Allentown Local News

 

LOCAL NEWS FOR FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013

LOCAL NEWS FOR FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2013

  AFTER A LENGTHY MEETING, ALLENTOWN CITY COUNCIL VOTED 6-1 IN FAVOR OF A 50-YEAR LEASE OF THE CITY'S WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS.  IN EXCHANGE FOR LEASING THE SYSTEMS TO THE LEHIGH COUNTY AUTHORITY, THE CITY WILL GET $220 MILLION THAT WILL BE USED TO OFFSET A SPIRALING PENSION OBLIGATION.  WITHOUT THE DEAL, MAYOR ED PAWLOWSKI SAYS HIS CITY WOULD'VE FACED MASSIVE SERVICE CUTS, HUGE TAX INCREASES AND PERHAPS BANKRUPTCY.  LEASE OPPONENTS SAY THE CITY HASN'T SUFFICIENTLY CONSIDERED ALTERNATIVE IDEAS.

  ALLENTOWN MAYOR ED PAWLOWSKI SAYS HAD CITY COUNCIL NOT APPROVED LEASING THE CITY'S WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS TO THE LEHIGH COUNTY AUTHORITY, RESIDENTS WOULD'VE BEEN HIT A BIG TAX INCREASES.  BILL HOFFMAN IS A FORMER CITY CONTROLLER UNDER PAWLOWSKI AND OPPONENT OF THE LEASE PLAN.  HE BELIEVES RESIDENTS WILL BE PAYING MORE EVEN AFTER COUNCIL APPROVED THE LEASE AGREEMENT.  "THE LEHIGH COUNTY AUTHORITY CAN INCREASE ITS RATES EACH YEAR ACCORDING TO A PARTICULAR FORMULA AND THEY CAN DO THIS FOR THE NEXT 50 YEARS AND THAT'S THE CONCERN," HOFFMAN SAYS.  HOFFMAN AND OTHER LEASE OPPONENTS SAY THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL DIDN'T EXPLORE ALTERNATIVES, INCLUDING THE CREATION OF AN ALLENTOWN AUTHORITY, WHICH WOULD HAVE BOUGHT BOTH SYSTEMS AND GIVEN THE CITY MUCH-NEEDED MONEY.

  THE ALLENTOWN SCHOOL BOARD HAS VOTED 6-2 TO APPROVE MANDATORY STUDENT UNIFORMS EVENTHOUGH IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN JUST HOW MUCH IT WILL COST THE DISTRICT.  THE APPROVED POLICY REQUIRES THE DISTRICT TO PROVIDE UNIFORMS FOR STUDENTS WHO CANNOT AFFORD THEM.  THE DISTRICT SAYS THE PLAN IS TO USE DONATIONS TO SUPPLY FOR UNIFORMS FOR FAMILIES WHO CAN'T AFFORD THE UNIFORMS.  FOR PARENTS WHO CAN AFFORD THE UNIFORMS, ADMINISTRATORS BELIEVE IT'LL COST $60-$100 FOR TWO OUTFITS. 

  A LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT FIRE IN NORTHAMPTON COUNTY HAS KILLED A 63-YEAR-OLD MAN.  HARLEY HENNING DIED IN THE FIRE ON WASHINGTON DRIVE IN LEHIGH TOWNSHIP, JUST SOUTH OF WALNUTPORT.  HENNING'S HOME WAS QUICKLY CONSUMED BY FLAMES DESPITE THE EFFORTS OF FIRE COMPANIES FROM THREE COUNTIES.  FAMILY MEMBERS SAY HENNING LIVED IN THE HOUSE ALONE.

  MUSIKFEST'S SANDS STEEL STAGE WILL FEATURE A LITTLE CHRISTIAN ROCK, MODERN ROCK AND ALTERNATIVE ROCK ALL ROLLED INTO ONE ON THE NIGHT OF AUGUST 4.  SKILLET IS THE HEADLINER ON THE FIRST SUNDAY NIGHT OF MUSIKFEST.  TICKETS GO ON SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC ON MAY 3.  PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED STEEL STAGE ACTS INCLUDE DARIUS RUCKER, ONE REPUBLIC AND CARLY RAE JEPSEN.

  THE AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION SAYS THAT AIR QUALITY IN PARTS OF PENNSYLVANIA IS GETTING BETTER, BUT THERE'S STILL PLENTY OF ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT.  KEVIN STEWART SAYS THAT'S PARTICULARLY TRUE IN THE LEHIGH VALLEY.  "IT IS ONE OF ONLY 19 AREAS IN THE U.S. LISTED AMONG THE 25 MOST-POLLUTED CITIES FOR AT LEAST TWO OF THE THREE MEASURES IN OUR REPORT.  THAT'S NOT A GOOD PLACE TO BE," STEWART SAYS.   THE LEHIGH VALLEY GRADES POORLY IN YEAR-ROUND SOOT POLLUTION AND ALSO THE DAILY AVERAGE LEVELS OF THAT POLLUTION.  DESPITE THAT, STEWART SAYS THE LOCAL AIR QUALITY, AS WELL AS THAT OF THE ENTIRE STATE, CONTINUES ON A LONG-TERM TREND TO HEALTHIER AIR.

  AUTHORITIES IN PHILADELPHIA SAY THEY'LL INCREASE SECURITY FOR A MAJOR ROAD RACE THAT WILL ATTRACT THOUSANDS OF RUNNERS TO THE CITY.  ABOUT 40,000 PEOPLE ARE REGISTERED FOR THE BROAD STREET RUN ON MAY 5.  THE 10-MILE RACE TAKES PLACE ALONG ON PHILADELPHIA'S MAIN NORTH-SOUTH STREET.  THE HEIGHTENED FOCUS ON SAFETY COMES AFTER TWO BOMBS EXPLODED AT THE FINISH LINE OF THE BOSTON MARATHON ON APRIL 15.    PHILADELPHIA MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER HAS UNVEILED A NEW SLOGAN FOR THIS YEAR'S BROAD STREET RUN TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH MARATHON VICTIMS.  PHILADELPHIA RUNNERS WILL WEAR STICKERS WITH THE PHRASE "FROM PHILLY TO BOSTON WITH LOVE."

  PENN STATE SAYS THE NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS FOR UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT IS DOWN ABOUT 9 PERCENT THIS YEAR.  THERE WERE NEARLY 54,000 APPLICATIONS FOR ALL PENN STATE CAMPUSES FROM POTENTIAL FIRST-YEAR UNDERGRADUATES APPLYING TO START THIS FALL.  THAT WAS DOWN FROM THE MORE THAN 59,000 APPLICATIONS RECEIVED TO START LAST FALL.  THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE CITED DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS AND ECONOMIC CONCERNS. THE NUMBER OF HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS IN PENNSYLVANIA AND NEIGHBORING STATES IS DECLINING.  INDUSTRY ANALYSTS HAVE ALSO FOUND ENROLLMENT DECLINES IN MANY SCHOOLS NATIONWIDE AMID WORRIES ABOUT THE AFFORDABILITY OF A COLLEGE EDUCATION.  PENN STATE HAS ALSO NAMED JOHNS HOPKINS ENGINEERING SCHOOL DEAN NICHOLAS JONES AS ITS NEW PROVOST.  UNIVERSITY TRUSTEES ARE EXPECTED TO FORMALLY APPROVE HIS HIRING NEXT WEEK.

  NEW JERSEY'S TREASURER SAYS A PLAN TO TURN OVER SALES AND MARKETING OF THE STATE LOTTERY TO A PRIVATE VENDOR FOR $120 MILLION UP FRONT WILL HELP ENSURE FUTURE PROFITS.  BUT THE WOMAN RUNNING AGAINST GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE IN NOVEMBER SAYS THE ADMINISTRATION IS PRIVATIZING PORTIONS OF THE LOTTERY BECAUSE IT NEEDS THE MONEY.  TREASURER ANDREW ERISTOFF TOLD THE ASSEMBLY BUDGET COMMITTEE ON THURSDAY THAT THE 15-YEAR DEAL WITH THE LONE BIDDER IS GOOD FOR NEW JERSEY.  THE LOTTERY PROVIDED $950 MILLION TO STATE PROGRAMS AND INSTITUTIONS LAST YEAR.  SEN. BARBARA BUONO, A DEMOCRAT RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR, SAYS CHRISTIE'S MOTIVATION FOR HANDING OVER A PORTION OF THE LOTTERY IS STRICTLY FINANCIAL.  SHE SAYS THE ONE-SHOT PAYMENT WILL PLUG A BUDGET HOLE.

 

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