Father charged in toddler son’s OD death

Posted by 69News:.

A Bucks County father is now facing charges in connection with the death of his toddler son.

Officials announced the charges Tuesday afternoon.

Coco Wallace, 38, of Middletown Township, is charged with criminal homicide, reckless endangerment and possession of a controlled substance.

The charges stem from the death of Wallace’s 27-month-old son, Sebastian.

Officials say the boy died last month as a result of a drug overdose.

They say he had ingested three times the amount of Oxycodone needed to kill the average adult.

Police say Coco Wallace was alone with Sebastian in the hours leading to his death and admitted to being in possession of Oxycodone pills at the time.

Central Bucks West head football coach, Brian Hensel, fired following hazing allegation investigation

Posted by 69News:.

The head football coach for Central Bucks West has been fired now that the school has finished its investigation into allegations of hazing.

The District announced the firing on its website Tuesday afternoon.

It says: Mr. Brian Hensel, Head Football Coach of Central Bucks West, would be replaced.  Mr. Hensel will continue his teaching duties in the high school.

Central Bucks West players will have no other district-administered sanctions issued against them, the statement said.  When the allegations first came to light, the football season was cancelled with two games left on the schedule including the homecoming game against the team’s arch-rival.

The District says it will begin searching for a new coach immediately.  The future of assistant coaches will be determined after a new head coach is selected.  Their initial suspension, following the allegations, has been lifted.

The reports of hazing stem from an incident reported to have taken place back in August where rookies were allegedly required to grab other players’ privates.

You can read Superintendent David Weitzel’s statement here.

Buffalo snow leaves four dead as some 50 inches fall

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

In a region accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, this one is being called one of the worst in memory.

Four people died during a storm that dumped more than 4 feet of snow around Buffalo and forced motorists in 150 vehicles, including a women’s basketball team, to ride it out on a day when temperatures dropped to freezing or below in all 50 states.

One person was killed in an automobile accident and three others had heart attacks, including two believed to be shoveling snow at the time, Erie County officials said.

The snowstorm stranded cars, trucks and buses on a four-mile section near Buffalo. Officials expected them to be freed late Tuesday after the paralyzing ordeal that lasted nearly 24 hours for some motorists.

“It seemed like a nightmare. It just didn’t feel like it was going to end,” Bryce Foreback, 23, of Shicora, Pennsylvania told The Associated Press by cellphone 20 hours into his wait for help. “I haven’t slept in like 30 hours and I’m just waiting to get out of here.”

Members of the Niagara University women’s basketball team were napping on and off 17 hours into their wait. Some got so thirsty they drank melted snow, said Coach Kenra Faustin, who was traveling with her 1-year-old.

Team spokeswoman Chelsea Andorka said the bus, with about 25 players and coaches aboard, was headed back from a loss in Pittsburgh when it came to a halt at 2 a.m. Tuesday.

“We were told the National Guard was coming by but haven’t seen any signs of life,” Andorka said. “The first time they came they told us to be prepared to stay for a while. One tow truck passed six or seven hours ago.”

In a region accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, this one is being called one of the worst in memory. Snow blown by strong winds forced the closing of a 132-mile stretch of the Thruway, the main highway across New York state.

Meteorologists say temperatures in all 50 states fell to freezing or below on Tuesday. They say the low temperatures were more reminiscent of January than November.

In New Hampshire and elsewhere, icy roads led to accidents. Lake-effect storms in Michigan produced gale-force winds and as much as 18 inches of snow, and canceled several flights at the Grand Rapids airport.

Schools closed in the North Carolina mountains amid blustery winds and ice-coated roads. In Indiana, three firefighters were hurt when a semitrailer hit a fire truck on a snowy highway.

In Atlanta, tourists Morten and Annette Larsen from Copenhagen were caught off-guard by the 30-degree weather as they took photos of a monument to the 1996 summer Olympics at Centennial Olympic Park.

“It’s as cold here as it is in Denmark right now. We didn’t expect that,” Larsen said, waving a hand over his denim jacket, buttoned tightly over a hooded sweatshirt.

In Buffalo, Brian Krzeminski watched the snow pile up outside the south Buffalo convenience store where he worked overnight and served free coffee to the motorists and pedestrians who came in off the city streets to get out of the blinding snow.

“There are people that came out to get a few things. We had some people who came in just to get a 30-pack of beer, which is kind of odd,” he said. “We’ve had EMTs whose ambulance got stuck. I’m constantly seeing cars get stuck.”

The National Weather Service warned that the snow, generated by cold air blowing over the warmer Great Lakes, would continue through Wednesday and could eventually total 6 feet in places. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deployed 150 member of the National Guard to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles.

“We have tried to get out of our house and we are lucky to be able to shovel so we can open the door. Basically, that’s it, open the door,” said Linda Oakley of Buffalo. “We’re just thinking that in case of an emergency we can at least get out the door. We can’t go any further.”

“All around us, it’s a solid 4 feet of snow that is so thick and so heavy you can hardly move it with a shovel,” said Oakley, whose son Todd was with her, unable to make it to work just three miles away.

Jim Lehmann was hunkering down with his wife in their town of Hamburg home, while outside his neighbor’s house was barely visible through the blowing snow.

“The main thing to do now is sit in the house and wait it out,” Lehmann said. “My neighbor works for a satellite dish company and he tried to get out this morning and he got stuck 80 feet down the street. And he was there for three hours.”

The town of West Seneca recorded 45 inches by late morning and Alden, to the east, had 48 inches. But typical of lake-effect snow, areas just a few miles away, including downtown and north Buffalo, had just a couple of inches.

At one point, nearly half of West Seneca’s plows were bogged down in heavy snow, officials told The Buffalo News. In neighboring Orchard Park, the highway superintendent called the rate of snowfall “unbelievable,” while next door in Hamburg police cars were getting stuck.

Oakley and her son, Todd, were passing the time watching “Dumb and Dumber” on Netflix.

“We can’t even walk down to the end of the street and get ourselves a pizza,” she said, laughing. “Maybe if you had snow shoes, I don’t know.”

Buffalo snow leaves four dead as some 50 inches fall

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

In a region accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, this one is being called one of the worst in memory.

Four people died during a storm that dumped more than 4 feet of snow around Buffalo and forced motorists in 150 vehicles, including a women’s basketball team, to ride it out on a day when temperatures dropped to freezing or below in all 50 states.

One person was killed in an automobile accident and three others had heart attacks, including two believed to be shoveling snow at the time, Erie County officials said.

The snowstorm stranded cars, trucks and buses on a four-mile section near Buffalo. Officials expected them to be freed late Tuesday after the paralyzing ordeal that lasted nearly 24 hours for some motorists.

“It seemed like a nightmare. It just didn’t feel like it was going to end,” Bryce Foreback, 23, of Shicora, Pennsylvania told The Associated Press by cellphone 20 hours into his wait for help. “I haven’t slept in like 30 hours and I’m just waiting to get out of here.”

Members of the Niagara University women’s basketball team were napping on and off 17 hours into their wait. Some got so thirsty they drank melted snow, said Coach Kenra Faustin, who was traveling with her 1-year-old.

Team spokeswoman Chelsea Andorka said the bus, with about 25 players and coaches aboard, was headed back from a loss in Pittsburgh when it came to a halt at 2 a.m. Tuesday.

“We were told the National Guard was coming by but haven’t seen any signs of life,” Andorka said. “The first time they came they told us to be prepared to stay for a while. One tow truck passed six or seven hours ago.”

In a region accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, this one is being called one of the worst in memory. Snow blown by strong winds forced the closing of a 132-mile stretch of the Thruway, the main highway across New York state.

Meteorologists say temperatures in all 50 states fell to freezing or below on Tuesday. They say the low temperatures were more reminiscent of January than November.

In New Hampshire and elsewhere, icy roads led to accidents. Lake-effect storms in Michigan produced gale-force winds and as much as 18 inches of snow, and canceled several flights at the Grand Rapids airport.

Schools closed in the North Carolina mountains amid blustery winds and ice-coated roads. In Indiana, three firefighters were hurt when a semitrailer hit a fire truck on a snowy highway.

In Atlanta, tourists Morten and Annette Larsen from Copenhagen were caught off-guard by the 30-degree weather as they took photos of a monument to the 1996 summer Olympics at Centennial Olympic Park.

“It’s as cold here as it is in Denmark right now. We didn’t expect that,” Larsen said, waving a hand over his denim jacket, buttoned tightly over a hooded sweatshirt.

In Buffalo, Brian Krzeminski watched the snow pile up outside the south Buffalo convenience store where he worked overnight and served free coffee to the motorists and pedestrians who came in off the city streets to get out of the blinding snow.

“There are people that came out to get a few things. We had some people who came in just to get a 30-pack of beer, which is kind of odd,” he said. “We’ve had EMTs whose ambulance got stuck. I’m constantly seeing cars get stuck.”

The National Weather Service warned that the snow, generated by cold air blowing over the warmer Great Lakes, would continue through Wednesday and could eventually total 6 feet in places. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deployed 150 member of the National Guard to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles.

“We have tried to get out of our house and we are lucky to be able to shovel so we can open the door. Basically, that’s it, open the door,” said Linda Oakley of Buffalo. “We’re just thinking that in case of an emergency we can at least get out the door. We can’t go any further.”

“All around us, it’s a solid 4 feet of snow that is so thick and so heavy you can hardly move it with a shovel,” said Oakley, whose son Todd was with her, unable to make it to work just three miles away.

Jim Lehmann was hunkering down with his wife in their town of Hamburg home, while outside his neighbor’s house was barely visible through the blowing snow.

“The main thing to do now is sit in the house and wait it out,” Lehmann said. “My neighbor works for a satellite dish company and he tried to get out this morning and he got stuck 80 feet down the street. And he was there for three hours.”

The town of West Seneca recorded 45 inches by late morning and Alden, to the east, had 48 inches. But typical of lake-effect snow, areas just a few miles away, including downtown and north Buffalo, had just a couple of inches.

At one point, nearly half of West Seneca’s plows were bogged down in heavy snow, officials told The Buffalo News. In neighboring Orchard Park, the highway superintendent called the rate of snowfall “unbelievable,” while next door in Hamburg police cars were getting stuck.

Oakley and her son, Todd, were passing the time watching “Dumb and Dumber” on Netflix.

“We can’t even walk down to the end of the street and get ourselves a pizza,” she said, laughing. “Maybe if you had snow shoes, I don’t know.”

Charles Hicks sentenced to death in Poconos dismemberment, reportedly linked to more murders

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The 40-year-old from Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, was convicted last week of first-degree murder in Monroe County in the January 2008 murder of 36-year-old Deanna Null.

An eastern Pennsylvania jury has imposed the death penalty on a man convicted in the murder and dismemberment of a woman whose remains were found along a pair of eastern Pennsylvania interstates six years ago.

Forty-year-old Charles Ray Hicks was convicted last week of first-degree murder in Monroe County in the January 2008 murder of 36-year-old Deanna Null.

Null’s remains were found in trash bags scattered along Interstates 80 and 380 near Stroudsburg, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia. Police said her severed hands were found hidden in the walls of Hicks’ home.

After hearing testimony from several defense witnesses and closing arguments, jurors deliberated for more than seven hours and asked for a legal definition of torture before deciding that Hicks deserved execution.

WFMZ-TV 69 reports that after the ruling in a Monroe County courtroom, prosecutors dropped a bombshell, saying that Hicks had admitted to other murders — of five women in Texas.

Charles Hicks sentenced to death in Poconos dismemberment, reportedly linked to more murders

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The 40-year-old from Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, was convicted last week of first-degree murder in Monroe County in the January 2008 murder of 36-year-old Deanna Null.

An eastern Pennsylvania jury has imposed the death penalty on a man convicted in the murder and dismemberment of a woman whose remains were found along a pair of eastern Pennsylvania interstates six years ago.

Forty-year-old Charles Ray Hicks was convicted last week of first-degree murder in Monroe County in the January 2008 murder of 36-year-old Deanna Null.

Null’s remains were found in trash bags scattered along Interstates 80 and 380 near Stroudsburg, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia. Police said her severed hands were found hidden in the walls of Hicks’ home.

After hearing testimony from several defense witnesses and closing arguments, jurors deliberated for more than seven hours and asked for a legal definition of torture before deciding that Hicks deserved execution.

WFMZ-TV 69 reports that after the ruling in a Monroe County courtroom, prosecutors dropped a bombshell, saying that Hicks had admitted to other murders — of five women in Texas.

Bethlehem fireworks a tribute to Musikfest guru Jeff Parks

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Not widely advertised, the display took some by surprise in the city.

Sure it’s cold enough to be New Year’s Eve in Bethlehem.

But the fireworks Tuesday night were a bit of a surprise to many in the city.

It turns out, ArtsQuest orchestrated the display in honor of the nonprofit’s departing president, Jeff Parks. Bethlehem police confirmed the racket was just fireworks and said Chief Mark DiLuzio had sent out a memo in advance notifying officers.

The ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks hosted the event. It looked to be a packed house, with no expense spared — including trapeze artists:

You know you’re at an EVENT when trapeze artists are serving the drinks

A photo posted by @losantana on

It was the fireworks, however, that drew in the larger community:

Parks is stepping down at year’s end after more than three decades at the helm.

Kassie Hilgert, the organization’s senior vice president for marketing and advancement, will become president and CEO of the Bethlehem-based nonprofit arts and cultural organization in January.

Parks will stay on as the part-time executive director of the ArtsQuest Foundation, the organization’s fundraising arm.

Bethlehem fireworks a tribute to Musikfest guru Jeff Parks

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Not widely advertised, the display took some by surprise in the city.

Sure it’s cold enough to be New Year’s Eve in Bethlehem.

But the fireworks Tuesday night were a bit of a surprise to many in the city.

It turns out, ArtsQuest orchestrated the display in honor of the nonprofit’s departing president, Jeff Parks. Bethlehem police confirmed the racket was just fireworks and said Chief Mark DiLuzio had sent out a memo in advance notifying officers.

The ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks hosted the event. It looked to be a packed house, with no expense spared — including trapeze artists:

You know you’re at an EVENT when trapeze artists are serving the drinks

A photo posted by @losantana on

It was the fireworks, however, that drew in the larger community:

Parks is stepping down at year’s end after more than three decades at the helm.

Kassie Hilgert, the organization’s senior vice president for marketing and advancement, will become president and CEO of the Bethlehem-based nonprofit arts and cultural organization in January.

Parks will stay on as the part-time executive director of the ArtsQuest Foundation, the organization’s fundraising arm.

Thirteen Bethlehem employees take early retirement incentive, should reduce budget, official says

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Bethlehem Business Administrator David Brong said the 13 employees opting for the incentive should reduce the budget, but to what level will depend on which of positions aren't filled.

Thirteen Bethlehem employees opted for an early retirement incentive intended to reduce city expenses in 2015 but officials don’t yet know how much that will save in the 2015 budget.

Only one employee had filed for the incentive when Mayor Bob Donchez announced his 2015 budget Nov. 7. Tuesday was the last day to take incentive, which offered employees a $10,000 bonus or two extra years of health benefits to retire.

Bethlehem Business Administrator David Brong said the 13 employees opting for the incentive should reduce the budget, but to what level will depend on which of positions aren’t filled. Donchez wasn’t at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

City Council President J. William Reynolds said council has a “shared goal” of reducing Donchez’s proposed 6.2 percent property tax increase. He asked Brong for a list the employees who opted for the retirement incentives and any other open positions.

Councilman Michael Recchiuti on Tuesday proposed holding off on filling the city’s business retention and attraction officer position while the budget process is ongoing. Recchiuti pointed out the position was created to help fill the loss of the deputy director of community and economic development, but the city is seeking to again fill that position next year.

“Maybe one of these positions could be eliminated,” he said.

The deputy director position would pay $78,334, while the business officer, which earns $44,347 this year, would earn $48,619 in 2015.

Community and Economic Development Director Alicia Karner said the business officer is critical to the department.

“We’re particularly short handed when it comes to economic development,” she said.

Council ended up voting 6-1 to fill the position.

Council is holding budget hearings Wednesday, Nov. 25, Dec. 8 and Dec. 11, with a final vote expected Dec. 16. Council will make its suggested changes at the Dec. 11 hearing.

Lynn Olanoff can be reached at lolanoff@express-times.com. Follow her on Twitter @LynnOlanoff. Find Bethlehem news on Facebook.

Thirteen Bethlehem employees take early retirement incentive, should reduce budget, official says

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Bethlehem Business Administrator David Brong said the 13 employees opting for the incentive should reduce the budget, but to what level will depend on which of positions aren't filled.

Thirteen Bethlehem employees opted for an early retirement incentive intended to reduce city expenses in 2015 but officials don’t yet know how much that will save in the 2015 budget.

Only one employee had filed for the incentive when Mayor Bob Donchez announced his 2015 budget Nov. 7. Tuesday was the last day to take incentive, which offered employees a $10,000 bonus or two extra years of health benefits to retire.

Bethlehem Business Administrator David Brong said the 13 employees opting for the incentive should reduce the budget, but to what level will depend on which of positions aren’t filled. Donchez wasn’t at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

City Council President J. William Reynolds said council has a “shared goal” of reducing Donchez’s proposed 6.2 percent property tax increase. He asked Brong for a list the employees who opted for the retirement incentives and any other open positions.

Councilman Michael Recchiuti on Tuesday proposed holding off on filling the city’s business retention and attraction officer position while the budget process is ongoing. Recchiuti pointed out the position was created to help fill the loss of the deputy director of community and economic development, but the city is seeking to again fill that position next year.

“Maybe one of these positions could be eliminated,” he said.

The deputy director position would pay $78,334, while the business officer, which earns $44,347 this year, would earn $48,619 in 2015.

Community and Economic Development Director Alicia Karner said the business officer is critical to the department.

“We’re particularly short handed when it comes to economic development,” she said.

Council ended up voting 6-1 to fill the position.

Council is holding budget hearings Wednesday, Nov. 25, Dec. 8 and Dec. 11, with a final vote expected Dec. 16. Council will make its suggested changes at the Dec. 11 hearing.

Lynn Olanoff can be reached at lolanoff@express-times.com. Follow her on Twitter @LynnOlanoff. Find Bethlehem news on Facebook.