Last month, Controller Steve Barron told Northampton County Council that stronger internal controls are needed over the amount of money spent on travel and related expenses. What bothered him were trips to New Orleans and Las Vegas by human resources staffers, as well as a staggering jump in training for human resources (HR).
Spending there increased from $5,749.35 in 2015 to $56,758.15 in 2016. HR Director Amy Trapp has also spent $800 on a popcorn machine and thousands of dollars for Target gift cards, which are then handed out to some employees.
Joe Negrao, owner of Alexandria Manor, a popular assisted living facility, had a green light to build another at the corner of Linden Street and Oakland Road. Instead, he’s decided on a swim school for children. It will be located next to Lightbridge, a preschool center he plans to build there.
He owns the entire city block along Linden Street, between Johnston Drive and Macada Road.
Northampton County’s investigating grand jury has recommended criminal charges in the daycare death of McKenna Rose Felmly, a three-month old infant who died at a Lehigh Township Day Care April 1, 2016.
At their April 21 meeting, Northampton County Council members honored Palmer Township resident Cathy Gumlock, a retired school teacher, for her crusade against Lyme disease. She is a founding member of the Lehigh Valley Lyme Support Group, which meets the first Wednesday of every month at Country Meadows, 4011 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem Township, Building 1. That group seeks to improve the lives of those who suffer from Lyme disease.
What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, they say. But when word reached NorCo Controller Steve Barron that two human resources staffers went there for training, followed by another trip by one of them to New Orleans, he began to look at training budgets of departments throughout the county. Just as he blows the whistle at the football games he refs on weekends, he’s blowing the whistle on the potential for waste and abuse. In a lengthy memo to council, he is suggesting that county employees require council approval for trips that are more than 100 miles away.
Sometime in mid or late July, Bethlehem Township will finally begin work on the reconstruction of Brodhead Road. That’s a 9,000 foot long, two-lane township road that extends east from Township Line Road until it intersects with Route 191. Located in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, the road is heavily traveled by tractor trailers, and has been the subject of numerous complaints. Commissioners set aside $1.3 million for this project in this year’s budget, and a $400,000 grant has been secured.
When Congressman Charlie Dent faced 400 angry people at Hanover Township Community Center a few weeks ago on a cold and rainy day, it was hard for him to speak more than a few words without being interrupted by numerous catcalls over Trump’s attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare with something that Dent himself refused to support. But the weather and mood was much brighter on April 18, when Congressman Matt Cartwright faced a friendly crowd of about 90 people at Northampton Community College’s Alumni Hall. One of the messages he repeated frequently is that “democracy really works.”
Developer Traditions of America (TOA) wants to build an active senior community at Green Pond Country Club. What makes this development controversial is its location. It’s adjacent to environmentally sensitive wetlands, in the middle of an Audubon-designated “Important Bird Area” called Green Pond Marsh.
One of the annual rites of spring is baseball. Though it’s still chilly outside, kids all over the Lehigh Valley have left the batting cages housed in old warehouses for the diamonds that dot parks all over the Lehigh Valley. But April 6 was a bad night in Mudville for the Northampton County Nine. Council President John Cusick struck out in a seemingly Quixotic quest to shackle Northampton County residents with a new tax in the form of a $5 vehicle registration fee that would make its way from the state to county coffers.
Local civil rights leaders Esther Lee and Sharon Lee refused to let pouring rain prevent them from drawing attention to the female leaders of the freedom movement at a recent news conference. Standing in front of the statues honoring Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King, they announced their own march, scheduled for April 28 at 4 p.m. It will start at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown, make its way to the Freedom Memorial and then return for a banquet.