Mar 30, 2011

Allentown Citizen Patrol

Allentown City Council is debating whether to give Ernie Atiyeh $8,000 to start up a COP program, Citizens on Patrol. Atiyeh estimates the program would cost about $150,000 to start, and then about $90,000 a year, thereafter. Supposedly, the remaining funds would come from corporate donations and other sources. In today's Morning Call, reporter Chris Baxter outlines the different issues involving liability and precedent. The patrollers would be volunteers, while Atiyeh would pay himself $10,000 a year. If indeed Allentown's contribution would be a one time event, or limited to $8,000 a year, why open the can of worms for 5% of the program cost? Although the 5% may pay Atiyeh, the program can't really roll without the other $142,000. It would better serve Allentown taxpayers if we weren't the first donation in the kettle.

Mar 29, 2011

Mar 28, 2011

Two Ton Galento

In an era of tough men, Tony "Two Ton" Galento was a standout. Although he would never win a Mr. America contest, his left hook could knock down any man, including the legendary Joe Louis. Tony owned a bar in Orange, New Jersey, didn't train, drank beer and ate large meals before he fought. Between 1928 and 1944 he fought 110 times, knocking out 56 of his opponents.

He met the Baer brothers in back to back fights later in his career, losing both bouts, but not before knocking 6'7'' Buddy Baer down. The famous fight with Louis occurred at Yankee Stadium in June of 1939, before Galente beat Lou Nova in the infamous dirty fight. Tony was king of the world in the third round as Louis lay on the canvas, but he got up at the eight count, and knocked Galante out in the next round. Louis would later say that Tony Galante was one of the toughest men he ever fought.
post reprinted from May 30, 2010, bottom photo, after Lou Nova fight, added

Mar 26, 2011

Stoffa's Watergate

John Stoffa has been claiming that it was necessary for him to appeal the Gracedale Referendum question, in order to protect the Home Rule Charter's integrity. Many proponents of Gracedale, and brokers for honest government, didn't buy his excuse. Turns out that the co-author of the Home Rule Charter has come forward, and said that the question is exactly the type intended for referendum. In a compelling article by Jenna Portnoy, the co-author of the Charter, Bill Hansell, goes further;
"They're hiding behind the financial language because they simply don't want the question referred [to voters], and that's not playing by the rules."
Did I mention that even the tapes which cover the appropriate use of referendum are missing?
I'm sure that the tapes have been missing for many years, no wrong doing is implied

Mar 25, 2011

The Water Whore

It was a toss up if I wanted to call Don Cunningham a thief or a whore over a proposed new bottling company, he's both. I chose whore only because of alliteration. One may wonder why most of the new industry on the western edge of the 78 corridor are bottling companies; the answer is easy, not too many local governments would be willing to sacrifice both their water supply and stream quality for a few jobs. Ocean Spray Juice, just outside of Trenton, is a "...major water user, major sewer user." This blog has documented how the new wells* necessary to supply the bottling companies will lower the level of the Little Lehigh. This blog has also documented how raw sewage spills* into the same creek during periods of heavy rain. Ocean Spray needs pretreatment at its New Jersey plant because the strength of the raw discharge exceeds levels permitted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
"At times their pretreatment facility has had to be shut down," Lynch said, "and every time we take that waste on, it just wreaks havoc on our plant to the point where we're almost in violation of the DEP."               Ocean Spray by Jenna Portnoy, The Morning Call, March 24, 2011
For two hundred jobs, which may well be filled by their workers moving here from New Jersey, we will have our waterway with less water and more sewage?

*Water Thieves In Our Community Part 1
Conclusion of Water Thieves
Muddy Waters
Playgrounds and Feces

Mar 24, 2011

My Shoes and Spencer

After reading Spencer Soper's article today on Butzy's Building, I realize that my shoes know more about Allentown than him, but they're probably older. Soper reports that the Butz Building is 90% full. He doesn't report, but may not know, the taxpayer contribution to that occupancy rate. First, the Lehigh Valley Tourist Bureau moved in: They wanted to be close to the PPL Plaza free admission WaterPark. Tony glad-hand Iannelli moved the Chamber of No Commerce in. We gave Butz $450,000 to entice Sangria with no start up cost. Spencer does have one line of news, the last sentence. Apparently, Butz is behind the push to locate the Hockey Arena downtown. "The hockey arena will get a lot of people to do things they wouldn't do otherwise." Like come to downtown Allentown?

Dead Jews and the New Media

Molovinsky on Allentown often wanders out of town, to the Middle East. To get there I regularly read The Jerusalem Post and Al Jazeera, among other outlets. As I mentioned before, Al Jazeera uses some Jewish journalists to give credibility to their Arab news bias. Here in America, it's worse; The Huffington Post uses Jewish journalists to ignore or distort Israel. For Jews, and others who care about Israel, this is an incredibly important problem, as the internet becomes the predominant source of news. The massacre of the Fogel family last week never made Huffington's front page. A new blog, Huff-Watch, has started to document Arianna Huffington's attitude about the Jewish State.

Mar 23, 2011

Court of the Blogosphere

In the Court of the Blogosphere, Lehigh Valley District, Bernard O'Hare is Chief Justice. He proclaims who is a liar, and who is not. Bernie is as close to as a lawyer as we get, he once was one. He regularly uses self-depreciation to emphasize what an honest injun he now is. When you think Bernie did something wrong, like be coached on the Northampton County taxpayer's dime, he will explain in 20,000 words or less, why it was legal. If you don't understand his explanation, he will explain it over and over and over, until you stop asking. His case this week involves some impropriety committed by candidates opposed to Dean Browning. Vic Mazziotti will be glossed over; Although a member of Boss Woodman's slate, only three weeks ago he was on O'Hare's dream team. Regardless what Election Officials may determine, or real court decisions, Judge O'Hare will bang away until election day. This is solely the opinion of The Lone Ranger of Blogging. You will not find the opinions or comments expressed here on O'Hare's blog, or any link to this blog on O'Hare's blogroll.

Mar 22, 2011

The Cosmic Punch

In California these days, everybody walks around with a yoga mat strapped to their back. That certainly wasn't the case in the 1930's, when heavyweight contender Lou Nova studied with the infamous self proclaimed mystic, Dr. Bernard. Nova was the World Amateur Heavyweight Champion and a proponent of clean living. He won his first twenty two fights as a professional. His promoters said he perfected the Cosmic Punch. He handed Abe Simon his first defeat after thirteen victories. He knocked out Max Baer twice. Clean living didn't serve him so well with the notorious dirty fighter Two Ton Tony Galento. Galento almost gouged his eye out, putting Nova in the hospital for weeks. Nova got his shot with Louis on September 29, 1941, but fell in six. Nova would go on to act in movies and even was a write-in candidate for President of the United States. He dropped out of the campaign because his mother was afraid he would catch a cold wearing a bullet proof vest, and shaking so many hands. She wasn't afraid of him being in the ring with some of the toughest men in the world.

Mar 21, 2011

A Pinata Called Woodman

Wayne Woodman is learning that being the local Chairman of the Republican Party is a thankless job, at least in the Lehigh Valley Blogosphere. Last week Bernie O'Hare called him dishonest and disingenuous, and this morning Chris Casey whacks him. The O'Hare attack I saw coming, despite a lunch they had together. The O'Hare world is pretty simple. Dean Browning's photograph is on O'Hare's mantle, along side of Stoffa, Angle, Cunningham and Dent. Any opponent of those on the Mantle will be punished, sooner or later. I am more disturbed by the current Casey attack, it's a cheaper shot. Because Woodman may own some property in California, he's against the dark skin soldiers who serve our country? Not only does Chris engage in class warfare, he even speculates why Woodman lives here. Chris my friend, what Woodman owns is none of our business. Why he moved here is also none of our business, but I doubt that it was to be a bigger fish in the Republican pond; There are nicer, warmer places to do that in.

The Jews of Iran

In 539 BC, when the Persian King Cyrus defeated Babylon, the Israelites were free to return to Jerusalem. Many instead ended up in that part of Persia which constitutes modern day Iran. Despite the current political climate between Iran and Israel, over 25,000 Jews still live in Iran. It has remained the largest Jewish population in a Muslim country since the creation of Israel in 1948, and among the most ancient of Jewish communities. Although certainly a minority in what could be perceived as an awkward situation, the community takes great pride in their Iranian history. Shown above is the Tomb of the Prophet Daniel, revered by both Jews and Muslims, in Susa, Iran.

Mar 20, 2011

Junkyard Train

Today, once again we ride a freight train of Allentown's great industrial past. In the early 1970's, the Redevelopment Authority tore down the neighborhood on either side of the Lehigh Street hill. At that time they had persuaded Conrail to move the the Barber's Quarry Branch line exclusively to the southern side of the Little Lehigh. The branch had crossed over and back to service the great Wire Mill. After crossing Lehigh Street, the train would proceed along the creek passing under the 8th Street Bridge. At the 10th Street crossing it would service another great industrial giant, Traylor Engineering.
In 2009 President Obama visited a successor, Allentown Manufacturing, which has since closed. The line would continue along the creek until it turned north along Cedar Creek to Union Terrace. After crossing Hamilton Street by the current Hamilton Family Diner, it would end at the current park department building. Nothing remains of the line, the tracks were removed. The Allentown Economic Development Corporation recently received a grant to rebuild the line to 10th Street, even though the plant Obama visited has closed. The neighboring former Mack Plant now houses a go cart track. How the money will be squandered remains to be seen. The top photograph was taken by local train historian Mark Rabenold in 1989. It shows the later relocated section of the track that was just east of the Lehigh Street crossing.

Mar 18, 2011

It's A Man's World

It's a man's world, and in it is a man's disease, prostate cancer. Although it strikes about 270,000 men a year, you don't see a circle of men discussing the issue with Oprah. It's not manly to discuss such things, we just soldier on. Oddly enough, one of the biggest research programs on the disease is currently funded by the Department of Defense. Odder still, is that one of our great soldiers, Senator John McCain, proposes removing the line item from the defense budget. The Senator is not against cancer research, he just doesn't believe that the program belongs in the defense department. The problem is that the move may well interrupt the funding mechanism on two new promising drugs which are in clinical trials. Men, and women who care about them, should contact Dent, Casey and Toomey to urge that the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) remain in the defense budget.

Mar 17, 2011

Angle & O'Hare LCC

They say in sports that the best offense is a good defense. The Angle & O'Hare Company believe that the best defense is a good offense. Bernie has been attacking Larry Otter, Steve Barron, and now the media; Bo Koltnow and Jenna Portnoy. Bernie states the issue himself in a recent post comment:
... Eckert Seamans was working on this matter bc they had no idea that I intended to file a suit. Once they became aware, they stopped. That saved the taxpayers money. Had I not filed, Eckert Seamans would have done so on behalf of the County, and guess what? That would cost taxpayers even more...
The question that Bernie has avoided answering is why would a county employed legal firm spend 80 billable hours working on a case, and then defer trying the case, and allow a private citizen to represent the county's interest?

Mar 16, 2011

Waiting for the Paper

This morning, as I wait for my McNews, I checked a few Israeli paper websites. Israel, with a total population less than New York City, has 22 daily papers. With a literacy rate of almost 100%, and three opinions for each two people, the thirst for news never ends. The average Israeli reads at least two papers a day. In addition to Hebrew, papers are produced in Arabic, English and Russian. The oldest existing daily dates from 1918, the largest from 1939. My favorite is the Jerusalem Post, which was founded in 1932. It's a smaller hard copy paper, with a domestic circulation of 30,000.

Mar 15, 2011

Tipping the Whipper

When you're being beaten up or whipped, are you suppose to give your abuser a tip? Taxpayers in Northampton County opposed to the sale of Gracedale just tipped the whipper. Morning Call reporter Jenna Portnoy today outlines how the law firm hired by Northampton Executive Stoffa was paid over ten thousand dollars for research used by Bernie O'Hare in his unsuccessful suit against the petitions. Stoffa claims was the research was done by the firm Eckert Seamans in case he decided to challenge the petitions. O'Hare claims that he did all his own research. Records indicate at least one phone conversation between O'Hare and the law firm, and language used by O'Hare mirrors that included in the firm's invoice. It appears to me that Stoffa's credibility has been stretched very thin by this whole Gracedale issue. First he has reneged on statements made to the Save Gracedale group about accepting their petition, and at the very least material used in the O'Hare/Angle appeal was supported by a law firm at taxpayer expense.

UPDATE: One thing about Bernie O'Hare, he's predictable. Ask too good of a question, and he usually responds that you're attacking his integrity. Such is the case currently. Responding to today's Morning Call article, he accuses John Cusick of such an attack. Bernie ignores the fact that the Eckert Seamans bill for over 80 hours, or close to $11,000, scrutinizing the petition signatures, was only used by him and Angle, and not the county. Also ignored is a question in the comment section of this post. May the taxpayers expect to be billed for any more hours involving your most recent appeal brief? My questions are asked here, because they are barred from O'Hare's blog, and this blog has been removed from his sidebar blogroll.

Mar 14, 2011

No Jews of Libya

Despite having settled there hundreds of years before Christ, there are no Jews in Libya.
I left Libya more than 42 years ago when the mobs were roaming the streets. They were not chanting for democracy or yearning for freedom — they were looking for  Jews.           
                                      Gina Waldman.
This community, that goes back 2,500 years, has obliterated their oldest minority...They drink anti-semitism with their mother's milk.
                                                    Gina Zanzur
After the creation of Israel in 1948, anti-Jewish riots and killings forced 30,000 Jews to flee. After the 1967 Israeli war, the remaining 6,000 were expelled, each allowed one suitcase and $20.
historic photo of the Jewish Quarter in Tripoli

Mar 12, 2011

Israeli Victim

Yesterday there was a service at a local mosque in protest to the hearing in Washington on the radicalization of Muslims. A local rabbi attended and symbolically declared himself a Muslim in solidarity. Also yesterday, Rabbi Udi Fogel, his wife, two children and their new infant were stabbed to death by terrorists, as they slept in the West Bank settlement of Itamar. Candy and sweets were handed out in Gaza in celebration of the massacre. Tomorrow the family will be buried. Will a Muslim cleric symbolically declare himself a Jew?

Mar 11, 2011

Open Letter to Charlie Dent

Mr. Congressman, I was surprised to learn today that Mohamed Bugaighis was Libyan. In all the letters, in all the years, to The Morning Call criticizing Israel, I assumed that he was Palestinian. Today he is quoted as saying People have reached the end of their patience. LIfe isn't worth living under dictatorship. Gadhafi has been a dictator all these years that Bugaighis has been bashing Israel, the area's only democracy. Why hasn't his indignation been directed at his own country of origin, instead of Israel? I am disappointed that you have chosen to give Bugaighis a showcase for his double standard. Your constituent (and supporter) Michael Molovinsky
UPDATE: Mohamed Bugaighis does in fact have a long record of being an opponent of Gadhafi. My familiarity with him was dominated by his relentless attacks on Israel in The Morning Call.

The Lemon Trees of Oxnard

In the summer of 1964, I got on a bus in Allentown headed for Oxnard, California, where I planned to work in the lemon orchards. I had with me a Give the kid a job letter from the boss of the Trexler Orchard in Orefield. The boss in Oxnard also owned a car wash, and I ended up working there. During WW2, homeowners in Oxnard were encouraged to build cottages for extra GI housing. I rented a small one room cottage at the far end of a back yard. The bathroom was added on to the backporch of the house. Every day I would walk to the square in Oxnard, and catch the bus to the carwash. In early August I was rescued by Sonny Huthmaker, whose family had moved from Lehigh Parkway to Hawthorne, California years earlier. Sonny was five years older. He and his friends were into body building, custom cars and gate crashing. They would attend events all over the Los Angeles area, and their sport was to sneak in without paying. Sonny would end up being a celebrity photographer and journalist in LA, and wrote a book on gate crashing*. I stayed at his house for two weeks, and the Beatles was one of the concerts we crashed. Upon returning to Allentown, the Beatles, on the same tour, were playing Atlantic City. Employing my newly learned crashing skills, I attended my second Beatle concert within a week. I don't know if they really sang or not, that's how loud the girls screamed, on both coasts.

* The Gate Crashers by Ken Huthmaker, which reveals the secrets of the society of the uninvited

Mar 10, 2011

Joe Cocker Concert

This photo of me dates back to the late 1960's. I stumbled upon it the other day looking for old Allentown photos. Although it has been my inclination not to become too personal on this blog, Bill White brought this on. He has a blog about American Idol with a video of Joe Cocker. At about the time this photo was taken, I saw Cocker perform in a small room with only about fifty people. About three years earlier I had seen the Beatles, twice, in one summer. I'll save that for another time when White inspires me; On second thought, I better write about it sooner than that.

Allentown Archeology

When it comes to the history of industrial Allentown, the railroad buffs are among the current experts. Our heavy manufacturing base moved it's materials on the tracks of several railroads. The Front Street area was crisscrossed with tracks and sidings. The West End Branch ran along Sumner Avenue, crossed Tilghman Street, looped around 17th Street and ended near 12th and Liberty. The Barber Quarry Branch ran along the Little Lehigh until it then followed Cedar Creek. It crossed Hamilton Street near the current Hamilton Family Restaurant and ended at what is now the Park Department Building. The rail buffs are current day archeologists, looking for remnants of those glory days. Shown above is a portion of the Barber Quarry pier and track. This is at the bottom of Lehigh Street hill, near the former bank call center, near the former Acorn Hotel, in a former city still called Allentown.
photo courtesy of Mike Huber, Coplay
related posts
The Train of Lehigh

The World of Mirth
Lehigh Valley Railroad Piers
Depot at Overlook Park

Mar 9, 2011

No More Strawberry Pie

A letter from the blogger LVCI

I couldn't be more cranked with AllentownAfterThoughts blog today- "Lamenting Hess's"

Same goes with this hockey arena’s "pie in the sky" dream. Is this not the same exact urban plan that was already implemented in Detroit and Camden, NJ? Did the stadiums or casinos in Atlantic City, Bethlehem, Las Vegas or any other town solvent? Can not we examine what these cities have done already and see if it has paid off for them? Will it not cost taxpayers nearly million$ to tread this the same path that has yielded so little to those other cities?

In a very intellectual way the post is saying neither we (people my age) nor our ancestors know squat. Rather then reviewing local history as to how the city’s leading founders and business people like the Leh's, Zoillinger's, Bennioffs, Stangels, etc. created local wealth.. Pooley is basically calling both them and us a bunch of old whining fools who’s time and methods to success are of bygone historical unimportance. He (and others) should learn from these formers their business methods and contributions to local history rather then dismiss them in-so-much as if they are yesterday rubbish!

The Industrialization age in America (created by the old farts) is what made America a wealthy super power. W/O industrialization (manufacturing) we're sinking faster then a rock. The only reason we're surviving this long is because of the remnants of what these former industrialists had created. Remnants that are fading (wire mills, textiles, steel, cars, etc.) and along with it our entire country. Not because our peoples aren’t hard workers, but rather because we have have been stripped of the tools we need to succeed by foolish trade policies

What pissses me off the most is when the blogger says, "For many of us—younger, more recently arrived—Hess’s is merely an irritating verbal tic. Long past time to move on."

Gee I hope Pooley's visit to the new "Burrito Works" will deter Allentown from looking like Detroit a few short years from now. It seems to me the more "educated", the less common sense is retained.

The hot talk this month from both the school superintendent and RenewLV is "urban manufacturing." Unless states and city's band together and pressure the federal legislators to review trade agreements this isn't going to happen and is nothing more then a pipe dream.

Why should a company spend 10's of millions to build a plant, hire workers and try and market a product when all they have to do is set up a warehouse, call China to send them the products they wish to sell? Unless and until it is more advantageous to make and market here.. nothing will change. Not for Detroit, Camden, Allentown nor any other city.

There is an underlying tone that "older experienced folks" are holding this nation and city back. I see a ever rising amount of cynicism against anyone over 50. And this is what some who are charged with teaching are imparting to these kids in college? Scary stuff!

This form of age discrimination results in the kind of crap we're beginning to see...
Getting rid of the low cost non profit senior homes. Cutting Social Security and Medicare. Fifty and out. The 50 and older crowd is now accused of screwing the younger generation even though it was we who bought them their video games, cellphones and paid for their college. Our generation brought the end of the military draft for them. Fought like hell against all kinds of discrimination. Built the biggest industrialized nation on Earth (until a few years ago). Brought technology and medicine where it is today. Built most of the aging infrastructure you see around us today. Died in the Jungles of Vietnam. Fought for the few limited worker protection laws under the federal government and state’s currently you enjoy today. (Which under the new budget cut proposals amongst other things will strip nearly 60% of the NLRB’s funding).

You should consider yourselves fortunate that we are here to remind you of what it was like when Hess’s, Bethlehem Steel, the textiles and manufacturing were around. That there are those of us who are still alive who remember how we accomplished it and live to tell.

If we were able to FIX these trade agreements, these folks would be the very first ones that would embrace the return of these icons with their current “urbanism” aspirations. We already had everything you theorists are planning to try and replicate with your “urbanism”. Yet at the very same time fault our generation when we point this stuff out.

Hell have you folks even thought about why one organization calls themselves “Renew Lehigh Valley”?

What is it about RENEW you don’t understand?

This is a condensed version of an email sent to me yesterday from the blogger LVCI. The post title was inspired from a recent comment which informed me that I should get over the fact that there is no more strawberry pie at Hess's.

Mar 7, 2011

No Failure Zone

I don't know if we will establish a no fly zone over Libya, but the No Failure Zone is firmly being enforced in the 800 block of Hamilton Street. Freshly subsidized eateries are replaced upon failure in the Pawlowski Project Zone. Restaurant grants are given to operate the eateries inside buildings which are themselves subsidized by the Keystone Opportunity Zone. The subsidized BrewWork's Fegleys will now operate the coffee shop inside William's subsidized City Line Building, replacing William's own coffee failure. Grants are now being distributed by the Allentown Economic Development Corporation, allowing Allentown City Council to rest their rubber stamping arms. Did I mention that the subsidized Amazon Cafe was replaced by the Noshery in the tax free PPL Plaza? Now the fact that the lunch crowd isn't big enough to support all of these venues matters little in this subsidized illusion called Allentown's Restaurant Row. Gotta feel sorry for the schmuck who uses his own money.
Morning Call Photo.

Mar 6, 2011

Good Deed Punished

While the Department of Defense took full advantage of Private Joe Louis's fame and ability to raise money, the Internal Revenue Service keep a running tab on The Brown Bomber. Louis's contribution to the war effort was more than substantial. In addition to serving during his prime fight years, he also donated entire fight purses to the Army. The two Joe Louis- Abe Simon fights were donated in their entirety. After the War, the IRS even charged Louis income tax on those donations. The upper end tax rate during those years was 79 to 90%. Louis's debt, and the government's aggression in collecting, forced Louis to fight till 1951.
A few previous posts on the Louis-Simon fights
Heavyweight Championship of the World
Simon Fearless Against Bomber
The Weigh In
Simon Gets Brother's Verdict

Mar 4, 2011

The Revitalization of Allentown

This week Allentown was promised revitalization by no less than two ringmasters. The director of the Art Museum described the expansion and renovation of the museum as revitalizing Allentown. I'm happy for the wine and cheese crowd, but they would be lucky to improve one block of 5th street, much less the city. Of course our biggest revitalization was promised by our mayor, who is paying a stadium planner over a quarter $million dollars for his recommendations. There is nothing wrong with thinking big, if you do the small things along the way. Allentown failed to clean the streets curb to curb this long winter. Litter fills downtown gutters and covers the corner sewer grates. News of home invasions petrify honest taxpayers. Wine, cheese and even hockey cannot replace quality of life.

Mar 3, 2011

Dream Location Announced

After being evasive during Wednesday's afternoon press conference, late last evening Mayor Pawlowski announced the actual location for the hockey arena. "It will be built on the perfect spot, the Lanta Transfer Lot. The arena will front on both 6th and 7th Streets and adjoin the existing large parking deck." Pressed for details, the facility developer said; "Why would we built on a sinkhole prone hill when there is a firm flat space one half block away? In addition to the obvious construction advantages, no private property would have to be acquired and taken off the tax rolls."  Contacted in New York City, the owner of the long dormant former Nickel and Dime Bank building was disappointed. "We haven't been able to rent one square inch since my impulsive purchase years ago. My family was looking forward to being taken off the hook."  Owners of the 7th Street properties toward Linden Street also expressed dismay.  "Does this mean we must fix up our buildings?"   Tamara Weller, Director of the Parking Authority was delighted. "I have waited many years to turn on the Full sign at the parking deck, hope it works." Armand Greco said that the bus transfer stops will return to Hamilton Street, "Where they belong."

            Daryl Nerl, Bob Wittman, Scott Kraus, Paul Muschick, Jarrett Renshaw and Chris Baxter contributed to this article.

Mar 2, 2011

Defending A Bad Decision

The Allentown School Board made a bad choice in their hire of Gerard Zahorchak as School Superintendent. Although he sounded good on paper, two other candidates had the large inter- city experience we needed. The Board probably felt that as former State Director of Education, Zahorchak would have the fast track on grants. In reality he was just a political appointee by Rendell from the small Johnstown School District. In five months time he has lost the confidence of the district teachers. First he reassigned the most effective principals in Allentown. Then he proposed eliminating the most relevant courses. Although yesterday's teacher vote to reject the salary reductions was not surprising, their distrust of him was telling. Although last Wednesday's Board meeting suspended Zahorchak's plans for the honor student academy, the district proceeds spending $millions renovating the building. The School Board must assert itself against the grandiose plans which are not applicable to our local situation. We have a transient population. Radical curriculum changes mean little if the students move away during the course of instruction. But, before they will do so, they must stop being defensive about a previous poor decision.

Mar 1, 2011

The Trolley Parks

When the Allentown-Kutztown Tractor (Trolley) Company purchased Dorney Park in 1901, trolley companies were buying or building amusement parks all across the country. Perhaps the most famous was Coney Island. Usually located between two cities serviced by the company, it was a plan to increase weekend rider-ship. Passengers could spend a day at the park, swimming, picnicking, and partaking of the rides and amusements. Shown above is Rocky Glen Park, built by the Lackawanna & Wyoming Railroad's intercity Laurel Line between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Rocky Glen closed in 1988 and was completely demolished ten years later.