Property owners in the Bethlehem Area School District might have to dig a little deeper into their pockets. On April 29, the school board presented a tentative budget for the school year 2013-14. This preliminary budget of about $224 million includes a proposed property tax increase of 2.1 percent.
This means that an average property owner whose home value is set at $56,000 would pay about $55 more in taxes yearly.
Bethlehem mayoral candidates J. William Reynolds and Robert Donchez debated each other in an April 30 forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Northampton County.
The debate was held in the ESSA Community Room at PBS 39 and was moderated by League of Women Voters of Northampton County President Joan Dean.
Donchez has been on Bethlehem City Council since 1996 and served as president of council for eight years. He is a former U.S. Government teacher at William Allen HS and currently serves as the chief of staff to Representative Daniel McNeill.
At one time, the Lehigh Valley's strong Polish-American community worked the blast furnaces and cranes at the Bethlehem Steel, producing the gun forgings and artillery shells that protected this nation in two world wars. On April 28, about 60 members of this community were at Bethlehem's Southside again, not to manufacture steel, but to commemorate a man who represents the very best of American and Polish ideals. The valor of Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish nobleman who fought and died in the Revolutionary War, is still remembered.
During World War I (April 6, 1917- Nov. 11, 1918), residents of Bethlehem were privileged to be able to watch major league level baseball at the Bethlehem Steel Athletic Field on Elizabeth Avenue. Bethlehem Steel had offered the perfect solution to professional baseball players who were either waiting to be drafted or looking for employment in a war industry. Steel offered high salaries to these players, typically $400 a month for factory work plus $60 - $90 a week to play baseball. The average salary for U.S. citizens in 1917 was $750 a year.
The issue of supporting financially early childhood educational programs took center stage during a special budget meeting held April 29 by the Bethlehem Area School District Board to unveil a $224.3 million preliminary budget for the school year 2013-14.
The tentative spending plan allocates no monies at all to fund the school district's pre-K programs, something Board Director Aurea Ortiz was not pleased to hear.
Nineteen Lehigh Valley residents have been arrested and charged with drug offenses after a 15-month investigation by state narcotics agents.
According to State Attorney General Kathleen Kane, narcotics agents arrested 23 people and broke up a $7 million crystal methamphetamine ring stretching from Mexico to the Lehigh Valley.
Evidence and testimony regarding the alleged drug trafficking was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended criminal charges be filed.
Dr. Tom Lubben has established both the Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Arts and the Arts Academy Charter School, and now he wants to create a third; the Pennsylvania Autism Charter School. By his own admission, Lubben says he's doing it for his grandson, Jack, an 8-year-old who is autistic and whose image graces promotional materials for the school.