Friday, August 16, 2013
$6.3 Million Morgue Proposed in NorCo
But Executive John Stoffa was lovin' it.
"Tell 'em what you do with the bodies," Stoffa prodded Lysek at one point.
And Zach did, discussing coolers scattered here and there where he can pull open a drawer and stow someone or say "Hi!" to someone else. He has to juggle them around among St. Luke's two campuses, Easton Hospital and Gracedale. When one of these places has a rush, he juggles some more.
Zach was at County Council last night to pitch a $6.4 million, 24,000 sq ft morgue. It will be conveniently located at Louise Moore Park, where I like to spend a lot of time. It's based on a study done by Allentown's W2A. "We need to do a better job, and this will enable us to do it," states Lysek.
I'm never heard a single complaint from any of his customers.
For as long as I can remember, the County has been talking about building a real morgue. Something else has always had priority. But the Coroner's pressures have skyrocketed. Lysek investigated 1,917 deaths last year, compared to just 782 in 2000.
Business is booming.
With a real morgue, the juggling problem would be eliminated. There's 22 coolers, with room for more. It will also include a full body X-ray, a 16-slice scanner [don't ask me what the hell this is] and this is when Zach began discussing internal organs and paraffin.
- That's when I left the room briefly.
When I got back, Zach was pointing at a generator at the proposed building. "I don't have to tell you what will happen if we lose power."
- I checked out again. After blowing into a paper bag, I returned.
"... and at this new facility, we'll have lockers for when bodily fluids begin spraying all over our clothing."
- Out again. I was tempted to take off, but I am a bottom-feeding blogger, damn it. If I can handle cRaZy Mezzacappa and Gregory, I can put up with this.
"... and I don't mean to be disrespectful, but you can't possibly imagine how bad a decomposing body smells."
- Out again. I waited until Zach sat down.
What kills me is I am the only person in that frickin' room who was bothered. Antonia and Frank Flisser's wife were unfazed. That bastard Stoffa was smiling. Bethlehem Press reporter Carole Smith told me she watches CSI, so this is nothing.
I'm still a little queasy.
Believe it or not, some Council members then began asking questions! Bob Werner suggested teaming up with a hospital and Zach began talking about using NCC students take X-Rays as part of their classes. Tom Dietrich claimed there's differences between autopsies at a hospital and in a morgue. How the Hell does he know? What is he, a frickin' vampire?
Scott Parsons was a bit miffed about the pricetag.
"Did I miss something in the last 15 years that nothing got done here?" he asked, complaining about the never-ending expenses of running a County in his 1 1/2 years on Council.
President John Cusick, who has been there a bit longer, pointed out that "if your priority is building industrial parks, a core function like this gets ignored."
"Embarrassing," was Ken Kraft's one-word assessment.
His face was as green as mine, and he's not Irish.
Whatever happens, it won't be done by Stoffa. He has 8 Council meetings left, and said a morgue will have to wait for the next Executive, suggesting it be floated as part of the next bridge bond in about 3-4 years.