Monday, July 30, 2012

This Week in Easton, July 30 to August 2

"This Week in Easton" lists what's happening during the weekdays, from special events to who's playing to government meetings, all in one handy place. Not just in the City of Easton, but for the entire greater Easton area...Published every Monday!

Monday, July 30


Easton Restaurant Week: Continues, runs through August 4. Restaurants offer fixed-price menus for lunch and dinner. Restaurants include Sette Luna, Vintage Restaurant and Bar, RiverGrille, Ocean, Valenca, Megs and Mads, Sole Mio Italian Gril, Leaf Restaurant & Cigar Bar, and more. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, July 31


Jazz and Rock Jam: 6 to 8 p.m. Bring your guitar, sticks or bass and join the fun. With Curt Alvin-Green and Jay Jay, members of Larry Holmes and Marmalade Band. Champ's Corner, 228 West Canal St. 610-253-6905 or http://www.larryholmes.com/Champs_Corner.html

Wednesday, August 1


Open House at Nurture Nature Center: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Galleries are open to the public. Come in, check out the sphere, and take a stroll around three art exhibits. 518 Northampton St. 610-253-4432 or http://www.nurturenaturecenter.org/

City of Easton Planning Commission meeting: 6:30 p.m. In City Council chambers, sixth floor, city hall, 1 South Third St.

Jam Night with Lady C & The Boys: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Bella Luna, 3417 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township.610-905-1558

Texas Hold'em: 7 & 9 p.m. Free. La Pazza, 1251 Ferry St. 610-515-0888 or http://www.lapazza.com/

Open Mic with Mike Harrington: 9:30 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Thursday, August 2


Summer in the Square: Noon to 1 p.m. Balloons the Clown. Weather permitting. Southwest quadrant of Centre Square.

The Forks Township Board of Supervisors meeting normally scheduled for this evening, along with the workshop meeting, is canceled.

The History of Roseto: 7 p.m. Roseto Mayor Desiree DeNicola will give a presentation on the history of Roseto. This year marks the centennial of the town. Donation requested.Sigal Musuem, 342 Northampton St. http://www.sigalmuseum.org/
TO BE RESCHEDULED - The Sigal Museum is closed today due to an electrical fire on Wednesday.

Karaoke with DJ Dave : 7 to 10 p.m. Champ's Corner, 228 West Canal St. 610-253-6905 or http://www.larryholmes.com/Champs_Corner.html

The Subtle Experience: 8 to 11 p.m. With Yan Carlos Sanchez. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Open Mic with Nick Levinos: 9:30 p.m. Pearly Bakers, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or http://www.pearlybakers.net/

Is there a community or entertainment event you'd like to see here? Are you organizing something you'd like to have posted? Did we miss something? Email us!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Police Seek Suspect in Friday Night Shooting Death

Easton Police are seeking the public's help in locating a suspect in relation to a man being shot and killed Friday night in the city's West Ward.

Police reportedly responded to a call for shots fired in the area of South 14th and Butler streets and found the victim with gunshot wounds in an alley. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Northampton County Coroner's Office, which has ruled the death a homicide. The man's identity is being withheld pending notification of relatives.

Saturday afternoon, the coroner identified the victim as 28-year-old George Jeter, of South 14th Street in Easton.  He said Jeter died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.
Investigation is ongoing.

Later Saturday, police issued an arrest warrant for Naheem Adams, 20, who is not yet in custody, for Jeter's death. He is charged with criminal homicide.
Adams is described as a 6-foot-2-inch light-complexioned black man with long hair in braids, corn rows or dread locks. He was wearing dark blue or dark clothing.

Reports indicate Adams may have hidden in the area, near or in the 1300 block of Elm Street, after the shooting, so he may have been seen some time after the incident occurred.

Adams is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 immediately.

The EPD asks that anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the area around 9 p.m. or later contact police at 610-250-6634.

Updated Saturday,  July 28, 3:10 p.m. to include identification of victim.

Updated Sunday, 12:38 a.m. to include additional information about suspect.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekend Guide, July 27 to 29

Easton's most comprehensive guide to what's happening over the weekend, in the city and beyond. Published every Friday!

Friday, July 27

Williams Township Fire Company Carnival: 6 to 11 p.m. Fire Truck rides, back by popular demand. Bingo starts at 7 p.m. $15 per person, Ride all rides, except fire truck, with hand stamp. Single ride tickets available. 2500 Morgan Hill Road, Williams Township. www.wtfireco.com/firepolice

Oldies Dance Party with DJ Tom Calvin: 7 p.m. Easton Moose Lodge, 3320 Fox Hill Road, Easton. 610-253-5781 (Phone)

Nightfall duo: 7 to 10 p.m. Experience the soulful sounds of John Sproat (drums) and June Thomas (keys, vocals) on Bella Luna's terrace deck. Weather permitting. Bella Luna, 3417 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township. 610-253-2380

Live in the Square - Xylophone People: 7:30 p.m. Minimalist music from Brooklyn featuring -- you guessed it…xylophones! Centre Square

Forks Township 1st Annual Movies in the Park - "The Muppets": Begins at Dusk. Free. Forks Township Amphitheater, Community Park
\
Karaoke with Nort: 9 p.m. Rip Van Winkle's Pub, 3700 Nicholas St., Palmer Township. 610-258-8873

Schubert & Binder: 10 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Wig Party: 10 p.m. Pearly Baker's Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or http://www.pearlybakers.net/

Saturday, July 28


Pocono Greyhound Adoption Meet and Greet: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sam's Club, Receiving Appointments, 3796 Easton-Nazareth Highway, Easton (Lower Nazareth). 570-856-0377 or http://www.poconogreyhound.com/

Canal Days: 11:30 a.m. to dusk. Check out the new location of the National Canal Musuem, take a ride on the canal boat, duck races, conch calling, arts and crafts, yoga, and music and a barbecue dinner. Admission is a $5 donation per car. National Canal Museum, 2750 Hugh Moore Park Road. 610-991-0503 or http://www.canals.org/

Big O, Pryme Prolifik, Born Unique and more: 5 to 9 p.m. Hosted by Godilla. Mother's Bar & Grille, 3 Lehns Court, just off Centre Square. 610-559-1700
Hawaiian Lua with Redzvision: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Come join the gang at Bella Luna for a Hawaiian Lua, featuring Music by Redzvision. Serving special drinks, sangrias and pina coladas. Wear your Hawaiian Shirts/dresses and be ready to limbo. $10 to $20. Bella Luna, 3417 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township. 610-253-2380
http://www.redzvision.com/

Williams Township Fire Company Carnival: 6 to 11 p.m. Fire Truck rides, back by popular demand. Bingo starts at 7 p.m. $15 per person, Ride all rides, except fire truck, with hand stamp. Single ride tickets available. 2500 Morgan Hill Road, Williams Township. www.wtfireco.com/firepolice

Texas Hold'em: 7 and 9 p.m. Free. La Pazza Bar, 1251 Ferry St. 610-515-0888 or http://www.lapazza.com/

Movies in the Park - "Mamma Mia": 8 p.m. Stage musical featuring the songs of ABBA. Scott Park, Larry Holmes Drive.

Dance: 8 to 11 p.m. Music by King Henry & The Showmen. $10. Charles Chrin Community Center, 4100 Green Pond Road, Palmer Township. 610-252-2098   

The Xylophone People: 10 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

DJ Realion and DJ Discreet: 10 p.m. Pearly Baker's Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or http://www.pearlybakers.net/

Sunday, July 29


Easton Restaurant Week: Begins today, runs through August 4. Click here for more details.
Canal Days: Noon to 6 p.m. Check out the new location of the National Canal Musuem, take a ride on the canal boat, duck races, conch calling, arts and crafts, yoga, and more. Admission is a $5 donation per car. National Canal Museum2750 Hugh Moore Park Road. 610-991-0503 or http://www.canals.org/

John Carelli, tenor: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Bella Luna, 3417 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township. 610-253-7458
Lehigh Valley Italian-American Band: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Riverside Park amphitheatre, Larry Holmes Drive, just north of the free bridge.

Band Concert at Meuser Park - Alpine Express: 7 to 9 p.m. Meuser Park, Northampton Street, at 23rd Street, Wilson Borough. www.wilsonborough.org/category/community

Save the Date!


Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5 is Lebanese Heritage Days 35th Annual Festival at Our Lady of
Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church, South Fourth and Ferry streets. Lebanese food, pastries, children's activities, market place, and live music and dancing. Free admission. http://www.mountlebanon.org/

Are you planning an event? Did we miss something? Let us know! Email us.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Scene in Easton: A Temporary Utopian Bridge of Commerce


Photo of the Day


Downtown shop Utopia isn't letting their sidewalk replacement project get in the way of business, as the shop was seen Wednesday to have literally built a bridge to the front door for their customers.

EPD Officers Sworn In at City Council Meeting

By Christina Georgiou


The Easton Police Department officially gained four new officers, and promoted another Wednesday evening during a swearing-in ceremony at the city council meeting.

Joseph Alonzo, who worked for the EPD criminal investigations division, took on the rank of sergeant, while Jamie Hauze, Frank Rezes, Margaret Stahlnecher, and Matthew Thornton all were sworn in as patrol officers.

Thornton, who already had Act 120 certification, is already patrolling the city, Rezes has just begun field training, and Hauze and Stahlnecher, still in police academy training, will be on duty when they graduate in December.

Stahlnecher is not the first woman  officer on the force, but is the only one in some time, Chief Carl Scalzo said.

The additional officers bring the number in the EPD to 61, out of a total 63 on the force.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

City Solar Ordinance to Be Introduced Next Month


A map shows solar exposure on the shortest day of the year,
December 21, in the City of Easton's Downtown district.
Shaded areas are shown in dark blue.
By Christina Georgiou

Easton City Council members are likely to consider adopting an ordinance regulating the placement of solar panels in the city next month, they said Tuesday evening, after hearing a presentation about the preliminary draft of the new proposed law from Planning Director Becky Bradley.

The goal of the regulations is to ensure both that panels that are erected are structurally sound and not aesthetically intrusive, as well as to define the rights of both those that erect them as well as neighboring properties, Bradley said.

“The ordinance very clearly states that it is the responsibility of the solar power owner to ensure the efficiency of the panels,” Bradley said.

However, if enacted, the law states that new structures that might be built after neighboring solar panels' erection may not reduce the sunlight that reaches them by more than 20 percent.

As initially presented, the proposal also included planted vegetation, but this provision will be removed before the introduction of the ordinance, it was agreed.

“My concern is...we're encouraging people to plant trees, and in 20 years, (they) may grow too high,” said Mayor Sal Panto.

Placement of the panels and their erection will be treated like any other zoning matter in the city, Bradley said.

“So we would check that, just like we'd check a fence,” she said, adding that panel in the Downtown historic district will also have to be approved by the Historic District Commission as well.

“You have to make it as least visible as possible,” she said. “If it's not in the the historic district, we'd treat it like any other zoning.”

The proposed ordinance is based on similar legislation in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, Bradley said, adding that there are few municipalities that currently regulate the placement of solar panels.

The wording of the proposed law is intentionally not exact when it comes to measurements, but should provide guidance for placement, aesthetics and right-of-way issues, she said.

“You have to give a broad range to make it work, or you'd eliminate (the possibility of) maybe 50 percent of those (that might benefit from solar panels),” Bradley said. “We really have a unique opportunity to crate something unique. Our fear is that someone's going to sue us (if the language is overly restrictive). We don't want to be the case law for the entire United States of America.”

“The main thing is, is someone invest money into this technology, we want to protect them,” said Councilwoman El Warner.

A map of existing sun exposure in the Downtown district, based on sunlight on December 21, the shortest day of the year, suggests solar power generation could save property owners much in energy bills, she noted, adding that Downtown was picked because of the varying heights of structures in that part of Easton.

“We have excellent sun exposure,” Bradley said.

While the new law would allow property owners to both generate energy for their own use and sell excess electricity back to the power supplier, the proposed ordinance does not allow for solar farms.

“No one was really against solar farms. It was just that on a steep slope, it causes all sorts of drainage and runoff issues,” Bradley said.

Panto praised the law overall, and said he's in favor of more alternative and sustainable electricity generation happening in the city.

“I still want to see windmills in Hackett Park,” he said. “I think that would be a great place for wind energy.”

The proposal will be introduced at a city council meeting sometime in August, after the city's planning commission has a chance to review it at their next meeting on Aug. 1, Bradley said.

“It may be a little after Aug. 8, but it will be in August,” she added.

Local Food Economy Forum to Be Held Thursday


Nurture Nature Center, located at 518 Northampton St., will hold a forum on Thursday evening on the local food economy.

The evening will include the premiere of a new movie for Nurture Nature Center’s Science on a Sphere Exhibit, Two Billion More Coming to Dinner. It will be followed by a talk by Lynn Prior, director of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter of "Buy Fresh Buy Local," who will discuss the Lehigh Valley Fresh Food Access Plan, currently under development. 

The forum will provide an opportunity for the community to express their views on the current state of fresh food in the Lehigh Valley and strategies to improve this economy in the future.

Free locally grown refreshments including veggies and beer tasting will be offered. Additionally, an art reception for NNC's current community art exhibit, Food for Thought, will take place prior to the talk.

The reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and the film, speaker and discussion will run from 7 to 9 p.m.

Registration is required to attend--call Kate Brandes at 610-253-4432 or email her to RSVP.

More information about Nurture Nature Center and it's mission and programming can be found at http://www.nurturenaturecenter.org/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Easton's Newest Avian Visitor--Taking Up Residence, or Just Passing Through?


The City of Easton is home to many birds, and pigeons, though not terribly common, are no exception.
 
Not your average Easton pigeon. This one has a pedigree and is apparently
a couple hundred miles from home.
But one with a pedigree has recently shown up on the Centre Square and possibly looks like it might be considering taking up residence.

Where she was released from, or how she got separated from her flock is unknown, though the timing of her appearance suggests perhaps last week's thunderstorms had something to do with it. 

This pretty bird--we'll call it a girl at the suggestion of one onlooker Monday afternoon, since the bird has pink bands and he suggested the color might be a way to quickly identify the pigeon's gender--appears to hail from the Baltimore area based on what we found after looking up the markings on the bands.
The pigeon's bands say she's about two
years old and hails from the
Baltimore area.

She's about two years old, born in 2010, according to her bands, and her owner is apparently a member of the International Federation of American Homing Pigeon Fanciers.

The pedigreed bird also apparently
likes the finer things in life, and made
short work of a meal from Pearly Baker's
Alehouse, who kindly donated two
seeded flatbread crackers.
Other than that, not much is known about her, other than she seems to enjoy Pearly Baker's seeded flatbread crackers, which, not having any bird seed handy, we fed her, along with some water. The crackers were definitely a bigger hit though, and she ate two of them. (Thanks, Pearly's!)

She's also quite tame, though she seems to like women better than men, quite willingly coming within less than a foot of both this reporter and one other woman. She's more leery of men, backing off even from one man who seemed to know a bit about homing pigeons and even did some well-executed calls. 
The bird is apparently used to people, but appears to
be more at ease with women.

This gentleman, who unfortunately didn't give us his name, said he's seen the bird on the Square since Saturday. She also apparently likes to bathe in large puddles, when they're available, and reportedly has been nesting at night in one particular tree on the Square.

But that this athletic racer is not quite city savvy is very apparent too, as she seems to have no fear of motor vehicles and was very nearly struck by one crossing the street Monday.

She can fly, but appears to like to walk.

For her safety, as well as that we're concerned she might be missing her flock, The Easton Eccentric has contacted her loft via email, and we'll be checking on her from time to time with some proper bird seed in hand, as we wait to hear back. 

Yes, this photo was really taken from this close. The bird also seems to like to pose for the camera...
In looking for some info about this domestic cousin to the rock dove, we discovered that there is a local pigeon group, the Easton Racing Pigeon Club, located over in Phillipsburg, NJ. So if ever you discover a pigeon with bands that bear the letters "IF" along with "ERP," the bird is from there.

For more information about racing pigeons, check out the video on International Federation of American Homing Pigeon Fanciers web site.

Monday, July 23, 2012

This Week in Easton, July 23 to 26


"This Week in Easton" lists what's happening during the weekdays, from special events to who's playing to government meetings, all in one handy place. Not just in the City of Easton, but for the entire greater Easton area...Published every Monday morning!

Monday, July 23


Williams Township Fire Company Carnival: 6 to 10 p.m. 2500 Morgan Hill Road, Williams Township. http://www.wtfireco.com/

Forks Historical Society meeting: 7 p.m. Easy parking and handicap accessible. All welcome. Faith Lutheran Church, 2012 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township. For more information, contact Karl Miller at 610-253-1035.

Wilson Borough Council meeting: 7 p.m. Wilson Borough Hall, 2040 Hay Terrace, Wilson Borough. http://www.wilsonborough.org/

Easton Zoning Hearing Board meeting: 6:30 p.m. City Hall, sixth floor, 1 South Third St. http://www.easton-pa.gov/

Tuesday, July 24


Easton City Council workshop meeting: 6 p.m. A proposed solar ordinance, as well as matters pertaining to the city's parks are reportedly to be discussed. City Hall, sixth floor, 1 South Third St. http://www.easton-pa.gov/

Williams Township Fire Company Carnival: 6 to 10 p.m. 2500 Morgan Hill Road, Williams Township. http://www.wtfireco.com/

Jazz and Rock Jam: 6 to 8 p.m. Bring your guitar, sticks or bass and join the fun. With Curt Alvin-Green and Jay Jay, members of Larry Holmes and Marmalade Band. Champ's Corner, 228 West Canal St. 610-253-6905 or www.larryholmes.com/Champs_Corner.html

Palmer Township Board of Supervisors meeting: 7 p.m. In the Palmer Library meeting room, at the Municipal Complex, 1 Weller Place (off of Newburg Road), Palmer Township. http://www.palmertownship.com/

Movies in the Park - "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island": Movie begins at dark. Easton Area Neighborhood Center, 902 Philadelphia Road.

Wednesday, July 25


Family Crafts and Activities - Recycled Robots: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Build unique sculptures/robots out of recycled materials. Use plastic cups for bodies and collection of straws, papers, and scraps that would normally be thrown away. $5 per child. Please register by calling 610-253-4432 or email Gabby Salazar. Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton St. http://www.nurturenaturecenter.org/

Easton City Council regular meeting: 6 p.m. City Hall, sixth floor, 1 South Third St. http://www.easton-pa.gov/

Williams Township Fire Company Carnival: 6 to 10 p.m. 2500 Morgan Hill Road, Williams Township. http://www.wtfireco.com/

Forks First Annual Sounds of Summer Concert Series: 6:30 to 9 p.m. This week, "She Said Sunday" does rock and roll covers. Rain date is Thursday. Forks Township Amphitheater, Community Park.

Williams Township Zoning Hearing Board meeting: 7 p.m. Williams Township Municipal Building, 655 Cider Press Road, Williams Township. http://www.williamstwp.org/

Texas Hold'em: 7 and 9 p.m. Free. La Pazza, 1251 Ferry St. 610-515-0888 or lapazza.com

Traditional Irish open jam session: Begins 7:30. Acoustic and in the bar room...Just like being in Galway. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or porterspubeaston.com

Movies in the Park - "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island": Movie begins at dark. Nevin Park, between East Lafayette Street and Taylor Avenue.

Thursday, July 26


Summer in the Square: Noon to 1 p.m. Starlight Players. Magic, dancing, balloon sculpting,
face painting, improv and story telling. Weather permitting. Southwest quadrant of Centre Square.

"Coffee, Tea and Memories" - Leonard Buscemi's Cornucopia of Unpublished Historical Photographs: 1:30 p.m. Mary Meuser Memorial Library, 1803 Northampton St., Wilson Borough. 610-258-3040 or http://www.meuserlib.org/

Williams Township Fire Company Carnival: 6 to 10 p.m. 2500 Morgan Hill Road, Williams Township. http://www.wtfireco.com/

Palmer Adult Book Group: 6 to 7:30 p.m. This month, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson. Easton Public Library Palmer Branch, 1 Weller Place (off of Newburg Road), Palmer Township. http://www.eastonpl.org/

Green Visions Juried Art Show Reception: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Community discussion, presentation on local foods, premiere of a new Science on a Sphere show, and an art reception. Please RSVP by calling 610-253-4432. Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton St. http://www.nurturenaturecenter.org/

Art and Ice Cream Bicycle Ride: 6:30 p.m. Eight-mile ride departs from Genesis Bicycles and ends at the Purple Cow Creamery. Ride showcases some of Main Street's newest artist-designed bike racks including the new "The Chime Tree," designed by Easton artist Paul Deery and installed across from Riverside Park. Open to all ages and skill levels. Registration required. http://www.eastonmainst.org/

Karaoke with DJ Dave: 7 to 10 p.m. Champ's Corner, 228 West Canal St. 610-253-6905 or http://www.larryholmes.com/Champs_Corner.html

Karaoke: 8 p.m. to midnight. La Pazza, 1251 Ferry St. 610-515-0888 or http://www.lapazza.com/

Movies in the Park - "Dolphin Tale": Movie begins at dark. Ninth and Washington streets.

The Ernie Stadler Jazz Quartet: 8 to 11 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Open Mic with Nick Levinos: 9:30 p.m. Pearly Bakers Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or http://www.pearlybakers.net/

Is there a community or entertainment event you'd like to see here? Are you organizing something you'd like to have posted? Did we miss something? Email us!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekend Guide, July 20 to 22

Easton's most comprehensive guide to what's happening over the weekend, in the city and beyond. Published every Friday!

Friday, July 20


Blood Drive: 1 to 5 p.m. Palmer Post Office, 650 South Greenwood Ave., Palmer Township. Contact is Andy Debalko, 610-252-9967

Community Garden Potluck: 6 p.m. Open to all residents. Bring a dish or something to drink. Corner of South Fifth and Ferry streets.

Comedienne Liz Russo, of Easton,
will host Night of Summer Laughs,
a free comedy show at the
Riverside Park Amphitheatre.
Friday Night Dancing on the Odds: Learn The Hustle, 7 to 8 p.m. Dancing 8 to 10 p.m. $10 benefits Third Street Alliance. At Third Street Alliance, 41 North Third St. http://www.thirdstreetalliance.org/

Easton's Night of Summer Laughs: 8 to 10 p.m. Star-studded comedy night, featuring Pete Dominick, Mark DeMayo. Hosted by Easton's Liz Russo. Free. Must be over 18. Sponsored by the mayor's office of special events. Riverside Park Amphitheatre, just north of the free bridge on Larry Holmes Drive. For more information, email Liz Russo. TO BE RESCHEDULED DUE TO THE WEATHER!

Karaoke with Nort: 9 p.m. Rip Van Winkle's Pub, 3700 Nicholas St., Palmer Township. 610-258-8873

Surrender the Booty, Citizen Addiction and open mic: Begins 9 p.m. Riverside Barr & Grill, Route 611, six miles north of Easton. 610-258-1008 or http://www.riversidebarr.com/

XVSK: 10 p.m. John Kimock & his drums meet Trevor Extor and his cello. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Thick Leather Brick: 10 p.m. Pearly Baker's Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or http://www.pearlybakers.net/

Saturday, July 21


Easton City Hall Open for bill paying: 8:30 a.m. to noon. Bills or fees, including business privilege tax, resident and per capita taxes, property taxes and other outstanding bills can be paid, with the exception of earned income tax. 1 S. Third St.

Blood Drive: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 227 East Lafayette St. Contact is Jessica Mitchell, 610-252-1188.

Zucchini 500 at the Easton Farmers' Market: 9 a.m. to noon. Racers carve their vehicles from zucchini, competing for prizes in three categories: sports car, mid size and monster truck. Entry fee is $6. Centre Square. http://www.eastonfarmersmarket.com/

"Youth Explosion": Noon to 3 p.m., fun and games. 3:30  to 7 p.m., special church service. Special guest performances, music, drama, praise dances, fashion show and more. Free admission, refreshments will be on sale. Soul Winners Pentecostal Church, 1913 Freemansburg Ave., Wilson Borough. For more information, call 973-715-2611 or 610-438-1861.

The History of Roseto: 1:30 p.m. Roseto's Mayor Desiree DeNicola will be giving a presentation on the history of Roseto, Pa. 2012 marks the celebration of the centennial of Roseto. Sigal Museum, 342 Northampton St.

Texas Hold'em: 7 and 9 p.m. Free. La Pazza Bar, 1251 Ferry St. 610-515-0888 or http://www.lapazza.com/

Double-platinum recording artist
Denise Montana will sing with
Go Trio at the Lafayette Bar on
Saturday evening.
Williams Township Movies in the Park: "Secretariat" begins at dusk. Williams Township Municipal Park, 655 Cider Press Road, Williams Township. 610-258-6788

Denise Montana and Go Trio: 9 p.m. to midnight. Denise Montana is a double platinum recording artist and a vibrant, spirited, performer, whose singing and acting have earned her worldwide recognition. Lafayette Bar, 11 North Fourth St. 610-252-0711 or http://www.lafayettebarjazz.com/

Adam Web: 10 p.m. Pearly Baker's Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or http://www.pearlybakers.net/

Displaced Peoples: 10 p.m. Guitar-driven rock. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or
http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Sunday, July 22


Blood Drive: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Our Lady of Mercy Church, 129 Davis St. Contact is Karen Corpora, 610-559-9963

Quoit Tournament: 2 p.m. random partners, point system. Riverside Barr & Grill, Route 611, six miles north of Easton. 610-258-1008 or http://www.riversidebarr.com/

Festival Fun Night: 5 to 8 p.m. Free outdoor family festival with live music and kids' games and crafts. Music features Deed da Gospel, and other artists. Sponsored by Olivet United Presbyterian Church. North 12th Street, between Northampton and Spring Garden streets. 610-258-7990 or http://www.olivetupc.org/

Band Concert at Meuser Park - Hackettstown Community Band: 7 to 9 p.m. Meuser Park, Northampton Street, at 23rd Street, Wilson Borough. www.wilsonborough.org/category/community

Save the Date!


Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5 is Lebanese Heritage Days 35th Annual Festival at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church, South Fourth and Ferry streets. Lebanese food, pastries, children's activities, market place, and live music and dancing. Free admission. http://www.mountlebanon.org/

Are you planning an event? Did we miss something? Let us know! Email us.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Commuter Tax Is Not the Answer to Decades-Old Problem

Guest Opinion/Editorial


By Jeff Warren

When it comes to government finances, we hear the catchphrase all the time – "we need to do more with less."  These words are uttered from public officials in the federal government to our local school board members. This is also painfully true in millions of households across America as we continue to see costs rise and wages plateau. Settling for the "same ol’, same ol’" just isn’t working any more when darker financial pictures are on the horizon, especially when it comes to local government’s public pensions.

Earlier this year, my City Council colleagues and I were presented with a proposal that would raise the commuter tax on all non-residents that work in the city from 1 to 1.75 percent. City Council has been  advised that the tax is needed to cover $1.35 million of a projected $1.85 million shortfall in the city’s pension obligations. Raising the commuter tax would soften that blow.

First, there is genuine concern within our business community that this tax will be a deterrent for commuters and patrons to support our city and for employers to want to stay and keep operating their businesses. Will small business owners living outside our borders want to pick up and relocate their businesses to Easton?  Will we witness merchants taking their business elsewhere? What will happen to our local economy?

Second, there is a concern that we will hurt and deter regional cooperation by targeting other’s paychecks and wallets. Will our neighboring local governments be discouraged to embark on inter-municipal agreements down the road? Will we begin an alienation process that lasts for decades as we strive to enhance cooperation? Do we balloon and manifest the “city vs. suburbs” mentality that is already prevalent here in the Lehigh Valley?

These are all valid questions that have no easy answers, but they contribute greatly to the debate. The overall question as we move forward is: why is this happening, and why is the commuter tax even an option?

Laws mandating defined benefit plans for municipal workers’ pensions are the issue. Investment losses affect contribution requirements instead of the benefits. Further, state law currently prevents municipalities from making the changes they might want to make to their pension system.

Accordingly, our state government then graciously allows local governments to institute a commuter tax to specifically help fund pensions. If one looks at the overall picture, this is a mechanism for the state to continue passing the buck onto our local municipal governments.

Harrisburg needs to step up to the plate for every taxpayer, worker and local government in the Commonwealth and address the pension issues that truly affect us all. While the General Assembly worked on the public pension issue in November 2010, the end result did not go far enough. In essence, the state legislature continues to push costs down to local governments and ultimately, the taxpayer. They need to come to the aid of local governments and they need to do it now without hurting Pennsylvania’s workforce in the process.

City Council, in the meantime, still needs to find a solution to the gap in our pension obligation.

I, along with other City Council colleagues, have been a proponent of instituting a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) on properties within Easton that are tax exempt.

If one were to look at the dozens and dozens of properties in the city that have received tax exempt status over the years, one would be shocked. The PILOT option would generate significant revenue for the city, since over 40 percent of the property in Easton is tax exempt.

Finding solutions and mechanisms to cut costs within local government budgets is increasingly difficult. It is the main reason the concept of regionalism must remain at the forefront of the Lehigh Valley’s public agenda for the long-term. Municipal governments like Easton must have the opportunity to enhance our ability to enter into inter-municipal cooperative agreements with our neighboring municipalities in order to cut costs.

From my seat on City Council, a commuter tax doesn’t seem to be the best solution to a decades-old problem. In the end, it’s just not good government, which is perpetrated by the Commonwealth. While it is never a good time to place an added tax on individuals, at this point in our economic recovery it’s certainly  not ideal. It penalizes middle-class working families who are lucky enough to be employed, isolates our neighbors, and may very well hurt Easton’s local economy for many years to come.

Jeff Warren is an Easton City Councilman.

The Easton Eccentric welcomes guest posts on any topic of local concern. Do you have something to say? Would you like to see your thoughts and opinions printed here? Email us!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

City Council Pushes Back Date for Final Vote on “Commuter Tax,” Agrees Regional Revenue Discussion Needed

By Christina Georgiou

 Easton City Council agreed Monday evening to push back voting until Wednesday, August 8 on a proposed “commuter tax,” which would require those who work but do not live in the city to pay an additional 0.75 percent in Earned Income Tax (E.IT) beginning next year.

Vice Mayor Ken Brown requested the move, saying he'll be away for the next meeting but very much wanted to be present when the matter is up for the final vote.

The delay in deciding the matter came at the close of an hour-and-fifteen-minute hearing that was sparsely attended by the public, though Northampton County Executive John Stoffa was notably present.

Northampton County Executive John Stoffa suggested
non-profits pay a portion of property tax and that Lehigh
Valley elected leaders meet with state officials to press for
changes at the state level to munipal pension requirements.

Following a recap of why the EIT seemed most fair of the city's present options to to help cover a looming deficit in the city's pension fund by Mayor Sal Panto, Stoffa addressed the council, and made two suggestions for a joint effort for the county and city to help combat a problem he said both entities face.

“I have sympathy for a problem you inherited without a solution,” Stoffa said.

Of the 1,101 Northampton County employees, 103 live in city limits, he said.

“I'm here to help you understand how this will affect more than Easton.,” Stoffa told the council. “We face the same issues you do. One thing you don't have is is 11 unions to negotiate with.”

The county executive suggested that a meeting be set up with between local Lehigh Valley elected leaders along with state representatives to discuss the issue of unsustainable costs municipalities face.

“We've never had that in the history of the Lehigh Valley,” Stoffa said.

Stoffa also suggested that non-profit and other organizations that are exempt from paying property tax be required to pay a severely reduced rate instead, the revenue from which could be used to help close the gap in municipal pension payments.

“I think the time that non-profits pay nothing is over,” Stoff asaid, adding that a rate between 10 and 20 percent of what would be owed by a for-profit or residential homeowner seemed reasonable.

Panto noted that for that to happen effectively, a county reassessment of properties would need to be undertaken.

“Our assessments are 25 years old. But with the recession, maybe they're accurate. I don't know...” Panto said, adding, “I do know the one for Lafayette College is woefully low.”

Panto said past meetings on shared regional issues have been productive, and that it seems like the city and suburbs do have common issues to be faced.

“Sooner or later, they're going to be grown out, and then the only way (to make up necessary revenue) is to raise taxes,” he said.

Stoffa, the mayor and council members all agree that municipal pensions are unsustainable at the current rates, and that the issue is one that affects nearly every Pennsylvania municipality, they said.

“The state holds all the cards,” said Councilman Jeff Warren. “Why they haven't addressed it, I don't know. They know what we're going through. Why they haven't stepped up to the plate, I don't know.”

Warren's comments echoed those of Panto made earlier, as well as those made by fellow councilman Mike Fleck.

“We do need real pension reform. But the state is laughing at us,” Fleck said. “Because no one is yelling at them, and they think they'll be re-elected.”

Fleck also said he was disappointed that Stoffa was the only county representative present at Monday evening's hearing to discuss the proposed measure, which county council voted 8-0 to condemn in a recent resolution.

He added he felt the council was being reactionary in that move, and were being “critical to make themselves look better.”

“I'm really disappointed with our representative, (Bob) Werner, when he knows us and could have talked to us,” Fleck said. “I'm disappointed in County Council as a whole, not the administration.”.

Only one member of the public commented during the hearing, Joey Cervenka, of Forks Township, who works for a privately-owned firm in the city.

Joey Cervenka, of Forks Township, who works fo
r a privately-owned firm in the city. was the only citizen to
voice an opinion Monday evening. Especially frustrating,
he said was the fact that Easton 's pensions would be getting
a larger share of the EIT he'd pay than the school district.
Clarifying that if passed, he'll pay 1.75 percent EIT, of which 0.5 percent will go to each Forks Township and the Easton Area School District, with the final 0.75 percent to the City of Easton, Cerevenka said he felt the tax was unjust.

“What's frustrating is that more will go to pensions than schools.”

He wondered too what there is to stop the city from raising the amount again.

Panto said that while the city can theoretically raise it higher according to the city charter, that he didn't think it would be fair to charge non-residents a higher tax than residents, who in the unlikely case of another EIT increase, would see it before non-residents.

The mayor suggested Cervenka contact the state senator about the issue of pension reform as well.

While members of council and the mayor still seem likely to vote in favor of the “commuter tax” proposal in August, some said Monday they were of mixed feelings about it.

Councilwoman El Warner said she came to listen to input at the hearing Monday evening, noting there will be other times for her to voice her thoughts on the issue.

Councilman Roger Ruggles said he's still thinking about the right thing to do.

“I have mixed feelings on this,” Ruggles said. “The city itself is the center of the community. And if the city is not a good place, then surrounding municipalities suffer. It's hard to say what' fair. It's a really, really difficult decision.”

He added, “I think working together is a much more effective way of doing things. It's not us and them. It's us.”

Warren agreed.

“We need to continue with regional agreements,” Warren said. “Government leaders need to embrace that.”

Though the matters of currently exempt entities paying property taxes and potential proposals for revenue and shared service agreements seem likely to be addressed in the near future, whether they will take the place of the revenue a “commuter tax” would raise or whether agreements can be reached before the city needs to make a final decision on how it will pay an estimated $1.4 to 1.8 million deficit in its pension system in 2013, seems murky at best.

If not for the ongoing recession and the resulting high unemployment and underemployment, Panto noted too, the city would have enough in from EIT at current rates and would not be considering the current move.

“I really thought the recession would come to an end, but that's not going to happen,” the mayor said.

Northampton County Council meets at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 19, Stoffa noted, adding that he will be bringing the idea regional municipal elected leaders up then too.

Monday, July 16, 2012

This Week in Easton, July 16 to 19

"This Week in Easton" lists what's happening during the weekdays, from special events to who's playing to government meetings, all in one handy place. Not just in the City of Easton, but for the entire greater Easton area...Published every Monday morning!

Monday, July 16

 
Easton "commuter tax" public hearing: 6 p.m. A hearing concerning the proposed "commuter tax", which would require those who work but do not live in the City of Easton to pay Earned Income Tax (EIT). Public input will be taken. City Council chambers, sixth floor, City Hall, 1 South Third St. 

Wilson Area School District Board of Directors meeting: 7 p.m. William P. Tollinger Administration Building, 2040 Washington Boulevard, Wilson Borough.

Tuesday, July 17


Jazz and Rock Jam: 6 to 8 p.m. Bring your guitar, sticks or bass and join the fun. With Curt Alvin-Green and Jay Jay, members of Larry Holmes and Marmalade Band. Champ's Corner, 228 West Canal St. 610-253-6905 or http://www.larryholmes.com/Champs_Corner.html

CHNA July General Meeting: 7 p.m. Lt. John Remaley of EPD's POP Unit will be the guest speaker. College Hill Presbyterian Church, 501 Brodhead St. http://www.eastonchna.org/

EASD School Board Meeting: 7 p.m. Easton Area Education Center, 1801 Bushkill Drive, Easton (Palmer Township). http://www.eastonsd.org/

Wednesday, July 18


Family Crafts and Activities - Nature Crayon Rubbings: 1 to 2:30 p.m. Create fun and colorful pictures, wrapping paper, or cards by rubbing the unique textures of nature from leaves to bark to rock designs. Appropriate for ages 4 to 12. $5 per child. Please register by calling 610-253-4432 or email Gabby Salazar. Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton St.St.gsalazar@nurturenaturecenter.org

Easton Redevelopment Authority meeting: 5:30 p.m. Third floor, City Hall, 1 South Third St.

Easton Business Association Mixer: 5:30 p.m. Mix and mingle with the owners and staff of Mercantile Home, Green Harvest Emporium, Suddenly Samantha, The Denim Project, and the iMiJ Shop. Mixers are open to all EBA members. (Anyone can be a member by filling out a membership form, free.) Hosted by a different business each month, hosts provide refreshments and the EBA promotes the event. They are an informal gathering where people get to know each other a little better. In the Gold Room and on the outdoor deck of the Grand Eastonian Hotel. 140 Northampton St.  www.eastonpa-eba.org/ -CANCELED-
 Updated as on Monday evening, per EBA on Twitter, "this month's EBA mixer on July 18th has been canceled. However, be sure to mark your calendars for our next mixer on August 15th at the ALL NEW Two Rivers Brewing Company!!"
Texas Hold'em: 7 and 9 p.m. Free. La Pazza Bar, 1251 Ferry St. 610 515-0888 or http://www.lapazza.com/

Open Mic with Mike Harrington: 9:30 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Thursday, July 19


Blood Drive: 9 a.m. to noon. Walmart of Easton, 3756 Easton Nazareth Highway, Easton (Lower Nazareth Township). For more information, call Darlene D'Allesandro, 610-250-8603

Summer in the Square - Broadway Rhythms Dance Company: Noon to 1 p.m. Weather permitting. Southwest corner of Centre Square.

Williams Township Garden Club meeting: 6 p.m. Garden Visit. Everyone is welcome. St. John’s Church on Morgan Hill, 2720 Morgan Hill Road, Williams Township. For more information, call Carol McIntosh, 610-253-3155

Green Visions Juried Art Show Reception: 6 to 8 p.m. Join us for an art reception featuring the work of local artists who have explored our sustainable future through fantasy, humor, wit, and wisdom. Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton St. 610-253-4432 or nurturenaturecenter.org

Northampton County Council meeting: 6:30 p.m. Third floor, Room 3116/County Council meeting room, Northampton County Courthouse, 669 Washington St.

Parking Authority meeting: 7 p.m. City Council chambers, sixth floor, City Hall, 1 South Third St.
Karaoke with DJ Dave: 7 to 10 p.m. Champ's Corner, 228 West Canal St. 610-253-6905 or http://www.larryholmes.com/Champs_Corner.html

The Subtle Experience: 8 to 11 p.m. Cool Jazz with a Latin bent. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Open Mic with Nick Levinos: 9:30 p.m. Pearly Bakers, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or http://www.pearlybakers.net/

Is there a community or entertainment event you'd like to see here? Are you organizing something you'd like to have posted? Did we miss something? Email us!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Centennial Park is 100 Years Old Today

According to a tidbit on Lehigh Valley Live, Centennial Park at 12th and Ferry streets was officially opened as a public playground 100 years ago today. An excerpt about the event, presumably from The Easton Express:

"There were 200 children and a large number of people present this morning at the opening of the public playgrounds at Twelfth and Northampton streets. Mrs. Carrie Hall, supervisor, called the youngsters together and gave a short talk on the object of the grounds and what was expected from the children. Mrs. Hull explained that fair play was the first essential which must be considered by them. All the children must learn to take their turn, and there must be no swearing or smoking on the grounds. Any child who commits an offense of a serious nature three times will be barred from the playgrounds for the rest of the season."

We're not quite sure how much room there was to play that first day, with "200 children and a large number of people" crowded into that space, but it's definitely interesting to note that the issues of swearing and smoking among local youth, especially in the city's parks, are nothing new.

Centennial School once stood where Centennial Park is
today. (Photo courtesy of Len Buscemi.)
We also note, there's no description of what play equipment or game areas were provided then, though we're assuming it probably didn't have a basketball court. It would be interesting to know if it was just an open grassy area or provided popular play equipment of the time, such as a merry-go-round, swings,  a see-saw or any other classic but now-deemed-too-dangerous-for-kids amusements.

Does anyone know, or better yet, have an old photo? We'd love to hear from you in the comments, or email us.

Weekend Guide, July 13 to 15

Easton's most comprehensive guide to what's happening  over the weekend, in the city and beyond. Published every Friday!

Friday, July 13

Jackie Tice: "Concert in Blue": 8 p.m. Celebrated singer/songwriter, Jackie Tice, will feature new "blue" songs of the sky, the sea, and the heart, amidst her repertoire of award-winning songs. A musical palette weaving a little World, a little Folk, a little Jazz and a lotta Love! Guest musicians sit in. Light refreshments will be served. Suggested donation, $10; seniors and students, $5. 30 Belvidere St., Nazareth. For more information, call 610-905-0545 or email.
(Yes, we realize Nazareth isn't Easton. But they asked us nicely to add this to the Weekend Guide, so we obliged. And they're only a few miles down the road, not to mention, Nazareth is having this big event coming up, so there's a second reason it's worth visiting the neighbors.)

Start Making Rent with Johnny Braun, Jon Fadem & Nick Levinos: 10 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Gnarly Favors: 10 p.m. Pearly Baker's Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or http://www.pearlybakers.net/

Saturday, July 14


Derriere in the Delaware: 10 a.m. Eddyside Park to Scott Park. Float down the river as many times as you can with an all-day pass, plus a tube rental. The event, which benefits the Easton Police Athletic League, lasts until 3 p.m. A school bus shuttle runs from Scott Park back to Eddyside. Raindate is Saturday, July 21. Eddyside Park, North Delaware Drive. For more information, email John Piper or call 484-894-4682

DA Movement/POWPLUS (People Organizing World Peace Leading Us Straight) Youth Event: 2 p.m. Music, a dance competition, a basketball tournament, a Scrabble tournament, chess and checkers, and other games. Prizes, including gift cards donated by local businesses, along with refreshments. For ages 14 to 21. Free. Centennial Park, 12th and Ferry streets. For more information, call Mario Figueroa at 347-241-4343

Joint Opening Celebration - iMiJ & Compost: 4 to 7 p.m. iMiJ Shop will be doing garden portraits at Compost. Elisa Jimenez of the Hunger World, and a Project Runway All-star, will be at iMiJ Shop doing one of a kind couture. Join us for a great afternoon with unusual plants for the garden. The Botanical Series by Mike Cabreza and the Sidewalk Series by Jamie Cabreza will also be featured. Compost, 216 Pine St. & iMiJ Shop, 140 Northampton St. Unit A.

Easton Municipal Band: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Riverside Park Amphitheatre, Riverside Park, just north of the free bridge, Larry Holmes Drive.

Texas Hold'em: 7 and 9 p.m. Free. La Pazza Bar, 1251 Ferry St. 610-515-0888 or http://www.lapazza.com/

Movies in the Park - The Vow: Begins 8 p.m. Scott Park, just south of the free bridge, Larry Holmes Drive.

Surrender the Booty, Citizen Addiction and open mic: Begins 9 p.m.  Riverside Barr & Grill, Route 611, six miles north of Easton. 610-258-1008 or http://www.riversidebarr.com/

Fusion Jazz Trio: 10 p.m. Pearly Baker's Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or http://www.pearlybakers.net/

ReaLion: 10 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or http://www.porterspubeaston.com/

Sunday, July 15


Heritage Walk: 1:30 p.m. Examine the canal locks and visit the Change Bridge featuring the world's oldest machine made suspension cable. Meet at the Canal Boat Store. Hugh Moore Park, off Lehigh Drive. 610-991-0503 or http://www.canals.org/

Quoit Tournament: 2 p.m. random partners, point system. Riverside Barr & Grill, Route 611, six miles north of Easton. 610-258-1008 or http://www.riversidebarr.com/

Dip-n-Dance: 5 to 8 p.m. Eddyside Park, North Delaware Drive. For more information, call Dan Wade at 610-867-8349.

Band Concert at Meuser Park - Nazareth Community Band: 7 to 9 p.m. Meuser Park, Northampton Street, at 23rd Street, Wilson Borough. www.wilsonborough.org/category/community

Are you planning an event? Did we miss something? Let us know! Email us.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ghanian King Thanks Easton for Hospitality with Gift of Art

By Christina Georgiou

Nii Guate Asuasa Ekasee Ako II, hereditary Custodian of the Gua War Stool and king of the Ga people of Ghana, presented three gifts of African art to the City of Easton Wednesday evening and expressed his gratitude to the city for their hospitality during his trip to the U.S. to garner support for peaceful elections in his country

Easton Mayor Sal Panto, standing right, presents a 1998
EAHS yearbook to Nii Guate Asuasa Ekasee Ako II, who
graduated from the school that year, known in his
youth before being crowned king of the Ga people
as "John Quartey."
Mayor Sal Panto, along with city council members, presented members of the Ghanian delegation with certificates and a number of mementos from Easton, including miniature Easton flags, while thanking them for their visit and the gifts from their homeland. Nii Guate was additionally given an Easton Area High School yearbook from 1998, the year he graduated from the school.

Panto, along with a few other city staff members, also received gifts of traditional African clothing earlier in the day, which Panto and the others wore to the city council meeting.

Nii Guate, who arrived with others on June 29, will be departing for New York City tomorrow, Friday, July 13, and going back to Ghana on Sunday, July 15.

He said that the visit here, while busy, has been fruitful and that he's grateful for the messages of support various leaders in several municipalities, both in Pennsylvania and other states, have given him to take back home.

But most thanks, Nii Guate said, must go to Easton, not only for the time he spent growing up and attending school here, but also for the city's recent hospitality in furthering his mission for peace and democracy in his country.

“I believe Easton is the first American city to help in peace in Ghana,” Nii Guate told city council members, adding that he intends to make that fact part of the official historical records of the Ga people when he arrives home.

Nii Guate also said he'd like to establish a relationship between the Ghanian capitol, Accra, and the City of Easton. While this is largely expected to by symbolic, cultural exchanges between the two are possible, officials said.

It wasn't immediately certain where the city will display the new art, comprised of two handmade traditional wooden masks carved by Nii Guate's royal sculptors, a lively textural painting of African women at work and a brightly colored abstract framed textile work, but somewhere in the mayor's office that is accessible to the public seems a likely location, at least in the short term.

Updated Friday, July 13 at 9:09 a.m. for a minor correction regarding the Ghanian delegation's departure date.