When Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure was first asked to deliver a state of the county address, he wondered what he’d be able to say because he’d been in office for just two months. So he decided instead to speak about the challenges he’s facing. In conversational style, he made his focus pretty clear in his March 2 address to a packed house of at least 150 people at Historic Hotel Bethlehem.
“We all work for the people of Northampton County,” he said after introducing his staff.
Two candidates are running for Northampton County executive in the Nov. 7 municipal election, and 10 candidates are running for five open seats on county council. The Press asked all of the candidates the following question: What is the most important issue in this election?
Their responses to our question follow.
LAMONT MCCLURE (D)
On Sept. 10, U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent, R-15th, hosted what was supposed to be a “formal announcement” concerning his intentions next year. But news of his retirement leaked out Sept. 7. Dent revealed his intentions to a few of his congressional colleagues, and they spilled the beans.
“They’re wonderful friends, but they have big mouths,” Dent joked Sunday at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Allentown.
“I just wanted to say thank you to everybody in this room,” said Dent, who apologized for interrupting one of the biggest sports weekends of the year.
Allentown’s Da Vinci Science Center would like to reinvent itself in Easton. Thanks in no small part to a $30 million pledge by Easton Mayor Sal Panto, the science center, now near Cedar Crest College, plans to transform into a $130 million aquarium, complete with an event center and even an immersion theater, in the City of Easton.
But who will pay for it?
Fairly or unfairly, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has come under heavy criticism for refusing to meet his constituents at one of those increasingly raucous town halls. One group calling itself Tuesdays with Toomey actually camps outside his legislative offices weekly. On Aug. 31, it was Thursday with Toomey. It was a one-hour televised town hall at the Steelstacks’ PBS39 studios before a small crowd of 54 people and nine reporters and photographers.
Sharon’s Day Care owner and operator Sharon Ballek, 61, has pleaded guilty to charges filed in connection with the April 1, 2016, death of a 3-month-old baby who had been entrusted to Ballek’s care. McKenna Rose Felmly died on her first day at the now-closed Lehigh Township facility, located at 4538 Third St.
Ballek entered her guilty plea before Northampton County Judge Paula Roscioli July 31. She admitted to both endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment.
Over the weekend, as the 34th Musikfest celebration came to an end, Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio had just one word to describe it: “Great!” During the 10-day festival, more than 1.2 million people visited the Christmas City. Only 36 people were arrested, mostly for public drunkenness.
Historic Hotel Bethlehem was the venue for Executive John Brown’s State of the County address on a blustery March 2 morning.
More than 150 guests were treated to scrambled eggs, bacon and home fries, along with a variety of juices, coffee and tea.
Brown spoke for nearly an hour, the longest speech he’s given as county executive.
Following a four-day trial, a Northampton County jury found Royce Atkins, 23, guilty in November 2016 in a fatal hit and run that killed 9-year-old Darious Condash. The accident had occurred almost exactly one year before when Darious, accompanied by an older friend and cousin, crossed busy Schoenersville Road, a five-lane highway, at night.
Atkins hit and killed Darious but failed to stop. He said nothing, waiting for police to find him.
But after his arrest, in phone conversations from jail to his father and girlfriend, he said too much.
Following a four-day trial in a crowded Northampton County courtroom, Royce Atkins, age 23, was convicted Nov. 3 in a hit-and-run accident that ended the life of 9-year-old Darious Condash, a fourth-grade student at Sheckler Elementary School.
Darious was struck and killed by a car driven by Atkins on Schoenersville Road when the boy, in the company of an older cousin and friend, stopped to pick up a piece of candy he had dropped on the road.