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Nazareth Celebrates Fourth Annual Kazoo Parade

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On July 4, Nazareth residents of all ages came out for the annual Fourth of July Kazoo Parade. Dressed in their red, white, and blue, parade goers filled the town with the buzz of kazoos and patriotic songs like “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “Anchors Aweigh.”

The parade kicked off at Nazareth High School and weaved through town to Council Chambers on West Center Street. Excited families, waving flags and some playing their own kazoos, lined the streets to cheer on the hundreds of marchers.

Nazareth Borough council members were in attendance, as was Nazareth Mayor John Samus and State Representative Marcia Hahn.

Following the parade, area singer-songwriter Faith Gabriel performed several songs, including a patriotic medley with her mother and father, as well as a moving rendition of “Climb Every Mountain,” which she dedicated to those who have served.

The parade’s grand marshal was World War II veteran Harry Adams, who served in the United States Naval Air Core. Following the parade, Adams gave touching and thought-provoking remarks about the importance of patriotism.

“What can an old geezer like me say that would inspire this generation to understand the price that was paid [and] is still being paid?” he asked.

His voice cracking, he told the crowd of the men he served with and those he saw buried at sea.

“They gave up their tomorrows so you can have your todays,” he said. “They could never become a husband, father, or grandfather.”

He read a poem about “old geezers,” which stressed the importance of respect for others and the United States. He also reminded the crowd that the country is protected “not by politicians…but by those who serve.”

He asked the parents in the crowd to teach their children that “freedom is not free” and to “appreciate the armed forces, not only in times of war.”

He was honored to speak to his fellow Nazareth residents on the important day, but stressed that the day would not have been so special if not for the sacrifices of servicemen and women, like those he fought with in World War II.

“This is my Norman Rockwell town,” he concluded, “This is what 400,000 young men and women paid for.”

Cement Worker Of The Month | Rick Murphy

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by Ed Pany

Mr. Rick Murphy was born in Long Island, N.Y., moving to Berks County when he was 13 years of age. He graduated from Reading High School in 1980 and was hired by Quaker Maid Kitchens, making doors.

When the company closed, he started a cement career at Evansville, now Lehigh-Heidelberg Cement.

Rick recalled, “I started as a laborer in 1990 transferring to the pack house in 1993. I was trained to be a bulk loader by Dean Witman, a position I currently hold.” Cement is loaded into trucks around the clock. Trucks can be loaded in eight to ten minutes. The orders are computerized and dispatched to the drivers.

Mr. Murphy said, “We load seven different types of cement on three shifts. The gross weight of trucks is 79,500 pounds; the net is 25 to 26 tons. We carefully check all weights and follow all state and federal rules and regulations.”

The bulk team includes Warren Kirkner, Jim Hartman, Brian Webber, Mike Youse, Bill Evans and supervisor Chuck Christman, all fine men.

Lehigh cement is sold to many loyal customers in Pennsylvania, New Y

ork, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Mr. Murphy appreciates his job at Lehigh and enjoys working with his friendly co-workers.

He has been married to the former Kim Potts for 12 years. He said, “I enjoy reading, doing puzzles and Royal Caribbean cruises; our favorite being the Alaska tour.”

The friendly couple resides in in Shoemakersville. Mr. Murphy is a friendly, dedicated cement worker who is optimistic about the future of cement. The product remains a popular, durable construction material.

We wish Mr. Murphy and all our friends at the century-old plant a safe and prosperous year.

Book Authored By Moore Township Historical Commission For Sale

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A book authored by the Moore Township Historical Commission, about the rich history of the Edelman School, has been printed and is now for sale.

At the commission’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 28, Township Supervisor Richard Gable announced that several copies of the book, which contains brand new information about the last remaining one-room schoolhouse in the township, have already been sold.

The book is the result of much hard work and research by the commission, whose members are working to repair the one-room school building and add it to the Register of Historic Places.

In the new book, township residents can learn all about the school, its teachers and students, and its century of history. Photos of the school will give residents a peek at what it looked like when students of all ages came from around the township to learn their reading, writing, and arithmetic.

The book is for sale at various township businesses. It can also be purchased from members of the historical commission and will be for sale at Community Day on August 26. The cost is $10.

Allen Supervisors Discuss Route 329 Improvements And Future Of Sewer Service

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At its meeting on Tuesday, June 27, the Allen Township Board of Supervisors was presented plans for infiltration and retention berms in Howertown Park.

The retention berms are a mandatory part of the upcoming Route 329 improvement project. These storm water controls must be done upfront, prior to construction, so that developers know where they can infiltrate. The process takes time to approve, but all other permits depend upon the placement of these berms. Without them, construction cannot start. The timing sequence of this improvement project will correlate with next summer, when school buses are no longer on the road.

According to the plans, several four-feet-deep retention berms will dot the park. However, a larger one at the park’s northern end concerned some members of the board.

Supervisor Gary Behler asked whether its size or location could be adjusted slightly to preserve green space.

“Anything we can do to minimize that and save our park space, we should do,” he said.

With several other supervisors in agreement, the board chose to table the plans until it can get more details from the developer.

However, the board understands that the upgrade to Route 329’s intersection cannot move forward without these berms. Delaying the process or attempting to move retention berms may cause issues for the township in the future.

“I think we have already tried to do that and were unsuccessful,” said Chairman Larry Oberly. “I just think we are stepping on our own foot…In the end, it is what you have got to do.”

The board also discussed the future of its sewer services. Its agreement with Northampton Borough has expired, but negotiations between the borough and the township seem unlikely.

A letter from the borough to the township said that a sewer service connection fee of $5,070 per property is the price that the borough expects the township to accept upfront.

Township Manager Ilene Eckhart said that the borough’s response was “basically the same answer [we have been getting] for two and a half years.”

“That is not negotiating,” said Oberly.

The current calculation is based on capacity and maintenance for the borough’s entire system, explained Oberly. However, he and other supervisors thought it unfair that the township be required to pay for the maintenance of the whole sewer system, when they only use part of it.

Oberly suggested that it may be time to look at other options for the future of the township’s sewer service, including connecting with another municipality’s system, or creating its own.

“Northampton is not a monopoly,” he said.

Finally, the board approved resolutions to submit applications for traffic signals at three intersections on Willowbrook Road near the future FedEx site. Traffic lights will be installed at the West Bullshead Road intersection, at the Radar Drive intersection, and at the future FedEx employee driveway. These lights will be the township’s responsibility, according to PennDOT.

The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on July 13 at 7 p.m.

Tense Debate Ends In Denied Waiver For Lehigh Township Dollar General

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Dollar General Corp. signage is displayed outside of a store in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. Dollar General Corp. is scheduled to release earnings figures on Sept. 4. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tensions flared at the June 27 Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors meeting, as township leaders debated whether or not to grant a waiver to developers behind the Dollar General project slated for the intersection at Route 248 and Blue Mountain Drive.

Supervisors ultimately voted to deny by a slim margin, with some showing frustration over the progress of the overall project, and others wanting the project to go back before the township planning commission before it gets a final approval.

The waiver would have expedited the process for builder Cherryville Development Partners to get their plan for the Dollar General approved, as it would have eliminated the need to submit both a preliminary plan and a final plan to both the Lehigh Township Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. The waiver would instead allow them to present a preliminary/final plan that could forego the township’s planning commission and head straight to township supervisors.

Supervisors Cynthia Miller and Blaine Holden denied the waiver on the grounds that they are unhappy with the speed at which the Dollar General is moving along compared to the delayed pace that the neighboring Turkey Hill is moving. Board of Supervisors Chairman Darryl Snover also voted to deny because he wanted to see the plans go through the planning commission an additional time.

The project has come under scrutiny from both residents and township officials, as the Dollar General is Phase II of a development project with Cherryville Development Partners. Phase I lays out a Turkey Hill for the intersection, which planners and supervisors want to see built and operational before the Dollar General alongside opens up.

Brian Gasda, of Lehigh Engineering Associates, said that granting the waiver would do nothing to expedite the opening of the Dollar General. He said the Dollar General will be unable to open until the public road improvements in the Turkey Hill plan are carried through, and the highway occupancy permits are closed. Without these improvements to the intersection and roads, the Dollar General will not be able to open, making it beholden to the Turkey Hill’s development.

Gasda tried to make the case that granting the waiver throws an unnecessary wrench in getting Phase II approved.

“Denying the waiver sends us back through planning, sends us back to this board, and really causes an extra delay,” Gasda said. “This is a relatively small land development plan, and I think this warrants the waiver for preliminary final plan submission.”

Miller was unmoved by Gasda’s case, as she instantly made a motion to deny the waiver, which was seconded by Holden.

The vote was far from unanimous, as Supervisors Keith Hantz and Dell Grove voted in favor of granting the waiver.

“I think we’re making a mistake by not granting the waiver,” Hantz said.

Township Solicitor David Backenstoe didn’t believe granting the waiver would pose any problems, but did note that not doing so would extend the timeline for the Dollar General’s final plan approval.

“I don’t think there’s any harm to the township,” Backenstoe said. “Tonight, all you’re being asked to do is consider a plan which they feel, although it’s labeled preliminary, is in its final phase, and therefore will be finally reviewed by your engineer in the category and come to you as a final plan, rather than a preliminary plan in two weeks, and then a final plan in another month or two.”

With the waiver denied, Gasda questioned why Miller and Holden voted against the waiver, stressing that approving the waiver would not change the ability of the supervisors to approve or deny the project.

“I would just like to know what is it that makes you hesitant to vote on this particular waiver, knowing two weeks from now, four weeks from now, you’ll have an opportunity to disapprove the plan as a final plan,” Gasda asked.

Holden said he felt uncomfortable with the plan, while Miller voiced her frustration over the project as a whole.

“I’m standing up for my community, that’s my reason. I’m standing up for Lehigh Township,” Miller said. “I’m trying to do the right thing for the community, because quite frankly, the whole Turkey Hill project, as I said two weeks ago, has been a debacle.”

“I’ve lost total trust in what is going on in this project,” Miller said.

Nazareth Explores Banning Bamboo From Properties

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Members of Nazareth Borough Council expressed interest in banning bamboo from borough properties at their June 29 workshop meeting, after a borough resident expressed concern over the plant’s invasive nature and provided council with pictures of its existence on her property.

Resident Diane Paine purchased an additional borough property on South New Street in May, and was not alerted of the bamboo’s existence until after the sale was final, she said. Since then, it has taken siding off of her house, and can prove damaging to the house’s foundation if not properly managed.

Making things worse, according to Paine, is that the “running bamboo” was not planted by the previously seller, but by the owner of the neighboring property.

“It is running into my yard from the neighboring property,” she said.

Paine said she conducted a lot of research on bamboo and its different types, and said she was “floored” at what she found. “I had no idea what it could do, how it could spread, and how it could grow,” she said.

Paine said she never would have bought the second property if she was aware of the bamboo beforehand, and cautioned council to take action before bamboo sprouts damage borough roads, sidewalks and driveways.

“If I had known, I would have never purchased this property,” she said.

She provided council with an ordinance from the City of Bethlehem, which bans “running bamboo” within the township. Running bamboo is the same type that Paine has identified in her yard. Paine said many neighboring municipalities have banned bamboo, including Forks Township, Upper Nazareth Township, and Bethlehem Township.

Bethlehem Township’s ordinance lists it as a type of prohibited “noxious vegetation” in the township’s ordinance regulating weeds and banned vegetation.

Council was receptive to Paine’s concerns. Councilman Charles Donello supported the idea of banning it, to prevent any new bamboo from being planted in the future. Councilman Lance Colondo said that the borough’s law committee could draft up an ordinance to prevent future cases of bamboo planting.

“We can certainly draw up an ordinance to ban it,” Colondo said.

In other business, council preceded their workshop meeting with a short public business meeting to grant permanent full-time status to two police officers.

Council unanimously approved motions to make Randall Pompei and Tyler Ferri permanent full-time officers. The two haved served just about a year with the Nazareth Police Department, as they were both sworn in as officers in June 2016.

The move to permanently hire Pompei and Ferri brought praise from council, who lauded the police department and its officers for bringing drastic, positive changes to the force.

Mayor John Samus was quick to praise the two officers. “They’re a good group of men. They’re young, eager to learn, well-organized, can’t say enough about them. We should all be proud,” he said.

Samus also credited Commissioner Randall Miller for the department’s improvement.

“This department has gone 180 degrees,” said Samus. “It all stems back here to our Commissioner Randy Miller. He’s turned this ship around.”

Miller pitched in to commend the two as well, praising their character and commitment to the borough.

“I’ve never worked with finer men than the two we just hired,” Miller said.

Rockefeller Public Hearing Expected In Early August

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East Allen Township supervisors narrowed in on finalizing a date for Rockefeller Group Development Corporation’s public rezoning hearing at their June 22 meeting, after the developer’s previously scheduled hearing was postponed. The group, commonly referred to as Rock Lehigh Valley, had their May 10 hearing rescheduled after the township’s municipal building was unable to accommodate the mass amount of residents in attendance.

The land in question is 155 acres southwest of Weaversville Road, which Rock Lehigh Valley is attempting to get rezoned from agricultural to light industrial.

Township Manager Deborah Seiple tentatively rescheduled the hearing for August 16 at 7 p.m. in Northampton Area High School, but the board announced their intention to try and move the hearing sooner to make sure all supervisors will be able to attend.

Supervisor Mark Schwartz said he would prefer to have all supervisors in attendance for the hearing, and preferred to have the meeting on August 2, which is a date that Seiple is eyeing as she looks to reschedule.

“I would prefer to have a full board,” Schwartz said. “I would prefer to have it on the second.”

Though the board will not be full if the meeting does fall on the 16th, there will be enough supervisors for the board to have a quorum.

Township Solicitor Joseph Piperato III told the board that they should be prepared for the hearing to stretch beyond the span of one meeting, due to the increased public interest in the topic.

Residents should pay close attention to the township website for updates as the township gets nearer to scheduling a date for the hearing.

In other business, following through on business left over from the board’s June 14 meeting,  conditional use applicant Kenneth Beck signed a list of conditions provided by Township Engineer James Milot and Piperato, allowing Beck to move forward with expanding his classic car restoration business in East Allen Township from his current Allentown location.

In addition, Seiple detailed a new email communication system that will be implemented within the township in the future. The township will use the Constant Contact communication system to keep residents informed of township events and noteworthy information.

Seiple said the township will build an email group of township residents to alert them of snow emergencies, burning restrictions and similar events. Seiple said the Constant Contact system “takes it a step further” in terms of the township’s communication with residents. She also said the email system is a cheaper and easier alternative to automated phone calls.

The next East Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on July 12 at 7 p.m.

Moore EAC Reviews Electronic Recycling Totals

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Members of Moore Township’s Environmental Advisory Council reflected on successful efforts to recycle electronics at their June 13 monthly meeting, looking over totals from events within Moore Township, as well as recent totals from multi-municipal events at Nazareth Middle School.

This year, with Moore Township participating at the electronic recycling event in Nazareth for the second time, the event saw 513 cars come through with 52 of them coming from Moore Township. The event brought in 55,578 pounds worth of recyclables.

The turnout in 2017 saw a slight decrease from the year prior, as 645 cars dropped off materials in 2016, and 62 cars came from Moore Township.

Moore Township previously held their own electronic recycling events from 2011 to 2015. The township’s inaugural event brought 160 cars to the municipal building for a yield of 15,726 pounds of recyclables. In 2012 the totals jumped to over 600 cars for 58,718 pounds of recycled electronics.

From 2013 to 2015 the event was held at Moore Township Elementary school. In 2013 and 2014 the township collected over 48,000 pounds of electronic recyclables each year, and 2015 saw the township take in over 60,000 pounds, including 36,760 television sets.

EAC Member Peter Locke suggested that the council should try and get Northampton County more involved in such events, and suggested holding multiple electronic recycling events per year because the wait time for the events is so long.

Members also had an extended discussion about various items relating to the township’s Appalachian Trail Park.

The EAC looked over the establishment of new rules for the park, including allowing trapping and hunting, allowing primitive camping by permit, and banning dumping. The council also discussed potential hours of operation, and how primitive they would like trails to be going forward.

In addition, following the theft of the Appalachian Park Trail’s sign, the EAC discussed plans to purchase a replacement. The company that originally produced the sign is no longer in business, so members had to weigh options about the best way to move forward.

Tashner suggested the EAC look to purchase a cheap replacement in the short term, and apply for grant money to replace the temporary sign with a more fitting replacement.

The next Moore Township EAC meeting will be on Tuesday, July 11 at 7 p.m.

Antique Car Repair Shop Slated For East Allen Township

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After hearing over an hour of testimony at their June 14 meeting, supervisors in East Allen Township took steps toward approving an antique automobile repair facility within the township, directing Solicitor Joseph Piperato III to draft conditions for a board vote on June 22.

Kenneth Beck, who currently runs K&T Vintage Sports Cars, LLC in Allentown, Pa., presented his plans to repurpose a current industrial facility at 6584 Ruch Road, Bethlehem, PA 18107 during the meeting’s conditional use hearing.

The proposed Ruch Road facility will expand Beck’s ability to restore classic cars from 1980 and before, particular those British in make. Beck says he specializes in British cars, pointing to Jaguars and Bentleys as makes that he often works on.  

According to Beck, the refurbishing process can take up to multiple years, with a typical repair taking about a year to a year and a half. That extended amount of time is what prompted him to seek more space.

“Size is an issue,” Beck said. He said he is currently only able to take a small portion of requests at his Allentown business, due to the limited space that his current facility offers.

Two areas of interest during the testimony were the proposed additions of spray booths and dust collection system prep stations.

“A spray booth is essentially a self-contained room inside that has explosion-proof lighting and the cars are painted in there,” Beck said. “There are airlines inside and they have a filtration system that filters the air that comes into the booth so that no dust is brought in, and there’s also a system on the exhaust side that filters and removes all the particles and fumes and everything from the inside of the spray booth when it exits back into the building itself.”

The dust collection system, which Beck referred to as a prep station, collects and contains dust to prevent getting particulates on other cars. Like the spray booth, the prep station will also be closed off from the rest of the building.

Beck said both stations will comply with industry standards in regards to design and health.

He also noted that the business will not be a retail facility, and will not feature regular sales of cars or parts. Occasional sales are possible, but Beck stressed that he is in the business of restoring cars for his clients, and not regularly selling products to the public.

According to testimony from Beck and his attorney, Lawrence Fox, chemicals will be properly stored in an existing chemical storage room inside the building, and no chemicals, cars or other materials will be stored outside the building.

The building will not feature a fire suppression system, as Beck said in the event of a fire sprinklers can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to the automobiles inside. He said that sprinkler malfunctions are more likely than the possibility of a fire, prompting many restoration businesses to not have any sprinkler systems. Beck was unsure if he will have a fire suppression system inside the spray booth.

After an inquiry from Township Deputy Fire Marshal John McDevitt, Beck did say that his business will have a fire detection system.

In what will likely be music to the ears of East Allen Township residents, Beck said the majority of deliveries to his business are made by services like UPS and FedEx, and that tractor trailer deliveries will be “very seldom,” with them taking place only about one or two times a year.

More information can be found on Beck and his services at ktvintagecars.com.

Northampton EMS Receives American Heart Association Award

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Members of Northampton Borough Council lauded the borough’s emergency personnel at their June 15 meeting, praising them for their actions in the community as well as their recent recognition.

Councilwoman Judy Kutzler announced during the Fire and Health Committee report that Northampton Regional Emergency Medical Services were “once again” recipients of the American Heart Association’s Mission Lifetime EMS Award for the work they did in 2016.

“We’re honored to have this ambulance corps based in our borough where every borough resident is within minutestheir response time is within minutes, it’s incredible,” Kutzler said. “They are so well trained.”

Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski Sr. praised the emergency personnel as well, giving a personal account of his experiences with the ambulance corps.

“I have a distinct honor in the ambulance corps, not only serving for 15 years… I was the very first patient that the new ambulance had, Fred A. Snyder Post 353 had,” Lopsonzski said. “I was the first patient in that vehicle that took me to the hospital and saved my life. Several times over the last few years the ambulance has again saved my life when I had my heart attack and subsequent seizure-type situation. If they can keep me alive, they can keep you alive, too.”

“We got a hell of a group of people here: the fire department, the police department, the road crew, the ambulance services, the fire police. Any organization that serves this borough, they serve it with honor, dignity and pride,” Lopsonzski continued.

Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst echoed the sentiments of Kutzler and Lopsonzski, saying, “Congratulations to the ambulance corps. They do a really good job.”

According to Kutzler, the Northampton Regional EMS’s 2016 Activity Report has been received and is on file for viewing if any resident would like to review

In other business, council also made a motion to allow the Borough of Catasauqua to use Northampton Borough’s portable band trailer on Saturday, Sept. 16 at no expense, for the dedication of Catasauqua’s new municipal complex.

Catasauqua Mayor Barbara Schlegel and Councilman Gene Schlegel were in attendance at the meeting and extended their thanks to Northampton Borough Council.

Council members also passed a motion to approve a partial closing of East 19th Street from August 7 through August 11. The street will be closed between Washington and Lincoln avenues from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on the aforementioned dates.

Councilman Keith Piescienski also made a motion for the borough advertise for the position of Police Chief in Northampton after Northampton Borough Council accepted the retirement of Police Chief Ronald Morey at their June 1 meeting.