Cars and homes were crushed, streets were blocked and yards were filled with branches and trees as Hurricane Sandy battered the Bethlehem area Oct. 29 and into the wee hours of Oct. 30.
Power outages had area residents flocking to WaWa, Seven-Eleven, Dunkin' Donuts and anywhere else that a hot drink could be served and newspapers purchased.
The storm delivered less rain than anticipated, but the relentless winds pounded nearly everything in their path, even ripping siding from buildings in the city.
Reporters just annoy the hell out of me.
I suppose it's not their fault – maybe their editors – but this desperate need for the media at-large to label things – objects, people, events – with brand-worthy monikers just to get people countrywide repeating the same unimaginative phrase smacks of laziness and worse, neediness.
Instead of Bill Murray, who played a weatherman living the same day over and over again, it is now developer Abe Atiyeh's turn. In September, zoners and lawyers from all sides agreed to postpone his application for a 47-bed substance abuse facility at 2349 Linden St., the site of the vacant Moose & Bug Florist Shop. Differences between the application and how it was actually advertised presented the possibility that someone could later file a challenge. But on Oct. 18, when the case was presented to Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board again, the problem still existed.
The Lehigh County Commissioners passed an amended version of the county executive's budget at their meeting Oct. 24.
The amendment directed the county executive to reduce county spending on personnel by $5 million, and turned a $6.5 million one-time tax credit into a reduction of the millage rate by a percentage that would decrease county revenue by $5 million. The remaining $1.5 million will remain as a tax credit.
Commissioners Vic Mazziotti, Scott Ott, Lisa Scheller, Michael Schware and Thomas Creighton III voted in favor of the amended budget.
Following a three-hour hearing Oct. 25, Hanover Township's Zoning Hearing Board has denied Chef Joseph Jurkivo's request to allow seasonal outdoor seating at That's Amore, a gateway to Hanover Township located on Schoenersville Road. Two ZHB members, Chairman Paul Balla and Joseph Bednarik, rejected Jurkivo's argument that outdoor seating on an adjoining lot was a permissible accessory use. A third ZHB member, Joan Rosenthal, dissented.
In zoning, an accessory use is one that is customarily incidental and accessory to the principal use, such as a shed at a residence.
While searching for a hot meal on the Southside Thursday afternoon, I ran into a buddy who said his power had been restored Tuesday. When I finally got my phone recharged, another friend sent me a text message stating he'd never lost power at all.
Tina Kowalski, owner of the Funhouse bar on Fourth Street, was trying to find a liquor store that was still open so she could restock. She also said several massive old pine trees had collapsed in her yard at home and she wasn't sure if her insurance would help pay for their removal.
How did Northampton County weather, so to speak, Hurricane Sandy? Emergency Management Services Director Bob Mateff provided county council with an answer at its Nov. 1 meeting. This sparsely attended meeting started just moments after power was restored to the county courthouse.
Although details are still under wraps, Hanover Township Manager Jay Finnigan is well on his way to producing a no-tax increase budget for 2013. He made this announcement following a supervisors' meeting Oct. 23. If the supervisors adopt Finnigan's spending plan, it will be the township's sixth straight year without a tax hike. Supervisors will review it in more detail at their Nov. 13 meeting.
"I didn't get a raise?" joked veteran Supervisor Steve Salvesen.
"No," Finnigan somberly replied.
Hellertown Historical Society president Earl Hill asked borough council Oct. 15 to make what he argued are necessary changes to the Pony Bridge.
Hill's request involves extending a three-foot drainage pipe near the bridge, which would help to eliminate a larger drainage ditch that has become troublesome and dangerous to maintain.
"It's just a disaster for everyone," Hill said. "I just don't want anyone getting hurt."
The pipe, Hill said, would need to be extended 20 to 25 feet.