In response to a request from Northampton County Voting Registrar Amy Cozze, County Council voted unanimously at their March 19 meeting to urge Governor Tom Wolf to delay the fast-approaching Presidential primary, currently scheduled for April 28.
On March 19, and with no advance notice, Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure closed the doors of the courthouse to the public, to those who made the trip for gun permits, passports, marriage licenses or to pay taxes. Only emergencies like Protection from Abuse Act petitions were admitted.
McClure explained he needed to “pump the brakes” because people from other counties were coming. He opened the doors to the public for a county council meeting that evening, and told council the closure is only temporary.
Carmine Fusco, 55, of Bath, was well known in the harness racing industry and as a part owner of Wingate Farms in Bushkill Township, where he kept 20 horses. His decades on area racetracks, however, are eclipsed by his death. He was the first victim in both Northampton County and the state to be claimed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He died March 18 at St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill. Tragically, he is one of four family members who have succumbed to the virus.
Lehigh Valley leaders, emergency management organizations and medical professionals converged on Friday the 13th at Northampton County’s EMS Center, located at the Gracedale campus, to discuss a regional approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meeting was led by Thomas McGroarty, a public health preparedness coordinator with Pennsylvania’s Department of Health. Ironically, one suggestion was to limit in-person meetings precisely like the one being conducted.
On March 2, Franklin Leonar Urrutia-Cordon was on his way to ending a case that had stalled in Northampton County courts for 30 months.
Northampton County’s IT department is outsourced to Vision Technologies, a Maryland-based company, under a contract that could cost taxpayers up to $33 million over the next 13 years. About this time last year, this private contractor began assuring county officials and the public that all county council and committee meetings would be uploaded to YouTube within a matter of months. As recently as December, Vision told county officials this would happen by February. Nothing has changed. Council President Ron Heckman has had enough, and voiced his displeasure at council’s Feb.
Despite its disastrous debut in last year’s election, Northampton County officials are sticking with the ExpressVote XL voting system. As many as a third of these machines – a hybrid touch screen and paper ballot – were hypersensitive, which made it difficult for some voters to make selections. In addition, the system had been improperly programmed.
Election Systems and Software, the manufacturer of this system, has assured the county these problems are now resolved and should pose no issues during the presidential primary April 28.
Kevin Dolan, who administers the Children, Youth and Families (CYF) Division in Northampton County, is retiring after 45 years of service. He was honored with a Certificate of Recognition by county council at their Jan. 23 meeting.
On January 30, Northampton County’s elections commissioner voted 4-1 against a request to approve a $240,000 order for electronic pollbooks (epollbooks) with Florida-based Tenex Software Solutions. With this single vote, the elections commissioner has just made it impossible for the county to conduct an election in April. The sole member to vote yes was Gail W. Preuninger.
Northampton County’s five-person elections commission got to work Jan. 23 in Northampton County’s training room at 3:30 p.m., adjacent to county council chambers. The meeting lasted two and a half hours. It met there because it had a busy agenda and there was a conflicting council committee meeting at 4:30 p.m.