Pat Breslin is in his final year as a Bethlehem Township commissioner. He rarely speaks during meetings. But he gave WAEB-AM790 radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh an earful during a recent interview about township finances.
Northampton County’s 911 dispatchers fielded 97,000 emergency calls last year, 67 percent of which were from cell phones. There were even 161 emergency text messages. There were also 296,000 non-emergency calls.
One of Bethlehem Township’s most heavily traveled roads may soon be getting even more traffic. Truck traffic, too.
On Jan. 19, Executive John Brown told Northampton County Council that he expected Gracedale, the county-owned nursing home, to finish 2016 about $800,000 in the black. But at council’s Feb. 3 meeting, as the picture becomes clearer, Brown now says the net profit will only be about $200,000. This would still be the first time since 2007 that the facility turned a profit.
Nearly every year, Bethlehem Township Commissioners grumble about funding the Bethlehem Area Public Library. Its operations are financed by Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township, Hanover Township and Fountain Hill Borough. Bethlehem Township has 9,749 cardholders, including 528 new cardholders in 2015. That translates to 41 percent of the township’s population.
Late last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the host fee that casinos must pay each year, concluding that it violates the state constitution’s uniformity clause. Though the state legislature was given until Jan. 26 to enact a legislative fix, it has thus far been unable to do so.
Three state senators sought and were granted an extension until May 26. But Justice David Wecht dissented. “This court should not, and I daresay properly cannot, ease the burdens of democracy by suspending the Pennsylvania Constitution at the first sign of political gridlock,” he wrote.
Pawel Zelinski, a proponent of “free energy” and “being green,” is willing to pay $23,000 for solar panels on his Ninth Avenue home. But at the Jan. 24 meeting, Bethlehem’s Zoning Hearing Board decided that being safe trumps being green. They unanimously rejected plans that would permit Zelinski to install solar panels as close as two feet away from the edge of the roof.
During Freemansburg’s popular National Night Out in early August, you’ll find Mayor Gerald Yob behind the grill. Instead of surrounding himself with fawning sycophants, he grills hamburgers and hot dogs, and at no charge, for hungry people.
You’ll see him at every parade and borough event. On Northampton County’s Gaming Authority, with his quiet but very effective voice for his borough’s 2,600 residents, he managed to persuaded his much larger neighbors to fund a grant for a modern police station.
Sara Packer, an ex-adoption supervisor in Northampton County and foster mother to at least 30 children, has been charged in the brutal rape, murder and dismemberment of her 15 year-old adopted daughter, Grace. This situation has raised all kinds of questions about how Packer was hired and promoted, and why she was fired.
Though final numbers are still pending, Executive John Brown reported to Northampton County Council Jan. 19 that he expects Gracedale, the county-owned nursing home, to finish 2016 about $800,000 in the black. If those numbers hold, it will be the first time since 2007 that the facility turned a profit.