You have a busy day ahead of you, even if your plans are fluid. With a brisk walk you pass through several neighborhoods, chatting with acquaintances and stopping at small shops and public parks as you make your way to a public event. An entertainer is visiting, but you still take a few minutes at the library before you get to the venue and find your seat.
The Lehigh Valley mayors panel luncheon Feb. 10 lacked half the invited members and took a sour turn in its second hour. Held at Lehigh University’s Iacocca Hall, the topic was municipal sustainability, but after presentations the discussion ranged widely.
Fountain Hill Borough Council was quick with its very few official items at its Feb. 17 workshop meeting, with the balance of the evening spent on a presentation from bidding municipal insurance company WSA Insurance.
Company official Timothy Schrantz, a managing general agent, provided in-depth packets to board members, carefully developed with help from borough Executive Administrator Tony Branco.
Bethlehem city officials unveiled the plans for the long-awaited Fahy Bridge rehabilitation prior to the council meeting in the Rotunda Feb. 16.
Photos, computer renderings and schematics were on display for public viewing and those involved with the project were on hand to explain details and respond to questions.
It’s the 275th birthday of the city, and public safety and economic development are the priorities for Mayor Bob Donchez this year.
“Bethlehem is at a critical junction in its history,” said Donchez during the annual State of the City address at ArtsQuest SteelStacks Feb. 17. “It is one of the best cities to live and work in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As your mayor, I believe we must continue to build on our economic success.
“I am determined to keep moving forward, and I ask all of you to help Bethlehem move forward into the future,” he added.
After more than a few arguments, borough council has resolved its contentious zoning hearing board issue.
Some board members had been playing fast and loose with keeping appointments, growing progressively less likely to appear for meetings in the past year, and council recently began discussing downsizing the board from five to three members to lay the responsibility on more reliable members.
Two new volunteers appeared, however, and were accepted at the Feb. 1 council meeting.
Much like every other municipality, residents of Freemansburg were talking about the snowstorm at the following borough council meeting.
Beth Robinson, a Thistle Street resident speaking for the Townes at Market Square, asked her area be left alone during snowstorms because they pay a contractor $800 for such services. She said public works attending to it just wastes residents’ money.
State Sen. Lisa Boscola announced Friday a total of $850,000 in state grant funds for conservation/recreational projects in Lehigh and Northampton counties.
“I am pleased to have played a role in obtaining state grant dollars to support these worthy local projects,” Boscola said. “Well-maintained and accessible parks, recreation areas and community facilities are attractions that bolster business activity and enhance the quality of life throughout our region.”
The projects include:
Six days after snowstorm Jonas swept into the eastern United States and blanketed the Lehigh Valley in 30 inches of snow in less than two days, residents of Bethlehem were still driving with care.
Some roads were still compacted into a single lane with towering heaps of white on each side, forcing drivers to take turns swerving into driveways to let others pass.
Salt-encrusted metal chairs stood lone watch between solid mounds of curbside snow. Pedestrians trudged precariously mere inches away from traffic because sidewalks still remained impassible.
During an entire career spent within a single municipal organization, Mark Iampietro witnessed a slow, trudging improvement he reflects on with pride but was largely too gradual for most people to even notice.
He’s now retiring, but for 42 years he’s been at the heart of the Bethlehem Housing Authority, working to serve and provide for some of the city’s struggling residents against changing social challenges and government priorities.
Even as his office is in disarray and boxes are packed, he prefers to talk about the department and its mission over himself.