Anheuser-Busch Newark goes all aluminum, says goodbye to Rolling Rock bottles from ‘glass lined tanks’

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Once the bottling line at Newark is idled toward the end of the first quarter of 2015, single-serving containers of Rolling Rock finished in glass-lined tanks will only be available in cans, Anheuser-Busch says.

Anheuser-Busch Newark goes all aluminum, says goodbye to Rolling Rock bottles from 'glass lined tanks'View full sizeA bottle of Rolling Rock extra-pale lager for sale Friday at Daddy’s Place in Easton quotes from the Latrobe Brewing Co.’s original quality pledge touting its brewing process’ use of “glass lined tanks.” 

A switch to all-can production at Anheuser-Busch Co.’s Newark brewery means the loss of 60 jobs, but also a change in the tradition of one its brands produced there.

Newark is the only one of four Anheuser-Busch breweries where Rolling Rock is brewed that uses glass-lined finishing tanks for its beers, a celebrated component of the Rolling Rock brewing process.

It says so right there on the Rolling Rock bottle quoting from the quality pledge that dates to the brew’s roots in Latrobe, Pennsylvania: “From the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe … .”

Once the bottling line at Newark is idled toward the end of the first quarter of 2015, single-serving containers of Rolling Rock finished in glass-lined tanks will only be available in cans, the company says; Rolling Rock in 12- and 7-ounce bottles will still be produced at Anheuser-Busch’s Baldwinsville, New York; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Los Angeles, California, breweries.

Not that the change will make much of a difference: Glass-lined walls have given way to stainless steel for finishing tanks as breweries have modernized over the past few decades, and the lining does not affect the final product, Anheuser-Busch says.

Anheuser-Busch in 2006 bought the Rolling Rock brand and moved production to Newark, in a deal The New York Times put at $82 million for the extra-pale lager recipe and Latrobe Brewing Co.

The brewing giant decided to idle the bottle line at Newark as part of an ongoing search “for ways to improve the way we do business, and this includes optimizing the capabilities of our brewery system to meet consumer and geographic needs,” Kevin Lee, general manager at the brewery, said in a statement.

The brewery announced the changeover to all-can production last week during meetings with employees.

“This decision is necessary to best operate the Newark brewery, which produces many of our signature brands, including Budweiser and Bud Light,” Lee stated. “We are always challenging ourselves to optimize capabilities at all of our breweries.”

The change appears to be long-term, given that that the bottle line’s multi-packer is being relocated, according to Lee, to Anheuser-Busch’s Williamsburg, Virginia, brewery.

Pete Kraemer, vice president of supply and head brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch, said in an email that despite the change, Rolling Rock will continue to be available in bottles. Nor the does change eliminate a bottle package for any of the company’s brands, he wrote.

“Anheuser-Busch is committed to and we continue to achieve Rolling Rock’s original profile,” he said in the email. “Brewing is an art and a science. Each day we taste the beers being produced at every stage of the process — from the water used to rinse the bottles to the final packaged product — to ensure consistency and quality.

“These exacting standards ensure that Rolling Rock beer drinkers will receive the same premium extra-pale lager they expect.”

What you need to know about the Easton council meeting Wednesday

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Council is expected to advance plans for a two-way Fourth Street and consider restructuring the police department's top brass.

City council is expected Wednesday to apply to the state for new Fourth Street traffic lights and to decide whether to create a new lieutenant position in the police department.

Council meets 6 p.m. on the sixth floor of the Alpha Building, which serves as city hall in Easton.

Council voted two weeks ago to convert Fourth Street between Ferry and Spring Garden streets from one-way to two-way traffic. City officials say a two-way Fourth Street will help traffic move through the downtown more easily and will help businesses.

Now, council is expected to move ahead with applications for traffic lights at Fourth and Ferry streets and Fourth and Northampton streets. If council and the state transportation department approve them, the road can be converted to two-way traffic this summer, according to the city’s public works director, David Hopkins. Hopkins said the work would cause minimal traffic disruption.

Also Wednesday, Police Chief Carl Scalzo has asked council for permission to chance the police hierarchy from five lieutenants and eight sergeants to six lieutenants and seven sergeants.

According to a memo from Scalzo to council, the change “is absolutely necessary to ensure accountability and to assist in solidifying the chain of command within the department.”

The promoted lieutenant’s base pay would go from $69,596 a year to $75,912.

City police have been working without a contract since Jan. 1. City council and administrators discussed the impasse during a closed-door meeting prior to the Jan. 14 council meeting, according to solicitor William Murphy.

City officials have not commented on the lack of a deal or the possibility of arbitration to reach a new contract.

Rudy Miller may be reached at rmiller@express-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.

Friends react to fraud case against Bucks County family

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As we first told you last week, a Bucks County family is facing a list of charges, after officials say they set fire to their massive mansion to collect millions in insurance claims.

“I nearly dropped to my knees. It was amazing, it was fun,” Bucks County’s Mandee Kuenzle said.

She was referring to the Risoldi family’s murals. The handpainted scenes decorate the ceiling of “Clairemont,” their Solebury Township mansion.

“Almost like the Sistine Chapel replica,” Kuenzle described.

However the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office says the paintings are the perfect example of fraudulent excess.

Claire Risoldi, her husband, son, daughter and three others are charged with a $20 million insurance fraud scheme to live as the AG put it: an “excessively, extravagant lifestyle.”

“Larger than life personalities, nothing was impossible,” Kuenzle added.

Kuenzel once worked with the family as a photographer and she attended some of the sought after parties the family threw.

“Always great, great entertainment. A 6 piece band. One on occasion, the Mummers from Philadelphia came,” she described.

The estate and parties also became a place of political wheeling and dealing.

“They were really nice and they were connectors, especially Claire. If she really liked you, she wanted to connect you to other people,” Kuenzle said.

Kuenzel said the family certainly marched to their own beat.

“I think what stood out with them was their very loud and open personalities,” Mandee said.

But will those personalities close the door on their freedom?

The AG’s office says the family has a 20-30 year history of filing questionable insurance claims.

We reached out to the Risoldi family but they declined to comment.

Allentown homeless shelters say they’re ready to handle snowstorm

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The Allentown Rescue Mission expanded its capacity in the fall in response to last year's harsh winter.

As a winter storm bore down on the region Monday, Allentown agencies assisting the city’s homeless were confident they’d have the resources to accommodate anyone seeking refuge from the severe winter weather.

The Allentown Rescue Mission expanded its shelter capacity in fall 2014 from 48 beds to 66 in response to last year’s particularly harsh winter. Tom Gibson, the mission’s interim executive director and board chairman, said nightly attendance at the emergency shelter in the 300 block of Hamilton Street hovered around 57 men last week, which would have exceeded capacity this time last year.

He has not seen attendance figures for Friday and Saturday when the region saw upwards of 8 inches of snow, so the shelter may have inched closer to capacity then.

The Rescue Mission is staffed 24 hours a day and can accommodate staff overnight in the event of poor weather, Gibson said.

The Mission has certain criteria for men seeking overnight shelter, but Gibson stressed the shelter will not turn away anyone in need. Other arrangements will be made such as housing men in other parts of the building.

Gibson said he even asked staff before winter arrived to purchase 10 sleeping bags in the event people are forced to sleep in the chapel.

The Rescue Mission generally limits stays at the shelter to 15 days before men are asked to find housing elsewhere or begin one of its programs. Those aren’t hard-and-fast rules once the temperature rises just above code-blue-alert levels, which was the case last week, or the area is inundated by snow, Gibson said.

“In these situations, the standard operating procedure is thrown out the window because we care about people,” he said, adding men can stay at the building during the day during harsh weather.

Alliance HallView full sizeThe Lehigh Conference of Churches is operating an emergency homeless shelter this winter in the basement of Alliance Hall at Sixth and Chew streets in Allentown.

In response to concerns last winter about the Safe Haven emergency shelter, the Lehigh Conference of Churches agreed to operate an emergency shelter in the basement of Alliance Hall at Sixth and Chew streets. When the shelter opened Nov. 1, it served 152 separate people in the first six weeks with daily attendance hovering in the low 50s. Within eight weeks, the shelter had seen 170 different people.

Dale Smith serves on the city’s Commission to End Chronic Homelessness, chairing its sheltering committee. While daily attendance tapered off a bit in December once Bethlehem’s rotating emergency shelter system opened, Alliance Hall still hosts 35 to 45 people a day, according to Smith.

The vast majority of those assisted are men, he said.

Shelter organizers routinely plan to accommodate up to 50 people a night, but additional cots are available should the need arise, Smith said. A representative of the Lehigh Conference of Churches was unavailable for comment Monday.

Another issue that needs attention is determining where the homeless go during the day, Smith said.

Many congregate at the Allentown Public Library, which may close for inclement weather, he said. Others may find a fast food restaurant where they can linger until they’re shooed away, Smith said.

St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church expanded its three-day-a-week soup kitchen into a drop-in center that’s available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., when the emergency shelters are closed, according to Smith. But there’s no clear picture of where everyone goes once they leave an overnight shelter, he said.

“It might start being a good idea to ask, ‘What did you do during the day yesterday,'” Smith said of visitors to the city’s shelters.

The Salvation Army at 344 N. Seventh St. has seen some referrals this winter to its Rich Fleming Family Hope Center from the shelter in Alliance Hall, according to shelter director Eleana Belletieri. Visitors to Alliance Hall have been predominantly men, prompting caseworkers to direct women and their children to the Salvation Army, she said.

The Salvation Army is generally near capacity regardless of the weather because it’s the only shelter that accepts women and children and can house up to 40 people in eight rooms, Belletieri said. As of Monday, there were 27 children at the shelter.

The shelter includes a single room for one woman, and the building can house up to eight in its lounge, two in its lobby and can even accommodate people in the dining room, if necessary. On Monday, Belletieri said she fielded two phone calls from women seeking shelter because they were set to be discharged from the hospital.

The family center is generally a 45-day shelter, but that is far from being etched in stone, according to Belletieri.

“It’s hard to get your life on track in just 45 days,” she said.

Many women can’t find a job because they can’t find day care for the children and they can’t secure housing because they can’t find work, Belletieri said, so caseworkers work with the women to prevent their return to the shelter, she said.

As for the forecast storm, Belletieri said staff will assist those who come in off the street.

“If the blizzard is outside tonight and there’s three people standing outside, we’ll bring them in and give them a meal,” she said Monday. “There are no snow days here.”

Homeless shelter open to help just in time

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A popular Berks County shelter, once on the brink of remaining closed during long winter nights, is now offering hope for hundreds of homeless people.

Just a few weeks ago, City Light Ministries,at 246 N. 9th Street in Reading, was only open during the day, and after 9 p.m., the homeless had to find another place to sleep.

That’s no longer the case, and the staff couldn’t be happier.

“The people that walk in these doors, City Light’s doors, I call them my family,” said Lisa Grimes.

About a year ago, the shelter had been shut down by the city, saying the building was not up to code.

But repairs were made, and the city was willing to allow the shelter to open during nighttime hours.

“The city has graciously given us a temporary occupancy, which says all of the work isn’t done, but the building has been deemed safe,” said City Light founder and director Joe Sclafani.

And already the shelter is giving back. Just Monday, they helped a woman escape the cold temperatures and return home to Texas.

“She had no place to go. So she’s now back with her family in Texas,” said John Grimes. “That’s what we try to do.”

The shelter is receiving about 40 men and women, and officials say since the shelter has reopened during nighttime hours, everything has run smoothly with no problems.

Fire destroys Upper Saucon house

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Fire destroyed a home in Lehigh County early Tuesday.

Crews were called to the scene at 5114 Homestead Drive in Upper Saucon Township around 12:15 a.m.

Officials say it was a working structure fire, and a crew at the scene said the home is a total loss.

There is no word yet on a cause.

No injuries were reported.

New Jersey commuters await word on travel

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Commuters around New Jersey are waiting to learn when they can get back to work as light snow continues falling Tuesday morning.

State officials imposed a travel ban at 11 p.m. Monday, restricting highway travel to official vehicles.

The Port Authority also closed the Hudson River bridges and tunnels.

Service remains suspended for NJ Transit trains and buses. PATH service also is suspended.

Seastreak ferry crews are standing by, waiting for travel restrictions to be lifted on the roads.

In New York, the city’s subway system shut down.

Service ended on the public transit network at 11 p.m. Monday in anticipation of the storm.

The last time the subways were closed was during Superstorm Sandy.

TransBridge, Bieber suspend bus service to NYC

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Commuters who typically take the bus into New York City are staying home Tuesday.

Bieber Tourways is closed and has suspended service to New York and Philadelphia.

On Monday night, we caught up with some commuters who came home early to get ahead of the storm.

Trans-Bridge Lines has also suspended service for today until conditions improve.

Crews battle snow as they fight fire in Northampton County

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Crews battled the snow as they fought a garage fire Monday morning in Northampton County.

The fire broke out around 4 a.m. at a home at 1509 Highland Drive in Lower Saucon Township.

Fire officials said the blaze was contained to an attached two-car garage and common firewall with smoke damage to the home. Two vehicles in the garage were destroyed.

Family members were alerted and immediately evacuated. No injuries were reported.

The fire was under control by 6:30 a.m.

The Red Cross provided clothing and temporary shelter.

Officials said a preliminary investigation indicates the fire was accidental, and started in the garage.

Many schools closed by forecast snow; Bethlehem Area, Saucon Valley, East Penn on delays

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Easton Area, Wilson Area, Phillipsburg, Hackettstown, Bangor Area and Nazareth Area are shut for the day. Parkland, Whitehall-Coplay, Salisbury and Catasauqua Area have delayed openings.

The Bethlehem Area School District will open two hours late Tuesday morning while the Easton Area, Nazareth Area, Belvedere, Phillipsburg and other school districts are closed after a storm dropped far less snow than forecast, according to the districts’ websites.

The Bangor Area, Bethlehem Township, New Jersey; Bloomsbury, Clinton, Clinton Township, Franklin Township (both Warren and Hunterdon counties), Greenwich Township, Hackettstown, Harmony Township, Hope Township, Hunterdon Central Regional, Lebanon Township, Lopatcong Township, Mansfield Township, North Hunterdon-Voorhees,  North Warren Regional, Pen Argyl Area, Pohatcong Township, Oxford Central, Warren Hills Regional, Washington, Washington Township, New Jersey; White Township and Wilson Area schools are also closed, according to WFMZ’s weather cancelation list.

Many of the schools announced the cancelations on Monday.

The Saucon Valley, Parkland, Catasauqua Area, Whitehall-Coplay, Salisbury Township and East Penn school districts were on two-hour delays, according to their websites.

The Lehigh Valley was expecting between 5 and 14 inches of snow, and Warren and Hunterdon counties were forecast for up to 22 inches, but very little snow fell overnight while a coastal storm ripped into eastern New Jersey and New York City.

New Jersey banned drivers from the state’s roads as of 11 p.m., making school an impossibility in the Garden State.