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Local News

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO Angela McClain of Palmerton leaves the office of District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton in March 2014.

Two defendants who participated in a forged prescription ring entered guilty pleas in Carbon County court Tuesday and face state prison terms.

A third defendant had her plea agreement rejected by the court.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The first automobile accident to occur on the Mansion House Hill, since its recent completion, came at 1:30 a.m. today. A sedan, operated by a Lehighton man, went out of control while overtaking another vehicle.

The crash happened 200 feet from the bottom of the hill. The driver and a male passenger were both treated for lacerations at the office of Dr. Joseph B. Sofranko.

It is believed that ice on the roadway contributed to the crash.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Palmerton Area School Board is currently at work on the 2015-2016 budget, business manager Matthew Sawarynski announced Tuesday.

Sawarynski noted that he and Superintendent Scot Engler will work with department heads to review their respective budgets.

The budget is expected to be discussed at the school board's next workshop, to be held Jan. 6.

Successful fall production

As part of his report, Engler singled out the high school Drama Club for its successful fall production of "It's a Wonderful Life."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lower Towamensing Township continues to function like a well-oiled machine.

So much so, that for a 10th straight year, the township's board of supervisors on Tuesday unanimously adopted the 2015 budget with no tax increase.

That will leave the millage rate at 1.6 mills, exactly where it's been for the past 10 years.

It's a thought that hasn't been lost on resident Robert Kester, who lauded supervisors for their diligence.

"I want to thank you guys for passing the 2015 budget without (a tax increase)," Kester said. "You (guys) did a good job; thank you very much."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Carbon County man was sentenced to a state prison term on Tuesday after pleading guilty in the county court to a drug charge.

He was one of seven defendants in pending drug-related cases to enter a guilty plea before President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II.

Sold to CI

Michael Charles Balogach Jr., 34, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of delivery of a controlled substance-heroin, and was sentenced to serve 18 to 36 months in a state correctional institution. The prison term will be followed by two years of probation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS  The Rev. Virginia Heimer was recently installed as pastor of the St. John's United Church of Christ in Palmerton.

A new voice now spreads the word of God at the St. John's United Church of Christ in Palmerton.

The Rev. Virginia Heimer, better known to her congregation as Pastor Ginny, was installed on Nov. 23 by the Rev. Alan Miller, conference minister of Penn Northeast Conference.

Heimer is a second-career pastor who previously worked in health care at Lehigh Valley Hospital Physician Group as a practice support specialist.

She graduated from Lancaster Theological Seminary with a master of divinity degree in May of 2013.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A former "Swamp Brothers" television star and his business partner in the Glades Herp Farm in Sumter County, Florida, have been found guilty of conspiracy to traffic in state and federally protected reptiles.

Robroy MacInnes, 55, of Inverness, was convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania of trafficking in protected timber rattlesnakes in violation of the Lacey Act.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Joriki Bake of Blue Mountain Zendo meditates in his house on Deere Lane In West Penn Township.

What was shaping up as a classic battle freedom of religion versus government was averted.

Neighbors of the Blue Mountain Zendo, a residence on Deere Lane where Zen Buddhists gathered to pray and meditate, complained to West Penn Township officials that the use of the property violated the terms of their deeds, which describe Deere Lane as a private road.

In September, the West Penn Township zoning officer served the owners of the property with a cease and desist notice for operating a house of worship.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS This property is now vacant after a twin home at 290-292 Little Gap Road was demolished at the behest of the Aquashicola Fire Department. The home was demolished for parking lot expansions and safer access to the fire company.

Several Lower Towamensing Township residents have asked for clarification after a twin home located next to the Aquashicola Fire Company was razed.

Resident Douglas Eckhart asked the board of supervisors on Tuesday what happened to the home, and what plans were for the property now that it's vacant.

Supervisors said the twin home at 290-292 Little Gap Road was torn down at the behest of the fire company by Todd Green Construction.

A demolition permit was issued by the township's code enforcement officer back in September, supervisors said.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

According to the agreement between the township and the Blue Mountain Zendo:

The supervisors have withdrawn the notice of violation, and the use of the property must follow the terms and conditions in the agreement.

The Blue Mountain Zendo will make changes to the website and any marketing materials to reflect that attendance there will be by invitation only, and not open to the general public.

No more than 20 people may be in attendance at any session or event.