Friends and family filled the hearing room as Democrats took official control of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners Jan 6 in a swearing-in ceremony officiated by Judge Edward D. Reibman, president judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County.
“It’s a wonderful occasion tonight,” Reibman said.
“I’d like to call up Bob Elbich,” Reibman said as he designated the first commissioner, he would induct that evening. “Just so you know, Bob came up with a book, and the book is the Constitution of the United States.”
Lehigh County Commissioners announced Lehigh County will lease a portion of St. John’s United Church of Christ, in Coopersburg, for the purpose of establishing a senior center at its Dec. 18, 2019 meeting. The new center will occupy 1,300 square feet in the back part of the church and will include a kitchen.
The lease will include 50 parking spaces and access to public bathrooms.
On a foggy hillside cemetery in Fountain Hill people gathered Dec. 14, 2019, to hear dignitaries express respect for the veterans who are buried in plots scattered over the broken but hallowed ground.
Representatives from each of the military services in turn carried pine-boughed and red-ribboned wreaths to white Christian crosses set up for the occasion.
After appropriate remarks on the sacrifices of the fallen and the solemn duty to honor them, a Navy Sea Cadet contingent of three riflemen fired seven volleys for a 21-gun salute.
Allentown resident and Tamaqua business woman Lisa Scheller announced recently she is running for Congress next year in the 7th Congressional District. The district includes Lehigh and Northampton counties and part of Monroe County.
Speaking to supporters and the press in a small event room at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Allentown, Scheller read an announcement touching on her personal history, her business experience, her community service and her philanthropical work.
Notable was her pledge to serve for only four terms, or eight years.
Lehigh County Commissioners on Dec. 11 appointed Heidi Baer as a member of the board of directors for the Lehigh County Housing Authority, a non-paid position. Baer is a resident of North Whitehall Township.
Former Lehigh County Commissioner Dean Browning announced at the Hotel Bethlehem Nov. 21 he is running against 7th Congressional District Democrat Susan Wild for U.S. House of Representatives.
The seat he seeks was long held by Republican Charlie Dent, who resigned. Wild bested Republican Marty Nothstein for the office in 2018. Browning said he wants to make her a “one-time Congresswoman.”
“You guys are awesome!” Mike Drabenstott said when addressing the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners Nov. 26.
Drabenstott is the chairman of the board of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. He was thanking the Lehigh County Commissioners for their support.
In other business, the Chief Clerk for Registration and Elections Timothy Benyo told the commissioners additional privacy screens and booths are planned for future elections. Lack of privacy was one of the major complaints heard from voters after the last election.
With a $500,000 state grant Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin will be able to fund software support, maintenance and development costs for the Regional Intelligence and Investigation Center.
“I am very grateful to all of these legislators for the funding they have provided for the RIIC,” Martin said. “It represents their acknowledgment and understanding of the important work being done there and how it enhances public safety for the citizens of our entire region.”
Citizens came to tell the Lehigh County Commissioners they were not happy with how the Nov. 5 general election was conducted at the commissioners meeting Nov. 13.
Lack of privacy was the chief complaint. Mark Spengler of Lower Macungie Township also questioned the restriction on having cellphones in the voting area.
At their Oct. 23 meeting Lehigh County Commissioners held their final bi-partisan compromise vote on the $514.6 million 2020 budget with amendments, passing a tax increase to 3.78 mills.
Before the vote, Commissioner Brad Osborne, who moments later voted against the budget, made a statement saying he has respect for the ability of Financial Officer Tim Reeves, but objected to the procedure by which the administration and members of the board of commissioners reached the compromise presented in the final version of the bill.