At their June 15 meeting, divided Bethlehem Township commissioners voted three to two to seek a $250,000 grant toward a $350,000 restroom and storage facility at the Northside Complex, also called the North 40. Supporting the measure were President Marty Zawarski, Tom Nolan and Phil Bernard. Voting no were Michael Hudak and Pat Breslin. Township Manager Melissa Shafer also has her eyes on Northampton County's Space fund for the remaining $100,000 needed.
By a 6-3 vote, North-ampton County Council voted at its June 4 meeting to impose term limits. No member of council will be able to serve more than three (3) four-year terms in succession. Current members will be considered to be serving their first term. Republican Peg Ferraro, who has 21 years on council, voted No, as did Democrats Ken Kraft and Lamont McClure. But the remaining six members of council - Mat Benol, Glenn Geissinger, Scott Parsons, Hayden Phillips, Seth Vaughn and Bob Werner - supported the new law.
Bethlehem and Easton, which have their own economic development departments, are fairly aggressive about chasing every public dollar they can to attract and retain jobs. But what about smaller communities like Nazareth, where the closure of just a few storefronts make a proud borough look like a ghost town?
By a 3-2 vote, Bethlehem Township Commissioners recognized the Bethlehem Township Athletic Association, known as the Bulldogs, as an official township youth sports group at its June 1 meeting. What this means is anyone's guess, but it rankled Bulldog critics like Commissioner Michael Hudak and Recreation Board member Barry Roth. Both have complained often about the favoritism they believe is shown to this group.
Just two weeks ago, Hudak spearheaded a discussion on establishing a formal policy concerning field use by the Bulldogs. That proposal was supported unanimously.
Nazareth Boy Scout Troop 76 conducted a flag retirement ceremony before about 100 guests and residents of Bethlehem Township's Country Meadows on Memorial Day weekend. Old Glory was lowered for the last time, methodically cut and incinerated by scouts who have yet to serve their nation. A new flag was also raised for the first time.
Even the Bishop of the Diocese of Allentown was unable to prevent the skies from opening up.
Despite the presence of Bishop John O. Barres, Notre Dame HS's graduation ceremony for the class of 2015 was subjected to a sudden downpour that will indelibly mark it in the minds of graduates, families and guests. More than 600 people were drenched at the outdoor event, conducted at the school's stadium along Green Pond Road in Bethlehem Township.
Over three decades ago, a group of recent law school grads traveled to Philly every day in a broken-down car to study for the Bar exam. That crew included noted child advocate Phil Hof, District Attorney John Morganelli, Superior Court Judge Jack Panella, and now U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Joseph "Jay" Leeson.
Battle lines are being drawn. Executive John Brown and Northampton County Council appear to be headed to court over raises that Brown has unilaterally given to what he claims are 14 top county officials. This was done without approval of council, the branch of government that sets most wages and salaries under the county's home rule form of government.
After last year's mass exodus, there are now 1,143 retired Northampton County employees. Nearly 250 of them packed into Northampton Memorial Community Center recently for lunch with judicial candidates Abe Kassis, Sam Murray and Vic Scomillio. Those three were in the middle of a race against each other, but have remained on friendly terms and sat together at the same table for lunch.
Executive John Brown was invited, but did not appear. He sent no representative from his administration, either. Ken Kraft was council's delegate to the luncheon.
Despite threatening skies, Hanover Township celebrated its 4th annual Armed Forces Day May16 at Armed Services Park dedicated to the men and women who are serving and have served in all branches of the military.
Residents and dignitaries gathered underneath the flags of each branch of service, along with the Stars and Stripes to reflect on the sacrifices made by those in uniform. The entire township board of supervisors attended the ceremony, and together laid a wreath at the memorial.