In November, Saucon Valley High School Principal Beth Guarriello presented a plan to update policies in the HS Student Handbook. At that time, a proposal was presented to ban five words that were considered “hate speech.” Those words were “Bitch”, the N-Word, “Terrorist”, “Retarded” and “Gay.”
At the council meeting Dec. 4, the borough highlighted the success of the recent Hellertown Light Up Night. On hand was Jessica O’Donnell from the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. According to O’Donnell, with this year’s expansion of the event from one to three hours, an estimated 1,200 people were in attendance. Individuals came from across the Lehigh Valley and beyond, including Phillipsburg, Easton and Carbon County. The success of the event promoted increased foot traffic to the downtown area.
After two nights of testimony, Bethlehem’s Zoning Hearing Board Dec. 12 cleared the way for a 70-unit apartment complex at what used to be called the Floyd Simons Armory on Second Avenue. The board voted 3-0 to grant numerous dimensional variances The biggest of these allows the project to move forward with 99 on-site parking spots instead of the required 123. Voting in support were Bill Fitzpatrick, Jim Schantz and Attorney Mike Santanasto. Two other members of the board, Gus Loupos and Attorney Linda Shay Gardener, were unable to participate.
Bethlehem authorities scrambled Dec. 19 to get a resolution on the agenda in response to possible tax issues anticipated as a result of the then-pending federal tax code revision that was signed into law three days later by President Donald Trump. The new tax code could possibly affect the CRIZ (City Revitalization and Improvement Zone) and the TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) district.
Mary Toulouse teaches French at Lafayette College. But on Nov. 30, as president of Bethlehem’s Mount Airy Neighborhood Association (MANA), she gave a history lesson to the city’s Zoning Hearing Board. It concerned the Armory, a National Historic Landmark located at 345 Second Ave. Peron Development is seeking a special exception and 11 dimensional variances for a four-story, 70 unit apartment complex at the 2.57 acre site. There will be 50 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom units.
State Representative Steve Samuelson (D-135) brought the Mayor’s South Side Task Force up to speed on what is happening in Harrisburg during the task force meeting Nov. 28.
The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) announced the recipients of $50,000 in Spark Grants for veterans affairs programs at the Foundation’s program, “In Focus: Veterans Affairs in the Lehigh Valley,” on December 4, at PBS39, that featured Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15), chairman of the Congressional Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies who was beamed in from the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. via satellite.
On the eve of Veterans Day, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) dedicated and held an open house for the newly completed Dick and Peggy Fleming Military and Veteran Resource/Information Center (MAVRIC).
One of the biggest issues in November’s election was Executive John Brown’s plans for a new jail at Gracedale. Did he want to build there or not? Brown had told council last spring that he had visited a dozen different locations and had ruled out a new jail in Easton. He would build on a greenfield. In July, prison advisory board chair Dan Christenson called Gracedale a great location.
The parking lot at More Miles Automotive on Stefko Boulevard in Bethlehem was alive with Christmas spirit Dec. 16 during the annual Christmas Tree Toss for Charity. Holiday music played in the background as participants competed to see who could throw the tree the furthest, all while raising money for Turning Point, a place that offers safety and services to victims of domestic abuse.