Archive for category slatebelt

2 fire companies in line for $240K in new breathing units

Upper Nazareth Fire Department and Plainfield Township Volunteer Fire Company gain new funds.

Two Northampton County fire departments will receive Department of Homeland Se…

In search of the highest-quality trout streams in Pa.

The state’s streams, including those in the Lehigh Valley, have been part of a trout survey for the last several years.

Pennsylvania has about 86,000 miles of flowing waters, and a state program has been working to determine which are home to wild trout populations.

In 2010, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission launched the Unassessed Waters Initiative, which involves state officials, conservation groups and citizens attempting to study the rivers, streams and creeks statewide that support wild trout.

So far, more than 3,000 streams totaling over 21,000 miles have been surveyed by the fish and boat commission.

Streams with large numbers of wild trout are a sign of excellent water quality, according to Trout Unlimited Mid-Atlantic Policy Director David Kinney. They’re also popular with anglers.

Trout Unlimited is a national conservation group that has been helping the state survey streams.

“The water has to be exceptionally clean for there to be a naturally producing population of trout,” Kinney said.

The waters receive different classifications based on the size and number of trout counted in a particular section of a stream.

Streams designated as Class A trout waters — those that support a significant population of naturally produced trout — receive special protections from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection during permitting processes. Nearby wetlands and associated tributaries also are eligible for increased protections.

“Whatever work you do around that water, you need to make sure that water remains to be high quality,” Kinney said.

Horseshoe hall of fame: Blacksmith wins national honor

Trout are measured and counted by using a method called electrofishing. A surveyor will typically go into a stream wearing a backpack containing a 40-pound battery- or gas-powered generator connected to a large “wand.” The wand emits a low voltage current in the water, which stuns and immobilizes the fish so they can be more easily collected and counted.

The fish are then released back into the water.

While wild brown trout and even rarer wild rainbow trout populations have been found, 95 percent of the wild population counted are wild brook trout, according to a state report.

Northampton County currently has 14 stream sections considered to be Class A trout waters and Lehigh County is home to 16 of the same designation. One designated section of Monocacy Creek runs through both counties.

Next month, the fish and boat commission will consider designating an unnamed tributary of the Little Bushkill Creek as a wild trout water.

Terry Kleintop, who is on the Plainfield Township Planning Commission, Environmental Advisory Council and is a Bushkill Stream Conservancy member, said the wild trout designation for the tributary that runs through Plainfield Township would be a good thing.

“The program could be a benefit to many municipalities so they can see what is going on in their streams,” Kleintop said.

Here’s a rundown of the Lehigh Valley stream sections given Class A designation:

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY
Bushkill Creek from Tatamy’s southern border to a private bridge off Route 2019;
Bushkill Creek from the dam at Binney & Smith to the 13th Street bridge in Easton;
Frys Run;
Martins Creek from its headwaters to the Bangor sewage treatment plant;
Martins Creek from the dam 0.6 km upstream from intersection Route 1015 and Old Franklin Hill Road to its mouth;
Monocacy Creek from the Route 987 bridge to the Route 248 bridge;
Monocacy Creek from the upstream boundary of Gertrude Fox Conservation Area to Illick’s Mill dam;
Monocacy Creek from the Illick’s Mill dam to the Schoenersville Road bridge;
Nancy Run;
Saucon Creek;
Unnamed tributary to the Delaware River;
Unnamed tributary to the Lehigh Canal;
Unnamed tributary to the Lehigh River;
Waltz Creek

Video tour of the Valley’s covered bridges

LEHIGH COUNTY
Catasauqua Creek;
Cedar Creek;
Hosensack Creek;
Iron Run;
Little Cedar Creek;
Little Lehigh Creek from Smith Lane bridge to Spring Creek;
Little Lehigh Creek from Spring Creek to Wild Cherry Lane bridge;
Little Lehigh Creek from 0.4 km upstream of Country Club Road to the Fish Hatchery Road bridge;
Little Lehigh Creek from Fish Hatchery Road Bridge to just upstream of Bogerts Covered Bridge;
Ontelaunee Creek;
Saucon Creek;
Schaefer Run;
Spring Creek;
Trout Creek;
Unnamed tributary to Ontelaunee Creek;
Unnamed tributary to Saucon Creek

TRAVERSING BOTH COUNTIES
Monocacy Creek from Schoenersville Road to the Lehigh River

John Best is a freelance writer. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.

‘They rushed too quickly’: Mother of man slain by police backs independent probe

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli announced a grand jury investigation into Anthony Ardo’s homicide.

Watch video

Jean Monaghan’s last memory of her only son is of him lying in a pool of blood, fatally shot by Pennsylvania State Police on May 20 outside the Lower Mount Bethel Township home they shared. 

anthony-ardo.jpgAnthony P. Ardo is seen in an undated photo provided by his family. The 47-year-old was fatally shot May 20, 2017, by Pennsylvania State Police outside his Lower Mount Bethel Township home. (Courtesy photo | For lehighvalleylive.com) 

She had called for police that morning with hopes they could get Anthony P. Ardo to a hospital or into a program that would help him overcome his drug addiction and anger. 

“And they opened fire on him,” Monaghan said Thursday afternoon in the shade of a tree on her rural property south of Bangor, a few feet from where Tony, as Ardo was known, was killed. He was 47.

Exposing a rift with the policies of the state police, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli earlier Thursday announced the county’s investigative grand jury will look into whether troopers were justified. The probe is expected to begin next week and wrap up by year’s end. The two troopers involved remain on administrative duty.

State police Troop M is also having its major case team conduct its own investigation. The findings, expected in two or three weeks, will be sent to Morganelli for review and a decision on the disposition of the case, according to state police.

It’s state police policy to conduct an internal review of a trooper-involved shooting, said Capt. Richard D’Ambrosio, commanding officer for Bethlehem-based Troop M.

“Whenever we have an officer-involved shooting and obviously involving our troopers and it occurs in a jurisdiction which is ours, which was the case here, our policy is that our people will handle the investigation,” D’Ambrosio said.

Monaghan questions how state police can investigate two of their own, a concern shared by Morganelli.

“The simple truth is that in order to assure public confidence in the ultimate decision to be made with respect to this matter, it is crucial that the investigation itself be independent and unbiased,” the district attorney said. “Quite frankly, it is my view that a homicide committed by a police officer cannot and should not be investigated by a fraternity of police officers all of whom are members of the same fraternity.

“Criminal investigations, in particular criminal investigations of homicide involving the use of deadly force by a police officer against a citizen of our county, requires complete impartiality and neutrality.”

Protection-from-abuse order

Monaghan had taken her son in to help him, but in the time leading up to the shooting, she grew to fear him. On May 19, the day before Ardo was killed, Monaghan obtained a temporary protection-from-abuse order against her son over his violent, drug-fueled outbursts.

“He is very disrespectful,” she told county officials, according to court records. “When he is high he gets very violent and abusive. I’m afraid of him.”

Ardo had been attending the New Directions methadone clinic in Bethlehem Township for years but was continuing to use street drugs, the records say. Monaghan gave him a job maintaining her Meadow Creek Farm, agreeing to compensation of $10 an hour but usually paying him more. 

It wasn’t enough for Ardo, and when he would lose his temper he would scream in his mother’s face or punch the walls, she said. 

“The last two weeks have been brutal,” Monaghan told officials.

On May 19, he didn’t want to go to the methadone clinic. He stormed out of the house, threatening to “rob you blind,” he reportedly told his mother. 

Monaghan never stopped wanting to help her son.

“I got him back here for help and now he’s just …,” she said, breaking off in tears. “It’s a freaking nightmare.”

‘Rushed too quickly’

State police said they responded May 20 to the home owned by Monaghan for a call about a suicidal man and found Ardo with a fireworks mortar around his neck. They shot him after he refused their orders and attempted to light the fuse, according to police.

“I think they rushed too quickly,” said Monaghan, who was on the phone with her son as she watched the ordeal unfold. 

In the wake of the homicide, she fears troopers policing themselves is not enough.

“I just don’t agree with the internal procedure of the state police,” she said. “I just have a real problem with them having a license to kill.”

Morganelli orders probe of fatal state police shooting

Morganelli said he has no reason to believe state police acted improperly, but that an independent investigation is necessary to determine the facts. 

That is also the view of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys’ Association under a best-practices policy adopted in November in response to national concerns about police-involved shootings, Morganelli said.

“I am not saying that investigators of the PSP could not be objective,” he said. “What I am saying is that in order to have public confidence in the ultimate findings and decisions relative to the investigation itself, it is absolutely necessary that the matter be reviewed in an objective fashion so that the investigation itself does not become the subject of criticism. …

“The powers of the grand jury is the best way to assure that the ultimate outcome and decisions of this matter are accepted as a fair and righteous resolution of the circumstances as they occurred on May 20, 2017.”

D’Ambrosio pledged the continued cooperation of state police in the county’s probe, though he said it will be up to the troopers and their counsel as to whether they respond to the grand jury’s requests.

“Mr. Morganelli and our office have always had an excellent working relationship,” D’Ambrosio said. “I don’t see anything changing.”

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

 

Driver leads police on chase from Slate Belt into N.J.

Portland police were familiar with the alleged fleeing driver from past incidents, court records said.

A male driver is accused of leading police on a chase from the Slate Belt i…

How this N.J. farm is nursing emaciated horses back to health

Thirteen emaciated horses from a Warren County farm were relocated to Last Chance Ranch to be rehabilitated.

Thirteen Warren County horses arrived at their new home wary to…

Missing biker found dead: ‘Big future was ahead,’ friend says

The body of Kevin Woolf, 32, was found Saturday in thick woods near the Appalachian Trail, officials said.

Kevin Woolf was admired by friends and family as a man they could turn …

Neglected horses ate hay with plastic, had no water, SPCA says

The operator of a therapeutic horse-riding program in Warren County was charged with 15 counts of animal cruelty.

The operator of a therapeutic horse-riding program in Warren Cou…

Body of missing biker found after 5-day search

Kevin M. Woolf, 32, had been the subject of a search in Northampton and Monroe counties.

The body of a man last known to be off-road riding his motorcycle was found Saturday…

Slate Belt hosts Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall this weekend

A replica of the national monument in Washington, D.C., has made a stop in Plainfield Township.

58,272. 
That is the number of U.S. service members missing in action or kill…

Pa. state police open satellite office to speed up response times

Troopers will have a new place to write reports, do paperwork and make calls in Upper Mount Bethel Township.

Don’t be alarmed if you regularly see Pennsylvania State Police …