The June 5 death of Magisterial District Judge Robert Halal, who served the communities of Whitehall and Coplay, stunned not only the community but the region, and folks came together Saturday evening at Egypt Memorial Park to celebrate his life and legacy.
More than a thousand people waited in line to offer condolences to Halal’s wife, Denise, and other members of the family. The line at times stretched from just inside the park to the pavilion. Some waited an hour to talk to the family about “Bobby,” his engaging smile and his passion to put others before his own welfare.
Coplay Saengerbund’s strong bond with Austria was front and center May 30 when the Burgenland delegation was present for the Saengerbund’s 100th anniversary festivities.
The 14-member delegation was led by Hans Niessl, governor of the Federal State of Burgenland. Dr. Wolfgang Waldner, Austrian ambassador to the United States, traveled from Washington, D.C., for the special program.
Welcoming the Burgenland delegation were Frank Luizer, Saengerbund Heritage Committee chairman; Kevin Fritz, Saengerbund president; and Dean Molitoris, Coplay mayor.
Whitehall Township may partner with Lehigh County for the township to acquire a historic farm in the northern tier. The farmland preservation process is in keeping with the county’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.
The board of commissioners at its Monday workshop meeting listened to details regarding the project involving the Mickley-Prydun Farmstead at North Church and Spring streets. The wooded tract includes a barn and a log cabin and is sloped in some areas.
Whitehall Township will continue its rich tradition on Memorial Day, with the three township veterans organizations paying tribute to those who fought in past wars. A new ceremony will be held Monday with the dedication of a veterans memorial on the grounds of the municipal building on MacArthur Road. The site honors all veterans — those who served in war and during peace, at home and abroad, in the past and at present.
The Coplay-Northampton Bridge will be closed to traffic May 31. The 1930s-era span will be demolished and a new one erected during a construction project expected to take three years.
Northampton Borough Council learned of this official date at its May 4 meeting.
“We have received a communication from Shawn Samek, of Trumbull Corporation, notifying us that, in all likelihood, the Coplay (Northampton) Bridge will be closed on May 31, 2017,” borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said.
The Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum, the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to the cement industry, with over 3,000 artifacts, photographs and hands-on exhibits, will open for the 2017 season this Sunday at 1401 Laubach Ave.
Observing its 21st anniversary, the museum, free to the public, will be open on the second and fourth Sundays of each month, 1-3 p.m., through September.
Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners, at its meeting Monday night, granted conditional approval for Keystone Harley Davidson to put a motorcycle dealership and warehouse on an undeveloped tract on Eberhart Road at Seventh Street.
Lidl Grocery, a German-based chain, also is projected to have a store at the site, just north of Gilboy Ford on MacArthur Road.
Keystone Harley Davidson is the only such business in the township. More than three decades ago, there was a foreign-made motorcycle store north on MacArthur Road.
With Whitehall Township’s financial status in excellent shape — taking into account the township is embarking on constructing a first-ever emergency services building with the police station as the hub — Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. said a secondary benefit will be a new road that could avoid traffic gridlock on MacArthur Road in the event the busy highway has to be shut down due to a serious accident.
Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners at its Monday workshop meeting agreed, with a bit of hesitancy, to back a $5 motor registration fee proposal that is before Lehigh County Board of Commissioners — but not before stating its support must come with a “guarantee” the funds would go for road improvements.
Commissioners further stated the increase in the vehicle registration fee, which will yield the township $1.2 million, must be carried out on a per-capita basis.
From Egypt to Fullerton and Cementon to West Catasauqua — and areas in between, like Darktown — Whitehall Township’s streets and neighborhoods will soon appear much brighter at night.
Mayor Edward D. Hozza Jr. has reported an upgrade in street lighting — state-of-the art LED lights along streets in the township.
The program began in 2016, with the Village Green, Rolling Hills and Pine Tree communities hooked up with the LED lights. Hozza’s 2017 proposed budget looks to spend approximately $1 million to convert the remaining township-owned streetlights to LED technology.