Crampsie Smith replaces Martell
Grace Crampsie Smith was seated Aug. 20 as a Bethlehem City Council member five months early after Shawn M. Martell announced plans to resign and accept a job with the public education team at the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C.
Smith, a Democrat, won the seat in the last general election, but in accordance with city policy was not slated to take her seat until January 2020. She is currently a high school counselor with the Easton Area School District.
Martell said he has been a teacher with the Nazareth Area HS for 10 years. His effective resignation date was Aug. 19.
Council members expressed appreciation for Martell’s service and concurred with President Adam Waldron’s suggestion that instead of looking for a candidate for the open position, the council seat Smith early.
Boy Scout Dylan Trexler, 17, attended the meeting to complete one of the requirements for an Eagle Scout award: Citizenship in the Community. The Liberty HS student was accompanied by his father, John Trexler.
Resident William Scheirer pointed out that during MusikFest, Uber and Lyft drivers have a designated parking zone but regular cab drivers do not. He also decried the fact that, based on insufficient staff, the Bethlehem Public Library doesn’t want to accept hard-cover books after citizens discard them in the “Hard-cover Book” bin at the recycling center on Illick’s Mill Road.
Resident Stephen Antalics questioned council and the administration for allowing five unrelated students to be considered “a family” for zoning purposes. Referring to private houses being converted to student housing in South Bethlehem, Anatalics said the policy is “contrary to the health of Southside [Bethlehem].”
Police Chief Mark Diluzio briefed the council on security measures in support of MusikFest. Without going into specific measures; he said that the department “always tweaks its security plan” to address current threats.
“If [a massacre] can happen in an Amish schoolhouse, it can happen anywhere,” said DiLuzio. “Public safety has to be our number one priority.”