Last year, Trinity United Church of Christ in Coplay joined a special group of churches.
Following a unanimous vote by members Dec. 2, 2012, the church became one of more than 1,000 U.C.C. congregations nationwide that is "open and affirming."
"This whole ... process is about the congregation being open and affirming to everyone," said Steve Hummel, Trinity pastor.
That means the congregation must accept and welcome all people, from those with handicaps to those who simply choose nontraditional roles.
Gracie is paralyzed from the waist down. But that doesn't stop her from getting around.
The black and white kitten goes where she wants to go – and quickly – she just looks a little awkward dragging her back end.
Gracie is one of four kittens and a mother being fed and cared for by a Coplay Borough resident. Last week, the resident called a member of the Coplay Feral Cat Committee to report one of the kittens had been injured, said committee member Karen Shields.
A forthcoming Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce event promises to kick off with some intensity.
The chamber has joined forces with the Small Business Development Center of Lehigh University to present "How to Start a Business" as a four-part series. It is open to all, not just those living or planning to start a business in Whitehall.
The first session, scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Ramada in Whitehall, is designed to help class participants find out if they have what it takes to start their own businesses.
Marie Bartos has a purpose in life.
First, on Oct. 12, 2003, she hit rock bottom. On that day, she witnessed the suicide of her husband, Stephen Milkovits, a Northampton Borough Police officer.
"I never knew why I was still here," she said. "Now I do."
The reason is to bring awareness to the issue of suicide and to advocate for those who can't advocate for themselves.
"The people who die by suicide – they're so good at hiding what they're feeling," Bartos said, adding she had no idea what her husband had been contemplating until he died.
The Ironton Rail-Trail Commission and Coplay Community Days are teaming up.
The partnership is expected to benefit both the festival and the Ironton Rail-Trail.
The Emmaus Run Inn IRT Loop Run is set to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24. The course for the approximately 5-mile race will be the IRT loop, said race organizer Chris Schmidt of the Emmaus store.
In addition to the usual race T-shirt, runners will receive a $10 food voucher good for that day at Community Days.
Over the past several months, Richard Manganaro made two of his dreams come true.
First, at the urging of a mutual friend, he flew from his home in Florida in order to meet Coplay resident Sophie Kesselring.
He recalled getting off the plane and seeing Kesselring playfully hiding behind her daughter, Amanda.
He knew she was the one, he said.
"We connected," he said.
With every terrorist attack, Kamran Siddiqui cringes.
It's not just that he doesn't condone the attacks, but also that typical media coverage of such events makes it more difficult to be Muslim in America.
"Judge us based on the religious scripture and what it teaches rather than the acts of a few," said Siddiqui, secretary of the Muslim Association of the Lehigh Valley at 1988 Schadt Ave. in Whitehall.
It's slow but it's stylish.
That's how Zachary Brem of Northampton describes his favorite set of wheels – a turquoise 1962 Volkswagen bug.
"It's my dream car," said Brem, who drove it to an event at the American Club of Coplay pavilion April 14.
"I feel like a rock star when I'm driving it," he said, explaining that the car frequently is photographed by others who see it.
The only thing he updated on the vintage bug is the tires because the original ones were dry rotted, he said. Everything else is original, even the paint.
Hannah Moyer remembers being in Istanbul, Turkey, as a child when it was time to pray.
"Everything just stopped and everyone went into prayer," said the Moravian College student describing the sense of peace, respect and love she felt.
This was one of the things that led her to convert to Islam in April.
"I think a lot of it is based on values I always thought to be true," said Moyer. "It's a way to honor God in a way that made sense to me."
For people like Moyer born into Christian families, converting to Islam doesn't mean cutting ties with Jesus.
Within a week of each other, two of Diane Fragnito's kids were diagnosed with brain tumors.
In 2010, her son, Anthony, now 16, was dealing with headaches and fevers from Lyme disease. During the course of treatment, doctors discovered a brain tumor on his pituitary gland, said Fragnito, a Whitehall resident and owner of Fragnito's Place in Coplay
Describing the tumor as "common," doctors recommended an MRI to make sure the tumor was not interfering with the gland.
At the same time, her daughter, Christina, now 17, was also dealing with headaches.