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Man Vents to Council About Skateboarders, Teen Fashion

Resident tells Emmaus Borough Council it's time to take the Borough back from the kids.

Teens hanging out in the middle of the street, youngsters skateboarding in front of cars and kids wearing baggy pants that reveal their underwear were among the topics addressed at the most recent Emmaus Borough Council meeting.

Jack Nonnemacher, 503 Franklin St., spoke about these issues during the public comment portion of the April 16 council meeting. Nonnemacher, who lives across from the , began his time at the podium by asking about the purpose of the “yield to pedestrian law.”

My interpretation (of the law) is that if someone is in the cross walk you should yield to them and not run them over,” he said. “But, does that give them the right to walk in front of you?

“It appears to me that the children of this borough think that as long as they are hanging out in the street and doing what they are doing, like maybe skateboarding or something like that, they have the right to take as much time as they want,” he said.

Borough councilman Nathan Brown expressed his support for Nonnemacher’s plight.

“I just want to sympathize with Mr. Nonnemacher,” Brown said. “What he is seeing is literally children or teenagers who are standing in the middle of the road, being very disrespectful.”

Borough Council President Lee Ann Gilbert said: “They are testing our patience.”

Borough Manager Shane Pepe said that he had already had a conversation with Chief David A. Faust about similar activity in the area and assured Nonnemacher he would address his concerns about what has been happening in his neighborhood at an upcoming staff meeting.

Nonnemacher went on to ask council “Is there a law against walking around with your pants half down in public? Is that a violation of some law?”

Pepe told Nonnemacher that the particular style of teenage dress he was referring to is an issue everywhere, not just Emmaus.

“There is a fine line between lewdness and freedom of expression,” he said, “and it depends on what’s showing as to which one it is. If bare skin is showing, it may be a cause for police action.”

Nonnemacher got laughs from everyone in the room when he responded with a follow up question: “Does that mean when I walk my dog out on Franklin Street I can do it in my underwear?

We need to take back the borough from the kids because the kids think that they rule,” Nonnemacher said. “If there is something that can be done, I would be happy to help in some way.”

Emmaus Borough Council meets tonight at 7 p.m. in .

Angie May 07, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I agree so much with all of this, I have called the police several times, over concerns with kids skate boarding in front of my house. They think they own the road and the cars are to move for them... If they do stop skate boarding they just stand in the street and the cars are to manover aroun them... I have several scratches and dings in my car... Kids these days have no respect for adults at all, when I have asked them to move or go some place else, I get cursed at, yelled at, and laughed at.. I have even had my garage windows smashed out, a day after I called the police.. I have spoken to some of the parents and they could care less...I live and work in the borough, and can't understand why something can't be done about all of this, Why do I have to have my home or property damaged because of these kids and parents who don't care....
Daniel May 07, 2012 at 11:11 PM
So build them a skate-park. People complain kids are inactivate and becoming obese, but god help those that engage in a physical activity such as skateboarding, their labeled outlaws and misfits. The majority of skateboarders are good kids, sure there are some bad apples, but these kids in most cases have got more talent then some little league baseball/football/basketball kid whose gotten fields and courts dedicated to their activity. An why did these kids get the fields and court? Because someone thought it would be a good idea to get them off the streets. So, get off your high horses and give skateboarders the same break by building a skate-park. By the way funding is available and even grants from the Tony Hawk Foundation.
Garrett Rhoads May 08, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Great reply Daniel. The best solution is to have the borough allocate space in a park and then have the skate park advocates (like me) raise the funds to pay for the construction of the park so the taxpayers are not forced to fund yet another project. It would be the most equitable solution for all involved. I can't tell you how many times I was harassed by EPD in the late 80's when I used to skate the town. Had there been a skate park, we would have spent our time there. If there were no baseball fields, would the residents complain about the kids playing ball in the streets and smashing out windows with errant fly balls?
Joe May 08, 2012 at 01:22 PM
So why is OK for a large group of bike riders take up on lane on all of our roads and back up traffic and we have to go around them. Is because it is something you also enjoy or do they dress in a way that you approve? These Kids are out having fun. They can not even play baseball on any of our fields with out a permit. The problem is you have no respect for the our kids rights YOU WANT TO SAY JUMP AND JUST HAVE THEM SAY HOW HIGH! and to say i don't care what gall! They want to build a baseball stadium for what so 10 or 12 baseball games can be played on it. And is of no use to any other child in town. BUILD THEM A SKATE PARK like every other town in the area Joe
Jeff Lotte May 08, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Kids have been actively asking the Borough to provide them with a place to build their own skate park for quite a few years, not asking them to build it for them. Of course it is not baseball or softball so it seems that everyone is prejudice against these kids, they would rather complain and try to get them in trouble. Maybe if they were hangin in back alleys doing drugs you wouldn't notice their presence. I personally think these kids should make a large presence felt all over the Borough until they are provided the equal opportunities that are provided the baseball kids.They should hang on a different street every night until their voices are heard.
Joe May 08, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Great Idea Jeff these kids need a voice and have rights like everyone one else. I am sure if we provided them a area they would supply their own ramps and rails. And would be off the street. Joe
john anders May 08, 2012 at 06:26 PM
The EASA ( Emmaus Action Sports Association) has been trying to work with the Emmaus Borough for a year now. With concerns addressed, we do need a place for them to skate , bike and hang.
Joe May 08, 2012 at 06:53 PM
John, How can parents become more involved with EASA are there meetings or fund raising we can help with? I would love to see a skate park in Emmaus I now drive the Kids to Bethlehem to skate and worry me they are far from home. But wont be ticketed there.
Michael Hammer May 08, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Joe - All our contact information is available on www.easanpo.org including e-mail and Facebook link.
Nick Ciborowski May 08, 2012 at 11:04 PM
i skate in town a lot and i am a respectful kid i leave when i'm asked to leave and don't give anyone a hard time. but if you really want this stuff to stop we need a skate park we don't have anywhere else to go. all the other places are in not so safe parts of Bethlehem and Allentown. i like Emmaus its a safe and friendly place. There are always fundraisers at random places in Emmaus for this park and a lot of people come out for it. even adults. All we want is a place to do what we like. Nick
Jeff Lotte May 12, 2012 at 05:32 PM
There was the EXA years before them who pleaded to people who had them jump through hoop after hoop, they had fundraisers to raise money for costs involved in the hoops they were directed to jump through, only to be turned down until they finally got the message, the Borough did not care about them, they were not the collegiate sports kids, so they didn't matter..

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