Tractor trailer accident stops traffic on Route 422 in Exeter

Posted by 69News:.

For the second straight Friday, an accident involving a tractor trailer wreaked havoc on Route 422 travelers in Berks County.

The accident happened around 8:45 a.m. on Route 422 West at Pineland Road in Exeter Township.

The big rig tried to slow down for slowing traffic, but the driver lost control and the tractor trailer hit the median, police said.

Westbound lanes were closed while eastbound traffic was reduced to one lane so crews could clean up debris.

No injuries were reported.

This is the second straight Friday that an accident involving a tractor trailer closed this stretch of Route 422.

In the crash on Oct. 17, a tractor trailer and a car collided on 422 at Lincoln Road, causing the truck to roll onto its side and trap the injured driver in the cab. The truck’s load of dehydrated waste spilled across all four lanes of the highway, closing it between Lorane Road and Route 345.

Man Faces Charges Over Fake Frein Story

Posted by WNEP.com.

CANADENSIS — A fake story about suspected cop killer Eric Frien has a man from Canadensis in trouble with the law. State police said Michael Abuiso lied last month when he gave a statement about Frein to Barrett Township Police. Court papers say Abuiso claimed that Frein approached him in late July or early August […]

Berks attractions on list of top 100 events in North America

Posted by 69News:.

A pair of popular attractions that draw thousands of people to Berks County each year are being recognized for their tourism value.

The American Bus Association has included the Kutztown Folk Festival in Kutztown and Koziar’s Christmas Village in Jefferson Township, near Bernville, on its 2015 list of top 100 events in North America.

“This unusual nine-day festival had been featured twice in National Geographic and has been called ‘one of the most unique festivals on the East Coast’ by The Washington Post, with good reason,” the publication said of the Kutztown Folk Festival, which will celebrate its 66th year in 2015, taking place between June 27 and July 5.

“With indoor and outdoor displays, shops, trains, gift barns, refreshments, and Santa, it’s truly like “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” at Koziar’s Christmas Village,” the publication stated.

Christmas Village, which will begin its 68th season next Saturday, Nov. 1, has also been named one of the state’s top 10 travel attractions by the Pennsylvania Travel Council.

The American Bus Association’s publication also mentioned Crystal Cave, Main Street in Kutztown, the VF Outlet Center in Wyomissing, the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum at the Reading Regional Airport and Roadside America as other popular attractions to visit in Berks County.

This is the 33rd year the association has published the top 100 list, which also includes A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens in Chester County, The Whoopie Pie Festival in Lancaster County, the Philadelphia Flower Show and the New Year’s Day Mummers Parade in Philadelphia.

What began as a way for motorcoach operators to incorporate new product into their itineraries, the association said, has grown to one of the most sought-after lists by travel professionals, motorcoach operators and the general public.

“Tour groups spend more and stay longer,” said Peter J. Pantuso, president and CEO, American Bus Association. “There is no better way to jump-start tourism than to attract motorcoach groups to a great event and convince them to extend their stay.”

The top 100 events were selected by a committee from hundreds of nominations submitted by ABA members. Judges considered a number of criteria, including each event’s broad appeal, its accessibility to motorcoaches and skill at handling large groups, officials said.

Chase, police shooting end with one death: Map of pursuit through four towns

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The chase reportedly ended with calls of "shots fired" and the truck crashing into a pole at Spring Garden and 13th streets in Easton.

While the chase that ended in a man’s death seems to have originated in Palmer Township, emergency radio broadcasts detail the pursuit to Bethlehem Township, back to Palmer Township, into Wilson Borough.

The chase reportedly ended with calls of “shots fired” and the truck crashing into a pole at Spring Garden and 13th streets in Easton.

Click on markers and highlighted routes of the above map, starting with A, to follow details of the chase, based on the emergency radio reports. If you’re having trouble with the map in this post, click here for a full version. You can zoom in by scrolling or clicking the zoom controls at the bottom, right of the map.

Police have not yet confirmed all of the locations listed. Pennsylvania State Police are leading the investigation.

Almost 50 neglected dogs, birds, snakes found in Emmaus apartment, owner cited, SPCA says

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Jason David Wieder, of the first block of South Cherry Street, neglected snakes, resulting in their deaths, according to court records.

An Emmaus man is accused of neglecting almost 50 dogs, birds and snakes, and now faces criminal charges from the Pennsylvania SPCA for alleged animal cruelty.

Based on a tip from Emmaus Codes Enforcement, the PSPCA searched an apartment in the first block of South Cherry Street on Sept. 16, PSPCA Communications Manager Sarah Eremus Caruso said.

SPCA officer Dylan Heckart found almost 50 animals — 40 birds including Cockatiels and Cocaktoos, three dogs and six snakes living in unsanitary conditions and in need of veterinary treatment, records say. The six snakes were found dead.

The surviving animals are being cared for by the PSPCA, Eremus Caruso said.

Jason David Wieder, 35, who lives at the apartment, failed to provide clean living conditions and access to clean water, as well neglecting the snakes, resulting in their deaths, according to court records. Wieder is facing 67 summary charges of animal cruelty, Eremus Caruso said.

District Judge Donna Butler’s office said the citations were mailed out Thursday. A trial is scheduled for December.

A phone number listed for Wieder was disconnected. Heckart referred questions about the case to tEremus Caruso.

Records show Wieder faced a summary charge in 2011 for permitting cats to run outside, but the charge was later dismissed.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at scassi@express-times.com. Follow her on Twitter@SarahCassi. Find Lehigh County news on Facebook.

More than two centuries of history at Slate Belt churches

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Two Upper Mount Bethel Township churches celebrate their 240th anniversaries.

Two churches in Upper Mount Bethel Township are separated by 200 yards of pavement but are united by 240 years of shared history.

Trinity United Church of Christ and Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church are celebrating their 240th anniversaries this year.

German immigrants in the 18th century of both the Reformed and Lutheran faiths settled in the area of the township then known at Williamsburg.

The two groups with similar heritages came together to build a log church in 1774. A sturdier stone structure replaced the wood building in 1794 and lent its name the area of the township still known as Stone Church. A new brick church replaced the stone building in 1832.

Church members formed a line of people in 1832 from a kiln about a mile away and passed each of the needed bricks hand-to-hand until they reached the church, according to Trinity historical committee chairperson Cynthia Smith.

That showing of cooperation and community togetherness epitomizes the identity of the long-standing congregation, Smith said.

On their 225th anniversary in 1999, church members re-enacted the event by forming their own line of worshipers that spread across the adjoining cemetery and through cornfields to the approximate location of the original kiln. They passed a brick to each other until they reached the church to prove it could still be done, said Smith.

The Union Cemetery surrounding the Trinity church is the resting place for at least 26 Revolutionary War veterans. In the cemetery, you can find the tombstone of Smith’s ancestor Christopher Illick, who was a builder of the original church in 1774.

Smith has been compiling historic documents and photographs of the church for a slide show presentation at the worship service Sunday.

“We are our history. We are where we came from,” said Smith, a retired teacher and volunteer researcher for the Sigal Museum in Easton. “It’s overwhelming to think of the stories of settlers and the sacrifices they made.”

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church split away and built their own church around 1912, which is less than a tenth of a mile north of the Trinity brick church.

Since the separation, both churches have thrived and have been neighborly, according to Lutheran church historian Chrissy Horn Gordon. The two groups get together for a summer picnic each year, she said.

Updates and additions have been added through the years at Trinity but much of the original 1832 structure remains. Stained glass windows donated during 1912 renovations still line the walls.

Trinity church member Wanda Cole moved to the area in 2000 and was amazed at the friendliness of her neighbors.

“I’ve lived in other places,” Cole said. “But they didn’t seem to have the same sense of community as there is here in Stone Church.”

One-way Fourth Street could open to two-way traffic in Easton

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The plan would give motorists an alternative to Centre Square when they want to drive north through Downtown Easton.

Traffic on Fourth Street in Easton’s Downtown has been one-way for decades. But that might change if the state approves a city plan discussed Wednesday.

During a presentation to city council, the city’s public works director, Dave Hopkins, mentioned the plan to open Fourth Street from Spring Garden to Ferry streets to two-way traffic.

A two-way Fourth Street would give buses easier access to Route 22 once the new intermodal center opens at South Third and Ferry streets, Hopkins said.

The proposal calls for left-turn lanes on Northampton Street onto Fourth Street.

“This will provide an alternative north-south route through the city,” Hopkins said. “I know some people like to avoid the circle.”

Some say driving around the Centre Square monument at Third and Northampton streets is stressful and confusing.

“We’re comfortable that Fourth and Northampton will be a big improvement,” Hopkins said. “I think it will be a welcome addition to businesses along there.”

Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said he favors bringing two-way traffic to the entire one-way “ring road” around the downtown.

The ring road includes Fourth Street from Spring Garden to Ferry, Ferry Street from Fourth to Second, Second Street from Spring Garden to Ferry and Spring Garden Street from Second to Fourth.

“Two-way traffic is much better for businesses,” Panto said. “It’s much better for double parking, in (that) people won’t do it as much.”

Hopkins said the plan to go from one-way to two-way traffic needs state approval. He discussed the plan as he mentioned Northampton Street improvements to city council.

Plans call for a new traffic light at 15th Street and synchronizing of traffic lights to keep cars moving quickly along the traffic artery. The lights would be computer-controlled so the city can maintain a steady green during special events, Hopkins said.

Plans also call for a new traffic light and crosswalks at Fourth and Northampton streets.

Work will likely start in November and finish in the spring, Hopkins said.

The city also plans to use state funds to replace brick crosswalks in Centre Square, put in ramps accessible to people with disabilities and repave the circle, according to Hopkins.

“The center of town is kind of showing its age,” he said.

No gun found in dead man’s truck, state police say as they investigate

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli makes the request, a state police lieutenant says.

Pennsylvania State Police have taken over the investigation of an officer-involved shooting early Friday morning in Easton, a lieutenant from the Bethlehem barracks said just after 6 o’clock.

State police were “requested by District Attorney John Morganelli to handle the investigation,” Lt. Joseph Sokolofski said about a block from where the shooting happened.

After a police pursuit that began in Palmer Township and reached into Wilson Borough, Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, and finally to Easton, a man in a red Ford F350 pickup truck was shot by a police officer and died, according to Easton police Chief Carl Scalzo Jr. and emergency radio reports. The man’s body remained under a sheet at 6 o’clock at 13th and Spring Garden streets, feet from where the truck stuck a pole.

Witnesses reported hearing eight to 10 gunshots. Morganelli said at least two police officers fired.

The man was apparently not armed with a handgun, Sokolofski said. But there were several tools in the truck and police hadn’t completed their search of the vehicle at that hour.

Sokolofski would not say who fired at the man, but added that Easton and Palmer Township police were the only officers involved. A state police car pulled up as the shooting unfolded, he said.

The lieutenant wouldn’t comment on an emergency dispatch that said the man slit his throat.

State police will interview the police officers involved in the incident and view the dash cameras from all the police vehicles, Sokolofski said.

State police will turn over their findings to the Northampton County district attorney who will make a determination in the case, Sokolofski said.

Morganelli said the investigation will “determine what the facts were when officers used deadly force.” If it is ruled the gunfire killed the man, Morganelli will rule if it was a justifiable homicide, he said.

He said he conferred with Easton police Capt. Scott Casterline and decided since multiple jurisdictions were involved that “it would be better to have an independent investigation.”

Sokolofski was careful to label it a death investigation rather than a homicide, because it’s yet uncertain what killed the man, he said. A Northampton County coroner responded, a Northampton County emergency dispatch supervisor said, and the coroner’s office will eventually determine a cause and manner of the man’s death.

Morganelli said state police did not advise him that they were too busy with the Eric Frein search in Monroe County to take on the Easton probe, so he assumes it won’t be a problem.

Wilson Borough police Chief Steven Parkansky said his officers were involved twice in the pursuit in a “secondary role,” terminating when it initially returned to Palmer Township, where it started, and then later when it crossed through the borough before going into Easton.

He also said borough police went to a residence tied to the truck — emergency radio reports said it was in the 800 block of Miller Street — but it wasn’t certain if someone from that address was in the truck.

He deferred all other comment to Easton police.

Phillipsburg-Easton riverfront trail earns mayor’s endorsement ahead of public presentation

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The Phillipsburg Riverfront Heritage Trail Committee is hosting an information session 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday in the auditorium of St. Luke's Hospital in town.

The mayors of Phillipsburg and Easton want to see their communities connected by a trail across an old railroad trestle, but they know they’ll need outside funding to turn that dream into a reality.

The trestle is a focal point of a trail Phillipsburg planner David Maski describes as a hub connecting the Morris Canal Greenway, Highlands Trail and Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.

“Everybody realizes that it’s a bigger group that’s going to take this forward,” Maski said. “It’s a long-term project. It’s not something that’s going to happen tomorrow. There are a lot of pieces in it.”

The Phillipsburg Riverfront Heritage Trail Committee is hosting an information session on the plan 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday in the auditorium of St. Luke’s Hospital in town. Those who want to attend should use the entrance on the south wing.

Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said he met with Phillipsburg Mayor Harry Wyant Jr., two members of town council, the planner and engineer about a week and a half ago to learn more about the project. He endorsed the project, he said.

Wyant said this will be the first time the two municipalities have attempted to collaborate on something of this size.

“This is what we have to do. We have to work together,” Wyant said. “We are pretty much a community divided by a river.”

The Phillipsburg trail committee has been meeting for about a year to develop branding and devise the trail route, Maski said. The route mostly runs through along the banks of the Delaware River, Morris Canal and railroad tracks before connecting with the D&L Trail in Pennsylvania.

The trail is designed to be a mixture of recreation and tourism, drawing people to the South Main Street area, Maski said.

“A large part of this is really economic development as well,” he said. “Trails have been shown to generate a certain amount of business.”

Frank Greenagel, who sits on the trail committee and is a respected local historian, said there’s an element of preservation. The Morris Canal arch, a canal tenders’ house and the Union Square Hotel built in 1811 should be on the trail map and garner the attention of people who use it, he said.

This month began the second year the town will get technical assistance from the National Park Service‘s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. Sherry Peck has been helping the town and will attend Saturday’s meeting.

Projects like Phillipsburg’s often have a small piece of the trail developed first as a demonstration project to get people interested, Peck said. She expects to see that within the next year. The rest of the trail system will take longer.

“It can take a number of years, just depending on what else is going on in the town and how many people are willing to roll up their sleeves and help out …,” she said.

NorCo Exec John Brown: Council Shirking Theui Duty

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

This is an excerpt of the speech that Executive John Brown gave to the press on Wednesday, October 23, condmning Council for shirking their duty. Then he he skipped out on a Budget Hearing.

Blogger’s Note: I have no idea why this video is in black and white. It is not being done for artistic reason or dramatic effect. I am just an idiot.