Bethlehen Mayor John Callahan Apologizes To Wrestling Ref Who Ejected Him

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan apologized Monday to the referee who ejected him from a high school wrestling match over the weekend, a story that media sites across the country picked up.

In an email, Callahan said he should have handled “the incident better no matter how I felt about the calls made during the match” and said he respects that the referee, Dennis Buchman, has “the right to call the match the way he sees it.”

“That said, both Mr. Buchman and I agree that this was a minor incident that has become overblown and unfortunately took away from the great effort and dedication shown by the young men who participated in the tournament,” Callahan said. “I hope that this will no longer distract from the real issues facing Bethlehem and Northampton County.”

Callahan did not return a telephone call seeking a comment.

Read more:

http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-bethlehem-mayor-apologizes-over-wrestling-eject-20130225,0,1969119.story

The Impact Of The Fiscal Cliff On The States: Sequestration

Click here to see a chart of all 50 states and where your state stands:  http://www.pewstates.org/research/data-visualizations/the-impact-of-the-fiscal-cliff-on-the-states-sequestration-85899435504

You can click on the state of your choice and get all the details broken down for you.

Mediterranean Diet Can Cut Heart Disease, Study Finds

About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found.

The findings, published on The New England Journal of Medicine’s Web site on Monday, were based on the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.

The diet helped those following it even though they did not lose weight and most of them were already taking statins, or blood pressure or diabetes drugs to lower their heart disease risk.

“Really impressive,” said Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. “And the really important thing — the coolest thing — is that they used very meaningful endpoints. They did not look at risk factors like cholesterol of hypertension or weight. They looked at heart attacks and strokes and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters.”

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/health/mediterranean-diet-can-cut-heart-disease-study-finds.html?hp&_r=0

Crime Has Some Thinking Twice About Philly Life

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BORN-AND-RAISED Philadelphian Danielle Harvey never really saw herself moving away from her hometown.

Then, last spring, she witnessed a shooting at the same bus stop where she had been robbed about a month before.

Harvey, 24, who worked at a law office in Center City, said that she was able to shake off the robbery, in which her phone was stolen and pockets rifled through at a bus stop outside Frankford’s Margaret-Orthodox El station.

“You live in the city, this stuff happens,” she said.  “That made me think this city is getting a little tiring to live in, but I never really imagined myself being somebody who could move.”

Then, about a month later, as she waited at the same bus stop, a man across the street from where she stood was shot in the neck.

“[The shooting] was pretty much the thing that more or less sealed it for me thinking I should get out of here,” she said.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130225_Crime_has_some_thinking_twice_about_Philly_life.html

Horse Meat Found In Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs

English: Meatballs, produced in Sweden for IKE...

English: Meatballs, produced in Sweden for IKEA Food Services Polski: Klopsy, pulpety – wyprodukowany w Szwecji dla IKEA Food Services (Usługi żywnościowe) Svenska: Köttbullar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STOCKHOLM – Swedish furniture giant Ikea was drawn into Europe’s widening food labeling scandal Monday as authorities said they had detected horse meat in frozen meatballs labeled as beef and pork and sold in 13 countries across the continent.

The Czech State Veterinary Administration said that horse meat was found in one-kilogram (2.2 pound) packs of frozen meatballs made in Sweden and shipped to the Czech Republic for sale in Ikea stores there.  A total of 760 kilograms (1,675 pounds) of the meatballs were stopped from reaching the shelves.

Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said meatballs from the same batch had gone out to Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland.  Magnusson said meatballs from that batch were taken off the shelves in Ikea stores in all those countries.  Other shipments of meatballs were not affected, including to the U.S., even though they all come from the same Swedish supplier, Magnusson said.

“Our global recommendation is to not recall or stop selling meatballs,” she said.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130225_ap_horsemeatfoundinikeasswedishmeatballs.html#ixzz2LvXDxCiW
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Teeth Will Grind As Drivers Detour For Lititz Pike Bridge Work

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The good news is that PennDOT plans to keep the Lititz Pike bridge near the train station open while a new one is constructed next to it.

The bad news is that the road closures and detours necessary to complete the project will force drivers to make some difficult decisions in the year ahead to avoid snarled traffic.

The $12.7 million project involves constructing a bridge that will funnel Lititz Pike traffic directly onto Duke Street in the city.

The project is already under way, with the demolition of the Fulton Bank on Duke Street and the former Crouse used car lot across from the Stockyard Inn.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/818634_Teeth-will-grind-as-drivers-detour-for-Lititz-Pike-bridge-work.html#ixzz2LvQxR1l9

Berks School Boards Face More Tough Choices In 2013-14 Budget Process

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s looking like another tough budget season for school districts across Berks County.

Of the 13 local districts that have prepared preliminary budgets, all but one spending plan included significant shortfalls, ranging from about $400,000 to $2.2 million.

Muhlenberg’s budget doesn’t have a gap, but it currently includes a property tax increase larger than the state permits.

Budget gaps among districts can be somewhat hard to compare, because some include tax increases or major cuts in their preliminary budgets while others don’t.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=454915

Pa. May Pull Back On Funding For Redevelopment Projects

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s most sweeping economic development programs could see a limited spending cap and permanent guidelines under a recently passed proposal.

The state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (often called “R-Cap”) provides grants with borrowed money for private projects pursued by municipalities and local agencies.

That could include hospital expansions, parking garages or community centers — any project with a cultural, civic or historical connection that could create jobs and be tied to economic development.

But the program is often criticized as a questionable source of ballooning debt.

RACP’s debt ceiling is $4.05 billion, about 10 times what it was when it was created in 1986.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130224/NEWS03/130229703/pa-may-pull-back-on-funding-for-redevelopment-projects#full_story

Lights Go Out On Pottstown July 4th Fireworks

Editor’s note:  This day has been coming for a while now, but it makes the reality no less sad.  

The ax has finally fallen on the Pottstown Fourth of July celebration.

The committee that plans the annual event announced last week that the fireworks have been canceled for this year.  The parade will go on, but most events in Memorial Park including the popular evening fireworks display will not be held.  The decision was made in December because a $30,000 three-year contract with the fireworks company requires early notification and a sizeable deposit of $23,000.

Marcia Levengood and Chip Smale, co-chairs of the planning committee, said the group is hoping to raise $20,000 to stage the parade.  If they can get more, an expanded celebration will be resurrected in 2014.

The news comes after several years of struggle to raise the $60,000 needed for a two-day celebration including a parade and fireworks that has become a tradition in Pottstown since it started 34 years ago.  The celebration has always been funded entirely through community donations, with no tax dollars allocated for the event. In recent years, donations have been hard to come by and slow to come in, creating a last-minute plea each year to keep the celebration afloat.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130225/OPINION01/130229704/lights-go-out-on-pottstown-july-4th-fireworks#full_story

Pottstown Meeting Set To Boost Borough-School District Cooperation

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Considering the same 5 square miles comprises the school district and the borough, this is well overdue.  However, on a positive note, we will hope this leads to substantive change for the beleaguered Pottstown taxpayer.

POTTSTOWN — It won’t just be the location of the joint school board/borough council meeting Tuesday that is unusual.

The agenda is short, unusual in itself, and further, it is focused almost exclusively on breaking down barriers to cooperation.

“We want to set the stage for collaborating, for open communication,” said schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana who, along with Borough Manager Mark Flanders, met with The Mercury Thursday to outline their efforts.

“That’s one of the reasons we wanted to have the meeting off-site,” said Flanders. “To put everyone in a setting that encourages participation and interaction.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130225/NEWS01/130229649/pottstown-meeting-set-to-boost-borough-school-district-cooperation#full_story