Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lehigh Valley Independent Film Town Meeting

The Television and Film program at DeSales, in partnership with the South Side Film Institute, will host the 2nd annual Lehigh Valley Independent Film Town Meeting. The event was created last year to promote interactivity among media-related organizations in the area . There will be presentations, announcements, introductions and a networking reception.

Topics to be covered include:

* Lehigh Valley Film Office - the whys and hows
* New Avenues of Film Marketing and Funding
* Networking - promote yourself

Featured speakers include:

* Panelist #1 Haydenfilms - "New Avenues for Independent Funding and Marketing."
* Panelist #2 Kathy McAuley - "Film Office and its Economic Incentives and Potential"
* Panelist #3 TBA

When: Thursday, March 22nd, 6 - 9:30 p.m.

Where: University Conference center at DeSales University

Ethnic Eats: Granny McCarthy's Tea Room & Celtic Restaurant

Granny McCarthy’s Tea Room & Celtic Restaurant
534 Main St
Bethlehem, PA 18018
(610) 861-7631

Quaint tearoom serving up soup and sandwiches with Irish soda bread.

Allentown Stadium has a name: Coca-Cola Park

The $48 million home of the Philadelphia Phillies' Triple-A affiliate in the International League, scheduled to open in April 2008, will be the first professional venue in the country named for Coca-Cola. A soccer stadium in Xi'an, China, also has the name.

"The state of the city is good," Callahan says.

More than $1 billion of recent development is completed or under way in Bethlehem, another $2 billion is on the drawing board, and the city is about to get an annual windfall of $8.7 million, courtesy of slot machine gambling.

The city's tax base in the past year edged above its pre-Bethlehem Steel closing level, its 150-member police force is bigger than ever, city debt is declining and development is booming.

It was the first State of the City address since the city was issued a license for a $600 million casino development to be built in south Bethlehem. The license is bringing the Sands BethWorks casino, a hotel, shopping mall, new PBS-39 studio, an ArtsQuest performing arts center, the National Museum of Industrial History and thousands of jobs. But it also brings an annual host fee of $8.7 million.

That money will, virtually overnight, vault the city from its budget struggles, according to Callahan. He spent much of his speech detailing how he wants to spend it, and how he's appointing a 15-member task force of business and community leaders to devise a detailed plan.

Callahan said he plans to use the host fee money to handle the impact of the 4 million people expected to visit the casino district annually, increase the city's budget reserve from $500,000 to $6 million, invest in the north and South Side business districts and reduce taxes.

In the past year alone, Money magazine named it one of the top 100 places to live and a federal crime report indicated it was the safest city in the state with more than 30,000 people. Taxable property values are rising, city debt is falling, and $1.2 billion of new development has already begun creating nearly 4,000 new jobs, Callahan said. Add to that $2.2 billion in future developments that include Sands BethWorks, Martin Tower, Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII and the Bethlehem Commerce business park, and the future appears bright, he argued.

Open space takes a hit in Macungie, but there is still hope

The Wildlands Conservancy still hopes to buy most of a 10-acre parcel of land along Cedar Crest Boulevard to expand the 72-acre Pool Wildlife Sanctuary, even though Lower Macungie supervisors have approved plans to build nine homes on the property.

After listening to more than an hour of discussion about the development, including objections from neighbors and environmentalists, supervisors voted 2-1 last Thursday to approve the project.

Despite getting that approval, developers Christifer Portner and David Serfass say they still are willing to sell to the Lower Macungie based conservancy.

But the conservancy does not yet have enough money to buy it. ''They still can't meet our price,'' Serfass told supervisors. If a deal can't be negotiated soon, Serfass expects they will sell the development to a home builder by summer.

''We have to move quickly if we want to purchase the property, and we need additional support from the community to do that,'' conservancy President Chris Kocher said. ''I remain optimistic.''

Kocher said the land will increase the sanctuary's open space and passive recreation. ''We have very limited opportunities to expand the sanctuary. This is one way we can do it.''

Serfass said they've offered the conservancy about 7 acres for around $825,000. He said the land is now appraised at more than $1 million. He said they also offered to finance $250,000 of the money owed for five years.

The conservancy is seeking a $300,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, a $100,000 grant from Lehigh County and has $200,000 pledged by local residents. Kocher hopes Lower Macungie also will contribute.

The project was opposed by the executive committee of the Lehigh Valley Sierra Club and also Clean Water Action, which claims more than 500 members in Lower Macungie. The Sierra Club maintains the project directly threatens the quality of nearby Little Lehigh Creek and will destroy an agricultural area and diminish open space in the township.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Several new discounts for NET members

The following are new Affiliate Partners. Just flash your membership card to receive benefits.

Not a member yet? Join now!

NET Flower Arranging Class

Learn how to create beautiful flower arrangements. Take home your creation at the end of class.

Class size is limited to 12, and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. You MUST RSVP to attend by Thursday, March 15th to

When: Wednesday, March 21st, 7 p.m.

Where: Patti's Petals, 215 E. Third St., Bethlehem

Cost: $20 for NET members, $25 for non-members which includes class instruction and supplies

Contact: Tara Sommerfield at

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!

When: Saturday, March 10th, 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Where: Wired Cafe and Gallery, Bethlehem

FREE Swing Dance

Balboa-style swing for beginners and masters.

When: Wednesday, March 14th, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Wired Cafe and Gallery, Bethlehem

Cost: FREE!

Get involved in politics young professionals

Tonight at the Bethlehem Brew works, the Lehigh Valley Young Democrats will re-launch. Now is your chance to tell government leaders what's important to you, and perhaps even run for office yourself.

When: Wednesday, March 7th, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Bethlehem Brew works

Cost: FREE!!

The Young Republicans group is defunct as of a few years ago. But those of you who are interested in forming a group should contact the Lehigh Valley Republican party at (610) 435-3322 in Lehigh County and (610) 759-4641 in Northampton County.