Allentown Local News

 

LOCAL NEWS FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013

LOCAL NEWS FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2013

  FBI AGENTS HAVE VISITED THE LEHIGH COUNTY HOME OF A MAN WHOSE SON IDENTIFIED HIMSELF AS THE SOURCE OF LEAKS ABOUT TOP-SECRET U.S. SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS.  TWO PEOPLE LEFT THE UPPER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP HOME OF LONNIE SNOWDEN ON MONDAY AFTERNOON. SNOWDEN'S SON, EDWARD, IS THE FOCUS OF AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE LEAK OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION ABOUT TWO NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY PROGRAMS.  A MAN WHO SHOWED FBI IDENTIFICATION AS HE WAS LEAVING THE HOME SAYS THEY SPOKE TO EDWARD SNOWDEN'S FAMILY.  HE REFERRED FURTHER COMMENT TO THE FBI IN PHILADELPHIA WHICH DECLINED COMMENT TO THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.  NEIGHBORS ON THE QUIET RESIDENTIAL STREET SAY LONNIE MARRIED EDWARD'S STEPMOTHER ABOUT SIX YEARS AGO.  THEY NEVER SAW EDWARD AT THE HOUSE.  NEIGHBOR JONATHAN RECK SAYS LONNIE SNOWDEN TOLD HIM SUNDAY HIS SON WAS "THE WHISTLEBLOWER."

  SENATOR PAT TOOMEY SAYS HE'S NOT READY TO PASS JUDGMENT ON THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY WORKER WHO LEAKED INFORMATION ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT'S SURVEILLANCE PROGRAMS.  "I WILL TELL YOU THOUGH THAT I START OFF WITH A SERIOUS RESERVATION ABOUT SOMEONE WHO HAS A SECURITY CLEARANCE AND THEY HAVE ACCESS TO CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AND THEN TURN THAT OVER TO THE PRESS," TOOMEY SAYS.  HE SAYS THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT EDWARD SNOWDEN GAVE TERRORISTS MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW AMERICA GOES ABOUT OBTAINING INFORMATION ABOUT THEM AND GIVES THOSE TERRORSTS A CHANCE TO CHANGE THEIR METHODS.

  "IT WAS A TREMENDOUSLY VIOLENT ACT," SAYS DERRY TOWNSHIP POLICE OFFICER TIM ROCHE.  HE IS TALKING ABOUT THE MONDAY MORNING MURDER OF 87-YEAR-OLD JOYCE ROTH, A SOUTH WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP WOMAN VISITING FAMILY FOR HER GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER'S HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION.  ROCHE SAYS IT APPEARS ROTH WAS KILLED WHEN SHE STUMBLED INTO A BURGLARY IN HER SON'S HERSHEY-AREA HOME AROUND 3:30 MONDAY MORNING.  "WE HAVE NO LEADS TO INDICATE THAT SHE WAS SPECIFICALLY TARGETED," ROCHE SAYS.  ROTH'S KILLING WAS THE FIRST IN TOWNSHIP IN MORE THAN 10 YEARS.

  DOZENS OF TEACHERS IN THE ALLENTOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT ARE BEING LAID OFF.  TEACHER'S UNION PRESIDENT DEB TRETTER SAYS THE 99 TEACHERS RECEIVED PINK SLIPS FROM THEIR PRINCIPALS LAST THURSDAY AND FRIDAY.  THE DISTRICT'S PROPOSED $242 MILLION BUDGET ELIMINATES 132 TEACHING POSITIONS; 99 OF THOSE ARE COMING THROUGH LAYOFFS.  SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT ROBERT SMITH JR. SAYS THE CUTS ARE VERY DISAPPOINTING AND THAT THE DISTRICT IS LOSING A LOT OF GOOD TALENT.  THE DISTRICT WAS FACING A BUDGET SHORTFALL OF AS MUCH AS $22.4 MILLION WHEN OFFICIALS BEGAN REVIEWING THE PLAN IN JANUARY.  SMITH SAYS THE CURRENT BUDGET STILL HAS A $5 MILLION DEFICIT WITH THE CUTS AND A TAX INCREASE.  HE SAYS THAT WILL HAVE TO BE MADE UP FROM RESERVE FUNDS UNLESS THE SCHOOL GETS MORE STATE AID.

  IN A UNANIMOUS VOTE, SOUTH WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP'S ZONING BOARD HAS NIXED THE IDEA OF NIGHTLY FIREWORKS AT DORNEY PARK.  AMUSEMENT PARK NEIGHBORS SAY FIREWORKS WOULD BE DISRUPTIVE AND A NUISANCE.  DORNEY PARK SAYS THE FIREWORKS SHOWS WOULD'VE LAST ONLY FIVE MINUTES OR SO AND WOULD NOT HAVE INCLUDED FIREWORKS THAT MAKE THUNDERING BOOMS.  DORNEY WILL STILL HAVE ITS MEMORIAL DAY, INDEPENDENCE DAY AND LABOR DAY FIREWORKS SHOWS THAT LAST MORE THAN 20 MINUTES.  THEY HAD HOPED TO HAVE NIGHTLY FIREWORKS FROM JUNE 29 THROUGH AUGUST 25.

  LEHIGH VALLEY HEALTH NETWORK WILL BEGIN BUILDING A NEW HEALTH CENTER AT THE FORMER MAJESTIC ATHLETIC FACTORY OUTLET IN THE BANGOR PLAZA.  THE HEALTH NETWORK SAYS CONSTRUCTION AT THE BANGOR PLAZA WILL BEGIN THIS SUMMER AND THE HEALTH CENTER AT BANGOR SHOULD BE OPENING SOMETIME NEXT YEAR.  THERE'S A TOWN HALL MEETING ON THE PROJECT SET FOR JUNE 18 AT THE WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP FIRE HALL.

  AN ATTORNEY REPRESENTING THE CONTRACTOR HIRED TO DEMOLISH A PHILADELPHIA BUILDING THAT COLLAPSED ONTO A THRIFT STORE, KILLING SIX PEOPLE, SAYS HIS CLIENT DID NOT INSTRUCT AN EXCAVATOR OPERATOR TO USE THE MACHINE FOR DEMOLITION THAT DAY.  ATTORNEY KENNETH EDELIN SAID IN A STATEMENT THAT CONTRACTOR GRIFFIN CAMPBELL HIRED EXCAVATOR OPERATOR SEAN BENSCHOP BECAUSE OF HIS EXPERIENCE BUT BENSCHOP WAS TO USE THE MACHINE TO REMOVE DEBRIS ON JUNE 3, THE DAY THE BUILDING COLLAPSED.   BENSCHOP FACES NUMEROUS CHARGES, INCLUDING MANSLAUGHTER.  AT LEAST SIX SURVIVORS HAVE FILED LAWSUITS AGAINST CAMPBELL AND THE BUILDING'S OWNER, AND A GRAND JURY WAS BEING CONVENED TO INVESTIGATE THE COLLAPSE.  A HANDFUL OF INVESTIGATORS EMERGED FROM CAMPBELL'S HOME MONDAY EVENING, CARRYING A BOX.

  REPUBLICANS WHO CONTROL PENNSYLVANIA'S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES LINED UP BEHIND THE GOP'S $28.3 BILLION STATE BUDGET PLAN, BLOCKING DEMOCRATIC EFFORTS TO ADD SPENDING FOR EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE.  HOUSE SPEAKER SAM SMITH RULED A SERIES OF DEMOCRATIC AMENDMENTS OUT OF ORDER MONDAY ON GROUNDS THEY DID NOT INCLUDE CUTS TO OFFSET THE PROPOSED NEW SPENDING.  DEMOCRATS USED PARLIAMENTARY TACTICS TO MAKE THEIR ARGUMENTS, BUT EFFORTS TO SALVAGE THE AMENDMENTS WERE REJECTED ROUGHLY ALONG PARTY LINES.  THE GOP WOULD BOOST PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING BY $100 MILLION AND CUT BUSINESS TAXES BY MORE THAN $300 MILLION IN THE YEAR STARTING JULY 1.  DEMOCRATS ADVOCATE MORE THAN TRIPLING THE INCREASE IN SCHOOL FUNDING AND GUARANTEEING PENNSYLVANIA'S PARTICIPATION IN THE FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICAID EXPANSION.  A FINAL HOUSE VOTE COULD COME AS EARLY AS TODAY.

  THE EARLIEST THE PUCK COULD DROP ON A POTENTIAL OUTDOOR HOCKEY GAME AT PENN STATE'S BEAVER STADIUM WOULD BE AFTER THE 2014 FOOTBALL SEASON.  ATHLETIC DIRECTOR DAVE JOYNER SAID MONDAY THAT HE'S INFORMALLY DISCUSSED THE POSSIBILITY OF HOSTING A GAME AT THE HOME OF NITTANY LIONS WITH A TOP OFFICIAL FROM THE NHL'S PHILADELPHIA FLYERS.  HE DESCRIBED THE TALK AS EXPLORATORY AND HIGH LEVEL.  JOYNER SAID IN A PHONE INTERVIEW THE VERY EARLIEST ANY GAME WOULD HAPPEN WOULD BE 2014.  HE SAID THE SCHOOL IS INTERESTED AND IS LOOKING INTO LOGISTICAL ISSUES LIKE CONTINGENCY PLANS IF GRASS PARKING LOTS AROUND BEAVER STADIUM ARE LEFT UNUSABLE BY A LAST-MINUTE SNOWSTORM.  THE STADIUM HAS A CAPACITY OF MORE THAN 106,000, THE SECOND LARGEST IN THE COUNTRY BEHIND MICHIGAN STADIUM.
 

  THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS RECOGNIZING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF A LANDMARK U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION OUTLAWING REQUIRED BIBLE READING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  THE RESOLUTION, APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY MONDAY, DESIGNATES JUNE 2013 AS "PUBLIC SCHOOL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM MONTH" TO COMMEMORATE THE COURT'S JUNE 17, 1963 DECISION IN A CASE THAT BEGAN IN PENNSYLVANIA.   ABINGTON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT ELLERY SCHEMPP SUED IN 1956 AFTER HE WAS REPRIMANDED FOR READING A QURAN IN CLASS TO PROTEST A PENNSYLVANIA LAW REQUIRING STUDENTS TO READ 10 BIBLE VERSES EACH DAY, FOLLOWED BY A RECITATION OF THE LORD'S PRAYER.  THE HOUSE LAST YEAR PASSED A RESOLUTION DECLARING 2012 TO BE THE YEAR OF THE BIBLE.  A FEDERAL JUDGE THREW OUT A LAWSUIT CHALLENGING IT, BUT CRITICIZED ITS LANGUAGE AS "PROSELYTIZING AND EXCLUSIONARY."

  JEFFREY CHIESA OF NEW JERSEY IS THE SENATE'S NEWEST MEMBER, BUT HE'LL ONLY BE AROUND FOR FOUR MONTHS.  THE 47-YEAR-OLD REPUBLICAN TOOK HIS SEAT MONDAY AFTER A SWEARING-IN CEREMONY LED BY VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN.  GOP GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE APPOINTED HIS STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO THE SEAT LAST WEEK AFTER LONGTIME DEMOCRATIC SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG'S DEATH.  CHIESA IS A LONGTIME CHRISTIE COLLEAGUE WHO WILL BE INTERIM SENATOR UNTIL AFTER AN OCTOBER 16 SPECIAL ELECTION. HE WON'T RUN IN THE SPECIAL ELECTION TO COMPLETE THE TERM, WHICH EXPIRES IN JANUARY 2015.  CHIESA IS THE FIRST REPUBLICAN SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY SINCE ANOTHER FILL-IN BACK IN 1982.  WITH CHIESA'S ARRIVAL, THE SENATE HAS 52 DEMOCRATS, 46 REPUBLICANS AND TWO INDEPENDENTS WHO OFTEN VOTE WITH THE DEMOCRATS.
 

  FOUR DEMOCRATS AND TWO REPUBLICANS ARE IN THE SPECIAL ELECTION TO FILL THE U.S. SENATE SEAT THAT OPENED WHEN FRANK LAUTENBERG DIED LAST WEEK.  THE SIX CANDIDATES ALL FILED AHEAD OF MONDAY AFTERNOON'S DEADLINE TO ENTER THE UNUSUAL OCTOBER ELECTION. PARTY PRIMARIES ARE SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 13.  THE REPUBLICANS ARE SOMERSET PHYSICIAN ALIETA ECK AND FORMER BOGOTA MAYOR STEVE LONEGAN.  NEWARK MAYOR CORY BOOKER, STATE ASSEMBLY SPEAKER SHEILA OLIVER AND REPS. FRANK PALLONE AND RUSH HOLT ALL FILED PAPERS TO ENTER THE DEMOCRATIC RACE.
 

  ATLANTIC CITY'S CASINOS STILL AREN'T PLAYING "BACK IN BLACK" OVER THEIR LOUDSPEAKERS, BUT THE DECLINE IN THEIR REVENUE SLOWED SIGNIFICANTLY IN MAY.  THE CITY'S CASINOS WON MORE THAN $253.1 MILLION LAST MONTH, A DECLINE OF 3.8 PERCENT COMPARED WITH A YEAR AGO.  ALTHOUGH STILL A DECLINE, THE FIGURE IS FAR LESS THAN THE DOUBLE-DIGIT DECLINES THE CASINOS REGISTERED IN THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF THIS YEAR.  SLOT MACHINES TOOK IN NEARLY $180 MILLION IN MAY, DOWN 3.7 PERCENT FROM A YEAR AGO.  TABLE GAMES REVENUE WAS JUST OVER $73 MILLION, DOWN NEARLY 4 PERCENT FROM A YEAR AGO.  EIGHT OF THE 12 CASINOS REPORTED REVENUE DECLINES FOR THE MONTH.  THE ATLANTIC CLUB, THE BORGATA, CAESARS AND RESORTS REPORTED INCREASES.

  PHILLIES CATCHER ERIK KRATZ WILL HAVE SURGERY ON HIS LEFT KNEE TO REPAIR A TORN MEDIAL MENISCUS.  AN MRI ON MONDAY REVEALED THE EXTENT OF THE INJURY TO KRATZ, WHO WAS PLACED ON THE DISABLED LIST AFTER GETTING INJURED IN SATURDAY NIGHT'S LOSS AT MILWAUKEE.  KRATZ WAS BATTING .229 WITH EIGHT HOME RUNS AND 22 RBIS IN 43 GAMES.  THE LENGTH OF RECOVERY FOR KRATZ WON'T BE KNOWN UNTIL HE HAS SURGERY.

 

 

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