AN INVITATION TO THE WHITEHOUSE: MAYOR ATTENDS ANNOUNCEMENT ON INITIATIVE TO END HOMELESSNESS OF VETERANS

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Mayor Pawlowski’s Photo of the First Lady During the Press Conference

Mayor Pawlowski was recently invited to the White House to attend an announcement by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden.  The First and Second Ladies are co-founders of the White House initiative “Joining Forces,” which finds ways to end homelessness of U.S. Armed Forces veterans across the country. Mayor Pawlowski attended the event at the request of the First Lady herself.

“There should be no veteran ever that comes home, kisses the ground after serving overseas and then ends up sleeping on it,” Pawlowski said.

Joining Forces is a three-year-old initiative which seeks to encourage businesses to hire and train veterans and other agencies to provide education and healthcare services.  The plan is to utilize over 800 local governments nationwide with coordinated outreach, as well as a “Housing First approach,” to put an end to homelessness by 2015, a date established by President Obama. In April alone, foundations and corporations in support of this endeavor pledged more than $160 million to aid veterans and their families.

The concept of homeless veterans is not new to the Lehigh Valley, where veterans fill 20 out of 40 beds at Bethlehem’s Victory House.  Raymond Bonilla, a veteran of Vietnam who recently lost his home, said, “I feel like the government is not doing enough. I mean…they are sending money out of the country every day. We got to take care of our own first.”

David Byrd, a veteran of the U.S. Army who has been in and out of shelters since 2008, expressed similar dissatisfaction; “Makes me feel like our country has let us down. I want nothing more than to have a place of my own. A place to live that’s mine. I want a place I can take my children to.”

The Lehigh Valley is just one example of this epidemic which has spread across the nation. There are nearly 58,000 homeless veterans in the United States, and that number will keep rising unless proactive action is taken. Mayor Pawlowski is intent on decreasing that figure, starting here in Allentown.  “We are going to continue our fight and utilize our resources to try and end homelessness for veterans in the city of Allentown,” he said.

 

 

A CHARITABLE ROUND: MAYOR’S 8th ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF CLASSIC ANOTHER OVERWHELMING SUCCESS

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The Mayor Poses with the Winners of the Mayor’s Cup

Mayor Ed Pawlowski presided over his 8th Annual Charity Golf Classic and Dinner recently, where a record $18,132 was raised to benefit Lehigh Valley Active Life, formerly the Lehigh County Senior Center.   The outing was held once again at the Allentown Municipal Golf Course, and to date, $118,841 has been raised for various charities in and around Allentown.

“I’d like to thank everyone who participated this year and donated to Lehigh Valley Active Life,” said the Mayor.  “It was just a great day for a round of golf for a worthy cause.  The good news is I have a whole year to work on my slice before next year’s  Classic.”

This year, 120 golfers participated in the event, with the Mayor’s Cup going to the City Center Lehigh Valley Investment Corporation foursome of Gregg Potter, Tom Arnold, Ed Beishine, and Jim McFadden.  The Lehigh Valley Educators Credit Union team of Rick Kern, Chris Schmidt, Woody Maxon, and Dave Creveling took 2nd place, while the Embassy Bank group of Paul Frank, Bryan Yarnell, Josh Agentis, and Brian Sabol took 3rd place.  The Longest Drive awards went to Candida Affa for the women, and Carl Greener for the men.  Closest to the pin awards went to Holly Thomas, Austin Bleam, Tom Arnold and John Andrulevich.

 

PROVIDING FOR THE TECHNOLOGICAL FUTURE OF OUR STUDENTS: MENTOR ALLENTOWN COALITION WINS NATIONAL GRANT

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The Award is Presented at the White House to Members of the Mentor Allentown Coalition

The Mentor Allentown Coalition was chosen as one of three Grand Prize winners in the annual US2020 City Competition held at the White House Science Fair in Washington, D.C., to lead a national movement to revolutionize the methodology of mentoring students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Allentown, along with the two other Grand Prize cities of Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Chicago, Ill., will share a variety of funding and volunteer resources that total approximately $1 million.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski and representatives from the Mentor Allentown Coalition announced project plans during a news conference at PPL Corporation headquarters.

The Mentor Allentown Coalition is a group comprised of over 30 different organizations, brought together by the Da Vinci Center to encourage the youth of our communities to pursue careers in the STEM fields. “The city of Allentown is undergoing a huge transformation that will have far-reaching effects, including thousands of new jobs and a vitality that our city has not seen for decades,” said Mayor Pawlowski. “Mentor Allentown will be equally transformational in the lives of Allentown’s young people.”

Through the Mentor Allentown project, local systems and structures will be created that will provide high-impact mentoring to close to 2,000 low-income students, students of minority backgrounds, and female students.  The Mentor Allentown Coalition hopes to triple the number of students currently being mentored in STEM subjects. The goal is to encourage young people to pursue STEM careers that will provide livable, family-sustainable wages, support existing Lehigh Valley companies, and attract new companies and jobs to the area.

The award was distributed by US2020, an affiliate of the national, non-profit organization Citizen Schools. Their goal is to encourage today’s students to explore STEM-related careers by providing mentoring to at least a million low-income, minority background, and female students by 2020. American STEM companies indicate that they are struggling already with an aging workforce and a shortage of qualified workers, and the U.S. Department of Commerce projects that there will be 1.2 million new STEM jobs by the year 2018.

Mentor Allentown will train STEM professionals to provide at least ten hours of direct and effective contact with students. The extended relationships between mentors and students along with Mentor Allentown’s program evaluations and training for mentors will ensure its effectiveness and help create a national model for successful STEM mentorship in cities. The Mentor Allentown Coalition is looking for STEM professionals to serve as program mentors. Interested professionals should visit www.davincisciencecenter.org/mentor to request additional information.

“The Mentor Allentown initiative – through the support of US2020 and its community partners – is about getting young people excited about STEM subjects, building student interest and achievement in these subjects,” said Lin Erickson, Da Vinci Science Center Executive Director and CEO. “Mentoring is a powerful way to make that happen. By developing high-impact mentoring opportunities, STEM employees will have a profound and prolonged relationship with students that can make meaningful differences in their lives.”

The Da Vinci Center’s Senior Director of Science and Strategic Initiatives, David Smith, Ph.D., will be convening the coalition for the Mentor Allentown project. A project manager has not yet been hired, and the center is currently looking for three AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers to help develop the program for July 2014-July 2015. The plan is for these professionals to be responsible for building the program’s capacity to be sustained on a long-term basis.

Below is a complete list-listed alphabetically-of participating mentor Allentown partners:

Air Products; Allentown Promise Neighborhood; Allentown School District; Allentown School District Foundation; Allentown YMCA and YWCA; The Baum School of Art; Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley; Boys and Girls Club of Allentown; Capital Blue Cross; Casa Guadalupe; Cedar Crest College; City of Allentown; Communities in Schools of the Lehigh Valley; Computer Aid; Da Vinci Science Center; Explorer Scouts, Minsi Trails Council; Girl Scouts of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANTA); Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC); Lehigh Career and Technical Institute (LCTI); Lehigh University; Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC); Lehigh Valley Health Network; Lehigh Valley Zoo; Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board; Muhlenberg College; Olympus America; PPL Corporation; St. Luke’s University Health Network; Thermo Fisher Scientific; United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley; and Wildlands Conservancy.

 

19th HOLE TO REOPEN AT ALLENTOWN MUNICIPAL: JACK’S SLICE IS NEW CONCESSIONAIRE

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Jack's SliceJack’s Slice was recently chosen by the City of Allentown as the official concessionaire at the Allentown Municipal Golf Course. The City announced in mid-May that Jack’s Pizza will take over the vacant restaurant at the golf course and call it “Jack’s Slice.”  Jack’s Pizza has been at the corner of Ridge Avenue and Tilghman Street since the 1980’s.

“They’ll make a great addition to the Golf Course,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “They’ve been an institution on Tilghman Street for decades, and it is always a welcome sight to see a local business expand to another location.”

The eatery beat out six other proposals and is currently constructing several upgrades to the building including adding another bar, several High-Definition televisions, and new outdoor patio furniture.  Additionally, a walk-in basement cooler for specialty beers, and a golf cart food service to cover all areas of the course will be added as well.

The restaurant will open 30 minutes before the first tee time during the golf season, as well as in the months of November, December, January, and February.  The lease will run until December 31, 2015, with an option for an extension of two additional two-year terms.  The facility will be open to the public as soon as the renovations are complete.

 

HONORING OUR BRAVEST: POLICE AWARD ACCOMODATIONS

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Chief Fitzgerald and Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Stephen Fiorillo Honoring Former Allentown Police Officers that have Passed Away.

In honor of National Police week, the Allentown Police Department honored more than 60 officers and members of the community at the Scottish Rite Cathedral during a two-hour commendation and award presentation ceremony. The event also served as a memorial service. Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin was the principal speaker. Residents and businesses were also honored for their contributions and donations, which included elementary school student safety officers, as well as a crossing guard.

Commendations for bravery, heroism, merit, and achievement were distributed during the ceremony.

Several officers received commendations for bravery, with Allentown police officer Ryan Koons receiving three, Officer David Howells III and Officer Robert Flores receiving two, and Lieutenant William Reinik, Sergeant William Lake and officers Craig Berger, Alfred Boccadoro, Alex de la Iglesia, George Heiserman, Stephen James, Mark Jarrouj, John Leonard, Damien Lobach, Ryan Murray, Scott Snyder and Richard Wehr receiving one.

Other officers received commendations for heroism. These officers included: Victor Diaz-Gonzalez, Leonard Fritzinger, Cherie Lebert, John Leonard, Nicholas Lerch, Chad Mertz, Stephen Rosenberger, Dale Stokes, Scott Snyder and Johann Wilcox.

The Police Department also issued commendations for merit as well, with officers Matthew Diehl, Robert Flores and Kyle Pammer receiving two commendations each. Sergeant Eric Heicklen, Detective Sergeant Salvatore Aprile, Detective Eric Brenner and officers Ryan Alles, Michael Beidelman, Craig Berger, Lonny Bryfogle, Vicor Diaz-Gonzalez, Andrew Fegely, Dean Flyte, Leonard Fritzinger, Christopher Hendricks, David Howells III, Ryan Koons, Kirk Pierson, Stephen Rosenberger and Matthew Vernon also received commendations for merit.

Two commendations for achievement were awarded to Officer Matthew Vernon, with Lieutenant Andrew Hausman and officers Yamil Castillo, Victor Diaz-Gonzalez, Christopher Hendricks, Benjamin Iobst, Ryan Koons, Johann Wilcox and Para Police Officer Joey Rivera receiving commendations for achievement as well. Commendations of merit also went to Jeffrey Bruchak, a Whitehall Township police detective, and Chad Wasserman, a City of Bethlehem police detective.

Civilians honored included: Edwin Aponte, Wilkyns Melendez, Sammy Sanchez, Joseph and Matthew Kochan, Angel Otero, Milagros Cintron, John Badillo, George Marshall and Thomas Krasley. Also honored were the Allentown Special Fire Police, Kutztown University Professor Dr. Gary Cordner; John Sikora of Lehigh County Adult Probation; Elizabeth Fritz of Lehigh County Juvenile Probation; Colleen Gilbert and Ralph Romano of the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office Domestic Violence Unit; Diane Zanetti, Executive Director of Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley; Suzanne Beck, Executive Director of the Crime Victims Council and Thomas Kuder of Mack Trucks.

The department also recognized contributions made by Lehigh Valley Kennel Club, Allentown Dog Training Club, Packaging Corporation of America, Indian American Association of Lehigh Valley, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, Jordan-Martin Masonic Lodge #673, Fairview Crime Watch Group, Fegely Enterprises II, Inc., Hounds on Working Leashes, Carmody Shoe Repair, Bib Brothers Big Sisters Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Susan Pickens and Beauregard, Reverend Michael V. Comick and Stacy Bruce.

The Allentown Police Department also honored twelve students from the Allentown School District, who were awarded School Safety Patrol of the Year. They are: Amanda Aponte of Central Elementary, Mikayla Jones of Cleveland Elementary, Tyler Durgin of Hiram Dodd Elementary, Kyla Gonzalez of Jefferson Elementary, Haylie Pineiro of Lehigh Parkway Elementary, Amir Ysa of Mosser Elementary, Jaden Barr of Muhlenberg Elementary, Scarlet Abreu of Luis A. Ramos Elementary, Jalitza Hiller of Ritter Elementary, LizJenaida Lopez of Roosevelt Elementary, Bernadette Vincent of Sheridan Elementary and Omar Pagan of Union Terrace Elementary.

The award for Crossing Guard of the year went to Mary Buesgen.

The event concluded with police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and Allentown Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Stephen Fiorillo honoring former Allentown officers that have passed away. The two men laid a wreath in front of the Scottish Rite Cathedral in honor of Allentown officers Inspector Frank Peters, Captain Ernst Lilly, Captain Robert Ring, Lieutenant Detective John L. Deily, Lieutenant Anthony Guerino, Lieutenant Richard Rau, Sergeant George Horvath and Sergeant John Barnhart, who have all died over the past year.

 

 

RISING FROM THE ASHES: A BIGGER AND BETTER YOUELL’S OYSTER HOUSE OPENS AND THE SHANTY RETURNS

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Youells RenderingYouell’s Oyster House, after suffering a devastating fire in late January of 2013, has reopened its doors following a year and a half of renovations. Located in the 2200 block of Walnut Street in Allentown, the $2 million construction project began this past September and was completed in March, with the grand opening occurring in mid May. Mayor Pawlowski presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Youell’s has been a fixture in the West End since it opened its Allentown location in 1992.  The original Easton location has since closed.

Inspired by the revitalization of downtown, and the anticipated opening of new restaurants, the completely rebuilt Youell’s features 6,000 sq. feet of space, a mezzanine level, and a rooftop garden. Much more spacious than its old accommodations, Youell’s now has the ability to provide service to a total of 160 patrons, with seating on the main level as well as in the mezzanine.  The new building also has wheelchair accessibility and a full service bar.

Another classic West End eatery has returned to its roots.  The Shanty has re-opened its doors at its original location on 19th street.  Once a prominent fixture of Allentown’s West End Theater District, the restaurant closed in 2005 and the building was turned into a high-end Hair Salon.  Now under new management, the restaurant has re-opened with a new and improved façade, and several interior improvements.

With custom made booths, a lounge with 14 refurbished movie theater chairs, LED and pendant lighting, and a front brick patio for outdoor dining, The Shanty is almost unrecognizable; However, some old fixtures remain, such as the salad bar, the art deco inspired decor, and the open concept kitchen.  The Shanty now as the capability to seat 125 patrons, and features a private party room that can seat up to 40 people.

“It’s great to see these two fine dining establishments return to their original sites,” Mayor Pawlowski said, “These restaurants will provide new and exciting dining options for the residents of the Lehigh Valley.”

Part of the $2 million needed for the renovation of Youell’s was acquired through a $150,000 low interest loan provided by the City of Allentown Economic Development Loan Fund. With the money from this loan, Youell’s was able to re-open its doors in relatively short period time, and continue its legacy as a staple in the Allentown dining community.  For more information on the new and improved Youell’s Oyster House, visit http://youellsoysterhouse.com/ or call (610)-439-1203. You can also email info@youelloysterhouse.com.

The low-interest loan program is an excellent way to for new businesses to acquire that extra capital needed to open the doors, or for current businesses to expand or renovate.

If you are interested in receiving a loan for your business, contact the City of Allentown Economic Development Loan Fund’s Business Development Liaison Duane Tolson at (610)-439-5964 or at Duane.Tolson@allentownpa.gov.

PREPARING OUR FUTURE COMMUNITY LEADERS: 4th ANNUAL LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE

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leadership-instThe Sacred Heart Hospital Conference Center recently hosted the 4th Annual Leadership Institute. The Conference, run by the Neighborhood Resident Leaders Program, featured leadership training in a variety of disciplines for both teenagers and adults.  Workshops for teens were conducted including Connecting with the Real You and Life Skills Tune Up, while adults attended seminars focusing on Cultural Sensitivity, Communication, and How to be a Servant Leader. There was also an opportunity to participate in a personal Leadership Clinic for Advanced Leadership.

The training offered during the event focused on those who are looking to make a difference in their communities. In particular, the event is targeted at those looking to coordinate neighborhood activities for the very first time, leaders looking to bring new life to neighborhood activities, and residents who are looking to refine their leadership skills.

Teenagers, in particular, were encouraged to participate in the event. Young adults who are aspiring leaders or who are actively involved in their own communities were provided the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to be an effective leader and how to deal with the problems that teenagers face.

The Connecting with the Real You session focused on how teens can stay true to their personal values in any type of situation, while the Life Skills Tune-up concentrated on time management skills, how to handle difficult situations, cultural insensitivity, and how goals can be vital for success. The Life Skills Tune-up workshop was lead by Pastor Darian and Yolanda Colbert, a husband and wife team.

Heralded by past participants as both informative and fun, the conference presents residents with an opportunity to take on positive leadership positions in their neighborhoods.  Rachel Lang says, “This workshop was an easy way to practice community building on a small manageable scale. I laughed, I thought deeply, and I think I’m better for it. Hopefully I might be able to jump right into leadership roles now that I know I can.” Carol Johnson expressed a similar sentiment, stating, “This was an excellent Leadership Workshop. I encourage any individual in a leadership position to take the next class and bring youth leaders with you. Leadership skills are always ongoing.”

Participating in the event were: HYPE Director Jenna Azar, Professor Latif Matt, Pastor Gregory Edwards, educator Shannon Mayfield, Pastor Darian and Yolanda Colbert and Senior NCBI trainer Phyllis Alexander.