Friday, January 22, 2021

Easton State's Theatre Muddling Through Pandemic

Easton State Theatre's Shelly Brown was at Northampton County Council last night to thank them and numerous other public and private sponsors who have helped them stay afloat since the pandemic first hit. The facility has been closed since March. Brown is hopeful that shows can resume in June. She explained the theatre is essentially a "road house" for touring artists, who generally need months to prepare. She indicated it was necessary to furlough staff members, which for her was a first. 

Council also heard from Easton resident Linda Smith, who lives near the jail on South 6th Street. She complained she received no notice when the county recently demolished two vacant homes for a parking lot near the jail. She expressed concern that the county is looking to expand. 

Executive Lamont McClure responded that the jail is at half capacity and there are no plans to expand. He explained that no notifications are needed when no zoning changes are sought , but apologized and vowed to do a better job communicating with the jail's neighbors.

In his report, McClure noted that the county just acquired the land for its 20th park, and now has 3.451 acres in parks and open space. He indicated his focus is on parks acquisition, as opposed to develop. He reasons this is the best way the county can combat warehouse proliferation. 

In other good news, he noted the county just received $9.1 million from the federal government to help struggling homeowners and tenants. In addition, it is distributing tablets to senior centers for 90-day loans. 

In bad news, he noted there are now 477 Covid-related deaths in Northampton County. a"Our worst days are ahead of us," he predicts. His estimation is based on the 20.3% positivity rate at the county's testing center, compared to 3% when it first opened. 

Hopefully, McClure is wrong. According to numbers cruncher Steve Thode,the 7-Day New COVID Case Rate in the Lehigh Valley has dropped to its lowest level since December 3. Moreover, after a slow sart, the number of people receiving vaccines is steadily increasing.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

WFMZ website is claiming the council is considering charging people for plastic bags? What the hell is wrong with these people. WE are all seeing business closes and jobs go away and they want to o this? What the hell is wrong with these people.

Anonymous said...

Wait, did she have one or both of her hands out for yet another handout? Year over year over year!

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:30, I did not see that during the meeting. I would have told you. Might have come up at Zrinski’s committee, which I will watch tonight

James Neara said...

Twenty parks totalling 3.451 acres, eh? Must be tiny little pocket parks! Lol!

Anonymous said...

I am getting sick and tired of hearing Shelly Brown crying the blues about the State Theatre finances. For years she has been collecting a six-figure salary. Why not post a list of all the theatre employees before this virus thing and what their salaries were. Then lets see a list of the current employees still employed and what their present salaries are. Is Shelly Brown still collecting a six-figure salary? What does she do down there all day with the Theatre still closed?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Before I started blogging and during my beginning years I was highly critical of Shelly Brown and State Theatre. My thinking evolved over the years as I’ve seen the gold it has done for people in the community. Not just restaurants, but persons of limited income have benefited. The theatre has been responsible for several scholarships and its Freddies have been great for the self-esteem of many students who miss out on other extracurricular activities. Brown’s salary is by no means excessive and is somewhat commensurate with other nonprofits. She did not ask for anything, by the way.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That is 3,451

Anonymous said...

Where are County Council meetings held?

Bernie O'Hare said...

They are meeting virtually.

Anonymous said...

Don't just look at the County Parks as being the only way land is preserved in Northampton County. Northampton County also has a very good Farm preservation program that has preserved thousands of acres of land. The Commissioners hired a young Isadore "Bill" Mineo to develop a parks program. He got the support of Council and these programs were partnered with The Pennsylvania Game Commission, The Lehigh Valley Conservancy. and the Pennsylvania Fish Commission (Minsi Lake and the Boat Launch on the Lehigh River) and you will see that thousands of more acres were preserved and recreational opportunities expanded. Combine those efforts with the "Parks 2000 program" and you will see what a huge success these combine efforts have accomplished for the County. The first Farm was preserved back in the early 90's and now tens of thousands of acres of land are permanently preserved for the enjoyment of County residents. Take a look at the Minsi Lake Complex. You can't call that a pocket park. That facility has something for all the outdoors enthusiasts. Hiking Trails, fishing, boating, nature walks, and plenty of parking. The complex also boasts of an Olympic style archery range, a archery practice range, and a one time state of the art FITA archery course. When the County hosted the "Northampton County Bow Festival" the Archery Complex was the most heavily used public archery Course in the Nation (according to a report from Bill Mineo). The county needs to spruce up that complex and restore it to its day of glory. The point is, the County doesn't just have pocket parks. The land preservation program is a plan to expand and preserve land in all corners of the County and they're doing a fairly good job of accomplishing that goal.