Bethlehem Press

Monday, September 16, 2019

New county deputy a trained tracker

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County Sheriff Rich Johnston advised county council recently that he’s adding a new deputy to his staff. This one is costing only $1,700 a year. That’s because this new hire is a dog.

His name, appropriately enough, is Boomer, because he can detect explosives. According to the sheriff, suspicious packages are sometimes left at the courthouse’s loading dock. People also sometimes leave briefcases in a hallway or the parking lot. Rather than risking a deputy’s life to check these items, that task will fall to the K-9.

Council approves new voting system

Thursday, May 23, 2019 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

At a meeting attended by about 50 supporters of dueling voting systems, Northampton County Council voted 8-1 May 16 to approve the purchase of a new, $2.9 million voting system with a voter-verified paper trail. It’s called the Express Vote XL, a 32” touch screen similar to the system currently in use. The sole dissenting vote came from council member Bob Werner.

NORCO-Is Gracedale home understaffed?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Is Gracedale understaffed? That was a major point of discussion at Northampton County council’s April 4 meeting.

According to statistics maintained by Medicare and published online, the staffing at Gracedale is considered “average” in a nursing home that otherwise has below average grades. The nurses who work there, however, insist the facility needs more workers. They’ve been pretty vocal about it in recent NorCo Council meetings.

STATE OF THE COUNTY

Monday, April 1, 2019 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

What county gov’t does

Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure delivered his “State of the County” address March 27 at an early morning breakfast attended by about 120 county employees, business leaders and political rivals at Historic Hotel Bethlehem As the smell of bacon and hot coffee wafted through the room, a relaxed McClure spent approximately 40 minutes highlighting the accomplishments of the people who work for him. In doing so, he actually was explaining what county government does.

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY County buys Human Services building

Monday, April 1, 2019 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County now owns its Human Services building, located at 2801 Emrick Boulevard in Bethlehem Township. It had been leasing the building for $1.05 million per year. It was also paying $190,000 per year in taxes. It purchased the building for $14.5 million on March 27, exercising an option that became available this year.

For years, former Executive John Stoffa had argued for a single centralized building for 80,000 clients who often need services from several departments. His vision has become reality.

Despite ethics sanction, member reappointed

Monday, March 25, 2019 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Judith Henckel is a well-known environmental activist who currently serves on Northampton County’s Open Space Advisory Board. At their March 21 meeting, council members re-appointed her to a two-year term, with no discussion. They did so despite a $1,000 fine levied by the state ethics commission against her last year for engaging in a conflict of interest as an Upper Mount Bethel Township supervisor. She had been accused of using her public office to steer public work to her son, a landscape architect. She signed some of the checks paying him. She never disclosed this relationship.