Moravian College's Foy Hall is usually a venue for harpsichords and bassoons. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson had neither, though he did sing at times to more than 150 people. As part of Black History Month, Dyson was invited to discuss where we are in the civil rights movement.
Charles Dickens might say "it is the best of times, and it is the worst of times." The hip-hop group Future would say, "at the same damn time." Dyson acknowledged that we've made tremendous progress, but we have a long way to go.
Northampton County's nine-person gaming board is off to a late start this year. Its first meeting, scheduled in January, was canceled as a result of a snow emergency, so it started one month behind schedule on Feb. 23.
The gaming board was created by Northampton County Council to distribute the slots tax revenue received from Bethlehem Sands Casino's table games tax revenue, which is doled out by the county. This money can be used for any purpose deemed to be in the best interests of the county.
At their March 2 meeting, Bethlehem Township Commissioners voted unanimously to finally start work on the Housenick Park's Trails. "It's a long time coming," noted Michael Hudak. "I'm glad to see it's finally moving forward." Commissioners awarded a $471,000 contract to NIMARIS Construction to complete the trails and build a driveway and parking lot.
The funding for this is coming from a Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant, matched by funds from the Housenick Park Trust. Construction is expected to start this spring.
Hanover Township Director of Administration Ryan P. Kish was presented with a Major Award by Public Works Director Vince Milite during the March 10 supervisors' meeting. Kish was presented with a plaque and handshake for "satisfactory completion of snow operations" during some recent storms.
Milite was in a bind because his road crew was two men short, when Manager Jay Finnigan volunteered Kish to hit the road, plowing away in his wing tips.
"No mailboxes were knocked down," reported Finnigan.
When two police chiefs, a fire chief and Mayor Bob Donchez ask for something, it's hard to say no. At its Feb. 25 meeting, Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board said yes. In a 5-0 vote, members granted a use variance that will allow Lehigh University to build a new police station at the site of the 100-year-old Windish hall, located at 321 E. Packer Ave.
This is part of Lehigh's recent efforts to get closer to the community where many of its students live.
Northampton County Council members voted unanimously at their March 5 meeting to require seven working days notice before approval of any future appointments by the county executive.
This new ordinance, proposed by Republican Hayden Phillips and Democrat Bob Werner, is a reaction to several of Executive John Brown's cabinet selections. Council was provided with little advance notice, and part-time Council members argue they need more time to research nominees.
In 2011, voters overwhelmingly decided to keep Gracedale, the Northampton County-owned nursing home that originally served as its poorhouse. In an effort to make the aging facility more efficient and cost-effective, the county decided to replace in-house administrators with Premier Healthcare.
Bethlehem Township Commissioners deadlocked at their Feb. 16 meeting on changes to their paid time off (PTO) plan for its 17 non-union workers.
Tom Nolan and Phil Barnard favored a slight adjustment upward, to bring them into line with the unions. But Mike Hudak and Marty Zaworski were opposed. Pat Breslin was absent, and commissioners vowed to explore the policy again at the next meeting. Breslin, a conservative, voted against the 2015 budget over minor pay raises.
Northampton County Fiscal Affairs Director Jim Hunter approached council's Finance Committee on Feb. 18 with "good news" and "bad news."
Although 23 municipalities have passed resolutions or ordinances opposing the proposed 103-mile long PennEast Pipeline, Bethlehem Township is taking a different approach to the controversial conduit for natural gas conduit extending from the coal regions to New Jersey.
By a 4-0 vote, with Pat Breslin absent, commissioners endorsed solicitor Wendy Nicolosi's suggestion that an expert be retained to make sure that wetlands are preserved, sinkholes avoided and highway crossings minimized.