When you fill your tank with 10 gallons of gas, how do you know you’re really getting 10 gallons? Is the gas station ripping you off? Or how about when you order lunch meat at the deli? Are you getting a pound of balogna or is it baloney? When you plug a meter for an hour’s worth of parking, how can you be sure that you get it?
Nearly every news release coming from Northampton County describes it as a “$1 billion economic engine” that provides “opportunities for its residents to thrive and succeed in the community in which they live.”
But its Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is under intense criticism. Its director, Diane Donaher, was one of Executive John Brown’s first cabinet picks, but abruptly resigned May 5 after several miscues, including a botched attempt to seize control over $500,000 in tourism grants awarded every year with money from hotel taxes.
Bombastic. Humorous. Bold. Empathetic. Domineering. Inclusive. These are just a few of the adjectives describing Lehigh Valley civil rights pioneer Esther Lee, whose distinctive church lady hats and booming yet eloquent voice make her instantly recognizable. After spending a lifetime fighting for social justice in the Lehigh Valley, Lee was honored by the IBPOEW, or Black Elks, at their state annual convention at Bethlehem’s Best Western Hotel on June 6.
Northampton County has no director of administration. Luis Campos abruptly resigned from that position June 3, the day after a relatively quiet county council meeting.
Rumors had circulated all week that Campos was no longer employed by the county, but Executive John Brown failed to respond to requests for information. Human Resources Director Amy Trapp also declined comment, calling the situation a personnel matter. But in response to a Right-to-Know request, the county provided Campos’ letter of resignation.
Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, 29, killed 50 people and wounded another 53 at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Saturday in what is being called the worst mass shooting slaughter in the last 34 years. In a call to 911 shortly before the rampage, the gunman swore allegiance to the Islamic State. But if his intention was to strike fear into the hearts of the gay community, the would be terrorist failed.
Some elected officials use campaign funds to pay their cell phone bills. Others buy clothing. A few, like Allentown Mayor Edwin Pawlowski, use these donations to pay criminal defense lawyers. But State Rep. Dan McNeill (Pa. 133rd District) is dipping into his warchest, not for himself, but to fight heroin addiction.
When he conducted his St. Patty’s Day Campaign Fundraiser, he vowed that every penny raised would be spent on the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic throughout the state.
Over 200 people defied threatening skies May 21 to attend Hanover Township’s fifth annual Armed Forces Day at Armed Services Park, located on Route 512. The ceremony and the park itself are dedicated to the men and women who are serving and have served in all branches of the military. Residents and dignitaries gathered underneath the flags of each branch of service, along with the Stars and Stripes, to reflect on the sacrifices made by those in uniform.
Lehigh University suffered a setback May 25 when Bethlehem’s Zoning Hearing Board voted 4-0, following a lengthy hearing, to deny dimensional variances needed to create housing for professors, staff and grad students at 302 West Packer Ave., at the southwest intersection of Packer and Montclair avenues.
Bill Fitzpatrick acted as chair because Gus Loupos was unavailable. But Lehigh has threatened to come back with a bigger, five-story, building that needs no variances at all.
Bethlehem’s Zoning Hearing Board was scheduled to make a decision at the beginning of its May 25 meeting on Morning Star Partners’ plans to locate a financial services business at the northwest intersection of West Market and North New streets. This unique property, which consists of both a home and two retail businesses, is known both as 2 West Market St. and 511 North New St. It is located in the heart of the city’s historic district.
Because Chairman Gus Loupos was unavailable, the decision was instead to come at a special meeting scheduled for June 2 in cown hall.
Lock up your chickens and liquor – a peacock is on the loose!