Sunday, March 31, 2013

And in Other News...Sunday, March 31

Welcome to The Easton Eccentric's newest weekly feature! Published every Sunday, "And in Other News" brings you links from around the web that we think our readers may enjoy or find useful.

Finding pertinent information about "West Easton" could suddenly get interesting if Kim Kardashian goes with one preferred baby name--"Easton"--which would make the child's full name be "Easton West".

It's spring, and that means even more scams are out there.

Scams, fraud, and theft aren't just a local thing. No one's safe, not even a Supreme Court Justice.

Looking for a job? Watch out for scammers during your job hunt too...

This organization, however, is no scam, and useful if you're looking for new employment or need to update your training or education to further your career.

Of course, going to school or training for better certifications means taking tests. A (sugar) pill or the equivalent may help you get a better score.

Also, when it comes to boosting academic performance, the arts matter.

Unsurprisingly, better educated parents feed their children better quality foods.

With all the restaurants in Easton and the interest in fresh, high quality, locally produced food, we think this could totally work here.

And, as long as we're on the subject of culinary delights, we might as well include beer. Small craft brewers are asking for a federal tax cut--which would be all the better for Easton's craft brewery operations.

Mixed-use neighborhoods have lower crime rates than purely commercial districts.
(Credit goes to Easton Planning Department for this one--thanks!)

It's been noted that violent crime, at least in Easton, is mostly limited to the segments of the population that get mixed up in dangerous drugs and gang activities. Should gun shot woundings and deaths be treated like a disease?

Turning to a totally different kind of danger, here's one more reason we need to focus on clean, renewable energy production methods--"...the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts..."

But some corporations and billionaires may be attempting to influence federal judges.

Here's some random useful and amusing stuff:

If any of the hors d'oevres or prepared snacks you plan on serving this Easter happen to say "Farm Rich" on the box, you might want to hold off on eating them.

Got a catchy pop tune you hate stuck in your head? There's an easy cure for that.

Animals are probably a lot smarter than most people give them credit for.

These lawmakers in Tennessee that got their undies in a bunch over who might be washing their feet in a lavatory mop sink make Pennsylvania's state legislature look positively progressive.

But if that's not odd enough, check this out. Involving a professional hater, a naked 500-pound man, religious masochists, and a tabloid interviewer, this has to be the weirdest Easter-related news story ever.

Happy Easter!

If you see a story you think others in Easton enjoy or benefit, please let us know.  Email us. If we use it, we'll give you the credit!

Do you like our new feature? Have an idea about how we could make it better, or specific  subjects you'd like us to cover? Please, tell us in the comments!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

No Foolin', Parking Rules Will Be Enforced Starting April 1

By Christina Georgiou

One of the City of Easton's new solar-powered parking
meters. The new meters accept card payments, as well
as nickels, dimes, and quarters.

New parking regulations that were approved by Easton City Council late last year  technically went into effect at the beginning of 2013, but due to the practical considerations of installing new meters and signs, the city hasn't been enforcing the new rules.

All of that is set to change this Monday, on April 1, however, as parking enforcement officers will be actively ticketing those who don't feed their meters or overstay time limits without moving their vehicles, city officials warn.

The new hours for metered parking in the city's Downtown district are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

And, as those who park regularly in the city have probably already noticed, the price of metered curbside parking has also increased, to $1 per hour, which is now payable with a debit or credit card, as well as with change. The new solar-powered smart meters also accept silver coinage--that is, nickels, dimes, and quarters--instead of just quarters, which many had complained was limiting and inconvenient.

There is a $1 minimum fee for those using the card option, though there is no minimum payment for those paying with coins.

In less central areas of the Downtown district, the metered parking rate and times will be the same, but motorists may still need a supply of quarters, as not all the city's parking meters have been converted to those that accept card payments.

There is one consolation for those that get caught and ticketed for overtime parking violations: Those that pay their fine within 24 hours or by the close of the next business day, will get a break, and the fine will be reduced to $15.

The reduction is for overtime metered parking only, city officials have said, and won't be applicable for any other parking violations.

Also beginning on Monday, April 1, the city will once again begin its street sweeping program  for the year, and parking regulations designed to allow sweepers curb access will also be in effect.

Those that fail to move their cars during the designated days and times, as posted on the white signs with red lettering in sweeping zones, will be subject to a fine of $25.

There are no changes to the street sweeping program or schedule this year, but drivers should check the signs on city streets anyway, just to be certain they are aware of the proper times and days anyway, city officials said.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Weekend Guide, March 29 to 31

Due to the holiday, this weekend is a bit light on scheduled events, but there are still some great things to enjoy in the city, including live music, not to mention, there are egg hunts happening in several locations for the kids...

Friday, March 29

 For most Christians, today is Good Friday.

Most schools have the day off, and some businesses, government offices, and public services are closed today. Best to call and check before you go, if you're not sure a destination is open.

All branches of the Easton Library are closed today.

Wilson Borough Egg Hunt: 10 a.m. Mary Meuser Park, Northampton and 23rd streets, Wilson Borough. 610-258-6142

Palmer Township Annual Easter Egg Hunt: 10 a.m. Best to arrive early, as the hunt begins promptly and the popularity of this event means traffic and parking can result in occasional delays. Palmer Elementary School, 3050 Green Pond Road, Palmer Township. (In the event of rain, the hunt will be held indoors at the Chrin Community Center, 4100 Green Pond Road.) 610-253-7191

Dance: 7 to 10 p.m. Rumba lesson with Con Gallagher from 7 to 8 p.m., dancing with music by DJ Carol Coffinger from 8 to 10 p.m. $10 per person. Benefits Third Street Alliance. 41 North Third St. 610-433-7804 or

Line Dancing: 7 to 10:30 p.m. No lesson this week. $5 per person for members, $6 for non-members. Tatamy Fire Company, 164 Bushkill St., Tatamy. 610-759-2786 or

James Supra Blues Band, DJ Jeze Funk: Band at 7:30 p.m., DJ at 10:30 p.m.  Rivals Sports Bar & Nightclub, 5 Lehns Court. 610-923-7625 or

Dirk Quinn: 8 p.m. The Riegelsville Inn, 12 Delaware Road, Riegelsville. 610-749-0100 or

Edison's Hot Mess: 9 p.m. Two Rivers Brewing Company, 542 Northampton St. 610-829-1131 or

Schubert & Binder: 9 p.m. Colonial Pizza & Spaghetti House, 136-138 Spring Garden St. 610-252-3033 or

Start Making Rent: 10 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or

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

DJ Mikey Z: 10 p.m. Riegelsville Tavern, 1274 Easton Road, Riegelsville. 610-510-3030 or

Saturday, March 30

Easton Farmers' Market Winter Mart: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fresh, local organic produce, all-natural pastured meat, farm-fresh eggs, artisan cheese and bread, baked goods, prepared foods, more. Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton St. 610-253-4432 or

Easter Party: 10 a.m. to  1:30 p.m. Egg hunt, coloring contest, two leg race, egg walk, bean bag toss, face painting, marshmallow chew contest, more. Hosted by the Future Stars Torch Club. Free for Boys & Girls Club members; $15 for non-members, includes a year long membership to the club. Boys & Girls Club of Easton, 210 Jones Houston Way. 610-253-5846

Easter Egg Hunt: 11 a.m. Nevin Park, between East Lafayette Street and Taylor Avenue. Free, bring a basket or other suitable container to put collected goodies in.

Kids Explore Easton: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Family tour begins on the third floor of the Nurture Nature Center and proceeds to Sigal Museum and MaGik Animation Studios on foot. Meet a historian, scientist, and an animator, special crafts and activities at each location. Free, but registration is requested. Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton St. 610-253-4432 or

Toga Party, DJ Mike West: Band at 7:30 p.m., DJ at 10:30 p.m.  Rivals Sports Bar & Nightclub, 5 Lehns Court. 610-923-7625 or

Zaire: 8 p.m. The Riegelsville Inn, 12 Delaware Road, Riegelsville. 610-749-0100 or

Ellyot Ray: 9 p.m.  Black & Blue, 683 Walnut St. 610-438-3604 or

Jordan White: 9 p.m. Two Rivers Brewing Company, 542 Northampton St. 610-829-1131 or

Steve Kelly & Mark Fahad: 10 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or

The What Nows?! & The Queeftones: 10 p.m. Pearly Baker's Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or

Easter Eve Hip Hop Music Party: 10 p.m. Riegelsville Tavern, 1274 Easton Road, Riegelsville. 610-510-3030 or

Sunday, March 31

Happy Easter to all who celebrate the holiday!

Many businesses are closed today.

There is no LANTA bus or van service operating today.

Ever wonder about "The Origin of Easter, Bunnies and Eggs"? Click to read all about it!

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

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

Sponsoring the Weekend Guide is an excellent way to advertise your local business. Plus, you get a permanent link to your website, also a great way to drive more traffic to your door. It's affordable too. Email us for details.

Updated on Saturday, March 30 at 12:56 p.m.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Crowd on Centre Square Calls for Stronger Gun Laws

By Christina Georgiou

Today was "National Day to Demand Action", and Easton's Centre Square was one of about 100 locations around the country where elected officials and citizens gathered to demand federal officials strengthen gun laws, simultaneously as President Barack Obama also called upon Congress to vote in favor of tighter measures, to help prevent future firearms deaths and mass shootings like the massacre that took place last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

"Violence in our country is unacceptable, and we must act now," said Gloria McVeigh, of the Hellertown/Lower Saucon Obama Volunteers.

That group, along with Lehigh Valley members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), whose membership includes Easton Mayor Sal Panto, Wilson Borough Mayor David Perruso, along with a number of other mayors in the region, organized the press conference and rally, which drew a crowd of about 50 people to the square.

Gloria McVeigh, of the Hellertown/Lower
Saucon Obama Volunteers.
McVeigh praised President Barack Obama for signing an executive endorsement calling for tighter federal gun laws, adding, "None of the executive orders infringe on law abiding citizens' rights to own guns."

Panto, who is not only a member of of MAIG, but was recently featured in a television ad for the group, said he supports the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms and noted that he is a gun owner.

"I've made it clear it's about illegal guns," Panto said. "The fact is, we're not about reducing gun ownership for law-abiding citizens."

But loopholes in purchasing laws and a lack of consequences for straw purchases need to be rectified, he said.

"Last year, 6.6 million guns were sold without a background check," Panto said. "Eighty percent of criminals surveyed got their guns illegally. We're asking for the only way we know to stop criminals and domestic abusers. We're asking for commonsense legislation."

Panto said the consequences for buying a gun for someone who can't pass a background check need to be ramped up and federally enforced, as well.

"The law is the same for gun trafficking as for selling illegal live stock. Imagine a cluck-cluck versus a bang-bang," the mayor said. "That straw purchaser needs to be held accountable. When you realize your gun is stolen or lost, you need to report it. That's all we're asking for."

Like MAIG, Panto also supports limiting high-capacity ammunition clips and automatic weapons.
"Tell me why anone needs a clip that's more than 10 rounds," he said. "I don't know the last time someone shot a Bambi with an automatic weapon."

Panto said stronger state and federal laws need to be passed, as municipalities aren't allowed to enact ordinances that effect such changes.

"We don't have the ability to pass a stolen gun law (at the city level)," he said. "We're  asking Congress and the federal government to act. We're here today to demand they take the vote.

"Call your senator. Call your Congressman," Panto urged the crowd. "This is an affluent issue, not just a city issue."

Wilson Borough Mayor David Perruso, center, sits with
Northampton Borough Mayor Tom Rhinehart while
elected officials from Easton and other Lehigh
Valley municipalities speak to the crowd. Left, former
Forks Township Supervisor C. David Howell holds
a "Demand Action" sign in support of stricter gun
Easton Vice Mayor Ken Brown also urged action towards tighter gun controls.

"We're tired of picking up the paper and finding out another life has been taken by gun violence," he said. "We together are one voice. Thank you for coming out today and speaking with one voice."

Easton Area School Board member Frank Pintabone also supports new legislation, he said.

"It's not about eliminating rights, but expanding responsibility," Pintabone said. "It is our protect each other."

J. William Reynolds, a Bethlehem councilman currently running for mayor in the neighboring city, said, "It's not about taking away gun rights, it's about common sense."

"None of us are here for the photo op. We do this because we feel strongly about it, and we want to protect our young children," said Fountain Hill Borough Mayor Jose Rosado, adding that he promised to protect gun ownership rights. "We have to realize and limit the risk of gun violence to our children. If we don't take action to enact appropriate gun laws, it's not a question of if but when. We're saying it's time to enact responsible gun laws."

The speakers urged the gathered crowd, a number of whom had brought their children to the event, to reach out to elected officials in Washington DC to make their opinions known.

"All of you could speak from the heart about gun violence since those horrible images from Connecticut," McVeigh said, as volunteers passed out petitions for crowd members to circulate in their communities.

The petitions need to be returned to the Hellertown/Lower Saucon Obama Volunteers and/or MAIG by April 4, so they can be sent to Senate members before expected votes on gun reform measures soon after Congress returns from its Easter break on April 8.

"Don't be afraid to call that elite 100," Panto added. "They still answer to you every six Novembers."

Kristen Bruck, of Coopersburg, prepares to talk with
a TV news crew after the rally. She attended with her
children, Dana, 4, and Drew, 8.
More about Mayors Against Illegal Guns can be found on the group's website,

More about the MAIG campaign, Demand Action to End Gun Violence, is at

A TV ad in which mayor members of MAIG, including Easton Mayor Sal Panto and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, call upon state officials in key states to support new federal legislation intended to help curb illegal gun ownership, is here.

Annual City Auction to Offer Antique Street Signs, Other Unusual Items

By Christina Georgiou

Every year, the City of Easton holds an auction to get a little cash for items it owns but no longer uses.

Everything from office equipment to heavy equipment to unclaimed stolen bicycles can be found, usually at rock-bottom prices.

But the number of unique items on this year's list, including a brass fireman's pole and a pile of vintage blue and white enamel street signs, means the coming auction, to be held on Saturday, April 27, is one that's sure to be well-attended.

Other pieces of iconic Easton memorabilia will go under the hammer too. Ever fancy either the toy soldier or snowflake decorations that grace the city's utility poles during the holidays? A number of them are up for grabs.

Ever dream of owning your very own fire truck? A 1986 Hahn pumper truck is on the list this year too.

Several other vehicles, including a number of Ford Crown Victorias and a dump truck will also be auctioned off.

Other useful items include office furniture, printers, scanners, a fax machine, a never-used electric deep fryer, hand power tools, and a lots of other stuff.

City officials say a number of items, such as the fire station pole and the pumper truck, will carry a reserve to ensure they are not sold off too cheaply or for scrap.

And, the old city street signs will be auctioned individually too, as a number of residents have already expressed interest in obtaining ones for specific streets they live on or have resided on in the past. Not selling them as a lot will make the city more money as well as prevent a dealer from scooping them up and turning a profit on them too, officials said.

The auction will take place at the Easton public works garage, near North Fifth and Bushkill streets. Items will be available for public inspection beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, and the actual auctioning will begin at 10 a.m., city administrator Glenn Steckman said at Wednesday evening's city council meeting.

The auction will be run by local auctioneer Mark Bonstein.

State of the City Is 'Strong', Mayor Says

By Christina Georgiou

Easton Mayor Sal Panto gives the State of the City address
at the city council meeting Wednesday evening.
 In his annual "State of the City" address, Mayor Sal Panto exuberantly touted  achievements and successes in Easton in front of city council members Wednesday evening, and stressed that continued city success depends on continued development and investment.

"I am here to report to you that the state of our city is strong and getting stronger," Panto said. "We are vibrant, open, and smart."

Quoting Alvin Toffler--"to think about big things while you're doing small things"--Panto highlighted various projects that have been recently completed, mostly involving revitalization and business investment, and lavished praise on city employees for those successes.

"Some of my proudest moments as mayor have been seeing the response ofout city employees in the face of...challenges," he said. "In each and every situation, they have demonstrated what good government is all about."

During Superstorm Sandy, first responders deserve much credit for their efforts to minimize property damage, he said.

Volunteers also helped a lot in the past year toward driving the city's forward, the mayor said.

"Community volunteerism has benefitted Easton's economy," Panto said. "Volunteers also played an important part in our special events which brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to our city. They came, they saw the improvements, and they returned."

A slide that accompanied Mayor
Sal Panto's State of the City
address Wednesday evening.
Listing off a number of new businesses and rehabbed structures, both completed and yet to be finished, the mayor said, "Everything we do relies on a strong financial foundation."

The Silk Mill project is coming along, and other renovations around the city are also contributing to the city's progress too, he said.

"We started to do green rehab in 2009," the mayor said, especially noting a plan to renovate blighted properties along the 600 block of Pine Street, along with other locations. "Any blighted and vacant property we can buy and flip, we will do so."

"When (I) came into office in 2008, our city finances were in a state of severe decline,"  Panto said. "The fund balance was depleted, we inherited a deficit of $2 million, and our taxes had increased 107 percent over the previous four years. We were in the state's early intervention program on our way to filing (for bankruptcy) under Act 47."

Acting proactively, as well as working "smarter" and making use of modern technology to do more with less, was the solution to the situation, he added.

"We made the difficult cuts dictated by the draconian times our city faced," Panto said. "How are we doing it? By reducing wasteful spending and being more efficient."

A slide that accompanied Mayor Sal Panto's State of the City
address Wednesday evening shows the increases in Easton
municipal costs year by year.

Still, rising pension and healthcare costs are an ongoing problem that needs to be solved at the state level, the mayor said.

"Pension reform is something we really need," Panto said. "(Rising pension costs for municipalities are) happening throughout the state. Pensions are out of control, even for the wealthiest municipalities...Yes, we enacted a commuter tax, but we are still absorbing an additional $500,000 or an additional $2.7 million since 2008."

When it comes to the police and crime, despite a record high of six homicides in 2012, "all involving individuals involved in illegal activity surrounding the drug and gang segment of society", overall, crime is down in the city, the mayor said.

He cited the statistics: overall crime was down 16.3 percent, violent crime dropped from the 2011 by 14.7 percent in 2012, and non-violent crimes such as vandalism, impaired driving and disorderly conduct fell by 16.9 percent.

Again, returning to the theme of economic development, Panto talked about the city's achievements, noting that a Cheeburger Cheeburger franchise signed a lease to occupy restaurant space in the newly completed Pomeroy shopfront earlier on Wednesday and that phase II of the Pomeroy property is nearing completion.

"Even in this economy, the city continues to draw public and private investment dollars with more than $100 million in active projects last year and more than $20 million in grants being managed this year alone," he said.

From a city managment standpoint, an IT manager will be officially hired in coming months, and that person's first goal will be to add online payment capability for the city, which will "drastically reduce the thousands of utility bills processed each month," the mayor said.

"In closing, we are not here merely to hold office. We are here to empower the people of our community to live a better life with greater vision, with a sense of hope, and with the chance to achieve their dreams for themselves and their families," Panto said. "We are here to attract families and investors who feel confident that our finances are stable and secure."

Panto will again give the State of the City address this morning at the State Theatre during a breakfast gathering hosted by the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, March 25, 2013

This Week in Easton, March 25 to 28

It may still be white and cold outside, but there are lots of things you can do this week indoors to forget all about that...

Monday, March 25

Palmer Township Shade Tree Commission meeting: 6:30 p.m. In the Palmer Library meeting room, at the Municipal Complex, 1 Weller Place (off of Newburg Road), Palmer Township.

Wilson Borough Council meeting: 7 p.m. 2040 Hay Terrace, Wilson Borough.

Forks Township Historical Society monthly meeting: 7 p.m. Earl Van Norman presents "History of the Moravian Chair." Easy parking and handicap accessible. All welcome. Faith Lutheran Church, 2012 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township. (Enter via Sullivan Trail or Zucksville Road.) 610-253-1035

Tuesday, March 26

Easton City Council Committee meeting: 6 p.m. City Hall, city council chambers, sixth floor, 1 South Third St. CANCELLED

Palmer Adult Book Group: 6 to 7:30 p.m. This month's book is "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. Palmer Library, at the Municipal Complex, 1 Weller Place (off of Newburg Road), Palmer Township. Click here for more information about this group.

Forks Township Planning Commission workshop meeting: 7 p.m. Forks Township Municipal Complex, 1606 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township.

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.

Easton Area School District Board meeting: 7 p.m. EASD Education Center, 1801 Bushkill Dr., Forks Township.

Wednesday, March 27

EAHS & Miller Keystone Blood Drive: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The goal is to fill 47 sign up slots--email to schedule an appointment time. Easton Area High School auxilary gym, 2601
William Penn Highway, Palmer Township.

Easton City Council meeting: 6 p.m. City Hall, city council chambers, 6th floor, 1 South Third St.

Palmer Township Environmental Steering Committee meeting: 7 p.m. There is a half hour Q&A session at 6:30 p.m. as well, to answer any questions related to the new waste/recycling  system which will begin on May 1. In the Palmer Library meeting room, at the Municipal Complex, 1 Weller Place (off of Newburg Road), Palmer Township.

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

Country Line Dancing: 7 to 11 p.m. Rivals, 5 Lehn's Court. 610-392-2932 or

Traditional Irish open jam session: 7:30 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or

Hollywood 2 Acoustic Wednesday: 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Riegelsville Tavern, 1274 Easton Road, Riegelsville. 610-510-3030 or

Thursday, March 28

Cops 'n Kids Reading Room Open: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Children receive three free books for visiting. Easton Area Community Center, back entrance, 901 Washington St. 610-250-6562

Coffee Tea and Memories: 1:30 p.m. "Floods in the Easton/Phillipsburg Area, 1865 to Present" Local historian and author Leonard Buscemi will talk about and present a photographic look at the historic floods from our region titles "Floods in the Easton/Phillipsburg Area, 1865 to Present." Free, refreshments will be served. Preregistration is encouraged. Mary Meuser Library, 1803 Northampton St., Wilson Borough. 610-258-3040 or

Make an Easter Bunny Topiary: 7 p.m. Join the staff from the Posey Peddler to make a bunny topiarymade with white chrysanthemums. Open to everyone, but children under 9 years old must be accompanied by an adult. $12 charge for materials. Class size is limited. Easton Public Library, 515 Church St. To register, call Jennifer Stocker at 610-258-2917 ext. 310 or register on the event calendar at

Yan Carlos Sanchez: 8 to 11 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or

Bring (or wear) Your Own Vinyl night: 8 p.m. to midnight. With DJ Will. Black & Blue, 683 Walnut St. 610-438-3604 or

Karaoke: 8 p.m. Riegelsville Tavern, 1274 Easton Road, Riegelsville. 610-510-3030 or

Funk Express: 9 p.m. Two Rivers Brewing Company, 542 Northampton St. 610-829-1131 or

DJ Realion: 9:30 p.m. Pearly Bakers, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or

"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!

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!

Updated on Tuesday, March 26 at 4:36 p.m.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

And in Other News...Sunday, March 24

Welcome to The Easton Eccentric's newest weekly feature! Published every Sunday, "And in Other News" brings you links from bits from around the web that we think may be of interest to our readers in the Easton area.

The new floor for the Crayola Experience on Centre Square will be green...and very colorful, of course.

This local pooch is blind and deaf...and looking for a home.

If you couldn't make it to Marianne Phiffer's workshop at the Bachmann Publick House on natural egg dying, you can still try it at home.

Ever get so mad at the weatherman for getting it wrong, that you feel punishment is in order? Tired of winter already? Some folks in Ohio want to put Punxsatawney Phil on trial for his apparent misprognostication this year and are calling for the death penalty.

There's a big difference between haves and have-nots when it comes to broadband access, not to mention computer literacy, and that translates into disparity when it comes to educational and employment opportunities.

We think this is a great idea for those in the Easton area that want to grow a veggie garden, but have little or no ground to do it...

An interesting perspective from England on the meaning of faith in Jesus, just in time for Easter...
News of news:

This is one of the reasons independent news projects like The Easton Eccentric are important to the local community, we think.

And, yes, The Easton Eccentric needs more ads to prosper and grow, but we promise, we won't succumb to this.

This is why we think there can never be too many news outlets, especially here in Easton...

If you see a story you think others in Easton would benefit from, please let us know.  Email us.
If we use it, we'll give you the credit!

Do you like our new feature? Have an idea about how we could make it better, or specific  subjects you'd like us to cover? Please, tell us in the comments!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Numerous Officials Celebrate Groundbreaking of New City Hall & Transportation Center

By Christina Georgiou

The project to build a new bus terminal has taken more than a decade and been passed along through the terms of four Easton mayors, but Easton's intermodal complex project is finally a "go", as 20 shovels were wielded by people who have played a part in making the project finally become a reality on Friday afternoon.

More than 100 people gathered on South Third Street to witness the groundbreaking ceremony for Easton's new City Hall and Transportation center complex.

The crowd, comprised  mostly of local and state officials of both government and area NGOs, braved a chilly wind as a small batallion of speakers praised the project's finally coming to fruition, after more than a decade of planning, changes and hurdles overcome to make the bus terminal a reality.

Full of praise for the final incarnation of the project, which will be built on the sites of the former Perkins restaurant and Marquis movie theater, one by one officials took to the podium.

"I know we've been accused of rushing things, but I don't think 12 and a half years is rushing things," said Easton Mayor Sal Panto, adding that "doing over" the Perkins site make him happy.

He noted the suburban style of the restaurant's architecture and site plan didn't fit in the city, but that doesn't mean more modern styles like the one that will grace the intermodal center's facade aren't a good idea.
 "As you walk Downtown, you can see we built according to the era," he said.

Fred Williams, a former Easton councilman and now LANTA's treasurer, praised the project and noted that change is part of the city.

"Believe it or not, this is the fourth groundbreaking I've been to on this street. I go back a long way," he said. "This is a great project of the city."

For bus passengers, the new terminal will be an improvement over the current one and allow them to be safer when waiting for transfers, Williams said.

He also noted the cooperation of officials over a long period of time to extend grant funding to make the new transportation center, which will also house Easton's new city hall, the National High School Hall of Fame, and a yet to be defined commercial space, a reality.

Planning for Easton's intermodal complex has spanned across
the terms of four Easton mayors. From left to right, current
Mayor Sal Panto, former Mayor Phil Mitman, former
Mayor Tom Goldsmith, and former Mayor Mike McFadden.
"It's not easy to get the right combination, to get local and state and the federal government to work together," he concluded.

One by one, state and local officials echoed that sentiment. The project, envisioned near the end of former Mayor Tom Goldsmith's term, was passed along through the terms of Tom McFadden and Phil Mitman too, to finally be inherited by Panto.

"It was quite a puzzle. As each mayor took office, he had to make the pieces fit. And now they're finally glued together," said Vice Mayor Ken Brown. "The complexity of our city has changed. Development is happening. Easton is changing."

Representing the Easton Parking Authority, which will run the new parking deck at the complex, Skip Fairchild said more parking is necessary to support the growth of tourism, business investment, and new housing in the city.

"I'd like to take the opportunity to say how excited the parking authority is to get this project off the ground, or into the ground, rather," Fairchild said.

However, site preparation construction won't begin in the first week of April as was  recently announced--rather it will more likely start at the beginning of May due to the geotechnical survey reports for the site just being completed now, Panto said.

Now that is done, the city needs to put the site prep work out for bid, he added.

Former mayors Tom Goldsmith and Mike McFadden, Easton
Councilwoman Sandra Vulcano, former Easton Mayor
Phil Mitman, Vice Mayor Ken Brown, and Easton City
Controller Tony Bassil prepare to wield shovels at
the groundbreaking ceremony for Easton's new City
Hall and Transportation Center on Friday afternoon.
The concrete footers and parking deck slabs were to be installed in late June or July, the mayor had previously said, and meeting that milestone is still being anticipated, Panto said.

"We think we'll still be on schedule for site work," Panto said.

"It's taken a number of years, but the that, the building has come full circle," Joseph Biondo of Spillman Farmer Architects. "Imagine this thing rising out of the ground in the next few months...It's going to be a civic building unlike any others seen in the Lehigh Valley."

"In many ways, spring symbolizes rebirth, and this project will be the catalyst to revitalize this neighborhood," said State Representative Bob Freeman, noting the street's past as home to the city's Lebanese community. "Unfortunately, mistakes were made during urban renewal."
Freeman said the project will bring opportunity back to the block.

Either in person or via representatives, State Senator Lisa Boscola, former State Senator Bob Mensche, Congressman Matt Cartwright, and others, echoed the sentiment that the new complex will be good for the city and aid in its economic development.

City Planning Director Becky Bradley and Easton
Councilman Jeff Warren smile broadly after taking
part in the groundbreaking ceremony Friday
"The Easton Intermodal Transportation Center is breathing new life into a city filled with vacancies by spurring new economic development that will draw people back to the downtown corridor," said Federal Transportation Authority administrator Peter Rogoff in a press release.  "This facility will also make it easier than ever for commuters from Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton to save money on gas by taking transit to jobs in Western New Jersey, Newark and New York City."

And then, the dirt of the "first" shovels to break ground on the site flew.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Two Men Charged in Palmer Jewelry Store Heist

Two men have been charged with a number of crimes in connection with a robbery that occurred at the Beverly Palm Jewelers store in the early morning hours of October 6, 2012, the Palmer Township Police Department announced today.

Ryan John Wiley, 23, of Doylestown, is charged with burglary, criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking, possessing instruments of crime, criminal mischief, and criminal conspiracy.

Phillip Anthony Prokop, 38, of North Wales, is charged with criminal conspiracy to commit burglary, criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking, possessing instruments of crime, criminal mischief, and receiving stolen property.

Police say Wiley acted as a customer the day before the heist, and returned with Prokop early the next day, smashing the jewelry cases and removing numerous items of jewelry. Wiley and Prokop allegedly planned the burglary together with Prokop being the driver.

Both were arraigned in Bucks County District Court before Judge Jean Seaman, who set bail at $500,000 for each of the men.

Both are currently incarcerated in Bucks County Prison for numerous similar jewelry store
burglaries in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, and the charges brought by the Palmer Township Police Department against Wiley and Prokop have been transferred to Bucks County, authorities added.

Investigation by Newtown Township Police Department and authorities in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, lead to the arrests, Palmer police said.

5th Annual Easton Pub Crawl Tickets Go On Sale

The 5th Annual Easton Pub Crawl is set to happen on Saturday, April 20 from 3 to 9 p.m. Tickets for this very popular local tavern tour go on sale this weekend.

The Crawl will start at Champs Corner, 91 Larry Holmes Dr., and include Porters Pub, Black & Blue, Slainte Irish Pub, Lafayette Bar, Colonial Pizza & Pub, Drinky’s, Pearly Bakers, Two Rivers Brewing Company, and Maxim's 22, with an after-party at Rivals.

Participants get a t-shirt, free parking, trolley service, and drink specials at participating venues, along with an after-event party that includes food, the opportunity to win prizes.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and will be available at a number of locations  around the city.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Easton Business Association.

Ticket reservation requests are also being taken via email at

For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.

Easton Block Watch Announces Scholarship to Honor Memory of Late District Magistrate

Gay Elwell
 Each year an Easton Area High School senior will be awarded a $500 college scholarship in memory of the late District Magistrate Gay Elwell, the Easton Block Watch Association announced at their quarterly meeting Wednesday evening.

The scholarship will focus on students who are working towards a career in the legal or criminal justice sector, the group added, noting that Elwell was a longtime advocate for Block Watch.

The full details and description of the new award are expected to be released at the association's June quarterly meeting.

Elwell passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in December 2012, of natural causes.

For more information about Easton Block Watch Association, visit the group's Facebook page, or email them.

Weekend Guide, March 22 to 24

It's finally spring, even if it doesn't quite feel like it yet. Definitely a good weekend to dust off the Easter baskets and go out hunting for eggs, or just go out...

Friday, March 22

New Easton City Hall and Transportation Center Groundbreaking Ceremony: 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend. At the site of the planned new complex, 123 South Third St.

Lenten Fish Dinner: 4 to 7 p.m. Cod, french fries, mac and cheese, stewed tomatoes, dessert and more. Adults, $10; seniors, $9; children $5; children 4 and under are free. Carry out available. Knights of Columbus, 1922 Washington Blvd., Wilson Borough.

Line Dancing: 7 to 10:30 p.m. Lessons at 7:15 p.m. $5 per person for members, $6 for non-members. Tatamy Fire Company, 164 Bushkill St., Tatamy. 610-759-2786 or

Nakked Soul, DJ Kevin Rogers: Band at 7:30 p.m., DJ at 10:30 p.m.  Rivals Sports Bar & Nightclub, 5 Lehns Court. 610-923-7625 or

Sal Ritz & Joe Mixon: 8 p.m. The Riegelsville Inn, 12 Delaware Road, Riegelsville. 610-749-0100 or

Ojespa Jazz Project: 9 p.m. Two Rivers Brewing Company, 542 Northampton St. 610-829-1131 or

Naked Jake: 9 p.m. Colonial Pizza & Spaghetti House, 136-138 Spring Garden St. 610-252-3033 or

Mike Frank & Friends: 10 p.m. With special guest Ellyot Ray. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or

DJ Discreet: 10 p.m. Pearly Baker's Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or

DJ Mikey Z: 10 p.m. Riegelsville Tavern, 1274 Easton Road, Riegelsville. 610-510-3030 or

Saturday, March 23

Easton Farmers' Market Winter Mart: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fresh, local organic produce, all-natural pastured meat, farm-fresh eggs, artisan cheese and bread, baked goods, prepared foods, more. Nurture Nature Center, 518 Northampton St. 610-253-4432 or

YWCA of Bethlehem's annual Prom Dress Day: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. High school junior and senior girls are invited to attend with valid school I.D. Each girl is allowed one additional female guest to shop among hundreds of dresses arranged by color. Children may not attend.  Admission iss $5. (Admission charge will  be refunded if nothing is selected.) State Theatre, 453 Northampton St.

EAHS IMA Spring Craft Show: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Proceeds benefits EAHS music programs. Easton Area High School, 2601 William Penn Highway, Palmer Township. 610-252-5208

"How to Dye Easter Eggs with Natural Ingredients": 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Marianne Phifer will give instruction on how eggs were dyed before commercial products became the norm. $5 fee, includes one adult and two children. Bachmann Publick House, 169 Northampton St. 610-253-1222 or

Weyerbacher 2012 Riserva Release Event: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Be one of the first to taste 2012 Riserva. All of Weyerbacher's available styles of beer will be set up at different tasting stations located throughout the brewery. Tours will be cancelled for the day, however, full-time staff and tour guides will be positioned throughout the brewery to answer any questions you may have about the equipment. See the new cellar, the whole bottling line and get up close to all of the equipment. Free, you must be 21 or over to sample beers. Weyerbacher Brewery, 905 Line St. 610-559-5561 or

Annual Williams Township Fire Company Easter Egg Hunt: 1 p.m. Rain or shine. Williams Township Fire Company, 2500 Morgan Hill Road, Williams Township. 610-252-7648.

Forks Township Egg Hunt and Baby Parade: 1 p.m. Open to all children up to 10 years of age. Toddlers up to age 2 are invited to enter the Baby Parade in strollers, wagons, etc. Prizes will be awarded in each age group. Bring baskets or bags to collect the eggs and treats. Springy the Bunny will also be available for photos with children--bring a  camera. A $2 donation is requested per child, to be used towards programs for needy children in the community. In case of rain, the event will be postponed and held on Sunday, March 24. Forks Township Municipal Park, just off Zucksville Road, near the amphitheatre. 610-252-0785 or

Spaghetti Dinner: 4 to 7 p.m. All you can eat. Adults, $8; children 5 to 12, $4; children under 5, free. Prosperity Lodge #567, 520 Easton Road, Riegelsville.

Tommy Zito: 7 p.m. Bella Luna, 3417 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township. 610-253-7458

The Large Flowerheads, DJ LAX: Band at 7:30 p.m., DJ at 10:30 p.m.  Rivals Sports Bar & Nightclub, 5 Lehns Court. 610-923-7625 or

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

Kevin O'Connell: 8 p.m. The Riegelsville Inn, 12 Delaware Road, Riegelsville. 610-749-0100 or

Earth Hour: 8:30 p.m. The City of Easton encourages everyone to participate, turn off power and go dark for one hour as part of the World Wildlife Fund's annual event to encourage environmental awareness.

Soft Focus: 9 p.m. Black & Blue, 683 Walnut St. 610-438-3604 or

Presti: 9 p.m. Two Rivers Brewing Company, 542 Northampton St. 610-829-1131 or

KJAMM: 9 p.m. Riegelsville Tavern, 1274 Easton Road, Riegelsville. 610-510-3030 or

DJ Realion: 10 p.m. Porters' Pub, 700 Northampton St. 610-250-6561 or

Hot Bologny: 10 p.m. Pearly Baker's Alehouse, 11 Centre Square. 610-253-9949 or

Sunday, March 24

Breakfast and Blood Drive: 8 a.m. to noon. All blood donors receive a free breakfast. All are welcome. Brown & Lynch American Legion Post 9, 2260 Corriere Road, Palmer Township. 610-559-8838
City of Easton Annual Easter Egg Hunt: 11:30 a.m. For children ages 4 to 7, there will be a special visitor for pictures, dancing, and a magic show, in addition to the traditional hunt. To be held rain or shine. Free. Cottingham Stadium, just off Northampton Street on North 11th Street. 610-250-6711

Artist Talk: 2 to 5 p.m. Insights from "You're Not Invited," the work of artists whose work contains taboo, controversial, and previously censored material. Exhibit on display through March 30. Quadrant Book Mart & Coffee House, 20 North Third St.  610-252-1188

Artist Talk: 2 p.m. Will Hubscher will discuss his exhibit, "A Journey Through Mongoland," which is on display through April 7. Connexions Gallery, 213 Northampton St. 610-250-7627

Lenten Concert: 3 p.m. Featuring the Easton Musical Arts Chorus. Tickets are $6. St. Andrews Lutheran Church, 3900 Freemansburg Ave., Palmer Township. 610-759-8638

Blues Jam with BC Combo: 5:30 p.m. Bella Luna, 3417 Sullivan Trail, Forks Township. 610-253-7458

Open Mic Hosted by Jim Stocker: 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Riegelsville Tavern, 1274 Easton Road, Riegelsville. 610-510-3030 or

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

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Man Charged for Taking Money, Failing to Deliver Computer Equipment to Palmer Police

Charlie Sandt Jr. was charged with various charges after he allegedly took payment of nearly $24,000 for contracted computer services to the Palmer Township Police Department and failed to deliver, police report.

Palmer police say Sandt provided computer technical support and equipment services to the Palmer Township Police Department from January 2007 through October 2009 through Computer Innovations LLC.

On August 10, 2009,  Sandt was issued a check for $23,921.75 by the department, which was cashed, for the purchase of five Dell laptop computers and software for installation in police vehicles, but they were never delivered, according to a press release issued by the department.

Sandt was charged with theft by required disposition of funds, theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property, all third degree felonies. He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline Taschner, who set bail at $25,000 with a 10 percent option.

However, Sandt is currently being held Northampton County Prison on charges previously filed by the Palmer Township Police Department on an unrelated investigation.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easton Planning Commission Approves Changes to New City Hall, Transportation Center Plan

By Christina Georgiou

Members of the Easton Planning Commission voted 3-1 to approve changes in the building plan for the city's new city hall and transportation center Wednesday evening, including an increase in the structure's footprint and moving the public plaza area from the south to the north side of the building.

Planning Commissioner Dennis Lieb cast the lone dissenting vote, after raising point-by-point criticisms of the construction of the facility, despite having voted in favor of giving the project approval last year.

In a statement that took nearly 30 minutes to deliver, Lieb contended that the design for the new complex "is deficient" in meeting numerous city zoning codes and also does not fit with the city's comprehensive plan for development.

He also took issue with specific aspects of changes made to the design, such as the public plaza area of the building being moved from the south side of the structure to the north.

"The plaza, as rendered, will be quite inhospitable (on the North Side). It could have gotten sunlight if it was retained on the south side," Lieb said.

Lieb also contended that the building's scale isn't in keeping with the character of the 100 block of South Third Street, and that the large windows will result in them being blocked from the inside.

"The garage itself and the bus station may have been pre-approved, but (these changes) affect the whole design," he said, further adding that he feels the building will have security and logistical issues, and that the plan lacks parking for bicycles.

"I think there's a lot of crucial concerns, and I don't have the time and ability to absorb all this tonight and give my approval," he said.

Lieb added that he has spoken with "numerous" urban planners, as well as other residents, and they agree with him.

"But I'm not going to drop any names because it doesn't make any difference," he said.

He added that the plan for the project changed, adding the move of city hall into the complex "out of the blue."

"We're doing this at a very tenuous time in this country (economically)," Lieb concluded.

City Planning Director Becky Bradley countered his complaints individually, citing each of the zoning and planning ordinances Lieb claims are not being followed and explained how each is being adhered to.

"This is a plan amendment," she said, noting that the ground floor is dedicated to commercial space. "It's important to note the plan was already approved. The primary function of the building is a commercial function."

She said that property lots on South Third Street vary "greatly, from very narrow to very wide."

Bradley added that the windows on the second and third floors won't be blocked and that she doesn't know why Lieb would think this would happen. Additionally, the large windows are in line with green building standards to provide natural light.

The building will be LEED-certified, city officials have previously said.

"The design has stayed roughly the same now for the last year," Bradley said, adding that approximately $40 million has been invested in Easton by private developers in the past four years, indicating that the city's parking needs will be increasing.

"That's a remarkable feat for any city," she said.

"This isn't personal. There are a lot of people out there that can't be here at meetings, and when they come to me and I agree with them, I'll speak for them," Lieb said. "This is going to be the city hall I will look at for the rest of my life, and it's not good enough."

Bradley said the building reflects the quality design and building standards of current times.

"We have an unofficial 'no phony colonial' policy," she said.

Great cities, such as Los Angeles and New York, are admired for their mix of architecture, and that is because they approve the construction of new buildings on the basis of their concept, Bradley said.

"Concrete and the cement industry is iconic in Easton," she said, adding that the design of the new city hall and transportation center was drawn somewhat from looking at other buildings, such as the post office and the Simon Mansion, and that the interpretation of what is appropriate in modern construction is the same set of criteria used for the Sigal Museum and new Lafayette College construction.

"We're not here tonight to discuss what's already been approved by the Historic Distric Commission," Bradley said. "This is the third location in the city for this site, and it's the best location for this site, near the center of the city, on a road corridor, near rail transport (which supports future development).

"We've put a lot of time and effort in this project, and I think we've gotten it right," she concluded.

Only one member of the public, Pastor Susan Ruggles of St. John's Lutheran Church, which lies adjacent to the planned parking deck, attended the meeting.

"We've been watching this carefully, and we're excited," she said.

Ruggles said the church's only worries about the project involve the buses, that one might collide with an adjacent brick wall near the bus entrance to the parking deck, and the exhaust they emit.

"They're going to be sitting there exuding fumes that are coming into my building. They've been parked out there before, and we've gotten sick," she said. "We've got a beautiful brick wall there, and I'm worried it will be hit."

"We've used the largest bus model to project the turning model. Will that mitigate anyone ever hitting the wall? I can't say that," assistant city engineer Dave Horton said.

He added that a new traffic signal pattern could eliminate the problem of buses idling waiting to exit the bus terminal.

LANTA Executive Director Armand Greco said that idling is against state law and that it won't be allowed.

Signs reminding bus drivers of that, along with prohibiting them from lining up to wait to exit the facility might also alleviate the potential issue, Horton said.

"I know it's going to be a problem, and I'm trying to be proactive," Ruggles said.

Planning Commission members Charles Elliott, Ronald Shipman, and Bonnie Winfield voted to approve the changes to the city hall and transportation plan, with Dennis Lieb voting against approval. Other members of the planning commission were not present Wednesday evening.

Easton Area Community Center Offering Soccer Program

A new soccer program is being started at the Easton Area Community Center, beginning Monday, March 25 for children, both boys and girls, ages 8 through 14.

Sessions will take place on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m., through May 30.

The cost for the entire program is $25.

Easton Area Community Center is located at 901 Washington St.

For  more information or to sign up, please contact Bonnie Buncher or Sahr Mbriwa at 610-253–8271.

College Campus Tour Trips Offered by Boys & Girls Club

Local high school students looking to further their education after graduation will have the opportunity to tour
two college campuses via trips offered by the the Boys & Girls Club of Easton next month.

The tours will allow students the opportunity to visit college campuses, meet with faculty and admissions personnel, tour classrooms, dorms, fraternities, sororities, attend seasonal athletic events and interact with college students, learning first hand what each education institution has to offer, the club said.

Additionally, students will have the opportunity on the trips to learn about entry requirements, student loans, grant opportunities, and community involvement, as well as receive information on application preparation, scholarships, curriculums offered, financial aid, job placement ratio, and campus life.

A tour of Lehigh University is set for Saturday, April 6, with transportation from the Easton Teen Center, 1101 Northampton St., departing at 9:45 a.m., and departing from the Boys & Girls Club of Easton, 210 Jones Houston Way, at 10 a.m.

On Saturday, April 20, students can visit Syracuse University in New York. Transportation departs from the Easton Teen Center at 7 a.m., and departs from the Boys & Girls Club at 7:15 a.m.

The program is open to high schoolstudents who have at least a "C" average, have a good behavior record, and are in good standing with their school.

To help defray costs, there is a registration fee of $5 for current Boys & Girls Club members, and $20 for new registrants which includes a 12-month membership to the club as well. 

Those participating should bring their own refreshments for the trip.

Pre-registration with a signed permission form is mandatory, and forms can be obtained from both Club locations as indicated above. The registration deadline is Monday, April 2.

For questions please contact Boys & Girls Club Director Dean Young at 610-253-5846, or email

Tours to other colleges will be offered later this year, said the announcement about the events.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Palmer Township Is Giving Away Free Mulch

Superstorm Sandy caused lots of destruction last October, and hundreds of area trees were damaged or destroyed in its wake, but for those that enjoy gardening, there may be a silver lining.

Superstorm Sandy left Palmer Township with a
super huge pile of mulch, which the municipality
is offering for free to anyone who wants some.
Image courtesy of Palmer Township.
Due to a large stockpile generated from the grinding of downed trees and branches, Palmer Township is offering the resulting mulch for free, according to an announcement on the municipality's website.

The township will also help takers load the free wood chips every Saturday and Sunday in April and May, from noon to 4 p.m.

Depending on how long the supply lasts, the mulch will also be offered from noon to 4 p.m. on the first Saturday of June, July, August and September as well.

The offer of free mulch with loading is open to both residents and non-residents.

Pick up of free mulch is at the township's Berks Street Yard Waste Facility, located at the end of Berks Street, off of Freemansburg Avenue across from Suburban EMS.

In case of inclement weather or excessively soggy ground, some dates may be canceled, the  township notes.

For more information, click here or call the township at 610-253-7191.

Groundbreaking for Easton's New City Hall, Transportation Center Set for Friday

By Christina Georgiou

Image courtesy of Spillman Farmer Architects
Since Easton City Council approved the move of City Hall down the street and the sale of the Alpha Building, it's full steam ahead for the construction of Easton's new City Hall and Transportation Center.

A ground breaking ceremony is scheduled for Friday, March 22 at 2 p.m. at the site, 123 South Third St., says a press release issued from the mayor's office earlier this week.

Construction is expected to begin immediately thereafter, with work scheduled to begin by the first week of April.

Mayor Sal Panto has said previously the work needs to begin immediately to take advantage of construction company schedules, with the concrete slabs and foundations needing to be cast by summer to keep the project on schedule.

The three-story, 45,000 square foot complex will house the city's municipal offices on the second and third floors, with a LANTA bus terminal and transfer station, the National High School Hall of Fame and another commercial space occupying the ground floor.

The parking deck is expected to be completed first, opening in late 2014, and the building is set to be complete by the end of next year, with the move of Easton's City Hall hoped for in early 2015.

While construction is set to go ahead, the final plans for the building are not yet complete, and some "tweaks" may still happen, officials have said.