It’s seen better days. When Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Co. Engine 1742 was first placed in service in 1995, it was a four-wheel drive behemoth capable of traveling off road to deliver a 500-gallon payload. In addition to extinguishing brush fires, its off road capabilities made it suitable for accidents in which cars are knocked off the highway. But after a 2002 accident that caused significant damage, firefighters can no longer use it as a front line resource.
On June 21, Northampton County Council adopted a strongly-worded resolution calling for the resignations of General Purpose Authority (GPA) Chair Shawn Langen and Solicitor John Lushis. This followed a lengthy meeting the day before, in which Langen suggested once or twice that Council might lack his understanding of high finance. But when Council member Lori Vargo Heffner asked him to explain what he does, he refused to answer. He instead complained that the meeting, which he earlier derided as a “dog and pony show,” was making him late for a dinner party.
John Morganelli is a practicing Catholic, but he’s also Pennsylvania’s most senior District Attorney. He wants to be able to review a statewide grand jury report into decades of alleged sexual abuse and cover-ups by Catholic clerics at six Catholic dioceses, including the Diocese of Allentown. Nearly two dozen clergymen want to prevent this report from being made public.
Earlier this month, Bethlehem resident Kirk Hawk suffered a heart attack while visiting the township community center. Thanks to the quick action of the staff, he has made a complete recovery. At the Bethlehem Township Commissioner’s June 18 meeting, several emergency workers received commendations: Dana Donatelli, Madisyn Einfalt, Kylene E Gill and William Wescoe.
In a strongly worded resolution that reads more like an indictment, Northampton County Council issued a harsh rebuke to the county’s embattled General Purpose Authority (GPA) at its June 21 meeting. By an 8-0 vote, with Peg Ferraro abstaining, members are asking for the resignations of GPA Chair Shawn Langen and GPA solicitor John Lushis. They have also requested this independent body to refrain from marketing public private partnerships, also known as P3s, to other entities.
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.