ALLENTOWN’S 250th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS

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2012 marks a significant milestone in Allentown’s history as the city is celebrating its 250th Anniversary.  Throughout the year special events and programs have been held to mark the occasion.  The year-long tribute culminates with a weekend of events at the end of the month.

The “Celebration Weekend” will take place from September 27th through the 29th. The events include a Peace and Prosperity Ecumenical Service on September 27th, a Hess’s Hollywood on Hamilton Restaurant Night on the 28th and the Points of Pride Parade and Community Festival on the 29th.

“This is going to be a great weekend for the city of Allentown,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “A lot of planning has gone into this event, and the parade and festival will be the icing on the cake.”

Pastor Bob Stevens of Zion’s Liberty Bell Church who serves as Chairman of the Points of Pride Parade and Festival Committee shared updates about the Parade and Festival:

– An Opening Ceremony featuring the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps from the U.S. Army will take place in front of William Allen High School will kick-off the Parade at 11am.
– The Parade will head South on 17th to Hamilton Street and head East to the Downtown where the festival will take place.
– More than 20 bands will perform in the parade and at the festival.
– More than 70 groups are registered to participate in the parade and more than 90 are signed up for the festival.
– The festival, which begins at noon, features a Capital BlueCross Health Corner with more than 10 partners providing services.
– There will be fun activities for all ages.

For more details on this and other 250th Anniversary events, please visit www.allentown250.com.

Calling all volunteers! We need your help for a special day in Allentown’s history. Be a part of the Points of Pride Parade and Community Festival in Allentown on September 29th, 2012.

At the Points of Pride Parade, spectators will watch history pass by, from 17th down Hamilton Street, as each division of the parade represents fifty years in Allentown’s history.

Then the Points of Pride Community Festival will begin at noon on Hamilton from 8th – 10th Street and on 9th Street there will be vendors, exhibits, children’s activities and entertainers. The fun continues until 7 p.m.

To sign up please visit: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054EABAB2AA31-points 
if you have questions call or e-mail:
Tara Craig at 610-437-7530 ortara.craig@allentownpa.gov.

COMMUNITY BUILDS NEW PLAYGROUND AT FRANKLIN PARK

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Community members including residents, volunteers from local churches, and union members, gathered recently to build a new playground at Franklin Park.

Members from different unions, all part of the Lehigh Valley Construction and Building Trades Council, lent their expertise to assemble the new equipment, which cost $70,000, and was funded by the Trexler Trust Fund.

Members from Christ Lutheran Church and Congregations United for Neighborhood Action pitched in as well to build the new play structures early on Saturday morning, August 25th, providing the park with some desperately needed new equipment.

“By 7:30, pieces already were coming together,” said the Rev. Maritza Torres Dolich, outreach pastor of St. Stephen Outreach Center of Christ Lutheran Church, which is located next to the Playground.  “This is great for the neighborhood.  The kids can’t wait until it’s finished so they can play.”

“These guys work so fast, they were almost done by the time I got here,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “This park really needed an upgrade, and this provides the neighborhood kids with a new, clean and safe place to play, and I can’t thank the Building Trades and community members enough for their effort.”

“Some of these guys are not even from around here,” said City Councilman Joe Davis, also a member of Bricklayers Local #5.  “It doesn’t matter where the project is, we gather together to help out the community, whether it’s our own or not.”

The construction was nearly completed by noon, with only concrete left to be poured.  “This is what we do,” said Anthony Gallagher of Steamfitters local #420.  “Community service is a large part of labor unions.  We live in the communities, so we’re here to serve them.  We’re proud of our quality work and we want to share it with our neighbors.  That’s pretty much what labor unions are all about:  community,”

FIRED UP, READY TO GO!

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Mayor Pawlowski returned from attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. fired up and ready to move forward.  “All the speeches were great,” said Pawlowski.  “The President’s speech was very inspiring and really fired up the arena.  The energy and excitement was just off the charts.  The speech by former President Bill Clinton was just amazing.  He didn’t need to use any furniture to get his point across, just the facts.  The message was crystallized and focused.  The reasons to re-elect the President are very clear.”

Mayor Pawlowski and City Council President Julio Guridy represented Allentown as Pennsylvania delegates.  “It was an amazing experience,” added Pawlowski.  “I was honored to be in the same arena with all of those great Democrats.  We’re all fired up and ready to do our part to move this country forward by re-electing the President and all the great democratic candidates running in November.”

WHITE HOUSE EDUCATION FORUM

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Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Allentown School District Superintendent Dr. C. Russell Mayo recently participated in a White House Education Forum.  The event was hosted by the White House and the US Department of Education. It was held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House on August 31st.

Senior Obama Administration and Department officials led the conference which took an in-depth look at the Administration’s education programs and initiatives, including specific conversations about K-12, higher education and other focus areas.

“I have been fortunate enough to be invited to a number of White House forums,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “I have found representatives extremely receptive to listening to our ideas and concerns.  This one in particular was important because it focused on the issues facing elementary and secondary education, which are struggling here in Allentown due to state education cuts.  Dr. Mayo and I expressed our concern about how it is affecting our children’s education and what the Federal Government can do to help the Allentown School District.

MAYOR PAWLOWSKI PROPOSES PERMANENT FIX FOR CITY FINANCES

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The City of Allentown has notified seven companies that they may bid on Allentown’s exploration of a Concession and Lease agreement for its water and sewer services.  These seven were chosen from numerous submissions because of their vast experience with water and wastewater facilities management as well as their experience in the region.  They are: Aqua Pennsylvania, American Water, Access Capital, Lehigh County Authority, Macquarie, NDC Housing and United Water.

“All seven of these companies are first-rate and we will choose the company that is the best fit for the residents of Allentown,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “Even though we’re still working on this plan and working it out with City Council, we want to find the right company to work with once this plan has been thoroughly explored and finalized.”

These seven entities were pre-qualified to bid based on extensive research on each company.  This completes the first stage of Allentown’s due diligence in screening entities that will be invited to submit bids for this plan, and the city will continue the process with the next step of performance evaluations, and review of financing plans.

“This plan would make the pension fund solvent, and put the city on solid, financial footing for years to come,” concluded Pawlowski.

For more information on the proposed plan, please visit:  Public Questions Statements_Water Sewer Lease Public Meetings_Aug 2012

ALLENTOWN – TREE CITY USA

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The Arbor Day Foundation has named Allentown a Tree City USA for the 34th year!  The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the non-profit Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service.

“Allentown is proud to be a Tree USA community and very proud of our 34 year tradition,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “We have made a commitment to be good stewards of our environment. Part of that commitment means providing high levels of tree care. We also invite the public to join us by donating a remembrance tree in one of our beautiful parks.”

In order to gain the Tree City USA recognition, communities must meet four standards:  They must have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive community forestry program with annual expenditures of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Allentown also received a Tree City USA Growth Award for demonstrating progress in its community forestry program.  The city has made planting and nurturing trees a priority, and recognize the numerous environmental, economic and health benefits for the community.

“Trees are an important part of the fabric of Allentown,” said the Mayor.  “We have beautiful parks because of the abundance of trees, which provide shade for picnics or reading a book.  Trees line most streets in the city.  They are a true asset to the aesthetics and beauty of our city as well as help to produce clean air and keeping the city cool.”

PREVENTING DISEASE: CITY SPRAYS FOR WEST NILE VIRUS

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On Thursday, August 30th, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Lehigh County West Nile Program conducted its first mosquito control spraying operation to reduce high populations of mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile Virus.  A truck-mounted sprayer began at sunset and covered West Allentown and South Whitehall Township.

On Tuesday evening, September 11th, a second operation was conducted along the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Sumner Avenue corridors, Trexler Park and the area bounded by Basin St., Auburn St., Lehigh St., and Union St., including the waste water plant and Mill St. under the 8th St. Bridge.

The product sprayed is designed to provide quick, effective control of adult mosquito populations. The application material has a very low toxicity profile to mammals and is safe for the environment.

Certain mosquito species carry the West Nile virus, which can cause humans to contract West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents in areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of contracting West Nile virus.

Individuals can take a number of precautionary measures around their homes to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:

• Disposing of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold standing water.
• Properly disposing of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.
• Drilling holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
• Having clogged roof gutters cleaned every year;  the leaves from surrounding trees have a  tendency to plug drains.
• Turning over plastic wading pools when not in use.
• Turning over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.
• Aerating ornamental pools or stocking them with fish.
• Cleaning and chlorinating swimming pools not in use and removing any water that may collect on pool covers.

If a resident has stagnant pools of water on their property, they can buy BTI products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacterium kills mosquito larvae but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.

Additionally, these simple precautions can prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:

• Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
• Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
• When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.
• Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.

For more information about West Nile virus and the state’s surveillance and control program, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us.