Archive for category Bethlehem

Bethlehem man shoplifts from CVS, leads police on foot chase, police say

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Andres Cordero, 44, of the 800 block of Evans Street in Bethlehem, faces a slew of charges including retail theft, aggravated assault and escape.

Bethlehem man stole $200 of merchandise from CVS and then led police on a foot chase and assaulted an officer Monday through South Side Bethlehem, police say.

Andres Cordero, 44, of the 800 block of Evans Street, faces a slew of charges including retail theft, aggravated assault and escape. He was arraigned and sent to Northampton County Prison after failing to post 10 percent of $40,000 bail, court records indicate.

Bethlehem police received a report of a man shoplifting from the West Fourth Street CVS about 12:40 p.m. Monday, court documents state. Officer Russell Lande encountered Cordero on Graham Street, holding the stolen merchandise, documents indicate.

As Lande attempted to detain Cordero and explain why he was under arrest, Cordero grabbed Lande’s hand, squeezed it tightly and Cordero swung at Lande’s face and chest with his other hand, police said.

Lande managed to free his hand as Cordero hit him in the chest and chin, documents state. Cordero pushed Lande, ran and threw the stolen times into a parking lot, records state.

Lande gave chase and Cordero ran in front of oncoming traffic on South New Street, causing a car to suddenly stop and slide on the icy road, police said.

Cordero again refused to stop and then ran onto the South Bethlehem Greenway, startling people on the trail, police said. Cordero ran onto Adams Street, then onto East Fourth Street in front of oncoming traffic, which had to stop suddenly to avoid striking Cordero, records indicate.

Cordero was eventually taken into custody after the foot chase and police found he had a hypodermic needle, records indicate.

Sara K. Satullo may be reached at ssatullo@express-times.com. Follow her on Twitter @sarasatullo. Find Bethlehem news on Facebook.

Bethlehem City Council Candidate Can Claim Nut Hut on His Resume

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Rob Melosky (D) and Shawn Martell (R)

As most of you know, I’m a miserable bastard who is wrong as often as I am right. A perfect example of how I screw things up is my criticism of former Mayor John Callahan’s appointment of Rob Melosky to the Bethlehem Planning Commission. I looked down my nose at this appointment because Melosky was at that time a Nazareth High School football coach. What could he possibly know about planning? I would learn that he knows quite a bit. What impressed me most was his attention to presentations and excellent questions. He turned out to be a pleasant surprise and, to his credit, accepted my apology when I told him I had misjudged him. He takes his role seriously. In fact, Melosky was one of about 35 people who attended the unveiling of the One Lehigh Valley Report at Bethlehem’s Southside in November. With him was a young man named Shawn Martell. Yesterday, Shartell announced he’s running for one of three seats on Bethlehem City Council.

Martell, a Becahi (2003) and Moravian College (2007), has deep Bethlehem roots. For one thing, his great grandparents operated Matz’s Confectionary on East Broad Street. Most of us can remember the smell of those roasted peanuts, wafting in the air. As you could probably guess, I always felt right at home in a nut hut.

That alone should get him elected. People in Bethlehem love nuts. Look at City Council.

Martell’s dad has dedicated his career to the Bethlehem Boys and Girls’ Club, where my son was once a member. Martell’s mother has taught at both Donegon and Sacred Heart Schools.

Martell became a teacher at Nazareth High School. American Government. He was also one of Melosky’s assistant coaches.

Why is he running? According to his statement,

“Shawn is running on the fundamental premise that all Bethlehem citizens deserve to be heard so as to preserve our shared past and to ensure all benefit from our future. With this in mind, Mr. Martell promises to put Bethlehem citizens first by promoting transparency, smart economic development, safe and livable neighborhoods, and fiscal responsibility.”

He seems like a great candidate and one who will continue making Bethlehem the best City n the Lehigh Valley. I will certainly do my best to follow his campaign and, for once, to be fair.

ArtsQuest hopes to bring back SoccerFest for Women’s World Cup

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

ArtsQuest also announced on Monday that the 2014 SoccerFest, which drew more tha 52,000 people to Bethlehem, won an international award.

ArtsQuest hopes to bring its popular SoccerFest back to Bethlehem for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, the organization announced Monday.

The organization’s FIFA World Cup SoccerFest and Viewing Party drew more than 52,000 people last summer, and ArtsQuest also announced on Monday that the festival has won an international award.

The International Festivals & Events Association has named ArtsQuest’s SoccerFest as one of its best new events for 2014 with budgets under $250,000.

ArtsQuest has to obtain FIFA’s permission to be an official Women’s World Cup viewing location, which it is working on, ArtsQuest Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Partnerships Curt Mosel said.

“The passion of the region’s soccer fans, the event’s diverse programming and the unique atmosphere at SteelStacks make this former industrial site an exciting location for cheering on the U.S. National Team during its quest for the cup,” he said in a statement.

The SoccerFest’s planning committee’s goal is to show the U.S. Women’s National Team’s preliminary stage games June 8 versus Australia, June 12 versus Sweden and June 16 versus Nigeria on the outdoor television screens at SteelStacks. The event also will include a variety of soccer-related programs especially geared toward girls ages 10-15.

The festival also is expected to include a celebration for the 100th anniversary of the Bethlehem Steel Football Club’s first U.S. Open Cup win, which took place in May 1915.

SoccerFest planning committee members will be attending the National Soccer Coaches Association of America annual convention in Philadelphia later this week to help garner support for a 2015 SoccerFest. The association is an event partner, along with Discover Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley United and Spark.

Lynn Olanoff can be reached at lolanoff@express-times.com. Follow her on Twitter @LynnOlanoff. Find Bethlehem news on Facebook.

Forks Township masonry worker remembered as hard worker, devoted friend

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Stanley Guzik, of the first block of Aarons Place in Forks Township, was repairing a chimney on a house in the 600 block of Alaska Street when he fell at 10:54 a.m., according to the coroner.

RELATED: Forks Township man killed in roof fall plummeted 20 feet, coroner says.

Stanley Guzik was a chimney worker who wasn’t too concerned about finances, his friends recalled Sunday.

Guzik, 47, of the first block of Aarons Place in Forks Township, often took no payment when helping friends with home exterior projects, said Tim Deemer of Bath, a longtime friend and co-worker.

It was no surprise to Deemer that Guzik died doing what he was passionate about.

“He was just a good person,” Deemer said. “He would go out of his way to help anyone out.”

Guzik died Saturday after slipping from the pitched roof of a two-story home in Bethlehem. He had been helping a friend with chimney repairs — something his friends said he did hundreds of times — when the incident occurred.

Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim said Guzik was not wearing a harness when he slipped and plummeted 20 feet to the ground. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the chest due to an accidental fall.

Grief-stricken friends Sunday also recalled Guzik as an avid fisherman, Philadelphia Eagles football fan and NASCAR enthusiast. He enjoyed traveling, especially to the Florida Keys.

“He was a happy-go-lucky guy,” said friend Blaine Garrell.

A native of Williams Township, Guzik was a 1986 Wilson Area High School graduate and shortly after, attended vocational and technical school to gain experience in masonry.

He had worked for various chimney companies, including Homestead Chimney in Asbury, New Jersey, and for five years with Deemer’s company, Comfort Chimney in Phillipsburg. He served as “best man” in Deemer’s 2004 wedding.

“He was always someone you could talk to,” Deemer said. “He was someone who would help you no matter what. And he would never look for payment.”

He earned the nickname “Chip” from his mother, Valerie Strohl of Phoenix, Arizona, because they would call him “a chip off the old block.”

Besides his mother, he is survived by his stepfather, Jeffrey Strohl of Phoenix, Arizona; sister, Erica Guzik of Oklahoma; his longtime girlfriend, Margaret Newman of Forks Township; and two stepsisters. He was predeceased by his father, Dan Guzik.

Arrangements are being handled by Strunk Funeral Home in Easton.

Bethlehem library has new story time sessions starting in January

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The Bethlehem Area Public Library has new story time sessions starting Jan. 15 at its South Side branch and Jan. 27 at the main library.

The Bethlehem Area Public Library has new story time sessions starting Jan. 15 at its South Side branch and Jan. 27 at the main library.

The South Side branch, at 400 Webster St., is offering Family Story Time with music, dance, stories and a craft for all ages at 11:15 a.m. Thursdays and 1 p.m. Saturdays. Registration is required for the half-hour classes at bapl.org or 610-867-7852.

The main library, at 11 W. Church St., will have story time at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday starting Jan. 27. The Wednesday session is for infants, Thursday is for toddlers and Tuesday is for all ages.

Registration is required at bapl.org or 610-867-3761 ext. 499 for the Wednesday and Thursday sessions. No registration is required for the Tuesday sessions.

Bethlehem group gets last-minute $70,000 donation to preserve historic farm

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Camel's Hump Farm on Santee Mill Road will include a community farm, nature-based day care and after-school program for at-risk students.

Bethlehem resident Victoria Bastidas spent much of December reaching out to local conservation groups to see if any could possibly partner on an effort to save an historic city farm.

Her group, Friends of Johnston, still had more than $70,000 to raise toward its goal of preserving a 3.4-acre farm on Santee Mill Road and its Dec. 31 deadline was looming.

She said on Dec. 29 she was looking at conservancies who could take over the project. 

Then on Dec. 30, she got a phone call that would change everything. A strong admirer of the group’s effort – the plan is to open a community farm, nature-based day care and after-school program for at-risk students – called asking how much the group needed to buy the farm. That same day, he wrote a check for the sale balance: $69,030. The donor is requesting to remain anonymous.

Despite getting so close to deadline, Bastidas said she never gave up hope. Bastidas got involved with the property eight years ago as part of a master’s degree research project and has since led efforts not only to preserve the 3.4-acre farm but another 44 adjacent acres. Natural Lands Trust will own the 44 acres, part of which was previously eyed for 420 apartments and a strip mall.

“I think that was a turning point with people – that this wouldn’t happen after all the effort, the idea that this project wouldn’t be completed with just $70,000 to go,” Bastidas said.

The purchase price for the so-called Camel’s Hump Farm, which includes a farmhouse, barn and two other buildings, is $625,000. In addition to $125,000 in donations, the Friends of Johnston group got a $125,000 state grant and a $375,000 mortgage to go toward the purchase.

Also in December, the group launched a GoFundMe effort to help bring in donations. While the online effort only drew $2,400, it raised something more important: 100 new members, Bastidas said.

The Friends of Johnston group formed in 2013 to preserve the land along Route 191 between Santee Mill and Christian Spring roads that was part of the former estate of Bethlehem’s first mayor, Archibald Johnston. Bethlehem Township has 55 acres of the estate for parkland and Northampton County has another 36 acres.

Natural Lands Trust is expected to close on its 44 acres later this year. The group got $674,500 from the state and $657,500 from the county to purchase the property.

Natural Lands Trust plans to work with Friends of Johnston on public access plans for the property, and was glad to hear of its fundraising success, spokesman Oliver Bass said.

“We’re just delighted that the process is continuing, and that all of the partners involved have been so wonderfully committed to seeing this wonderful piece of open space preserved,” he said.

Friends of Johnston still has more money to raise for the farm’s operation, including $6,250 needed to pay for the sale’s transfer tax, Bastidas said. The group hopes to open its camp this summer and its day care in the fall, she said.

“We’re very excited,” she said. “Now it just starts our work.”

FUNDRAISERS SET

Camel’s Hump Farm, 1311 Santee Mill Road in Bethlehem, is hosting two upcoming fundraisers:

A wine, tapas and dancing event at 6 p.m. Jan. 25. Tickets are $25.

A dinner with wine at 6 p.m. Feb. 15. Tickets are $50.

More information: FriendsOfJohnston.org

Allentown Promise Neighborhood dramatically expands footprint for 2015

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley plans to expand in 2015 into Bethlehem and Easton.

As a former teacher at William Allen High School, Yamil Sanchez Rivera said he was bothered by the number of high school students in the Allentown Promise Neighborhood who had no idea what they planned on doing after graduation.

“Personally and professionally, that was disappointing to me,” said Sanchez Rivera, executive director of Allentown Promise Neighborhood and Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley. “We want to get better results there.”

The agency seeks to learn about community needs and connect residents with services. It works with other area nonprofits to provide services to residents within the designated Promise Neighborhood.

Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley held its first “State of the APN” address Thursday at the Allentown Public Library, where the public was invited to hear results from the ambitious survey conducted last summer in the Allentown Promise Neighborhood.

The assessment comes as the organization’s board of directors expects to decide next week on the boundaries of a new Easton Promise Neighborhood, and the group plans to soon start town hall meetings in Bethlehem in preparation for a Promise Neighborhood there.

In Allentown, the nine-square-block area is bounded by Hall, 10th, Turner and Liberty streets and is home to roughly 5,200 people.

Not enough data

When he joined the program a year ago, Sanchez Rivera said he realized they had no data necessary to direct resources. So a team of nine canvased the neighborhood for about two months and managed to survey 608 of the 827 households, for a 74 percent participation rate.

Yamil Sanchez RiveraView full sizeYamil Sanchez Rivera, executive director of Allentown Promise Neighborhood and Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley 

One key number the organization sought was how many children under the age of 5 lived in the neighborhood. Estimates varied from 400 to 500, prompting nonprofits to concentrate resources there for pre-school learning, but programming was lightly attended, Sanchez Rivera said.

Survey results showed only 235 children under the age of 5 live in the neighborhood. He was also surprised at the number of households, 43 percent, that reported no children living in the home.

An overwhelming majority of of those surveyed, 84 percent, reported having health insurance, but 38 percent also reported using the emergency room as a primary health care provider. And Sanchez Rivera said it was interesting to see how close the numbers for emergency room use were between the insured and uninsured.

Allentown Promise Neighborhood has expanded its reach in 2015 to include another 75 square blocks. The group adopted a neighborhood zone bordered by Martin Luther King Boulevard to the south; Tilghman Street to the north; Jordan Creek to the east and 12th Street to the west.

“Our expanded boundaries will allow us to expand our reach to more Allentown residents,” Sanchez Rivera told about 100 residents and community leaders who attended the presentation.

The organization has applied to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to officially designate the expanded footprint as a neighborhood zone, said APN Manager Amanda Raudenbush. The designation does not provide immediate funding, but will give the group bonus points when applying for future federal grants, she said.

Connecting resources

Cathy Cortijo is a outreach and enrollment specialist with Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley, which works with Promise Neighborhoods.

Cortijo said she regularly receives referrals from the Allentown and Bethlehem health bureaus and relies on groups like APN to connect her with city residents in need of healthcare. Her work with APN has connected her with people she may not have otherwise found and allowed her to enroll them for medical insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Raudenbush points to the The Literacy Center, in the 800 block of Hamilton Street, as an example the work APN can do.

The center started a Spanish story time this summer, and weekly attendance expanded rapidly, exceeding the it’s budget for healthy snacks promised for each child, Raudenbush said. The center approached her and she connected officials with a St. Luke’s University Health Network healthy living initiative that was able to provide snacks.

The organization’s statistic-laden inaugural report focused on four areas: family health, safe and stable communities, student learning and student preparedness for college or careers.

The survey showed that more than 66 percent of the heads of household earned a high school diploma or GED, while just about 15 percent did not graduate high school. Another 14 percent earned either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

More than 57 percent of residents surveyed said they don’t feel it’s safe for their children to walk to school by themselves. There are three elementary schools in the APN.

When asked which of six issues — violence, crime, drug use, alcohol use, drug sales or gang activity — was the largest public safety issue facing the neighborhood, more than half the residents selected all six. But drug sales, 67.4 percent, topped the list as the greatest concern.

LEARN MORE

Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley and Allentown Promise Neighborhood are located in Suite 345 of the Hamilton Business Center at 1101 Hamilton St.

Survey results will be posted on the website, promiseneighborhoodslv.org, in the coming weeks.

Lehigh Valley home beer delivery on horizon, as restaurants seek licenses

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in December clarified rules on transporting alcohol to permit retail liquor licensees to deliver beer with a transporter-for-hire license.

Restaurants in Forks Township, Bethlehem and Allentown are among the first in Pennsylvania looking to deliver beer with their takeout food.

Legal counsel for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in December clarified rules on transporting alcohol to permit holders of retail liquor licenses — such as restaurant, hotel and eating place malt beverage licenses — to obtain a transporter-for-hire license to deliver beer.

It’s not a new rule or policy, but rather a legal opinion issued in response to a question from liquor licensee Peter Gaeth in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

But it goes a long way toward meeting what customers want, said Mike Gilbert, bar manager at the 50 Yard Line Sports Bar at Pizza Como, 2626 Easton Ave. in Bethlehem.

“People have been asking for years,” he said. “They ask, jokingly and not jokingly, ‘Can I get a six-pack or a 12-pack delivered with my pizza?'”

The 50 Yard Line at Pizza Como is one of four restaurants in Lehigh and Northampton counties to apply, as of Wednesday, for the transporter-for-hire license needed to begin offering beer deliveries, said Stacy Kriedeman, spokeswoman for the Liquor Control Board. Statewide, 19 license holders as of Wednesday had requested permission to begin home delivery of beer.

The others locally are Big Woody’s at 1855 Sullivan Trail in Forks and 1841 S. Fourth St. in Allentown and Little John’s Pizza, 901 Tilghman St., also in Allentown, Kriedeman said.

Rules for beer delivery include requiring customers to pay at the licensed establishment, in all likelihood via credit card over the phone. Deliveries must be within Pennsylvania and are also limited to 192 ounces, or a 12-pack of 16-ounce cans. Wine and liquor are ineligible for delivery.

Gilbert said he is certified to train bar and restaurant employees in both Pennsylvania’s Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) and the Training for Intervention ProcedureS (TIPS) in use in multiple states, both aimed at safe and legal alcohol service. He’ll make sure Pizza Como drivers are trained to get customers’ identification matching the credit card and to avoid serving anyone visibly intoxicated.

“They are still responsible, the licensee still has the responsibility, to make sure they are not selling to those under the age of 21 or to visibly intoxicated patrons,” Kriedeman said. “The responsibilities don’t change.”

Pizza Como delivers within a 3-mile radius, Gilbert said: “If it gets that crazy, we’ll maybe expand it.”

Little John’s manager Tamer Degirmenci said he was told he would hear back within about four to six weeks whether his application is approved. He is already planning a wider delivery area, beyond the current service area in Allentown.

“This is going to help us a little bit with increasing our beer sales,” he said Thursday. “And probably it’s good for people. They don’t want to drive while they’re drinking. We can make it safer for people.”

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage & Tavern Association last month applauded the state’s clarification, calling it a victory for convenience for customers and a means toward continued growth and success of the industry.

The application for the transporter-for-hire licenses costs $700, in addition to a $160 license fee for the Class B license permitting delivery of malt or brewed beverage, Kriedeman said.

Management at Big Woody’s was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Bethlehem Planning Commission OKs two new Mexican restaurants

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Agave, a high-end restaurant, and Cerverza, a mid-range brewpub, are expected to open on East Third Street by year end.

Two new Mexican restaurants on Bethlehem’s South Side should open by year’s end after they received approval from the city planning commission Thursday, the developer said.

Developer Lou Pektor said he originally wanted to open Agave, a high-end restaurant, and Cerverza, a mid-range brewpub, by summer but obtaining a state economic development incentive is proving difficult.

Pektor is petitioning to get the two restaurants included in Bethlehem’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone, where new businesses can use new state and local non-property taxes toward project financing. The zone was only created in late 2013 and there isn’t yet a set boundary change process, Pektor said.

“There’s a lack of clarity to the process,” he said.

The Bethlehem Revitalization and Improvement Authority, which oversees the zone, in October voted to make the restaurants a qualifying project but has yet to consider amending the zone boundaries. Pektor said the authority is awaiting direction from the state.

El Sarape Restaurants proposed for BethlehemView full sizeAnother rendering of the two new restaurants. 

Seattle, Washington-based El Sarape Restaurants will run the two eateries. The company has been interested in the Lehigh Valley for some time but couldn’t make the finances work without the CRIZ incentives, Pektor said.

The two restaurants will be built atop a parking lot at 406-408 E. Third St., on the corner with Polk Street. The two restaurants will have a total of 380 seats, both indoors and on a rooftop deck, Bethlehem Assistant Planning and Zoning Director Tracy Samuelson said.

Pektor recently changed design plans also to allow for outdoor sidewalk seating, he said. He had previously sought approval for setback waivers to build the restaurants right up to the sidewalk but instead decided to allow for sidewalk seating.

“The outdoor seating was very important,” he said.

The new configuration also will allow for significant landscaping in the front, which previously wasn’t part of the plans, Samuelson said.

The Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority is building a 587-spot parking garage and lot across from the restaurants, which they’re expected to use for their primary parking. The city won’t issue a certificate of occupancy for the restaurants until the garage is completed, which also is expected to be year end, Samuelson said.

“We want to make sure there is sufficient parking for the restaurant before it opens up,” she said.

Lynn Olanoff can be reached at lolanoff@express-times.com. Follow her on Twitter @LynnOlanoff. Find Bethlehem news on Facebook.

Thousands without power in Northampton County

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Bethlehem and Walnutport were impacted Monday morning.

Thousands of people are without power Monday in Northampton County, according to a PPL spokeswoman.

Almost 2,000 people are without power near Easton Avenue in Bethlehem, the official said, adding that crews were currently responding.

Crews are currently working to restore power to approximately 430 customers in Walnutport Borough, a PPL official said Monday morning. Power is expected to be restored about 11 a.m.

Neither outages’ cause was immediately available.

While wind storms impacted other areas of PPL’s service, the spokeswoman said PPL’s outage map erroneously listing thousands of customers in the county without power was the result of a glitch.

PPL urges customers to report power outages.