Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

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.

LEHIGH COUNTY Gaming grantees chosen

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

“This is my 27th year in corrections,” said Warden Janine Donate when asked by Commissioner Nathan Brown to address the board of commissioners Aug 22. She is currently the warden of the Lehigh County Jail.

Donate had just been introduced by Lehigh County Executive Philips Armstrong as someone of whom he is proud; someone who has been “coming up from our own ranks.”

LEHIGH COUNTY: Armstrong favors car register fee

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Lehigh County Commissioners approved their 2019–23 Capital Plan Aug. 8. The plan sets the investment in capital projects through 2023. Commissioner Dr. Percy Dougherty sponsored the plan. He said the $129.1 million plan is higher than previous years because it contains about $73 million for the planned Cedarbrook renovation.

In other business, the commissioners reappointed William McQuilken of Lynn Township to the Lehigh County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Board.

LEHIGH COUNTY-Commissioners talk immigration status

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Lehigh County Commissioners gave preliminary approval for the 2019-20 Capital Plan July 25. In gross numbers, the plan calls for a five-year grand total expenditure of $129,107,334.

The first reading of the plan passed 8–0. Commissioner Brad Osborne was absent.

Some big-ticket expenses being funded in 2019 include replacement of the voting system - $3.5 million; the Coplay to Northampton Bridge - $5 million; courthouse upgrades - $1.06 million.

Residents, council praise conversion ordinance

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Advocates for the bill banning conversion or restorative therapy for minors in the jurisdiction of the City of Bethlehem were happy when City Council voted 6 – 0 (Councilman Michael Colon was absent) to pass the bill.

“You are the 17th municipality in Pennsylvania to pass a similar ordinance,” said Adrian Shanker, a leader in the LGBT community. He is the founder and executive director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown. He serves on the advisory board for Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity among other responsibilities.

Valley nonprofits in pipline to receive grants

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

The Pennsylvania Music Preservation Society will probably get a $2,000 grant, $3,000 less than the newly formed nonprofit had requested. Lehigh County Commissioners approved a motion at its July 11 meeting to amend the bill to reduce the original $5,000 to $2,000.

At the previous meeting, at the first reading of the bill, Commissioner Percy Dougherty opposed the idea of giving $5,000 saying other deserving organizations who have been operational for many years were only getting $2,000. The bill will be voted on again at the next commissioners meeting.

Ordinance outlaws conversion therapy

Monday, July 16, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in Local News

Conversion therapy for minors is now illegal in Bethlehem. City council voted 7-0 July 3 to revoke the business license of any licensed therapist found to be providing a service that seeks to, according to the stature, “change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attraction or feeling toward the individuals of the same gender.”

Allentown passed a similar ordinance in 2017.

‘Never forget who you are’ Bethlehem graduates recipients of grants, scholarships

Monday, July 16, 2018 by DOUGLAS GRAVES in School

Not everyone can have a legacy such as the one left by Dr. James F. Goodwin, Jr.; one that continues to influence the lives of young men and women long after his passing. The African-American physician, who practiced medicine in Bethlehem in 1935, had struggled to get his education. According to a biography, the experience led him to start a scholarship program to “help deserving Negro students who needed financial assistance.”