Archive for category bangor

Student will represent Bangor in national band ensemble

Posted by Real-Time News.

Bangor Area High School student Rose Tillson was selected to play in Nashville as part of a national band ensemble.

Rose Tillson is the first person from Bangor Area High School ever to be selected to participate in the National Association for Music Education’s All National Honors Concert Band, officials said.

Tillson, heading into her senior year, made it through several levels of competition as she scorched through the district, regional and state competitions sponsored by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.

Only juniors and sophomores who attain the state level in the spring can audition for the national level. About 16 students in Bangor Area’s history have reached the state level and none have reached the national level, according to Eric Hahn, high school band director.

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At first, Tillson was told she didn’t make the cut when she sent her video audition to the national organization. However, she took the rejection well, Tillson said.

“I wasn’t really that disappointed when I didn’t make it,” Tillson said. “It was an honor to be able to qualify. It did necessarily think I was going to make it because, you know, the country is a big place.”

Shortly afterward, Tillson received a phone call telling her a spot opened up and she was invited to play with the national ensemble at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, in October.

The good news still hasn’t sunk in yet and probably won’t until she is on the stage, Tillson said.

The students in the national ensemble will be informed as to which musical pieces they will be playing so they can practice on their own and then they will practice together in October for two days before playing at the Grand Ole Opry on the third day.

Tillson, who plays multiple instruments, will play the bass clarinet on three of the pieces and contra bass clarinet on one piece.

Tillson’s drive and love of music occur without any pressure from her parents, according to her father, Michael Tillson.

“If there is a band in the school and she’s allowed to play in it, she plays in it,” Michael Tillson said.

Hahn said he is thrilled that Tillson will represent Bangor Area High School and he is confident she will do well.

“We have a top notch music department and here’s the proof,” Hahn said.

Tillson said she loves playing with the band at her school but she is also excited to play with the nation’s best.

Lenape history at stake in Bangor tree-cutting plan, resident claims

Posted by Real-Time News.

An environmentalist asked the Bangor Borough Council to support her claims that trees were manipulated by the Lenape people but others dispute that claim.

A local environmental activist’s claims that trees scheduled to be cut down were manipulated by Native Americans became the topic of debate at Monday’s Bangor Borough Council meeting.

For more than a year, Anna Maria Caldara has been urging borough officials to support her assertion that several trees under the Messinger Street Viaduct have historical and cultural importance regarding the Lenape people.

Caldara has repeatedly asked borough council to join her in asking the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to stop its plans to cut down the trees when they replace the bridge that crosses Martins Creek and a Norfolk Southern Railroad line.

However, Thomas Frable, who claims to be of Lenape descent, spoke at the meeting and told the council he does not believe the trees are related to his ancestors.

“Since before the 1800s, the Lenni Lenape have not been present in the area,” Frable said. “There are no trees in that area that my tribe could say, ‘Stop your project.'”

Frable, who was interviewed about his great-grandmother being a Lenape in the book “Of Forest and River: The Lenape of the Slate Belt,” said stories and traditions of tree manipulations were passed on in his family through the generations but he hasn’t seen any trees near the viaduct that appear to fit that category.

Caldara claims trees under the viaduct have animal faces carved into them and some have been bent as directions markers. Caldara wrote a book on the topic that details the importance of these types of manipulations to the Lenape tribe.

“The point is that the manipulation of trees is a cultural life-way of all eastern woodland people,” Caldara said.

In 2014, a PennDOT archaeologist wrote to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission that the trees could have been bent by branches breaking and regrowing, poor soil, mineral deficiency or acid rain.

Bangor officials asked Caldara what she would have them do since the project is under PennDOT control.

Caldara presented the council with a packet that detailed other situations in which PennDOT altered plans in consideration for environmental or historical landmarks and asked that the borough at least attempt to sway PennDOT.

Council President James Kresge asked Caldara for scientific evidence that the viaduct site was indeed of Lenape origin. He noted that the viaduct was built in the 1920s and the trees there now may have grown after that time.

Caldara said all of the trees may not be from several hundred years ago when the Lenape populated the area. The trees may have been manipulated more recently by someone trying to preserve Lenape culture. Even if that were the case, saving them was still important, she said.

Kresge said for the council to attempt to intercede, Caldara would need to convince them, especially since the PennDOT expert disagrees with her.

Caldara asked council members to visit other sites where Lenape tree manipulations have been designated.

“Without showing me a bent tree, who do I believe?” Kresge said.

Councilwoman Karey Murphy asked Caldara why, in the multiple borough council meetings Caldara has attended, no Lenape tribe members have come to support Caldara’s claims.

Councilman Dave Houser suggested council pass a resolution to ask PennDOT to be sensitive and, in general, limit the environmental impact on the existing natural area during construction.

The resolution passed 5-1. Councilwoman Bonnie LaBar voted against it because she said it did not go far enough in supporting Caldara’s claims.

John Best is a freelance writer. Find on Facebook.

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Liberty Fire Co. carnival 2015 opens in Bangor (PHOTOS)

Posted by Real-Time News.

It continues, starting at 6 p.m. each night, Friday and Saturday at 67 N. Eighth St. in Bangor.

The Liberty Fire Co. No. 2’s annual carnival got underway Thursday night.

It continues, starting at 6 p.m. each night, Friday and Saturday at 67 N. Eighth St. in Bangor.

Scroll through the above photos for a look at opening night.

Slate Belt officials consider multi-municipality planning

Posted by Real-Time News.

Pennsylvania law requires every municipality to have a comprehensive plan addressing short- and long-term objectives for future development.

Some officials in the Slate Belt are considering a unified vision for the future of the region, but not everyone is willing to get on board.

Representatives from the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and the Northampton County Department of Community and Economic Development presented an idea last month to the Slate Belt Council of Governments that would coordinate goals for a region linked through its historical ties to slate, quarries, farming and other industries.

Some members of the council of governments, or COG, said they thought the ideas presented were worthwhile. Others members were not persuaded by the presentation at their June 24 meeting.

Wind Gap, Pen Argyl, Bangor, East Bangor, Roseto and Portland boroughs, along with Upper Mount Bethel, Lower Mount Bethel and Plainfield townships, are the nine members of the COG.

Pennsylvania law requires every municipality to have a comprehensive plan in place that addresses short- and long-term objectives concerning its future development, including land use, traffic, utilities, land preservation and other planning issues.

Steve Hurni, Plainfield Township’s representative in the COG, said he thinks it would be a good idea if the entire region joined to create an overall comprehensive plan.

It’s worthwhile to have a common vision for a group of towns that, together, have a larger population than Easton, Hurni said. The future is sure to bring issues that affect the entire region, so shared planning makes sense, according to Hurni.

“By 2040, trucks are going to double in our area,” Hurni said. “We need to be ready for it.”

Comprehensive plans can cost thousands of dollars to accomplish and spreading the cost over several municipalities could save money, Hurni said.

However, Roseto’s COG representative, Kenneth Tillman, advised his borough’s council not to participate. The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission speculates that a 10-town comprehensive plan could cost $200,000 but that smaller towns like Roseto would only pay for a percentage of the cost.

Tillman said that Roseto, Bangor, East Bangor and Washington Township had previously put a plan together that forecasts to 2030.

“I personally see no reason why we would spend even $2,000 if we already have a plan,” Tillman said.

The Roseto council voted unanimously Monday not to participate in a COG comprehensive plan. Councilman Phillip Caiazzo was not present

Portland is unlikely to participate either, Tillman speculated. Portland completed its own comprehensive plan in 2014 with the aid of a $45,000 Northampton County grant.

Regional comprehensive plans provide a great benefit and very little downside, according to Upper Nazareth Township Supervisor Scott Sylvainus.

Ten municipalities in the Nazareth Area Council of Governments joined together for a multi-municipal comprehensive plan in 2006.

Looking at higher density areas, lower income residences and other factors from a regional perspective makes sense, Sylvainus said.

“I think it’s a very good idea,” Sylvainus said. “It definitely benefits everybody and it doesn’t harm anybody.”

The Slate Belt COG representatives will discuss the idea with their respective municipal leaders and report with feedback at the next council of governments meeting.

Bangor police cite 11 for trespassing at old quarry

Posted by Real-Time News.

Police said they cited 10 juveniles and an adult, all from nearby in New Jersey, for defiant trespass after they were caught in the so-called Seven Slopes of Slate quarry.

Bangor police Wednesday continued their crackdown on trespassing at the borough’s old slate quarries.

Police cited 10 juveniles and a 19-year-old, all from nearby in New Jersey, for defiant trespass after they were caught swimming in the so-called Seven Slopes of Slate quarry behind CVS, borough police Chief Scott Felchock said.

Borough police for a second straight year have taken a zero-tolerance approach to trespassing at this and another quarry within their jurisdiction, Felchock has said.

RELATED: Bangor police clamp down on quarry trespassers, add new tool for rescues

Already this year, 22-year-old Jeremias Guzman, of Ridgefield, New Jersey, was pronounced dead at swimming at a Northampton County quarry. That incident occurred June 14 at Eastern Industries along Route 611 in Loewr Mount Bethel Township.

The youngest of those cited Wednesday was 14, said Felchock, who did not release their hometowns or identify the adult. Authorities notified the juveniles’ parents, issued citations and released all 11.

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“The Bangor Police Department cautions anyone who has watched a video on the Internet portraying cliff diving in Bangor,” Felchock said in a statement. “It is dangerous and illegal and you will be charged accordingly.”

Bangor police clamp down on quarry trespassers, add new tool for rescues

Posted by Real-Time News.

Each of Bangor's five police vehicles will be outfitted with a ResQ Disc, a Frisbee-like device that can be thrown to people in the water.

Last summer, Bangor police cited 41 people for trespassing at an old slate quarry whose high walls and remote location attract thrill-seekers from all over.

More of the same seems in store this year.

“Yesterday we caught kids getting out of a car at the CVS in swim trunks and carrying towels,” police Chief Scott Felchock said last week.

ResQ Discs for Bangor Police DepartmentPurchase of the ResQ Discs — they cost about $80 each — was enabled by a donation from Broad Excavating, of Bangor, police Chief Scott Felchock said. (Courtesy photo) 

Because of the likelihood of water rescues, borough police are adding a new device to their toolkits.

The ResQ Disc is a Frisbee-like device attached to a nylon cord that rescuers can throw up to 150 feet to people in the water.

Each of the borough’s five patrol vehicles will be outfitted with a disc after the 10 officers undergo training this month, Felchock said.

“The idea is to get as close as you can when you throw it and pull them in,” Felchock said.

RELATED: Poll: What can be done to prevent deaths from swimming in quarries?

Rescuers were called to an Eastern Industries quarry in Lower Mount Bethel Township last Sunday. A 22-year-old Ridgefield, N.J., man died after jumping off a quarry ledge, officials said.

Felchock said there’s no indication anything like a ResQ Disc would have made a difference there.

But with social media and YouTube videos drawing more and more people to the Slate Belt’s many abandoned quarries, he said, adding such a tool helps in being prepared for the worst.

Bangor has two quarries, Felchock said. The one between Routes 191 and 512, behind the CVS where the old Flory Mill used to be, has become a draw for its clear water, 100-foot-high walls and escalating levels where slate was once mined.

It’s known as the Seven Slopes of Slate quarry and has become a trouble spot for police, Felchock said. A swimmer was seriously injured a few years ago when he slipped on slate and fell into a crevice.

The quarry is fenced, but trespassers have made several breaks in it. The quarry takes about 20 minutes to reach from the road, and once there, it can take up to 30 minutes to get from the top to the bottom, the chief said.

“Every year you find new entry points, so it’s almost impossible to keep up with unless you patrol the perimeter every day,” Felchock said. “A large majority of the people who we arrested there are from Philadelphia or New Jersey. I don’t believe any of them were from Bangor.”

Felchock said the police department’s purchase of the ResQ Discs — they’re made by a Las Vegas company called Save A Life and cost about $80 each — was enabled by a donation from Broad Excavating, of Bangor.

Owner Dave Broad said he was happy to help. The 15-year-old excavating company contributes about $1,000 a year to the department and previously helped buy a bulletproof vest for a police dog, Broad said.

“Not every business can do it, but if you’re doing well, you should give back and we want to do what we can to help,” said Broad, who lives in Bangor.

“Our police department does a good job and they’ve really improved,” he said. “We’re lucky to have them.”

Like last year, Felchock said, police are establishing a zero-tolerance policy at the quarry. Anyone caught in or around it will face criminal trespassing charges that carry fines of more than $300.

“If we have to go back there and you’re there, you’re getting arrested,” he said.

Jim Deegan may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jim_deegan. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.