Bethlehem Press

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Emergency support groups cope with coronavirus threat

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

The coronavirus has forced the closing of local schools and businesses, which has, in turn, forced the American Red Cross Lehigh Valley – Bucks Chapter to curtail planned blood drives, according to Executive Director Peter Brown.

“We are looking at adding [blood] drives,” Brown said in an interview during which he called the blood supply a “big challenge.”

“The public should still go ahead and make appointments to give blood,” he said.

Brown said potential blood donors can arrange appointments by going to the website,, and entering their zip code.

State of the county is ‘excellent’

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

County Executive Phillips Armstrong is running for re-election. “I’m throwing my hat into the ring,” he said dramatically, doffing a fedora and tossing it to the floor before presenting his annual state of Lehigh County address at Coca Cola Stadium March 5.

“The State of Lehigh County is excellent,” he then began.

Armstrong spoke with pride about the Moody’s Bond Rating of AA enjoyed by Lehigh County.

He said he was pleased by the spirit of compromise that led to a balanced budget for 2020.

Area robotics teams compete

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in School

Fifty teams of robotics enthusiasts filled the cafeteria at Emmaus HS all intent on seeing their automated creation in the winner’s circle.

Emmaus’s Steel Hornets Robotics team hosted the First (the name of the organizing nonprofit is “First”) Tech Challenge State Qualifier Robotics Competition. Lead by EHS Chemistry and Robotics instructor John Bradley, Connor Mack, Rachel Tobey, Gabriel Black, Laura Klopchin and Ian Zakos and many other Emmaus students provided the support staff for the robotics competition.

Semi-meeting held in empty room

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Bethlehem city council’s March 17 meeting had to skip its agenda when a lack of a quorum made it impossible to conduct business or vote on agenda items.

Four of the seven Bethlehem city council members skipped the Tuesday night meeting, leaving Council President Adam Waldron, Councilmen Michael Colon and William Reynolds the only audience as Bethlehem Health Department Kristen Wenrich and Bethlehem Emergency Management Director Robert Novatnack and Mayor Robert Donchez explained steps being taken to meet the emergency created by the corona virus.

Religious leaders contribute to defense

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Local religious leaders are making decisions to close schools, cancel services, and otherwise gird for the coronavirus or COVID-19.

“After consulting with medical professionals and the Standing Committee, for the public good and to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities,” said Right Reverend Kevin D. Nichols, Bishop of the Bethlehem Episcopal Diocese. “I have made the difficult decision to call on all churches in the diocese to cease all operations, including worship, through March 30.”

Night to Shine Bringing everyone into the spotlight

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

“Owen had never met her, but he watched others and he knew that escorting a beautiful girl in her best dress down the red carpet was something totally special that he wanted to do,” said Owen’s mother, Bette Jo Smith of Newtown. The proud mom was responding to a question; “What has this event meant to you and your son?”

It was a special evening when special needs young men and women (all 14 and older), were feted at a special gala evening with all the glitz and glamor and star treatment that the organizers could muster.

Groups offer veterans clothing

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Leathernecks Nation Motorcycle Club members teamed with a veterans’ organization, Valor Clinic Foundation in Brodheadsville, to bring clothing to Lehigh Valley veterans recently in a three-city campaign.

The local chapter of Leathernecks Nation Motorcycle Club, the Belleau Wood Chapter, mounted their motorcycles and escorted yellow trucks and after leaving Easton, arrived in Bethlehem about noon. They set up operations in the parking lot opposite New Bethany Ministries on West Fourth Street.

Caring for city’s mounted patrol Business owner offers to purchase diapers for police horses

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Anthony Spagnola, owner of a couple of local restaurants – Sotto Santi at 10 W. Fourth St. and Adagio at 530 Pembroke Road, wants to buy the Bethlehem Police Department’s police horses some “dung bags.” Spagnola made the offer to the Bethlehem City Council during its regular meeting March 3.

Spagnola said the deposits of horse manure outside his restaurant (Sotto Santi) was “a little disgusting,” and that workers eventually do pick up the equine scat, but he doesn’t want the droppings to hit the pavement at all.

Scouts host recognition dinner

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Leaders and officials of the Minsi Trails Council of the Boy Scouts honored Eagle Scout Connor Savage for heroism during the Council Recognition Dinner and annual business meeting Jan. 31. Savage was awarded the National Medal of Merit for his live-saving action when a girl took ill while on a school bus in Stroudsburg began to “move uncontrollably.” He directed others to call 911 while he gave medical assistance to the girl.

The Scouts and their supporters were assembled for their annual recognition dinner at the East Hills Moravian Church on Butztown Road.

Ten 911 workers sacked

Thursday, February 27, 2020 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Former 911 dispatcher LoriAnn Fehnel told Lehigh County commissioners and Lehigh County Executive Philips Armstrong Feb. 12, that she was disappointed in their decision to fire three supervisors and force the resignation of seven dispatchers who used rum-laced eggnog to toast the New Year while on duty in the dispatch room.

Fehnel, a 911 dispatcher from 2007 through 2010 for Allentown, said she felt like someone needs to speak up for the dismissed emergency services personnel.