After more than four decades in education, Bethlehem native Virginia Gonzalez had finally come to terms with the idea of retirement. It’s now time to travel, focus on friendships and find personally meaningful projects to occupy her days.
She sat with the Press some time ago to reflect on the social evolution of her Southside neighborhood and the city, her career at Northampton Community College, and the ever-changing face of the local college population and the niche schools like NCC fill.
When I recently asked Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio what he would wish for given unlimited resources, he said, “World peace.”
Walking from wide, sterile hallways into the dayroom was like stepping out of the shade into the sun. The cavernous hall was not nearly filled with people, but there was a humming bustle as knots of elderly men and women ate and talked with each other and passing aides. Doris Day rang from a stereo at the front of the room and a scheduled group activity was about to commence.
It was just another day at Senior LIFE’s new facility on High Point Boulevard.
Directors and administrators conducted a lengthy discussion March 29 as they took another look at the ever-constricting 2017-18 budget. Despite paring down his wish-list and clipping away plans and services, Superintendent Dr. Joseph Roy said he is not optimistic about the financial future of the district.
The culprits, to no one’s surprise, are pensions and charter schools, said board members, who lamented the lack of activity and responsibility toward education by legislators in Harrisburg. “State policies continue to hurt us,” Roy said.
City administrators lauded four police officers and welcomed two new department members in remarks during a brief ceremony in the Rotunda Thursday.
Mayor Bob Donchez and Chief Mark DiLuzio each stressed the importance and success of public safety to Bethlehem, often looked upon as one of the safest cities in the state, and thanked the officers for potentially placing themselves in harm’s way to protect their fellow citizens.
Donchez said the city is now celebrating 275 years of rich history, and its recent placement on a list of tentative World Heritage sites reinforces not only its place in history, but the community’s perseverance through challenges.
“We have always risen to the occasion and created a better, more stable future for our community, and our children. We are hardworking and determined. Our strength comes from our partnerships, and our ability to work together. United…we can stand up to any adversity,” Donchez said.
“For being 275 years old, I think we look pretty good.”
Russell K. Laros Jr. joined his father’s already long-running charitable foundation in 1965, and over more than 50 years he served as trustee, chair and board member while pursuing an equally storied career in obstetric medicine.
For five years architect Mike Mayrosh has toiled over designs as residents waited, shaking their heads at dripping ceilings, equipment and extension cords lying about, and great unsecured fuel tanks rusting amid their Pool Street homes.
But Feb. 15 it came to pass: Council voted to advertise for the construction of a new public works facility.
Sen. Lisa Boscola has proposed eliminating property taxes statewide, citing a desire to release senior citizens from the burden. HB/SB 76 has been introduced before and almost succeeded, said Boscola representative Joe Kelly, but it will likely be on the agenda for further discussion at a special session in the near future.