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Mascot brings extra fun to Coaldale’s first National Night Out

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    MeLVin, the official mascot of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms ice hockey team, is handcuffed by Coaldale Police officer Jim Bonner after “misbehaving” at the National Night Out event held Tuesday at the Coaldale Fire Station. The whole scenario was in fun as meLVin pulled all sorts of antics during his visit. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app to see a photo gallery. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

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    Todd Weiss of the Coaldale Police Department adjusts bicycle helmets on Sheyann Reed, 9, and her sister, Kassandra, 12, of Lansford, during Coaldale’s National Night Out event on Tuesday. The police department gave children the helmets for free.

Published August 08. 2018 12:22PM

Even at a function that boosts crime prevention there sometimes comes mischievousness.

Coaldale Borough hosted National Night Out on Tuesday and everything was going fine until meLVin arrived.

MeLVin is the mascot of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms ice hockey team. Said to be a puck-nosed pladottle, he is fun-loving and full of energy, and came to help promote the National Night Out program.

The large, yellow mascot made an energetic entry to the Coaldale Fire Company where the event was held and immediately began dancing with anyone in his path, including Coaldale Police officer Jim Bonner. Bonner apparently thought he had a great dance partner until meLVin pushed him out the door.

Bonner returned with a pair of handcuffs and appeared to take him into custody.

It was all in fun, though, and Bonner released the cuffs. Of course, this emboldened the large critter even more. He put his hand into the police cruiser and blew the siren, he grabbed a bicycle and did laps around the building, he got into the bucket of the aerial truck and was lifted high into the air, and he took a ride on a golf cart while the driver was traveling on a drunken-driver obstacle course.

Coaldale Fire Chief Steven Polischak said this was the first National Night Out for Coaldale and he felt it was a success.

“A big help was having meLVin,” he said.

The appearance of meLVin was sponsored by the Coaldale C.H.O.S.E. recreation organization.

The National Night Out was a joint effort between Coaldale police and the Coaldale Community Crime Watch.

It was scheduled to be held outdoors at the Coaldale Police Station but moved to the Coaldale Fire Department when afternoon showers occurred.

Polischak estimated attendance at about 100.

“For the first time doing it, absolutely it’s a good turnout,” Polischak said. “I’m impressed.”

The fire department gave youngsters plastic fire helmets and various fire safety brochures.

Nearly a dozen police officers were present. They handed out bicycle helmets, pens, gunlocks, pencils and children ID kits.

Weiss said he was happy with the number of people who attended and was especially pleased with the interaction of children with the police officers.

A DUI simulator was a big hit. It consisted of wearing a pair of goggles that presented the feeling of drunkenness from a 0.06 level to 0.25. Wearing the glasses, participants drove a golf cart around a series of rods placed in the grass.

Officer Ryan Oldt of the Coaldale Police Department accompanied the drivers of the golf carts. He said the simulator was borrowed from the Rush Township Police Department.

Among those who drove the course was District Judge Steve Bayer of Tamaqua, who drove with a simulated 0.25 level of alcohol. His driving was somewhat erratic as he struggled to stay on course but only struck one pole.

He said, “This is a nice event they’re doing here.”

Employees of St. Luke’s Miners Campus did blood pressure screening.

Hot dogs, halupki and refreshments were provided.

Entertainment was provided by disc jockey Chad Gerber.

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