All seven Bethlehem City Council candidates were in church, but they were not praying. At least not yet. They were there for a recent candidates' night hosted by the Northwest Block Watch, which meets monthly at the Church of the Manger on Greenview Street.
His name is Bishop but he's a priest. Father Cliff Bishop, Pastor at both the Incarnation of Our Lord and Holy Ghost Parishes in South Bethlehem, stood before the City's Zoning Hearing Board April 22. The cemetery there has a house that was once occupied by a caretaker, but is currently vacant. So Father Bishop wants to offer the home for sale. He needed what zoners call a variance for the residential use right next to the graveyard.
"I would assume there would be no objection from the residents right next to the home?" asked Chairman Gus Loupos.
In his recent State of the County address, Northampton County Executive John Brown stated that "[t]here are no sacred cows. There's nothing sacred although a lot of departments think they are."
Bethlehem Township resident Don Wright is worried about the increasing number of coyotes he sees in his neighborhood, along with stray pit bulls. "There are a lot of small pets," he told commissioners at their April 6 meeting. "Also small children."
Manager Melissa Shafer stated that the township web page has several tips on dealing with coyotes.
-Firmly secure your garbage so that a coyote would not be able to gain access and eat from garbage bins.
-Only feed your pets inside and never leave or store pet food outdoors.
Voter turnout in municipal elections is historically low. In 2013, for example, the turnout was just 19 percent in Northampton County and 22 percent in Lehigh County.
Four out of five Lehigh Valley voters had no role in deciding on the leaders who impact them more than anyone. In an effort to change that, AFSCME and local leaders recently rallied at Gracedale to encourage more people to vote.
By a 3-2 vote at its April 20 meeting, Bethlehem Township's Board of Commissioners approved a series of waivers and deferrals for a controversial senior housing development proposed by developer Traditions of America. This senior housing specialist has submitted plans for a 261-home development located next to Green Pond Marsh, a habitat for over 280 species of migratory birds designated as wetlands by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Northampton County's 228 clerical workers will soon start seeing a slightly fatter paycheck. This is thanks to a proposal by Executive John Brown to give them an approximate 4.5 percent pay raise. It cuts across both union and nonunion lines, and is in addition to whatever union employees are awarded as a result of binding arbitration.
AFSCME union agent Justus James, who was "stunned" by this development, gave his enthusiastic endorsement.
When you see her, hundreds of names will likely be written all over her lovely pink body. Her name is Sally, but she wasn't always a pink lady. Until recently, she was an aging, rusting decommissioned firetruck, ready for the scrap heap. Thanks to Pink Heals LV founder Bill Andress and Bethlehem Area Vo-Tech, the 1962 pumper can continue to lives.
What would you do if someone showed up at your house with 1,500 yard waste toters? Big ones, too, at 96 gallons each? That's not your problem, but it will soon be a headache for Hanover Township Public Works Director Vince Milite. At their April 14 meeting, supervisors voted 4-0 to spend $74,412 to buy 1,475 of these wheeled trash cans for residents. Most of the money for this purchase comes from recycling grants.
"I don't know what I'm going to do with them," Milite said, but predicted they will go fast. "We've been getting calls after calls after calls."
Though there are eight Republican candidates for three seats on the Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners, only four of them appeared for a recent candidates' night hosted by the Northampton County GOP at Northampton Community College. The candidates who did appear before an audience of about 50 people were incumbent commissioners Phil Barnard, Tom Nolan and Marty Zawarski, along with former Commissioner Art Murphy.