About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, November 29, 2018

McClure Leaning Towards Forensic Center at Gracedale Campus

Although I was at a basketball game and hence unable to attend yesterday's budget hearing, I watched the video. Executive Lamont McClure informed NorCo Council the proposed forensic center may very well be located at the 911 Center at the Gracedale campus. Council member Peg Ferraro said she'd rather see it at St. Luke's Anderson campus, but McClure said the county would not own the land. "I think you're probably going to have the finest forensic center in the state," he predicted.

McClure also said public works will be quite busy next year with the P3 bridge project, construction of a forensic center, purchase of the human services building and renovating county parks. He also said there is a need for inmates with mental health issues to be able to move around, and is considering the construction of space that permits that to happen.

During a discussion of bridges, McClure complained the county spends the same money as Lehigh to fund regional organizations like The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, but only gets 1/3 of the federal dollars. He said part of the reason for that is the county failed to be the "squeaky wheel." He noted that needs to change.

Public Works Director Mike Emili told Council member John Cusick that the county is resuming a vector control program. Penn State Extension was doing it, but has decided to stop.

He told Council member Matt Dietz that major renovations are planned at Wy-Hit-Tuk Park, located at the southern boundary of the county in Williams Tp. It is a park that has been neglected for many years and underutilized, according to Emili. "I'd be surprised if 10% of the county residents know about Wy_Hit-Tuk Park," remarked Council VP Ron Heckman.

Maintenance barns at Louise Moore Park will be replaced long term, but not next year.

Over $334,000 has been budgeted for the demolition of the Milides building next year, along with the establishment of crosswalks.

In 2019, the county will repave the parking lot for the 911 building.

At the Courthouse complex, roof repairs are planned over judges' chambers. "We have a lot of problems with leaking," said Emili. He added exterior repairs are planned on stone walls at the courthouse. Public works will also repair steps in front of juvenile and probation building and repair a concrete handicapped ramp at the criminal administration building.

For the jail tier renovations, $200,000 is set aside. Cusick wondered whether this fund is adequate, and Emili said it's adequate for the engineering.

At Gracedale, a bathroom project is planned in 2019. Broken tiles pose a slipping threat. Four floors with 15 rooms each are slotted for repairs this year. In addition, the nurse call system improvements will continue.


Anonymous said...

NORCO really needs to take a hard look at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. What do these people do all day ? NORCO contributes half its operating expenses yet the majority of federal funding goes to Lehigh County. And local governments rarely follow their guidance. The recent dustup about the Lafayette College expansion is a good example. LVPC was against it but the City Of Easton and Mayor Panto forged ahead anyway. Then to add insult to injury the employees in the LVPC awarded themselves big fat raises. Maybe it is time for NORCO to pull out of LVPC and go it alone. How about it BO ? Lets publish the salaries of LVPC employees. The LVPC is an out-of-control rogue organization.

Anonymous said...

We rank 8th in the state in per capita income and have under 300,000 residents. A nice forensic center is OK. We don't need and can't afford the finest in the state.

Anonymous said...

Or pay LeHi to use the same services and save millions in funds

Anonymous said...

Does the present County Coroner have the "Education" in forensics to head up such a program? Do we need to put educational requirements on the resume of the Coroner in order to serve as a County Coroner or are we satisfied with sub-contracting those duties to a professional medical staff? Take a look at the whole picture than move ahead. Are we hiring professional staff to man the center. Will there be a board of medical staff personnel and how many will be on the payroll? How much will the annual budget increase? We have a good Coroner with no legal problems with anything that he does. Keep the status Quo.

Anonymous said...

"Crosswalks" over to the Milides building area so more employees (County's most valuable assets)can get picked off by idiots who don't yield to pedestrians. Whatever happened to that poor girl who got hit? How many other's were hit or almost hit there? What is the County going to do differently to protect the people crossing there before someone is killed and costs the taxpayers tons of money?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Having a morgue is a core function of county government. This is way overdue and should have happened decades ago. You need a place for the storage of bodies. This is pretty basic stuff. As for the need for a medical staff, there is no reason to go crazy and hire a pathologist. But there are some investigatory functions that can be done there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:27, The "poor girl" hit there is a paralegal in the solicitor's office. A local attorney was hit there as well. The crosswalk is not just for county employees, but the public as well. McClure plans to re-establish the crosswalk as part of the Milides demo. It is a mid-block crosswalk, and I would urge some calming devices and signage.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"NORCO really needs to take a hard look at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. What do these people do all day ?"

Are you out of your mind? The LVPC is an invaluable resource. You obviously have never looked at all the data and reports it maintains, nearly all of which is available on its website. It also picks upon trends. I complete disagree that we must get exactly one half of federal finding simply bc we contribute the same sum as Lehigh to their operations. As McClure himself acknowledges, part of the reason for that is that there are fewer grant requests originating from NC. That is bc we have too many municipalities compared to Lehigh and these smaller municipalities do not fill out grant requests. We also have fewer people and fewer roads. The real answer is reducing the number of municipal governments. That is not going to happen.

As for being opposed to the Lafayette expansion, I have no knowledge whether you are accurate. They may have opposed plans BEFORE the zoning change made by Easton. If you think that the LVPC should have the right to veto plans approved by the local municipality, you need to lobby for changes to the state law. Although regional zoning makes sense to me, it does not sit well with most local government bc they lose control.

Anonymous said...

6:45 am

LVPC did NOT oppose the Lafayette College project. They wrote a researched letter about the City's proposed zoning change that included recommendations to make the transportation in the College Hill Transition Zone more efficient. Both the City and College appreciated the advise and made the recommended changes to ordinance. Many, if not all, of the region's municipal governments rely on the LVPC to do this type of research and provide reliable advice on ordinances and developments. The staff their are trained professionals that specialize in these issues. Many times the communities approach the LVPC to assist them, which is a critical county planning role that costs exponentially less than every municipality paying a contract engineer or attorney.

Anonymous said...

Bet the lawyer made out better than the paralegal. What a shame that anyone was hit.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Dear Bernie, do they know the transportation is usually a BMW that daddy hands down to his kid at Lafayette? They are not riding the bus to the art school,they drive their own vehicles. .i see an empty bus all the time . Horse crap I say. The college pays to have a bus to transfer students up and down college ave.all day long and it gets less than 5 miles to gallon . But almost nobody rides it. It’s a show. This is why people there age get fat.

Anonymous said...

Once this big forensic center is built they need to look at the staff. I agree with 8:26, staffing is critical. You can't run this like the 911 center where the guys hire their buddies regardless of qualifications.

With all the money the county spends on outside professionals to do autopsies and other medical tasks maybe a change is need. Instead of a layman coroner, we should hire a medical examiner who can preform autopsies in house and is actually a trained medical professional.

What good is a fancy new building with new science if you have the same old fashioned staff.

Anonymous said...

For the sake of all taxpayers this should be closely examined. Likely, it will reveal that not everything is needed here. There is a reason why police departments are regionalizing. Thats is to provide more services to a larger population & area for less costs o ftax monies. Why is not not the case with this plan. Subdivide the services that would be provided in this new expensive building. Factor in equipment, technology, tochnology/software updates, and revolving personnel. If a service included here is digital forensics that requires expensive equipment and lots of training. Sadly, after the techs master the basics they will get hired by large, high paying companies because of the skills and experience learned working for the county at lower wage. This would just be the begining of a large expenditure that will only increase. Why can't this county spend alot less and join other counties nearby that already have all of this.

Anonymous said...

No Forensic Center at Gracedale!! This clears the way for more government use of the property and a jail won't be far behind! McClure won't be in office forever. Next Republican that wins makes good on John Brown's idea to turn the Northampton County prison into a profit center by housing federal prisoners!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Um, hate to break this to you, but the Gracedale campus IS government property and it thus follows that all uses will be government uses. The forensic center, if it goes there, will be by the 911 center, a logical and central location. It would be ridiculous to complain about a forensic center there. I doubt the people who live there are concerned, but would be if it were a jail or firing range. The jail will remain where it is.