Wilson Junior High School cheerleading program established

Posted by 69News:.

Parents and students at Wilson Area Junior High School now have a reason to cheer.

The Wilson Area School Board Monday evening unanimously approved a cheerleading club for seventh and eighth grade students.

Ninth grade students will also be invited to participate.

The club will be led by Wilson Area High School head cheerleading coach Lisa Keith.

Stacee Walter will serve as assistant coach, Heather Flank as head girls’ coach and Breanne Pfeffer will serve as assistant coach.

Pfeffer is a 2010 Wilson Area High School graduate and was a varsity cheerleader for four years.

District Athletic Director Rosario Amato assured the school board the program is strictly run by volunteers and will be a self-sustaining club.

“It will not cost the district any money to start up,” he said.

The rules and regulations for the junior high school cheerleading program mirror those of the varsity program and other junior high school programs, Keith said.

She also said revenue and funds will be handled by staff members.

“Everything will be overseen by me,” Keith told board members.

Keith said anyone who attends Wilson Area School District may participate in the cheerleading club.

According to Pfeffer, club members will practice Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. and share the same practice space as the varsity cheerleaders.

The club will cheer at two events per week.

“We didn’t want to overwhelm them [cheerleaders] at first,” she said.

Sixteen uniforms from the high school will be available for club members.

If the uniforms do not fit or more uniforms are needed, Walter said, the club will conduct a fundraising campaign.

“We would be fundraising everything we need,” Flank added.

Board member Charles Marsteller asked the club’s approach when individuals discontinue volunteering.

Keith said those who fill a vacancy as a volunteer will be well trained.

Students and parents have already expressed an interest in the club, Flank said.

“I know it’s [cheerleading] becoming more of an interest now and that’s a good thing,” Keith said.

Amato noted boys will be invited to participate in the cheer club.

“Yes, we would not turn them down,” he told the board.

Amato gave his stamp of approval for the program.

“I feel comfortable with what the committee put together for you,” he said.

BASD reaches agreement with former parent it sued

Posted by 69News:.

The Bethlehem Area School District Board of Directors approved a settlement in a case Monday night in which the district had filed a complaint against a former district parent.

The district had filed a federal case against Diana Zhou in 2009 alleging that she exploited due process procedures by filing claims without merit against the district.

The BASD lawsuit is the first in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under a federal law, which permits a school district to file a lawsuit against a parent, according to information supplied by the district Monday night.

A federal court judge had ruled in favor of BASD, while a separate jury had found in favor of Zhou on one of her claims. With the split decision, the district and Zhou each demanded payment of counsel fees from the other.

Zhou’s legal fees surpassed those accrued by BASD, since her attorneys were based in Philadelphia and charged higher rates for their services than the district’s attorneys located in Bethlehem did.

As such the sides negotiated an agreement to avoid further litigation and fees.

In other business Monday night, directors approved a resolution to test the market with their Authority Revenue Bond Series of 2010. 

The district’s Bond Series of 2010 Floating Rate Note, issued in January 2010 with RBC Municipal Products and was remarketed nearly two years later on December 29, 2011, with a mandatory tender date coming up on December 29th of this year.

Advisers indicated it would be in the district’s best interest to proceed with the swap under the auspice it will reshape the district’s long-term finances for the better.

Director Basilio Bonilla, Jr. was absent from Monday night’s meeting.

A New Rivalry is Brewing In High School Football

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Stroudsburg High School’s Marching Band took to the field before Saturday night’s Battle of the Unbeatens between Bethlehem Catholic and the Mounties, played in Bethlehem. In what has to be the best band performance I’ve seen this year, they played a few tunes from Despicable Me! When the Mounties finally left Bethlehem on Saturday night, most Beca fans would agree. A touchdown late in the 4th quarter put them ahead, 23-19. Becahi moved the ball valiantly, but faltered, with Fabulous Freddie Simmons tripped by a Mounties as he went for a ball that fell harmlessly ten yards ahead of him. It was not to be.

I could give you all kinds of reasons for the loss. I could say that Beca was too cocky and overconfident, and they were. I could blame the officiating. I could point to at least three turnovers. I could point to three personal fouls against Beca and a block below the waist that seemed designed to take Michael “M1″ McDaniel put of the game. But the simple reality is that, on Saturday night, the Mounties were the better team.

One thing is clear. These teams really dislike each other. Last night, the Golden Hawks and Mounties Freshmen and JV squads met in Stroudsburg, and it was a war, from beginning to end. Beca eked out the freshmen victory by a razor thin score of 8-6. It was another game punctuated by face masks, personal fouls and late hits.

I sense a new football rivalry is brewing between two closely matched teams that really detest, yet respect, each other.

Their stadium is beautiful, but as I made my way to the visitor stands, I was walking on the track reserved to coaches, players and officials. I honestly didn’t know.

“Are you a coach?” a security guard suspiciously asked me.

“Nah, I’m a player,” I answered. “I was redshirted a few decades.”

Fortunately, he laughed.

Mezzacappa On Spoiled and Coddled County Employees

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Hello! My name is Mr. Ed!

Tricia Mezzacappa, the Wicked Witch of West Easton, was pretty much disowned by Republicans when she ran for Northampton County Council last year. But don’t kid yourself. She intends to run again,  oblivious to the number she’s done to herself in recent years. Yesterday, she insisted that the Council Clerk deliver this missive to Executive John Brown, County Council, and for some reason, her.

Dear Members of Northampton County Council,

I have been following the media (Express Times and Morning Call and WFMZ) reports of the recent uproar regarding medical benefits for county employees. If not for the uproar, I would never have known that the County employees were enjoying the long extinct 100-0 medical plans. Now knowing that, I applaud Mr. Brown for bringing Northampton County into the 21st century, and suggesting a civilized way to run a multi-million dollar government operation. If Mr. Brown refuses to make the medical plan negotiable , good for him. Why?

I moved here in 1999. The last time I had an employer-sponsored medical plan was 2000. The last time I had a steady paycheck was 2004. The fact is, that employer sponsored medical plans are actually extinct too, in the private sector, and sometimes, even in the public sector. This is because the traditional “full time job” has been wiped out, in favor of part-time and per-diem work. Don’t get me started on the “jobs” situation as it is today. I see temporary staffing agencies taking over with $9.00/hr jobs, no benefits. I recently applied for a nursing job, and was told that they received over 3,000 applications.

I have never seen a job with a pension plan in the private sector, in which the employer contributes to the employee.

Having mentioned those facts, the only “galling” thing I see, is the behavior of the spoiled and coddled county employees. There were a number of them in courtroom one. Blowing up plastic dolls, booing and hissing is no way to make your point. I have a better idea…since the employees insist they live in the “real world”, lets give them a front row seat. Usher them off to healthcare.gov where they will find $6,000 deductibles and premiums based on income.

Taxpayers are not ATM machines. If the employees refuse to understand that, then they are welcome to leave.

Let me tell you a little story about Tricia Mezzacappa, R.N., of the private sector. (May God have mercy on whomever gets stuck with her).

In 2011. Mezzacappa worked in the public sector. At Gracedale. She lasted 1 1/2 days and walked off the job when someone dared tell her she was late.

She’s pretty much a full blown liar about pretty much everything.

Her epistle is being exposed so that workers know what  she’s like when she runs again.

Naughty Emails?

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Back in 2007, when Seamus McCaffery was running for the State Supreme Court, I met him at a fundraiser in Bethlehem. All the Micks were there. Cunningham. Callahan. Brennan. I loved the guy, an ex-cop who used to be the Judge of the Eagles Court. I even gave him money, though my check for $1,000,000,000,000,000 bounced. I thought he’d bring a different perspective to a court full of blue bloods who only shit once every four or five years.

Since ascending to the judicial heavens, he began acting like one of them. I became particularly concerned over referral fees being paid by law firms to his wife, who was also then employed as a court aide for him. So did the FBI.

But now Hizzoner has redeemed himself in my eyes. He’s been suspended for something no blue blood would do – engage in naughty emails.

Ron Castille’s horn-rimmed glasses must have steamed up and cracked when he found out that, over the years, Justice McCaffery has sent a few … OK … 234 emails from his personal account to his pals, most of them former cops.

Naughty emails.

If he investigates, Castille will probably learn that McCaffery pisses and farts every day and farts, too. He’s a human being, not an automaton. As long as Seamus is not one of the models, I frankly think they are all over-reacting. They should have paid this much attention to kids for cash scandals, but the judges involved there were fellow blue bloods. For the ex-cop, a different standard is in place. The aristocratic preppies are simply shocked that a judge would act like a human being.

Give me a break.

Back Room Meetings Too Frequent in Bethlehem Tp

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

While the dais is empty, about 25 citizens are waiting.

People who visit Bethlehem Township Commissioners for a meeting can usually set their clocks back 15 minutes or longer. That’s because, with increasing frequency, Commissioners are huddled in a back room. When they come out, there will eventually be announcement that they were in Executive Session for “litigation” (the litigation is never described) or personnel matters. They almost never take any formal action on whatever was discussed behind closed doors. This breeds suspicion. As stated expressly in the Sunshine Act, “[S]ecrecy in public affairs undermines the faith of the public in government and the public’s effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society.”

In addition to being secretive, this behavior is rude. Other municipal bodies have more respect for the citizenry than to schedule a meeting and then force the public to wait because a chosen few are cowered in some dark corner. These executive sessions should occur, if at all, after the people’s business has been concluded.

Top Ten Things To Blame on NorCo Exec John Brown

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Late yesterday, one of my readers posted this list of things that we can lay at John Brown’s feet. I have to share it. If you can improve on it, please be my guest. I’ll take the best answers and incorporate them into a new post on Wednesday. This might be a regular feature down the road. Top Ten Things to Blame on County Council might be next.

Things John Brown is responsible for:

1) the death of every county employee
2) Ebola
3) Bernie’s drinking
4) The Cubs
5) The Centralia mine fire
6) Kids’ discomfort with nines
7) Global Warming
8) Straight to DVD movies
9) Barron’s lisp
10) Mezzacappa’s bad hair

Bethlehem Tp Comm’rs Approve Duplex Over Neighbors’ Objections

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Despite forceful objections by three neighbors on Spear Street, Bethlehem Township Commissioners last night approved plans by Allentown’s Robert James to tear down a single home at the southeast corner of Fifth and Spear Street and replace it with a duplex. Commissioner Tom Nolan told protesters the development is “by right permissible,” meaning that it is an expressly permitted use under the zoning ordinance.

The vote was 3 to 1, with Nolan, Marty Zawarski and Phil Barnard supporting the development. Pat Breslin voted No, without explanation. Michael Hudak was absent.

Richard Brescia, who lives on Spear Street, questioned whether this is really a “by right” development. He noted that, though the zoning ordinance does allow for duplexes in that zoned area, it also mandates a balancing act, under its express terms, to “carefully control the types of housing to ensure compatibility with existing homes.” He denied that a duplex is compatible with the existing homes in that neighborhood,

Brescia was joined by two Spear Street neighbors, Charles Milositz and Joe Stofanak. who stated the nearest duplex is a mile away. “It just doesn’t fit,” added Milositz.

These neighbors they were absent when this matter was presented to the Planning Commission, and have no plans to sue.

After the meeting, Phil Barnard took no pleasure in voting against these neighbors. “We were kind of handcuffed,” he observed. Nolan had previously stated, “We have to uphold our ordinances.”

In other business, Commissioners got an earful from a frustrated Anthony Billone. He told Commissioners that his father’s home, located on Farmersville Road directly across the street by Deja Vu Kennel, is being treated as both a parking lot and bathroom stop for the pets. Customers even park in and block his father’s driveway. When he’s called the police, he’s been told it’s a zoning issue, When he’s called zoning, he’s told to call the police.

Deja Vu Kennel is exempt from the zoning requirements of off-street parking because it existed before the ordinance went into effect. But that’s no consolation to Billone. “We can’t get in and out of our own driveway,” he complained.He indicated one truck with all kinds of lawn maintenance equipment is deliberately parked on his father’s property. No Trespassing signs are torn down.

Nathan Jones, Bethlehem Township’s new Planning Director, stated that some type of enforcement action is being pondered, and would call Billone with an answer today.

In addition to dealing with unhappy neighbors, Commissioners voted 4-0 in support of an amendment to the Township’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance that will require owners to bear the costs of streelighting in future non-residential development.

They also authorized their Solicitor, John Harrison, to “intervene” in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s pre-application hearing with respect to the PennEast Pipeline. That pipeline is currently scheduled to slice through the eastern portion of the Township.

Harrison explained that it is currently too early to intervene. The motion gives him the authority to do so when the time is right. He added that intervention does not mean that the Township is taking sides, either in support of or against the pipeline. For now, it is acting as an observer.

Refinancing could save Bangor $260,000 a year

Posted by 69News:.

With interest rates at historic lows Bangor Area School District officials have been crunching numbers and believe they can save $260,000 a year if the district refinances a $9.1 million bond, business manager Mark Schiavone said Monday night.

Interest rates have been dropping in the wake of global fears, ranging from economic weakness in the Europe to ebola, because investors have been putting their money into U.S. bonds.

All of that could work in favor of Bangor as it looks to save money and cut costs.

The board will hear details of the idea at its meeting Monday, when Schiavone said bank representatives are scheduled to appear.

Schiavone said the refinancing plan would not increase the debt or extend the terms of the original bond.

The references to the extremely low borrowing rates, and the fear that interest rates are bound to head higher in the future, touched off a discussion on whether the district should take advantage of the attractive rates and borrow now for a growing list of capital improvement projects.

The district has been facing costly repairs for years at several of its schools, including a $1 million water tank project at the middle school, another $3.5 million project to fix the roof, and another $500,000 for the parking lot, said board member Bob Cartwright.

Frank DeFelice, the district superintendent, said the district is working on a list of projects and expects it to be completed in a few weeks.

Bethlehem Township investigating kennel parking

Posted by 69News:.

One Bethlehem family says it is dogged by a kennel parking problem.

The name of the kennel is Deja Vu, and that’s also what some of its neighbors say they’re experiencing in dealing with an on-going parking issue.

Township supervisors on Monday heard from Joseph and Anthony Billone, a father and son who say the kennel’s customers have been taking advantage of their Farmersville Road property.

“They use our driveway as our parking lot,” said Anthony Billone, who invited township officials to come to the family’s home to investigate. “You can come and sit and watch in our living room. It’s all day.”

The Billones say they’ve been frustrated by past efforts to get help from the township, hearing that it was either a zoning or police matter, depending on who they asked.

On Monday again, the board suggested they get photos of cars from the kennel on their property as stronger proof.

“I have to laugh at that,” Anthony Billone said. “Stronger proof? I’ve given the police pictures.”

The kennel is grandfathered against having to provide off street parking, which means customers either use the Billone’s driveway, turn around on their lawn, or park on the side of the road, creating what Billone said is a dangerous situation for passing drivers.

The father and son left the meeting frustrated, although township manager Melissa Shafer said the township’s planning director and zoning officer would meet first thing Tuesday to investigate the issue.

Representatives from Deja Vu were unavailable for comment Monday evening.