Michael Koury, the son of a priest, was a Lebanese immigrant naturalized as an American citizen in 1926 in Northampton County’s historic Courtroom #1. His son Frank worked the hot ovens at Lehigh Foundries, and when out of work during the Great Depression, often visited Courtroom #1 to watch trials in progress. He would regale his young grandson with tales about the courtroom exploits of colorful lawyers like Charles Hogan.
Years of bickering over a $350,000 bathroom complex for Bethlehem Township’s athletic fields may have finally come to an end. On June 4, commissioners voted unanimously to seek bids for a mobile restroom that would include four toilets and a big ADA-compliant toilet, complete with a wheelchair ramp, for someone who is disabled. PPIS Director Steve Hunsberger presented the options to commissioners. He predicted that they could probably purchase a trailer for about $42,000, and place it on a concrete pad. It will take about 16 weeks to arrive once it’s ordered.
Should Bethlehem Township continue its participation in the Bethlehem Area Public Library? According to a survey recently conducted by National Citizen Survey, the answer is Yes. When township commissioners learned that the state Library Code prevents a referendum, they opted to gauge public opinion on the library and other issues through a $14,265 survey conducted by the National Research Center. Close to 500 responses were received to a questionnaire that went to 1,500 families. The results are available on the township’s internet dashboard.
Discover Lehigh Valley, our local tourism bureau, has been around since 1984. It has a $3 million budget and 13 full-time employees. You might ask yourself, “What good is it?” Is it all just fluff? Mike Stershic, who is President at Discover LV until the end of the year, made an effective case for his agency in a June 7 presentation to Northampton County Council. Here’s a condensed version, by the numbers:
• In 2016, visitors spend $2.2 billion in the Lehigh Valley. They spent more on recreation (28 percent) than all other regions in the state.
A physical therapist employed by St. Luke’s Visiting Nurse Association was charged June 6 with sexually assaulting a 97-year-old Hanover Township man. Arnee Rubi, 42, of McNair Circle in Northampton, was charged last week with two counts of indecent assault after having been caught in the act by the victim’s granddaughter during a home visit on May 21. Rubi had previously visited the victim on at least three occasions for home treatment of a hip injury.
Notre Dame of Green Pond HS graduated 132 seniors June 2 during its 61st commencement exercise. Though a school of faith, the threat of rain forced about 600 people inside. It is also a school of reason. Inside a hot gym, it was standing room only.
Northampton County Council voted 7-1 at their May 17 meeting to require all contractors and subcontractors who perform any county works project valued at $250,000 or more to meet certain basic qualifications, including the establishment of a Class A apprenticeship program.
Matt Dietz was the sole No vote, and Peg Ferraro was absent.
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.