INCREASING PUBLIC SAFETY: AFD AWARDED $365,000 GRANT FOR BREATHING APPARATUSES

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ScottAirPak“We are very pleased that our grant application has been approved,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski, in reference to the $365,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant awarded to The City of Allentown for new self-contained breathing apparatuses.  “Nothing is more important than public safety. Since 2006, we have made tremendous strides in improving our firefighting capability and enhancing the safety of our firefighters,” he added.

The funding for the new breathing apparatuses (Scott Air Paks) comes from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Out of the 43 Assistance to Firefighters grants awarded by FEMA, Allentown was given the highest allocation.

The air paks are assigned to city fire engines, with each firefighter receiving their own mask. Interim Allentown Fire Chief Bob Kudlak stated, “We are buying 74 of these units. They will be replacing our current 10-year-old equipment. The existing units were compliant with the standards established at that time; since then the standards have been amended in 2008 and 2013. The new units will comply with the standards currently in place. We hope to have these new units in our possession and in service this summer.”

The city has purchased five new fire-fighting vehicles since 2009, including two new engines, one rescue pumper and two 100-foot aerials. Grant funding was secured to install new ventilation systems in every fire station, and the city has purchased the best gear on the market for full body protection; helmets, boots and gloves. In addition, the completely rebuilt East Side Fire Station opened in February.

Interim Chief Kudlak expressed his appreciation for the award, saying, “The Allentown Fire Department is grateful to receive this Assistance to Firefighters Grant. These funds will play an essential role in ensuring that the department is able to purchase upgraded Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses, which provide breathable air to firefighters while they work to contain a blaze. We thank Senator Pat Toomey for his support of the Allentown Fire Department and for his assistance during the AFG process.”

TEE ‘EM UP FOR CHARITY: THE MAYOR’S 8th ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF CLASSIC

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Golf image 1It’s time to tee ‘em up and putt ‘em down once again.  Mayor Ed Pawlowski will be hosting his 8th Annual Charity Golf Classic next month. The Golf Tournament and dinner will be held on Friday, June 6, at Allentown Municipal Golf Course located at 3400 Tilghman St. in Allentown.

All proceeds from the event will go to benefit Lehigh Valley Active Life, formerly known as Lehigh County Senior Center.

Registration starts at 7:30 AM, with a 9:00 AM 4-person scramble with a shotgun start. Dinner will begin at 2:00 PM, including an Awards and Recognition program.  The tournament includes 18 holes of golf with a cart and a small bucket of balls for the driving range.  Mulligans will be sold at the registration table prior to the start of the tournament. Pot O’ Gold tickets will be available at the registration table as well, and raffle tickets for a variety of prizes will be available throughout the day.

The Prize for first place includes the engraving of the winning team’s name onto the Mayor’s Cup.  In addition, the Hole in One Prize will be awarded, which is an 8-night trip to the tropical island of Maui.

There are several levels of sponsorship for the event, as well as the opportunity to donate prizes. Please contact Diane Nolan at Dndod@aol.com, www.LVActiveLife.org, or 610-437-3700 with any questions on sponsorship or donations.

The deadline for entry to golf is June 1, 2014.  To register, please email Richard Warner at warnerr@enter.net  for registration forms.

A NEW CHIEF TO LEAD THE AFD: KUDLAK TAKES OVER

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Bob Kudlak took the oath of office recently as interim fire chief in the City of Allentown during a ceremony in City Council Chambers. “I have always been impressed by the passion and commitment Chief Kudlak has shown in the daily fulfillment of his duties,” said Mayor Pawlowski. “He is the recipient of many awards and citations. They are ample evidence of the time and energy he pours into his job.”

Kudlak has had an impressive journey from his beginnings in the Allentown Fire Department to his current position. A second-generation firefighter for the City of Allentown, Kudlak joined the department in 1986, and in 2005 was promoted to the position of Fire Marshal. In 2007 he became Captain of Public Affairs, and the following year was promoted to Captain of Fire Marshals.

Later that same year, he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations, which placed him as the second in command of the department. Among other duties, the Deputy Chief of Operations supervises and evaluates assistant chiefs, battalion chiefs, captains, lieutenants, fire marshals and firefighters assigned to the division as well as being responsible for all personnel and apparatus assigned to the department.

In addition to his promotions within the department, Kudlak has received various Departmental Awards and numerous Unit Citations. The Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Senate have recognized him for his accomplishments. The 27-year veteran of the department has also worked with the Lehigh Valley Hospital Burn Prevention Foundation, and is certified in the Juvenile Fire Setter Prevention Education program for the city.

Kudlak is certified as a Fire Investigator through the National Association of Fire Investigators and is a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators. He is a certified expert witness in the field of arson and fire investigation, and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a Fire Inspector and Codes Administrator. He has attained additional certifications in Hazardous Materials awareness, water rescue and is an Electronic Search Specialist through Project Lifesaver out of Chesapeake, Va. Kudlak holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Muhlenberg College.

“This is a great department and I am proud to be its leader,” Kudlak stated. “I am grateful to Mayor Pawlowski for giving the opportunity to direct the department and serve the citizens of the city is this capacity.”

Pawlowski also announced that Assistant Chief Lee T. Laubach Jr. is being promoted to Deputy Chief of Operations. Laubach is a 20-year veteran of the department. He was promoted to Fire Specialist in August of 2002, elevated to Lieutenant in April 2006, and promoted to Fire Marshal in June of 2008. He became Captain of Public Affairs in October 2009, and was promoted to Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention in September 2010. Laubach was also sworn-in during the ceremony.

Pawlowski announced that Deputy Chief Laubach will also serve as the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator and will lead the city’s new emergency management team. He will be joined by Allentown Police Captain William Reinik, Allentown Health Bureau Director Vicky Kistler, Communications Superintendent Mike Hilbert, Interim Public Works Director Craig Messinger and EMS Operations Manager Bryan Fritz.

“Each of these bureaus is critical to responding to emergency situations in the city,” said Pawlowski. “We felt that in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy we could make improvements in our delivery of services. These are some of the people who are on the front lines and with the official creation of the team it is our hope to be able to better coordinate our attack.”

COMMUNICATE YOUR EMERGENCY: TEXT TO 9-1-1 UNVEILED IN ALLENTOWN

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Text911NewserThe City of Allentown, in partnership with Telecommunications Systems Inc. (TSC), is slated to become one of less than a hundred 9-1-1 Centers in the country to provide an interim solution for short message service (SMS) text messages to 9-1-1 for emergency help when a person is unable to make a call.

Mayor Pawlowski expressed his excitement about the groundbreaking project, stating, “I’m very happy to be able to provide this service in the city. Technology is always improving. I’m pleased that we are just the fourth center in the Commonwealth to be able to provide this option.” Mayor Pawlowski tested the service himself by sending a test text message to the 9-1-1 Center during a recent news conference in City Council Chambers.

The four major U.S. wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint) have voluntarily committed to make Text-to-9-1-1 service available on May 15, 2014 in all areas served by their respective networks where local PSAPs have the technical capabilities to receive texts.

Superintendent of Communication Mike Hilbert also expressed his pride at the new system: “The Text to 9-1-1 solution we have implemented is the beginning steps of Next Generation 9-1-1 services for the City of Allentown. The staff of the Allentown 9-1-1 Center is proud and excited to provide our visitors and citizens the ability to Text to 9-1-1 when making a voice call is not an option.”

Text to 9-1-1 is intended primarily for use in these emergency scenarios:

  1.  For an individual who is speech or hearing impaired and…
  2.  For a person who is unable to make a voice call, for example during a medical emergency that renders the person incapable of speech, or in the instance of a home invasion, domestic violence, or abduction.
  3. Customers should use the texting option only when calling 9-1-1 is NOT an option. Using the phone to call 9-1-1 is still the most efficient way to reach emergency help, as texting is not always instantaneous.

There are also texting guidelines that should be followed:

  •  Providing location information and nature of the emergency in the first text message is imperative, since the Allentown Communications Center will receive only an approximate location of the cell phone, and will not be able to speak with the person sending the text.
  • Text messages sent to 9-1-1 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages.
  • SMS-9-1-1 should only be used to communicate between emergency help and the texter with no pictures, video, other attachments or other recipients appended to the message.
  • Text abbreviations or slang should never be used so that the intent of the dialogue can be as clear as possible.
  • Customers must be in range of cell towers in the Allentown area. If customers are outside or near the edge of the county, the message may not reach the Allentown Communications Center. In these cases, the customer will receive a ‘Bounce Back’ message advising them to make a voice call to 9-1-1.
  • Wireless phone customers must have mobile phones that are capable of sending text messages.
  • The texting function should only be used for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services.
  • Non-emergency issues should still be communicated to the Allentown Communications Center through its non-emergency line at (610) 437-7751.

REVITALIZING OUR NEIGHBORHOODS: MINI-GRANTS AWARDED TO LOCAL COMMUNITY GROUPS

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MiniGrantAwardees1The City of Allentown is awarding mini-grants totaling nearly $7,000 to nine community groups to revitalize city blocks. Mayor Ed Pawlowski made the award announcement at a news conference in City Council Chambers, attended by representatives of many of the applicants. These grants echo the continual focus of the mayor’s office to engage new groups in Allentown and emphasize social responsibility.

According to Pawlowski, “This ‘Love Our City’ program builds on our Quality of Life initiative, my neighborhood walks, the Neighborhood Improvement Ordinance and the Allentown Police Department’s community policing strategy all of which encourage proactive public nuisance abatement. The grant initiative proposes to increase resident participation as a way to sustain neighborhood attractiveness, safety, and resident quality of life by engaging volunteer residents in low risk, high impact neighborhood improvement projects.”

Allentown allocated the funding for this first round of grants from the $25,000 Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant awarded to the city last December. The Cities of Service model focuses on impact volunteering – volunteer strategies that target community needs, use best practices, and set clear, measurable outcomes to gauge progress. Dozens of cities across the nation have adopted the model since its introduction in 2009.

Grantee cities were selected based on the quality of initiative proposals, scale and potential for impact, and caliber of implementation plans, among other criteria. Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund initiatives address issues in the Cities of Service priority areas of education and youth, health, neighborhood revitalization, preparedness and safety, sustainability, and veterans. One of 23 cities to receive this type of funding out of 60 applicants, Allentown plans to utilize its base of volunteers and equip them with staff support and mini-grant dollars as they resolve identified neighborhood issues and replace the blight with beautification projects to be completed by July 15.

The “Love Our City” initiative engages individuals where they live, work and worship and provides a sense of ownership by having residents take control of neighborhood issues. The program expands on the mayor’s Quality of Life initiative, which he created in 2006 to address neighborhood and community quality of life challenges. With its focus on Mayor Pawlowski’s goal to sustain the city’s commitment to safe, clean and vibrant neighborhoods, it also complements the city’s existing SERVE Allentown service plan.

“Using volunteers, youth and adults, from schools, faith-based groups, community groups as well as interested individuals, the city is coordinating this initiative to revitalize and clean up neighborhoods one block at a time, said Pawlowski. “Schools, Faith-based leaders, neighborhood watch groups, and community organizations are assisting the city in identifying blight in their neighborhoods and recruiting volunteers to eradicate blight where they live, work and worship.”

A second round of grant applications will be made available this summer.

 

A DARKER SHADE OF GREEN: ALLENTOWN EARNS 36TH TREE CITY USA DESIGNATION

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TreePlanting14 The non-profit Arbor Day Foundation has voted Allentown as a Tree City USA for the 36th consecutive year. The Arbor Day Foundation, in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service, sponsors the Tree City USA program. More than 3,400 cities and towns have been recognized as a Tree City USA community.

“Allentown is pleased and proud to be a Tree USA community continuing a 36-year tradition,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “We take our role of being good stewards of our environment very seriously. Part of that commitment means providing high levels of tree care.”

Mayor Pawlowski’s statement rings true, as 18 non-shedding Sycamore trees were planted in the 1200 block of Hamilton Street recently by the city parks department and members of the Library Area Neighborhood Association and West Park. They were assisted by members of Lehigh Valley Presbyterian Church, Allen High School Rotary Service Club, Keenan House and Christ Lutheran Church.

There are four standards to achieve Tree City USA recognition. The municipality must: 1) have a tree board or department; 2) a tree care ordinance; 3) a comprehensive community forestry program with annual expenditures of at least $2 per capita; and 4) an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

According to Arbor Day Foundation Chief Executive John Rosenow, “Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens in communities like Allentown make smart investments in urban forests. Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits.”

GET OUT AND VOTE NEXT TUESDAY!

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Next Tuesday, May 20th, is Election Day, so please Get Out and Vote for our Democratic Candidates.

Please vote for:   Rob McCord for Governor

Dan McNeill for State Representative in the 133rd District

Mike Schlossberg for State Representative in the 132nd District

Peter Schweyer for State Representative in the 22nd District

Ed Pawlowski for State Committee

 

Please make YOUR VOTE COUNT next Tuesday!