Lamont McClure was sworn into office Jan. 2 at 3:30 pm Over the next two days, he nominated most of his cabinet. In addition, he filled most of the Deputy positions. He announced these appointments in his county council report on Jan. 4. And in a sign that he will be a very different executive than his predecessor, McClure also announced these appointments in a very public news conference earlier in the day. Every one of his nominees was present, too.
On Jan. 2, before a standing room only crowd of over 300 people packed into Historic Courtroom One, Lamont McClure was sworn in by President Judge Stephen Baratta as the eighth Northampton County Executive since the inception of Home Rule in 1978.
On Dec. 22, shortly before students were being released from school, Justin Kephart, age 35, emptied 11 bullets into his mother, Marylouise Meixell-Moyer, as she left a family home on Dennis Street. Officer John Meehan was the first police officer on the scene, along with neighbor Douglas Wallace. They were forced to duck behind a car as they both began taking fire.
One of the bullets fired at Meehan whizzed between his hand and head.
After two nights of testimony, Bethlehem’s Zoning Hearing Board Dec. 12 cleared the way for a 70-unit apartment complex at what used to be called the Floyd Simons Armory on Second Avenue. The board voted 3-0 to grant numerous dimensional variances The biggest of these allows the project to move forward with 99 on-site parking spots instead of the required 123. Voting in support were Bill Fitzpatrick, Jim Schantz and Attorney Mike Santanasto. Two other members of the board, Gus Loupos and Attorney Linda Shay Gardener, were unable to participate.
Mary Toulouse teaches French at Lafayette College. But on Nov. 30, as president of Bethlehem’s Mount Airy Neighborhood Association (MANA), she gave a history lesson to the city’s Zoning Hearing Board. It concerned the Armory, a National Historic Landmark located at 345 Second Ave. Peron Development is seeking a special exception and 11 dimensional variances for a four-story, 70 unit apartment complex at the 2.57 acre site. There will be 50 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom units.
One of the biggest issues in November’s election was Executive John Brown’s plans for a new jail at Gracedale. Did he want to build there or not? Brown had told council last spring that he had visited a dozen different locations and had ruled out a new jail in Easton. He would build on a greenfield. In July, prison advisory board chair Dan Christenson called Gracedale a great location.
Until he resigned in July 2016, David Tidd was Magisterial District Judge in Hellertown and Lower Saucon Township. It was a position he had held since 2009. He should be there now. But he stepped down because of an ethics inquiry that resulted in 13 separate charges against him. Following five days of testimony, Tidd was cleared by Pennsylvania’s Court of Judicial Discipline recently of all violations, except for one instance in which he angrily confronted his staff.
Twelve-year-old Emma Raymondo was a seventh-grader at Easton MS, a member of the Junior National Honor Society and a high yellow belt at the Lehigh Valley Martial Arts School. On Sept. 22, while she and her siblings were walking home from an ice cream trip to the Sheetz Convenience Store along Route 248 in Palmer Township, she was struck and killed by a person whom Palmer Police believe was distracted by his cellphone
At its Nov. 27 meeting, Northampton County’s nine-member Gaming Board awarded $530,834.40 in “impact” grants to the municipalities surrounding Bethlehem’s Sands Casino. But they may have played Santa Claus for the last time.
Drug overdose deaths have increased sharply in the Lehigh Valley since 2014, according to records maintained by both the Northampton and Lehigh county coroners. These fatalities have increased sharply even though drug overdose reversal kits have been widely available and have been used by first responders over the past year.