Archive for category Whitehall

LV brewers team up with local Habitat chapter

The House That Beer Built fundraiser is a coupon book that is redeemable at several area breweries.

Habitat of the Lehigh Valley has partnered with Lehigh Valley Brewers Guild f…

District court cases still on, office open after judge’s death

Senior judges will preside over court hearings in late District Judge Robert Halal’s court.

The offices of late Lehigh County District Judge Robert Halal are open and cases will go on as scheduled, county officials said.

The 52-year-old Halal was found dead Monday in his Whitehall Township home on Monday, and the coroner ruled the death a suicide.

In a news release, county officials said some hearings this week needed to be rescheduled, but that Halal’s office remains open. Residents can file new cases and defendants should continue making payments on fines and costs.

MORE: Lehigh County district judge’s death ruled a suicide

Senior magisterial district judges will be assigned on a rotating schedule to preside over hearings, according to the release. Starting Monday, senior magisterial District Judge Patricia Warmkessel will preside over the court.

Halal was district judge for Whitehall and Coplay since 2007, and was re-elected to a six-year term in 2013.

The office will remain vacant, unless a replacement is appointed by the governor. If no replacement is appointed, the seat will be filled in the 2019 election.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.


Blue Mountain Falls to Whitehall in DXI 5A Semifinals

The Blue Mountain baseball team fell 2-1 in ten innings against Whitehall in the District XI 5A semifinals.

Whitehall High School prom 2017 (PHOTOS)

Whitehall students celebrated their prom at the Holiday Inn in Upper Macungie Township.

Whitehall High School students celebrated their prom Saturday night at the Holiday In…

DA: Couple went shopping with fire company’s money

The money was spent at Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, The Restaurant Depot, Boscov’s, Dollar Tree and Kohl’s, detectives said.

A husband and wife are accused of using a Lehigh County fire company’s funds to go on a $6,300 shopping spree.

Harrison Bruder was president of the West Catasauqua Fire Company at 2008 Second Ave. in Whitehall Township; his wife, Brenda, was the recording secretary at the time.

The couple, who live down the street from the fire hall in the 2000 block of First Avenue, were charged Monday with theft, conspiracy and receiving stolen property, District Attorney Jim Martin said in a news release.

The couple are each free on $15,000 bail.

MORE: Man who stole $45K from fire company avoids jail

Prosecutors said the fire company’s treasurer approached them in March, after discovering irregularities in the fire company’s savings and checking accounts at Wells Fargo bank.

Treasurer Barbara Bedocs also reported purchases on the fire company’s credit card that she would consider unauthorized, prosecutors said.

County detectives reviewed the fire company’s bank records and allege the couple used the fire company’s credit card and checking account for personal payments and purchases.

That includes payments made on Facebook, as well as purchases at a local Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, The Restaurant Depot, Boscov’s, Dollar Tree and Kohl’s, detectives said.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.


Township paying $375K to settle housing discrimination claim

A nonprofit sought to build affordable housing in a former mill in Whitehall Township.

Whitehall Township will pay $375,000 to a nonprofit group as part of a federal settlem…

Allentown schools worker fired for alleged theft of $1,510

The misappropriation was discovered through the employee’s receipts, district officials say.

An Allentown School District employee was fired and faces charges for allegedly stealing $1,510, according to the district and city police.

District officials revealed the firing but did not name the employee in a news release Friday.

Police and district court documents identified the worker as Tammy Jo Thomas, 46, of Whitehall, who is charged with theft by deception and receiving stolen property. Thomas was arraigned Friday night before Judge David M. Howells Jr., who set bail at $20,000 unsecured.

Her now-former position within the school district was not immediately clear. A working phone number for Thomas could not be found.

Fugitives of the week April 16, 2016

The school business office found a problem with receipts Thomas submitted in mid-January and immediately terminated her employment, according to the district news release.

School officials said they hired an investigator to confirm the missing amount, and current procedures are being reviewed.

Steve Novak may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @type2supernovak. Find on Facebook.

Belgium terrorist attacks condemned by local Muslims

“We stand in solidarity with the citizens of Brussels,” says the Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley.

A group of Lehigh Valley Muslims on Tuesday spoke out against the deadly terrorist attacks in Belgium, calling the violence senseless and tragic.

Bombs were set off at the main airport and a subway station Tuesday morning in Brussels. At least 30 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded in the attacks.

Belgian federal prosecutors say a house search in a Brussels neighborhood found an explosive device, chemical products and an Islamic State flag.

The Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley, based in Whitehall Township, issued the following statement:

“The Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley is greatly saddened by the horrific events that have occurred today in Brussels. The mass scale loss of innocent lives is devastating and should not be taken as representative for any faith-based tradition. We stand in solidarity with the citizens of Brussels over this tragic and senseless act of violence. Our prayers are with the families of the victims, the authorities, and all the people of Brussels.”

NYC patrols increase after Belgium attacks

Some of Europe’s best-known monuments have been illuminated with Belgium’s national colors in a show of solidarity after the attacks in Brussels. At nightfall Tuesday, the Eiffel Tower in Paris lit up in the black, yellow and red colors of the Belgian flag.

The Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley also spoke out after December’s deadly shootings in California, and spoke at a rally around Easton’s Peace Candle when terrorists struck Paris in November.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Steve Novak may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @type2supernovak. Find on Facebook.

Project to overhaul Rt. 22 in Lehigh County starts Monday

The Route 22/Fullerton Avenue interchange project is expected to be completed by November 2020.

A five-year, $65 million project aimed at upgrading a heavily-traveled stretch of …

Hozza Seeking Third Term as Whitehall’s Mayor

FROM ED HOZZA CAMPAIGN: Last night, Whitehall Township Mayor Edward Hozza, Jr. announced his intention to run for re-election to the seat he has held since 2008.

“It has been my pleasure to serve the citizens of Whitehall over the last eight years,” said Mayor Hozza. “I look forward to building on my progress in bringing Whitehall into the 21st Century while also remembering our Township’s history.”

Hozza continues to work as Whitehall’s “full-time mayor” and hopes to work to improve the lives of its citizens every day in the future. He has successfully balanced seven budgets over his two terms as mayor When Mayor Hozza took office, the township was at its debt level in 33 years and the township has seen its debt level decrease to its lowest amount since 2003. At the same rate, Whitehall Township will have its planned lowest debt payment in 2017 due to Mayor Hozza’s focus on paying down the township’s debt. By implementing a non-essential personnel hiring freeze, bidding contracts into categories, and switching healthcare providers, Mayor Hozza has saved the residents of Whitehall Township over $5 million during one of the country’s worst economic periods. Whitehall has also stabilized its pension obligations at a level that reduces future liabilities and burdens on taxpayers, stabilizing the budget.

Mayor Hozza also continues to work towards a safer Whitehall for both its residents and visitors. He has begun to plan for future succession plans for the police department by approving the promotions of several officers and has approved technology upgrades to improve information sharing and make the department more efficient. He also reviewed the existing ten-year fire apparatus replacement schedule and expanded it to include every new apparatus for the next 23 years.

“Public safety has been and will continue to be one of my chief concerns over the next four years,” said Mayor Hozza. “I have already begun to study the feasibility of a new police station to replace our current aging one and have studied the possible legal ramifications of the prospect of mandating body cameras on our police officers.”

With Whitehall’s reliance on a strong commercial tax-base, Mayor Hozza has reenergized economic development in Whitehall over the last eight years and will do so moving forward. He resurrected the Whitehall Township Industrial and Commercial Development authority to advocate for redevelopment in the township. His main focus has been the redevelopment of the former Lehigh Valley Dairy and Mayor Hozza continues to call for a tax incentive for developers to reuse the property. He plans on continuing to pursue a CRIZ designation for Whitehall along with a TIF and LERTA for the dairy property with other government entities in the township.

Mayor Hozza also sees Whitehall’s economy moving away from a sole reliance on retail to one focusing on other sectors like the healthcare industry. “With the aging population of both Whitehall and the country as a whole, the need for medical staffing over the next 30 years will skyrocket,” said Mayor Hozza. “I look forward to an announcement on the plans of Lehigh Valley Health Network on their intentions for their 143-acre property they own along MacArthur Road.”

Mayor Hozza demonstrated his dedication to open space preservation in Whitehall Township by working with federal, state, and county agencies to purchase the Prydun Farm, the first case of new open space in Whitehall Township since the implementation of its new strategic plan. Mayor Hozza also worked with the Ironton Rail Trail to complete the paving of the trail by the end of this year and helped to implement the construction of the D&L Trail through Whitehall.

Mayor Hozza is a member the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, which granted Whitehall Township its Transportation Public Safety Award last year for the State Route 145 Safety Improvement Project. Hozza is also a member of the Pennsylvania State Mayors’ Association, the Pennsylvania League of Municipalities, and he and his wife, Denise, are active members of the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce and are active members of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church

Blogger’s Note: What is less than apparent in this news release is Hozza’s great sense of humor. I sat next to him during meetings in which he had me rolling on the floor. He needs to be able to laugh because, next to Allentown and Bethlehem, Whitehall is the largest municipality in the Lehigh Valley. Commissioner Jerry Palagonia, a former Township police officer, is also running.