Archive for category Bethlehem

Bethlehem man, 46, arrested after striking girlfriend as she drives, police say

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The woman suffered a cut to the inside of her upper lip, police say.

Bethlehem police carA Bethlehem man is charged with assaulting his girlfriend while she drives an SUV, court papers say. 

A 46-year-old Bethlehem man was arrested after he hit his girlfriend in the face while she was driving an SUV, court papers say.

Clayton Kenneth Downes, of the 500 block of Souix Street, was arraigned early Friday before District Judge James Narlesky on charges of simple assault and harassment. He was sent to Northampton County Prison in lieu of 10 percent of $10,000 bail, court papers say. Downes on Friday afternoon remained in jail, online records show.

Danielle Hann was driving a gray Ford Explorer just before 8 p.m. Thursday near Ontario Street and Broadway in Bethlehem when Downes struck her with the back of his hand, court papers from Bethlehem police say. Hann received a laceration to the inside of her top lip, court papers say.

If Downes makes bail he must stay away from Hann, her family and the Sioux Street address, court papers say.

A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled April 24 in District Judge Nancy Matos Gonzalez’s South Bethlehem court.

Bethlehem launches ‘Buy Local Bethlehem’ challenge to promote local produce

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The Bethlehem Health Bureau is challenging both city residents and restaurants to use more local produce.

The Bethlehem Health Bureau has launched a “Buy Local Bethlehem” challenge to encourage city residents to buy local produce.

The bureau is challenging residents to eat at least one food item from a local farm once a week from April through October. The bureau’s challenge also has a restaurant component, where restaurants are being asked to pledge to use items from local farms.

While all fruits and vegetables have health benefits, locally-grown produce also has both environmental and economic benefits, Bethlehem Health Bureau Director Kristen Wenrich said. The new Lehigh Valley Food Policy Council did a study that found if every local resident spent $10 a week on locally-produced food, it would provide $100 million to the economy, Wenrich said.

“Besides the health benefits there’s the economic benefit,” he said. “If you’re going to eat produce, we ask can you take it that step further and get it from your local farm.”

While the city of Bethlehem is far from a farming community, the bureau is highlighting a new farm share effort it is starting in May with the Bethlehem Area Public Library. The 20-week program starts May 25 and will offer produce from Bechdolt’s Orchard in Lower Saucon Township.

“A lot of people are hesitant to join a CSA because they might not know what to do with some of the vegetables but we’re going to provide recipes,” Wenrich said.

More information about the library farm share can be found here and here.

Bethlehem also is home to Scholl Orchards on Center Street and the city currently has two farmers markets: at Lehigh University on Thursdays and at Moravian College on Fridays.

Three Bethlehem restaurants – Bethlehem Brew Works, Shankara and The Mint Gastropub – took part in the Buy Local Bethlehem launch Friday.

Both residents and restaurants can sign up for the challenge at The bureau also is running a Buy Local Bethlehem social media contest on its Facebook and Twitter pages; people who post photos of their produce with the hashtag #buylocalbethlehem can win prizes.

Lynn Olanoff can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LynnOlanoff. Find Bethlehem news on Facebook.

Curtiss-Wright and 95 High-Tech Jobs Come to Bethlehem

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez’s workforce
praised for making Curtiss-Wright Facility a Reality

Over 100 people were at the Grand-Opening of defense contractor Curtiss-Wright in Bethlehem yesterday morning. More specifically, it is Curtiss-Wright’s Engineered Pump Division, which supplies the United States Navy with high tech pumps for both submarines and surface craft. This division, which will employ about 95 people, is no simple warehouse. The people who work in the 145,000 sq ft warehouse and factory, and the 35,000 sq ft office, are actually involved in the manufacture and testing of highly advanced pumps. The facility represents a $25 million investment. “We’ve invested heavily in the Lehigh Valley,” stated General Manager Todd Schurra. He hopes to attract and retain a local workforce.

Kerry A. Wrobel, President of the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, stated that the employees who work at Curtiss-Wright can expect to see $500-750 million in new business development over the ext few years.

Another location, closer to the train tracks, had to be scrapped. Vibrations from moving trains could affect testing. Lehigh Valley Industrial Park and JG Petruccie were able to find a more suitable site atop a knoll, not far from Saucon Park. But there was no access. Installing a road and utilities, and in less than a year, was the challenge. They succeeded, thanks in large part to Bethlehem city officials.

Petrucci, whose company works with about 50 different municipalities, had high praise for Bethlehem. “The City of Bethlehem is the gold standard of municipalities, he said, as Mayor Bob Donchez blushed. He called Bethlehem’s staff “phenomenal.” He’s proud of this project for three reasons. First, it is a factory, putting people to work with “sophisticated” and high-paying jobs. Second, it is an adaptive re-use of an old factory site. Finally, it is on the “front lines of our country’s security.”

Those security concerns prevented photography of much of what goes on inside the facility, which was partially blocked from public view. Cell phones were prohibited, too. General Manager Todd Schurra assured this reporter that there are no flying saucers stashed away. He did state that the Curtis-Wright company has a long history going back three centuries, at least if its predecessor companies count. They built the first naval pump used by Commodore Perry’s fleet. The also built the pumps used on the USS Monitor.

That vessel sunk, prompting Petrucci to joke with Schurra to come up with a better example.

New Nitschmann Middle School bids under budget, turf field on the table

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

Bethlehem Area School District officials hope to use the extra cash for a new synthetic turf field at Nitschmann Middle School and Freedom High School.

Bids for the new Nitschmann Middle School came in $2.3 million under budget at $45.6 million.

Bethlehem Area School District officials hope to use the extra cash for a new synthetic turf field at the middle school and Freedom High School.

The district plan to break ground in May on a new school behind the existing building at Eighth Avenue and West Union Boulevard. The school is expected to open in August 2017.

“We’re under budget and we’re on schedule,” said Arif Fazil, district engineer of D’Huy Engineering Inc.

The total project is estimated to cost $53.1 million. The lowest base bids total $44.1 million. Bids for five different contracts were opened on March 24. The bid documents included alternate project add-ons in case the district could afford them.

The administration is recommending adding on $1.25 million in alternate bids for things like terrazzo flooring, which is more durable, a 30-year built up roof and higher-quality lockers.

The district plans to issue bonds to cover the majority of the expense. It’s also used $5 million of its savings and received a $2 million grant to make Nitschmann a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design gold-certified school.

The district also is hoping for $3.5 million of state reimbursements through the state’s Planning and Construction Workbook reimbursement process, known as PlanCON. The district got into the pipeline during a tight opening and its unknown when or if it will see the money.

Superintendent Joseph Roy said officials were shocked Nitschmann could get a synthetic turf field for $660,000. The district currently only has a turf field at Liberty.

While it would first be Nitschmann’s field, high school lacrosse and soccer could also practice on it and it will be open to the community, Roy said.

“It’ll be a district field,” Roy said.

Board President Michael Faccinetto, who supports the field, noted the price range is well below the original $1 million estimate. He praised the project team for getting the project so under budget.

The district is considering taking out solar panels, estimated to cost $240,000, because they carry a 40-year return on investment.

Bethlehem Area has until January of next year to decide to drop the solar panels.The district wants to make sure cutting the rooftop solar panels won’t jeopardize its LEED-gold certification and $2 million grant, Fazil said.

Roy notes all of the district’s five other solar installations were completely grant funded.

Deducting the solar and adding in a Nitschmann turf field, leaves $1.89 million available to finally give Freedom the turf field it was promised a decade ago, Roy said. A new Freedom field is estimated at $2.5 to $3 million.

Freedom was supposed to see a turf field installed after the district’s stadium at Liberty got its own field. Plans were abandoned when the economy tanked.

“I’m relieved we’re within budget and we can attack the Freedom issue that’s been hanging out there for a long time,” Roy said.

Director Angela Sinkler questioned if a middle school really needs a turf field. She wanted to know what $1.8 million could fund in educational programs or repairs to a building like Fountain Hill Elementary School.

“I understand sports are a big deal but so are facilities that enhance the learning process for our students,” Sinkler said.

Director Michele Cann said it’s not a matter of sports being more important; it’s about making economical choices.

“You’re never going to see this cost (for a filed at Nitschmann) ever again,” said Stacy M. Gober, business manager.

Roy warned the board it would be a politically difficult position to say no to Freedom and yes to Nitschmann.

Faccinetto agreed both schools need the fields.


The board will consider the Nitschmann Middle School bids on its April regular board meeting agenda.

On April 20, the school board will meet at 7 p.m. and vote to award the following bids:

General contracting: Penn Builders, Inc., $34 million

Electrical construction: Wind Gap Electric, Inc., $4.8 million

Plumbing construction: Jay R. Reynolds, Inc., $1.86 million

HVAC: Myco Mechanical, Inc., $5.17 million

Environmental abatement: Sargent Enterprises, Inc., $376,850

Sara K. Satullo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @sarasatullo. Find Bethlehem news on Facebook.

Bethlehem Warns About Bats

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

From Bethlehem Health Bureau: On April 3, 2015, several children handled a live bat at Higbee Park in Bethlehem before it died.  The bat was then transported to the PA Bureau of Laboratories for rabies testing, but was unable to be tested due to the bodily damage it sustained.  


While several of the children who handled the bat have been identified, there may be others that need to be located, as they must be evaluated for treatment of possible rabies exposure.  An exposure to rabies can be fatal for a human or other mammals, such as dogs and cats.  “I urge all parents whose children may have played at Higbee Park on April 3rd, to determine if their child had any contact with the bat, and if so, to contact the Bethlehem Health Bureau immediately,” said Bethlehem Health Director, Kristen Wenrich. 


It is recommended that citizens never attempt to handle a wild or domesticated animal that is not their own, as a health and safety precaution.  All sick or injured animals should be reported to the local police department or animal control officer.  


Pet owners are encouraged to keep dogs and cats up to date on rabies vaccine-per Pennsylvania law, all domesticated dogs and cats over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies.  Do not feed wildlife, stray or feral cats, or stray dogs.  


Anyone who is bitten, scratched, or otherwise exposed to an animal should seek prompt medical care.  By law, all medical care providers must report these cases to the local health department for investigation.  


To report an actual or potential exposure to a wild or domesticated animal, please call the Bethlehem Health Bureau at 610-865-7083.


Bethlehem woman, twice removed from probation program, arrested in Hellertown, police say

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The woman faces four offenses involving driving a vehicle.

Bethlehem woman, who was twice removed from a probation program that could have eliminated a charge against her and then failed to show up for a Northampton County Court appearance, was picked up Saturday evening during a traffic stop in Hellertown, borough police and court papers report.

Tianna Lee Ramos, 24, of the 200 block of West Third Street, was charged in October 2013 with having fraudulent vehicle documents, not having a valid inspection, driving an unregistered vehicle and driving without insurance, court papers say. The charges were forwarded to county court, where in April 2014 all but the documents charge were dropped so Ramos could enter the county’s accelerated rehabilitative disposition program, court papers say.

If the probation program is successfully completed, the offense can be wiped off a person’s criminal record. She was removed from ARD in August but put back in in September, court papers say. But in November, the ARD was again revoked and she again faced all the charges against her, court papers say. It was not immediately clear why she was removed from or readmitted to ARD.

Ramos then failed to show up for criminal court on Dec. 1 in Easton and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest, court papers say.

At 5:57 p.m. Saturday, Hellertown police pulled over a vehicle at Main Street and Cherry Lane and discovered Ramos was wanted on the bench warrant, police said.

Ramos on Monday morning remained in Northampton County Prison, a department of corrections employee said and online records show. Prison paperwork didn’t indicate bail was set.

Tools, cigarettes swiped from Bethlehem gas station damaged in fire

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The fuel station and convenience store were badly damaged in a Feb. 17.

Bethlehem gas station damaged in a February fire was targeted in a burglary, according to city police. 

Authorities say someone broke into the Sunoco Gas Station, 2960 Linden St., which was gutted when a fire tore through the building Feb. 17. Among the items stolen, police report, were mechanics tools and large quantitates of cigarettes. 

Bethlehem police say the burglary happened sometime between March 9 and April 2, though the time of day is unknown.

Authorities urge anyone with information on the thefts to contact the department at 610-865-7187.

Route 33 on-ramp crash results in minor injuries, police report

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The accident happens on the on-ramp to Route 33 South.

Pennsylvania state police generic Pennsylvania State Police investigated a rear-end accident Monday morning on the Route 33 South on-ramp from Freemansburg Avenue. 

A 30-year-old Bethlehem woman’s vehicle was struck from behind Monday morning as she waited to merge onto Route 33 South from the Freemansburg Avenue ramp in Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Police report.

Christina M. Cucchiara had paused a 2008 Mercury Mountaineer about 7:43 a.m. as traffic passed on the highway, police from the Belfast barracks said. Amy J. Mann, 55, of Bethlehem, driving a 2012 Nissan Rogue, told police she thought the Mercury moved forward before the Rogue struck it, police said.

Both drivers reported minor injuries, but they declined assistance from Bethlehem Township EMS, police said.

Mann was cited with following too closely, police said.

Bethlehem police ID man who pulled into top cop’s parking spot, claimed to have bomb

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The 46-year-old has yet to be arraigned on the a felony charge of terroristic threats for the Friday incident.

Watch video

Police have identified the 46-year-old man they say claimed to have a bomb in his truck after pulling into the Bethlehem police chief’s parking spot before setting off a 90-minute standoff.

Aristotle Tarboro, of the 1000 block of Cherokee Street in Fountain Hill, has an active warrant for a felony terroristic threats charge related to the incident Friday.

After Tarboro allegedly told police about the supposed bomb, he complied with authorities’ orders that he leave the parking garage, which sits below City Hall and adjacent to the city police station.

He pulled the truck, emblazoned with a U.S. Marine Corps slogan on the rear window, to Saycon Plaza, which sits on the west side of the Bethlehem Area Public Library, police report. Tarboro had an unidentified woman in the vehicle with him who police had to provide medical help to at one point in the standoff when she appeared to have an asthma attack.

Tarboro, who police Chief Mark DiLuzio said is believed to be a military veteran, was surrounded by negotiators and tools to prevent his escape, according to authorities. Spikes and an armored police vehicle were positioned to prevent him from driving away, police say.

The woman was allowed to exit the truck after about 90 minutes, police say, and Tarboro surrendered roughly a minute later.

DiLuzio said the couple was involved in a dispute hours prior in a Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania, motel. Township police Chief Dan Pancoast said the issue was a misunderstanding between the individuals and management at the motel “brought on by a confused manner of thinking.” Pancoast said no charges will be filed as a result. 

The Bethlehem Fire Department Bomb Squad scoured the vehicle and found no explosives, police say, although authorities noted that they did recover a military-style knife from the vehicle. 

DiLuzio said Friday that Tarboro would be taken to St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill for a mental health evaluation where he could be placed on a 48- to 72-hour hold, delaying his preliminary arraignment. As of Monday morning, he was not in Northampton County Prison, a department of corrections employee said. Tarboro’s arraignment had yet to be scheduled before District Judge Roy Manwaring, who is assigned to the case, a court clerk said.

Records indicate Tarboro’s last brush with the law came March 8 when he allegedly tried to illegally pass a vehicle in Lower Saucon Township and caused a wreck.

Peeps hunt at Steelstacks’ Levitt Pavilion in Bethlehem (photos)

Posted by Reblog: Lehigh Valley News.

The Peeps were provided courtesy of Just Born of Bethlehem.

Children and parents converged on the SteelStacks Levitt Pavilion on Easter Sunday to hunt for marshmallow Peeps, courtesy of Just Born of Bethlehem.

The Peeps hunts were organized by age:

At 1 p.m. children ages 3 and under hunted

At 1:30 p.m., the participants were ages 4 to 7

At 2 p.m. the participants were 8 and older.

The Easter Bunny was on hand for photos with the children.