1918 Spanish Flu “probably introduced here by German submarines.”

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For perspective on our current coronavirus situation, we are following the entrance of the 1918 Spanish Influenza, that paragon of pandemics, into the minds and bodies of Lehigh Valley residents who got their news through the Morning Call (the files of the Bethlehem Globe are closed to us at the moment).

Think what our current social media could do with this.

Flu 6

Morning Call, September 20, 1918

Muraling the Southside

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One of the meetings Gadfly was sorry to miss was the Historic Conservation Commission March 16 discussion of additional murals to the several already on the Southside.

The Southside Arts District is working with several property owners and businesses to permanently install murals at various sites throughout the south side downtown. Each of the murals is approximately 4’ x 8’ and is constructed of Parachute Cloth adhered to an Alumalite panel that will be adhered to the mortar of the wall.

Gadfly really likes this idea. How about you?

mural 1

Mural 2

Mural 3

Mural 4

Recent sustainability projects

logo The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate
Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council logo


Most readers probably are already aware, of course, that Bethlehem EAC’s ban [of single-use plastic bags] was banned by the state, part of the legislature’s ongoing practice of protecting business interests — no matter how much harm is done to people, wildlife, and the environment.

Those with an interest in such things might also want to take a look at these recent internship projects:

• Sustainability for Cafés and Restaurants [www.sustainlv.org/focus-on/sustainability-for-cafes-and-restaurants]
• Climate Action Planning for the Lehigh Valley [www.sustainlv.org/focus-on/climate-action-planning]

(More sustainability-related projects at: www.sustainlv.org/act-locally/internships-with-the-alliance/reports-posters-articles-by-interns)

Peter Crownfield

First reports of the 1918 Spanish Flu followed by two weeks of relative unconcern

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For perspective on our current situation, we are following the entrance of the 1918 Spanish Influenza, that paragon of pandemics, into the minds and bodies of Lehigh Valley residents who got their news through the Morning Call (the files of the Bethlehem Globe are closed to us at the moment).

So awareness of the Spanish flu “arrived” in the Lehigh Valley September 13, 1918 — through an unprepossessing and not especially alarming story on p. 17 of the Morning Call.

Over the next two weeks the news was dotted with stories every day — short Associated Press releases with headlines like these below, not immediately and not always on the front page, and sometimes two releases on a page in different positions, as if the editor was simply filling the space as releases came in without realizing their connection. All of which went to dilute impact.

Flu 2

Flu 3Flu 5Flu 7Flu 9Flu 10Flu 11Flu 12Flu 13



The news was all about someplace else. And that someplace else was in military camps — remember World War I was going on.

4,000 cases at Great Lakes Naval Station, 3,500 at Camp Devens, 857 one place, 9,313 at another, 3,000 new cases here, 500 new cases there, 1,200 in Philadelphia, 42 deaths somewhere else.

And the news was all about providing assurance. The situation was “in hand,” a “serious epidemic” was not anticipated, civilians were attacked but not in “considerable” numbers, health authorities were “confident,” the outbreak was mainly among Negroes, Pfeiffer’s Bacillus was identified as the possible cause, you could use Dover Powder for pain relief.

Dover Powder

But connecting the dots to bigger trouble was possible. First concentrated on the Northeast coast, the outbreak was recorded in Georgia, then Louisiana. High-level Army sanitation experts were deputized to “combat the disease.” Wives and mothers of afflicted soldiers began to be stricken.

Moravian Academy’s Green Team on Limiting the Use of Plastic in Bethlehem

logo The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate
Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council logo

This essay by Moravian Academy’s Green Team was generated as part of Touchstone Theatre’s Festival UnBound’s Sustainability Forum and is part of an ongoing initiative to stir our community, young and old, black and white, rich and poor, to think creatively about how we can make our home, our community, a better place to live. It is a challenge we can only successfully accomplish together.

Bill George, Touchstone Theatre

Limiting the Use of Plastic in Bethlehem

One issue that is prevalent in our community is single-use plastic pollution and waste, especially surrounding grocery store policies relating to food preservation. Our perspective on the issue is that our community could do a better job of cutting down on plastic use. This would help the environment by limiting the exposure to pollution from the plastic itself and the chemicals used in or on plastic. Is it possible to completely stop using plastic? In today’s world, maybe not, but it is not only possible but plausible to limit the use of plastic and to use more ecologically friendly options whenever possible. Imagine walking into a grocery store and going to the produce section to get some fruit. When you get there, there is plastic everywhere. Plastic bags to hold the fruit, prepackaged vegetables wrapped in plastic, even bundles of bananas held together by and wrapped in plastic. Why is so much plastic packaging necessary in our grocery stores when nature has already provided a natural package? There are such excessive uses of plastic in our community as wrapping bananas together even though they already have peels, unpeeling an orange and packaging it in plastic, or giving out single-use plastic bags in which to carry produce. These can contribute significantly to plastic pollution that can severely harm our environment.

In order to cut down on our community’s plastic use, grocery stores could provide more environmentally friendly options. These options could include having giveaways of free reusable bags for store members, charging extra for using a plastic bag (something that is already done in some places in the U.S.), using paper bags at the checkout instead, having recycling centers in the store for used plastic bags, and giving customers who bring in their own bags or pre-approved containers a small discount from their purchase. U.S. Senator Tom Udall and U.S. Representative Alan Lowenthal are both members of our government that have been pushing for legislation that addresses our country’s plastic pollution problems, specifically in relation to marine, waterway, and landscape pollution. Also, organizations like the Plastic Pollution Coalition seek to end plastic pollution through education of the public and encouragement of people to be more aware of their plastic consumer consumption as well as to encourage eateries worldwide to end their use of single-use plastics. The Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council also submitted a proposal to the City Council in February of 2019 asking the city of Bethlehem to place a ban on all single-use plastic bags and to enforce a ten-cent fee on paper bags.

One reason plastic pollution has become a big problem is because it poses a chemical danger to our environment. When plastic bags are left undisposed of in waterways like rivers, streams, or the ocean, they can leach toxic chemicals into the water and soil and damage surrounding plants and animals, affecting whole ecosystems and the water we drink. Additionally, in marine environments specifically, the plastic in our water can release odors that mimic those of some species’ food. This draws wildlife towards pollution and can cause entanglement and consumption, killing the animals. The microplastics consumed by organisms at the bottom of the food chain accumulate all the way to the top, resulting in our personal consumption of about 120-140 plastic particles a day.

A resolution to the plastic pollution problem requires action from all levels of our community from personal to corporate. We each must take personal responsibility for our contribution towards plastic use and consumption. By being increasingly aware of what we are purchasing and decreasing our use of single-use plastics by using reusable bags, jars, or containers, we can hope to reduce overall single-use plastic waste. We can also reduce our plastic use by buying from local and small business establishments to avoid large-scale plastic use from the shipping and packaging industries. Individuals can also use reusable water bottles instead of plastic ones.

On a business level, it is necessary to create anti-plastic policies to reinforce the benefits of sustainable action. In grocery stores, deterrents should be implemented against the use of plastic by utilizing a baseline monetary penalty for the use of plastic bags. To reduce plastic use, grocery stores can also invest in bulk food sections where the consumer can bring reusable containers or bags to get what they need. This method of purchase also decreases food waste since consumers only take what they need because the price would be based on weight and not what is cheaper, whether it be more than they need or not. Additionally, we believe that grocery stores should advertise and promote proper recycling and anti-food waste practices to the wider community. For example, stores should encourage the use of plastic bag recycling programs to which most people already have access by providing information about their locations, purposes, and benefits. At restaurants an effort should be made to not offer plastic straws or to, instead, offer a biodegradable or reusable option such as paper or metal straws. Restaurants can also replace styrofoam or plastic take-out containers with biodegradable containers.

Not only are personal responsibility and improved corporate policies necessary to reach a true solution but so is reaching out to our local legislatures and such government officials as Pennsylvania Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, Jr., to implement laws to protect our environment, health, and natural resources. We must appeal to local governmental bodies like the Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council to promote and to continue to protect the environment with legislation like their single plastic reducing ordinance created by the Waste Reduction Task Force. It all starts with voting for those who endorse environmental policies and limiting our plastic production or use.

Green Team
Moravian Academy
Advisor: Cole Wisdo

This essay is also posted on the Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council Facebook page March 26.

For the good coronavirus cause

1) Brought to Gadfly’s attention by the Lehigh Valley Monthly Meeting (Quakers):

New Bethany Ministries

New Bethany Ministries is a community of hope and support. We are a caring organization who stands on the front lines serving the most vulnerable population of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley. In 35 years we have never closed our doors, and we are working every day to make sure those doors do not close at a time when our neighbors need us the most.

Volunteer needs
We are encouraging volunteers to be conservative in their decisions to work. As such, we already have had many appropriately cancel plans and we are seeking additional volunteers at this time. Volunteers do not interact with the general public. For those committing to make a meal or help in the food pantry, we are scheduling just one or two people at a time. Please contact Brandy Garofalo at 610-691-5602 ext.210

Material needs
We are accepting all cleaning supplies and any food people can offer (non-perishable, fresh, frozen, prepared). Those can be dropped off at our office weekdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Monetary needs
We need your help to keep our doors open. Click here to donate.


2) Brought to Gadfly’s attention by the convenor Jillian Pitman of the East Hills Neighborhood Block Watch

📣 Attention 📣

If you need ADULT OR CHILDREN masks, please contact us. Just for Kids is sewing them, They are reversible & washable!

We have supplied a nurse at St. Luke’s with 25 masks, a paramedic, a concerned mom & her kids, Manor Care etc.

Sporting Teams available if you want to represent while keeping safe!

The masks have an extra layer of absorbent padding for extra protection!

There made out of a triple layer of cotton with an elastic ear loop measuring 8″ wide x 5″ high. They are not surgical masks and cannot be put in that category.  We sell them for $4.00 each and do not charge any tax.  We can make arrangements for delivery.




Email Orders to JMPITMAN0713@GMAIL.COM


Jillian M Pitman
Officer Alestas
Cpt. Jon Buskirk
East Hills Neighborhood Block Watch
3) Several other local organizations needing help suggested by the Morning Call.

Reposting: Great idea for Monday, March 30: Light up the Night for Healthcare Workers (and others)

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Tonight! Wouldn’t it be great if Kim’s idea caught on widely. Please distribute on your social media networks.

From Kim Carrell-Smith:


Also this last-minute idea, inspired by something my sister-in-law, a nurse in Phoenix Arizona, is doing with her friends. Hope some folks may want to participate.

Light up the Night

It’s going to be Luminarias, quarantine-style!

So folks could use luminaria bags and candles if they have them, or just put out candles in glasses, or maybe Christmas candles, or Christmas lights?!

Anything to send a message to healthcare workers that they are valued. And as one of my friends said, could we include grocery workers in this too?! I’ll be thinking of those dedicated folks, also, when my candles are burning!



Mrs. Gadfly suggests turning porch lights on works in a pinch too.