Two new members were sworn in to borough council during the years’ first meeting Jan. 6.
Existing members Douglas Trotter Jr. and Annamarie Jordan recommitted to the oath of office while Jamie Johnson and Wilbert Rufe began their first term. Introducing themselves to the handful of resident witnesses, Johnson said she is originally from the borough and upon returning in 2013 moved into the house next door to her childhood home. Rufe has lived in the borough since 1994 and said he wished to be a conduit for the things his fellow residents want to get done on behalf of the borough.
In a letter to Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio which has since gone public, Southside District Judge Nancy Matos-Gozalez last month criticized irreconcilable differences between city and Lehigh University law enforcement’s handling of marijuana possession cases.
Both departments operate on the Southside, but Matos-Gonzalez notes a disparity in charges by city officers are often more severe, so much so that she feels it has, “brought forth a situation which constricts my ability to dispense equitable justice.”
Fountain Hill’s final budget meeting in mid-December resulted in a .5 mil tax increase. Council member Helen Halleman insisted in a later interview that in 20 years on council she’d never voted for a tax increase, and she was vehemently against this one as it will compound issues of a large senior population on a fixed income and the fact that rental properties outnumber owner-occupied properties in the borough.
“This is going to put a big burden on our taxpayers,” she said.
Each year the Bethlehem Press reflects on the events, big and small, good and bad, that affected our community. Here are a few of the many stories and images we’ve covered in 2019:
• New local celebrity Einstein the Snow Camel visited the Bethlehem Police Mounted Unit to introduce himself to the community. Einstein became famous following a disastrous November snowstorm in which traffic throughout the valley was at a standstill and his Peaceable Kingdom zoo owners took him from his trailer for a walk along Route 22.
Citing rising costs to taxpayers and lack of ethical oversight, Governor Tom Wolf announced recently a three-part plan to address Pennsylvania’s flawed charter school law.
As part of his three-part plan to address Pennsylvania’s flawed charter school law, Wolf announced the Department of Education will institute new fees to fund the growing costs of administering the Charter School Law and recoup the rising costs to taxpayers.
Police Chief Mark DiLuzio announced in a release Friday that two M.R.E. gang members are now charged in the stabbing and burning death of a young man in a trash bin at the Parkhurst apartment buildings at Nicholas and Barbara streets in April 2018.
Money Rules Everything members Miles Harper, 20, or Allentown, and Yzire Jenkins-Rowe, 22, of Bethlehem, are facing charges of kidnapping, possessing instruments of crime, criminal conspiracy and homicide in the death of 18-year-old Tyrell M. Holmes.
A recent report comparing state education systems nationwide has placed Pennsylvania’s primary schools around the middle of the pack.
According to WalletHub, a personal finance website, Pennsylvania ranks 27th out of 51 (including the District of Columbia).
The report weighed numerous criteria, from dropout rates to reading and math scores, to pupil-teacher ratios and bullying incidents, and has been published on websites including Forbes, NBC News and Fox Business.
New Bethany Ministries announced last month that a state grant fund will enable the continuation and expansion of a successful family sheltering program.
The Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) awards include $75,000 for rental assistance to families in need.
Reports that a little boy was struck by lightning Sunday evening were found understandably untrue by Monday afternoon.
According to Police Chief Mark DiLuzio, the 6-year-old was riding his bike on Argus Court during a period of storms when lightening struck a tree nearby. He fell at the same moment, causing neighbors to think he’d been struck.
DiLuzio posits the boy fell from fear, and at the hospital it was determined the lucky fellow sustained only an abrasion on his lip.
City police report that a man climbed high onto the former Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces at ArtsQuest SteelStacks Friday evening, causing concern and forcing the cancellation of events held on the grounds.
Police Chief Mark DiLuzio said in a public statement the man continued to climb to the very top of a structure and took up a position on a single steel beam approximately 300 feet above the ground.