Friday, February 23, 2007

19th St. Theater March Movies

March 5

The Lives of Others
March 12

The Painted Veil
March 19

March 26

Don't forget, NET members get a discount on Tuesday night movies. Not a member yet? Join now!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I-78 Corridor Study Meeting next week - RSVP TODAY!

LVEDC invites you to a special meeting for our members with Lois M. Goldman, Manager, Corridor Studies and Project Planning for the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, Inc. Lois will be speaking about what the I-78 Corridor Study – why it was done, what the results were, and what the NJTPA has been doing as a result of the study. The I-78 Corridor Study addresses some of the Lehigh Valley’s major transportation concerns.

We hope you can join us for this important update. Seating is limited for this event, so please RSVP to or 610.266.2217 no later than February 23. Parking is available on the street or in the garage next to Zoellner for $1 fee.

When: Feb. 28, 12 - 1:30 p.m.

Where: Zoellner Arts Center, Butz Lobby , Lehigh University

Cost: FREE!

Yet more reasons to go organic and pesticide free

Pesticides killing off honeybees and monarch butterflies here in Pennsylvania, and nationwide.
  • Bees are critically important to farm ecosystems because of their role as pollinators that allow crops to produce edible fruit and seed. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon described by beekeepers, researchers and government officials when entire hive populations seem to disappear, apparently dying out. A CCD working group was recently formed with researchers from the University of Montana, The Pennsylvania State University, the USDA/ARS, the Florida Department of Agriculture, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to analyze the problem. Their preliminary report indicates how pesticides may be a factor. According to the CCD report, "If bees are eating fresh or stored pollen contaminated with these chemicals at low levels, they may impact the bee's ability to learn or make memories. If this is the case, young bees leaving the hive to make orientation flights may not be able to learn the location of the hive and may not be returning causing the colonies to dwindle and eventually die." Porterville Recorder reporter Sarah Elizabeth Villicana interviewed a Terra Bella, California beekeeper, Eric Lane, who suspects harm to the bees is linked to imidacloprid, made by Bayer CropScience. "It is my personal belief that this chemical is responsible for thinning the bee population," Lane said. "It was used it France and killed 70 percent of the bee population in France."
  • The planting of crops genetically modified to resist the herbicide glyphosphate (most commonly known by the brand name Roundup®) allows growers to spray fields of young soybeans or corn with this herbicide instead of tilling to control weeds. Milkweeds survive tilling but not the repeated use of glyphosphate. In fact, before the adoption of these GM crops, surveys in several states revealed that croplands with modest numbers of milkweeds produced more monarchs per unit area than other monarch habitats. The loss of milkweeds in these row crops is significant, considering that these croplands represent more than 30% of the total summer breeding area for monarchs.
What can you do? Well buy organic products which don't use the above pesticides. You can also create a Monarch Habitat in your yard.

Samurai and Sushi

Escape with us as we celebrate the special exhibition Chushingura: Loyalty and Revenge in 18th-Century Japan. Members of the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden will demonstrate ceremonial drumming while a koto player fills the air with the sweet sounds of this traditional string instrument. Wrap yourself up in a kimono dressing demonstration and learn how to make sushi watching the chefs of Bethlehem’s Dancing Fish Co. in action. Reach across the Pacific to Japan for a special evening of art and culture.

When: Thursday, March 8, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Where: Allentown Art Museum

Cost: $10 for NET members, $15 for non-NET members

Not a member? Join now.

NET March First Thursday next week

If you've heard about the NET and would like to see what it’s about, this is
the event for you. Refreshments will be served.

Come alone, bring your friends, introduce someone new to the NET, introduce
yourself to someone new. Expand your network.

When: Thursday, March 1, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Where: Starters Riverport, 17 W. 2nd Street, Bethlehem

Admission: FREE to NET members, $3 for non-members

Not a member yet? Join now!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Give blood tonight w/NET

The Lehigh Valley is in the middle of a blood shortage crisis. Low blood collections during the holiday season, combined with upcoming regional blood collection projections, have forced Miller-Keystone Blood Center to ask area hospitals to postpone elective surgeries.

Please join the NET in meeting the blood demand on Tuesday, February 20th at 7 p.m. at Miller-Keystone Blood Center in Bethlehem.

If you plan to attend, please call Sharon at the Miller-Keystone Blood Center at 800-223-6667 to schedule an appointment this evening. She will ask you a few questions to get you in the system, which will make your blood donation quicker upon arrival.

Thanks for giving blood!

Elm street program in Bethlehem takes shape

Just around the corner from Bethlehem's historic Main Street yawn blocks of quaint row homes, drugstores, shops, offices and other businesses with apartments overhead.

Sure, the brickwork needs to be redone on some of those buildings along W. Broad Street. The paint on the wooden details of other 80-year-old buildings is cracking, too. And, as a straight shot to Allentown, the street sometimes carries motorists driving 50 mph through blocks devoid of much landscaping, neighbors say.

But Bethlehem officials say all that stretch needs is a little bit more curb appeal: leafy trees, decorative street lights, crosswalks and other amenities. If the city finds the money, that so-called streetscape could one day stretch all the way to the Queen City.

''The plans are very big and grand, but they are broken into small, achievable parts,'' Mayor John Callahan said. ''We've done this with the business district on the north and south sides, and they continue to thrive. Now, we're looking to revitalize neighborhoods.''

The project is part of the Elm Street program, an initiative that is aimed at sprucing up neighborhoods near the downtown. The thinking behind the program is strong neighborhoods make strong downtowns.

Bethlehem's target area is the neighborhoods north and west of Main Street. A task force has been working on the plan for 1 1/2 years. City Council is expected today to approve a resolution for $250,000 — a Transportation Enhancement grant — to start executing parts of the plan.

The start date has not been scheduled yet.

Darlene Heller, city planning director, said the task force, now called North by Northwest, will create a priority list of amenities and each section of the street will be improved as the city secures the money to do it.

She pointed to the improvements in recent years to the South Side Business District as evidence of how well decorative accents can spruce up a neighborhood.

Seven years ago, the city unveiled a plan to improve the lighting, upgrade sidewalks and crosswalks, plant trees and create a greenway along the Norfolk Southern rail lines that run through the heart of the South Side. The city still hasn't settled on the land for a major chunk of the plan — the greenway. But the city has already added some acorn-shaped street lights and trees along E. Third and Fourth streets. The city adds more lighting each year as it obtains the money.

A.G. Pitsilos, co-chairman of the city's task force for the Elm Street program, envisions a similar execution on W. Broad Street. While the first phase only goes out to Third Avenue, Pitsilos said he hopes the city extends the features all the way to Club Avenue, near the city's border with Allentown, once the money is secured.

Pitsilos, who has lived on the 600 block of W. Broad for 20 years, said the look of trees could pump some life into the neighborhood.

''We get the full sun. Shade would be nice for pedestrians walking down the street,'' he said. ''The rustling of leaves and the display of light through the trees, I think, will also help slow drivers down. It will make a very walkable community.''

With slower traffic, motorists might take time to look at the beauty of the neighborhood and perhaps return there.

Councilwoman Magdalena Szabo said a little sprucing up could inject more life into the neighborhood.

''But, I think it would be good to look at every area of the city at some point and pay a little extra attention to it,'' she said.

The improvements to W. Broad Street are just one part of the Elm Street plan. Other parts of the plan target Fairview and Friendship parks— now large, unattractive macadam lots. Other additions could include police substations, a farmers market on the north side, tourist maps and ''Welcome to Bethlehem'' signs. Other ideas include establishing a loan pool or grant program for property owners.

The district's boundaries are Fairview and Spruce streets on the north; Prospect Avenue and Broad and Raspberry streets on the south; Pulaski Street on the east; and Sixth Avenue on the west.

Easton Main Street Program update, meeting Thursday

The downtown manager, College Hill resident Kim Kmetz, is ready to tell of the program's successes at a public meeting 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the State Theatre gallery. The program promotes and attracts businesses downtown.

''I think they're on track, and I think what you're going to find at this meeting is they have a fairly lengthy list of accomplishments actually,'' said Marc Troutman, chairman of The Greater Easton Development Partnership, the nonprofit agency that administers the Main Street program for the city.

Accomplishments include uniting several groups such as Arts Community of Easton and downtown organizations, coordinating downtown promotional activities, issuing a monthly Golden Broom award to a business that maintains its property, preparing a newsletter and awarding grants to repair building facades.

Easton Mayor Phil Mitman said the future depends on a major fundraising campaign under way to ensure that the program continues over the next three years. The goal is to raise $1.5 million.

In addition to augmenting the Main Street program's $170,000 annual budget, Mitman said, the money would enable the Easton partnership to hire ''ambassadors'' to greet downtown visitors and do general cleaning, such as picking up litter and removing graffiti.

Lafayette College intends to be a major sponsor of the ambassador program, but Mitman said he and other Main Street volunteers are looking for other large donors.

''What we get from the state really barely covers administrative costs,'' Kmetz said. ''If you want to do anything with your program, it really needs to come from outside sources.''

Denise Sandy, owner of Ahlum Gallery, said the Main Street program has helped unify business owners and also relieved them from some of the strain of organizing promotional activities.

''It's very difficult because a lot of businesses are trying to survive and yet there's a lot of duties that need to be done,'' Sandy said.

Troy Pressens of Long & Foster Realtors said the Main Street program has not translated into increased investor interest.

''There's definitely a lot of questions about the program,'' said Pressens, who specializes in commercial real estate. ''I see a lot of potential and a lot of energy, but there's very few financial incentives within their program to really pull the investor in.''

Pressens said facade grants offered by Main Street and other financial programs offered through the Greater Easton Development Partnership seem more geared toward existing businesses.

Although Main Street doesn't have a single, visible accomplishment, such as a major redevelopment project, City Council President Sandra Vulcano said the program and the partnership have infused new energy into the downtown.

When Mitman became mayor again, one of his first priorities was to reorganize the nonprofit group and regionalize membership by aligning with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.

Without that restructuring and the financial support of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Mitman said, the Main Street program would not be the success it is today.

J. Michael Dowd, Chamber vice president of Easton initiatives, also credits volunteers who serve on Main Street program committees.

''It's not a program where you say, 'We're going to impose it on you,''' he said. ''It's more a sense of what the volunteers help to create.''

Young Professional takes position on Perkasie council

Perkasie council filled a board position Monday night with a 19-year-old woman they said had less ''baggage'' than two other applicants who were publicly grilled for their past criticisms of borough leaders.

Nickole Collins, a Republican who served as a junior council member while a senior at Pennridge High School two years ago, was tapped as the person to replace C. Lee Metzger, who resigned last month after having missed nearly 60 percent of council's meetings during a three-year period. Collins will serve the remainder of Metzger's four-year term, which expires at year's end. The seat will be up for grabs in the November election.

Collins, who hopes to attend college in the fall as a special education major, said she would bring a ''fresh view to Perkasie'' and the nine-person board. Council members are paid $208 per month.

''I'm younger,'' the Penny Lane resident said during a brief, public interview. ''I would represent the younger part of the community.''

Monday, February 19, 2007

Improve Quality of Place: Be part of the community

Two thirds of Americans ages 25 through 34 say they’re deciding first where they want to put down roots, and then looking for a job in that place, according to a report by CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders.

This conflicts with the common misconception that young professionals will go anywhere for a job. Not true. Talented young professionals choose places to live based not solely on productive considerations, but on amenities and consumption opportunities, community, social and family considerations. What many people refer to as "quality of place."

Talented young people are choosing to locate primarily in the center of a region. A three-mile circle generally corresponds to the commercial heart and close-in neighborhoods in each metropolitan area. In 2000 they were 33 percent more likely to live in the close-in neighborhoods.

So the key is here young professionals, and community leaders, we need to make our close-in neighborhoods more appealing, clean and affordable.

Well how do we do that?

One way is to become active in your local block watch or adopt-a-block program. These are groups of concerned citizens who work to create a better, safer community environment. They can help create things like safe houses for children, keep streets clean, and act as crime watchdogs. In addition, they can be a great social outlet. It's a chance to meet your neighbors, find people who will keep an eye on things while you're away, and even meet a group of individuals who can organize things like block parties.

Weed and Seed Program
Allentown's Weed and Seed strategy is to "weed" out drug trafficking, violent crimes and related offenses through coordinated law enforcement and community policing; and to "seed" the designated areas with prevention, intervention and treatment programs designed to meet the communities' needs for human services, employment and economic development, youth development and housing.
Weed and Seed Coordinator: Phyllis Alexander, (610)-437-7679

Allentown Neighborhood Information Exchange (ANIE) is a cooperative effort between the various neighborhood organizations and crime watch groups in Allentown and the City's Department of Community Development. The mission of ANIE is to preserve and improve the City's neighborhoods by fostering better communication among the neighborhoods and the City government. Members include:
  • West Park Civic Association
  • Center City Citizens Cooperating (4Cs)
  • Muhlenberg Area Community Watch
  • Midway Manor Community Association
  • 8th Ward Neighborhood Block Watch
  • Neighborhood 7 Crime Watch
  • Franklin Park Civic Association
  • 10th Ward Quality Neighbors
  • Keck Park Community Association
  • Residents of East Allentown - Community on the Hill (REACH)
In addition other community organizations include:

Block Watch Association

Blockwatch Program

The City of Bethlehem Police Department currently has 23 active “Blockwatch” groups that work in partnership with the police department to preserve and enhance the quality of life within their respective areas.