It’s that time of year . . .

The Gadfly invites “local color” photos of this sort

. . . when Mother Nature’s l’ill childrun head out on their own



sit too long in that chair

and you might have some trouble

getting up








someone’s feeling

left out







every house

needs a

greeter flower




Can you tell Gadfly’s not getting much work done on this hot day?

On the menu, a Roasted parklet: another space to beautify South Bethlehem

(The latest in a series of posts on the Southside and Neighborhoods)

Those who have hacked into Gadfly’s library account as well as those who read this blog closely know he has been reading Jeff Speck’s Walkable City.

When just having read that “street life” is among the “central qualities” in improving city life, he comes across this project from one of follower Karen Beck Pooley’s classes:

Mary Ellen Alu, “Parklet Pops Up on South Side Bethlehem.” Lehigh News, July 17, 2019.

There’s a colorful interlude for passersby on Fourth Street in Bethlehem—a pop-up Parklet outside Roasted restaurant built by Lehigh’s Engineers Without Borders outreach committee and Professor of Practice Karen Beck Pooley’s Lehigh Valley Parklets team.

The colorful parklet, a sidewalk extension that fits within two city parking spaces and strives to improve pedestrian and customer experiences, will be in place until Oct. 31.

“Our hope is that more people will come out to the South Side, especially Lehigh students, and integrate more with the community,” said Annaliese Cunniffe ’19, who chaired the outreach committee. “And to beautify the South Side too.”

The Parklet outside Roasted, which cost about $1,000 to construct, is 34 feet long and 7 feet deep and filled with color—red, yellow and orange. A bench stretches across the back wall, allowing for different configurations of tables. The gray flooring is made of pallets, and a mural was added to the back wall.

The students, who received trained in woodworking to complete the project, built the Parklet inside Building C at the Mountaintop campus, then transported it in sections to Fourth Street. The students consulted with Roasted owner Derek Wallen on design.

“It’s great from our perspective because we got to do a hands-on project,” said Cunniffe. “From the community’s perspective, it brings in another space to beautify South Bethlehem, offers people another place to visit and provides more space for Roasted.”

Lehigh students have designed, constructed and tested other Parklets throughout Bethlehem.

Karen is the Professor of Pop-Up at Lehigh University.

City Councilman Shawn Martell resigns, perhaps opening the way for early start by Grace Crampsie Smith

(The latest in a series of posts on City government)

Sara Satullo, “With resignation of councilman, there’s now a vacancy on Bethlehem City Council.”, July 18, 2019.

Bethlehem City Councilman Shawn Martell is resigning from his seat in mid-August because he is moving to Washington, D.C., for a new job.

A lifelong Bethlehem resident, Martell is moving to the nation’s capital to join his fiancé and work with the public education team at the United States Botanic Garden. The teacher said it is a difficult choice.

“Bethlehem has been my lifelong home and given me so much over the years,” Martell said in a press release.”… Rest assured that I will also continue to advocate for smart, sustainable and progressive community and economic development.”

Martell said he is most proud of council’s collaborative effort to protect and invest in Bethlehem’s neighborhoods, promote economic stability, prioritize fiscal sustainability and increase government accountability and transparency.

While Martell opted to not seek re-election this year, his Aug. 19 resignation will leave a short-term vacancy on council until newly-elected members are sworn-in in January. Council is mandated to appoint someone to fill the seat within 30 days of Martell’s resignation.

Council will discuss the vacancy at its next meeting Aug. 6 under new business, said Adam Waldron, council president.

Waldron thinks that council should appoint Democrat Grace Crampsie-Smith, who is running unopposed in the November general election, to fill the remaining two year’s of former Councilman Eric Evan’s seat.

Important alert: New Bethlehem Service Center for non-emergency communications

For emergencies in Bethlehem, still call 911 (no change).

To communicate non-emergencies in Bethlehem:
By phone: 610-865-7000|
By email:
By app: Bethlehem City Service Center on the App Store or Google Play
By website:


Sara Satullo, “Want to report that giant pothole that nearly ate your car? Bethlehem now has an app for that.”, July 18, 2019.

Ashley Stalnecker, “There’s an app for that: Bethlehem launches Service Center.” Morning Call, July 18, 2019.

With the consolidation of Bethlehem and Northampton County’s 911 services last month, officials on Thursday announced the formal opening of the Bethlehem Service Center and its accompanying app.

For emergencies, residents still will call 911 to notify the Northampton County 911 Center. For non-emergencies, residents will contact the city’s service center. To submit a concern they have options: Call or email, use the center’s website or use its new, free Bethlehem Service Center app.

Available on both Android and Apple smartphones and other devices, the app allows users to pick from five types of complaints, covering buildings, safety, nuisance, road and utility issues. Users can also attach media such as photos or sound to help document the issue.

Bethlehem Mayor Robert Donchez said the app was developed so the city could be more accountable, informative and transparent to its citizens.

Bethlehem City councilman William Reynolds said the app will narrow the gap between Bethlehem’s citizens and City Hall. “This is really a step forward, I think, as far as expanding the ways in which people are able to contact City Hall,” he said.

All complaints received by the service center will be sent to an applicable city bureau. The app will notify three to five people best suited to deal with the problem based on its classification. Robert Novatnack, the city’s emergency management coordinator, who is responsible for managing the center, will also be notified.

Mayor Robert Donchez announces the Bethlehem Service Center:

Remarks by Councilman J. William Reynolds:

Further remarks by the Mayor, and the Mayor and Business Manager Eric Evans answer questions. Evans describes the communication process in detail:

Huzza for the City


Gadfly hopes you have few emergencies and non-emergencies!

The City needs to improve recycling effort in food-service area

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

Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.


As Dana points out, quite a few local businesses are taking steps to be more sustainable, and it is definitely worth letting them know you appreciate it. In the case of serveware & packaging, it does increase their costs somewhat. When government does not act, less-responsible businesses may get a competitive edge.

“Biodegradable” take-away containers, utensils, plates, & cups are far better than the styrene and polypropylene they replace, largely because they reduce the horrible environmental health hazards associated with their manufacture. However, since local cities do not provide a way for the [items] to actually be composted, most of them wind up in the landfill anyway—and under those conditions, they can take hundreds of years to break down. The city should provide composting for food waste and compostable food-service products.

While we’re on this subject, it’s worth pointing out that the city still does not provide on-street recycling in the downtown areas and does not even require all food-service establishments to provide effective recycling in ways that encourage their customers to recycle.


Numbers can lie, and the Mayor can speak

(Latest post on such topics as Neighborhoods, Southside,
1st Terrace, Affordable Housing)


If “data-driven” means making decisions based on fact rather than assumptions or favoritism, I’m all for it. But I think we all know that statistics data can be shaped to prove almost anything, so that approach can be dangerous as well.

The ABCs should not be mere puppets, but for the Mayor to be silent on important issues is also inappropriate. He is, after all, an elected representative of the people, and silence communicates agreement. (Too often, he has used his platform to speak out in favor of developers, even when proposed development clearly violated the city’s own ordinances.)

Peter Crownfield

Two Councilpersons respond to the Bethlehem Residents for Responsible Development

(Latest post on such topics as Neighborhoods, Southside,
1st Terrace, Affordable Housing)

Contact for the Bethlehem Residents for Responsible Development is Seth Moglen: This group is open to all, not just 1st Terrace area residents. The more membership, the greater the power. And the issue here is not limited to one neighborhood.

So Gadfly has covered in detail the forceful first appearance of what he thinks we can now call the “Bethlehem Residents for Responsible Development” at City Council Tuesday night. A group that he feels can accomplish much good.

But there were two meaningful responses by Council members that we should note as well.

First, Councilwoman Van Wirt.

In reference to the 1st Terrace issues that the residents spoke about, PVW wants data and seemed to get into a slight bit of tangle with the City rep over getting it. Nothing serious. But I don’t think the rep got the importance of what PVW was asking.

PVW has described herself as data-driven. She’s a doctor. A “fixin’ doctor,” a term Gadfly’s kids used to differentiate their father’s degree.

Data-driven — Gadfly likes that.

PVW wanted “firm data,”  a “firm study” to show “actual need” for housing around Lehigh. She wanted “something to refer to.”

(Ha! Gadfly would “fix” that ending preposition to “something to which she could refer.” See, kids, your dad is a “fixin’ doctor” too!)

Gadfly likes that. Glad we have a person like that on Council.

Second, Councilman Reynolds.

JWR thanked the Mayor for weighing in strongly on the 1st Terrace proposal, but his more general point was the power that Mayor has in such situations, implying, Gadfly thinks (he almost literally talked directly to the Mayor at one point), that the Mayor/Administration should wield that power more often.

“One of the lessons going forward here is the power the Administration has to weigh in on these projects publicly and privately. . . . when Administrations take positions on any of these things, it is extraordinarily rare for these Authorities, these Commissions, these Boards to necessarily say no, no, no, we disagree with what the professionals say, we disagree with what the full-time people say, we disagree with what the elected officials say about this. . . . and I want to say thank you to the Mayor for weighing in on this, but at the same time it’s also a model. We can pass all the ordinances we want. But the strongest thing that we have is that we have an Administration that will stand up and say we like this project, we understand some people disagree, we understand some people don’t like elements of it. . . . I just think that going forward . . . as we talk about other development projects throughout the City, all of our voices are important, but the most important one is siting there [the Mayor], and I have confidence, I have faith, and I just want to say thank you.

Gadfly thanked the Mayor too. He didn’t trust the Zoning Commission to have any more “No” than the Planning Commission in this 1st Terrace proposal that seemed so obviously wrong. Gadfly liked that the Mayor saw it his way.

But how would he feel in the opposite case.

Which, Gadfly feels, has happened in the not-so-distant past.

JWR seems to literally argue for a strong Mayor (Administration). But does that tilt the ABCs toward puppet rather than independent status?

Gadfly needs to chew on this some more. You are welcome to help.