South Bethlehem Historic Board Approves 9-Story Building After Previously Panning It

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

After voicing strong opposition last month to a proposed 9-story building on West Fourth Street, the South Bethlehem Historic Conservation District voted 5-2 Monday to support the building’s design.

District board Chairwoman Beth Starbuck said she had been very troubled by the building’s height until she realized Hotel Bethlehem also was nine stories and doesn’t stick out badly on Main Street.

“I’m not happy with the scale of this, either, but I’m less freaked out about it — it just never occurred to me that the Hotel Bethlehem is that tall,” she said.

The board makes recommendations to Bethlehem City Council, and board Historic Officer Christine Ussler said there’s a fear if the board is often overruled by council “this developer and other developers will get the sense we don’t count.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/10/south_bethlehem_historic_board.html

Allentown Could Be Blueprint For New Development

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ALLENTOWN, PA – Three years ago, run-down tattoo parlors and pawnshops dominated Hamilton Street, the main drag in Pennsylvania’s third-largest city.

Now they’re gone, replaced by high-tech firms, high-end restaurants, and a burst of construction activity. In 22 months, seven buildings of at least 10 stories have gone up along Hamilton Street, and two older buildings were rehabbed. The centerpiece is the PPL Center, a new, gleaming, 10,000-seat arena that this week opens as the new hockey home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers’ minor league affiliate.

Bolstered by special legislation that diverts most of the state taxes on new development within a 130-acre urban zone, supporters say what’s happened in Allentown could be a blueprint for other long-suffering small cities eager to shed their industrial past.

“I think we’re trying to change the Allentown identity,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski said over lunch Thursday at the Hamilton, one of five new downtown restaurants. “It was so jerry-rigged over the years there wasn’t much of an identity left.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/20141012_Allentown_could_be_blueprint_for_new_development.html#elAVd62cIEa7dzdL.99

Muhlenberg Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of Sondheim’s ‘Anyone Can Whistle’

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA – Stephen Sondheim’s rarely produced musical comedy “Anyone Can Whistle” will get a Fiftieth Anniversary production at the Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department, Oct. 24 – Nov. 2. An absurdist satire about insanity, conformity, miracles, and local government, the 1964 musical is also a great love story, according to director Beth Schachter, and has become a cult classic among musical theater fans.

“The music is quite lovely,” says Schachter, a member of the theater faculty at Muhlenberg, and the chair of the Theatre & Dance Department. “The humor is also very enjoyable. The show is witty in a way that many musicals are not.

“Anyone Can Whistle” plays on the stage of the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts. Tickets and information are available at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre and 484-664-3333.

The show tells the story of a bankrupt town with a corrupt mayoress, in which the only business still thriving is Dr. Detmold’s Sanitarium for the Socially Pressured — known locally as The Cookie Jar. The town needs a miracle — which is precisely what it gets when a local girl licks a rock and water gushes out. Bingo! A modern-day Lourdes, with the tourist trade to boot. (The miracle was staged by the mayor’s cronies, of course.)

Things get even more complicated when the Cookie Jar patients get mixed up with the pilgrims, and no one can tell who’s crazy and who isn’t — not that it was entirely clear to begin with.

The show satirizes issues and attitudes that are still very much germane 50 years later, Schachter says: issues of gender norms and gender equality, questions of individuality and conformity, social protest and civil disobedience.

“The show argues for standing up for change and not waiting for the people in charge to change things for you,” she says. “That’s something that appeals to me, as the people of Hong Kong flood the streets with their umbrellas in support of democracy.”

Schachter says the show offers a particularly sophisticated and compelling depiction of women, with two powerful female characters in Fay, a nurse who works at the Cookie Jar, and Cora, the town’s mayor.

“The show is interested in women, in their desires, ambitions, and wishes,” she says, “which is part of the reason I like it so much.”

Senior Samantha Simon, from Hawthorne, N.J., plays the central role of Cora — a villain of the piece, but a complicated character nevertheless. Simon appeared last fall as Rosa Bud in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”

“Samantha is having a terrific time playing this hilarious villainess,” Schachter says. “She is a powerful presence on stage. She really takes over.”

Sondheim wrote “Anyone Can Whistle” very early in his career as a composer. He had contributed lyrics to the hits “West Side Story” and “Gypsy,” but had only written the score for one Broadway show, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” The show closed after nine performances, but went on to become a cult favorite among musical theater fans, particularly Sondheim-philes. The show offers a preview of the complex melodies and innovative structures that characterize the composer’s later shows.

“‘Whistle’ marks the beginning of Sondheim’s distinctive voice and style,” Schachter says. “He develops that style much further in his mature work, but it’s fascinating to see this early expression of his talents as a composer.”

Tim Averill designs the scenery, which has “a zany, cartoony, fairy-tale feel to it,” Schachter says. “We were inspired by the set of ‘Laugh-In,’ with its bright colors and crazy angles.” The choreography, by Lynn Wiener, is similarly outlandish, highlighted by a comic ballet in which the ballerinas play deputies in an epic chase scene — on pointe.

“It’s a total hoot,” Schachter says. “But it’s a hoot with something to say, and what it has to say is still interesting and relevant 50 years later. It has been a revelation for me.”

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for seven years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

Performances of “Anyone Can Whistle” are Oct. 24 – Nov. 2. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with an additional 2 p.m. show on Saturday, Oct. 25. Regular admission tickets are $22. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8. Group and season subscription rates are available.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Garlic Fans Push Easton Garlic Fest To Record Attendance

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette ...

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Easton Garlic Fest chairwoman Jo Moranville learned one thing about garlic lovers this weekend.

“We’ve clearly reached the point where garlic-crazy people don’t care if they get wet,” Moranville says.

Despite a rainy start to the 14th annual festival on Saturday, Easton Garlic Fest saw its biggest crowd – ever – for the two-day festival.

More than 20,000 visitors flocked to Centre Square to “eat, drink and stink,” according to festival and police reports.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2014/10/easton_garlic_fest_breaks_atte.html

LV ARTS & ACCESS EXPO: Expanding Audiences

PrintThe Lehigh Valley Arts Council and theLehigh Valley Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community invite you to join our cultural organizations, social agencies, artists with disabilities, and people of all abilities to engage each other with skills, compassion, humor and commitment:

 

 

 
The Lehigh Valley ARTS & ACCESS EXPO | November 10, 2014
Lehigh Valley Health Network, 2100 Mack Boulevard in Allentown
 
  • PANEL presentations revealing successful collaborations between our cultural and disability communities.
  • KEYNOTE speaker/author Shane Burcaw with highlights from his upcoming memoir, Laughing at My Nightmare.
  • EXHIBITS by social service agencies and cultural organizations showcasing resources, services, and training opportunities.
  • TIME to network, share, question and learn!
This event heralds the twenty-fifth anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act which occurs on July 26, 2015. The Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Partnership for a Disability Friendly Community are planning a yearlong celebration to unite the community around creating a more inclusive region and expanding access to the arts for all people.
 
“Let’s remove barriers and open our doors to persons with disabilities,” says Randall Forte, Lehigh Valley Arts Council Executive Director. “It’s easier than you might think, and this event will give arts groups the help they need.”

Sponsors: Lehigh Valley Health Network | Just Born
 
EXPO: Schedule and Details

New Plans For South Bethlehem Apartments, Stores And Offices Submitted

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

A developer has submitted new plans for three buildings that will include stores, offices and apartments across from the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site in Bethlehem.

Developer BethWorks Renovations has submitted plans for one five-story and two four-story buildings along East Third Street across from Northampton Community College.The company’s previous plans for the site called for one five-story and two three-story buildings, but its total of 111 apartments remains the same.

The company’s new plans are scheduled to go before the Bethlehem Planning Commission 4 p.m. Thursday.

BethWorks’ five-story building would be located at 422-430 E. Third St., which is on the corner of Fillmore Street. It’s proposed to have first-floor retail space and 96 apartments.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/10/new_plans_for_south_bethlehem.html

Bethlehem Looking To Spice Up South Side With New Mexican Restaurant And Microbrewery

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

A vacant parking lot on South Side Bethlehem could see new life under a $6.7 million plan for a Mexican restaurant and brewpub under one roof.

Ashley Development Corp., based in the city, proposes transforming the 0.38-acre plot at 404 E. Third St. from a former Bethlehem Steel Corp. parking lot into a multi-restaurant space owned by Bethlehem 21st Century, according to Alicia Miller Karner, director of community and economic development for Bethlehem.

Ashley Development Corp. President Lou Pektor says the project would complement and be within walking distance of the entertainment venues that have been developing in that area of the city.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2014/10/bethlehem_looking_to_spice_up.html

Allentown Developer Announces New Project, Possible Rooftop Restaurant

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The developer already behind $500 million of development in downtown Allentown has something new up his sleeve.

J.B. Reilly announced plans Wednesday to renovate a blighted vacant building at Eighth and Linden streets, turning the ground level floor into 4,000-square-feet of retail space.

The upper floors of the three-story building will become either apartments or office space, and a rooftop restaurant could be established there as well, Reilly said.

“We think this is a really important project because it’s sort of the gateway into the residential neighborhood,” said Reilly, president of

City Center Lehigh Valley. “We think it’ll have a pretty big impact on the neighborhood outside the NIZ.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/10/allentown_developer_announces.html

Philadelphia Archdiocese Sells Delco Property, 2 Others For $56.2M

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Thursday announced the sale of three suburban properties for $56.2 million and said it will use the proceeds to help plug gaps in its balance sheet.

In addition to the previously reported sale of a 200-plus-acre property in Delaware County to Jenkintown-based Goodman Properties for $47 million, the Archdiocese said that it had an agreement to sell a 454-acre property in Northampton County for $5.5 million, and that it had sold 55 acres in Chester County for $3.7 million.

The $3.7 million from the sale of excess land at the St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown, a behavioral-health center for clergy and woman religious, was deposited into the archdiocesan priests’ pension fund, which previously had a $76.3 million deficit. The buyer was Woodbine Partners L.P.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20141003_Archdiocese_sells_Delco_property__2_others_for__56_2M.html#85J5QPF07OFiZsCw.99

Allentown’s Americus Hotel Revitalization Suffers Major Blow

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plans to revitalize Allentown’s historic Americus Hotel have suffered a major blow that could set the project back multiple years, according to the hotel owner.

Albert Abdouche said financing for the $16.5 million renovation project has fallen through due to an Allentown authority’s hesitation regarding his plans.

As a result, Abdouche said he is no longer seeking to tap into the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, Allentown’s 127-acre special tax district, to finance the project.

Instead, Abdouche plans to make $1 million in improvements to the first floor with private money, then perhaps return to the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development next year to finance the rest of the hotel renovations.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/09/allentowns_americus_hotel_revi.html

Officials Further Hopeful About International Rail Port In Bethlehem

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials were in Bethlehem last week to further discuss opening a local international rail port and local officials left the meeting feeling very hopeful.

“They’re very interested in the site, they’re very interested in the Lehigh Valley,” said Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez, who attended the Sept. 12 meeting with Port Authority officials at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.

Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Don Cunningham also said the Port Authority is very interested in opening an inland port in Bethlehem. He said the main unknown is whether the owner of the Bethlehem Intermodal rail yard can get funding to expand.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/09/officials_further_hopeful_abou.html

Six Lehigh Valley Foodie Events This Weekend And Next, That Will Leave You Stuffed

Dig in!

The next two weekends are jam-packed with tasty events.

Here’s your outlook this weekend:

Bacon 5K Challenge and Bacon & Brews Bash – Friday and Saturday, Allentown

Coca-Cola Park, 1050 Iron Pigs Way, is hosting a Bacon 5K Challenge on Friday where participants need to consume a half-pound of bacon when they reach the 2.5-kilometer mark. A post-race party follows.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2014/09/foodie_forecast_the_next_two_w.html

Allentown Police Hire New Officers, Implement New Training

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Allentown Police Department added four new officers on Wednesday, as the police chief described for city officials new training and equipment the force has been implementing.

In the last few months the department has appointed its first liaison for the gay and lesbian community, and added training in Spanish language, emergency vehicle usage and riot policing.

The department has also received a $68,000 grant for the installation of audio and video equipment in 10 police cars, something Chief Joel Fitzgerald hopes will be implemented in all the city’s marked police cars.

“It’s a tremendous benefit for both the community, as well as cops because it insulates them from claims that might not be true,” he said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/09/allentown_police_hire_new_offi.html#incart_river

The Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild Presents: Storytelling Olio

Friday Sept. 19, 2014
7:30 PM
Lipkin Theatre
Northampton Community College
3835 Green Pond Rd.
Bethlehem, PA 18020

Storytelling Olio

An olio is a round-robin of storytelling.This year’s Olio will feature some of the best storytellers in and around the area including:
Black diamond (cards) Sasha Cheer (Pennsylvania Youth Storytelling Showcase Winner )
Black diamond (cards) Robin Reichert (Lehigh Valley)
Black diamond (cards)Judy England-McCarthy (New Jersey)
Black diamond (cards) Lynn Ruehlmann (Virginia)
Black diamond (cards)Bernie Libster (New Jersey)
Black diamond (cards) Jennings & Ponder (Featured National Storytellers)
(pictured).

Storytelling

 

Friday’s Storytelling Olio is part of
StoryFUSION Festival – September 19th – 21st 2014

Headliners: Jennings and Ponder
World folktales, duo narrative performance, interwoven with traditional music. Besides evening performances on Friday and Saturday, there will be workshops, free children’s show and story swaps.
For full schedule go to www.storyfusion.org.

Jennings & Ponder:
In a powerful blend of technique and soul, this Vermont couple presents traditional world folktales as duo narrative performance, interwoven with traditional Celtic music on harp and concertina. By combining their voices, sensibilities, and creative talents, the duo has developed a form of entertainment that is truly magical, with a unique ability to transcend boundaries.

Friday night – Rush Ticket $6

Two Rivers Brewing Co. Wins Judge’s Choice In Easton Clam Jam Chowder Contest

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette ...

English: Skyline of Easton, PA from Lafayette College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eleven restaurants brought vats of their best chowders for customers to sample Sunday at Easton’s first Clam Jam.

The scene looked like something straight out of New England. Servers carried raw bar platters of oysters and clams. The bar was pouring up drinks like Cape Codders and Bloody Marys rimmed with Old Bay and served with crab cakes. And the smell of seafood chowder filled the whole restaurant.

The event, coordinated by the folks at 3rd & Ferry Fish Market, closed off Ferry Street for a seafood festival that invited restaurants to serve their nautical best – hush puppies and lobster roll, steamers and oysters galore.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/food/index.ssf/2014/09/two_rivers_brewing_co_wins_jud.html

A Festival Of Innovative One-Act Plays, Muhlenberg’s ‘New Visions’ Spotlights Inspired Work Of Talented Student Directors

Logo of Muhlenberg College

Logo of Muhlenberg College (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown, PA – Emerging theatrical talents will be on display in Muhlenberg College’s “New Visions” Directors’ Festival, featuring plays directed by four senior directing students in the College’s Department of Theatre & Dance. “New Visions” plays Sept. 27-30 on Muhlenberg’s Studio Theatre stage.

The festival will be presented in two evenings. Evening A features Federico Garcia Lorca’s “The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in the Garden,” directed by Allison Lloyd, and Romulus Linney’s “Hrosvitha,” directed by Julia Schneiderman. Evening B features “Out Loud: Three Short Plays,” directed by Michael Witkes, and Caryl Churchill’s “This is a Chair,” directed by Hayley Cooke.

“The Love of Don Perlimplin for Belisa in the Garden” tells the story of Don Perlimplin, a hopeless bachelor, who is convinced to marry the beautiful but promiscuous Belisa. Four potent scenes illustrate the tale of a man overcome by the spirits of passion and the desire to win the love of the woman to whom he is married.

The title character in “Hrosvitha” was a canoness at Gandersheim Abbey in 10th century Saxony, and is regarded as the first Christian playwright. By imagining the visit of a hostile monk and the conflict that unfolds, Romulus Linney examines the tensions that exist within and around Hrosvitha — a forward-thinking woman with an understanding of the world that didn’t always harmonize with her religious beliefs and deep faith.

“The play contends that we are the authors of our own stories,” Schneiderman says, “and that women, most of all, must struggle to rewrite the world around them.”

“Out Loud” comprises three short plays: “Black Eye” by Carolyn Gage, “Game On” by Gary Garrison and “Baby Steps” by Geoffrey Nauffts. The show explores the importance of overcoming the stigmatization of homosexuality and fighting for one’s sexual identity. One actor plays the lead in all three plays, following a journey from hiding his sexuality, to coming out with hesitation, to finally embracing his sexuality and standing up for himself as a proud gay man.

“This is a Chair” explores the relationship between language and meaning. Eight vignettes, juxtaposed with large title signs, look at the complexities of human relationships and the struggle to connect.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review has ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for seven years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

Performances of “New Visions” are Sept. 27-30. Evening A will be performed Saturday, Sept. 27, at 2 and 8 p.m and Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. Evening B will be performed Sunday, Sept. 28, at 2 and 8 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for one evening and $20 for a combination ticket including both nights. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.muhlenberg.edu/theatreanddance or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. For mature audiences.

Online Retailer Zulily To Open Hub In Bethlehem That Employs 1,200

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Online retailer zulily plans to establish a distribution center in Bethlehem that will create 1,200 full-time jobs over the next three years, Gov. Tom Corbett announced today.

The hub is targeted for 10 Emery St., an 800,000-square-foot warehouse owned by Liberty Property Trust in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII — former Bethlehem Steel Corp. land off Route 412.

Corbett said in a news release that the building will serve as zulily’s Northeast fulfillment center and the company is making a multimillion-dollar investment there.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/09/online_retailer_zulily_to_open.html

Allentown Approves New Parking Garage Near Hockey Arena

English: City of Allentown from east side

English: City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown officials have insisted they are prepared for the barrage of vehicles that will be coming into the city from the opening of the new PPL Centerhockey arena.

Now, those vehicles will have 1,000 additional spots to park in.

Allentown planners signed off today on a new seven-story parking garage at Sixth and Walnut streets, within walking distance of the arena and other major downtown development projects.

“The traffic’s coming, there’s nothing we can do about that,” said Oldrich Focuek, planning commission chairman. “You know ‘the British are coming?’ Well, the traffic is coming, and we’re trying to deal with that.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/09/allentown_approves_new_parking.html