November's election is now officially unconstrained by Pennsylvania's oft-debated voter ID law.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson decided on an injunction Oct. 2, which will allow residents to vote without photo ID, but does not entirely take the law off the table after November.
Hellertown resident Lee Weidner spoke Sept. 17, informing members of council there has recently been an influx of speeding motorized ATVs and bikers on Hellertown's portion of the Rails to Trails.
Weidner, who brought photographs along with him to show council, said he and borough Police Chief Robert Shupp believes the riders are from Bethlehem, and have been tearing up the roadway, creating divots and eluding police.
It was a showdown between Allentown and many of its surrounding municipalities. In an effort to revitalize the Queen City with a hockey arena, office buildings and a luxury hotel, a special tax district was created. In a 130-acre Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ), developers could pay for these projects, in part, by diverting the local taxes of out-of towners who worked there. This would deplete municipal coffers.
Kevin Lott approached Hellertown Borough Council Sept. 17 requesting permission to install a sidewalk on his property rather than the required raised crosswalk.
"It's very burdensome," Lott told council. "This crosswalk is much more than I bargained for."
Lott said he obtained estimates for the crosswalk, which averaged $32,000. He also said he would have to carry liability insurance, which is costly.
The uncushioned fold-down seats in Nitschmann MS's auditorium, far fewer than one might think of seeing at a school with 900 students, are every bit as uncomfortable as they look. The cavernous room is also filled with an array of band equipment and generally looks shabby.
And it was the site of the Bethlehem Area School District's board of directors' facilities meeting Oct. 1, which followed a tour of much of the equally-dingy building.
Point well made.
Like it or not, Bethlehem Township must provide for prison uses in its zoning ordinance. That's what a three-judge Commonwealth Court panel ruled in April, holding that the township ordinance was unconstitutionally exclusionary. At its Oct. 1 meeting, a sharply divided Board of Commissioners complied with that decision by approving a zoning ordinance amendment that will allow prison uses in the township's agricultural district. These changes were supported by President Paul Weiss, Tom Nolan and Mike Hudak. But the board's two newest members – Phil Barnard and Marty Zawarski – voted no.
Animals are available for adoption at the Center for Animal Health & Welfare no-kill shelter, 1165 Island Park Road, Easton. The shelter is working to end pet overpopulation by running a clinic so animals can be spayed or neutered before they go home. For more information, call 610-252-7722 or visit www.healthyanimalcenter.org.
Bethlehem City Council Solicitor Chris Spadoni was having a rough night. A former prosecutor, he was batting 0 for 4 in objections to testimony during Abe Atiyeh's quest for zoning approval of residential drug and alcohol treatment centers at 2110 Center St. and 2349 Linden St. With no success, he argued that Atiyeh's engineer David Harte lacks the qualifications to describe the management and operation of a drug and alcohol treatment center.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) provides funding to redevelop crucial areas. According to Steve Kehs and Tammy Wetzel, strategic planners at Triad Associates, it's getting harder to find those areas.
At the Sept. 20 Planning Commission meeting, Kehs and Wetzel reported that Bethlehem has done "tremendous work" since its last Blight Study in 2002. But blight still exists, predominately at Bethlehem Steel properties on the South Side. After that, the Pembroke Road corridor, which includes a portion of Stefko Boulevard, has numerous vacant and deteriorated properties.