Archive for category Bethlehem

Bethlehem teacher hired to serve as Parkland High School assistant principal

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

She's tentatively scheduled to begin work later this week.

crystal georgeView full sizeCrystal George 

Parkland High School will have a new assistant principal this fall.

School directors tonight hired Bethlehem resident Crystal N. George to replace former Assistant Principal Anthony M. Naradko. The vote was unanimous.

Afterward, George said, “I appreciate the opportunity. I’m very excited to get started.”

Superintendent Richard Sniscak released a statement praising George’s credentials and commitment to students. “The Parkland High School team is very excited to have Ms. George join the team. It was evident to the interview committee that she truly cares about children and is committed to their growth and achievement,” he said.

At the close of tonight’s meeting, Sniscak joined school directors in an impromptu welcome of George, who is tentatively scheduled to begin work Thursday, earning an annual salary of $87,000. Her salary will be prorated.

George is currently an English teacher at Freedom High School in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, a position she’s held for 18 years. Over the past year, George also has served as an administrative intern at Freedom, which is part of the Bethlehem Area School District.

In that time she’s performed administrative duties, including developing course schedules, disciplining students and writing curriculum and instruction. George also has experience administering Keystone Exams, tests all state students must pass to graduate high school.

George has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education/English from Cedar Crest College, a master’s degree in educational technology from Wilkes University and principal certification from Moravian College.

Her predecessor, Naradko, was tapped in June to serve as the school district’s supervisor of transportation and safety.

Contact Lehigh County suburbs reporter Precious Petty at 484-894-3854 or

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Attack against sister prompts neigbhor’s help, chase with knife, police said

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The 42-year-old faces charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and others, police say.

Luis Orlando GonzalezLuis Orlando Gonzalez 

A Bethlehem man assaulting his sister allegedly struck a neighbor who tried to intervene before chasing both with a butcher knife, according to court records.

Police summoned at 3:28 a.m. Sunday to the area of Fritz Drive and Marvine Street found Ivan Rosario with dried blood under his nose, records say.

He told authorities he’d been assaulted when he tried to intervene in a domestic assault, court records say.

Rosario said he heard screaming from an apartment in the 1100 block of Dover Lane and went inside, according to court documents. It wasn’t clear if Rosario knew those inside the apartment.

Authorities determined Luis Orlando Gonzalez, 42, who lives at that address, was beating his sister, identified as Yaritzeida Garcia-Rodriguez, according to court records. Garcia-Rodriguez told authorities Gonzalez hit her face after she tried to step in after she said she heard him yelling at their mother, court papers say.

Both Rosario and Garcia-Rodriguez said Gonzalez eventually grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen and chased them out of the apartment.

The 42-year-old was arraigned before on-call District Judge Diane Marakovits on charges of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, public drunkenness, harassment, disorderly conduct and simple assault. He was sent to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Hearing for 12-story South Side Bethlehem building postponed

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The Historic Conservation District's consideration of plans for a 12-story building at the corner of West Fourth and Vine streets has been postponed to an undetermined future date,

Plans for a 12-story South Side Bethlehem building won’t be considered by a city historic review board tonight.

The Historic Conservation District’s consideration of a new 12-story building at the corner of West Fourth and Vine streets has been postponed to an undetermined future date, the city announced this afternoon.

Developer Dennis Benner, who also has announced plans for 13- and 7-story buildings in the neighborhood, is looking to build 11 stories of apartments with first floor retail space.

The conservation district board, which is an advisory panel to Bethlehem City Council, rules whether building designs are appropriate in the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District. The board previously approved Benner’s plans for a 7-story building on the corner.

Lehigh University robbery suspect allegedly expressed remorse to police

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The 21-year-old New York man, accused of robbing a student with his female accomplice, allegedly asked how long police expected him to go to prison.

One of the two people accused of a strong-armed robbery at Lehigh University told police during an interview that he’d apologize to the victim and wondered how much jail time he was facing, according to court documents.

Kyle Bracey, 21, of Brooklyn, New York, and Shadira Clarke, 20, of the 800 block of Wyandotte Street in Bethlehem, were arraigned before on-call District Judge Diane Marakovits. 

Police say Clarke told authorities that Bracey walked up to the victim at 9:41 p.m. Friday on Asa Drive in the area of the Lehigh University bookstore and said something to the student. Clarke said she didn’t hear what was said, but saw Bracey take the victim’s purse, court records say.

Clarke admitted that she took cash from the purse, according to police.

Court records say when police spoke with Bracey about the robbery he told them he’d apologize to the victim. When authorities asked him who he was referring to, court records say he told them he was talking about the girl whose stuff was taken.

Police say Bracey went on to say he “did something really stupid” and “can’t take it back now.” Bracey asked how long authorities believed he’d go to prison for, court records say. 

Bracey and Clarke were charged with robbery, conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property. Both were sent to Northampton County Prison — Clarke with a $10,000 bail and Bracey in lieu of $15,000 bail.

Man leaves voicemails threatening to kill ex-girlfriend, Bethlehem police say

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The messages include statements such as 'I'll smash all your (expletive) teeth out' and 'I'll kill you (expletive),' records say.

bethlehem police carView full sizeA Lehigh County man is accused of leaving nine threatening voicemail messages over two hours on his ex-girlfriend’s cellphone. 

For two hours last month, a Lehigh County man repeatedly called his ex-girlfriend and left voicemail messages threatening to hurt and kill her, Bethlehem police say.

Harold Longenbach, of the 3300 block of Airport Road in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, was arrested Saturday and charged with making terroristic threats and two counts of harassment.

Longenbach is in Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail, records say.

From 4:36 a.m. to 6:52 a.m. July 18, the 48-year-old Longenbach called Allycia Slifer’s cellphone and left nine threatening voicemail messages, police said. Slifer lives in Bethlehem.

The messages included statements such as “I’ll smash all your (expletive) teeth out” and “I’ll kill you (expletive)” and “I’ll have you (expletive) buried you (expletive) piece of (expletive),” according to court records.

Contact lead Lehigh County digital reporter Sarah Cassi at 484-894-0411 or

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Allentown, Bethlehem out of the running for Stone Brewing Co. expansion

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Stone Brewing has narrowed the field to two states, neither of which is Pennsylvania.

Allentown and Bethlehem are officially out of the running as the new home of the California-based Stone Brewing Co.’s first East Coast presence.

The 10th-largest craft brewer in the United States has announced it has narrowed its search for its first location east of the Mississippi to three finalist cities.

Those cities include Richmond, Virginia; Norfolk, Virgina; and Columbus, Ohio, according to Stone Brewing Co.

The announcement confirms a report last month that Ohio and Virginia were the only states still under consideration for the project. It officially puts to an end hopes for Sands Bethworks Retail LLC to bring Stone Brewing into the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site.

Ruckus Brewing had also submitted an application for the former Neuweiler Brewery site in Allentown, which it is currently redeveloping into a $30 million full-scale brewery operation.

Ruckus had envisioned partnering with Stone as the two anchor breweries at the Neuweiler site, while allowing other beer companies to rent out the remaining tank space.

Ruckus CEO Josh Wood could not immediately be reached today, but he previously said redevelopment at Neuweiler will continue regardless of Stone Brewing’s involvement.

Ruckus plans to produce about 100,000 barrels of beer a year there.

Bethworks had sought to develop the Stone Brewing facility at the former Steel Bessmer building, where steel was first produced on the site in 1873.

Bethworks officials previously said the site was a perfect fit for Stone Brewing, which said it would give strong consideration to the reuse of a historic structure.

Contact Allentown reporter Colin McEvoy at 484-894-2549 or

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Is Karen Dolan Running Away To Canada?

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Karen Dolan

As some people reportedly ran to Canada to avoid the draft, Bethlehem City Council member Karen Dolan might be running there to avoid an Investigating Grand Jury. She’s telling some acquaintances that she and her husband will move there in January. Others are being told it’s October. Either way, she’ll have to resign her seat on Council.

Is this story true? My sources are hearing it directly from her, and that’s the tough part. Anyone interested in good government would be delighted to see her leave the area. But I don’t place much stock in anything she says. Honesty is not exactly her strong suit.

Dolan is the former Executive Director at Illick’s Mill, but was forced to resign after it because clear that she was using her position on City Council to secure favorable treatment at the Mill. She was also removed as Parks Committee Chair after proposing a reduction in alcohol restrictions at City Park structures like the Mill, so she could serve stronger booze at weddings legally.

Her mismanagement at the Mill includes a whopping $128,000 bill from Bethlehem that will never be paid, as well as a suspension of the Mill’s nonprofit status when she failed to file tax returns for three years straight.

She and her nonprofit have attracted the attention of an Investigating Grand Jury convened by DA John Morganelli. She has referred to her critics, presumably including me, as a Gang of Jerks.

I wish these folks would get it straight. Just yesterday, I was being accused of being the ringleader of the Sticker Gang. Now it’s the Gang of Jerks.

Falsone: How Robin Williams’ suicide compelled me to publicly acknowledge my struggle with depression

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Others with ties to the Lehigh Valley, some in prominent positions, have come forward with their stories since the beloved comedian and actor took his own life Monday.

Consider the randomness of the following group of people:

Mark Remy is editor-at-large of Emmaus-based Runner’s World magazine.

Al Difilippantonio Jr. is a 59-year-old Easton resident who’s launching  a consultation business.

Mike Schlossberg is a Pennsylvania state representative who serves Allentown.

And while we’re at it, throw my name into the mix:

Nick Falsone is a Bethlehem resident who’s managing editor of The Express-Times and

We’re all very different with unique backgrounds and life experiences, but we share more in common than just our ties to the Lehigh Valley.

We’ve all suffered from depression.

We’ve all sought medical treatment for it.

We’ve all felt compelled in the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide to publicly acknowledge our bouts with the illness.

None of us is embarrassed.

If I’ve seen anything good come from the tragic loss of Williams, the beloved comedian and actor who was found dead Monday in California, it’s the emboldening of those with mental illness to stick a fork in the stigma and just tell their story.

Maybe someone suffering will listen and take the first step of getting help. Perhaps others who don’t understand mental illness will see that it afflicts people of all statures. Some of us have gone on to do great things. And then there are others, like me, who have gone on to work for newspapers. 

Let’s start with Remy, the Runner’s World editor. On Tuesday, the day after we learned of Williams’ death, he wrote a blog in an effort to redirect someone who wrongly suggested running is an adequate alternative to seeking psychiatric therapy.

“I’ll go ahead and say it: Yes, I have needed a psychiatrist or psychologist, particularly during two very rough stretches of my life, and thank God for them,” he wrote. “Yes, I manage an illness with daily medication, which helps to keep some pretty dark stuff at bay. And thank God for that, too.”

Then there’s Difilippantonio, who called our newsroom the day after we published an editorial about Williams. He didn’t want to chat about his favorite scenes from “Mrs. Doubtfire;” he simply wanted us to tell his story of depression to others. He says he’s wrestled with it much of his life and in the past has contemplated suicide, but he’s persevered with therapy and treatment. 

“I’ve never been concerned about attaching my name to it,” he told me. “I want people to talk about it. The more common faces — not just famous faces — attached to it, the better the awareness.”

mike-schlossberg-140.jpgView full sizeState Rep. Mike Schlossberg 

Schlossberg, the state representative, demonstrated that politicians are in fact capable of sincerity when he wrote an op-ed piece about his depression.

He recalled being a freshman at Muhlenberg College and feeling not just sad, but hopeless.

“The words of friends and parents were largely irrelevant, and I didn’t understand how I would ever feel OK again,” he wrote. “After suffering through that blackness for many weeks and months, I began to contemplate if suicide wasn’t a better option.”

He wrote that he eventually sought counseling and now takes medication for anti-anxiety and anti-depression.

“I type these words without any shame,” he wrote. “Why would I be ashamed? Are you embarrassed to be taking Lipitor for your cholesterol or Prilosec for your heartburn?”

Now, for the hard part.

Until recently, I have been ashamed about seeking help for depression. My life has hardly been tragic. I come from a wonderful, loving family that raised me well. No one’s wronged me. Nothing, thank God, has happened to me that can be characterized as truly traumatizing. I felt weak for struggling because there are millions of others out there who have had far more difficult lives but seemingly manage to carry on just fine.

Nick Falsone in 20sView full sizeThis is me about 10 years ago. Tough to tell by the quality of the photo, but I was underweight.  

When I first realized I needed help, I was in my mid-20s and had lost a lot of weight because I just didn’t have much of an appetite. Butterflies were always in my stomach; I don’t know how else to put it. I struggled to sleep and would break out in cold sweats. The attacks happened on occasion as far back as college, but what had once been rare had suddenly become routine.

Therapy and a prescription anti-depressant helped me feel normal again. The first person I ever told outside a doctor’s office was the woman I eventually married. Her support and understanding also played no small part in me getting better.

This will come as a surprise to many others who are important to my life. I spoke to my father for the first time about it Friday. His compassion was in line with the man of character he’s always been. His only gripe was that I didn’t tell him and my mother from the onset because they may have been able to help. My brothers have already read this and had similar sentiments. Many of my friends and co-workers will learn about it for the first time by reading it here. 

I always went to great lengths to hide it, even going so far as to park in the back lot of the medical building where I sought treatment out of fear that someone I knew would see me.

But now, as we mourn the loss of Williams and speak more openly than ever about mental illness, I’m more ashamed of hiding than anything else. 

To my loved ones, I’m sorry I didn’t have the nerve to speak about it sooner.

To people like Remy, Difilippantonio and Schlossberg, thanks for having the guts to put it out there. If not for you and others who have told their stories, I might still be hiding.  

Bethlehem developer now seeking 12-story building on South Side

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Dennis Benner is now seeking to build a 12-story building at West Fourth and Vine streets where he was approved to build a seven-story building in April.

30 w 4th street project.jpgView full sizeA condemned building at 30 W. Fourth St. in Bethlehem and Benner’s previous proposal for a new seven-story building on the site. 

Bethlehem developer has submitted new plans for a 12-story South Side building where he’s already received approval to build a seven-story structure.

Dennis Benner is now seeking approval to build a 12-story building at West Fourth and Vine streets. He received approval for the other project in April.

Benner’s plans include demolishing a second building to allow for the new project, which would include a restaurant or retail space on the first floor plus 11 stories of apartments.

“It’s a substantial change in the project,” said Alicia Karner, Bethlehem’s community and economic development director. “It’s several stories higher and the footprint is far larger.”

City zoning allows for such buildings in the neighborhood. Benner also has proposed a 13-story building across West Fourth Street and a seven-story building at Third and New streets. All three proposed buildings are within the state’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone that allows developers to use some state and local taxes for construction.

Benner revised plans for the Fourth and Vine streets building because he was able to buy the house next door to his property, which he said was in serious disrepair.

“I didn’t want to have a really bad property next to something that was brand new,” he said.

The two buildings Benner is seeking to demolish are 30 W. Fourth St. — a small commercial building that’s condemned — and 24 W. Fourth St., a home that Benner said the city has considered for condemnation.

The proposal includes 22 apartments and a roof deck. Nine of the floors would have a pair of two-bedroom apartments while the top two floors would feature two three-bedroom apartments.

Benner said he doesn’t yet have a commercial tenant lined up for the first-floor space. He said he expects the apartments to appeal to both Lehigh University students and young professionals. His proposed 13-story building also would have similarly targeted apartments.

“You’re talking about walls of glass here — I don’t think these will be hard to rent,” Benner said.

The plans for the new building will go before the city’s Historic Conservation District board Monday. The board, which is an advisory panel to Bethlehem City Council, will rule whether the building’s design is appropriate in the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District.

The board conditionally approved Benner’s seven-story building in March, but asked the developer to recess the upper floors and incorporate more materials than just brick in its design.

Benner said he’s incorporated both suggestions in the new design.

City council also approved Benner’s previous design. Council President J. William Reynolds didn’t return a call Thursday on the new building design.

Benner said he’s still pursuing plans for his other two proposed South Side buildings.

“I have a lot of things in motion,” he said.

Bethlehem teen who tried to rape, strangle Lehigh University student should be charged as a juvenile, attorney says

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

A hearing has been scheduled in Northampton County Court Friday to determine where Bryan Sanchez-Osorio should be prosecuted.

The defense attorney for a 17-year-old Bethlehem man accused of trying to rape and murder a Lehigh University student wants the case moved into juvenile court.

Anthony Rybak, the public defender for Bryan Sanchez-Osorio, and Assistant District Attorney Patricia Broscius are scheduled to appear before a Northampton County judge Friday to argue whether the Puerto Rican native should be tried as an adult or juvenile.

In a motion filed Aug. 8, Rybak said Sanchez-Osorio’s age, limited English and mental health problems make him a candidate for juvenile court. Unlike normal court sentences, juvenile sentences are not intended to serve as punishment but to provide rehabilitation and treatment, according to state documents.

Medical records Rybak submitted show the teen was involuntarily committed to a Puerto Rican mental hospital earlier this year due to aggressive behavior, severe irritability, symptoms of severe depression and suicidal thoughts. He was discharged after responding well to medication and therapy, according to the documents.

Prosecutors will oppose Rybak’s request, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said today. The violent nature of the assault and the fact that Sanchez-Osorio is nine months away from becoming an adult would make it inappropriate to transfer the case to juvenile court, he said. Morganelli said he would be shocked if a judge agreed to the request.

“This guy’s a danger to the community, and he needs to be tried as an adult,” Morganelli said.

Sanchez-Osorio, of the 700 block of Laufer Street, allegedly broke into a Carlton Avenue apartment at 3 a.m. July 16. Police said residents of the apartment called 911 after hearing their roommate screaming, and police discovered Sanchez-Osorio leaving the bedroom as they arrived. Inside, they found the victim unconscious and nude from the waste down, according to court documents. She had marks on her neck consistent with being choked, police said.

Police said Sanchez-Osorio did not know the victim and had never been in her apartment before. He is currently in Northampton County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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