Izzi Metz Named Men’s Basketball Coach At Wilkes

Posted by WNEP.com.

Wilkes University named Izzi Metz as their new head men’s basketball coach on Tuesday afternoon at a news conference on the second floor of the Marts Center.

Wilkes Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Paul Adams announced the selection of Metz to pilot the Colonels following the conclusion of an extensive search process. Metz, a proven winner at Division I Boston College as their Director of Basketball Operations and Division III Hobart (, brings a wealth of coaching experience and high-octane style of play both on the offensive and defensive sides of the court.

Metz is the tenth coach in the program’s 68-year history and takes over for Jerry Rickrode who served as the head coach for the last 22 seasons.

Metz graduated from Hobart in 1998 with a degree in Economics.

Amber Alert Issued

Posted by WNEP.com.

The Pennsylvania State Police have  issued an Amber Child Abduction Alert on behalf of the Shillington Police Department in Berks County.

State police say 20-month-old Aedan Michael Mauger was taken from the 1000 block of Bedford Avenue in Shillington on Tuesday.

According to police, the child was taken from the residence by his mother, Jessica Mauger, 24.

Jessica Mauger is described as a white female, 5’ 5” tall, 130 pounds with red hair and hazel eyes.

They left in a 1999 silver Toyota Corolla bearing pa registration JLE8558.

Authorities say Mauger left a suicide note and took two bottles of pills and a bottle of rum with her.

The Amber Alert is in effect for the following counties: Berks, Schuylkill, Lebanon, Lancaster, Chester, Montgomery, Lehigh, Columbia, Carbon and Northumberland.

Drano Bomb Scares Students

Posted by WNEP.com.

BLOOMSBURG — Police say it was a homemade explosive that was set off inside an off campus apartment complex in Bloomsburg Monday night. Thankfully, there was no real damage and no injuries reported, but tenants say the sound it made was shocking.

Bloomsburg University junior Dakota Clock was at his friend’s apartment in downtown Bloomsburg when he heard a pop.

“There was a few of us and we heard a loud boom. It was really close. We ended up stepping outside and just saw, we smelled something weird,” said Clock.

Clock says it smelled like chemicals, but he didn’t pay too much attention to it until the fire alarm went off.

“Then cops started coming around banging on doors telling us to evacuate, so we left,” said Clock.

The fire department and police were called to Husky Housing; it’s an off campus housing facility inside the Husky Korners building in Bloomsburg.

“They put these things together. The things go off. It explodes and someone can get hurt,” said Bloomsburg Fire Chief Bob Rupp.

Chief Rupp says someone used Drano and some other ingredients to make a small homemade chemical device, possibly as a prank.

“We found that it was one of these Drano, they call them Drano bombs.” said Rupp.

Even though there were no injuries, the fire department says the bomb let off an aggravating chemical smell. Students were allowed back inside after the fire department cleaned up.

Property management believes the bottle landed on a landing between two floors. It’s not very close to many rooms. However, several of the tenants say they heard the sound loud and clear.

“I just heard a big bang. I thought it was a gun shot. I looked out my peep hole. I triple locked my doors,” said Bloomsburg University student Victoria Weigle-Lindsey.

Other students say they were scared and hope that someone is held accountable for the supposed prank.

“No one got in trouble for it. So now we’re thinking, ‘oh, is this going to be a routine thing because people think it’s funny,’” said Bloomsburg student Katie Hartigan.

The fire department says these homemade bombs are dangerous and could cause chemical burns to someone handling them.

Police are looking into the incident.

The property manager says if they do find out who set off the Drano bomb, she will press charges.

Casualty of Coal: One of Two Major Coal-Fired Electric Plants to Close

Posted by WNEP.com.

SHAMOKIN DAN — The plant in Shamokin Dam once produced enough electricity to power a city three times the size of Scranton.

It is 65 years old, but few here thought the facility known as the Sunbury
Steam Plant would be forced into retirement.

“It’s sad to see it close down,” said Robert Hoffman of Sunbury.  “The plant`s been there since I can remember.  As a matter of fact when i was in high school we toured that plant.”

“Since they put stack reclaimers on it, its been a fairly clean plant,” added Ed Quiggle of Shamokin Dam

Sunbury Generation announced plans to shout down the coal-fired plant by June.

About 60 workers will be out of a job.

And the Sunbury Steam Plant will be just the latest of more than a dozen coal-powered plants in Pennsylvania to close in the past five years.

Plant officials essentially said coal is dead back in 2011, when they announced it would be converted from a coal to natural gas.  But the conversion fell through, when the financing fell through.

According to a utility industry source, unpredictable natural gas prices. And falling projections for future electricity use made banks concerned about loaning money for the proposed project.

The Sunbury Steam Plant`s General Manager told Newswatch 16 tighter emissions rules for coal plants set to take effect next year leaves this facility unprofitable.

The closing leaves PPL’s Montour steam electric station in Washingtonville as the only remaining large coal-fired plant in our area.

Food Giveaway for Easter

Posted by WNEP.com.

DUPONT — With Easter just a few days away, people in Luzerne County lined up Tuesday to get their hands on some free ham. The Dupont Food Pantry and United Way teamed up to hand out the Easter dish to many families.

A lot of people, a lot of food, and a lot of kindness were in a little room in the hall next to the Holy Mother of Sorrows Church in Dupont. It’s where the Dupont Food Pantry gives out food each month. But this time, just in time for Easter, ham is included, thanks to a donation by the United Way.

“Especially with today’s times and the economy, I think it helps out a lot of people, especially the elderly people that are on fixed incomes,” said event organizer Stanley Knick.

Josie Wells of Pittston says she was happy to pick up some food for the holiday.

“Drinks, and I saw some canned goods, and some brownies, and we got ham, too,” said Wells.

Many of the people who come to this food pantry come every month, but they say this month is special because of the more than 100 hams that are being given out for Easter.

“I just retired about eight months ago, so it helps out,” said Peter Gaza of Dupont.

Gaza says he has six people to provide for at home. He says Easter is an expensive holiday to shop for, and he’s grateful to the volunteers who help make a nice meal for his family possible.

“They do a great job. They put a lot of time in. Like I said, we appreciate it,” said Gaza.

Job Fair at Maximum Capacity in Monroe County

Posted by WNEP.com.

TANNERSVILLE  — The Monroe County Career Quest welcomed about 1,000 people looking for work to the Chateau Resort and Conference Center in Tannersville on Tuesday. Many of the people lined up to see what some new businesses in the county had to offer.

The Chateau Resort and Conference Center in Tannersville was packed with employers and hundreds of people looking for work in Monroe County.

CareerLink officials tell Newswatch 16 that Career Quest, an annual job fair, hit maximum capacity this year for companies looking to hire.

“We do have 63 vendors here, most of them employers that are hiring. We’re very excited to have some new employers here,” said Monroe County CareerLink’s John Casella.

Job seekers lined up to see what opportunities they could find with one of the newest employers in the county: Kalahari Resorts.

“I think it’s a new company coming to the area so sometimes if you get your foot in at the ground level it’s a chance to grow with a company and move up,” said Carol Feely of East Stroudsburg.

Feely gathered application information and says a career with the new resort might be a good fit for her, but she’s also just happy to be getting her name out there.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to get your application out to a lot of employers in the area, and there’s so many here that I wasn’t even familiar with,” said Feely.

With so many employers and so many opportunities, people at this job fair say they want to make an impression, but it’s difficult with this kind of crowd.

“Trying to see what’s on the tables. There’s so much information, trying to absorb it all and trying to actually hear,” said Traci Benjamin of East Stroudsburg.

“I was actually shocked when I came here. You see so many people and so many cars here, so parking was a problem,” said Ronald Settler of Gouldsboro.

But Settler says he’s keeping his spirits high as he fills out applications.

“I have always hope. Yeah, you can’t give up hope,” said Settler.

CareerLink also offered on site resume reviews, trying to help as many people as possible land their next job.

Accused Dog Abuser Sent To Jail

Posted by WNEP.com.

MOOSIC — The dog owner from Moosic who apparently violated his bail by having more than one dog on his property was taken into custody and put in the Lackawanna County Jail on Tuesday.

After more dogs were removed from his property just last night, it appears authorities had enough.

Moosic Police came to John Tanis’ home on Main Street in Moosic with a court order to send Tanis to jail. Investigators say they have proof that Tanis violated his bail twice by keeping more than one dog on his property.

It’s also possible Tanis lied under oath in court last week.

For the third time in less than a week, Moosic police officers were called to John Tanis’ home on Main Street, this time with a court order to send the man accused of abusing his dogs to jail.

After being charged with animal cruelty, Tanis was allowed to stay free on one condition: that he only keep one dog.

Tanis cooperated with officers but he told us he was not lying when he told a judge last week that he didn’t know the one dog he was allowed to have was pregnant.

“John, did you lie under oath?”

“No!” Tanis replied.

The puppies were taken from the home last week and an animal rights group caring for them said they are from different litters.

Then, after another warning from a judge, police were called Monday when neighbors spotted a Labrador on Tanis’ roof. They took three more of Tanis’ dogs.

That makes a total of 30 dogs Denise Kumor and her organization Tracey’s Hope are fostering.

“I’ve lost, sleepless nights, worried about these dogs. The condition of the first four that we got was so horrendous that I worried that the others would wind up like that,” Kumor said.

After Tanis was sent to the Lackawanna County Prison, volunteers took one last dog from his property that will also be fostered by volunteers. A judge says Tanis’ dogs are to stay in foster homes until after Tanis’ trial set for May.

In the meantime, investigators are seeing if Tanis should face perjury charges.

“As far as more charges regarding the dogs, I can’t really speak to that. As far as anything else, we’re still investigating some things with his testimony in court,” said Lackawanna County A.D.A. Michael Ossont.

A judge will decide later this week if John Tanis is to stay in prison until his trial in May.

A condition of the court order filed Tuesday is that Tanis must have a mental health evaluation before his trial.

Moosic police officers were at his home for much of the afternoon and told us they did not find any other dogs.

Storm Damage As Front Passes

Posted by WNEP.com.

We experienced a drastic drop in temperatures as a front crossed the area Tuesday.

Many places started in the 60s and now, sleet and snow are falling in some spots.

That cold front brought a lot of wind with it, causing some damage.

In Union County, heavy wind peeled off part of a metal roof on a barn near Mifflinburg.

Futuristic 3D Printer At East Stroudsburg University

Posted by WNEP.com.

EAST STROUDSBURG — 3D printing sounds like something from the future but students at East Stroudsburg University are doing just that in a new G3 design lab.

It sounds almost like science fiction but this printer is very real.

Students at East Stroudsburg University are putting their creative juices to the test in a new 3D printing and design lab.

“We’ve made things that are very practical, from cell phone cases, to necklaces, to even things that are more abstract like sculptures, to creatures,” said senior Art and design major Henry Becker.

Here’s how it works: plastic and filament are taken through a machine and melted and then the printer builds whatever item was designed or scanned, layer by layer.

“It’s so new. It’s like my generation’s version of computers.  We don’t even know the applications yet.  So it’s just fun to be able to play around with this,” said sophomore Biology student Evelyn Barone.

Students have been experimenting with this 3D printer for about the past two years and have designed things as simple as a duck figure to as complex as a building on campus.

Junior Art and Design student Christy Flynn is using the technology to help her make figures for her stop motion animation projects.

“It’s amazing because I can take it the next step and create something in a 3D form, print it out, and make little adjustments, and have a complete character in less than a couple of days.”

Students have also printed a heart and are working to make an entire 3D model of campus printed in their design lab.

Art professor Darlene Farris-LaBar says the possibilities are endless for the university and the community.

“It really is and it’s just only the beginning.  There’s also 3D printing in food, there’s 3D printing with cells to make body parts, so very cool stuff.”

You can get an up close look at the G3 design lab in the Fine Arts building on campus Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Giving Away Easter Meals To Hundreds In Need

Posted by WNEP.com.

SCRANTON — Hundreds of families in the Scranton area will have a happier Easter thanks to a big food giveaway on Tuesday.

Friends of the Poor once again gave away hams and all the fixings for an Easter dinner plus baskets for the kids.

We talked to some struggling families who appreciate the help.

As she pushed her twins through the line, Christine Savage of Plains Township said most days can be tough, but thanks to this Friends of the Poor giveaway in Scranton, she knows Easter Sunday won’t be one of them.

“It will help them out a lot and my other daughter. It’s great for everybody,” Savage said.

Friends of the Poor expected to give out 1,500 Easter meals at the former Marian Catholic School.

The room was filled with stories of struggle.

“It’s difficult this year, the past couple years and the recession,” said one person there.

“It’s very hard, especially right now with the economy and I’m a stay-at-home mom. I can’t find a job at the moment because I’ve been out of work so long. It just helps out so much,” said Colleen Laggan of Jefferson Township.

Laggan says any help is appreciated. She looks forward to seeing her kids’ smiles on Easter Sunday.

“I have three children at home and it helps me give them an Easter they should be entitled to have.”

Something new this year: hundreds of Easter baskets are going to families in need. Most of them were made by students at the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Scranton, children thinking of those who are less fortunate.

“Just the numbers who come to us every day, and those that registered for this giveaway shows that there is a great, great need in our area,” said Sr. Ann Walsh of Friends of the Poor.

This year, AmeriHealth Northeast teamed up with Friends of the Poor to get all the food. A lot of other donors did, too.

Among the dozens of volunteers making this run so smoothly are students from Valley View High School. They’re learning a little lesson in how fortunate they are, as they help so many in need.

“I’m really grateful. Thank you, mom and dad, I’m really grateful. I really am, so it’s nice to help other people out,” said sophomore Naomi Esteras.

Friends of the Poor help those in need year but they do special food giveaways at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

Cartwright To Host Service Academy Day in Easton

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

WHAT: Congressman Matt Cartwright will host Service Academy Day.  Representatives from the United States Military Academy at West Point, United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, United States Coast Guard at New London and the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point will be on hand to provide interested high school students and their families from the 17th Congressional District, with information on the general requirements and qualifications for the nomination process.
WHEN:
WHERE:
Easton Area High School
HOW:    Event is open to press.  For interviews or additional information please contact Shane Seaver, 202-225-5546shane.seaver@mail.house.gov

Dolan on Thin Ice With Ethics Act

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

In recent posts, I’ve told you about Bethlehem City Council member Karen Dolan. She has used the authority of her public office, as well as confidential information received through her holding public office, to benefit a nonprofit at which she’s the paid Executive Director. That, according to the state Ethics Act, is a conflict of interest. But it’s an admonition she has repeatedly ignored. According to informed sources, she did precisely what the law condemns this past weekend, in an email to the Mayor. She threatened to prevent Council from reviewing a proposed lease for the Illick’s Mill. One that would actually require her to pay utilities and rent. Let me tell you the story.

Dolan, a City Council member since 2006, is the paid Executive Director of what is known as the Gertrude B. Fox Environmental Center. That’s a nonprofit known to most of us as Illick’s Mill. She failed to file nonprofit tax returns (990s) for three years in a row, which ultimately resulted in the revocation of her nonprofit status with the IRS. While working to get it back, she continued accepting grants and public assistance. While her status was revoked, she gave a misleading interview to The Express Times. She touted a $170,000 budget and announced wedding receptions at the site.

Most of her old board members abandoned ship. The ones she has now were not around when the 501c3 status was pulled.

At a recent Parks Committee meeting, where she conveniently happens to be the Chair, she advocated easing up on booze restrictions in City parks, where Illick’s Mill hosts wedding receptions. That’s an ethical conflict, though she countered that all nonprofits in City parks would benefit.

In the meantime, questions have begun to arise. Why is there no recent record of Illick’s Mill paying any utilities? Why did the City suddenly start providing her with free heating oil? Why does she pay no rent? Why was the $127,000 owed to the City just “written off”, according to an independent audit of City finances.

When I met with her in February, she told me she had a valid lease and was paying utilities. That was untrue. I have learned recently that she stopped paying utilities several years ago, in 2011, or perhaps even earlier. She has told others that utilities are not being paid until there’s a new lease.

As Right to Know requests have descended upon Bethlehem like a plague of locusts, the City decided it’s time for a new lease at Illick’s Mill. It was on the agenda for Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, and you can see it yourself under “back up documents.” (Sublease Agreement Illicks Mill).

This proposed lease is pretty much like the old lease, with two major exceptions. This one calls for monthly rent of $300 and requires the nonprofit to pay for utilities.

Even heating oil.

Dolan, who really should have no public role in the finances of an entity that pays her a salary, nevertheless had to weigh in.

Over the weekend, she sent several emails to the Mayor, in which she specifically stated she would prevent the lease from being considered by Council.

Quite clearly, she is in violation of the Ethics Act.

Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act states, “No public official or public employee shall engage in conduct that constitutes a conflict of interest.” The Act defines “conflict of interest” as the “[u]se by a public official or public employee of the authority of his office or employment or any confidential information received through his holding public office or employment for the private pecuniary benefit of himself, a member of his immediate family or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated.”

As recently as this weekend, Dolan was using the authority of her public office and confidential information she obtained by virtue of her public office, to threaten to keep the proposed lease from Council.

Dolan is now telling The Express Times that she met with the Mayor concerning a lease earlier this year. That’s a violation of the Ethics Act.  She acknowledges that she somehow talked former Mayor John Callahan into waiving utilities completely and to even start supplying heating oil. Of course, that’s her third story now. She told me she was paying utilities and told someone else she was waiting for a new lease. Now it’s blame Callahan time. It’s also another conflict of interest by her. Maybe Callahan was getting hounded. Or maybe there’s a fourth story.

One Express Times reader sums things up quite nicely:

“So, let me get this straight. The organization for which a city councilwoman is a paid employee gets a special break on rent and utilities while taxpayers and businesses have to pay their taxes, which she has no doubt voted yes to increase? Something smells about this entire situation. Maybe she personally would be willing to pay my utilities. Sounds like a fair trade to me.”

What smells is a conflict of interest.

So who cares about an Ethics Act violation? The Commission will make a ruling ten years after everyone is dead right? Wrong. Whether Dolan knows it or not, that conflict of interest provision in the Ethics Act is exactly what then Attorney General Corbett used to go after state representatives who were using state employees to run their political campaign. The Court noted three elements to the offense: “?(1) the defendant was a public official; ?(2) the defendant knowingly or intentionally used the authority of his or her office for private pecuniary gain; ?and (3) the gain was more than de minimis.”

Dolan is a public official. She is knowingly and intentionally using the authority of her office to avoid rent and utilities at a nonprofit that pays her a salary. The gain is certainly more than de minimis.

The ice beneath her is cracking.

According to a Morning Call account, Board Chair Andrew Bollinger is now speaking for Fox Environmental, not Dolan. He and the Mayor have talked. No threats. The Mayor is willing to negotiate terms, but the free ride is over. Bollinger and his Board appear to be tired of the hole Dolan is digging for them.

Someone needs to relay that message to Dolan.

This nature center should continue, thanks to the hard work of many people over the years, not just Dolan. If she cared about its mission, she’d resign. In fact she needs to leave City Council as well.

Hiker falls off trail in Glen Onoko Falls

Posted by 69News:.

The coroner was summoned to the scene where a hiker fell in Glen Onoko Falls on Monday.

The call came in around 12:10 p.m. that a hiker had fallen from the top of Glen Onoko Falls in Jim Thorpe.

A New York woman died in August after she fell from the falls, which are located deep in the Lehigh Gorge State Park.

Police investigate death in Topton

Posted by 69News:.

State police are investigating the death of a young man in Berks County.

Walter Fox III, 21, was found dead Saturday afternoon in the unit block of Centre Avenue in Topton, police said Monday.

The Berks County coroner is waiting for toxicology results to rule on the death, officials said.

Troopers said their investigation is continuing.

Suspicious note forces lock down, early dismissal at Souderton Area HS

Posted by 69News:.

A bomb threat prompted an evacuation and early dismissal at a high school in Montgomery County on Monday.

Souderton Area High School officials said a suspicious message was found written inside a bathroom around 10 a.m.

Police and K-9 unit responded and conducted a search of the building, located at 625 Lower Rd. in Souderton.

Students were evacuated and then sent home early at 12:30 p.m.

“The safety of our students is our number one priority, and in Souderton, we taken these threats seriously. We apologize for any inconvenience,” said Frank Gallagher, the district’s superintendent, in a note sent home to parents.

Police have not said whether anything was found or who was behind the threat.