from families in the top 1 percent than not.

College student reportedly tells friend, ‘I will cut your heart and kill you’

The man allegedly threatened to kill two women while holding a knife, including the victim in a disciplinary hearing involving him.

A Muhlenberg College student pulled a kni…

In their words: Why Lehigh Valley women are marching in D.C.

‘We are looking at it as the final push for true equality,’ says an organizer for the Women’s March on Washington Pa chapter.

On Friday, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the United States’ 45th president and his supporters will flock to the nation’s capital.

The following day hundreds of thousands of women will converge on the streets of Washington, D.C., for the Women’s March on Washington.

Their message is simple: Women’s rights are human rights.

And they look at the march as the first step in a process of unifying communities and affecting change at the grassroots level up.

“We are looking at it as the final push for true equality,” said Shawna Knipper, 42, of Allentown, an organizer for the Women’s March on Washington Pennsylvania chapter. 

It’s estimated that up to 20,000 Pennsylvanians are headed to the rally and march. And hundreds of Lehigh Valley residents will be in the crowd. 

If you are hoping to hop on a bus or train at the last minute, unfortunately, you are out of luck. They’re sold out. Organizers are encouraging folks to carpool and be prepared for heavy traffic.

Locally, a solidarity rally is being held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in Bethlehem’s Payrow Plaza, Church and New streets.

Each person who plans to make the journey has a unique story to tell about what led to Saturday’s march.

We spoke with three Lehigh Valley residents about what inspired them.

College senior Megan Lafayette

The idea for the march started the night after Election Day 2016 when Teresa Shook, a retired attorney and grandmother in Hawaii, started a Facebook page suggesting a protest.

And it spread like wildfire from there.

Muhlenberg College senior Megan Lafayette, 21, of Milford, N.J., heard about it quite early on. Although she is no fan of Trump, Lafayette was not ready to sign on at first.

“I am not about to go and protest the peaceful transfer of power,” said the political science and history double-major.

As the movement coalesced behind a message of social justice, inclusiveness and protection of rights, Lafayette knew she wanted in.

She reached out to a local Democratic field organizer, who connected her with someone in the march’s Pennsylvania chapter.

Next thing she knew, Lafayette was organizing a bus of Muhlenberg students and fundraising to make sure it was free. Within 24 hours, the first bus sold out and there was a waiting list of 40-some students. So, they booked a second bus.

“Given the current political climate, students are really seeing a need for social justice in everyday life,” Lafayette said. “For a lot of students this has been a wake-up call and a call to them on a personal level. We have to do more and we can’t just be complacent.”

Cartwright breaks with Dems to welcome Trump

On Saturday, two buses will take 110 Muhlenberg students and faculty to the march.

Lafayette hopes their activism doesn’t end there, and that they will get tapped into the community and dedicate themselves to social justice causes.

While there was a political consciousness on campus before the election, Lafayette thinks there was an expectation Hillary Clinton was going to win the presidency easily.

Now, students are energized and calling their representatives to be heard, she said.

Lafayette thinks it will be touching to march with people from across the nation coming from such different backgrounds behind a message of solidarity. 

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that I am happy about marching or excited to march,” she said. “Because, really, what would excite me more, would be to live in a world where we did not need to make these statements of defense of basic rights because they would be guaranteed. Until then, we can never be complacent. We can’t take things for granted.”

Sara Altshul, 66, of Easton

This won’t be Sara Altshul’s first march.

A self-described “old hippie,” the 66-year-old Easton resident began protesting in anti-Vietnam War protests during the 1960s. She rallied for the 18-year-old vote. In 1989, she marched for women’s reproductive rights in Washington, D.C., and took part more recently in Occupy Wall Street in New York City.

Sara Altshul.jpegSara Altshul (Courtesy photo | For lehighvalleylive.com) 

“I try to do what I can do and I think that it’s important to show up,” said Altshul, who will be riding in one of the buses leaving from Easton. “I think that seeing a huge force of people makes a very big public statement. Right now, I think that the statement is to make sure women and human rights are upheld.”

She fears that the Trump administration won’t be standing up for the rights of women, minorities, the LGBTQ community or Muslims.

“I just think we need to show that it matters to us that justice (for those groups) is upheld and that it really matters for a great deal of people,” Altshul said. “So, I’d like my body to be in that group.”

The mother of two is passionate about standing up to efforts to defund Planned Parenthood because a routine pap smear at a Planned Parenthood clinic turned up an early, treatable cervical cancer in her early 20s.

“Literally, saved my life,” she said.

She too looks forward to marching with women of all ages, colors and backgrounds. But the rally is not a one-shot event for her either.

“We are talking about what we can do after the rally, after the march to keep this momentum going,” Altshul said. “I think I’d like to see it be a catalyst for people getting involved with the system.”

People need to get involved in the political process and express their concerns to their elected officials.

Worried about Trump cabinet nominees? Pick up the phone, she says. Worried about repealing the Affordable Care Act with nothing to replace it? Pick up the phone, Altshul said.

“I think we need to be vocal about it and keep it up,” she said.

After all her years of marching and fighting, Altshul did not expect to spend the Saturday after the inauguration this way.

“I really didn’t,” she said. “I thought a candidate I loved and respected was going to be the first woman president and I thought that would make me very happy.”

Frankly, a four-hour bus ride to D.C. in January is not on Altshul’s top 10 list of things to do.

“It’s not like this is a social activity anymore,” she said. “This is serious.” 

Organizer Shawna Knipper, 42

A friend introduced Shawna Knipper to the Women’s March just after the election and soon she was an official organizer. 

ShawnaKnipperShawna Knipper (Courtesy photo | For lehighvalleylive.com) 

It’s been an intensely rewarding experience, she said.

“You see these people that want to go and don’t know how to necessarily use the Internet, don’t have the funds to go, aren’t sure how to manage a metro system,” Knipper said. “People that have never been outside of their state but they feel this overwhelming need to stand up for what we are discussing, which is women’s rights.”

The Pennsylvania delegation hopes to meet in a central location Saturday morning so they can rally and then cover the two-mile march route together. 

Knipper’s known for being politically outspoken, she said, and the march is addressing many issues close to her heart, like threats to people of color and current efforts to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. 

“Things that are out of your control should not affect whether you get medical coverage,” she said.

She feels lucky to live in the richly diverse Lehigh Valley community where hate speech is rarely seen and not tolerated. 

Knipper said she has been disturbed by the public reaction to some articles about the march in which the efforts have been interpreted as very anti-Trump, rather than a reaction to campaign rhetoric or policies.

“The comments back to us in some of the papers and the things that have been said are frightening and disheartening,” Knipper said. “Were we lesser women we may have cowered, but we are not.”

Many Trump voters have been repeating that he won the election and seem to be stuck at that point because he has not said anything to move the country forward, she said.

“You see this movement responding to what is being changed and proposed,” Knipper said. “I think they think we are fighting the election results. We are all aware it is over. We are fighting for what’s coming.”

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

‘More mail than Santa’: Electors urged to buck Trump

Monday’s Electoral College vote, all but a formality in past elections, will seal the presidency for Donald Trump.

Northampton County is sending three residents to Harrisburg on Monday, for Pennsylvania’s 58th Electoral College.

All three say they’ve been inundated with Hillary Clinton supporters urging them not to back Donald Trump, who won 20 electoral votes Nov. 8 in taking Pennsylvania.

“I’ve had more mail than Santa,” said Gloria “Lee” Snover, a Bethlehem Township resident and chairwoman of the Northampton County Republican Party. “I have mail all over the place. Trays of mail, packs of mail.”

Like fellow electors Margaret “Peg” Ferraro, a Northampton County Councilwoman, and Mary Barket, of Nazareth, Snover has not been swayed. She was an early Trump supporter, and went to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to help nominate the real estate investor.

But it’s more than that, Snover said. 

“I was an early Trumper and I was a delegate, but I’m carrying out my duty in my opinion for the integrity of the Electoral College and how Pennsylvania voted,” she said.

That’s Ferraro’s sentiment, as well, shared via Facebook posts about all the mail she’s received. 

Barket told The Associated Press she was contacted by Pennsylvania State Police to see if she felt threatened.

“I feel like I’ve been made uncomfortable in my environment,” Barket said. “I don’t feel harassed, I don’t.”

She’s voting Trump when the state’s Electoral College gets underway at noon Monday with Gov. Tom Wolf. The 2.97 million votes for Trump and running mate Mike Pence were the most for the presidential tickets on the ballot last month, trailed closely by Clinton and Tim Kaine’s nearly 2.93 million.

Trump “worked hard for it,” said Barket, a political consultant who supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the primary before casting her general election vote for the GOP nominee.

“The folks have spoken, the voters have spoken,” Barket told the AP. “I take that responsibility seriously.”

Pennsylvania is not among states that require electors to vote according to their state’s popular vote. 

“A number of states have mandated responsibilities for the electors to follow the state,” said Muhlenberg College political science Professor Christopher Borick. “Some others have fines in place if they don’t, if the electors break from what the popular vote was.”

Borick said he’d be “shocked” if Monday’s Electoral College vote across the nation bucks the electoral vote tally won by Trump.

“There’s a little bit more uncertainty this year given the rhetoric and campaigns to switch some electors’ votes, but ultimately I expect it to end up just where most Electoral College votes end up, with the voters following the lead of their states’ votes,” he said. 

Mike Pence rallies local GOP in aEU~choice between up and downaEUNorthampton County Republican Party Chairwoman Lee Snover speaks Thursday, Oct .13, 2016, at the Hotel Bethlehem prior to an address by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican nominee for vice president. She was a delegate for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in July in Cleveland, and is one of 20 members of Pennsylvania’s 58th Electoral College on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, in Harrisburg. (Kurt Bresswein | For lehighvalleylive.com) 

Snover, who said she has gotten more than 10,000 emails and calls to her and her husband’s workplaces in addition to the reams of mail, said the anti-Trump effort is clearly orchestrated.

“Out of the mail tray I got yesterday — I don’t have time to read all that mail — I did pull out three and I opened them,” she said. “They were all the same exact letter.”

Is she annoyed? No.

“It’s their right, it’s their freedom to contact me,” Snover said. “However, I will tell you most of the contact is not from Pennsylvania. Most of my contact is from California, the State of Washington, Oregon, New York, New Jersey. 

“So the contact is coming from blue states, highly populated states that supported Hillary Clinton. Obviously states that supported Donald Trump don’t need to contact me. It’s not a real fair assessment of people trying to get me to switch to Hillary Clinton.”

Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

Kaine in Allentown: Clinton is underdog until she wins

Sen. Tim Kaine stumped for Hillary Clinton in a get-out-the-vote rally at Muhlenberg College.

Watch video

Visiting Allentown on Wednesday, Democratic vice pr…

Kaine visit shows Pennsylvania’s ‘firewall’ role for Clinton

The Democratic junior senator from Virginia scheduled a visit to Muhlenberg College in Allentown.

UPDATE: Kaine in Allentown: Clinton is underdog until she wins
Pennsylvani…

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The race is unique due to the personalities involved, an expert suggests.

It’s not 1860, when the election actually did shatter the country. It’s not 1968 when the country once a…

Tim Kaine to stump for Hillary Clinton at Muhlenberg

It is the second Lehigh Valley visit for the vice presidential candidate.

Watch video

An Allentown college will play host to the Democratic vice preside…

See who Lehigh Valley convention delegate candidates support for president

Republicans aren’t identified with their choice for president on the ballot in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary election.

When it comes to delegates to their July national convention in Philadelphia, the choice is clear for Democratic voters in Pennsylvania’s primary election Tuesday. 

The names of potential delegates appear on the ballot alongside the candidate to whom they’re committed. Lehigh Valley Democrats will choose three men and three women to represent the 15th Congressional District at the convention or, for those in the 17th District, four men and three women. 

Republicans, on the other hand, will be playing a guessing game in the voting booth if they haven’t done their homework.

GOP 2016 candidatesRepublican presidential candidates, from left, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich (AP/AP/Getty Images | For lehighvalleylive.com) 

“If you’re a Republican when you go to vote, you’re not going to see for candidate x they are a Trump candidate or a Cruz candidate or an uncommitted candidate or somebody that will vote” for the popular-vote winner from their congressional district or Pennsylvania-wide, according to Christopher Borick, professor of political science and director of the Institute of Public Opinion at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.

“The only way you’re going to be able to discern that is to find out about the candidates themselves,” he said Wednesday.

Pennsylvania will send 71 delegates to the Republican National Convention in July in Cleveland. Of those, 17 are bound to support whichever presidential candidate wins the state, under a by-laws change adopted last fall by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, party spokeswoman Megan Sweeney said. The 17 breaks down to state Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason, two members of the Republican National Committee and 14 at-large delegates to be chosen May 21 in Lancaster, she said.

The remaining 54 represent three delegates from each of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts, Borick said. Joining another estimated 150 or so unbound delegates from other states, according to political analyst G. Terry Madonna, these delegates are not necessarily tied to a candidate.

Nor are they all decided.

Charlie Kirkwood, for example, is on the ballot in the 17th Congressional District and is using his Facebook page to link to a poll of fellow district residents that will steer his vote. 

“I will be guided by my respondents’ positions right up to the convention,” said Kirkwood, an attorney who is owner of Shawnee Craft Beer and the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in Shawnee-on-Delaware.

He cast votes as a delegate for President Reagan in 1984 and then-candidate George H.W. Bush in 1988. Those races bore little resemblance to the 2016 GOP battle between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich for the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination for Election Day in November. 

“They were really a coronation,” Kirkwood, formerly of Bethlehem, said Wednesday. “There wasn’t really a contest in either of those.”

Find who’s running in Lehigh Valley primaries

Lee Snover, of Bethlehem Township, is the lone Northampton County resident running for Republican delegate in the 17th District. She along with fellow 17th delegate candidates T. Lynette Villano, George Paul Blauer, Carolyn Bonkoski and Theresa Santai Gaffney have made it clear they’re for Trump.

“I’m 100 percent Trump on all ballots,” Snover said Wednesday, noting polling in the district shows that’s who voters want anyway: “Trump is slated to win the 17th and slated to win the state.”

Ron Boltz, another 17th Republican delegate candidate, said Wednesday he’s for Cruz. 

The other 17th District residents running for delegate to the Republican National Convention could not be reached immediately for comment Wednesday. They are Robert E. Ames, Mary Beth Dougherty, George F. Halcovage and Thomas Whitehead.

In the 15th Congressional District, pennlive.com — a sister site of lehighvalleylive.com — has linked the Republican candidates for delegate to presidential candidates as follows

Declared for Cruz: Malcolm Cole, Dean Browning, Christian Leinbach, Mark Hoffman.

Declared for Kasich: None.

Declared for Trump: John K. Reber Sr.

Committed to support top 15th District vote-getter: Scott Uehlinger, William Heydt.

Uncommitted: Ryan Mackenzie.

Did not respond or could not be reached: Robert E. Smith Jr.

Declined to comment: Patrick Kerwin.

The website politicspa.com has grouped Uehlinger and Kerwin with Reber in supporting Trump‘s campaign or voting for him in Cleveland if he wins the 15th District.

This year’s Pennsylvania primary is shaping up unlike anything voters have seen since then-candidate Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton fought to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008 or the Republican presidential primary of 1976, said Borick, from Muhlenberg. On the Democratic side again, Clinton finds herself battling in 2016, this time against Bernie Sanders.

“We shouldn’t take it for granted that we actually have two presidential campaigns that are still alive as they arrive in Pennsylvania,” he said, adding about the Republican race: “It may be complicated, it may be convoluted in terms of the votes, but it is at least an engaging race for us.”


Lehigh and Northampton county ballots

Lehigh County 2016 primary ballot

Northampton County 2016 primary ballot

Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.