Saturday, November 04, 2006

Martin Tower for sale, but redevelopment plan still intact

Lou Pektor says his partners, media mogul Norton Herrick and Bethlehem developer Lewis Ronca, have quietly put the 21-story Lehigh Valley landmark up for sale, but Pektor said he refuses to give up on the project. While he can't keep his partners from trying to sell it for $29.8 million, Pektor said he has veto power over any sale and will not allow the Lehigh Valley's tallest building to go to any buyer not willing to join with him and renovate it.

Pektor said he plans to transform the former Bethlehem Steel headquarters into upscale condominiums, whether it's with his current partners or new ones. Bethlehem City Council earlier this year, by a 4-3 vote, granted a zoning change that allows developers to transform the office complex into 170 high-priced, high-rise condominiums, surrounded by up to 775 townhouse-style residences and six restaurants or retail shops.

Mayor John Callahan said Pektor is the city's best hope to get the building redeveloped and yet another sale doesn't worry him.''Lou [Pektor] is in this for the long haul. Unfortunately, his partners don't share that philosophy,'' Callahan said Friday. ''Based on Lou's track record, I'm not worried.''

Pektor said a possible sale creates three options. In one, the building is sold to developers willing to join with Pektor. In another, the building doesn't sell and the project proceeds with the same owners. In a third, the price dips enough for Pektor to buy out his partners and proceed with the project himself, he said.

Pektor said leaving the project is not an option.''I understand Herrick's reasoning, but I live here and my reputation is on the line,'' Pektor said. ''I said I would stay with this project, and that's what I'm doing. It's a good project. ''Whatever option happens, the end result is a redeveloped Martin Tower complex," Pektor said.

In fact, Pektor said redevelopment is not only moving forward, but is ahead of the original schedule. VLBJR Architects Inc. of Norristown has been hired to design the project, and most of the 1,600 employees still in the building are scheduled to move to new locations in the Stabler Business Center and LVIP VII by the end of January. Asbestos removal will begin in February or March, followed by interior demolition and some renovation work that will take until the spring 2008, Pektor said. From there, final renovations will be done and, by Pektor's projections, tenants will be paying $400,000 to $1.4 million to move into the new condos by September 2008.

Total buildout of Martin Tower and the surrounding homes is expected to take at least five years.

More here.

Carriage rides in Historic Bethlehem

Take a ride into the past with a horse-drawn carriage ride.

When: Saturday, Nov. 11, Every 20 minutes, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: Historic Bethlehem Welcome Center, 505 Main St., Bethlehem

Cost: $8 per person.

Sponsored by the Historic Bethlehem Welcome Center. Purchase tickets at the center or call 610-691-6055.

Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen Holiday Marketplace

Looking for a unique gift for the holidays? This is the place to be. The marketplace will feature hand-crafted goods by area artisans.

When: Saturday, Nov. 11 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 12th from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Where: Swain School, 1100 South 24th St., Allentown

Cost: $3 or $2 with this coupon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Hurry! Only one week left for NET Ski Club sign-up!

If you were mulling around the idea of joining the NET Ski Club, stop hesitating and join. It's a sweet deal, and you will be in the company of people of varying abilities. Check out our previous post for more info.

In Case You Missed It: NET First Thursday

For those of you who didn't make it out to First Thursday last night, here's a recap. Around 40+ young professionals showed up at Starters Riverport in Southside Bethlehem. Many of us challenged each other at several of the games available there including an interactive quiz game and air hockey. We exchanged ideas, and contacts. The mixer technically ran from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., however several people hung around much later because they were having too good a time.

See what you were missing? Sure beats the tired bar scene.

Don't miss next month's First Thursday at Starters Riverport.

To get the latest news about NET events and more sign-up for our weekly e-mail list here.

Financial Planning 101: Pay retirement taxes now to save later

There's never a convenient time for taxes. But for twentysomethings who are saving for retirement, paying tax on contributions now, rather than later, may be the best alternative.

"Income tax rates are at historic lows," said Rick Meigs, president of, an online resource for both 401(k) administrators and participants. "What is the probability that in retirement you're going to have a lower tax bracket than you have today? It's not high."

One reason tax rates could go up: Once Baby Boomers begin to retire, the number of workers who pay taxes will start to drop, while demand for taxpayer-funded services such as Medicare will climb sharply.

To meet demand, taxes as a percentage of gross domestic product may have to rise by as much as one-third, "with more increases to follow," according to a speech that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made this month.

The bottom line: For anyone in a low tax bracket today, you may be better off investing through a Roth 401(k).

For more read here.

Miracle on 3rd & 4th Streets

Spotted an ad for Southside Bethlehem. "View our fantastic music-themed Holiday windows." Certainly got our attention here at the NET.

The window unveiling is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 17th. And the windows will be on display throughout the holiday season. Check it out and report back!

Free Yoga on Sunday

Beginner Yoga class.

When: Sunday, Nov. 5, 1 p.m.

Where: Easton Yoga, 524 Northampton St., Easton

Cost: FREE!!

Free beginner yoga class is held every first Sunday of the month.

NET November Progressive Dine-Out

Join the NET for a new kind of Dine-Out this November. Wondering what a progressive Dine-out is?

It's a dinner party with a difference - the difference being that individual courses of a meal are held at different locations. What a great way to check out some of the fabulous restaurants in Downtown Bethlehem!

Appetizers and drinks will be enjoyed at Edge Restaurant from 6p.m. - 7p.m., then the NET will move on to The Bethlehem Brew Works for dinner from 7p.m. - 9p.m. Lastly, but certainly not least, the NET will head over to Apollo Grill for some tasty desserts from 10p.m. - 11p.m.

We hope you can make if out for the entire progressive dinner, but if you can only make it for one or two stops, please come anyway! As always, the more the merrier. All members and non-members welcome.

When: Friday, Nov. 17, 6p.m. - 11 p.m.

Where: Edge, Bethlehem Brew Works, Apollo Grill all in Bethlehem

Cost: Pay only for what you eat or drink.

You MUST RSVP to attend this event. Please contact Wendy Gerlach on the NET events website by Nov. 15th if you wish to attend.

To get the latest news about NET events and more sign-up for our weekly e-mail list here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lehigh Valley Venture Idol

Network with entrepreneurs, private investors, and venture capital firms as well as listen to three noted institutional investors who will present their views on the current state of venture capital. There will be presentations by three early stage technology firms where you can vote for the most investable company. The winner of "Venture Idol" will receive a cash prize of $5,000. Fred Beste of Mid-Atlantic Venture Partners will be the host for the evening.

When: Thursday, Nov. 16

Where: Wood Dining Room, Iacocca Hall, Lehigh University Mountaintop Campus, Bethlehem

Admission: $25 for NET members.

Not a member? Join now.

Co-sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Technology Network and the NET.

To get the latest news about NET events and more sign-up for our weekly e-mail list here.

The Mind of the Young Entrepreneur

Ever thought of taking a hold of your future and creating your own business? Do you have entrepreneurial thoughts in your current circumstance? Then make your reservation to hear our panel at The Southern Lehigh Business Organization Breakfast. It includes some of the brightest and successful young business people in the area. Hear how these young entrepreneurs judged their marketplace, perceived their opportunities, calculated their risks, and made the bold move into sculpting their own futures.

Speakers include:Matt Detweiler, East Coast ATV; Glenn Faust, UBS Aesthetics; Scott Parry, Edward Jones Investment; and Diana Hall-Yurasits, Diana’s Restaurant

When: Wednesday, Nov. 8, 7 a.m.

Where: DeSales University, McShea Center

Cost: $18

Sponsored by the Southern Lehigh Business Organization. To register email Janna M. Lutz at

Top 5 tips for networking

Networking expert Karen Susman offers five tips on how to make the most of your opportunities:

MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION Be accessible and approachable. Before leaving home, have a friend or family member look at your face and tell you if you look approachable and open. Many of us have a natural scowl on our face without even realizing it. Show interest in others by making eye contact, using the person’s name, asking questions, listening, and responding. Being shy is one obstacle some feel prevent them from networking, but you don’t have to be interesting, just interested. You can start conversations by talking about your employer and job responsibilities. Also, reveal something about yourself, but stay away from doing all the talking (or all the listening). Be positive.

FOLLOW UP AND KEEP IN TOUCH Before saying goodbye, always ask for the other person’s business card. Consider having your own cards printed in more than one language, especially if you have customers who speak a different language.

Stay in touch by sending a handwritten note or an e-mail message, or by telephoning. Keep in contact by sending newspaper or magazine articles that might be of interest to the person.

BE MORE VISIBLE Become active by attending conferences and teleseminars. Get noticed by asking the speaker questions. You also can write articles for industry publications or technical journals in your area of expertise. Consider offering to teach what you’ve learned to others in your company. Finally, volunteer at organizations.

LEARN ABOUT NEW CULTURES When networking with people from other cultures, research the differences between yours and theirs. Adjust your ways if they are not in line with the norms of that culture. Behaving conservatively, using straightforward language, and not being too loud are all ways to enhance your networking experience with those from other cultures.

MAKE AN ACTION PLAN Write down the steps you plan to take to increase your networking abilities and scope, and apply the advice given at the seminar.

Don't forget to try these new skills out at First Thursday tonight in Bethlehem.

Resources that can be of help to you, according to Susman, are The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cultural Etiquette, by Carol Turkington (Alpha Books, 1999), and “Behave Yourself: The Essential Guide to International Etiquette,” by Michael Powell (Globe Pequot Press, 2005). Two Web sites that offer cultural guidance are and

Betcha didn't know...

Vegan Treats, located in Bethlehem, has one of the largest varieties of vegan baked goods in the world serving the New York , New Jersey, and Pennsylvania areas. Some of the items offered include a full line of doughnuts, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, chewy chocolate brownies, moist cakes and more.

A cheaper way to fly could be coming to LVIA

AirTran, a major discount airline, is asking its customers where they want to fly next, and Allentown is one of 49 cities offered as possible future destinations.

Vote to bring AirTran here to the Lehigh Valley, making flying a little more affordable for young professionals.

AirTran would probably fly to Atlanta from here, among other possible destinations. Many local travelers fly to Atlanta from Philadelphia, where fares are lower.

Consultants have long said LVIA is a prime candidate for low-cost service from other carriers such as Southwest Airlines and JetBlue. That's because it's outside of a major metro area but close enough to draw passengers who want to avoid the hassle of larger airports. LVIA was said to be a top contender for service from Southwest but the Dallas airline chose Philadelphia instead in 2004.

More here.

Hey Lower Saucon Township residents - Open Space Proposal on the Ballot

Lower Saucon Township Council would like to preserve the open space because some of it is a vital link to the federally recognized, endangered Highlands, which stretch from the Susquehanna River east to Connecticut. The open space referendum question was unanimously approved by council in June to be placed on the election ballot.

It's a yes/no question asking whether working adults (that includes you young professionals) would be willing to pay additional income tax for five years so the township could buy development rights from property owners to save agricultural, wooded and historic lands from development.

Retirees living on Social Security or pensions would not be affected by the tax.

In recent years, several municipalities in the Lehigh Valley have approved a tax increase to save land. Some have not. For example, Springfield Township in Bucks County and Williams Township in Northampton County approved the increase in 2000 and 2004 respectively. Plainfield voters rejected the idea in the spring.

If the referendum is approved by a majority of Lower Saucon's 7,600 registered voters, the township would independently or in partnership with other agencies protect farms, forests and creek banks by buying the homeowners' development rights. The township does not yet have parcels picked out.

Don't forget to vote next week!

More here.

RenewLV Smart Growth Book Club

November's book selection is "Charter of the New Urbanism." This book is one of the most important books on smart growth, filled with descriptions of how of the various elements of planning should function at different scales, from the Region to the Building.

The purpose of the book club is to promote education and encourage debate among community members who wish to discuss land use and smart growth initiatives in the Lehigh Valley. The Smart Growth Book Club hopes to inspire local citizens into action in their communities and the region. RenewLV Smart Growth Book Club meetings will be held on the third Thursday of every other month. Book discussion members are welcome to come early to enjoy original folk music performed by Scott Paul from 6 to 7 p.m.

: Thursday, Nov. 16

Where: Home of Joyce Marin, co-chair of RenewLV, at 500 Chestnut Street, Emmaus

Admission: Free!!

Visit the RenewLV website for a suggested reading list.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NET Organizational Meeting

This is when we discuss the business side of the NET. Have a good idea? Want to volunteer? Have questions? Please attend to discuss. We are currently seeking volunteers to solicit corporate sponsorships, as well as distribute posters. We are also looking for a Volunteer Chair and Professional Development Chair.

All Members and non-members welcome.

When: Wednesday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Where: Bethlehem Club, 520 North New St., Bethlehem

Admission: FREE!!

To get the latest news about NET events and more sign-up for our weekly e-mail list here.

First Home Workshop

Why Just Think About Buying A Home When You Can Take Wealth-Minded Action?

Undo the misconceptions that may be causing you to put your future on hold. Leave knowing exactly what you need to do next to become a homeowner. Take Empowering Steps For You And Your Family Prepare for a bright future – Gen an onsite Priority Buyer Preapproval decision, or action-oriented Purchase Plan. Gain Greater Confidence – See a motivating video with #1 bestselling author and financial coach David Bach. Think Wealthy Thoughts – Receive a free copy of David Bach’s new book, The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner. Free pre-approval and credit analysis available after seminar.

Open to NET Members and non-members.

You MUST RSVP to attend this event. RSVP on the NET Events website.

“When you purchase a home…You are also making an investment that can become the foundation of your financial security.” David Bach, The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner.

When: Wednesday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Where: DeSales University, 3001 Emrick Blvd., Bethlehem

Admission: FREE!!

Open Space Debate ongoing in Forks Township

The chief planner for the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission supports a developer's claim that the township's zoning laws don't necessarily preserve farmland.

Olev Taremae of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission also agreed with the township's attorney that the township's laws for preserving farmland are more lenient than the planning commission would recommend.

Attorneys questioned Taremae for nearly two and a half hours in the fourth hearing of a zoning appeal filed by Bethlehem-based developer KMRD-LP, which owns 545 acres in the farmland protection district and proposes more than 3,000 homes on the land.

The developer's attorney John VanLuvanee called Taremae as a witness to speak to the role the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission plays in assisting municipalities in revising zoning laws.

KMRD-LP's appeal states the township's regulations in the farmland protection district are "arbitrary, unreasonable and unconstitutional."

The township's zoning allows 3-acre lots or clustered development on 1-acre lots as long as half the land remains open space.

Both the township and the Lehigh Valley planners prefer the cluster option.

The Lehigh Valley planners recommended the township drop the 3-acre lot option altogether when the planners reviewed the township's proposed new zoning laws.

"It doesn't preserve (farmland), period," Taremae said.

Township Attorney Steven Goudsouzian asked Taremae if all municipalities follow the recommendations of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.

Taremae said the commission's comments are advisory and every municipality does not follow the comments. The township's plans were generally consistent with the commission's, Taremae said.

He said the planning commission encourages the township to force cluster development and would even support 30-acre minimum lot sizes in the farmland preservation district.

Part of the developer's sketch plans show 731 mobile homes on swaths of land east of Richmond Road and north of Newlins Road East.

One of the goals of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission's comprehensive plan is to provide adequate housing for all economic levels, Taremae said.

"Municipalities shouldn't limit houses in a way that will raise house prices," Taremae said. "Mobile home parks are a necessary housing type."

More on previous meetings here and here.

Allentown City getting solar panels

On a sweltering, sunny day this summer, Allentown Public Works Director Peter Wernsdorfer had an idea.

Looking out over the sun-dappled saw-tooth roof of the Bridgeworks Industrial Center outside his S. 10th Street office during a meeting with Mayor Ed Pawlowski, he wondered aloud, ''Why not put solar panels up here?''

On Tuesday, with the help of a $517,045 grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, the city announced that it plans to cover the roof of the building with solar panels over the next five years.

Phase One of the project, to be completed within two years using the grant money, will install 424 solar panels.

The clean energy project won't immediately generate a cash windfall for the city. The city will contribute $192,000 in engineering studies, and Phase One will generate only about 73,342 kilowatt hours a year, saving the city about $7,200 in energy costs.

But by the completion of the $11 million installation, city officials hope 8,400 solar panels will generate 1,433 megawatts of energy a year, enough to power the city's Bridgeworks Public Works building, the Bridgeworks Industrial Center and to sell power back to the electric grid, producing $144,000 in yearly revenue.

Wernsdorfer said the project should repay its total cost of construction within seven to nine years of its completion, which he projects will take about five years.

''This is really the first phase in a multiphase grant,'' Pawlowski said.

Allentown would join a growing number of municipalities nationwide that are adding solar power in an effort to save money and reduce pollution.

More here.

Bethlehem planning commision oks casino design

The Bethlehem Planning Commission got its first look Tuesday at architectural sketches and rudimentary floor plans for the proposed Las Vegas Sands Corp. casino planned for former Bethlehem Steel land, and gave the designs preliminary approval.

If Las Vegas Sands wins a license, it would still need final land development approvals from the commission before it could build a hotel and casino with 5,000 slots machines on the south side of the Minsi Trail Bridge at the western end of the former Bethlehem Steel complex.

Two casino plans in the Lehigh Valley — in Bethlehem and the proposed Tropicana hotel and casino in east Allentown by Aztar Corp. — are considered strong contenders for state gaming licenses.

Tim Baker, who is designing the proposed Bethlehem casino, showed basic floor plans that included a two-level retail complex, the upper level of which would lead into the slots parlor. The building facade would include multiple materials, including concrete, brick sheets, glass panels and metal mesh, and would be accented by architectural lighting, Baker said.
Baker also showed improvements to the site plan for the land around the proposed casino. Much of those improvements were based on comments made by the commission and the public at an August meeting when Sands first presented its sketch plan, according to Marc Brookman, an attorney with the Philadelphia office of Duane Morris.

Among the improvements are two internal roads in the 56-acre site to allow cars to move from east to west without using Route 412, the main road through that part of the city. At the suggestion of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the developers are planning a second entrance to the site from Route 412, Baker said.

A traffic study that will help the developers and the city to determine what other traffic improvements are needed must still be completed.

The updated plans also include two parking areas set aside for up to 75 buses and parking to accommodate more cars than what the city law requires, Heller said.

More here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The First Step

Pre-business plan overview of what you need to know and do to start your business.

When: Monday, Nov. 13 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Where: Lehigh University, 621 Taylor St. Rauch Business Center Room 91, Bethlehem

Cost: $15

Sponsored by the Lehigh University Small Business Development Center. Register by calling 610-758-3980.

Good news jobseekers

The Lehigh Valley unemployment rate in September dropped to the lowest level in six months, thanks to a high number of jobs and a low number of layoffs.

The region's jobless rate has matched or been better than the rest of Pennsylvania every month this year.

Carbon to list lands worth saving

Carbon County wants to identify valuable undeveloped land, rich in native plants and animals, with the hope of preserving it for future generations.

The county is accepting proposals from planning firms to draft a greenways and open space plan. The proposals will be opened and read aloud at the county commissioners' meeting 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Fred Osifat, the county Director of Planning and Development, said the county is home to large forests with an abundance of plants, animals and waterways that should be preserved.

The open space consultant that the county chooses also will be asked to update the county comprehensive plan, which examines land-use patterns and goals in an attempt to control growth. The current plan was written 10 years ago, and the commissioners adopted it in 1998.

At that time, greenways and open space planning was not specifically addressed.

However, much rural and forested land in the county has been developed or targeted by developers in the past decade, and officials now see more clearly the benefits of cataloguing and protecting the county's most important and irreplaceable natural resources.

Most of the county's forests and natural spaces are in the northern municipalities of Kidder, Penn Forest, Banks and Packer townships. Much of the woodland on the Broad Mountain is owned by the state and is open for game hunting.

But hundreds of acres in Kidder and Penn Forest, where many city dwellers are building second homes or relocating permanently, are slated for development.

County officials plan to apply for state grants from the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources and Community and Economic Development to complete the open space plan.

''We had a natural diversity study done by Nature Conservancy to identify different natural things in certain areas … flora, fauna, wildlife, mammals, serpents, what have you,'' Osifat said. ''There's a vast array of categories that are addressed.''

In 2004, ecologists from the Nature Conservancy catalogued old-growth forests, undisturbed wetlands, bird rookeries and habitats harboring rare animal and plant species in the county to make suggestions for land conservation.

The county plan will take the cataloguing further by identifying specific pieces of land.

Osifat said it is likely an organization similar to the Nature Conservancy will offer to partner in the plan once funding is in place.

Story from

Candidates at odds on gambling and open space

Despite claims from Harrisburg that the mission of reforming Pennsylvania's taxation system has been accomplished, candidates for state Legislature at a League of Women Voters debate in south Bethlehem agreed more needs to be done and will be done in 2007.

But they differed sharply about which direction lawmakers need to go.

Joseph F. Brennan, the Democratic nominee in the 133rd House District, said he supports a plan that combines state gambling revenues with a half-percent increase in sales tax and would allow school districts to increase earned income tax to reduce the burden on property owners.

His Republican opponent, Dawn Berrigan, said she continues to support the plan proposed by the conservative Commonwealth Caucus, which would expand the sales tax to include more items, while cutting it from 6 percent to 5 percent; double the real estate transfer tax; and increase the state earned income tax by 0.55 percent. The plan does not factor in gambling revenue.

Green Party candidate Guy Gray said he finds ''a bit obscene'' the idea of funding schools with gambling revenue, but agreed with Brennan's idea that increasing earned income taxes is the fairest way to shift the burden.

The debate, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Northampton County and the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, also included state Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, who is seeking a third term, and Bonnie Dodge, the Republican challenger from Northampton. About 40 people attended the event, which was held at the church's Sayre Hall.

Dodge also decried the use of gambling, saying her top priority, if elected to the 18th District seat, would be to seek the repeal of Act 71, the law that legalized licensed gambling in Pennsylvania.

Boscola said that 172 busloads of people leave the Lehigh Valley every month to go gambling in another state. ''We need to keep that money here,'' Boscola said. However, she said she would also support increasing the state sales tax to 7 percent to bolster the state's education fund.

The House candidates are competing for the seat currently held by state Rep. T.J. Rooney, D-Lehigh/Northampton, who is leaving office at the end of the year after seven terms. Rooney, 41, who is also the state Democratic Party chairman, has not said what he will do next.

The traditionally south Bethlehem-based district strongly favors Democrats through voter registration. The district also includes parts of Allentown and Salisbury and Whitehall townships; and all of Catasauqua, Coplay, Fountain Hill and Hanover Township, Lehigh County.

Berrigan, a Catasauqua School Board member, said her goal is to abolish property taxes, and the Commonwealth Caucus plan crafted by Rep. Sam Rohrer, R-Berks, is the only way to get there. Brennan's plan, she said, is the same plan the Legislature adopted earlier this year. The Republican controlled Legislature had the Rohrer plan in front of it, but rejected it.

''The [Commonwealth Caucus] plan does not add up and it is never going to add up,'' said Brennan, a Rooney legislative aide and former Northampton County councilman. ''The sales tax is a regressive tax that will tax those who can least afford it.''

Berrigan claimed the sales tax is less regressive, saying an income tax would be harder on young families.

Though Gray agreed with Brennan on stressing a shift to income taxes, he also agreed with Berrigan that the current reform legislation is a ''very poor law. Lawmakers took the gambling dodge rather than craft fair and equitable taxes that everyone would support.''

Berrigan and Brennan also differed on the use of public funds to preserve open space, such as the Growing Greener programs, in which Pennsylvania voters were asked if they wanted the state to borrow money to protect parks, forests, farms and green spaces. Voters have twice voted for the initiative.

''I don't think we need to continue to spend taxpayer money on it,'' Berrigan said. Open space can be found in a short drive out of the Lehigh Valley, Berrigan said.

Brennan said the preservation of open space goes beyond farms and open expanses of land. It also means developing pocket parks for children to play in urban areas, he said.

''I always hear the Right say, 'Let the voters decide,''' Brennan said. ''The voters said yes. Who am I to say the voters were wrong?''

Gray said he wants Pennsylvania to put a five-year moratorium on new roads.

Article from

Monday, October 30, 2006

Election 2006: Young voters: Confident, concerned, conservative

Summary of an article in Sunday's Morning Call. Full article here.

Fully half of Pennsylvania's young voters list the Iraq conflict as the most important issue facing the nation today, a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll of 18-to-25 year-old voters has found. The poll, done in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors, collected the opinions of 460 such voters between Oct. 19 and Tuesday. Its margin of error is plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

Just who are they? Part of a group born between 1978 and 1989 that numbers roughly 70 million, the fastest-growing part of the American work force. As a rule, Gen Y tends to be more goal-oriented than their older cousins, the famed Generation X.

Nationally, members of Gen Y typically identify themselves as liberal or Democratic, and they tend to support such controversial causes as same-sex marriage and abortion rights. But their local counterparts lean more to the right.

These are young Pennsylvanians cautiously optimistic about the future of their state and brimming with confidence that they can help shape it. Although they expect to stay in the state at least five years, they express concerns about the cost of higher education and their chances of employment after graduation.

Young voters are torn about the direction their home state is taking. Forty-four percent believe Pennsylvania is moving in the right direction, compared with 37 percent who believe it's losing its way.

Placed alongside a poll of all state voters (52 percent said the state is moving in the right direction; 36 percent said the wrong direction) conducted last month by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania's young adults come off as slightly more pessimistic than their elders.

On other issues, 88 percent of the state's young voters believe the world is a more dangerous place than it was 10 years ago, 51 percent believe the government has been too aggressive in restricting civil liberties, and 57 percent expect Social Security benefits will be a thing of the past by the time they retire.

While more likely to identify themselves as Democratic rather than Republican (49 percent to 42 percent), Pennsylvania's young voters describe themselves as more conservative than liberal (55 percent to 42 percent).

There are 1.9 million people in Pennsylvania in the 18-29 age group — about one in six people in the state. And 74 percent of those asked in The Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll said they were definitely going to vote on Nov. 7

Whatever your position, get an opinion and go vote on Nov. 7th. Don't know where your polling place is? Click here to find out.

Group in Emmaus wants to hear from you, young professionals.

People who live and work in Emmaus want their downtown to be clean and safe, attractive to young and old, and a hub for arts, restaurants and fitness. That was the conclusion from a ''Community Visioning'' workshop Saturday that was sponsored by Borough Council in conjunction with Penn State University's Hamer Center for Community Design.

After the presentations, workshop participants went into groups to discuss and vote on priorities from a list of 15 ''preliminary development directions.''

Students Matt Bird and Kristin Van Horn said residents and community groups concurred that the ''triangle,'' where Fourth and Main/Chestnut streets converge, needs to be improved; traffic slowed or diverted; and parking expanded.

The consensus was to work on a standard street banner, trees and benches to unify the downtown image; create a youth or community center to increase activity; and improve the safety and appearance of the triangle.

Student Chris Donohue said that few responses of a local survey came from residents ages 18-25. It would be good to hear from people in that age group to know what they want, he said.

Borough manager Bruce Fosselman encouraged Emmaus residents who have not yet completed a survey to do so online at or obtain one from borough hall, the public library or senior citizen high-rise.

This is a summary of an article at