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Resident Says Police Should Ticket Teens in Street

Borough resident who lives near Lions Playground addresses Emmaus Council for the second time about teens skateboarding in the streets.

An Emmaus resident who addressed borough council last month about teens loitering and around returned last night to share what he believes to be a solution to the problem – ticketing the youngsters.

Jack Nonnemacher, 503 Franklin St., addressed during the public comment portion of last night’s council meeting to tell council that he had been delving into the “rules and regulations” that Borough Manager Shane Pepe had emailed to him.

Nonnemacher said that based on his interpretation of various parts of the motor vehicle code, the teens hanging out in the streets in the borough are breaking the law. And, he said, that includes those on foot, on skateboards, on rollerblades, on bicycles or on scooters.

Have you crossed paths with skateboarders in the streets of Emmaus? Tell us in the comments.

According to the code, if there is a sidewalk, they should be on the sidewalk, he said. If there isn't a sidewalk, he added, they should be as close to the side of the road as possible.

“Technically they are violating the vehicle code and they should be warned and fined,” Nonnemacher said. “There is no reason for anyone in this town to be riding a skateboard in the middle of the street."

Tickets could be used as a means to change the growing habit of disrespect. (The law) should be enforced with a grain of salt. It could be a solution that will still make Emmaus a good and friendly community to live in,” he said.

Borough Councilman Brent Labenberg sympathized with Nonnemacher's concerns about the skateboarders in the streets. He said that when he worked the Central Fire Station polling location on Election Day there were four teens on skateboards in the middle of the street the whole time he was there.

“They were not on the side of the street, they were in the middle of the road. This needs to be enforced. This is ridiculous,” Labenberg said.

Naomi Winch May 08, 2012 at 11:25 AM
As dangerous as it is to be on a skateboard in the middle of the street. It's not a crime. I think that if you started ticketing youth for being kids it would be a shame and may infringe on their personal rights. I think that these men may offer much wisdom to youth and maybe they could spend their time constructing activities in the community for these loitering youth rather than criminalizing them.
Naomi Winch May 08, 2012 at 11:53 AM
What about a creative solution such as a community skate park? Having a welcoming place for teens to go has been a problem for decades in most communities. I remember in my hayday of being a teenager not too long ago, I wished there was a space for us and our activities. They are kids and they are not welcomed anywhere and are constantly looked upon as trouble makers or criminals. Yes its a difficult age but if we don't embrace them then we make then an enemy...I don't see how that it is ok. It's age discrimination. There are plenty of bicyclists that ride in the street and we are supposed to share the road with them .... yet they aren't mentioned in this article. I guess we could make anything a weapon including our own bodies.
Robert Sentner May 08, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Lets not lump all the kids in one pot, a few bad apples that most likely don't have the greatest parental leadership. Kids in general are pretty darn good. Just remember to when you were a kid, I know I wasn't always the best one of the bunch. I do agree that they should not be riding there skateboards in the street.
Mike Bachmann May 08, 2012 at 01:02 PM
I'm for the skate park. Maybe that needs to be put back on the table.
patty May 08, 2012 at 03:04 PM
“There is no reason for anyone in this town to be riding a skateboard in the middle of the street." If they were on the sidewalk people would be gripin too. Kids can ride bikes, scooters, roller blades but god forbid it is a skateboard. C'mon lighten up.
Heather N. May 08, 2012 at 03:07 PM
This is offensive. They are just teenagers spending time outside, doing something active, spending time with friends, instead of sitting at home glued to the TV/computer. Give them a break. They aren't committing crimes, they aren't hurting anyone or damaging property. I have "crossed paths," as you say, with teenagers on skateboards plenty of times, including frequently on my own block. They are always respectful and move out of the way when I'm driving past, saying hello, even calling me ma'am, much to my chagrin (I'm only about a decade or so older than them). I would like to know what law or ordinance Mr. Nonnemacher thinks they are breaking. There is nothing in the Emmaus Code of Ordinances or Motor Vehicle Code as far as I can see. And, for what it's worth, it's generally considered poor form for someone on a bicycle to ride on the sidewalk, because it is dangerous to those walking -- and it is illegal to do so in a business district. Cyclists are supposed to ride on the street, in the direction of vehicular traffic, following the traffic laws.
Joe May 08, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Joe Wait I am confused so 20 adults on bikes can back up traffic 5TH St. going over the South Mountain. But kids should stay off the street really? Lighten up people
Sharon Robertson May 08, 2012 at 03:11 PM
You are rigt Mike. Perhaps a skate park should be put back on the table. If they consider adding the sport to the Olympic Games (as there is talk of), our kids may have something real in their lives to shoot for!
L.Marie May 08, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I believe this kids need a place for recreation and refuge from their everyday life. These kids are just looking for something to do. Ideal minds wander and can use destruction as a way to vent. Organizations like the National Runaway Switchboard has a database full of resources for youth if they are looking for any alternatives for recreation. 1-800-RUNAWAY is their free 24-hour hotline.
tamarya May 08, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Yes but if an adult gets hit by a car, it is basically no big deal, however one of these youth skateboarding get hit by a car it will open up a whole new can of worms. I agree with the skateboard park idea.
tamarya May 08, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Like I said to Joe adults on bikes and youth in the street are completely different because if one of those youth get hit then there will be an uproar of the reckless car drivers, where adults getting injured, it always gets looked at as the adult knew better.
tamarya May 08, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Meaning it is always more important when a child gets injured over an adult, so that is probably why nothing is brought up about the adult bike riders.
Sarah Nicklin May 08, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I am glad these teenagers are skateboarding together in our community. They are outside being active, not sitting in front of a TV or video game. They are not committing vandalism or being threatening or violent. They are not using or dealing drugs. Most of them are more respectful to passers by than vice versa. A skate park is fine, if they would use it, but I enjoy seeing kids being active in our streets. I think they are good role models for younger kids (assuming they are wearing helmets), and an asset to the community.
Melanie Morgan May 08, 2012 at 06:00 PM
It seems that Mr. Nonnemacher has too many gripes, I saw him online in one borough meeting complaining about stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks. I do not live in Emmaus any longer, but every community has these problems and issues. And does he not remember what it was like to be a teenager? He appears to be around my age; I have just learned to let teenagers do what they do, and this current issue of his is not criminal or destructive. Lighten up, Mr. Nonnemacher!
Michael Hammer May 08, 2012 at 06:30 PM
The Emmaus Action Sports Association has been working for well over a year as a non-profit to get a skate and bike park built in the community to tackle issues exactly like these. www.easanpo.org
Tracy May 08, 2012 at 07:08 PM
This is nothing new. Kids have ALWAYS done this. What is the problem. I would rather have these kids outside riding skateboards, bikes, skates then stuck in the house gaming or drinking doing drugs or getting in trouble. Now you want to give them a citation for being KIDS????? I am 45 years old and we ALWAYS played in the street whether it was skateboarding, riding bikes, skating, a game of kick ball, whatever. Stop griping and let these kids be kids!! I do however agree a skate-park would be amazing for these kids!! But handing out citations just for being young and enjoying life and keeping out of trouble...I think there are better ways the EPD have to spend their time and energy. These are good kids...Let them be just that!!
tamarya May 08, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Well I remember being a child and teenager, plus other kids I went to school with too. But at the junior high you literally had to drive less than the 15 miles an hour in the school zone because the kids would just walk right in front of cars, even on neighboring streets out of the school zone. Plus I recall myself darting in front of vehicles and not looking, even as a teenager. I agree let kids be kids, but do not whine how the car driver is at fault if they get hit, not too mention that car that hits one of those kids could be carrying a small child in the back that witnesses it. I mean parents have to go through measures like using safety seats in their cars, and placing bike helmets on their kids even riding a tricycle for what, so they can go endanger themselves as teenagers. As for Mr. Nonnemacher complaining about crosswalks, if they are like the ones in macungie they light up giving you plenty of time to stop.
Lynn Faust May 08, 2012 at 08:24 PM
As a member of St.Margret's Nursery School Board of Directors we have come across disrespect and name calling from kids on bikes and skateboards who are using church property. The names used toward our staff and myself I will not repeat but it was very upsetting as I reminded the kids that they were using private property. This is an ongoing problem.
tamarya May 08, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Do you mean these good kids as others are saying
Katie Gangewere May 08, 2012 at 10:37 PM
These are good kids at heart. If you give them the proper opportunity you would be very surprised at the outcome. However, the continuation of labeling them as "bad", "outlaws" and the many other references I have heard them referred to as, they build a defense mechanism and react using the same manner in which they are treated. This makes them no different than anyone else in this community. As adults we shouldn't be saying "This has got to stop and impose punishment." We should be saying "We don't like what we are seeing so how can we help." It is always easier to complain about an issue rather then put yourself out there and be part of the resolution. That's starts with being a positive influence on our youth not squashing the liberty and freedom we teach them to stand up for. Punishment for situations like this does not resolve the issue. It complies it. Lock down all of the community parks for 6 months and let's see where those individuals find a place to play ball, throw a freebee ect. Just remember our youth will be our leaders tomorrow, we might want to consider how we want them to treat us later in life.They may impose a fine for driving our jazzy's down the sidewalk and I can't say I would blame them. Leaders do not always emerge from your star football players and honor students.
patty May 08, 2012 at 10:54 PM
can't reply to you via the site so: tamarya 12:29 pm on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 Yes but if an adult gets hit by a car, it is basically no big deal, however one of these youth skateboarding get hit by a car it will open up a whole new can of worms. I agree with the skateboard park idea. Are kidding? The sue-happy adults of our wonderful country? Now that's funny. A kid will jump up and ride away, if able.
tamarya May 08, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Like you said if able too. But the parents will sue if you hit their child. So either way you get sued. Plus if an adult gets hit and injured, they will bring the ambulance, with a child it would not surprise me if they brought out the 5,000 medivac.
tamarya May 08, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Anyway I think anyone that would wind up involved in a pedestrian accident would rather it be an adult over a child. Not to mention when bicyclist are out they are required to follow traffic laws so therefore an accident with them a car driver may not be at fault. Guarantee those kids get hit skateboarding it will be, unless they can prove that there was no way the car could stop in time.
ray gurz May 09, 2012 at 12:01 AM
The simplest answer is give them a place to go. I, Ray Gurz, owner of LOST SOUL SKATEBOARDS ( local resident and professional skater) have been aiding the EASA group in working with the youth and this city in creating a very cool and legit spot for them to go. “Tickets could be used as a means to change the growing habit of disrespect. (The law) should be enforced with a grain of salt. It could be a solution that will still make Emmaus a good and friendly community to live in,” he said.(Jack Nonnemacher) Tickets are a awful idea. You don't supply a space for them to go. So we give tickets to the kids because that is your appropriate response. I also think the adults who double park while catching up on conversations on Chesnut St. should get tickets to. I am sorry but , it is just ridiculous. Someone from council came up to me ( while i was off my board) and told me how upset they are that these kids are in the circle, KNBT Bank, at the highschool, etc. My very simple response is, where do they go? Where do I go in Emmaus to skate? There are ball parks for the Baseball kids. There are courts for Basketball . There are trails for the mountain bikers. But, where do skateboarders go? With no answers, leads to no solutions. These kids are not all bad apples. Don't throw them away . It's time to really make a push for the park. join the group. EASA http://www.easanpo.org/
Lesa Schafer Simmons May 09, 2012 at 03:18 AM
I have no problem with kids playing in the street but when they don't move when I am three feet away from them that's when I have a problem. I live across the street from the park so I travel that road every day. I wish they would build a park. It may be the best solution to getting them off the streets. I have two small children and on numerous occasions I've had to approach the skateboarders and ask them to please control their language. I don't need my kids hearing their vulgar profanity. And what do I get for doing that....retaliation. Doorbells rung at midnight. Toothpaste on our door handles. Just to mention a few Yes. These are good kids. NOT! Build the park. Please!
Elaine Kneller May 11, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Elaine I agree that the kids should have a place for themselves to ride their bikes or do their skateboarding or skating. I live across from a Elementary school and they have picnic tables and benches on the playground. I have seen them being ruined by skateboarders. They have also ruined cement steps and ramps on school property. I don't mind the kids skateboarding or riding bikes or skating at all, but they should get out of the way of traffic. Which they don't. You don't know how many times I had to stop and wait for them because they would not move. I asked why they don't go on the parking lot that is empty and not used. Answer: It is to bumpy. Yes they should have a place of their own but they should also know that they can not be in the middle of the streets and hanging around the parked cars onl the streets.
Jeff Lotte May 12, 2012 at 05:24 PM
So it would seem that most every one of you who has posted a reply here would like to see a place provided for these kids ( some adults like to skateboard too) to have at their activities. I would suggest you show up for the council meetings and the parks and recreations meetings and tell them that. These kids have been unsuccessfully trying to get a place for 15 years that I am aware of. They have been in front of council many many times asking for somewhere to ride. The borough has yet to supply them with anything. Don't bitch about the kids, take a look to the people you elected to take care of this stuff who are NOT doing it.
tamarya May 14, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I agree they need a park, but to explain how your comment sounds I like to bowl so are you saying if they rip down all bowling alleys, instead of giving up bowling I should bowl in the street because there is no where to go? I wonder how many complaints that would get if I just start throwing objects at people or their belongings trying to knock them over.
Jeff Lotte June 17, 2012 at 06:10 PM
LOL! Theres some real political logic, are you a politician, tamara? They never had an area to do their activities that was torn down, you do have a bowling alley to partake in your activity.

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