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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Upper Nazareth: Land of Bobcats, Empty Vodka Bottles and Broken Gates

The East Lawn Social Club
had no position on the parking ordinance
At a meeting attended by about 20 residents last night, Upper Nazareth Supervisors unanimously decided to table an ordinance that would have banned parking outside of Tax Collector Tracy Adamski's home and office at 26 Newport Avenue. An ordinance was proposed that would have blocked parking on Adamski's side of the street out of a concern that fire trucks would be slowed down on this narrow street when responding to emergencies. But when Fire Chief Don Seiple said there's no problem, that effectively put the matter to bed.

I was there after hearing about the ordinance. I thought it odd that a local government would make it more difficult for someone to pay his taxes, and wanted to witness the absurdity. But believe it or not, reason prevailed. The Board pleasantly surprised me with the way they listened to residents in a meeting in which comments from members of the public were welcome throughout the night.

Adamski's home is across the street from the east lawn Social Club, and they sometimes have functions that add traffic in the area. The township's zoning officer apparently had a shit fit after one of these events.

It was a great meeting for a first timer like myself and a woman I met who had never been to a meeting of any kind before. We both heard discussions of bobcats, empty vodka bottles and a broken school gate being used as a short cut by just about everyone.

Donna Hirst, bobcat spotter
Getting back to the road ordinance.  Fire Chief Seiple said that 90% of his calls go to Rte 191 and do not even go by Adamski's house. "Than why are we talking about this?" asked Chairman Mike Rinker.

Prior to the vote, Tracy Adamski told Supervisors that the ordinance would be unfair to elderly residents who would be required to park on St Elmo Street to pay their bill. "Some of these people can barely make it up my ramp," she said.

Claire Smith, who has lived on St. Elmo Street since 1947 and in the Township since 1927, said to block parking at her house instead of at Tracy's home and office. "I agree with Tracy," she said. "She needs the space. Next time cars come around my house it will be for a funeral."

The room cracked up at her remarks. This woman is at least 89 years old, but she was sharp as a tack, and she and her husband drove to and from the meeting.

The meeting started out on a light note when Joanne Messenlehner, the Grand Dame of Northampton County's Democrats, reported that a cleaning crew spearheaded by Becky Bartlett had managed to pick up 25 bags of garbage throughout Farmview, including a very large number of empty vodka bottles. People began snickering and Messenlehner went on to say that, many years ago, kids at the high school would lace their water bottles with vodka.

Gary Asteak, who understands Pennsylvania Dutch,
represents several Nazareth area municipalities. 
Supervisor Donna Hirst reported that there's a bobcat in her neighborhood.She described the feline as "quite friendly," and it often hangs out at the intersection of 5th and Farmview. She's worried that the bobcat might eat her dog. Acting Chief Bill Cope told her that he called state game officials and they refuse to do anything because the only reason it has become friendly is because someone is feeding it. Once the food disappears, so will the cat.

Maybe that's where the vodka has been going.

Things became more serious when Hirst began discussing a constantly broken gate at Fourth Street, leading to the Nazareth Intermediate School. She noted the road is in a residential neighborhood, but is being used as a means of quick access. The result is much more traffic. She called it "an accident waiting to happen,"and said that "afternoon traffic in that area is horrific." Becky Bartlett added the gate had been up for four months straight at one point.

In response to a suggestion by Solicitor Gary Asteak, Hirst and other township officials will seek a meeting with school district administrators to protect the community.

Engineer Sean Dooley reported that construction of a traffic light where Friedenstahl and Schoeneck Avenues meet Route 191 (East Lawn Road) is slated to start on June 13, but might be held up a bit by the Verizon strike. The Township goal is to have a light in operation before the start of the next school year.

Good luck!

Supervisors also went along with Acting Police Chief Cope's request to hire two part-time police officers and a full-time officer.

The full-time officer, as yet unknown, will be selected from among the ranks of part-time officers.

One of part-time officers being hired is Corey Fluck, an 18-year veteran who could open up an office as a gynecologist. Last year, he helped an Alburtis mother deliver twins. The other part-timer, whose name I unfortunately missed, is currently a part-time police officer in Bangor.

Scott Sylvainus spoke against hiring a full-time officer, noting it is not in the budget and that the $88,000 cost is a budget buster. But Cope argued that he wants to move towards a full-time department. "Part-time officers are band aids," he said. "They fill in holes in the budget. They have no loyalty."

Cope's argument won the day.

"It's public safety," reasoned Rinker. "Our obligation as a Board is to provide public safety and infrastructure," added Hirst.


UNT Jim said...

I was actually going to take my son to this meeting last night as part of his Citizenship in the Community merit badge but we had something else to go to. I would have liked to finally meet you Bernie (dont worry lol). I know i wont take him to a Nazareth Borough meeting, those do not sound like something he should see for his first meeting, or then maybe he should.

I love the whole Nazareth Community, and we are considering downsizing from our home in UNT. At this point, my "Zillow Search" does not include the borough because of the impact the lawsuits will have on taxes. Although if I moved there, maybe i could help make a difference.

Thanks for your blog, Bernie and I am glad you attended an UNT meeting.

Anonymous said...

Upper Nazareth clearly has been and will continue to be a resident oriented gov't.
Nazareth Borough council is the last place I would take a scout to earn a merit Badge in Gov't. That is a good call by 9:39.
Nazareth Borough has repeatedly showed their lack of concern for public safety in the last two elected councils. They removed Mike Rinker (from UNT) as Emergency Mgt. position with total disregard for his expertise and the overwhelming support for Mr.Rinker received from the community and many buisnesses. At present the Borough doesn't even list a person in that position for the Borough on it's website.
Between the Dougherty years and the current council the Borough has shown total disregard for police and the proper procedure and support any police dept deserves while UNT has maintained a fully funded fulltime police dept. with a reasonable budget and clearly the support of it's governing body and citizens.
It's amazing how neighboring municipalities can be so different.
Nazareth's only claim to fame in gov't is that they fully fund probably one of the largest lawn care co. in the county. Nazareth public works.

Anonymous said...

There you go bashing communities again ,,, oh wait ,,,never mind. ;)