Police: Man Beat Boy, 5, for ‘Hugging Dog Too Hard’

Posted by WNEP.com.

MAHONING TOWNSHIP — A man from Carbon County is accused of abusing a five-year-old boy.

Police said Daniel Stahler Jr. of Lehighton became irritated with the child after he hugged a dog too hard Thursday.

Officials said Stahler hit the boy, threw him into a wall, and slammed his head in a door.

According to officers, the child has a fractured eye socket, bruises, and had hair ripped out.

Police in Carbon County said Stahler has been arrested and is awaiting arraignment.

Bethlehem historic farm sets harvest festival, monthly tours

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The Friends of Johnston have scheduled a harvest festival, a gala and monthly open houses at Camel's Hump Farm on Santee Mill Road, which is part of the former estate of Archibald Johnston, Bethlehem's first mayor.

Bethlehem historic farm and future nature center has scheduled a number of upcoming events to both publicize and fundraise for the site.

The Friends of Johnston have scheduled a harvest festival, a gala and monthly open houses at Camel’s Hump Farm on Santee Mill Road, which is part of the former estate of Archibald Johnston, Bethlehem’s first mayor.

“The Friends of Johnston wish to welcome all to this beautiful property,” organization President Victoria Bastidas said in a statement.

Sundays in the Park with Archibald run from 1 to 3 p.m. the last Sunday of the month through October, including this Sunday. The open house-type events include property tours and a short slide presentation on Johnston’s important works and contributions to Bethlehem.

In the winter, the farm tours will be replaced with a Fireside Chat series, also from 1 to 3 p.m. on the last Sunday of the month through March. The events are free, though both donations and pre-registration are encouraged at FriendsofJohnston.org.

The 47-acre property — part of which is in Bethlehem Township — is adjacent to the preserved 91 acres of the former Archibald Johnston estate also in Bethlehem Township. Natural Lands Trust is under contract to purchase 44 acres while the Friends of Johnston group has purchased a 3-acre tract that includes a historic farmhouse that will be used for a nature center. The two groups have to raise to raise $1.5 million to ensure their preservation.

A two-day Harvest Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 11 and 12. The family-friendly event includes crafters, a pumpkin patch, corn maze, games, food and live music. Admission is free but there is a charge for food and some activities.

A “Wear Your Best Boots” Farm-to-Table Gala has been set from 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 18. Tickets are $125 and include a six-course farm-to-table dinner. The event also includes dancing, a silent auction and hot mulled cider.

The farm is located at 1311 Santee Mill Rd. in Bethlehem. More information can be found at FriendsofJohnston.org.

Couple Loses Home to Fire for Second Time

Posted by WNEP.com.

WHITE DEER TOWNSHIP — A fire that started in a shed spread to a garage and then a house in Union County.

Fueled by propane and other gasses, the fireball lit up the night sky near Watsontown as it consumed a shed, garage, and part of a home.

By daybreak the devastation on Sunrise Road was apparent.

Donald and Cathy Diefenbach’s house looked like it had been hit by a bomb.

The couple was out to supper when the fire started Friday night, but Donald’s brother Caroll was nearby. He saw the smoke and was able to save their dog.

“We tried to do as much as we could to save the house, but once the garage was fully engulfed and the propane tank, the top blew off. There was nothing we could do,” said Caroll Diefenbach.

The couple knows all too well what it takes to recover from a fire. The house burned down in 1992 and the couple rebuilt.

“How did you make it through in ’92?” he was asked.

“Not easy,” Donald Diefenbach said.

A container of photos survived the fire. Some have scorched edges from that other fire the family hoped to forget.

“It just seems like if it weren’t for bad luck we wouldn’t have any. It has been rough,” said Cathy Diefenbach.

But while the Diefenbachs may be jinxed when it comes to fires, they are blessed when it comes to family. Donald’s brother Caroll has a construction business.

“My construction company guys, we will rebuild and get him back in here asap,” Caroll said.

When asked why he would build for a third time in this spot that has brought him such hardship, Donald said he loves the areas landscape and wildlife.

“The country. I like living in the country,” Donald said.

A state police fire marshal said the damage is so extensive he can not determine what sparked the fire. He said he is investigating several fires in the area to determine whether or not they may be cases of arson.

Red light cameras under fire in New Jersey

Posted by 69News:.

A community in Warren County, New Jersey has expressed concerns with traffic light cameras aimed at keeping people from running red lights.

But now, the state’s legislature is considering adding speed enforcement cameras too.

Pohatcong Township’s mayor is trying to stop it dead in the water.

The red-light cameras were implemented through a pilot program about four years ago, and expire in December.

The legislature could choose to not renew the program. It could also go as far as expanding camera capabilities.

Pohatcong Township Mayor James Kern believes that would be a mistake, given the headaches the current cameras are already causing.

“I think that wanting to expand it is, simply put, crazy because I can only imagine the problems that are going to happen if you have speed cameras issuing citations as well,” Kerns said.

Drivers have complained about the accuracy of the current technology.

“I think they cause more problems than they solve. I have seen a lot of people stop very short, and come very close to rear-ending each other,” said Joseph Torres.

“The lights are timed such, so that there isn’t enough time in the center to actually get through before the light changes. I understand from some friends, they have been given tickets because they are slightly over the white line when they stop,” said Eileen Page.

Other complaints include long delays in the time it takes for tickets to be issued.

“The tickets for the whole state of New Jersey, from what I understand, the company had a computer problem. State law in New Jersey says the citations have to be sent out within a certain period of time and they could not hit that period of time. So all the people that got tickets in that window, the tickets were essentially void because the people were not given the proper notification of the summons,” Kerns said.

For those reasons, Kerns is pushing for an ordinance that would prohibit the cameras for speed-enforcement use within the township.

“I want Pohatcong Township to be proactive and make sure the cameras don’t turn into speed cameras as well,” Kerns said.

In a recent report, the New Jersey Department of Transportation said the cameras are working, but added more data was needed for a final assessment.

American Traffic Solutions claims the current technology is improving driver behavior.

Council will introduce the ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting. It could vote on it as early as mid September.

Pink fire trucks come to Easton

Posted by 69News:.

Pink fire trucks and firemen wearing pink heals descended on downtown Easton for a very special cause.

The national “Pink Heals” tour made a stop at Easton’s Centre Square Saturday to raise money in the battle against cancer.

Cancer survivors were invited to write a message and sign their names on the pink trucks.

Neighbors in Easton react to recent shooting

Posted by 69News:.

Easton Police say gunshots rang out early Saturday morning just two blocks from a brazen daylight shooting less than 24 hours earlier. Both incidents happened in the city’s troubled West Ward.

Police said someone fired several shots near Ninth and Ferry streets just after 2:30 a.m. No one was hit. Witnesses reported seeing two black men running toward Mulberry Street. One was wearing a white t-shirt and the other wearing a grey shirt, according to Easton Police Inspector Daniel Reagan.

Saturday morning’s incident rattled an already shaken neighborhood. A teenage suspect is still on the loose, accused of shooting a man in the head in the 300 block of Spruce Street. The shooting happened near a group of children playing in the street.

“I see this guy come out with a rag on his head saying he’d been hit,” said Lance Wheeler, a state constable who rushed to the victim’s aid. “When he said he’s been hit, I didn’t know he’d been hit with what.”

Police are now looking for Ricardo Mendez-Acevedo, 18, of the 700 block of Hall Street in Allentown. Mendez-Acevedo is small — only 5’2″ and 100 pounds. Investigators said was last seen wearing an all-gray sweatsuit and black sneakers.

Wheeler also heard Saturday’s morning’s gunfire. He estimated someone fired about seven shots on Ferry Street.

“I looked down east of Spruce Street,” said Wheeler. “I saw two males run through Mulberry Street, up the hill.”

Wheeler is trying to organize his neighbors to act, but said it’s an uphill battle with so many absentee landlords and so little ability for the city to crack down on them.

“If you have a vacant property and it might be one or two on your block, and the city doesn’t come to it, doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to call City Hall,” he said.

If you know anything about yesterday’s shooting, Easton Police are asking you to call Det. Darren Snyder at 610-250-6637. Anyone with information about Saturday morning’s gunfire can call Det. Leaubner at 610-250-6780. Callers can also leave anonymous information on the Easton Police tipline, 610-250-6796.

West Pottsgrove shooting in ‘problem building’ leaves one injured

Posted by 69News:.

West Pottsgrove Township Police are investigating a shooting that happened early Saturday.

According to police, one male victim was transported to an area hospital after being shot at around 1 a.m. in the 500 block of East Vine Street.

Some neighbors say the building where the shooting happened has become a neighborhood problem.

“We just don’t want this in our neighborhood. It’s a quiet little neighborhood. It’s a family oriented neighborhood. We’re just tired of it. We just don’t want it here,” a neighbor said.

Police have not released any information in regards to the extent of the victim’s injury or any suspects.

Friends organize homeless veterans benefit Greenwich Township man never got to put on

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Greenwich Township resident Bob Stone three times this year scheduled a music benefit to raise money for homeless veterans but it got canceled twice by snow and then lastly by his death.

Bob Stone tried twice this winter to organize a benefit for homeless veterans but the event was snowed out in December and February.

So the Greenwich Township resident rescheduled the event for May, when the weather should have cooperated. But two months before he could see his work come to fruition, the Navy veteran died.

Friend Chris Salazar decided to pickup Stone’s cause and put on the homeless veterans benefit he was never able to do. The original event was called Helping Hands Christmas Jam; Salazar re-named the event StoneyFest 2014: Helping Hands Music Jam, in honor of Stone.

It was held today at Riverside Barr & Grill in Lower Mount Bethel Township.

“I kind of took his last wishes and brought them to life,” said Salazar, a Nazareth resident. “He had a huge heart — kids and veterans were his things.”

Stone would regularly visit the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center and bring homemade pies, cookies and fudge, his son, Jeff Stone said.

“The only thing bigger than his body was his heart,” he said.

Bob Stone — who many called Stoney — was a chef for many years and more recently got into band booking through his companies Fat Boy Road Promotions and Stoney Road Promotions. Stone was involved with most of the bands that took part in StoneyFest, said Salazar, himself a member of the band Dr. Jekyll, which played the event.

“Bob Stone was always about the local music scene,” said Ori Handwerk, a member of the band Handel, which also played Stoneyfest. “We’re proud to be here on his behalf at this benefit for homeless vets.”

The event’s proceeds will be split between Veterans Haven North, a group home at the former Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in Lebanon Township, and Victory House, a shelter for homeless veterans in Bethlehem.

“A lot of groups are going to benefit, which is great,” said Stone’s sister, Kim Viscomi.

Bob Stone died of a heart attack in March at the age of 58.

About 100 tickets — which cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door — had been sold as of 4 p.m., Salazar said. He said he wants to make the fundraiser an annual event, with the hope of bigger crowds in the future.

Jeff Stone said his father would have been very pleased with today’s event and thanked Salazar for organizing it.

“He’s trying to carry the torch on,” Jeff Stone said. “It’s awesome.”

“He would have loved it,” Sarah Stone said of her father.

Two Arrested for West Pittston Arsons

Posted by WNEP.com.

WEST PITTSTON — Two men have been arrested for starting fires at two homes in Luzerne County last month.

Police arrested Jason Lakey around 7 a.m. Saturday. He’s accused of setting fires at two homes on Foundry Street in West Pittston on July 5 and 6.

Wayne Tilley was picked up by police Friday. He’s accused of helping Lakey start those fires.

A witness reported seeing two men with a red gas can and then flames and smoke. An investigation showed multiple fires were set in the building.

Both men are locked up in the Luzerne County jail.

Alleged stalker told woman ‘U can call the cops. I am not scared,’ records say

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Bill Vickery was arrested Thursday and charged with stalking and harassment. He is in Lehigh County Jail in lieu of 10 percent of $2,500 bail, records say.

handcuffs, stockView full sizeA Slatington man is accused of ignoring police warning and repeatedly texting and calling a woman. 

Slatington man who repeatedly called and sent text messages to a woman told her he wasn’t scared of police after they visited him over the harassment, according to court records.

Slatington police said the woman called officers Aug. 17 to report that Bill Vickery, of the 600 block of Main Street, would not stop calling her or sending text messages. An officer called Vickery and told him to stop the calls and text messages, and Vickery said he understood “100 percent.”

Soon after police hung up with Vickery, they were called back to the victim’s home on South Second Street because Vickery continued contacting her, records say.

Two officers went to Vickery’s apartment and told Vickery to stop contacting the woman, which he agreed to do, records say.

After that the 44-year-old Vickery left multiple voicemail messages and sent 65 text messages, records say. In one of the messages Vickery said “U can call the cops. I am not Scared,” records say.

Vickery was arrested Thursday and charged with stalking and harassment. He is in Lehigh County Jail in lieu of 10 percent of $2,500 bail, records say.

Contact lead Lehigh County digital reporter Sarah Cassi at 484-894-0411 or scassi@express-times.com.

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