At their Aug 2 meeting, Northampton County Council members voted unanimously to appoint Administrator Charles Dertinger to the county’s beleaguered General Purpose Authority (GPA). He replaces Executive Lamont McClure, who served for exactly eight days. McClure quipped that he now holds the record as the GPA board member with the least amount of service.
McClure resigned in response to a complaint by GPA Chair Shawn Langen, who argued that a 1941 Pa. Supreme Court decision precludes the executive from service. Rather than litigate the matter, McClure bowed out.
You can add Hanover Townshipp (Northampton County) to the list over 270 counties, cities, townships and boroughs fighting for redistricting reform in Harrisburg. At their July 24 meeting, supervisors voted 3-1 in favor of a resolution supporting a constitutional change that will allow an independent and inclusive commission to draw the boundaries for state legislative and congressional races.
Supporting this nonbinding resolution were Susan Lawless, Michael Prendeville and John Diacogiannis. Voting No was Steve Salvesen. Jack Nagle was absent.
If you’re Northampton County, the answer is nothing.
Thanks to a generous and anonymous donation, the county is acquiring a drug-sniffing Belgian Malinois to add to its corrections staff. The donation will cover both the purchase and training. It will be the first K-9 dog ever used in the county. No word on whether it’s joining the union.
“We’re very excited about the prospect of a trained K-9 working with our Department of Corrections,” said county Executive Lamont McClure. “We see this as an opportunity to lower the costs of drug testing and reduce our man hours.”
Many municipal pensions statewide are underfunded, which leads to tax increases. No such problem exists in Northampton County. At the retirement board’s July 26 meeting, Pension Fund Manager John Spagnola reported that the pension is funded at over 90 precent, with over $415 million. In addition, a separate fund set up for medical benefits has $41 million.
Gracedale, often referred to as the jewel of Northampton County, is home to about 670 senior citizens. They had a special visitor Friday, when U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) stopped by to meet with them and speak with workers. One of them gave him a box filled with tiny Moravian stars, and another provided a Nazareth baseball cap. Casey made sure he greeted every resident he could, and then spoke to the staff from a pavilion on the campus.
He described a strong America in which people help each other.
At its July 19 meeting, Northampton County Council voted 8-0 to confirm Richard H. Johnston as Sheriff. He is also the joint top choice of both Executive Lamont McClure and President Judge Michael Koury Jr.
Johnston’s salary will be $89,235.
Peg Ferraro, who was absent for Johnston’s confirmation hearing the previous day, abstained.
A hit-and-run driver whose car struck and killed a 9-year-old boy in 2015 as he crossed Schonersville Road will stay behind bars for four years.
County solicitor Melissa Rudas, age 55, has been charged with driving under the influence after a July 8 traffic stop in Bethlehem. Her blood alcohol was 0.08, the lowest level BAC under which a person can be presumed to be under the influence. Charges were filed Thursday with Magisterial District Judge Nicolas Englesson. Rudas has been released on $5,000 unsecured bail.
The last 12 months have been very unprofitable for at least some Northampton County drug dealers. For the fiscal year ending June 30, District Attorney John Morganelli’s office has seized $280,907 in U.S. currency – the most money his office has taken out of the hands of local drug lords in the past five years. In addition, his office has sold 10 vehicles.
Eight years ago, Bethlehem Township and St.Luke’s Hospital entered into a three-phase master development agreement for $40 million in improvements to Freemansburg Avenue, which is the main access point to the hospital’s Anderson campus. Two of these phases are substantially completed, and construction on the third phase is imminent. Bethlehem Township Commissioners voted 4-0 at a lightly-attended July 16 meeting on new timetables for the final third phase. What this means is that all road work outside the hospital should be done within the next six years.