Home Blog Page 3

Northampton Planning Commission Approves Plans For New Apartments In Old Schoolhouse

0

At its meeting on Wednesday, June 14, the Northampton Planning Commission was presented the preliminary/final plans for 12 new apartments in the old Northampton schoolhouse at 1503 Main Street.

Arthur Swallow, of Arthur A. Swallow Associates Land Surveying & Development in Allentown, developed the plans for property owner Tom Kishbaugh. Swallow sat before the planning commission and answered their questions about plans for the 12-unit, two-bedroom apartment building and 22-space parking lot.

Borough Engineer David Lear only had minor comments in his letter to Swallow, recommending shrubbery along the back alley of the property to block headlights from nearby homes.

Planning Commissioner Robert McHale also suggested adding privacy measures to the parking lot to keep headlights out of the homes of neighbors.

“If I was adjacent [to the parking lot],” he said, “I would be concerned.”

He recommended adding some sort of barrier to a concrete wall that runs along the north side of the parking lot, such as small shrubbery or fencing.

Neighbors and business owners were also in attendance and voiced their questions and concerns.

Frank Keller, of Keller Enterprises on Main Street, said he worried about parking for his customers if tenants in the building park on the street instead of the lot (the lot only has 22 spaces, having received relief on the required 24).

“We are concerned about where our customers are going to park,” he said. “It is going to hurt our business.”

He explained that, while he thinks it is nice that something is being done to the vacant building, he would like something that limits the parking time on the street to prevent tenants from taking spots away from his customers.

The planning commission agreed with his concerns and said that the borough council can implement parking regulations, like a one-hour time limit.

Several other neighbors were concerned about traffic and the potential for accidents. As the plan stands now, residents will enter the parking lot on 15th Street and exit the parking lot on Main Street. Residents feared that cars leaving the parking lot would get into accidents when attempting to turn on to Main Street.

At first, the planning commission suggested tabling the plan for the evening and looking closer at these traffic concerns. However, Swallow was unhappy with this suggestion.

“That is a lot of work to do that,” he said. “That is not good. We came a long way with this plan.”

Changing the direction of traffic would be a “major change to the plan that has to be hashed out,” he said.

The commission turned to Lear to hear his take on the traffic flow.

Lear explained that the current traffic flow in and out of the parking lot was chosen because it would lead to fewer accidents. Entering the parking lot on 15th Street would eliminate the need for cars on Main Street to turn left to enter, which would have backed up traffic.

After hearing the engineer explain the traffic flow, Planning Commissioner Cynthia Carman motioned to approve the preliminary/final plan.

“I think if we had wanted to make a change to the layout, we should have done that in sketch plan review,” she explained.

Following Swallow’s presentation, Bob Dwyer of the Willow Brook Farm Trust presented revised preliminary plans for Willow Brook Farms on Howertown Road. When he had previously presented plans before the commission several months ago, the plans called for 67 single-family homes in Northampton Borough. This has since been changed to 11. Because the large property is stretched across four different municipalities, uncertainty in one can affect the entire plan.

“Allen Township,” Dwyer explained, “is still in a state of flux,” which has impacted the plan. Decreasing the number of properties to 11 will allow work to begin earlier.

While so much development in the area is taking away farmland, Dwyer explained that development surrounding Willow Brook Farms is seeking to protect the farmland from encroaching industrialization. Homes surrounding the property will act as a transition zone, separating the Fed Ex warehouse and its effects from the centuries-old farm.

“Hopefully, if things go the way I anticipate, it will be a little village,” he explained. Farm buildings will be repurposed as antique shops, ice cream parlors, and bakeries, and a walking and bike path through Willow Brook will be open to the public so everyone can enjoy the piece of peaceful farmland away from the warehouses and their traffic.

“Losing the property will be difficult to swallow,” he said.

Finally, the meeting was closed with a presentation by borough resident David E. Dlugose.

“We have an awesome history that needs to be displayed,” he said.

He presented his conceptual plans for community development in the borough and suggested the formation of a Community Development Board.

Moore Township To Hire Two Police Officers

0

Moore Township supervisors made a motion to hire two new police officers for the township at their June 6 meeting. The move comes after Police Chief Gary West suggested that the board hire two new officers.

The two part-time officers, who already underwent interviews and backgrounds checks prior to the board of supervisors decision, are Kevin O’Hay of Bushkill Township and Jacob Hartzell of Pen Argyl.

Board chairman David Tashner pressed fellow supervisor Richard Gable on the officers’ experience, asking whether or not they have prior experience in other police departments. Gable said he was unable to answer that, but assured Tashner that both officers have been through relevant schooling, and would undergo rigorous training upon joining Moore Township’s police force.

“They’ve been through the course; they’ve been through the school,” Gable said. “Even if they do work in other departments, we still put them through rigorous training.”

Gable said West is looking to hire a total of four new officers, with O’Hay and Hartzell being the first two.

In other business, Solicitor David Backenstoe detailed a bizarre occurrence after a township resident planned auction off two lots within the township. Backenstoe said resident and former Environmental Advisory Council member Rodney Jarinko planned to auction two lots he owned in Christian Springs Estates.

Jarinko contacted the township to figure out whether the lots he owned were listed as two separate lots on his deed, or whether they were merged together, to see if he could sell them separately.

Backenstoe set out to find if the shared lot line between the two parcels was deleted to merge the two lots or not, to discern whether Jarinko could sell both lots individually.

“As it turns out, Rod only owns one lot. He owns Lot 2 of the Christian Springs subdivision. He does not own, by deed, Lot 3,” Backenstoe said. “He was so sure he did, that he’s been paying taxes on Lot 3 since 1972.”

Backenstoe said records show Jarinko owns the .3 acres in Lot 2 of the subdivision, but county tax records show Jarinko has been paying taxes on .6 acres, which only show one larger lot.

“He could have purchased Lot 3 by deed, and it was never recorded,” Backenstoe said. “Right now, the only deed on record for Rod in Christian Springs Estates is for Lot 2, and it is the one with the house on it. But the other lot is not in his name at this point.”

“He has clearly, if not legally by deed, equitably by action, exercised possession of the property,” he said.

However, Backenstoe said that at this time, Jarinko can only sell Lot 2, until proving ownership of the other lot.

“This is one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen in my 30 years as a municipal solicitor,” Backenstoe said.

To conclude the meeting, the board of supervisors changed the date of their July public meeting date from Tuesday, July 4 to Thursday, July 13 at 7 p.m.

Future Of CRPD And Sleepy Hollow Road Discussed In Bath

0

As has been the case all year, the Borough of Bath Council was very busy at its regular monthly meeting. The future of the CRPD, Sleepy Hollow Road, and a traffic light grant were all on the agenda during the June 6 meeting.

Council is still actively discussing the future of the CRPD in the borough. CRPD Officer Matt Antonucci and other officers representing the police association were in attendance during the meeting and distributed informational packets containing cost comparisons and crime statistics.

Officer Antonucci said that the packet was the association’s “response to misrepresented statistics” presented during the May 20 town hall.

The packet states that, out of six similar boroughs in the area, including Coplay, Macungie, and Alburtis, Bath pays the second lowest cost for police services ($413,536). The packet also states that, with 141 reported UCR crimes in 2016, Bath has the second highest amount of crimes out of those six similar boroughs.

Officer Antonucci says this new packet will allow the public to “properly compare” the information they’ve been given.

Now that council has all of the information they need, a workshop meeting will be scheduled within the next month. During this meeting, council will start debating as to whether the borough should stay with the CRPD or choose an alternative option for financial reasons.

The future of Sleepy Hollow Road was also discussed during the meeting. Since the fall, council has been working with property owners to acquire a deed of dedication, turning the private drive into a public street. However, this move requires all property owners to agree. Currently, one property has been unresponsive and another is in foreclosure.

The foreclosure, council was concerned, will only further prolong this process.

“I think residents need to know there is a deadline so they can figure out what to do [next],” said Councilwoman Cynthia Anderson.

However, council was aware that even if a deadline is in place, it will likely pass because the foreclosure can take years.

“[You] may as well just pull the plug,” said Borough Solicitor Blake Marles.

Council agreed and motioned to close the plan due to noncompliance. Money which had been earmarked towards a road improvement project on that street will be used toward other improvement costs in the budget. However, council agreed to revisit the plan if or when the two problem properties are resolved.

Finally, council authorized Borough Manager Brad Flynn to submit a grant application for adaptive traffic signals at Routes 512 and 248. These adaptive traffic signals, Flynn explained, use real-time data to adjust to the flow of traffic.

“Hopefully they would help alleviate traffic congestion and make the intersection safer for residents,” said Flynn.

The next Borough of Bath Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 12. A special meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and the regular meeting will commence at 7 p.m. Residents are encouraged to attend to learn more about all of the important issues facing the borough.

Lehigh Planners Send Medical Marijuana Ordinance To Supervisors

0

At their June 12 meeting, Lehigh Township planners formally recommended that township supervisors approve an ordinance governing the implementation of potential medical marijuana facilities within the township, in accordance with the state’s “Medical Marijuana Act” introduced in 2016.

The proposed ordinance, which will come before the township’s board of supervisors at their June 27 meeting, sets restrictions on what types of zoning districts medical marijuana facilities would be able operate in within the township.

The ordinance aims to establish “a process and standards for the establishment, construction, and operations of medical marijuana facilities” to properly integrate Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, while also striving to protect public health and safety.

According to the ordinance:

  • Academic clinical research centers will be permitted by special exception in Industrial (I), Office Business (OB) and General Commercial (GC) zoning districts.
  • Medical marijuana grower/processors will be permitted by special exception in General Commercial (GC) and Industrial (I) zoning districts and conditional use in the Neighborhood (NC) zoning districts.
  • Medical marijuana transport vehicle offices will be special exceptions in General Commercial (GC) and Industrial (I) zoning districts.
  • Medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted by special exception in the General Commercial (GC), Neighborhood Commercial (NC) and Planned Resort Residential Community (PRRC) Zoning Districts.

All facilities will have the opportunity to be considered for applicable performance standards listed in the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance is similar in nature to ones previously approved in neighboring Northampton County municipalities, including East Allen and Moore Townships.

In other business, Township Engineer Phil Malitsch said that the township received a sewage facilities planning module for the proposed Wal-Mart supercenter to be located at Route 145 and Birch Drive.

Malitsch outlined the purpose behind the township’s Act 537 plan, a sewage facilities plan for the entire township that shows areas that have public sewer.

“Any property in the township that is intended to be serviced long-term by public sewer, is supposed to be indicated that way in your 537 plan,” Malitsch said. “The 537 plan currently doesn’t show the Wal-Mart parcel as an area intended for public sewer. The way that you fix that on a project-by-project basis is by going through this process which is a planning module. ”

The proposed supercenter, which would feature a gas station and a Wal-Mart convenience store, has gained considerable opposition from township residents.

The planning commission also discussed potential changes to warehouse development within the township. Malitsch presented the commission with examples of warehouse development restrictions and ordinances in neighboring townships, citing East Allen Township as the most prominent example.

Malitsch noted that East Allen only allows warehouses in districts that are zoned industrial and that every proposed warehouse is conditional use. He described East Allen as “a good place to start conceptually.”

Planning Commission Chairman David Shulman was favorable toward the idea, and said that he has always been supportive of placing uses not liked in residential areas in industrial zoning districts instead.

“Perhaps we start with taking all the warehousing and putting it in industrial,” Shulman said.

The board was supportive of the idea, and directed Township Solicitor Michael Corriere to begin work on an ordinance to change what districts allow for warehouse development, with the aim being to only permit large warehouse development in industrial districts.

The next Lehigh Township Planning Commission meeting will be held on July 10 at 6 p.m.

Kenneth Hall Sworn In As Newest Member Of Northampton Council

0
Mayor Thomas Reenock swears in new council member Kenneth Hall.

Kenneth Hall, the Northampton Fire Department’s fire police captain, was sworn in as the newest member of the Northampton Borough Council on Thursday, June 1. Hall is replacing former councilman Robert Coleman and representing the First Ward. As Hall took his seat for the first time, with his family in attendance, he was greeted warmly by Mayor Thomas Reenock and the rest of council.

“I have big shoes to fill,” Hall said of replacing Coleman, adding that he is thankful for the opportunity to further serve the borough.

“[I am] looking forward to working with you,” Councilman Tony Pristash said to the newly appointed council member. “[You have been] very present at many borough events.”

Not only was Hall sworn in as a new council member, but Officer Brent Danenhower was hired as a full-time police officer for the borough and sworn into the force by Mayor Reenock. He too was welcomed by council.

“It is an honor to have him as part of the department,” said Councilwoman Judy Kutzler.

Now that Officer Danenhower has been employed full-time, the borough must rebuild its civil service list, which is currently empty. Without a list, the borough cannot hire any new police officers or fill other civil service positions.

However, while council greeted new faces to the borough, they had to say goodbye to a familiar one. During the meeting, it was announced that Police Chief Ronald Morey will be retiring at the end of the summer. While he still has several months left before he leaves the force, council took some time to thank him for his many years of service to the borough.

“Our relationships have paralleled each other,” Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr. said to Chief Morey. “It was fun working with you.”

Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst also worked alongside Chief Morey for many years, reminiscing back to when he served as park foreman and Chief Morey worked as a summer helper.

“The door is always open,” he said.

Other business during the meeting included an update on the Coplay Bridge, which has recently been closed for repairs. A free pedestrian shuttle is available for residents every half hour while the bridge is closed. Mayor Reenock also recounted the recent visit of representatives from Northampton’s sister city, Stegersbach, Austria. Media, citizens, and even a parliamentary member from the Austrian city visited several sites in Northampton, including the Atlas Museum and the borough’s Hungarian cemetery. Mayor Reenock said they had a “very good time.”

Finally, council voted 4-3 to decrease the number of meetings per month in the summer from two to one, which means council will meet on July 20 and August 17.

Seven Ways To Become A Super Connector

0

I’ve seen it all.  Your boss says, “I want you to get out of the office and network.”  Or you are the owner of a small business and you want to get more customers.  Well, don’t just sit there.  And heed the following warning: don’t walk up to people and say, “Hi, I’m Joe, I work at XYZ Bank. Would you open an account with us?”  Or “Hi, I’m Kathy, I’m a realtor and looking to list homes in your area, can you give me three names of people you know who are selling homes? I’ll call them and tell them you sent me.”  I call this “get in your face networking,” it doesn’t work and many times it is offensive.

But before you go, how about we learn a little more about effective networking and becoming a super connector.

1. Networking means you start or continue to build a relationship (trust is the single most needed emotion that can turn a friend or colleague into a someone who will refer you).

2. Make sure they know what you do – people don’t refer you for many reasons, maybe they don’t like you or maybe they don’t understand what you do – when you are into the relationship and you know they like you, take the time to share what you do.

3. Refer others first – this is the big one. Give first, refer first, and take time to really get to know them well enough to help them first.

4. Just get together – when building the relationship, make sure you get together with no sales, no business, nothing but “I want to get to know you better,” find out what makes them tick and what common interests you have.

5. Chemistry matters  – be able to identify people you will not be able to refer. If there is no chemistry between you and nothing in common, give it up and spend your time nurturing the relationships that matter.

6. Choose your venue carefully – don’t waste time going to places that don’t attract quality entrepreneurs; generally people like to go to cool venues, with upscale food and beverages and, if there is a speaker, make sure the speaker and the topic are of interest to you.

7. Follow up – this has to be the number one reason where networking falls apart.  You can’t find the business cards, you don’t remember what your conversations were and if you wait too long they won’t remember you.

We all know “You can’t stay in the corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” This is a quote by the famous Winnie the Pooh.

You may want to consider leaving the corner of your office and becoming a super connector today.

Families And Four-Legged Friends Attend Paw Prints On The Canal

0

The Ninth Annual Paw Prints on the Canal in Northampton turned out to be an overwhelming success, despite the day’s clouds and slight drizzle. Families and their four-legged friends of every size came out to Canal Park on Sunday, June 4, to show their support for the Northampton Police Department’s K-9 Force.

The free event, which was sponsored by Northampton Borough, featured over 120 vendors, from pet food companies to rescue shelters to local artists and crafters, making this year the biggest in the event’s nine-year history. Visitors gathered information on adoption days, pet food, pet safety, and more, while their dogs were pampered with plenty of treats and toys. Proceeds from the event’s food truck, hot dog stand, bake sale, raffle, and vendor support all benefited Northampton’s K-9 Force, an important division of the police department helping to keep the borough safe.

Therapy dogs Bentley and Cooper, from Therapy Dogs International.

There were a variety of animal shelters and rescue leagues in attendance, including Peaceable Kingdom, Starting Over Animal Rescue, Inc., Paws 2 Freedom, Pawsitively Purrfect Rescue, and the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance. There were also breed-specific rescue groups and clubs, including Save a Yorkie Rescue, Pocono Greyhound Adoption, the French Bulldog Rescue Network, Harnessed to Hope Northern Breed Rescue, and the Lehigh Valley Pitbull Awareness Club. Visitors got a chance to talk to these nonprofits about the importance of adoption and even meet some of the dogs and puppies looking for their forever homes.

Vendors also sold treats, toys, costumes, and blankets for the pets, while other craft vendors sold homemade jewelry, soaps, and more for pet parents.

Winners of the Sharpest Dressed Contest

There were plenty of presentations to enjoy, including a rescue pet parade, a drug demonstration by Officer Michael Buchanan and his K-9 partner Vito of Northampton’s K-9 Force, training tips from Passion for Paws Dog Training, and an obstacle course from Dreamweaver Agility Group. The “sharpest” dogs of the day also showed off their talents and costumes and were awarded gift baskets.

While most of the vendors and events centered around dogs, “cat people” were not forgotten about. Several vendors featured cat treats and toys. Three tiny kittens up for adoption from Starting Over Animal Rescue, Inc. also got plenty of love and attention throughout the day.

Organizers were extremely pleased with this year’s turnout, as well as the vast community support. And, with plenty of bright smiles and wagging tales to go around, it seems that everyone is already looking forward to next year.

Nazareth Officials To Be Honored For Service, Safety

0

Figures within the Nazareth community are slated to be honored for various types of service to the borough, which was revealed at Nazareth Borough Council’s monthly business meeting on Monday, June 5.

Council members motioned to honor Fire Chief John Deutsch, Police Commissioner Randall Miller and Ambulance Director Jennifer McCloskey at their monthly business meeting on July 5. All three officials will receive “Stars” Awards for their service to the borough.

The award consists of commemorative stars removed from worn United States flags that are given to worthy police, fire and emergency personnel.

Nazareth resident Becky Butz also expressed her appreciation for the borough being listed as the 17th safest city in Pennsylvania state rankings. The rankings were configured by rating city crime indexes against state and national averages. Nazareth’s ranking was the highest of any Lehigh Valley city.

Butz praised Miller for his work as commissioner with the borough, attributing Nazareth’s safe nature to his presence in the community.

“I think that’s fantastic,” Butz said of the ranking. “We owe a lot of that to our police force and to Commissioner Miller. Since you have come with us there has been a lot of changes, all for the better, and that’s fantastic.”

With recognition for service seeming to be the theme of the night, council also made a motion to recognize the receipt of four “Service Awards” from the Pennsylvania Borough’s Association. These were awarded to Councilman Charles Donello for 10 years of service, Mayor John Samus for 20 years of service, Secretary and Treasurer Paul Kokolus for 20 years of service, and Vice President Larry Stoudt for 40 years of service to the borough.

In other business, Stoudt made a formal complaint to Commissioner Miller after an unauthorized Nazareth resident directed traffic at the borough’s food truck festival on June 3, stressing that it needed to be addressed.

Council also made a motion to reschedule their July business meeting to Wednesday, July 5 at 6 p.m.

Town Hall In Bath Focuses On The Future Of The Borough’s Police Services

0
Bath Council President Mark Saginario addresses residents at the May 20 town hall meeting.

A large number of Bath residents came out to an early morning town hall at the Bath Social Hall on Saturday, May 20, to discuss the financial future of Bath and how police services in the borough may be affected. The borough is currently deciding as to whether or not it would like to continue to use the police services of the CRPD, or seek alternative options. The budget of the CRPD is outgrowing the budget of the borough and, if the borough opts to stay with the CRPD, taxes for residents will increase.

The Borough of Bath Council and members of the Citizens Police Advisory Panel, as well as Mayor Fiorella Mirabito and Borough Manager Brad Flynn, fielded a handful of questions posed by residents. The turnout was much higher than council or panel members had initially expected. Borough officials welcomed the crowd, yet expressed how tough this discussion and ultimate decision is and will be.

“[This is] an extremely difficult decision,” said Mayor Mirabito. “This is about as historical as the first day CRPD started in 1995 …My number one priority is the safety of everybody here…[and to] make the best decision for you.”

Thick informational packets outlining current and estimated finances for the borough and the CRPD were distributed to all attendees. These packets featured statistics, graphs, comparison charts, and breakdowns of what police services Bath’s tax dollars are currently going towards.

“This data is highly controversial. Some people agree with it, some people do not,” Borough Council President Mark Saginario prefaced before Flynn walked residents through the packets page by page.

Flynn explained that the current council is faced with two options: to either make tough financial decisions facing the borough now, or to do nothing and let the problems become another council’s responsibility in the future. However, he warned that if the council chooses the latter, due to priorities in funding, major mandated capital improvement projects, and demographics in which 16 percent of residents live below the poverty line even as taxes continue to rise, the “borough will tax itself out of existence.”

Bath already has the seventh highest local property tax rate among boroughs in Northampton County. There is no room for infrastructure to help stimulate the borough’s economy and alleviate these taxes for residents. This means Bath has a finite amount of funding. Flynn and the council fear that, if taxes continue to rise, homeowners will opt to purchase property in different townships where they can get a newer house and more services for a lower price. If people do not live in Bath, the local economy will collapse and Bath will have no choice but to be absorbed by a larger surrounding municipality.

Finding an alternative, cheaper police service will help cut the amount of funding being spent.

“This council is not afraid of change. You should not be either…[but we should] be afraid of not changing,” Flynn warned.

The impact this decision will have on the future of the borough is why council wanted to involve residents and be as transparent as possible.

“This council cares about where the borough is heading [and] where it can head,” said Saginario.

Residents did not hesitate to ask questions about the future of their borough, although a clear indication of how borough residents believed council should move forward was not clear. Residents seemed to be split down the middle as to whether Bath should remain with the CRPD and just accept the tax increases, or seek alternatives.

Some residents worried about the crime rate, especially in areas of the borough where property is rented, such as Old Forge Drive. Residents said that the presence of the CRPD adds a sense of comfort to the borough.

“Can anybody in this room put a number on protecting loved ones?” asked Fire Chief Emilio DeNisi.

However, other residents voiced understanding that the borough may not exist if it must continue to raise taxes to pay for CRPD’s services. Meanwhile, while some residents said they feel as if they know the officers, others voiced frustration and said they rarely see the CRPD patrolling their neighborhoods or issuing traffic citations to the many trucks that pass through the borough. One statistic in the informational packet said that only one truck out of every 48,667 that passes through Bath receives a violation.

However, some of the data and information the packets held was contested by CRPD Police Chief Roy Seiple and other CRPD officers in attendance. Chief Seiple took issue with the packet’s mentioning that “Shop with a Cop” has unknown statistics as to how the program benefits borough children. He argued that a majority of children in the program are from Bath. Chief Seiple also said that there are services the police provide for the borough that cannot be measured and put on paper, such as the comfort provided by simply having a community police presence.

“None of us here are going to disagree that the CRPD is a top-notch agency,” said Flynn, stressing that this decision is purely financial.

The borough’s tax collector Debra Mills jumped in and stressed that the financial issues the borough is facing do not start and end with the police services.

“If an extra ten dollars [a person] could fix the borough, I would write you a check today…[but] there is no room in the budget…Long term, I do not think the borough will be here,” she warned.

Other residents wondered why they themselves cannot make the decision in a referendum. The borough’s assistant solicitor James Kratz explained that only certain questions are permitted on the ballot and police services is not one of them.

This means that council is depending on residents to voice their questions and concerns so that they can make the decision that is best for all of Bath. While they acknowledge that not all residents will be happy with the outcome regardless of what they choose, they are acting with the borough’s best interests in mind. It is a duty that is weighing heavily on many of them.

“Everyone is losing sleep over this,” Mayor Mirabito said, “but we cannot keep raising taxes.”

“You elected me to do what is right for the borough,” said Councilwoman Cynthia Anderson. “[We are] doing everything possible to make the right decision.”

Councilman Barry Fenstermaker agreed and expressed the hope that Bath can continue to remain Bath. “This town, I love…but I cannot see increasing taxes. The people in this town cannot afford it.”

Residents are encouraged to attend Colonial Regional Police Commission meetings, as well as upcoming Borough of Bath Council meetings, to learn more and have their voices heard.

“We are all in this together,” Saginario told residents.

Holy Family School’s Coraline Transports Audiences To The “Other World”

0

From May 19 through the 21, the Holy Family School Players performed a musical adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, turning the gymnasium of Holy Family School in Nazareth into an entirely new world, one where cats spoke, garden flowers sang, and mice performed circus tricks.

First through eighth graders shared the stage together in this enchanting production, directed by Catherine Little and featuring several original songs written by music director Liz Kerner. Elements were taken from both Gaiman’s book and the 2009 stop-motion film about a young girl named Coraline, whose family moves into an old house full of secrets. Ignored by both her parents and her friends, Coraline escapes into the “Other World” through a secret door in her house. There she discovers the family, the friends, the neighbors, and the excitement she always wanted. However, not all is as it seems with her “other” family and their eerie buttoned eyes.

The stage design did a fantastic job of showing the transition between the two worlds, changing from a black and white stage to one with pops of bright color whenever Coraline visits the “Other World.” The change in scenery was accompanied by twirling ballerinas and a button-eyed doll choir, which grew slightly more ominous as the danger in the “Other World” became ever more present.

The spunky Coraline was portrayed by both fifth grader Brittany Nestor and seventh grader Morgan Halldorson. (Nestor portrayed Coraline in the weekend’s first two performances, with Halldorson as Coraline’s dance double. For the final two performances of the weekend, the roles were switched.)

Coraline’s real mother and father, workaholics who have little time for their daughter, were played by Theresa Crimi and Ben Morris, while Coraline’s (seemingly, at first) more loving mother and father in the “Other World” were played by Anna Wikris and John Baron.

Coraline’s new neighborhood is made up of an outrageous cast of characters, including circus mice trainer Mr. Bobinksy, played by Anthony Ephault; retired actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, portrayed by Julia Hockenberry and Rachel Kindt (who performed an entertaining medley of show tunes during one scene that got the audience cheering); the adventurous Wybie, played by Henry Grimm; and Wybie’s mischievous cat, played by Talia Collina.

The entire company was given plenty of time to shine during several group numbers. The students especially seemed to have a blast during their performance of “Sweet Coraline,” a fun take on the Neil Diamond classic “Sweet Caroline.”

The company also underwent several costume changes, transforming from a creepy doll choir in bright wigs, into a circus mice troupe decked in red, into bright flowers, fruits, and vegetables in a magical garden.

The Holy Family School Players took audience members to the “Other World” on an exciting adventure and held a performance they and their directors should be very proud of.