Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Council declares state of emergency

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

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 COVID-19 claims local man as state’s first victim

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

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.

Local leaders discuss regional approach

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

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.

Too many hoops for people to view county meetings

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

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.

You can try the ExpressVote XL

Thursday, February 27, 2020 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

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.

Elections commission nixes EPollbooks

Monday, February 10, 2020 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

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.