Mayor’s SSTF is ‘Southside Proud’
After an August recess, the Mayor’s South Side Task Force met Sept. 26. Chairman Roger Hudak announced that the “Fall Southside Cleanup!” was scheduled for that Saturday morning. The event is sponsored by the South Side Task Force, Lehigh University Community Affairs, CADCB, among others.
Paul Pierpont, dean of the NCC Southside Center, was proud to announce a neighborhood launch party with free pizza for “Southside Proud” at the South Bethlehem Greenway following the cleanup. “If we want to change the perception of the Southside, first thing we have to do, is to make sure those of us who live on the Southside have our own perceptions clarified,” he said.
According to Pierpont, the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley at 520 E. Fourth St. is one of three Lehigh Valley sites accepting donations for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the recent earthquake in Mexico. Non-perishable food, blankets, diapers, and soap are among items being collected from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Sept. 29. For information: 610-868-7800. Pierpont said because of the diaspora from Puerto Rico, “There is a high probably we will see of a lot of new families coming into our community. We should be thinking about this right away.” He suggested that the city and local organizations should prepare to absorb and assist the influx of families displaced by the hurricane.
Vivian Robledo-Shorey, director of Student Services and Minority Affairs for BASD said the school district was already preparing to classify incoming students from the storm-ravaged U.S. territory as “homeless,” in order to ease their enrollment into Bethlehem schools.
Estefania Perdomo, with Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem, provided information on a “First Time Homebuyer’s Seminar” for Oct. 7 and 14 at Temple Covenant of Peace in Easton. To pre-register, call 610-691-5620. The CADCB and their Allentown counterpart are offering classes on starting a business at Broughal MS. For information: cadcb.org.
Perdomo introduced Lehigh University grad student and community fellow Kavei Murangi, who will be partnering with CADCB on a year-long project.
Pierpont announced this was his last SSTF meeting. He retires Oct. 29. Pierpont introduced Dr. Gail Mrowinski, Associate Dean, Community Education, NCC as his able replacement.
Janine Santoro described several upcoming programs to be held at the Bethlehem Area Public Library Southside Branch, including an online job search tutorial for Oct. 7. For information: bapl.org.
Glorilex Vasquez, a new legislative assistant to Rep. Samuelson, said seniors can call the state rep’s office at 610-867-3890 to set up an appointment with an APPRISE counselor for help with Medicare. The sessions will be available on select Friday mornings from Oct. 20 through Dec. 1. Vasquez said information about benefits and services for veterans will be available at an Oct. 13 event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Samuelson’s office.
Adrienne Washington assistant vice president Community & Regional Affairs at Lehigh shared the good news that the Southside Ambassadors program has been extended for another three years. The Ambassadors keep Third and Fourth streets clean and serve as a neighborhood safety patrol and hospitality team.
Susan Vitez, from the Steelworkers’ Archives mentioned a speaker’s bureau presentation to the Springfield Township Historical Society is scheduled for 2 p.m. Oct. 15 at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church located in Pleasant Valley.
Hudak was relieved to inform the SSTF members that Walmart had scrapped it’s plans for a superstore at Route 412 and Commerce Center Boulevard. He said he had been concerned about increased traffic issues if the retail brick-and-mortar building had been built. He also called attention to the city’s debut newsletter “Bethlehem.” Hudak said, “Everything you need to know about the city from the city is in this thing.”
The Mayor’s South Side Task Force meets regularly on the last Tuesday of the month at Northampton Community College’s E. Third street campus.