Bethlehem Press

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Judge Koury sentences Atkins -- ‘A heartless human being who lacks social conscience’

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Following a four-day trial, a Northampton County jury found Royce Atkins, 23, guilty in November in a fatal hit-and-run that killed 9-year old Darius Condash. The accident itself occurred almost exactly one year before when Condash, accompanied by an older friend and cousin, crossed busy Schoenersville Road - a five-lane highway - at night. Atkins hit and killed Condash, but failed to stop. He said nothing, waiting for police to find him. But in phone conversations from jail to his father and girlfriend, he said too much.

Gracedale profit less than first stated

Monday, February 13, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

On Jan. 19, Executive John Brown told Northampton County Council that he expected Gracedale, the county-owned nursing home, to finish 2016 about $800,000 in the black. But at council’s Feb. 3 meeting, as the picture becomes clearer, Brown now says the net profit will only be about $200,000. This would still be the first time since 2007 that the facility turned a profit.

Commissioners unable to find right words for public library referendum

Monday, February 6, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Nearly every year, Bethlehem Township Commissioners grumble about funding the Bethlehem Area Public Library. Its operations are financed by Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township, Hanover Township and Fountain Hill Borough. Bethlehem Township has 9,749 cardholders, including 528 new cardholders in 2015. That translates to 41 percent of the township’s population.

Norco Gaming Board is patient about host fees

Monday, February 6, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Late last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the host fee that casinos must pay each year, concluding that it violates the state constitution’s uniformity clause. Though the state legislature was given until Jan. 26 to enact a legislative fix, it has thus far been unable to do so.

Three state senators sought and were granted an extension until May 26. But Justice David Wecht dissented. “This court should not, and I daresay properly cannot, ease the burdens of democracy by suspending the Pennsylvania Constitution at the first sign of political gridlock,” he wrote.

Homeowner’s solar panel plan rejected

Monday, January 30, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Pawel Zelinski, a proponent of “free energy” and “being green,” is willing to pay $23,000 for solar panels on his Ninth Avenue home. But at the Jan. 24 meeting, Bethlehem’s Zoning Hearing Board decided that being safe trumps being green. They unanimously rejected plans that would permit Zelinski to install solar panels as close as two feet away from the edge of the roof.

Mayor Yob not done yet

Monday, January 30, 2017 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

During Freemansburg’s popular National Night Out in early August, you’ll find Mayor Gerald Yob behind the grill. Instead of surrounding himself with fawning sycophants, he grills hamburgers and hot dogs, and at no charge, for hungry people.

You’ll see him at every parade and borough event. On Northampton County’s Gaming Authority, with his quiet but very effective voice for his borough’s 2,600 residents, he managed to persuaded his much larger neighbors to fund a grant for a modern police station.