A record number of performances and performers, several new programming elements and nearly ideal weather conditions combined to attract a record number of patrons to Musikfest and the city of Bethlehem Aug. 4-13. Attendance at the 2017 festival, presented by the nonprofit ArtsQuest, was 1,196,000, up 25 percent from the 957,000 people who attended the event in 2016. The 2017 attendance tops the previous all-time attendance record of 1,152,000 set in 2008 and equaled in 2009.
Back in January, Bethlehem Township Commissioners were poised for a referendum about the township’s continued participation in Bethlehem Area Public Library. President Mike Hudak complained that only a small percentage of residents use it, but the annual fee is $17.25 per capita. But the Library Law makes it virtually impossible to ask voters directly whether they want to remain. So lawmakers have come up with another way to gauge public opinion - a survey.
Deputy Fire Chief Craig Baer in a statement Wednesday said early investigation into the Aug. 10 warehouse fire on Commerce Center Boulevard was likely accidental.
Baer, who is also fire marshal, said he determined the fire originated on the roof while the final roof surface was being installed. The installation process of the final roof surface involves the use of a highly flammable adhesive, and the vapors from this adhesive were likely ignited by one of multiple ignition sources on the roof.
There is no evidence available to indicate that this fire was intentionally set.
Freemansburg Borough Council recently gave the green light to the fire company to purchase radios.
Assistant Fire Chief Jonathan Rossi requested council approve the purchase at the Aug. 8 meeting.
Borough Manager Gerald Gasda said the purchase of 10 radios with microphones will cost $10,000.
“Funding is available in the account,” he said. “The local services tax will be used [in this case] for public safety purposes.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has added 21 municipalities in Berks, Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties to the areas quarantined due to the presence of the invasive insect Spotted Lanternfly. The quarantine was already in effect for parts of those five counties, as well as Chester County.
The quarantine now covers following Lehigh Valley municipalities.
Northampton County Executive John Brown usually passes when given an opportunity to address county council. But he had good news and even better news at the Aug. 17 meeting.
First, he reported that the annual payment that must be set aside for worker’s compensation claims, set by an outside actuary, has been decreased sharply, from $9 million to just $6 million. This means an additional $3 million will go into the general fund next year.
What would a reasonable person do when faced with an ethical dilemma?
That seemed to be the question on the minds of the public and city council at the Aug. 15 meeting when council members approved an ordinance prohibiting acceptance of gifts by a 5-0 vote with one abstention. Council member Olga Negron abstained and Council member Shawn Martell was absent.
However, some changes may be proposed before the ordinance comes up for second reading at the Sept. 5 meeting. Council member Michael Colon said amendments are possible, given the input from members of the public.