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Features

Friday, September 2, 2011
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Rabbi Melody Davis put on a prayer shawl.

As members of the Palmerton Area Historical Society were welcomed to the basement of the Temple Israel Synagogue in Lehighton, Secretary Betsy Burnhauser said the group wanted to visit for a long time and this year it worked out.

Board director Marvin Schwartz said his family members were founders. He thinks there may have been an earlier synagogue in Lansford but was not sure. Today, the one in Lehighton is the only one in the county.

Friday, August 26, 2011
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Chris Satow's daughter knew the person who designed the POW-MIA flag. The museum received a signed copy because of that.

One of the people depicted in a mural across the back of a display about industrial sewing is still alive, said Ken Marsh, a Lehigh Township Historical Society member. Unfortunately her face is hidden by a thermostat. The mural was made on four panels of silk copied from a photograph of women working in a sewing mill in 1951.

Malcolm Gieske made the mural copying a picture donated by the Seilers. The museum has the names of some of them. It forms the background for a textiles exhibit.

Friday, August 19, 2011
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  "He was murdered. There is no way it was an accident," says William Morgans, Easton, grandson of fallen Lansford Police Officer Morgan Morgans.

It appears Lansford Police Officer Morgan Morgans might have been wearing the proverbial bull's-eye target when he walked his night beat. If that was the case, his death was no accident. The officer might have been set up and murdered.

Morgans died about 4 a.m. on October 9, 1912, two hours after suffering a single gunshot wound to the forehead. He had gone to investigate a reported break-in at the Ridge House, a downtown tavern and residence.

Saturday, August 13, 2011
PHOTO BY BRANDON TAYLOR Even fast food chains in China, like this Beijing Subway sandwich shop, have been targeted for improper food safety practices.

Four. That's the number of times I've had food poisoning since moving to China. I'm not talking about a little bellyache here and there, but stomach infections that induce Exorcist-like projectile vomiting. The kind of sick where Pepto Bismal and Immodium are the equivalent to sticking your finger in hole in a dam about to break brief relief followed by a deluge. On one of those occasions, I was thoroughly convinced that a small "Alien" creature would be bursting from my stomach any second.

Friday, August 12, 2011
PHOTO COURTESY WILLIAM MORGANS  The only available photo of Lansford Policeman Morgan Morgans depicts him as part of this early Lansford football team. Morgans is seen standing in the back row wearing a light-colored uniform, fourth from the left.

After 99 years, it's time for the truth to come out.

"He was murdered. There is no way it was an accident. I have no doubt in my mind," says William Morgans of Easton.

Morgans, who will turn 85 in January, wants the truth to emerge about what happened to his grandfather, Officer Morgan Morgans, the only Lansford cop to die in the line of duty.

William Morgans isn't alone in his wishes. Local law enforcement would like to know the details surrounding the death of a brother in blue so that family members might have answers and so the case can be properly recorded.

Saturday, August 6, 2011
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Upon entering the room, Mark Davalos is quiet-a most mannerly Clark Kent or perhaps a Dr. Jekyll, who can turn around, and in an instant become a Mr. Hyde-in the guise of his ring persona, Bad Billy Walker.

Is pro-wrestling a sport or a performance? According to Mark Davalos of Lansford, pro-wrestling is both. Each match is a mythic performance of good versus evil set against a demanding feat of athletic punishment.

Davalos should know. He and his wife, Renee, have been pro-wrestlers since the 1990s as headliners in the Johnny Rodz World of Unpredictable Wrestling. Mark Davalos teaches up-and-coming wannabes the skills to become pro-wrestlers.

Friday, August 5, 2011
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  Kathy Coonon Umberger of Lebanon stands at a parking lot near her home Sunday evening and displays a copy of the missing person poster issued by Tamaqua town council in 1937. Her brother, Jerome Coonon, mysteriously disappeared and was never seen again despite search attempts by state and local police and the FBI.

For the Coonon family, the answers never came.

Every tunnel was searched, every mine hole was scoured.

Every house, sewer, and swimming hole was scrutinized.

But local police, firemen and search teams couldn't find the missing Tamaqua boy.

State police were summoned. They couldn't find him, either. The FBI came to town. They, too, didn't find a clue.

Everyone came up empty - and there's probably a good reason why.

Friday, July 29, 2011
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Taking part in the 250th anniversary service were The Rev. David Pflieger, Lutheran 1966-72; The Rev. James Levan, who was raised and ordained at Jacob's, now at First Baptist of Slatington; Pastor Ruth Schaefer, daughter of the Rev. Clarence Rahn and wife of the Rev. Richard Schaefer; The Rev. Scott Shay, current pastor; The Rev. Ann Paynter, Lutheran 1985-86; and the Rev. Richard Solliday, UCC pastor, 1984-87.

"We thank you Lord God for brave and believing people who planted your message in this place."

Call to Worship, Homecoming, May 22, 2011

The Church of the open doors,

The Church of the open Bible,

The Church of the open hand,

The Church of the open heart,

The Church open to the Spirit of the Living Christ.

The Rev. Richard Solliday, served 1984-1987

Friday, July 22, 2011
TN PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/DONALD R. SERFASS  Jerome Coonan mysteriously disappeared from his grandparents' backyard and was never seen again, a case that brought the FBI to Tamaqua. He had light colored hair and was wearing a wine-colored snow suit and white shoes.

Little Jerome Coonan always smiled - a happy-go-lucky toddler adored by everyone.

Then, on April 29, 1937, the little tyke wandered away from his grandparents' backyard and was never seen again.

His mysterious disappearance brought the FBI to the little town of Tamaqua and prompted the largest search ever conducted in the history of the community. The event caught the attention of the entire Eastern seaboard and put Tamaqua in the national spotlight for many weeks. The Jerome Coonan story captivated the imagination.

It remains a story without an ending.

Friday, July 15, 2011
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  The Rev. Kevin Roberts, Tamaqua, endured a life-changing tragedy and now leads a grief recovery support group to help others find their way through their darkest days.

When you lose a loved one, the pain you feel inside is endless. It's an empty feeling that runs as deep as the soul.

It seems as if your world has been turned upside down. And in some ways, that's true. The spirit breaks and darkness set in. There is no replacing a spouse, soulmate, or a son, daughter, mother, father, or special friend.

The pain of loss can be unique to each person. It can reflect the closeness of your bond with the deceased, someone you knew well, perhaps someone who was the center of your life and the promise of the future.