A Lehigh County man with a history of animal abuse is heading to prison in connection to dozens of cruelty charges. Heidelberg Township's Derbe 'Skip' Eckhart was sentenced Wednesday to serve three-to-ten years behind bars after pleading guilty to 75 animal cruelty charges back in January. Prosecutor Jay Jenkins says Eckhart needs to be sent a message once and for all. "At some point after you've neglected animals so often over so many years, that neglect has to get to the point of maliciousness," Jenkins says. Eckhart has already served jail time in 2010 for animal cruelty charges. In addition to jail time, Eckhart was sentenced to 10 years of supervision, meaning he cannot work with or own any animals.
Fox News will be hosting a Bernie Sanders town hall event in Bethlehem on April 15th. Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Martha McCallum will host the town hall with the Democrat presidential candidate. The focus of the town hall will be the economy and jobs. The location of the town hall, which will be aired live beginning at 6:30pm, has not been announced. If you'd like to attend, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
A Northampton County woman paroled last year after serving time for a 2005 shooting might end up back in prison again over the same incident. Northampton's Brenda Smith spent more than ten years in prison for shooting Jennifer Strohl-Hendershot and was paroled last September. Strohl-Hendershot survived the shooting, but unexpectedly died last December and the coroner ruled her death a homicide connected to the gunshot wound. Investigators are now reviewing the autopsy and it's possible Smith could be prosecuted again, this time for Strohl-Hendershot's murder.
An Easton man is in custody after crashing into a pair of parked cars on purpose. Police say Niman Gjevukaj intentionally plowed his truck into the back of a car parked outside a Centre Square bar early Wednesday before allegedly slamming into a second vehicle and then speeding away. Gjevukaj had reportedly been kicked out of the bar just before he got into his truck. Police arrested him shortly after in Palmer Township and jailed him on several related counts.
The water is going to stay off at a Poconos park following the discovery of E. coli bacteria in the well water. Township officials confirm the water at Mountain View Park near Tannersville has tested positive for the dangerous bacteria. That means no permanent bathroom facilities and no water fountains. The park remains open, but officials say the issue is too expensive to address at this time and there's no expected date for the water to be turned on again.
For the second year in a row, Pennsylvania gets the dubious distinction of having the second most structurally deficient bridges in the nation. In a report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, the commonwealth has more than 3700 bridges considered in poor condition and in urgent need of repair. The report does say, despite being labeled structurally deficient, that doesn't necessarily mean the bridge isn't safe for travel.
A group of lawmakers at the Capitol say they're hopeful a new state group, called the Interbranch Commission, designed to look at the state's child welfare system leads to a major overhaul. St. Rep. Tarah Toohil says too often abusers slip through the cracks. "It's happening to children right now. The system turns them out. If you reach goals, the system has to put you out and there's not a way for us to make sure that those children are being protected," Toohil says. The proposal comes in the wake of the rape and murder of Grace Packer in Bucks County. A report out this week showed there were several missed opportunities to save the teen.
An environmental advocacy group says a method of birth control makes up one of the fastest-rising kinds of pollution they find on New Jersey beaches. Clean Ocean Action performs "Beach Sweeps" at 60 New Jersey beaches every spring and fall, during which volunteers scour the sand and remove debris. They say they cleaned up 565 condoms while cleaning last year, a rise of more than 56-percent from how many found the year before. Glass pieces are reportedly the most commonly found bits of junk, followed by diapers, foam building materials and then the condoms.