Bethlehem Press

Friday, August 17, 2018

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY-How much is that doggie in the window?

Monday, August 6, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

If you’re Northampton County, the answer is nothing.

Thanks to a generous and anonymous donation, the county is acquiring a drug-sniffing Belgian Malinois to add to its corrections staff. The donation will cover both the purchase and training. It will be the first K-9 dog ever used in the county. No word on whether it’s joining the union.

“We’re very excited about the prospect of a trained K-9 working with our Department of Corrections,” said county Executive Lamont McClure. “We see this as an opportunity to lower the costs of drug testing and reduce our man hours.”

NORTHAMPTON-County pension over 90% funded

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Many municipal pensions statewide are underfunded, which leads to tax increases. No such problem exists in Northampton County. At the retirement board’s July 26 meeting, Pension Fund Manager John Spagnola reported that the pension is funded at over 90 precent, with over $415 million. In addition, a separate fund set up for medical benefits has $41 million.

Senator Casey visits Gracedale

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Gracedale, often referred to as the jewel of Northampton County, is home to about 670 senior citizens. They had a special visitor Friday, when U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) stopped by to meet with them and speak with workers. One of them gave him a box filled with tiny Moravian stars, and another provided a Nazareth baseball cap. Casey made sure he greeted every resident he could, and then spoke to the staff from a pavilion on the campus.

He described a strong America in which people help each other.

County solicitor faces DUI charges

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

County solicitor Melissa Rudas, age 55, has been charged with driving under the influence after a July 8 traffic stop in Bethlehem. Her blood alcohol was 0.08, the lowest level BAC under which a person can be presumed to be under the influence. Charges were filed Thursday with Magisterial District Judge Nicolas Englesson. Rudas has been released on $5,000 unsecured bail.

Record cash seizures from drug arrests

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

The last 12 months have been very unprofitable for at least some Northampton County drug dealers. For the fiscal year ending June 30, District Attorney John Morganelli’s office has seized $280,907 in U.S. currency – the most money his office has taken out of the hands of local drug lords in the past five years. In addition, his office has sold 10 vehicles.

Freemansburg Ave. work imminent

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Eight years ago, Bethlehem Township and St.Luke’s Hospital entered into a three-phase master development agreement for $40 million in improvements to Freemansburg Avenue, which is the main access point to the hospital’s Anderson campus. Two of these phases are substantially completed, and construction on the third phase is imminent. Bethlehem Township Commissioners voted 4-0 at a lightly-attended July 16 meeting on new timetables for the final third phase. What this means is that all road work outside the hospital should be done within the next six years.

Board approves firetruck purchase

Monday, July 16, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

It’s seen better days. When Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Co. Engine 1742 was first placed in service in 1995, it was a four-wheel drive behemoth capable of traveling off road to deliver a 500-gallon payload. In addition to extinguishing brush fires, its off road capabilities made it suitable for accidents in which cars are knocked off the highway. But after a 2002 accident that caused significant damage, firefighters can no longer use it as a front line resource.

Law firm disputes Norco resolution

Monday, July 16, 2018 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

On June 21, Northampton County Council adopted a strongly-worded resolution calling for the resignations of General Purpose Authority (GPA) Chair Shawn Langen and Solicitor John Lushis. This followed a lengthy meeting the day before, in which Langen suggested once or twice that Council might lack his understanding of high finance. But when Council member Lori Vargo Heffner asked him to explain what he does, he refused to answer. He instead complained that the meeting, which he earlier derided as a “dog and pony show,” was making him late for a dinner party.