Friday, February 09, 2007

Betcha didn't know...

The Allentown Post Office on Hamilton St. contains murals by New York artist Gifford Reynolds Beal depicting local history.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Main Street Mingle

Join Easton Main Street business owners, downtown workers and residents as they relax, enjoy fine food and a cash bar while getting reacquainted with the Easton Main Street Initiative. Catch up on the program’s accomplishment in 2006 and get a glimpse at the exciting vision and plans for the coming year!

When: Thursday Feb. 22nd, 5:30 -7:30pm

Where: State Theatre Gallery, corner of 5th and Northampton Sts.

Townhouses proposed in Bethlehem

A Nazareth developer is proposing 12 townhouse condominium units on a south Bethlehem hillside around the corner from the Sayre Mansion Inn.

Selvaggio Enterprises Inc. filed drafts Tuesday with the city's Planning Office proposing the development of a 1-acre lot on Cherokee Street between Brighton and Third streets.

The plans call for two 21/2-story buildings with a landscaped courtyard between them. The northern building would include seven units, each with a two-car garage in the basement. The southern building would include five units, each with a basement one-car garage.

''I think it will be a very nice site, very attractive for development,'' said Bethlehem Community and Economic Development Director Tony Hanna. ''It's another indication of the strength of the economy of the city that we're still seeing residential development proposed.''

The project was initially proposed nearly three years ago by developer Donald Ronca, who received Zoning Hearing Board variances for density and rear-yard size. Ronca talked of condominium units that would sell for about $275,000 each.

The serene suburbanlike setting, with another row of town homes across the street, belies the bustling neighborhood around it. Thousands of cars pass over the Hill-to-Hill Bridge, a block away, every day. Just beyond that, are the shops and restaurants of Third and Fourth streets and the Lehigh campus.

The landscaping plan promises to augment the tranquil environment, calling for the planting of 92 shrubs and 33 trees — Yoshino and Sargent cherries and Japanese Zelkovas — in the courtyard and along the edge of the property line.

More here.

Two Valentine's events at Wired Cafe this weekend

Friday, Feb 09 - 8:00 PM - 10:30 PM

Jorge Beefalo Presents IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE

Celebrate the pre-Valentine's day weekend with us here at Wired Cafe! Cabaret-style music by vocalist, Bob Cohen, accompanied by female vocalist and piano. Join us for an evening of Valentine's cabaret numbers for the romantic at heart.

Saturday, Feb 10 - 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Tango Tea Dance!

Join us for expert Argentinian tango instruction with Sharon Hillman! Traditional tango tea dance (mi longa) will include lessons from 3:00pm-4:00pm and open dancing from 4:00pm-7:00pm! Beginners welcome! Partners not necessary!

Knitting classes offered in Nazareth

Kraemer Textile celebrates its 100th birthday this year at 240 South Main St., Nazareth. The Yarn Shop offers classes Tuesday through Saturday.

Anyone can enroll in classes. Beginners are welcome, though you will need to buy needles (they sell them at the shop) and yarn. Classes are $5 each.

Skate park in Nazareth closer to fruition

Councilman Jack Herbst's six-year quest to build a skate park in the borough is rolling closer to reality. Herbst said the price tag for the park hovers between $60,000 and $90,000.

Most of the municipalities offered one-time donations to get the park started. Herbst plans to speak to Northampton County Council on Feb. 15 to gauge the county's interest. He also hopes state Rep. Richard Grucela comes through with a $10,000 grant.

We have enough to get going," Herbst said. "I am thrilled to death (the other communities) see it as a worthwhile project."

The park will be at the front of the borough park to allow for optimal visibility and easy access. The plan features an asphalt surface and steel structures.

"I think it is a great idea. I hope it works," Nazareth Mayor Earl Keller said. "Anything that can help our teenagers, I am for it."

Bushkill Township supervisor Clifford Bonney said the township supports the park.

"We all were in favor of it," Bonney said.

Herbst said the borough's insurance might increase $2,000 to $3,000 because of concerns about liability if an injury occurs.

"(The skaters) understand the risks," Herbst said. "Signs will be posted at the park. Helmets are recommended. Once they have a place to skate, they don't want to lose it."

The design of the park came from area skaters. Herbst said he met with 40 or 50 skaters to pick their brains for ideas that will make the park an attractive destination.

Resident to Candidate seminar tonight in Nazareth

If you've ever wondered what you have to do to become a candidate, from filing paperwork to conducting a campaign and working with your local political party this program is for you.

There will be panelists who will take questions from the moderator and audience in order to provide a nuts and bolts discussion addressing what you have to do, when you have to do it, and what you can expect as a candidate and office holder. This is not a discussion of political issues or community topics. Instead, it is for those who want to learn more about how to become a candidate for local office and what to expect once you do.

Current Nazareth Borough Council members Cindy Werner and Jack Herbst will serve on one panel and answer questions about being a candidate and elected official (neither is up for re-election in 2007). School Board members have also been invited to participate to share their experience.

The other panel will feature political party county chairpersons Joe Long, Northampton County Democratic Party and Roy Shuman, Northampton County Republican Party, who will discuss how a local election campaign is conducted and what help candidates can expect from their political party.

2007 is a municipal election year with seats on County Council, Borough Council, Township Supervisor, and School Board being contested.

If you've ever considered running for office, or want to recruit someone, but weren't sure what to do, this is the program for you.

When: Thursday, February 8, 2007 beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Nazareth News Agency

Cost: Free

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

First Home Workshop

Join us at one of our First Home® Workshops and learn how you can build wealth through homeownership. You’ll learn what you need to know to make your dream come true. We’ll help you work through any challenges you may have and walk away with the tools to help you purchase your first home.

By attending this workshop, you’ll learn the fundamentals of financing your first home from Wells Fargo Home Mortgage consultants as well as other information from local real estate experts. You’ll receive a free First-time Homebuyer guide to help you start down the path to homeownership. Plus, our mortgage consultants will give you individual guidance on your specific situation. We'll include financing options to help you select the program that best fits your needs and help you apply for a pre-approval. It’s free. Register today!

Sponsored by Wells Fargo.

When: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., Feb. 21

Where: Penn Corporate Center, 3001 Emrick Blvd., Bethlehem, PA 18020

Admission: FREE!!

Register here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Emmaus Faschnacht and Forsythia Festival

Has winter has gotten you down? If you’re looking for a reason to come out and have some fun before heading off to work or school, come on down to the Faschnacht & Forsythia Festival.

New for 2007! Delectable fondues will be available for your dipping pleasure! What? You’ve never dipped a faschnacht before? Well, neither have we but we thought it sounded like a good idea so we’ve added it to the festival. Erik Sheetz, owner of the soon-to-open fondue restaurant, Immerse, will provide 2 fondues to tempt you….a chocolate-coffee fondue and a chocolate-caramel fondue.

There will be forsythias to help brighten up the winter doldrums, a demonstration and contest of the official Faschnacht Trot, and the announcement of the winners of the Faschnacht & Forsythia Fantasy Coloring Contest.

Faschnachts can be purchased for $9.50 per dozen or 75 cents each.

Of course, no festival is complete without a king and a queen. Following the official proclamation delivered by Emmaus Mayor Iobst, we will perform the Crowning of King Faschnacht and Queen Forsythia, plus we will also perform the official knighting of the Defender of the Faschnacht.

South Mountain Cycles & Coffee Bar will provide hot beverages to help take the chill out of the morning air.

Faschnacht orders by the dozen will be taken until February 16th. For more information or to place your faschnacht orders please call 610-965-6279 or email Faschnacht orders must be picked up at the festival no later than 9:00 a.m.

The Faschnacht & Forsythia Festival is hosted by the Emmaus Main Street Program and sponsored by Lafayette Ambassador Bank.

When: Tuesday, February 20, 6:00 a.m. (yes, that is AM, not PM!) and runs until 9:00 a.m. Faschnachts

Where: St. John’s UCC, located at 139 North 4th Street, Emmaus, PA

Cost: FREE!!

Betcha didn't know...

George Taylor, signer of the Declaration of Independence, owned a home in Catasauqua, a small borough in the Lehigh Valley. The home, run by the Lehigh County Historical Society, is available for tour. He is buried in Easton Cemetery.

Rodale Institute turns 60

2007 marks 60 years since J.I. Rodale founded The Rodale Institute to scientifically prove his philosophy of "Healthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy People."

To celebrate Rodale suggests the following to help improve your own health, and the health of the environment:

1. Visit the birthplace of organic farming in America - Rodale's 333-acre farm in Kutztown to learn more about organic gardening and how to create an organic garden yourself.
2. Find local farmers and purchase produce from them.
3. Read about what sustainable farmers are doing now.
4. Start an organic garden at your child's school.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sweets for your sweet...

As we gear up for one of the largest chocolate holidays of the year, Valentine's Day, consider getting chocolate with a little more pizazz. We are truly fortunate here in the Lehigh Valley to have several locally-owned chocolatiers. Before you grab that box of candy at the grocery store, consider making a more personalized one at one of these shops.

Regional Food Forum held: Make a Victory Garden and become a "Localvore" experts say

Sponsored by Land & Water Lehigh Valley with support from close to 30 regional organizations, a regional food forum was held on Jan. 24th.

Both county executives, John Stoffa from Northampton County and Don Cunningham from Lehigh County, offered remarks on their counties' respective efforts to help local farmers.

Stoffa looked out at the crowd and remarked, "Do you realize what a political force you are? I don't think you do."

The need, said Cunningham, is apparent, "very apparent to me." County government must make it a practice of "sustaining the farmer and creating a market for the products at home."

Currently, Lehigh County has 550 farms on more than 100,000 acres, Cunningham said.

He would like to see farming as a "more productive and family-sustaining career."

Stoffa said corn prices are on the rise, that one local farmer shipped out corn at $3.72 a bushel, up from the historical value of around $1.50 a bushel. Farming can be profitable, he said.

Stoffa said one of his projects is to bring an ethanol production plant to Northampton County. In support of that, Stoffa said all new county vehicles purchased can burn ethanol as well as gasoline.

Stoffa also cited his .5 mill tax increase for the preservation of open space, which includes farms.

Cunningham said Lehigh County has developed an agreement to serve certain locally-grown products in the county prison and nursing home.

Eating regional foods can lead to the reduction of processed foods, said Jerry Brunetti, the evening's keynote speaker. He listed a variety of ailments-obesity, autism, diabetes, cancer, ADHD, allergies and asthma-that are known to have or believed to have a link with diet. That's not even delving into the impact of factory farming, use of U.S. banned pesticides on imported food and diseases like hoof and mouth, mad cow and bird flu.

Brunetti introduced the concept of "localvore," a person who eats only regional foods with the exception of "Marco Polo products," or olive oil, coffee and spices.

The local food concept could help promote sustainable agriculture, Brunetti said, agriculture that meets the needs of the present without compromising the future.

More here.

So how do you become a "localvore"?

1. Shop locally at area farmers markets and farm stands.
2. Grow your own fruits and vegetables. (more on how to do this later)
3. Buy a share of produce from area farmers.

Not only will you be supporting local business and agriculture, you will be cutting down on green house gas emissions, as food will travel less from farm to your plate.

Charlie Dent holds regional transportation symposium

Designed to keep municipal officials informed about federal funding and help the Valley better address its transportation needs. About 60 representatives from Lehigh and Northampton counties, Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and a host of towns and townships attended.

The Lehigh Valley must consider a mix of solutions to help people get where they need to go quickly, at a reasonable cost and without exacerbating development problems such as disappearing farmland, said Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham said.

'The Lehigh Valley will need to have passenger rail,'' particularly a regional rail system to help transport residents within the Valley, Cunningham said. Plans for commuter rail improvements, including proposals to link the Poconos with New York City and Reading with Philadelphia, also are in the works.

Northampton County Executive John Stoffa recommended an even longer-term approach to transportation planning, calling for development of a 20-year plan using population and development projections.

''Adequate and predictable funding is essential'' from state, federal and local sources, Stoffa said.

More here.

Easton's Carmelcorn opening soon

The more-than 70-year-old store may reopen Tuesday — in plenty of time for Valentine's Day — and nearly four months after a fire damaged a portion of the large, three-story building, which houses the candy shop on the north end of its first floor.

More here.

Global Warming "very likely" caused by humans, scientists say

In a bleak and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate change scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is "unequivocal" and that human activity is the main driver, "very likely" causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950.

They said the world is already committed to centuries of warming, shifting weather patterns and rising seas, resulting from the buildup of gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. But the warming can be substantially blunted by prompt action, the panel of scientists said in a report.

The report summarized the fourth assessment since 1990 by the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, sizing up the causes and consequences of climate change. But it is the first in which the group asserts with near certainty — more than 90 percent confidence — that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities have been the main causes of warming since 1950.

In its last report, in 2001, the panel, consisting of hundreds of scientists and reviewers, put the confidence level at between 66 and 90 percent. Both reports are online at

“Policy makers paid us to do good science, and now we have high very scientific confidence in this work — this is real, this is real, this is real,” said Richard B. Alley, one of the lead authors and a professor at Penn State University. “So now act, the ball’s back in your court.”

More here.

What can you do? Click here to learn of emission-saving tips.