The June 30 edition of PBS 39’s Community Conversations series featured a discussion on the recently trending topic of police misconduct and accountability. The program featured a panel of five local officials, along with PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who offered pre-recorded comments. Joining host Monica Evans were Allentown Police Chief Glenn Granitz, Allentown criminal defense attorney Ettore Angelo, Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley, Executive Director of Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley Dr. Hasshan Batts and Pa. State Trooper John Scott.
The June 23 Saucon Valley School Board meeting wound up being less contentious than anticipated, due to a surprising last-minute decision to table layoffs and other cuts that were originally scheduled to be voted on then, until later this summer.
Imagine this scenario: It’s a warm and muggy June evening, roughly 11 p.m. It’s been a long day of work and childcare, which has been particularly stressful over the last three months, thanks to Covid-19. You and your partner just let the dogs out one last time, checked in on the kids (they’ve been in bed since 9), and locked up the house.You brush your teeth and climb into bed. You hope you can fall asleep soon - your 6 a.m. alarm always comes fast. You turn the lights off, lay your head down on the pillow and close your eyes. Just as you start to drift off - BOOM! - an explosion!
Police brutality and racism have been a hot topic in America for the last several weeks, and the June 15 Hellertown Borough Council virtual meeting was no exception, as Mayor David Heintzelman, Council President Thomas J. Reiger and others addressed concerns from community members in separate statements.
Early in the meeting, Reiger read a question from an anonymous resident, “asking the Mayor (Heintzelman) and Chief of Police (Robert Shupp III) to share what specific steps Hellertown police have taken to ensure that none of our officers use excessive force.”
The Saucon Valley School Board, which has been running meetings virtually through the Zoom application switched to a “webinar format,” which became necessary after the aborted May 26 meeting, which saw over 200 people try to attend.
The crowd, which included many teachers and other district employees attending in anticipation of discussion of necessary budgetary cuts, was too large for the regular application to contain and several board members were not able to join the “room,” necessitating the postponement and ultimate cancellation of the meeting.
Deborah Bacon of Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC presented the 2019 Hellertown Borough Audit at the June 1 borough council virtual meeting. She opened on a positive note, saying that the audit demonstrated an “unmodified or clean opinion on the financial statements and there were no findings to be reported.” The audit reported a $1 million dollar surplus of borough revenues versus expenses, compared with a $200,000 shortfall in 2018 and a $400,000 surplus in 2017.
The 123rd class of Saucon Valley High School celebrated graduation exercises Saturday, June 6 in a unique ceremony in the parking lot of the district’s campus.
Families sat in their festively decorated vehicles as they watched the ceremony on the big screen and tuned their car radios to hear audio from speakers on this sunny, warm and breezy late-spring afternoon.
The ceremony was posted one day due to impending storms.
The May 12 school board meeting began on a positive note, as Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler spoke highly of the district’s implementation of remote educational programs under unprecedented circumstances. He touted the continuing success of instruction through programs such as Schoology and Seesaw, saying, “Over the last month or so, [participation is] up at the elementary school level with weekly and total items up over 900 percent.
Hellertown Borough Council had a busy month of May, choosing to cancel or indefinitely postpone several of their popular summertime recreational activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saucon Valley School Board’S April 27 meeting was once again held virtually through the Zoom application (also available for retroactive public viewing through the district’s YouTube channel, as all meetings are), running for nearly three hours and heavily centering on Superintendent Dr. Craig Butler’s proposal to begin a Spanish Immersion Program at the elementary level.