If you’ve been saying that Northampton County Council is in the dark, you’re right! Well, at least they were at their July 20 meeting. A Summer thunderstorm plunged the courthouse into darkness in the middle of the meeting.
“I called it!” said Ken Kraft, who previously had predicted there would be a power outage.
Northampton County is getting the lead out. It just received a $1.5 million grant from Housing and Urban Development to help residents with lead remediation in owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects.
Frank Brooks and Mike Brett of Northampton County’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), under the leadership of Director Tim Herrlinger, deserve the credit for lobbying federal officials for these funds. This money is provided to help the county’s neediest homeowners, and more importantly, their children.
In the wake of a federal investigation of political corruption in Allentown that has already resulted in nine guilty pleas, local governments are taking notice. Bethlehem, Allentown and Lehigh County have all taken at least some steps to improve transparency and impose greater oversight with government contracts.
But Northampton County Council passed at such an opportunity at their July 6 meeting. To be specific, they rejected an ordinance giving them more authority over county contract approvals.
After a rash of complaints about the noise and dust caused by all-terrain vehicles, Bethlehem Township Commissioners are on the brink of strictly regulating their use. A proposed ordinance, debated at JUne 19 meeting, would ban their use between dusk and dawn. They would also be required to stay at least 100 feet away from the property line of any adjacent owner.
In 1771, Northampton County Deputy Sheriff Nathan Ogden was killed while attempting to execute an arrest warrant. He is the first known law enforcement officer to make the ultimate sacrifice for his community in America. Unfortunately, many others have followed. Last year alone, 134 police officers died in the line of duty. In memory of Nathan Ogden and his fallen comrades, the Northampton County Chiefs of Police Association established an annual award in 2002 for a police officer who distinguishes himself and his profession.
After a rash of complaints about the noise and dust caused by all-terrain vehicles, Bethlehem Township Commissioners are on the brink of strictly regulating their use. A proposed ordinance, debated at Monday night’s meeting, would ban their use between dusk and dawn. They would also be required to stay at least 100 feet away from the property line of any adjacent owner.
Notre Dame Catholic HS of Green Pond graduated 122 seniors at its 51st commencement ceremony earlier this month in an outdoor ceremony attended by over 700 people at its Bethlehem Township campus. Unlike some previous years, in which periodic downpours soaked everyone, this year’s graduation was under sunny skies with no hints of rain. It truly is a school of faith.
Class of 2017 honorees included Dannielle Hibshman, the school’s valedictorian who will be attending Syracuse University. Salutatorian Sophia Macchia will attend Drexel University.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services maintain a five-star rating system for nursing homes. Those with five stars are considered the best. Gracedale, Northampton County’s nursing home, had a four-star (“above average”) rating in January. But that has gone on a downward slide to just one star, or “much below average.”
That’s its lowest rating. According to both Human Services Director Allison Frantz and Gracedale Administrator Rayond Soto, Gracedale may wear this black eye for as long as a year.
Bethlehem Catholic HS graduated its 2017 class of 202 seniors in a commencement ceremony at the school auditorium June 7. Though the school is mostly known for its athletic prowess in the East Penn Conference and District XI, this graduating class received 176 scholarships and awards to 52 different colleges and universities.
Northampton County Executive John Brown has signed an executive order for a no-bid contract to study a new jail. The deal is with DLR Group, a nationally based architectural firm. In doing so, Brown sidestepped the competitive bidding required under the county’s Administrative Code. At council’s June 1 meeting, solicitor Phil Lauer ruled that it is a sole source contract with no competitive bidding, and hence is contrary to what is required under county law.