Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Board honors 3 county residents

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Lehigh Commissioners paid homage to one of the county’s most illustrious and highly respected citizens recently. Joseph R. Zeller, “statesman, patriot, and recipient of the Freedom Foundation Award” was honored on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Mr. Zeller’s birthday was Sept. 19.

In a special resolution, the commissioners thanked Zeller “for a lifetime of service to his community and his country.”

South Whitehall officer’s case will go to court

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Police Log

Magisterial District Judge Daniel Trexler, at a preliminary hearing on Thursday, sent, or “bound over” former South Whitehall Township police officer Jonathan Robert Roselle’s case to court. Roselle is charged with the voluntary manslaughter of Joseph Santos, reportedly from New Jersey.

A spokeswoman for the Lehigh District Attorney’s office said no trial date has been set at this time.

The hearing Sept. 20 was attended by the defendant, family members, reporters, legal staff, security staff and others.

Local men honored

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Lehigh Commissioners paid homage to one of the county’s most illustrious and highly respected citizens on Wed. Joseph R. Zeller, “statesman, patriot, and recipient of the Freedom Foundation Award” was honored on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Mr. Zeller’s birthday is Sept. 19.

In a special resolution, the Commissioners thanked Zeller “for a lifetime of service to his community and his country.”

County may do away with cash bail

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Lehigh Valley is on the verge of doing away with cash bail, if the enthusiasm level in the Lehigh County Commissioner’s chamber is a predictor. Proponents of the measure spoke Sept. 14 to what seemed to be a very supportive group of commissioners and county administrative officials.

Allentown resident Julie Thomases said, “We are here to make a case for doing away with cash bail for non-violent and low-risk offenders, as has Northampton County, Philadelphia and other counties, cities and states.

Donchez cracks down on rentals

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez responded to criticism of the apparent lack of enforcement of the new ordinance restricting the use of private residences as short-term rentals Sept. 18 at the city council’s meeting.

“Effective this weekend,” said Donchez, “there will be an increase in monitoring and enforcement of short-term lodging facilities throughout the city. We will now have on-call and proactive monitoring of our short-term lodging ordinance on Thursday and Friday evenings, as well as on Saturday and Sunday.”

LEHIGH COUNTY New budget to buy assets, forgo debt

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Lehigh County Commissioners, officials and citizens got their first look at the proposed budget for 2019 last week when County Executive Phillips Armstrong presented his first budget since assuming office. After a visual presentation of supporting charts and documents, Armstrong gave the hefty 488-page budget to Commissioner Dr. Percy Dougherty.

To make the proposed $506.1 million budget (themed “Back to the Future”) balance, Armstrong resurrected the 2015 millage rate of 3.79 to meet projected needs. “This is the budget that meets the needs of the future,” said Armstrong.

LEHIGH COUNTY Where do my taxes go?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong answered his own rhetorical question, “What Do My Lehigh County Tax Dollars Pay For?”

•Law and Order: Courts, Jail, District Attorney, Sheriff, Public Defender, Coroner

•Cedarbrook Senior Care and Rehabilitation

•General Services

•County Infrastructure including, parks, trails, the Velodrome and historic sites, Coca-Cola Park, Trexler Nature Preserve, emergency management, the 9-1-1 Center and farmland preservation

City golf course funding approved

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Two new ordinances were scheduled to be voted on by Bethlehem City Council Sept. 4 but one, an amendment to the fireworks ordinance was pulled to allow council to reconcile differences on the permitted hours for fireworks.

The second bill, a $2 million general obligation note for improvement at the Bethlehem Golf Club on Illicks Mill Road, got preliminary or first reading approval from the council, but over the objection of councilwomen Dr. Paige Van Wirt and Olga Negrón.

It’s not working Airbnb law ineffective

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Residents packed the city council’s chambers last week to hear that the recent law passed by Bethlehem’s legislative body to control the phenomenon of private homes being turned into short-term rentals for a constantly shifting population is not working.

Bethlehem City Solicitor William Leeson explained that there is a pending lawsuit against the City of Bethlehem challenging the validity of the ordinance. He said this has effectively put enforcement on hold until that case has been adjudicated – a process that, if appealed, could take years.

BETHLEHEM City asked to regulate strays

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

“A ginger cat called out to me one morning on my walk to work,” said Julie Vitale, tears never far from her eyes.

Vitale, a Bethlehem resident, was speaking Aug. 21 to Bethlehem City Council urging the city to adopt a TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) policy. She was describing an incident that happened in Allentown, but was telling her story hoping that it would emphasize the plight of feral cats in Bethlehem.