Northampton County’s Court of Common Pleas has voted unanimously to elect Michael J. Koury Jr. as President Judge. He will succeed Stephen Barratta, the current President Judge, on June 8.
On the Friday before this meeting, Commissioners received a gentle nudge from Housenick trustees Bill Leeson, Stephen Baratta and Tom Brady. Trustees offered to give the Township $1.3 million in $130,000 annual payments over the next four years to restore the exterior of the mansion. The catch is that the Township must open the mansion’s first floor to the public within four years. Also, their offer was withdrawn unless the township agreed that night at their May 7 meeting.
Northampton County’s Retirement Board, which manages the pensions of roughly 2,000 county retirees, has voted to end a practice that was chipping away at pension checks. To be specific, the board has directed the county to stop deducting medical contributions from retiree benefits after determining that the practice is illegal. The board made this decision May 3.
Back in the late 80s, Gracedale Nursing Home offered a tuition assistance program for county employees interested in nursing. The program was a success; nevertheless, the county discontinued it. Human Services Director Susan Wandalowski would like to restore this program, especially since there are 23 open LPN and 33 open RN positions. Northampton County Council gave its blessing at its April 19 meeting.
In a room full of volunteer firefighters, Bethlehem Township Commissioners paid homage April 16 to the late Curtis “Pappy” Frankenfield, who passed away April 2 at age 89. According to the resolution honoring him, he “served with great passion as a volunteer fireman for 65 years.” Forty-one of those years was with The Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Co. Station No. 17. He also served as chief from 1989-1991.
The county’s General Purpose Authority (GPA) was originally established as a conduit for pass-through loans by universities and hospitals. It also offered small loans. But when former Executive John Brown designated this authority to administer what really is the county’s $38 million bridge building project, the problems began..
Around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 24 Bethlehem police investigated what they thought might be a burning mannequin at the Parkhurst Apartments complex in Bethlehem. What they discovered was actually determined to be a male human being, later identified as Tyrell Michael Holmes, age 18.
Details of the homicide were released at a news conference conducted by District Attorney John Morganelli Wednesday afternoon. This was also attended by Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio, Coroner Zach Lysek, Assistant DA Patricia Mulqueen (Violent Crimes Unit) and Police Captain Anthony Leardi.
Some who attended the April 16 meeting of Bethlehem Township’s Board of Commissioners may have arrived a little late. Heavy rain that day forced Public Works to close a roadway that leads to the Municipal Building from the community college. After finally getting there, stormwater ended up being the chief topic of discussion.
War is brewing between Northampton County and its own creation, the General Purpose Authority (GPA). At their April 10 meeting, GPA board members voted to hire Philadelphia law firm Conrad and O’Brien as “special counsel” for anticipated litigation against the county. No bids were sought from other firms.
Lamont McClure is pleased to announce that the County of Northampton will competitively award grants to be funded from revenues collected from the Northampton County Hotel Tax. The Hotel Tax funds are provided for under Northampton County Resolution No. 440 of 2005, as authorized by P.L. 307 of 2000 and amended by Act 12 of 2005, by imposing a Hotel Room Rental Tax of 4 percent on hotel guests, to be used for tourism and community development initiatives.