County solicitor Melissa Rudas, age 55, has been charged with driving under the influence after a July 8 traffic stop in Bethlehem. Her blood alcohol was 0.08, the lowest level BAC under which a person can be presumed to be under the influence. Charges were filed Thursday with Magisterial District Judge Nicolas Englesson. Rudas has been released on $5,000 unsecured bail.
The last 12 months have been very unprofitable for at least some Northampton County drug dealers. For the fiscal year ending June 30, District Attorney John Morganelli’s office has seized $280,907 in U.S. currency – the most money his office has taken out of the hands of local drug lords in the past five years. In addition, his office has sold 10 vehicles.
Eight years ago, Bethlehem Township and St.Luke’s Hospital entered into a three-phase master development agreement for $40 million in improvements to Freemansburg Avenue, which is the main access point to the hospital’s Anderson campus. Two of these phases are substantially completed, and construction on the third phase is imminent. Bethlehem Township Commissioners voted 4-0 at a lightly-attended July 16 meeting on new timetables for the final third phase. What this means is that all road work outside the hospital should be done within the next six years.
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.