Bethlehem Press

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bethlehem Township-No tax increase, but sewer increase

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

There’s good news and bad news from Bethlehem Township. The good news is it’s increasingly likely that there will be no tax hike in Bethlehem Township next year. At their Nov. 21 meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to advertise a 2017 budget that will keep the same 7.09 millage rate that was imposed for this year. The bad news is that, at the same meeting, they also approved a rate increase in the quarterly sewer bill that will cause a small increase for some.

Hanover Township-DevTech, plastics manufacturer, to build storage units locally

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

DevTech, a plastic container manufacturer, recently leased a new 120,000 square-foot facility at 5210 Jaindl Blvd. in Hanover Township. It was lured here by the state Department of Community and Economic Development and Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation with a $150,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant, $96,000 in job creation tax credits and $21,600 in state funding for employee training. The company is spending $18 million on this venture, and expects to create 32 jobs. But the company was before Hanover Township supervisors Nov.

Steelworkers honor veterans

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

The United Steelworkers Union and Lehigh Valley Chapter of Nam Knights teamed up on Veterans’ Day at the Third Street Armed Forces Memorial to pay tribute to those who served. In a ceremony attended by about 70 people, every veteran who was present was asked to come forward and identify himself. Each was provided with a carnation and a handwritten “Thank you” note written by a Broughal MS student. That school’s marching band and choir also provided musical entertainment.

Northampton County, VA to offer new discount ID cards

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Northampton County’s Director of Veterans Affairs, Freddie Ramirez, has teamed up with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce to start a new discount ID program with various participating merchants. This is a benefit that will extend to all former members of the military, including those who served in the Reserves or National Guard.

Any county resident who was discharged honorably or under honorable conditions can ask for a Veterans Affairs Photo Identification Card. This can then be used for discounts or special offers from participating merchants.

Northampton County--Updating Gracedale’s financial health

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

A few short years ago, Northampton County officials voted to sell Gracedale, the county-owned nursing home. They were stopped by the citizens in a 2011 referendum.

Reforms were implemented to make the nursing home more solvent. A private administrator was hired. Unions surrendered $2.5millionin benefits every year. The census began to climb.

The Morning Call recently reported that Gracedale has finally turned the corner, and is projected to net between $1.6 and 2.4 million this year. But at a November 2 budget hearing, county officials were decidedly more cautious.

Atkins convicted

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Hit-and-run driver’s explanation fails to sway jury

Following a four-day trial in a crowded Northampton County courtroom, Royce Atkins, age 23, was convicted Nov. 3 in a hit-and-run accident that ended the life of 9-year-old Darious Condash, a fourth grade student at Sheckler ES in Catasaqua.

Condash was killed by a car driven by Atkins on Schoenersville Road when he stopped to pick up a piece of candy in the company of an older cousin and friend.

The jury reached its verdict after just two hours of deliberation, spending only slightly more time than defense attorney Jack McMahon took in his closing argument.

Hit-run verdict proves the system still works

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Opinion

Following a four-day trial, a Northampton County jury found Royce Atkins, 23, guilty yesterday in a fatal hit-and-run that killed nine-year old Darius Condash. The accident itself occurred almost exactly one year ago when Condash, accompanied by an older friend and cousin, crossed busy Schoenersville Road - a five lane highway - at night. But this case was about much more than the actual verdict. The question to me was whether money buys justice. In this case, the answer is No.

Ninth no-tax-hike budget in a row

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

When Hanover Township supervisors met Oct. 25, a brightly lit firetruck was parked nearby. There were no emergencies, but a volunteer firefighter was running tests on the township’s new 100-foot ladder truck. “We just put it into service last night,” he beamed. That truck came with a $1.2 million price tag.

Hanover Township just wrote a check. There was no line of credit or bond with accompanying debt service. In fact, the township has been debt-free for over a year.

Norco backs redistricting fairness

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 by BERNIE O’HARE in Local News

Following every census, Pennsylvania’s top legislative leaders huddle to slice up state and Congressional districts. This is called redistricting and reapportionment. But instead of drawing up compact boundaries that preserve communities as much as possible, our legislators have drawn up districts that make little sense unless the goal is to protect an incumbent in office.