A Hellertown family is suing two companies over a charging hoverboard that they say sparked the fire that resulted in the deaths of two girls. The Kaufmans are suing Walmart and Jetson Electric Bikes, saying the companies knew or should have known the hoverboard batteries can short circuit and cause fires while charging. The lawsuit claims the Jetson Rogue Hoverboard, which was purchased at Walmart, had a "defective and unreasonably dangerous design," but the companies continued to market, sell and advertise it. It also says the hoverboard was not properly tested before being sold, the law firm said. The fire broke out around 1 a.m. on April 1, and sisters 15-year-old Brianna Baer and 10-year-old Abigail Kaufman died.
It appears two Allentown holiday traditions will be much different, one this year, the other perhaps next year. Allentown is canceling what's billed as the nation's oldest Halloween parade effective this year. Instead, the city will hold a smaller, shorter walking parade in downtown Allentown and a Day of the Dead festival at the Allentown Arts Park on October 29. Gone is the lengthy Halloween parade with large floats, cars and trucks that ran from the Allentown Fairgrounds to Hamilton Street to Ninth Street. Also perhaps going by the boards is Allentown's annual Lights in the Parkway Christmas display in the Lehigh Parkway. The city says this year's Lights in the Parkway could be the last one because it wants to lessen the disruption it causes in the surrounding neighborhoods and because most of the city's parks maintenance workers have to devote their entire month of December to the display. The city says it will replace Lights in the Parkway with an unspecified new event.
Last Thursday we were told by police and the Allentown School District an armed juvenile was taken into custody in a park near Allen High School. The district said the juvenile had not been inside any school with the gun and that incident prompted Allen High and two other nearby schools to be placed in lockdown. Lehigh County DA Jim Martin says what we were told last week was not accurate. "Certainly, the people within Allen High School knew about it. They helped the police in locating the boy and I'm quite confident they knew that boy had a pistol on him," Martin says. He says the 14-year-old boy was arrested inside Allen High and not in the nearby park. The DA says initial press releases about the incident could have been worded better to clear up any potential confusion.
A former Northampton County Prison guard has been sentenced for sexually assaulting a female inmate. 41-year-old Kelvin Myers was sentenced to spend four to 18 months in jail with immediate work release eligibility. Myers will also have to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law. Prosecutors say they have taped phone calls of Myers discussing the relationship with the inmate and footage that appears to show Myers and the woman engaged in a sex act. Myers pleaded guilty to the charges.
KeyBank will close branches in Carbon County and Bucks County on Dec. 2, as the move towards internet banking moves ahead. Branches at 372 Delaware Ave. in Palmerton and 209 N. Main St. in Sellersville will close, and accounts will be transferred to nearby locations.
Lawmakers in Harrisburg are considering a bill that would ban the release of balloons. Supporters of the bill say that while the intention of such releases is usually meant as a celebration or in remembrance of someone, the events pose a serious threat to wildlife. Experts say the balloons, often made of latex or Mylar, can prove deadly to animals who might swallow them or their attached strings.
The Lead-Free Promise Project is endorsing State Senate Bill 522 to better protect children against lead poisoning. The "Childhood Blood Lead Test Act" would establish state requirements for lead testing that could potentially save thousands of children, according to supporters. Less than a third of Pennsylvania kids under the age of two were screened for lead in their blood in 2018. Less than one-fifth of children under the age of six have been tested.
The Hershey Company is expanding its operation in Mexico. The Derry Township-based company is spending 90-million dollars to open two new production lines at its plant in the country. The expansion is forecast to increase capacity by 25-percent. Meanwhile, the Hershey Company is building a roughly 250-thousand square-foot manufacturing plant in Derry Township on the former Friendly's property at one-thousand Reese Avenue.
The El Toro roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson will remain closed. Last month, the ride malfunctioned and injured fourteen people. Inspectors said they found structural damage to many wooden columns supporting the coaster's tracks. An investigation is still underway.