The reorganization portion of Bethlehem Area School District's Dec. 3 meeting, in preparation for the new year, lasted all of five minutes.
Michael Faccinetto and Michele Cann retain their positions as president and vice president and all committee seats remain static as well. Though Basilio Bonilla Jr. lost in a bid for Cann's seat 3-6, he will take a new position as Pennsylvania School Board Association liaison, acting as a conduit for the statewide informational and support organization.
It was the final borough council meeting of the year Dec. 4, and members were happy to congratulate each other on a good year despite financial hardships and tough projects.
They approved the new, tax-raise-free budget, invited the community to the Dec. 13 borough Christmas party and welcomed new part-time police officers.
Bethlehem Township Commissioners unanimously tabled a proposed rate increase in engineering fees at their Dec. 3 meeting. The Pidcock Company, which provides engineering services, has proposed a 2.5 percent rate increase next year, under which the hourly rate for professional services would vary between $48 and $108 per hour. Its current rate schedule has been in place since January 2011.
At a brief dedication ceremony recently the Fountain Hill Cemetery dedicated a new natural burial section, Green Meadow, before a small gathering. Ed Vogrins, president of the cemetery, said that the organization had been looking at incorporating this concept into the cemetery for some time, and that a lot of plots had already been sold.
At the dedication, natural burial advocate Mark Harris spoke about the process of a green burial, saying "let's just let Mother Nature run her natural course."
Yolanda Morales, age 23, died in a hail of gunfire during the early morning hours of Dec. 2. She was killed just after leaving the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society, a club located at 205 E. Third St. Five others are hospitalized. Altogether, six people were involved in the bloodiest episode of the Southside's history since the 1910 Bethlehem Steel strike.
Alumni of Easton Catholic HS reunite once a year, but this time it was an extra special occasion, as the graduates celebrated the 100th anniversary of the school's alumni association recently at Green Pond Country Club.
The high school held its classes in a Victorian home on Sixth Street in Easton. The class sizes were small and each grade had its own classroom. The students would stay in their room all day and the teachers would move from classroom to classroom. The building did not even have its own bathroom.
Many tales have been related recently regarding the charity of citizens helping their neighbors recover from Hurricane Sandy. But one story is of a large New Jersey-based company making a donation, supplemented by some its own employees locally.
Antonette Ciccone, an account executive at Automated Data Processing in Allentown, is a New Jersey native who moved to the Lehigh Valley after graduating from DeSales University. She laid down new roots in Bethlehem while staying close enough to home to drive back for weekends.