About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Irishman and Joe Biden

When VP Joe Biden was being shopped for the presidency, the rap against him is that he tends to put his foot in his mouth. Hillary was the Democratic nominee, and the result is a President who has taken foolish, embarrassing and tactless rants to a whole new level. We'll never know, but I believe Biden would have beaten Trump.

With that in mind, I thought I'd stray from the usual fare to share a story about how Biden first was elected to the US Senate in Delaware. It might be because of a union mobster and hit man known as Frank "the Irishman" Sheeran.

Sheeran's life story is told in a book called "I Heard You Paint Houses," in which the Irishman confesses to having killed Hoffa. That was the first thing Hoffa said to Sheeran when Pennsylvania crime boss Russell Buffalino introduced Sheeran. Painting houses, by the way, was a mobster's polite way of discussing murder. He first earned how to kill during WWII, where he would slaughter German POWs.

Sheeran was President of Teamsters Local 326, based in Delaware, and supported Joe Biden in '72 when he first ran for the US Senate against incumbent Caleb Boggs.

It was a close race and Boggs decided to run ads in Delaware's two newspapers on the weekend before the election. A lawyer Sheeran liked wanted to make sure those newspapers never got delivered.

Here's how the Irishman explains it:
"I told my friend the lawyer and the guy he had with him that they could count on me to get it handled. I always had a lot of respect for that lawyer and thought Biden was better for labor anyway. I told him that once we put up the picket line I would see to it that no truck driver crossed the picket line. The Teamsters would honor the informational picket line of the other union, whatever name they used.

"The line went up and the newspapers were printed, but they stayed in the warehouse and they never were delivered. The newspaper company called me up and wanted my men to go back to work. I told them we're honoring the picket line. He asked me if I had anything to do with the blowing up of a railroad car that had material that was going to be used in the printing of the newspaper - whether it was paper or ink or some other supplies, I don't know. But no people got hurt in the bombing. I told him we're honoring the picket line, and if he wanted to hire some guards to keep an eye on his railroad cars he should look in the Yellow Pages.

"The day after the election the information picket line came down and the newspaper went back to normal and Delaware had a new United States Senator. ...

"There have been things written about this incident and I am always mentioned in them. They say this maneuver is what got Senator Joe Biden elected. Especially the Republicans say that if those newspaper inserts from the Boggs side got delivered inside the newspapers it would have made Joe Biden look very bad. The Boggs ads coming as they almost did that last week there would have been no time for Biden to repair the damage. I have no way of knowing if Joe Biden knew if that picket line thing was done on purpose on his behalf. If he did know he never let on to me."
Incidentally, Biden won that race by just 3,162 votes.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bethlehem Has Three Ladder Trucks, Allentown Down to 0 Again

Allentown  firefighters are reporting that, once again, Pennsylvania's third largest city has no ladder trucks.Once again, they are using a pick-up truck, and have placed neighboring departments on stand-by.

A Bethlehem firefighter was at last night's meeting concerning a 78' LNG facility,and during a break,I asked him how many ladder trucks Bethlehem has. Three. All operational.

UGI Proposes 78' High LNG Facility on Ringhoffer Rd

In an effort to deliver natural gas more efficiently to its Lehigh Valley customers, UGI is planning to build a 98' high, 78' wide liquefied natural gas facility in Bethlehem at 2470 Ringhoffer Road on an 83.91 acre tract of former Bethlehem Steel land that is now part of Lehigh Valley Industrial Park. Represented by Allentown Attorney Tim Siegfried, company representatives were at the Zoning Hearing Board May 24 for a special exception and dimensional variances. But so were Lower Saucon Township officials, who were represented by prominent environmental attorney Charles Elliott. They were there to argue against the project. After over three hours of testimony, the Board called it a night and will return on June 14.

There was no shortage of lawyers. Attorney Jim Preston was there on behalf of Bethlehem Commerce Center,which adjoins the proposed facility. Attorneys Joe Piperato and Jim Holzinger were there on other matters. Attorney Kevin Kelleher was acting as the Zoning Hearing Board's solicitor. Attorneys Michael Santanasto and Linda Shay Gardner are themselves members of the Board. Before testimony got underway, Chair Gus Loupos joked that the Bar Association should find some other place for their meetings.

UGI's VP for business development, Matt Dutzman, described the proposed facility as a 98' tall, 78'wide triple-wall full containment tank capable of holding two million gallons of liquefied natural gas. He explained that a stainless steel tank will be surrounded by insulation and then a second wall of steel that would be encased in concrete. "It's a big thermos bottle," explained UGI engineer Mike Mara. UGI already maintains three such tanks, with a fourth under construction.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is cryogenically cooled natural gas which is liquefied to reduce the volume for shipping and storage. LNG is primarily methane, but can contain up to 10% ethane and propane. It is stored at a temperature of negative 260 degrees Celsius. The location along Ringhoffer Road was attractive to UGI for two reasons. First, it is located near a pipeline that will enable the company to deliver fuel after returning the methane to its gaseous state. Second, the facility would be located in a swale, affording some natural protection.

The tank will be filled by 10,000 gallon tankers, each of them weighing over 44,000 pounds, that would travel along Applebutter and Ringhoffer Road. About five or six deliveries will be made daily over the course of several months until the tank is full. After that, the only time the tank will be accessed is during extremely cold weather.

UGI officials conceded that Ringhoffer Road is a poor access route, but vowed to make improvements.

Both officials stated that when there is a delivery or when gas is transferred to a pipeline, employees will be on site. The rest of the time, the facility will be monitored from a gas control facility located in Reading. That gas control station will be able to detect leaks and dispatch technicians, or remotely shut down the plant.

No other use will be made of this 83-acre tract,and the property will be both buffered with landscaping and fenced to prevent easy access. An emergency plan is still being formulated with Bethlehem public safety officials. Mike Mara said UGi would provide any training that is deemed necessary and purchase any equipment that first responders think are needed to deal with an emergency.

UGI officials conceded this are is prone to sinkholes, and plan to introduce testimony to establish how they plan to deal with that problem, as well as potential earthquakes.

Though LNG is inflammable, Mara admitted under cross-examination that there have been accidents. He admitted that n 1944, the wall of a LNG facility failed. The tank ruptured, spilling LNG into the city sewer system. It vaporized and turned into gas, which exploded and killed 128 people. Mora explained that was a single wall, not a triple wall. Moreover, he indicated the steel used in Ohio was of low quality. He said designs today are much improved.

Dutzman was unable to tell Lower Saucon Council member Priscilla deLeon how old the pipes are that will be used to carry the natural gas. But Mora stated that the first 500 feet will be stainless steel. She lives less than a mile away and is concerned about a vapor cloud that could ignite and explode.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What's the Hold Up in the Fed Ed Case?

Allentown's former Managing Director, Francis Dougherty, is the latest domino to fall in a federal public corruption investigation aimed at Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski, otherwise known as Public Official No.3. But he himself has thus far eluded prosecution, even though his own attorney has stated an indictment is imminent. Why?  Is this because it was all just a misunderstanding, as Fed Ed and a few of his fellow travelers would have you believe? From what I'm told, the FBI has concluded its investigation, and this matter is in the hands of the US Attorney's Office. So what's happening?

First, the US Attorney himself has resigned, though there are about 130 career prosecutors in that office and an Acting US Attorney to approve any prosecution. Second, the prosecutor originally assigned to this case resigned to run for Philadelphia DA. Third, the Supreme Court's decision in McDonnell, which invalidated the prosecution of Virginia's ex-Governor for honest services fraud, undoubtedly forced prosecutors to re-evaluate the case. Fourth, the US Attorney's Office in both the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pa. have had their heads handed to them in two high-profile public corruption cases. Fifth, if they are filing racketeering charges like they did against former Congressman Chaka Fattah, they need approval from the Organized Crime and Gang Section of the Department of Justice, which can take time. Sixth, they were likely reluctant to seek a prosecution right before the Mayoral primary, although that decision itself interfered with the election in a very negative way. Seventh, they are governed by a statute of limitations and nothing else. They are under no obligation to file charges until the statute is about to run. That's five years.  

When this investigation first became public, Fed Ed was a wreck.Some thought he might commit suicide and he lost a lot of weight. But as time has gone by, he's rebounded, as demonstrated by his weight returning and his bully tactics against both an Allentown firefighter and community activist Eugene McDuffie. He has gone from being scared to denial.

While I do expect to see him indicted soon, and Dem party bosses are looking for a replacement candidate.But he won't resign. He will have to dragged out of office, kicking and screaming. Seven lives have been shattered by this ordeal. Count on seeing their sentencing delayed yet again. Here's the current schedule before Judge Juan R. Sánchez in Philadelphia:

Mary Ellen Koval, May 31, 10am
Matthew McTish - May 31, 2pm
Garrett Strathearn -June 1, 11am
Ramzi Haddad - June 12, 2pm
DaleWiles, June 13, 10am
Michael Fleck - June 13, 2pm
Francis Dougherty - June 27, 9am

Matt Cartwright to Host Town Hall in Wilson Borough

U.S. Congressman Matt Cartwright (Pa.17) recently hosted a town hall at Northampton Community College before a friendly crowd. If you missed that one, you'll have a chance to see him up close and personal in Wilson Borough at the end of this month. All are welcome. He'll be at Strausser Community Center (2210 Liberty St, Easton, PA 18042) on Tuesday, May 30, from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.

Cartwright serves on the powerful House Appropriations Committee with Charlie Dent. Though they come from different parties, both speak highly of each other.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Las Vegas Blog Bets NorCo Will Stay Away This Year

New to Las Vegas is having some fun with NorCo Controller Steve Barron's recommendation that County Council impose tighter controls on outside travel after his discovery that Human Resources Director Amy Trapp sent staffers last year on trips to New Orleans and Vegas. "I guess when you live in hardscrabble northeastern Pennsylvania–especially the area around Easton–any trip to Las Vegas by government workers on the public dime can look suspect," writes blogger William Barrett. "I’m nominating Trapp for my new list, It Didn’t Stay Here. The list–a play on that great Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority marketing slogan, “What Happens Here, Stays Here“–consists of folks having problems somewhere else for things that happened in Vegas."

Noting that there's an election in November, Barrett is betting there will be no trip to Vegas this year.

Bath Takes Its Case to Colonial Regional Oversight Board

Members of Bath's police advisory board
address CRPD Comm'n 
In the wake of Saturday's Town Hall in Bath, a large crowd was expected at the monthly meeting of the Colonial Regional Police Department (CRPD) last night. To be sure there would be enough room, the venue was transferred from CRPD HQs to the popular Hanover Tp Community Center, a YMCA on steroids where even my grandson trains. Some people were lifting or doing cardio. Young ladies joked in the lobby as they prepared for volleyball practice. Bouncing basketballs provided the percussion. When about ten police officers entered the building, nobody batted an eye. Some of the kids even said Hi to these cops, who have apparently taken the time to develop good relations. But how are these same officers viewed by the Bath community? About 35 people were at last night's meeting, but only a few of them were residents who were neither part of the police advisory commission or borough Council.

Borough officials continue to insist that no decision has been made. But Borough Manager Brad Flynn's Budget Message from October makes clear that a mere five percent increase was so devastating that there would be discussions about the Bath's continued participation in CRPD.

Martin Boucher, a soft-spoken Lower Nazareth Tp Supervisor, chairs the CRPD Commission, which provides civilian oversight over this regional force. John Diacogiannis, from Hanover Tp, and Fiorella Mirabito, from Bath, are the other voting members. After getting the police business out of the way, Boucher opened up the floor to public comment.

CRPD Commission Absence at Town Hall. - It appears that members of the police advisory commission, along with Mayor Fiorella Mirabito, were bothered that the CRPD was absent from Saturday's Town Hall. Diacogiannis explained that he thought the Town Hall was for residents of Bath to register their concerns. That's certainly how it was presented on Bath's Facebook page. It was billed as a meeting for residents and business owners about the future of police service in Bath, hosted by the Bath Borough administration. In fact there was an attempt to prevent CRPD officers from speaking for that very reason. Boucher explained he was working on Saturday.

There's another reason why Commission members would be wise to stay away. Had they gone to that meeting and participated in discussions concerning Bath's future with CRPD, they would be deliberating about matters on which they will be taking official action. They would be conducting a public meeting without advertising and without anyone to take minutes for them. It would be a clear violation of the Sunshine Act.

Can This be Worked Out? - Diacogiannis explained that the Commission is there for each respective municipality, and that it is up to each participant.  But speaking for himself, he said, "You got a problem. Police are only one component of it."  He noted complaints that 23% of Bath's budget goes for police protection, but noted that 29% of Hanover's budget pays for police. "We view police as a public safety issue. It's our responsibility as a government to provide for that."

Is Lower Nazareth going to bolt, too? -  Eric Nagle has been singing that tune for several years in Lower Nazareth, and has used the situation in Bath to rekindle the issue there. But Boucher put out that fire. "A majority of our board doesn't feel that way," he said. "We're very pleased with Colonial Regional."

Is CRPD Willing to Provide Contracted Services? - This question came both from a police advisory commission member and from Mayor Fiorella Mirabito, who tried to insist again that no decision has been made until I turned on my tape recorder.  It's pretty clear that Bath wants CRPB, like Moore Tp, to provide a proposal for contracted services even though no guidance about what is sought has been provided. Basically, Bath wants CRPD to compete against itself, and Chief Roy Seiple said he's prepare a proposal if he was given some guidance.

Some Police Advisory Comm's members support CRPD - Tara Berger, a registered nurse at St.Luke's, and spelled her name out for me. She said she jumped at the opportunity to be part of the advisory commission. "Initially, I thought, why fix the roads?" she asked. "Because who's going to want to drive into a town that's not protected by you guys?" She added that "any rumors, any blogs or articles, it's so sad for me to think that we are questioning what they do for us." She expressed concern about an "ever-growing transient element."  She also said that she represents a large part of her neighborhood "because I knocked on doors and I talked to them, and they don't want to leave you."

Tara might wish to tell those neighbors that CRPD officers were prevented from responding to what was essentially a hit job in the "informational packet" prepared by Borough Manager Bradford Flynn, which is full of inaccuracies. As one of them told her last night, "I felt we were personally disrespected." Officers intend to set the record straight at the next Borough Council meeting on June 5.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Meanwhile ... in the People's Republic of Allentown

From Local 302: Ladder Truck #1 out of service out of the city for repairs. Ladder Truck #2 Out of Service broke down on a call. Engine 11 a 75' quint acting as the Aerial truck. The City is growing and reliable fire trucks are a must. This again highlights the absolute necessity for a Replacement Plan and a new Fleet Services Contact. Call the Mayor and let him know this is unacceptable.
Image may contain: outdoor and text

Bath's Spending Problem Has Nothing To Do With Police Protection

About 70 attend a Bath Town Hall over regional police
Over the weekend, there actually was a town hall without a Congressman. Close to 70 Bath residents braved a rainy Saturday morning to meet at Social Hall, guzzling coffee and munching Dunkin' Donuts. They were there to discuss Bath's continued participation in Colonial Regional Police Department (CRPD). "This place should be packed," complained State Representative Marica Hahn. But to draw 70 people for a weekend meeting about government in a tiny borough of just 2,700 people, is pretty remarkable. At the front of the room was a 15-person police advisory commission, who have been studying CRPD's future in Bath for several months. At the rear were several police officers, along with Chief Roy Seiple, who will be directly impacted by that decision. It's a question of money. It's also a question of public safety.

CPRD, first formed in 1995, is a regional police department that covers Hanover and Lower Nazareth Tp, along with Bath. In 2001, it became the first regional police department in the state to become accredited. It includes 24 police officers. Civilian oversight is provided by a six-person commission, with two members from each of the member municipalities.

Bath has been around a bit longer than CPRD. Settled in 1728, it's a borough consisting of 0.9 square miles and a $1.8 million budget. According to the state Department of Community and Economic Development, it is at least $1 million in debt, with much of that money ($380,000) having been borrowed in just the last year. Its 2017 budget includes nearly $128,000 in debt service. It is nearing its debt limit. Some of the reasons can be gleaned from Borough Manager Bradford Flynn's 2017 Budget Message:
  1. Last year, the Borough decided to purchase the "Thirst Quenchers" building to serve as a new municipal center. That alone will cost $425,000, to say nothing of at least $250,000 in renovations that will follow. 
  2. Legal fees in a borough that serves just 2,700 people have doubled. Forty-one thousand dollars have been budgeted for this year. With a straight face, Borough Manager Brad Flynn justifies this so that the borough can catch up on its codifications. 
  3. In the course of one year, Bath's three-person public works department resigned, and now borough officials are dealing for the first time with a union.
It's a borough with both a spending and a morale problem. Flynn's solution is to dump the one thing the borough appears to be doing well, i.e. protecting the public. He wants to eliminate the CRPD. A manager who thought nothing of borrowing near the limit and who didn't blink an eye when legal fees doubled, was very incensed that the cost of police coverage went up five percent, from $398,000.00 in 2016 to $416,000.00 in 2017. "This increase in cost will prompt upcoming discussions with the Colonial Regional Police Commission about the Borough’s seat at the table and to what future extent," he huffed, in his October 2016 budget message.

Repeated assurances were made on Saturday that "Nothing has been decided." That's window dressing. Flynn's October 2016 Budget Message tells a much different story. It is he, a person who wants to rid the borough of its police protection, who then prepared the "informational" packet that even criticizes CRPD for its "Shop with Cops" program.

Mayor Fiorella Mirabito called CRPD "top notch" and appears to be one person who wants them to stay. But she has no say in this matter, unless there's a tie.

Borough officials claim they've made no decision, either, and then refused to allow Chief Seiple and other CRPD officers to refute the findings in Flynn's so-called "informational" packet. Seiple and others complained that opinions were mislabeled as facts, and facts were misrepresented. As things would get heated, one or another member of the panel would stand up and repeatedly state how much they want to hear from the public.

The longest speeches in a meeting that was ostensibly set up to hear from the public, of course, came from members of the advisory commission. Attorney Beth Beers went on at length. "If we truly believe that we need to go to a different service because we can afford that, it's because we believe we will have the correct and appropriate police service for the Borough of Bath."

Beers insisted that they were not looking for a bargain, though the "informational" packet makes clear that is precisely what they are doing.Moore Tp can provide police protection at a cheaper price with a department that has less manpower and is not accredited. The state police will do it for nothing, if you don't mind waiting an hour for them to respond to a complaint about someone looking in your window.

Most of these harangues would follow a statement by a Bath resident expressing concern about public safety. At least half of those at this meeting appeared to support CRPD.

After Flynn suggested that Bath has no drug problem, a woman named Helen said that "where I live, drugs are a problem. We've had drug busts right across the street from us."

"Do you know how many meth labs were busted on Old Forge over the last two years?"asked one gentleman.

Another asked borough officials whether they have considered allowing themselves to be swallowed up by a government that can provide public safety. A borough that claims to be on the brink of financial disaster and wants to shed its police department has not even considered that possibility.

Chief Seiple noted that Bath pays about 12% of the CRPD budget and gets about 15% of the services. Though borough officials attempted to shut him down, he was plainly irritated at how "Shop with Cops" was misrepresented by Flynn.

"'Shop with Cops' is a program where we solicit donations for underprivileged children within our three jurisdictions to provide them with a Christmas. We give them each $500 and pick them up and go out to Wal Mart. That's a heckuva' program. Eighty per cent, if you want a number, of the kids we pick up for this program are from the Borough of Bath."

As Bath officials should know, truck traffic in the Lehigh Valley and Bath is expected to double over the next ten years. Like it or not, and it's mostly not, the big boxes cometh. Under these conditions, it would be sheer lunacy for the borough to rid itself of a police department that actually is certified to do truck safety inspections

In January, a bank robber in downtown Bath was apprehended by CRPD within a mile of his crime. How long would it take state police to respond? Or Moore Tp?

Instead of shedding CRPD, Borough Council might want to consider eliminating what appears to be its real problem, a spend-happy borough manager who hopes to solve this problem by eliminating CRPD and replacing it with ... whatever. He could them participate himself in "Shop with Cops," but does not live in Bath.

This discussion will continue this evening when the Colonial Regional Police Commission meets at 7 pm.

Friday, May 19, 2017

NorCo Council Approves $6 MM Food Service Contract at Jail

Corrections Director Dan Keen
In a unanimous vote during their May 18 meeting, Northampton County Council approved a new, $6 million food service contract at the jail with GD Correctional Services. The contract is for a period of three years, with two one-year extensions. GD, the food service at nine other penal institutions, was selected as the low bidder among four firms submitting proposals.

Though $6 million is a lot of money, Corrections Director Dan Keen told Council that it comes down to $1.30 per meal per inmate. That's less money than the $1.42 per meal currently being paid and is less than the $1.40 proposed by the next highest proposal. It's also a 2,900-calorie diet, an increase over the current 2,500.

Keen said GD has a "good meal selection," and added it is "very important to have a good meal for the inmates."  He told me after the meeting that nutritionists will prepare diets for people like me, who have food allergies.

"How are the deserts?" wondered Fiscal Affairs Director Jim Hunter. Keen offered to take both of us on a tour, but I turned him down,knowing it was just a trick to get me down there so they could throw me in the hole and force feed me food loaf.

Keen admitted that there is food loaf, but it is only given to inmates who are disciplinary problems.

In other business, Council unanimously approved seven open space grants for projects at municipal parks Matt Dietz and his open space committee reviewed each request and recommended approval.      

Bushkill Tp - $45,256 for a stone trail around a fishing pond at Heintzelman Park, located along West Beil Avenue and High Street. The grant also includes a parking facility, landscaping, signage and other park amenities.

Roseto - $14,435.89 for the rehabilitation of Roseto Park. This includes the relacement of park benches and a concrete walkway.

Tatamy - $20,202.53 for the construction and extension of Tatamy Trail, including a pavilion,picnic tables, benches and landscaping.

Bangor - $21,884.54 for the opening of a road access to Market Street from Eisenhart Blvd at Memorial Park.

Washington Tp - $58,221.09 for improvements at Washington Tp Recreation Complex that include a dog park and a disc golf course.

Bethlehem Tp - $86,779.50 to replace the playground at Comer Park, including safety surfacing around the playground.

Palmer Tp.- $347,473.42 for natural sod athletic field at the Chrin Community Center, together with parking sidewalks and a new western entrance.

Ken Kraft's Good Side

Ken Kraft is a member of NorCo County Council. I criticize him all the time on this blog, but that's nothing compared to what I say to him in person.  I think this would be perfect for his next election.

Hanover Tp To Celebrate Armed Forces Day This Saturday

Hanover Township, Northampton County is hosting their Armed Forces Day event on Saturday, May 20 at 10 AM at Armed Services Park (Hanoverville Road and Route 512). LTC Timothy A. Brooks of the PA National Guard will provide remarks for the occasion. I encourage all to attend and join in honoring those who have served and continue to serve our great nation.

Image may contain: text

Thursday, May 18, 2017

NorCo HR Director Had No License at Time of her Accident

NorCo Human Resources Director Amy Trapp has come under fire recently for excessive spending on things like gift cards for her pets, an $800 popcorn machine, trips by her staff to Las Vegas and New Orleans and using the county credit card, called a P-card, to buy lunches for her staffers taxpayer expense, even though they are eating at the courthouse and meals are only authorized when an employee is 50 miles away from the courthouse. Controller Steve Barron prepared a detailed memo outlining his concerns and suggesting that perhaps Council should approve all overnight travel when it is 100 or more miles away. Several Council members seemed to appreciate Barron's report, but Benol wants our Controller strung by his thumbs from the courthouse cupola, then drawn and quartered.

Two weeks ago, Trapp attempted to justify her spending at a Council meeting, with the complete support of Executive John Brown. Her husband, who looks like a reject from Duck Dynasty, accompanied her. I thought he was there for moral support but now think he was actually her driver. Wearing a band aid across her nose, she prefaced her remarks with the following: "I had an unfortunate run-in with someone who, not only ran into, but drove away from my car. The good news is that I get a new car, and I'm OK." Everyone felt sorry for her and wished her the best. Even I felt bad for her.

But I have since learned that Trapp only told part of the story. She has actually been charged as a result of that accident, both with changing lanes unsafely and driving without a valid license.

Maybe that's why she was trying out a hoverboard.

Though the citations issued to her explain her options quite clearly, she nevertheless felt she had to contact the court administrator's office to discuss those options. Though that office assured me it felt no pressure in any way from you, I believe it certainly looks as though she was fishing around for a favor.

This isn't Allentown, Amy.

I sought Trapp's side of the story, both by email and telephone call. Late this afternoon, she sat 10' from me at a meeting. She offered no explanation.

Bushkill Cop Charged With Covering Up Wife's Affair With a Minor

Keith Transue, who identifies himself on his Facebook page as a school resource and police officer with Bushkill Township, has been charged with witness intimidation, failing to report child abuse and obstruction of justice in Monroe County. Unsecured bail in the amount of $25,000 has been set by Magisterial District Judge Phillip Riley. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for June 8.

In addition to being a Bushkill Township police officer, Transue also serves on the Mount Pocono Borough Council.

It's a strange case. According to PaHomePage, Transue's wife Robin is alleged to have had sex with a 14 year-old boy six years ago. Instead of reporting it, he covered it up. He took the boy's cell phone, which contained incriminating information, then convinced the boy's parents not to go to the police.

Things got even more bizarre when Robin allegedly hired a hitman to kill her husband. She is supposed to have wanted him eliminated because he threatened to expose her.  

She's been charged, too, both with sexual assault and soliciting murder.

Keith Transue has been placed on administrative leave from his job at Bushkill Township.

Cartwright Secures Grant for Palmer Tp Firefighters

Last week, US Congressman was able to secure a grant for Lower Mount Bethel's Sandt's Eddy Fire Co. This week, he's snagged another one for the Palmer Tp Municipal Fire Station. It's $57,444 for $57,444 Operations and Safety grant. The funds will allow the fire company to purchase supply and attack hoses, including 192 couplings and related equipment. These purchases will improve fire operations and fire safety and will enable them to better serve their community.

“Our nation’s firefighters are called upon day after day to protect American citizens,” said Rep. Cartwright, a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “As these brave men and women put themselves in harm’s way, we must ensure they are equipped with the best tools possible to do their jobs well, and today’s grants will help meet that goal.”

Someone ought to give Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski this message.