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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bethlehem Celebrates 275th

Picture stolen from Don Cunningham's Facebook page.
I've always felt Bethlehem is the jewel of the Lehigh Valley, as Don Cunningham says, "a very special place." and that's in no small due to the efforts of each of its these five fellows: John Callahan, Ken Smith, current Mayor Bob Donchez, Don Cunningham and Gordon Mowrer. But as they themselves would tell you, it's mostly due to the people who live there. I see them at meetings frequently, and they never cease to amaze me with their insights.

Judge Panella Helped By Man He Sent Away

Judge Panella and Jerry
Can people change? Superior Court Judge Jack Panella, whose chambers are in Bethlehem and is a former County judge, has seen some of the state's most hardened criminals in his decades on the bench. But during his summer vacation in Fort Lauderdale, he saw first hand that some people do change for the better

Panella, like many older runners, has back problems from years of pounding. When he and his wife experienced a flat tire in their Florida rental car, he tried his best to throw on a spare. But his back was making it hard for him.

Someone was watching from across the street. A hot dog vendor named Jerry saw Judge Panella. "You look like you're having trouble," he said and offered to help. Judge Panella quickly agreed.

While Jerry worked on the car, a Fort Lauderdale cop also stopped and helped Jerry.

While they were talking, Judge Panella learned that Jerry is originally from Pennsylvania.

"You probably never heard of it, it's called the Lehigh Valley!"

"That's where I'm from!"

Knowing that Jerry is originally from the Lehigh Valley, Panella asked him if he knew anyone.

Jerry did, and spoke very highly of Judge Grifo and McFadden.

"I had some trouble in the past, and that's why I moved here. They were very helpful."

"Do you know Judge Panella?"

"He's the jerk who sentenced me!"

Though Jerry was holding a tire iron, Judge Panella identified himself. Jerry hugged him.

Is Hillary Taking Pa. For Granted? Or Has She Written State Off?

From 538
When she was at Liberty High School a few years ago, running against Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton reminded local Democrats that Lehigh Valley Congressman Paul McHale had voted to impeach her husband. Not very reassuring to anyone hoping that Hillary will have the Lehigh Valley's back.They voted for her anyway, but i would nor be so sure this time

538, a website that focuses on opinion polls, is concerned that Hillary Clinton is just a little too sure of winning Pennsylvania this Fall. She has undeniable lead in the polls and has set aside $137 million for television. But she's reserved no air time in the Keystone State, which is gone from Democrat to "toss up," according to NPR. Given the perception that many Pennsylvania Democrats are corrupt, from Chaka Fattah to Kathleen Kane to Fed Ed, this omission will hurt unless quickly remedied.

From 538:
"Many Democrats take Pennsylvania for granted because it hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential election since 1988. But in 2012, its margin for President Obama was just 5.4 percentage points, equal to his margin in Colorado and less than his margins in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — all states included in early pro-Clinton ad reservations this year. Moreover, unlike those four states, Pennsylvania has trended toward Republicans over time, thanks to its older, whiter and more working-class electorate."

*          *          *

"So far this year, 73,543 Democratic registrants have switched to the GOP. The switchers mostly live in heavily white, working-class counties, and most did so in advance of the April 26 primary, presumably to vote for Trump. Trump took 57 percent statewide, but he took 70 percent in Fayette County (Uniontown) and 77 percent in Luzerne County (Wilkes-Barre) — locales that recorded two of the highest rates of party switching."
Political corruption among Pa. Democrats should reach a crescendo toward the end of the summer, when Attorney general Kathleen Kane goes to trial. In the meantime, federal investigations and guilty pleas have painted Democratic elected officials in a very poor light. Democrats are certainly going to lose the Attorney general's seat, and could lose every row office, especially with an inept Governor who needlessly dragged out a budget fight that he ultimately lost.

It could be that Hillary is not taking Pa. for granted. Remember, this is the state derided by then candidate Barack Obama for clinging to guns and religion.

She may have written the state off.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Opinions Online, 6/25/16

Blogger's Note: Opinions Online is a regular Saturday feature. If you'd like to express your opinion on any topic, click on the Opinions Online button on my left sidebar. You can also call 385-325-2564. In addition to these submissions, I sometimes highlight comments from throughout the week and re-publish them here. Please keep your comments brief, if possible.

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June 30, 2016 is the official announcement of Joanne Jackson for State Representative in the 131st District. The event will begin at 6 pm. at 4195 Estates Drive, Center Valley, Pa. and Joanne is committed to donating 25% of her salary when elected to local non-profits. Visit her face book site at Joanne Jackson for State Representative. Her website will be forthcoming as she is running a grass roots campaign and momentum is happening as she brings a new vitality to this political possession. She has vowed not to run as a career politician and will not break any political promises.

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First it was the destruction of an open space piece of land in Bethlehem Twp and then is was the construction of a cell tower in Lower Nazareth Twp, what is wrong with our elected and appointed officials in not working with and or communicating with the residents? Do they have all the answers? Best legal advice taxpayers can buy?

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Bernie; Did you send me something as an e-mail? I generally do not open files if I'm not convinced the person is not a phisher.
Send it again if it was you. Dave Molony

Blogger's Reply: Email Accout Hacked. - Lat Friday, my email account was hacked. I found out almst immediately after it happened and stopped it in about 15 minutes. But during that time, someone sent our hundreds of emails under my name. My password is pretty strong, and the new password is stronger. i am sorry for any confusion caused.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Will Allentown Tap Ex NorCo Administrator Luis Campos?

Earlier this month, I told you that Northampton County Director of Administration Luis Campos had suddenly resigned. Executive John Brown never explained why, but it's pretty clear he wanted his top administrator to go. This might actually be a blessing in disguise for the soft-spoken former administrator. Various Allentown sources tell me that Campos is under serious consideration as a replacement for the Managing Director position recently vacated by Francis Dougherty.  

Any person nominated by Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski, who is under federal investigation for political corruption, is going to receive tough scrutiny. But Campos has several things going for him. Council member Julio Guridy thinks the world of him, and even spoke on his behalf at Campos' confirmation hearing in Northampton County. He might be able to sway several council members. Also, he is both highly educated and experienced in both the public and private sectors. Finally, he is a Latino in a community that is largely Latino.

Beca Beats Central in Holy War


One guy is smiling in this picture, and the other is not. That tells the story. Becahi's Golden Hawks defeated the Allentown Central Catholic Vikings in summer basketball last night. Because of threatening skies, the game was played indoors at Whitehall High School. At one time, Beca was up by double digits, but Central fought back and finished the game three points behind.

The smiling player is Becahi sophomore Caden Giordano, who is about 18' and still growing. He's been getting a lot of playing time this summer, and scored at least four in last night's game. Central's "Who Dat" Lambert told me he was not smiling because he wanted to see the basketball draft, but the truth is he hates to lose.

In my mind, they are all winners. Caden and Dat used to play together in grade school.  They were mentored by Ace coach Emil Giordano. He happens to be a judge in his spare time.

While I was enjoying the games (I saw three last night), Judge Giordano snapped a picture of the back of my head. Some bastard must have removed all the hair on the back of my head while I was sleeping.

In other games, Whitehall beat Liberty by 14 and that's because Mikey Esquilin was able to play. Northampton, led by Aiden Elwood, edged out Freedom.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Benner Gets Green Light for $5.5 MM Apartment Building Next to OBT

At their June 22 meeting, Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board voted 3-0 to support dimensional variances that will permit Bethlehem Attorney Garrett Benner to build a 33-unit apartment building at 124-128 W Union Boulevard, next to the Old Brewery Tavern (OBT). The property is currently owned by the Casilio family, but is under agreement of sale to B-Land Company, owned by the Benners. Instead of tearing the old warehouse down, Benner has proposed an adaptive re-use. He will spend $5.5 million of his own money, with no special tax concessions or public grants, to build something that he testified "will improve the general character of a neighborhood ridden by crime."

The vote was 3-0 because two members of the Board recused themselves. Attorney Michael Santanasto has represented some members of the Casilio family, while Attorney Linda Shay Gardner's husband has publicly supported the project.

Attorney Chris Spadoni, representing the OBT, objected to continuing with just three Zoning Hearing Board members, complaining his client is "deprived of a full board." But Solicitor Erich Schock asked, "How does that prejudice you? The vote dynamic does not change." He noted there is no difference between a 3-2 vote and a 2-1 vote. The hearing went on, but the Board did vote unanimously to seek alternates.

Benner was represented by his father, Dennis Benner.

Garrett presented photographs of the exterior and interior of the old warehouse, noting that the building is "tattooed with graffiti" and that there are numerous broken windows. "Things have become progressively worse over the past several months," he said.

"Is that a picture of an abandoned car inside?" asked Bill Fitzpatrick. Garrett acknowledged that there were various cars inside the building, on the first floor.

Benner's plan is to use the building footprint as a garage for parking 39 cars on the first two levels. He will use an adjoining lot 114 Spruce street to provide 18 additional parking spots. Then he will build three floors on top of the two existing garage floors with 15 two-bedroom and 18 one-bedroom apartments. Fixtures will be stainless steel and granite. Most apartments will have their own balcony, and the rents will be between $1,200 and $1,500 a month.

Benner met with downtown Bethlehem merchants concerning this project, and he received a letter of support from the Downtown Business Association, penned by Donegal Square's Neville Garner. "The greenest building is often the building that is already built," said Gardner. He added that the apartment building will "support small business when finished."

But Spadoni, representing the OBT, was concerned that tenants will complain about the bar, which he claimed can get a bit rowdy. "We want to be protected," he said.

The OBT was the only objector.

After deliberation, the Zoning Hearing Board imposed three condition on their 3-0 approval. First, all leases must state that the apartment is located next to a bar and restaurant facility, Second, windows are prohibited at the apartment on the west end. Third, Benner must provide as much buffering as possible from the OBT.

In other business, the Board voted unanimously to approve two sign variances along Wood Street for Moravian Village. Attorney Bill Matz argued that the signs would blend into the surrounding area, which is owned by Moravian Village. Also, Cheryl Hoch was granted permission to build a 12' x 12' porch at 1025 laurel Drive, so long as it is not enclosed.

Ramadan: Jews, Christians and Muslims Break Bread at Payrow Plaza

Lots of kids enjoying Turkish food
Bethlehem's Zoning Hearing Board was scheduled to hear four cases on June 22. Meetings can get pretty crowded. It was still a surprise to see a big tent pitched outside Town Hall before the hearings started. Fortunately, the 150 people inside had no interest in variances or nonconforming uses. They were there for a Ramadan dinner and included people of all faiths - Muslim, Jew and Christian. The meal, completely free of charge, was for anyone interested in interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

Northampton Attorney Dean Berg and his wife, participated in the dinner. 
What is Ramadan? According to the Lehigh Dialogue Center, "Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting, in which Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk. Every year we ask our friends and neighbors to participate in a life experience in the month of Ramadan. We organize Ramadan dinners at our centers, our member's homes, churches, synagogues and colleges to portray and experience the Ramadan's role in sharing, feeding and helping the poor."

Ramadan is between June 5 and July 5 this year.

Ohran Guven sings a prayer while Dr. Kent Ozman and other Muslims holds hands out.

Dear Easton Area School Board

According to The Morning Call, an indoor farm is coming to an old factory building on Easton's south side. But there's a catch. There's outstanding real estate taxes in the amountof about $3,300 standing in the way of a $4.5 million investment. No worries. Donna Taggart, who has made a living by bleeding local government as a "consultant," has prepared a letter to the Easton Areas School District.

Dear Easton Area School Board:

I am working on a $4.5 million project that will convert a vacant mill into an exciting vertical urban farm complex. But here's my problem, I need you to waive $3,380 in penalties on outstanding real estate taxes. My motto is when planning to do multi-million dollar projects, every thousand dollars is important. Can you help?

Signed:

Donna Taggart, consultant for
Developer No One Has Ever Heard Of - Southern Cross Management
You Can Visit Me At My "Office" Which Is Also My Apartment At 210 Rittenhouse Square


A financial analyst i know calls this "an investment for people with more money than brains."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hold the Mayo! He's Out at ASD

Though they'll call it a sabbatical, Allentown School District is buying out Dr. Russ Mayo. Instead of buying the last year if his contract, five school board members will pay him to be absent. This financially irresponsible decision is the handiwork of School Board Prez David Zimmerman wants Mayo out because the Superintendent refused to give him preferential treatment when his child was supposedly the victim of bullies.

I understand the formal vote will take place tomorrow night, and Mayo will not be there.

The Board will embark on a year-long search for a new Superintendent, but they've become too political to attract anyone with any ability. As they've demonstrated time and again, like with Mayo's predecessor, there's little interest in ability. They'll look everywhere for a superintendent who is black or at least slightly tanned.

I hear Michael Frassetto is available.

US Att'y Has Message for Fed Ed

After today's guilty verdict in the racketeering prosecution of Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah, US Attorney Zane David Memeger released a statement that says, in part:

“Chaka Fattah Sr. and his co-defendants betrayed the public trust and undermined our faith in government. ... Today’s verdict makes clear that the citizens of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania expect their public officials to act with honesty and integrity, and to not sell their office for personal gain. Hopefully, our elected officials in Philadelphia and elsewhere hear today’s message loud and clear.”

How Did You Spend the Summer Solstice?


Remember, I'm a Druid!

The Taj Mahal of Craphouses?

Mike Hudak 
By a narrow 3-2 vote, Bethlehem Township Commissioners voted at their June 20 meeting to seek a $250,000 grant from the Commonwealth Financing Agency for combination bathroom facilities and a storeroom at the Northside Athletic Complex. It's the same grant that Commissioners sought nearly exactly one year ago in another 3-2 vote. Township Manager Melissa Shafer explained that a second grant request was necessary because of last year's state budget impasse. It is still pending review.

The Northside Athletic Complex is where the Bulldogs play football, softball, soccer and lacrosse. The bathroom, if it's ever built, will replace port-a-johns currently in place. The actual cost is currently estimated at about $300,000-$350,000.

In previous memos to Commissioners, Shafer blames the 2009 International Building Code and Township Plumbing Code for the high cost. Based on parking lot capacity,  a public restroom must include six women's toilets; two men's toilets, one urinal and two lavatories (sinks) in each restroom. That's not all. Handicapped accessible facilities for each gender; two drinking fountains (one each for wheelchair and standing persons); a service closet with water heater, mop sink, and cleaning supply storage; and a separate, "family assisted use" restroom are required.

In addition to being a restroom, the facility would provide permanent storage for shoulder pads and other athletic equipment. The Bethlehem Bulldogs currently $8,000/year for storage of equipment and supplies during the off season, and have previously stated they would agree to an $8,000 cut in their annual allotment from the Township if this project becomes reality.

Voting in favor of the grant request were Malissa Davis, Kim Jenkins and Tom Nolan. Opposed were Mike Hudak and Pat Breslin, who voted against the grant request in 2015, too.

"It's a lot of money for a bathroom," said Malissa Davis. "It would be nice to see a plan. ...But I don't think it's unreasonable to provide bathrooms at the North 40."

Hudak countered that there alreadty are bathrooms (port-a-johns)and that citizens don't want it, a point he made last year, too. "I don't care if it's grant money or not.... All I can say is if we're going to go for a grant for a quarter million dollars, I think we should be spending it on more than a bathroom. ... We're blowing a quarter million dollars on something stupid, and you can quote me on that."

Last year, Breslin claimed on talk radio that he could raise $100,000 for the bathrooms without involving the government. But one year later, Breslin has raised no money.

From the floor, Don Wright suggested dropping the storage room component. Roy Roth called the request "pathetic" in a township with storm water problems. Dennis Brennan said the Bulldogs should raise the money for this on their own. Martin Comer called it "the Taj Mahal of craphouses."

In other business, Commissioners voted unanimously to appoint John Meehan to the township police force. Meehan is a graduate of Rutgers with a double major in criminal justice and sociology. He has been a police officer in Baltimore for the past five years, but wants to return to the Lehigh Valley.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Congressman Fattah and Fed Ed

We have become a society accustomed to getting everything we want, and when we want it. Many of you have asked why are the feds taking so long to indict Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski. Its racketeering investigation of Philly Congressman Chakka Fattah began in 2006. He was convicted today.

I'd rather see the feds be careful and win than rush and lose.

Allentown's Pied Piper Guilty on Three Truancy Charges

Both sides can claim a win. Both sides must admit defeat. After listening to a day of testimony that included seven Allentown School District principals and its operations officer, Magisterial District Judge Karen Devine found former teacher Michael Frassetto guilty of three counts of corrupting the morals of minors for his role in inciting a student walkout in Allentown last year. The Allentown School District has made the point that there's no such thing as a constitutional right to cut class. But Frassetto dodged a conviction on 142 citations. He was fined $100 on each of three counts instead of $14,500.

Let me start by telling you that this is not the typical corruption case, in which someone plies a minor with alcohol or drugs for nefarious purposes. In the context of this prosecution "Any person who knowingly aids, abets, entices or encourages a minor younger than 18 years of age to commit truancy commits a summary offense." It's called corruption of minors, but should be called truancy.

Ed DeGrace so vulgar in morning session
that Frassetto supporters asked him to be quiet.
He failed to return in the afternoon.
Divining Judge Devine

Judge Devine, with a face that was almost always smiling, noted that there is no defense of justification. In other words, it makes no difference why Frassetto wanted kids to cut class. If he knowingly encouraged the walkout, he committed a summary offense.    

Devine's courtroom, if you can call it that, is in the basement of the old Lehigh County Courthouse. It's a tiny room with a table and a hodgepodge of chairs. About 25 people crammed inside an unassuming room that included a fascinating assortment of decorations. On one wall hangs an old Ringling Brothers circus poster, which made me wonder if that is her commentary on the judicial system. There was also a mannequin head sitting atop a credenza, with a British barrister's white powdered wig. There were also some 40 year-old political ads and, here and there, small vases of artificial flowers. But the pièce de résistance would have to be her judicial robes, hanging on a wall.

All judges, even mini-judges, are required to wear judicial robes. But as Judge Devine pointed out, no one has insisted that they be any particular color. So Judge Devine has three robes. Yesterday's color was merlot, she said. I also noticed a more bluish robe and the traditional black.

Based on the courtroom and its decorations, it's hard to divine Judge Devine. She certainly appeared to be her own thinker.

Frassetto has taken a break from teaching
The prosecution
  .
The principals at Allentown's three high schools and four middle schools all testified.Operations officer David Wildonger saw Frassetto at William Allen on 9/28 and 9/29, and could hear him on a bullhorn telling students they would get in no trouble for leaving. He had Facebook excerpts and even a video, but Judge Devine refused to accept the social media because she was unsure if it was really Frassetto. The video was definitely him, but she did not know if he posted it.

Another weakness is that students who had agreed to testify suddenly got cold feet. Finally, nothing directly tied Frassetto to the middle schools or Building 21.

* William Allen (3,000 students) - Principal Luke Shafnisky witnesses the walkouts that occurred on September 28 and 29, 2015.Altogether, 186 students participated. On the first day, they walked out after the second period. He could see Frassetto on the first day, exhorting students with a bullhorn. Some of them spilled ot intto the streets. On the second day, they sat on steps, which made it difficult for students who wanted to go to class. Students were booed as they walked in and the situation was "ripe for conflict."

Shafnisky spoke about the walkout with Frassetto several days before it occurred. He argued that the "best and safest place was in school, so children could receive their education and stay safe."

After the walkouts, Safinsky notified parents immediately, and some of them brought their truant children back..

* Dieruff (1,800 students). - Principal Susan Bacian said that on the first day of the walkout (9/28) she could see a group of about 20 young adults approach the school . A woman was speaking into a bullhorn, encouraging children to leave. About 50 students walked out that first day.  Teachers stood by the exits, asking students to remain.

She never saw Frassetto at the walkouts but did see him at a football game,handing out fliers that encouraged kids to leave.

* Building 21 (140 students) - Principal Jeanine Mathesz said 22 of her students walked out, and she called the parents of every one of them. "We're responsible for those students, even if they leave the building," she explained.Some of the parents brought their children back to school. She conducted town halls prior to the walkout, but they were lured by the promise of Chinese food. She never saw Frassetto.

* South Mountain Middle School (990 students) - Principal Frank Derrick, who has some students who are only nine years old, testified that 47 students participated in the walkout  He had people posted around the school, took the name of each student who left, and contacted parents. "A lot of them said they wanted Chinese food," he explained. He never saw Frassetto.

This lino was taking kids from Raub Middle School
* Raub Middle School (860 students) - Principal Susan Elliott said things were "very chaotic" on the day of the walkout as kids poured into the hallway. She testified 40 of her students participated in the walkout, mostly on the first day. They were lured by Chinese food the first day, and double cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets the second. She contacted each parent, and some of them returned with their children. She did not see Frassetto at her school, nor did she see his handouts. She saw several students hop into a limousine.

* Trexler Middle School (840 students) - Principal Christine Piripabel said 31 students walked out the first day, followed by four on the second and none on the third. She did not see Frassetto at her school.

* Harrison Morton Middle School (812 students) - Principal Daria Custer said that 33 of her students participated in the walkout. She never saw Frassetto, but did see handouts in student lockers.

Frassetto's Defense

When Frassetto testified, he had a 14 page manifesto entitled "Recent Failures of Allentown School District Encouraged Peaceful Protest." In it, he explains that lousy test scores, low graduation rates, a lack of staff diversity, discrimination against minority administrators, mismanagement of school funds, sexual assaults and student abuse are what led to the walkouts.

None of those reasons matter to Judge Devine, who pointered out several times that it makes nio difference why students are encouraged to leave school.

Frassetto portrayed himself as only one of many participants in organizing the walkout. He indicated he was encouraged by three lehigh professors, three Kutztown University professors as well as the sororities and fraternities of the local colleges.

"Do you think students have a First Amendment right to express themselves by walking out of school in the middle of the day?" asked Freund.

"Yes."

He said he was prepared to accept the consequences for his actions, just like Mandela, Ghandi and Martin Luther King.

Asteak double-teamed. 

Asteak is also a farmer
Though Judge Devine occasionally had to separate them, it was a pleasure to watch legal warriors Jonathan M. Huerta and John E. Freund III double team prominent criminal defense lawyer Gary Asteak. They presented a thorough case that included video from Frassetto, his Facebook excerpts, photographs and attendance sheets at seven different schools. Huerta acted as lead counsel, but it was Freund who coaxed Frassetto into admitting his criminal behavior during cross-examination.

With his Stetson on the table and his blue-colored glasses put away, Asteak was on the attack from the beginning to end. He probably set the Guinness record for most hearsay objections in one day, but amazingly, most of them were sustained. After one of these minor victories, Asteak asked that the testimony be "stricken from the record."

"We're not a court of record," answered Judge Devine.

"Then strike it from your memory," said Asteak.

Though there was absolutely nothing in the record to back him up, Asteak repeatedly insisted that the student walkout was forced on students because the school board had locked them out of a meeting and refused to listen to them.

"Mr. Asteak has done more testifying in this case than the witnesses," complained Freund.

'There's no First Amendment right to shout 'Fire!' in a crowded theatre,' argued Huerta.

"Is it OK to shout 'Fire' in a theatre that is on fire?" asked Asteak. "This school district is on fire and the kids have a right to throw some water on it."
"Mr. Frassetto will proudly wear the badge of criminal for giving the kids the right to speak up. These are Latinos, young men and women of color, who are being repressed. Is it criminal to seek help, to raise your voice?"
Huerta, who is a Latino and said he struggled to make it, countered there is no first amendment right to crate a substantial disruption.
"At the end of the day, this is about students who want a better education. There's a way to make it, a way to do it, but it's not in the middle of a school day."
Asteak mispronounced the name of one school district witness several times while Freund repeatedly mispronounced Frassetto's name. Each accused the other of playing rhetorical tricks and trying to annoy the witness by constantly butchering his name. .

I asked them both whether they were playing games after the hearing, and they both responded, "I don't know what you're talking about, O'Hara."

The verdict.

Judge Divine found Frassetto guilty on three counts for the two days at William Allen, where he was observed and one day at Deiruff, where he was spotted handing out flyers. Because nothing tied him directly to the middle schools or Building 21, she dismissed those charges.

Frassetto was only convicted on three counts of a summary offense, the legal equivalent of a parking ticket. Could This could affect his teaching certificate, but that seems unlikely.

Updated 3:40 pm: Who is Ed DeGrace (Disgrace)? - He's a Fed Ed goon I first caught here in 2008, posting attacks under an assumed name. He's responsible for laundering an $8,000 contribution to Fed Ed from a third party through Latinos for a New Lehigh Valley PAC, and then failing to file a finance report that would identify this contributor.

He remains a Fed Ed cheerleader.
"Hey Ed, you can count me among the cheerleaders. Allentown has come a long way and you've had your hands and your heart in her rebirth since ABC, DEDC- Allentown, etc. My beef is with ASD and we have a long way to go in the areas of education, income disparity and minority engagement toward building the new but, I'm sure you're aware of these continuing battles. Maybe some of the naysayers should consider running for Mayor, against you and your record. Statistics show that even a generic, recalcitrant, yelping opponent could muster 35%. Good job Ed. Still much to do but, keep building the new."

He attempted to muzzle me at a Kevin Dougherty rally last year, but failed.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ed Disgrace invades Frassetto Trial

Four witnesses, including three school principals, have testified so far in the truancy case against former Allentown charter school teacher Michael Frassetto. Last September, he organized and led s three day walkout that attracted students from two high and four middle schools. Was he enticing truancy, as the schol District contends, or should he be compared to Mandela and Martin Lither King, as Gary Asteak argues?

Judge Karen Devine's tiny courtroom is packed with school district officials and Frassetto supporters, whose numbers include Ed Disgrace, outed by this blog as a troll many years ago. Disgrace seated himself directly behind me and spent much of the morning disparaging me in loud whispers. He continued even as other Frassetto supporters asked him to tone it down. 

He kept his voice low enough so the judge did not hear him. He also whispered insults at each school district witness.

Bottom-Feeding BloggerMobile


What fun is it being a bottom-feeding blogger without a bottom-feeding bloggermobile? I tooled around in this last night, and like the batmobile, was able to drive it across the Delaware River. Then I went airborne and knocked down a few drones.

And then I woke up.

Who owns this totally badass car? The license plate tells you.


King Allentown, who is in training for a fight with Muscles Nardone at Sportsfest, says he'd like it if it had fur.

BTCC is Now Gilligan's Island

In her monthly report, Bethlehem Township Manager Melissa Shafer announced that Jackie Gilligan is the new director at the Township Community Center. She takes over for Floyd Schaffer.

"I am pleased to report that after an extensive search and interview process, we have promoted Jackie Gilligan to the position of Bethlehem Township Community Center Director. Jackie has been with the Township since 2002 serving as the Recreation Program Coordinator. She continued her employment with the BTCC since its 2006 opening, serving as the Office Manager and assisting in all aspects of running the Center. Jackie graduated from Lock Haven University in 2002 with a degree in Recreation Management and Business Management. Jackie brings to the Community Center a great business acumen, a great knowledge and understanding of all the facets of the center, and a true passion for recreation."

Jennings: Hospitals Need to Do More

Lehigh Valley Health Network dodged a bullet recently when Lehigh County jurist Brian Johnson decided that it's doing enough - $354 million worth - to satisfy its charitable mission. The person who thought differently, Robert Young, is himself a retired judge. He's not alone. Community organizer Alan Jennings, helmsman at CACLV, said the hispital has a moral, of not legal, obligation to do more, especially for those in the throes of mental illness or a heroin addiction.

“Behavioral health problems impede every aspect of our region’s quality of life,” Jennings said. “They impair worker productivity, destroy families, fill our jails, cost infinite amounts of money and diminish the success of even the best healthcare in the Lehigh Valley. LVHN CEO Brian Nester, an extraordinarily gifted entrepreneur and physician, has an historic opportunity and obligation to lead the way.”

Coroner statistics, which show a marked increase in drug overdose deaths, do not lie.

Also, does anyone really disput that mental illness has more than a little to do with recent mass shootings?

Jennings reported that he has met with dozens of representatives of non-profit organizations and spoken with countless people in the region, all of whom have stories to tell. “Every one of us, while still sensitive to the stigma attached to mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction, has a friend, a family member or a coworker who struggles to cope,” Jennings said. He offered CACLV’s assistance in the endeavor to Nester.

I'm sure that went over well.

Allentown's Pied Piper Faces The Music Today!


Last September, a charter school teacher lured Allentown school district students away from their classes with Big Macs, eggrolls and rides in Nate Whips' limo. I called him the Pied Piper of Allentown.He's now a former charter school teacher, who was at one time facing 145 citations for corrupting the morals of minors

He actually posted the pic you see above, which shows that he at least has a sense of humor.

His trial on some of these charges is scheduled at 10 am today before Magisterial District Judge Karen Devine. Her courtroom is at 501 Hamilton Street in Allentown. Frassetto started a GoFundMe page for the $2,500 needed for his legal defense, but only collected $190..

Prominent criminal defense lawyer Gary Asteak confirmed that he represents the Pied Piper. I know from my own dealings with Gary that he will sometimes represent a client because he thinks it is the right thing to do and is a man of honor.

"Is the second amendment the only one folks care about anymore?" he asks. "How about the First - press, speech, assembly?"