When the next Northampton County Controller is sworn into office in January 2020, he or she will be paid $10,000 more than the $65,000 annual salary that Bucky Szulborski receives now. On March 15, a divided county council approved the raise by a 6-2-1 vote. Voting for the increase were John Cusick, Matt Dietz, Peg Ferraro, Ken Kraft, Bob Werner and Tara Zrinski. Voting no were Lori Vargo Heffner and Ron Heckman. Bill McGee abstained.
The vacation of Filbert Street and part of Second Avenue was approved March 20 by Bethlehem City Council in a 6-1 vote. Councilman Bryan Callahan abstained because his brother, former Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, works for the developer who asked for the change in street usage.
The action facilitates the development objectives for the owners of the historic Floyd Simons Armory who plan to redevelop the armory and adjacent lots into 70 upscale apartments and a business located at Prospect and Second avenues.
This year, 600 high school students from around the country submitted essays on the importance of cancer research, and how science can find a cure for cancer. It was with great joy that BASD Superintendent Dr. Joseph Roy announced that Liberty HS student Katie Neary was selected as one of the 100 student winners. Katie, along with Liberty Principal Harrison Bailey III and Assistant Principal Amanda Hinkel, appeared at the March 19 school board meeting, to receive praise from the board and audience alike for her outstanding accomplishment.
Executive Director Stephen Repasch announced at the March 8 board meeting progress continues in the ongoing legal drama of the authority’s wind energy program. The planned construction of maybe dozens of giant turbine towers and the studies to determine their effectiveness or environmental disruption in rural Carbon County have been opposed by some local residents for the past year.
The case is not going their way.
Lehigh County Fiscal Officer Tim Reeves spoke to the Lehigh County Commissioners March 14 and explained the county’s budget at the end of 2017. He described the budget in terms of a “checking account” – the Operating Fund, and the “savings account” – the Stabilization Fund.
Up for discussion at the March 5 meeting was a request made by Hellertown resident Sonya Hughes to have the borough change chapter 112-6 of the borough’s code index. The 112-6 ordinance was adopted in 1964 and involves the conditions under which animals, birds and fowl may be kept. Hughes would like to put a chicken coop in her backyard to house four to six chickens. Although there are a few residents who do have chicken coups in Hellertown, the current ordinance as written would not allow her to have one.
PPL line workers returning to their Lehigh Valley homes in late February said it was tough being away from their families for a month after laboring to help rebuild electric infrastructure and restore power to areas in Puerto Rico ravaged by last year’s Hurricane Maria, but they said they would “do it again,” reflecting the positive experience they felt being able to help the people of the island 1,600 miles from home.
“Awareness is the key.”
It was the common refrain of the night; nearly every response by the panelists can be related directly or indirectly to the idea. Awareness.
Administrators and experts in their fields spoke frankly during a panel discussion on school safety at the Lehigh Valley HS for the Arts the evening of March 14. Though only about 20 people were in the audience, the panelists took seriously the opportunity to speak candidly and openly.
“We Stand With Our Students,” was a message Lehigh Valley Academy emphasized March 14. While LVA did not partake in the nationwide school walkouts that took place to commemorate the 17 lives that were taken in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, students and faculty decided to take a different approach to spread awareness of this movement.