Erin Hockley shows a picture of her son Dylan

Erin Hockley shows a picture of her son Dylan

Nicole Hockley, the mother of six-year-old Dylan Hockley, a victim of the senseless 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., recently held a Press Conference here in Allentown.  She joined Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller, and Allentown Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald to publicly endorse an anti-gun violence bill that keeps firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.

“Dylan was my superman,” said Hockley, as she showed a picture of the first grader wearing a Superman t-shirt.  “He loved chocolate, the moon and garlic bread,” she said as she held back tears.

Hockley, Communications Director for Sandy Hook Promise, an advocacy group of parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings, is on a national tour to gain bi-partisan support for the bill known as “Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities.”

“Local leaders understand the importance of equipping our community organizations and law enforcement with the infrastructure needed to identify and address mental health issues as it relates to preventing violence,” said Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.  “I am proud to stand with Nicole today in support of this vital piece of legislation.  I truly hope our members of Congress will do the same thing.”

The bill, also known as H.R. 4783, was introduced by U. S. Representative Mike Thompson (D- CA), and would provide funding for school and community-based mental and behavioral health services, as well as training police officers to better handle incidents involving people who are mentally ill.  In addition, the bill would stop domestic abusers and the mentally ill from purchasing guns by closing background check loopholes.

“If we can’t unite around some common-sense gun laws, then maybe we can unite around issues of mental illness, to make sure that we have proper funding for mental health and to make sure that those with mental illness do not have the capacity or the ability to get a gun. I don’t think this is a lot to ask,” said Mayor Pawlowski.

The legislature was first proposed after the shooting in Santa Barbara that killed six people this past May. In both the Santa Barbara and Sandy Hook shootings, the perpetrators had a history of mental illness, as well as access to guns. Muller and Fitzgerald said that the bill would give communities more money and resources to properly address violence concerning the mentally ill.

During the event, Nicole Hockley asked lawmakers to have courage and pass the bill into law. She spoke about how much she has missed her son since his passing, and gets sad when she hears her older son, Jake, playing alone and without his younger brother.

“We should have a bipartisan approach and bipartisan support for this type of initiative. And if our legislators don’t get behind it — I’m going to be a little more straightforward — shame on them if they don’t get behind this,” concluded the Mayor.



Cellphone TextingIf you need help in an emergency and cannot speak for any reason, you can now text 911 on all major wireless carriers anywhere in the City of Allentown as part of the TEXT to 9-1-1 initiative.

Back in April, Allentown became one of less than 100 911 Emergency Communication Centers in the country to provide Verizon Wireless customers an interim solution for emergency help when a person is unable to make a 911 voice call by sending a text message to the 911 emergency number.  Service for T-Mobile customers was added in early June. With the successful deployment of Text to 9-1-1 services with AT&T and Sprint, all customers of the four major wireless carriers within the city are now able to utilize this potentially lifesaving service.

“I’m very proud of the team at our 9-1-1 Communications Center for their diligent work on this project,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “Enhancing our public safety service is certainly a great benefit for the citizens, visitors and first responders of the city.”

“I am happy to see that the Text to 9-1-1 services we have deployed are being successfully used by our citizens to request emergency assistance,” said Superintendent of Communication Michael Hilbert. “The inclusion of Text to 9-1-1 service for all major wireless carriers will now allow the majority of our citizens and visitors access to the public safety services of the city of Allentown when they are unable to make a voice call to 9-1-1.”

The Allentown 9-1-1 Center will now be working with the other wireless carriers operating in our area to provide Text to 9-1-1 service to their customers by the end of 2014.

Text to 911 is intended primarily for use in two emergency scenarios:

o For an individual who is speech or hearing impaired

o 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.

Customers should use the texting option only when calling 911 is NOT an option.
Users should call if they can and text if they can’t speak.   Using a phone to call 911 is still the most efficient way to reach emergency help.  One must remember that texting is not always instantaneous, which is critical during a life-threatening emergency. It may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in a text to 911 situation because of the extra time necessary to process a text message.

In case you are in an emergency situation where you need to text, it is imperative that you immediately provide an exact location and the nature of the emergency in a short, precise message.  Remember that text messages sent to 911 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages, and that you should not send pictures, videos or any other attachments.

Do not use text abbreviations or slang so that the intent of the emergency message is as clear as possible.

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.


PML Mayor Distinguished Service

Mayor Pawlowski receives his Distinguished Service Award from the PML earlier this year

The first major convention has been booked for the new Marriott Renaissance Hotel at 7th and Hamilton Streets as the Pennsylvania Municipal League (PML) will return to Allentown for the first time in 25 years.

The three-day convention, held every June at various locations throughout the state, is expected to attract over 400 Mayors and municipal leaders to the new hotel that is part of the PPL Center Arena Complex.

“It puts us back on the map,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “For decades, Allentown has been off the map.  In the whole Lehigh Valley, there really isn’t enough space for conferences of this size.  There’s a lot of disposable income that comes with these events.  It will help the restaurants, it will highlight and showcase the great venues we have and it will really pump new energy into town.”

The PML last held the convention here in Allentown in 1990 at what is now the Holiday Inn at 9th and Hamilton Streets.  Mayor Pawlowski has been actively recruiting organizations to come to the new $65 million, eight story, 180 room high-end hotel, which will offer luxury amenities and 20,000 square feet of meeting space, some overlooking the arena floor.

Mayor Pawlowski, who served as President of the PML last year, looks forward to the many conventions and events that the new hotel will draw.  “This is the first of many, and I’m honored that the Pennsylvania Municipal league will be the first major convention held at the Marriott.  I look forward to welcoming them in June,” he concluded.



ArenaSeatInstallationThe first seats for the new PPL Center arrived in grand style, similar to the arrival of an artist who will soon perform at the arena.  Delivered by limousine and carried down a red carpet, the first seats were installed as State Senator Pat Browne and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski were given the honor of being the first to sit and test their comfort level after they were permanently placed in the new home of the Philadelphia Phantoms.

“They’re very comfortable, with plenty of room,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “I think everyone who sits in this arena will be quite comfortable.  I can’t wait for the arena to open and for everyone in the Lehigh Valley and beyond to enjoy it.”

The seats are All-American, manufactured by Irwin Seating Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  All the seats will have access to a cup holder which will be attached to the back of the seat in front of them, except those in the front row, which will have cup holders on the arm rest.

During the five week installation process at the arena, Contractors for A.H. Butz will install 7,009 bowl seats, 1099 club seats, and 533 suite seats, which will take about five weeks to install.  All seats are expected to be in place by the week of August 18. The seats for the club and suite seats will be bigger than those in bowl area.

PPL Center will seat more than 10,000 spectators for concerts and more than 8,500 for Phantoms Hockey.  Spectators will get to try out the new seats when the Eagles, one of the biggest selling classic rock bands of all time, christen the arena on September 12th.

The Phantoms are the American Hockey League affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers, and the puck will drop for the first time for a pre-season game on October first against the Hershey Bears, a former Flyers affiliate.  Their first regular season home game will be on October 17th.



Skate Park FreshparkWhile still researching the best location of a permanent Skate Park, the City of Allentown unveiled its recently purchased portable Skate Park recently at the corner of 6th and Tilghman Streets.  The skate park can be completely disassembled, moved and reassembled in any location throughout the City.

“Until we find them a permanent home, the skaters have somewhere to grind safely and legally,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “We can set the park up at any event so that our youth and young adults feel welcome, and gives them something fun to do.  This allows us a lot of flexibility in how and where we set it up, depending on the circumstance.”

The park includes two quarter pipes, two launch ramps, two grind rails and six boxes with ramps on two or more sides, known as “funboxes.”  The pieces can be arranged into three different configurations.  One is 60 by 60 feet, roughly the size of half a tennis court.  Another is about 55 by 66 feet, and the smallest is 32 by80 feet, intended for small parking lots and block parties.

The components, built by the California-based Freshpark, cost about $5,300 to make, and are all foldable.  The park is designed to have 10 skaters at a time.

The Mayor mentioned that he was looking into the purchase of a portable Skate Park in his State of the City Address in January, and hopes that the park is fully utilized by all skaters in the City, wherever it is located.


Mayor Pawlowski with Bill Holler (l) and Sgt. John Guido (r)

Mayor Pawlowski with Bill Holler (l) and Sgt. John Guido (r)

Mayor Ed Pawlowski will host his 2nd annual Allentown Police Athletic League (PAL) Golf Classic on Saturday, September 13th at the Allentown Municipal Golf Course.  Over 140 golfers are expected to participate to raise money for Allentown PAL.

Besides donating $2000, Rob Bennett of the Bennett Automotive Group has donated a Toyota Prius for the lucky golfer who gets a hole in one on the designated hole.  Prizes will also be given to the man and women who are closest to the pin.

In addition, a Chinese Auction will be held, and all the proceeds from the tournament will to go to offset PAL Bowling, Basketball, and the annual summer camp, Camp Blue Line.  The Allentown PAL strives to improve the moral, physical, educational and civic standards of youth in the City, as well as promote friendship, fairness, and goodwill among young adults, as well as stimulate a friendly and respectful relationship between the city’s youth and its police officers.

You can help to make the outing a success in several ways.  You can register as an individual or as part of a foursome, sponsor a hole, donate a prize, volunteer, or simply make a monetary donation.

For more information on participating in the PAL Golf Classic, please contact Bill Holler, Chairman of Allentown PAL, at bill3051@rcn.com, or Sgt. John Guido, Activities Director for Allentown PAL, at john.guido@allentownpa.gov.




HeadshotMayor Ed Pawlowski will host a cocktail party for Democratic State Senate Candidate John Kane on Wednesday, August 20th from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Mayor’s home located at 43 N. 11th Street.  Kane is running in the 26th District, which includes Delaware and parts of Chester Counties.

A lifelong resident of Delaware County, Kane has served as Business Manager for Plumbers Local 690 since 2007.  In 2008, he was unanimously voted the #1 plumber in the state of Pennsylvania.

Tickets are $100, and you can make your secure online donation at www.votekane.com.  You can RSVP to Shelby Rexrode at (717) 213-4300 or srexrode@7pointsconsulting.com.

Don’t miss your chance to meet one of the rising Democrats that we need in Harrisburg who is dedicated to improving our public Education system, creating jobs, and protecting our children and seniors.