PennDOT Plan To Stop Rock Slides In Carbon County

MAHONING TOWNSHIP — PennDOT’s presentation to stop rock slides on Route 209 drew a crowd in part of Carbon County.

The $3 million plan calls for removing loose rocks from Flagstaff Mountain between Jim Thorpe and Lehighton, improving a retaining wall and shoulder and putting in protective netting.

The goal is to start work later this year, likely in the summer and continue through late spring of 2019.

There have been several dangerous rock slides in that area, a big one in October that took weeks to clear and one a few weeks ago that left a driver with a smashed windshield.

“When you bring 10 tons of rock from 80 feet in the air down, you can’t always control exactly where it will fall and how it’s a safety issue for workers, motorists, everybody, we don’t want anybody nearby when we’re doing that work,” said Michael McGuire, a project consultant for PennDOT.

Because of those safety concerns, for part of the project, all lanes of this section of Route 209 will be closed to traffic.

A 16-mile detour will be in effect.

Route 209 will be open on weekends and holidays.

“Our concern is to see about road closures and to see which way we can use our vehicles to travel with those closures and to see about the issue getting fixed,” said Steve Vlossak of Pocono Whitewater Rafting.

A council member from Jim Thorpe says she is worried about how this project will affect local businesses.

“We have a lot of merchants there, it’s going to hinder the traffic in there, I feel bad for the merchants, that’s one of my big concerns,” said Joanne Klitsch.

Some at this meeting say they do not think that stretch of 209 will ever really be safe, no matter what.

“It’s a huge danger, it’s a huge danger and it has to be eliminated and in my opinion, don’t put any more money on that road, I’m in favor of a bypass because the more money you put in it, you’re not gonna solve the problem of slides,” said Jerry Strubinger of Jim Thorpe.

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McAdoo Police Say Theft From Church Occurred During Mass

MCADOO -McAdoo Police are accusing three people of committing a very bold crime.

Investigators say Anthony Powell, Brandy Lorah and David Benitez walked into Saint Mary`s Ukrainian Catholic

Church on West Blaine Street during a 7 o`clock mass last night.

A witness told police they sat separately in the back, then Powell walked over to the donations table, took donations and offerings.

Then all three left.

Lubow Dowger is a parishioner and was at that service.

“I didn`t see anything because we were up front and all the way in the front and when the service was over, we were coming back, the cops were in the back and that`s all we saw,” said Dowger.

Police were called and officers found Powell walking in an alley about 7 blocks from the church.

When asked if he had taken something from the church, court papers show he produced a candle..

Police did not arrest Powell then but officers showed the witness his picture and she identified him as the person who took the donations, said to be more than $200.

“I think there was a lady that was seated in the back who might have called the cop,” said Dowger.

Carol Wolff lives across the street from the church.

“It`s disgusting that people have to rob places to get drugs, to do whatever,” said Wolff. “Get a job. that`s a church, that`s God`s house.”

Police eventually found the trio at a condemned house on East Adams Street in McAdoo with the stolen items.

All three were taken into custody.

“These folks are from Schuylkill County, two of them are from McAdoo,” said McAdoo Police Officer Frank Lahovski. “To the police department they are known individuals, all of them.”

Anthony Powell and Brandy Lorah are being held on $20,000 at the Schuylkill County Prison.

Police say David Benitez is being held at the prison on an outstanding warrant on him.

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Thrift Store Turns 13

COAL TOWNSHIP — Racks are filled with clothes and people looked through every last display, searching for bargains at Shamokin’s Salvation Army thrift store.

Jan Koch has been coming to the store since it opened 13 years ago this week. In honor of the store’s 13th anniversary, everything was $1.13.

“Prices are great, clothing is in good condition and I like to support our area,” Koch said.

“It’s a good deal. You can’t get it anywhere. You go to Walmart you’re paying $20, 30 for a shirt,” Pete Rebuck said.

” I like coming here. It helps out a lot when you have five kids,” William Zimmerman said.

“In an hour and a half, we’ve had more customers this morning than an entire day since we’ve been at this location,” said store supervisor Judy Orner.

Last month, the thrift store’s lease ran out in downtown Shamokin and it moved to a temporary location on West Spruce Street in nearby Coal Township.

“That’s our main goal, to stay in the community, which is why we have a temporary location. So that we can still serve our community,” Orner said.

Orner says they’ve lost foot traffic. This store is not easy to walk to. Some people tell Newswatch 16 they don’t mind the new location. They’re just happy the store is still here.

Orner is optimistic that in a few months the thrift store will be back in downtown Shamokin.

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Watch two moviegoers try the ‘tall man’ trick to sneak into ‘Black Panther’

CARSON, Ca. — Two “Black Panther” fans got creative over the weekend in their quest to see the movie for half the price.

Twitter user Pillsbury posted video of the whole debacle.

He and a friend in a “tall man disguise” got in line for tickets hoping to get a two-for-one deal.

Others in line were pretty entertained — but the cashier? Not so much.

Watch below:

We tried getting the two for one special at black panther. The manager was not having it.

— Pillsbury (@stevelikescups) February 16, 2018

Here’s the full video hahaha #BlackPanther

— Pillsbury (@stevelikescups) February 17, 2018

“Black Panther” brought in an estimated $201.8 million for its three-day debut in North America this weekend. That’s the fifth biggest opening of all time.

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Test Your Fitness: Registration Opens for ‘Clash for Cash’ 2018

It’s a chance to flex your muscles and put your workouts to the test!

This all surrounds “Clash For Cash,” one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s largest charity fitness competitions.

It takes place June, 23, 2018 inside the convention center at Mohegan Sun Pocono near Wilkes-Barre.

Money raised benefits this fall’s WNEP’s Ryan’s Run 9 which helps kids and adults with disabilities served by Allied Services.

The charity campaign is led by Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey.

Beginners to advanced athletes are welcome at Clash For Cash.

The two-person teams consist of either two men or two women.

WNEP-TV is proud to be a media sponsor of this competition.

Head here to signup and to learn more about the workouts involved in the charity fitness competition.

The fourth annual event brings exercise enthusiasts together from around the region who compete for prizes by performing various workouts. Check out highlights from last year at this link.

Don’t want to compete, but want to be apart of the fun? You can still support this charity competition by donating at the actual event on June 23, volunteering your time, or becoming a vendor if you own/run/or work for a company dedicated to improving health and wellness. Contact Charlotte at or Erin at to learn more on how you can get involved.

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Automotive Business Damaged by Fire

MONTOUR TOWNSHIP — Fire damaged a business in Columbia County.

Crews were called to R & S Automotive in Montour Township outside of Bloomsburg around 11 a.m. Saturday.

There was smoke damage to the business and some equipment inside was damaged.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control in a few minutes.

A fire marshal will look into the cause, but officials tell Newswatch 16 it does not appear suspicious.

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In Your Neighborhood

Luau Fundraiser

Warm the season with a Luau Fundraiser to benefit the NEPA Youth Shelter. You must be 21 years to attend the Hawaiian food and fun with beer & wine, entertainment, raffle baskets & a 50/50 chance. The Luau is at the NEPA Youth Shelter, Wyoming Ave. in Scranton on Saturday, Feb. 24 starting at 5 p.m. To attend it’s $30 per person with tickets available on Facebook at nepayouthshelter.

Lehighton Area Pool Pals Cabin Fever Dance

Lehighton Area Pool Pals sponsor a “Cabin Fever Dance”. Enjoy food, dance and an evening of fun at the Orioles Pavilion on Orioles Drive in Lehighton on Saturday, Feb. 24 starting at 5:30 p.m. It’s DJ dance music with Doc Layne Roberts. There’s a dance contest and finger food included in the ticket price. Tickets are $15 per person. There are discounts for advanced sale tickets for couples with 2 tickets for $25. For additional information contact Mark or Diane at 610-377-5275. All profits support the Baer Memorial Pool.

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Woman Injured by Tires from Truck

BERLIN TOWNSHIP — A woman was flown to the hospital after being hit by tires that came off a truck.

A witness said the woman was outside her home on Perkins Pond Road in Berlin Township, near Beach Creek, around 9:30 a.m. Thursday when two tires came off a truck going down the road.

Troopers said the truck did not stop.

There is no word on the woman’s condition.

State police are investigating.

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USA Today: Adam Rippon Turns Down Meeting with Vice President Pence

US Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon turned down a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence after criticizing him for his stance on gay rights, USA Today reported Wednesday.

After reading a January 17 interview in which Rippon criticized Pence, the vice president’s staff asked the US Olympic Committee to set up a conversation that same day between the athlete and the politician, which Rippon ultimately declined, USA Today’s Christine Brennan reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the situation. Brennan is also a CNN sports analyst.

The vice president’s office did not respond to a CNN request for comment earlier Wednesday. After CNN’s story published, Jarrod Agen, the vice president’s communications director, disputed USA Today’s reporting.

“The USA Today report is false and should be corrected. The vice president’s office did not reach out to set up a conversation with Mr. Rippon. As we’ve said before, the vice president is supporting all the US athletes in the Olympics and is hoping they all win medals,” Agen said.

Rippon’s publicist Lynn Plage offered no further comment on the matter.

Last month, Rippon, who is one of two openly gay American Olympians at the Games, blasted the White House for tapping Pence to lead the official US delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympic opening ceremony.

“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said in a January 17 interview with USA Today.

Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for Pence, provided the newspaper with a rebuttal to Rippon’s remarks.

“This accusation is totally false and has no basis in fact,” Farah said in a statement. “Despite these misinformed claims, the vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the US athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang.”

As governor of Indiana, Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015, which allowed business to turn away gay and lesbian customers in the name of religious freedom.

In that same January 17 interview, Rippon said he “wouldn’t go out of my way” to meet with Pence during the meet-and-greet between the US Olympic athletes and the US delegation before the opening ceremony.

“If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick,” Rippon told the newspaper.

The US men’s figure skating champion, however, said, “If I had the chance to meet him afterwards, after I’m finished competing, there might be a possibility to have an open conversation.”

“He seems more mild-mannered than Donald Trump … But I don’t think the current administration represents the values that I was taught growing up. Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in,” Rippon added.

During a conference call with reporters last Monday, Rippon insisted that he was not “trying to pick a fight” with the vice president, but instead remain focused on training, according to USA Today.

Rippon, 28, and U.S. skier Gus Kenworthy, 26, are the first two openly gay Winter Olympic athletes representing Team USA. Kenworthy also took issue with the vice president leading the U.S. delegation, calling it a “strange choice in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres Monday.

Both Rippon and Kenworthy said they would skip visiting the White House when President Donald Trump invites Team USA after the Olympics.

This story has been updated to reflect comment from Pence’s office.

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Working in the Elements in the Poconos

STROUDSBURG — It’s not easy maneuvering the slushy streets of downtown Stroudsburg in any vehicle, let alone a small mail truck. But U.S. Postal worker Armond Beniamino says someone has to do it.

“It’s a little slippery. You gotta go slow. Take it easy. It’s very slippery. It’s worse than just driving on snow,” said Beniamino.

Armond is just one of many others who have to work outside on this snowy February day. And if you ask this mailman how he feels about the weather, he will give you the honest truth.

“I feel bad for anyone who has to be working out here. This weather is not fit for man nor beast. It’s really not,” said Beniamino.

Besides the cold and the slush, some workers we spoke to, like delivery drivers, say working in these conditions is difficult, especially when it comes to dropping off mail and packages because a lot of businesses close.

Rich Young is a delivery driver for Pitt-Ohio. He made the trek to the Poconos from Hazleton. He says loading and unloading become twice as hard when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating.

“Bad, it’s bad trying to get stuff through the snow. You have to drag it through the snow and everything,” said Young.

Justin Luciano works at Hybrid Landscaping and Masonry in Stroudsburg and shovels snow on Main Street sidewalks.

But with one arm in a sling, he says the job can get a little tricky.

“Typically, it’s easy but one hand kind of sucks. Other than that, slipping, falling, but that makes it fun,” said Luciano.

Other workers say even though snow is to be expected during winter months here in northeastern Pennsylvania, warmer weather will be welcomed back at any time.

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Photo of Child Bound With Duct Tape Surfaces on Instagram, Leading Officers to Cleveland Mom

CLEVELAND – A picture posted by a mother on social media was so alarming that a tip about the disturbing image was sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, according to WEWS.

Investigators in Virginia then traced it back to Cleveland and that’s when the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children heard about it.

ICAC Commander Dave Frattare said the picture showed a young boy bound around the wrists, ankles and mouth with duct tape.

“We believe that someone at Instagram saw the picture or one of her 23,000 followers saw the image and reported it to Instagram directly,” said Frattare.

The tip came in Wednesday afternoon and by Wednesday evening police officers with the Cuyahoga County Metropolitan Housing Authority and ICAC taskforce members converged on the apartment of the mother and young son. The little boy was fine.

“Nothing online is a joke or meant to be funny when it involves children being abused, ” Frattare said.

The 21-year-old mother was arrested and appeared in Cleveland Municipal Court but the paperwork showed the case was dismissed at the request of the county prosecutor’s office.

That’s why WEWS is not disclosing her name. But, this case is not over. In fact, authorities said the investigation was just beginning.

“We want to follow through with this case. We want to make sure the child is safe. We want to make sure if there is punishment it is handed out accordingly,” Frattare said.

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Chemical found in McDonald’s fries may be cure for baldness, study finds

What if we told you french fry oil could cure baldness?

Researchers say a chemical used to keep fry oil from bubbling over can do just that.

Scientists at Japan’s Yokohama University have found dimethylpolysiloxane can grow hair on bald mice and they think it could do the same on bald humans.

According to the study, hair follicle germs using the silicon-based additive were transplanted onto the skin of the bald mice, and black fur sprouted within a few days.

“We demonstrated that the integrity of the oxygen supply through the bottom of the silicone chip was crucial to enabling both HFG formation and subsequent hair shaft generation,” Prof Junji Fukuda, of Yokohama National University told The Mirror. “This simple method is very robust and promising. We hope this technique will improve regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia.”

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In Your Neighborhood

Kiwanis Of Sullivan County Winterfest

The Kiwanis Club of Sullivan County sponsors Winterfest to benefit local children and families. Winterfest is held at Camp Brule’, Route 154, North of Forksville on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Winterfest features an ice fishing tournament, polar bear plunge, scavenger hunt, lice auction, food and vendors. Admission price is $5.

Pie for Breakfast

A “Pie for Breakfast” event offered in Clarks Green benefits the Abington Christian Academy. The menu features quiche, savory fruit, cream, and cobbler pies, and even pizza pie! The all-you-can-eat “Pie for Breakfast” is at the Clarks Green Assembly of God Church on South Abington Road, Saturday, Feb 17 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Price is $7 for adults, and children ages 3-6 years $3.

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