Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

NORCO: County hit by cyber attacks; grant tabled

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County is hit by an average of 27,000 cyber attacks daily, according to Executive Lamont McClure. On election day, there were 1.4 million attacks. None succeeded, McClure reported to county council at its Nov. 15 meeting. He said most of the attacks originated from Ukraine. He added that the county currently blocks 44 counties.

County to buy twp. human services building, then build forensic center

Thursday, November 15, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County Council voted unanimously Nov 1 to support a $39 million bond to purchase its Bethlehem Township human services building and build a state-of-the-art forensic center that includes something Coroner Zach Lysek has never had. A morgue.

The human services building, located on Emrick Boulevard, will cost $14,468,731.

County retirees get COLA increase

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County’s Retirement Board voted 6-0 at its Oct. 25 meeting to grant a 1.7 percent cost of living increase (COLA) to retirees, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Voting for this increase were McClure, County Council members Ron Heckman and Bill McGee, Fiscal Affairs Director Steve Barron, employee representative Thomas Guth Jr., and retiree representative Gerald E. “Jerry” Seyfried.

It will be the first COLA granted to retirees since John Stoffa was executive.

Should public funds be spent to repair a church steeple?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Opinion

That’s a question Northampton County Council will decide this year. At its Oct. 1 meeting, council voted unanimously to approve 37 grants, funded with table games taxes, for numerous municipal and nonprofit projects. They tabled a 38th grant request for $20,000 to restore the steeple at Easton’s United Church of Christ. Council Solicitor Chris Spadoni has been directed to research whether this proposed gift runs afoul of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

What the candidates say …

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Lehigh Valley voters will decide Nov. 6 who will succeed Charlie Dent as their next representative in Congress, with an annual salary of $174,000. In some parts of the Lehigh Valley, there are actually two races - a special election in Pa-15 to fill the vacancy created when Dent suddenly resigned; and a regular election in the newly created Pa-7. Since those districts have different demographics, it is entirely possible that one candidate could win the special election while another is the victor in regular race.

What the candidates say …

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Lehigh Valley voters will decide Nov. 6 who will succeed Charlie Dent as their next representative in Congress, with an annual salary of $174,000. In some parts of the Lehigh Valley, there are actually two races - a special election in Pa-15 to fill the vacancy created when Dent suddenly resigned; and a regular election in the newly created Pa-7. Since those districts have different demographics, it is entirely possible that one candidate could win the special election while another is the victor in regular race.

Fake painkillers new threat

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

As the opioid crisis continues to take lives at a record pace, a new problem has begun to emerge: Lookalike painkillers. They are designed to look exactly like prescription painkillers such as Percocet. They are instead a deadly combination of fentanyl and heroin, or in some cases, pure fentanyl. They kill. Last Friday, a person who sold a lethal lookalike was charged with a drug delivery resulting in death

Peddling, soliciting ordinance proposed

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

At their Sept. 25 meeting, Hanover Township Supervisors voted unanimously to advertise a new peddling and soliciting ordinance. This one will contain provisions under which residents can request that no door-to-door salesman visits them.

Manager Jay Finnigan said that, if the changes are adopted, residents can subscribe to a “Do Not Knock” list, similar to a “Do Not Call” list in place against telephone solicitors.

“That works well,” said Supervisor Steve Salvesen, in a touch of sarcasm.

McClure says taxes to remain unchanged

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure has proposed an ambitious $455 million spending plan for next year that includes no tax hike. If approved, the tax rate will stay at 11.8 mills. This means homes assessed at $75,000 will have a tax bill of $880.

Interestingly, McClure revealed his proposed budget from the county’s Centralized Human Services Building. It is currently being leased at a cost of $1.05 million per year. It is also a “triple net” lease, meaning the county must pay taxes, maintenance costs and insurance. The real estate tax bill alone is $190,000 per year.