Allentown Named One of Five Top Large Workplaces in Lehigh Valley

Standard
Top Workplace Award

Mayor Ed Pawlowski accepts an award naming the City of Allentown one of the Top 5 places to work in the Lehigh Valley among large workplaces.

The City of Allentown has been named as one of The Top Workplaces in the Lehigh Valley.

The honor was earned as a result of an employee survey conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement.

The firm teamed up with The Morning Call to reveal the top 30 workplaces in the Lehigh Valley during a banquet attended by more than 200 persons at the newly opened Renaissance Allentown Hotel early this month.

The achievement is something that “you must earn,” according to Denise LaRue, who works for WorkplaceDynamics.

The city was selected as one of the top five large employers in the region defined as having more than 500 employees. The 30 award winning companies employ nearly 13,000 people.

“I am extremely proud to have the city recognized as a top workplace,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “Municipal government is required to take on a large variety of tasks that make Allentown a great place to live, work and play. Some of that work, by police, fire and public works for instance, is visible to the general public every day, but many of our residents will go years without ever coming to City Hall or other offices where a lot of work is done on their behalf. I am grateful that our employees see the city as a great place to work and shared their views with WorkplaceDynamics.”

WorkplaceDynamics conducts regional Top Workplaces programs with 40 major publishing partners across the United States. Over the past year, more than 5,000 organizations and one in every 88 employers in the U.S. have turned to WorkplaceDynamics to better understand what’s on the minds of their employees.

Candidates from Citizens For a Better Allentown Earn Places on May Primary Ballot

Standard

CBA_LogoAll eight candidates affiliated with Citizens For a Better Allentown collected enough nominating petition signatures to have a place on May’s primary election ballots.

The Democratic Party candidates in the slate for City Council are:

  • Councilman Joe Davis
  • Councilman Jeff Glazier
  • Candida Affa

Controller Mary Ellen Koval is also running for re-election as a Democrat.

The cross-filed slate of candidates the political action committee has endorsed for Allentown School Board are:

  • Elizabeth Martinez
  • Charlie Thiel
  • Audrey Mathison
  • Marc Telesha

The successful petition drives followed a rousing campaign kickoff event attended by more than 200 people at Candida’s Bar on 12th Street last month.

“I’m very pleased to be supporting such a great slate of candidates for City Council and the Allentown School Board,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski said. “I know this group of people can help continue to push the city forward as we make Allentown one of the best small cities in the country in which to live and work.

The goal of Citizens for a Better Allentown is to elect like-minded Democrats who can move the City of Allentown forward to a better and more prosperous future. It aims to cultivate leadership that is committed to building a stronger community by providing a quality education to every child, keeping our streets safe, and expanding economic development to all corners of the City.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski is the PAC’s chairman. State Reps. Peter Schweyer and Michael Schlossberg also serve on the group’s board of directors.

The recent and ongoing revitalization of the downtown has put Allentown on a path to prosperity. Citizens for a Better Allentown’s aim is to elect leaders who will continue to move the city in the same direction.

To learn more about Citizens for a Better Allentown and its slate of candidates, visit their Website, citizensforabetterallentown.com or like them on Facebook.

Supreme Court Candidate Kevin Dougherty Gains Support in Allentown

Standard

DoughertyinAllentownJudge Kevin M. Dougherty of Philadelphia visited Allentown on Feb. 18 as he kicked off his campaign for Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Dougherty is the administrative judge for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Trial Division, where he oversees all aspects of Pennsylvania’s largest civil and criminal trial court system.

More than 200 people attended the event with Judge Dougherty at Allentown’s IBEW Local 375 office on Liberty Street. There, Dougherty earned the support of Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, community activist Alan Jennings and numerous labor and community service leaders.

“I am proud to support Kevin Dougherty in his bid to become a Supreme Court judge,” Pawlowski said. “He’s done a lot of good work from the bench helping families and making the streets of Philadelphia safer.”

Three days later, the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee also endorsed Dougherty—one of two endorsements it gave for three open Supreme Court seats.

Dougherty was previously the administrative judge for Philadelphia Family Court for nearly a decade. He was first appointed to the bench by Gov. Tom Ridge in 2001 and won election to a full 10-year term later that year.

He requested his appointment to Family Court and was made Supervising Judge of the Juvenile Division in 2003. He became the administrative judge of Family Court in 2005, going on to make reforms in the juvenile justice system that would become models for the rest of the state.

Dougherty has been widely recognized as an expert on juvenile justice and judicial administration and has been appointed to serve on numerous boards, committees and commissions dealing with these subjects.

“I want the black robe I wear to be viewed by those who come before me as a beacon of hope rather than a symbol of fear,” Dougherty has been known to say.

But Dougherty has also been known for stern treatment of violent youths when it was needed. When Philadelphia was besieged with “flash mobs” of violent teens attacking random citizens, Dougherty made examples of the leaders by placing them in juvenile detention facilities. His quick actions were credited with restoring a sense of safety on Philadelphia streets.

Drive Over a Monster Pothole? Call the City Pothole Hotline

Standard

As winter turns to spring, the thoughts of motorists turn from avoiding icy Potholeroads to avoiding the shock-absorber punishment of what the ice and snow leaves behind: potholes.

That’s why motorists who encounter one of these tire-swallowing monsters are encouraged to call the City of Allentown’s Pothole Hotline at 610-437-8775.

The Streets Department recording asks callers to give the exact location of the pothole along with their name and telephone number in case the city needs to reach them to ascertain a more precise location.

A Street Department crew fills potholes using a unit that is fully self-contained and can be installed on any single axle dump truck. The unit has the capability of keeping hot mix material workable all day. The City has a goal of repairing potholes on high traffic volume streets within 24 hours and lower volume roads in 24-to-48 hours. If a complaint is received of a very large pothole, a supervisor is sent to the scene in a reasonable period of time to determine if immediate action is warranted.

Potholes result from the freeze-thaw cycle. Water seeps beneath the pavement through cracks caused by the wear and tear of vehicle travel. As the temperatures fall below freezing at night, the water becomes ice and expands below the pavement, forcing the pavement to rise. As the weight of traffic continues to batter this raised section – and the temperatures once again rise above freezing – a shallow divot occurs beneath the surface breaking the pavement and forming a pothole.

MOVING ALLENTOWN FORWARD: 2014 A YEAR IN REVIEW

Standard

City LogoLast year proved to be quite the year for progress here in the City of Allentown, from the revitalization of the downtown area to the start of construction of the American Parkway Bridge, Allentown saw a year of moving forward like no other.

“What a year,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “We saw the creation of Allentown 4.0 before our very eyes.  The most exciting part is this is just the beginning.  Allentown 4.0 continues this year, and I can’t wait to see what our city looks like at the end of next year.  What a great time to be in Allentown.”

The most significant achievement was the opening of the new PPL Arena, with a concert by legendary rock band the Eagles in September.  The City celebrated with the “Rise Together Allentown” arts and cultural community celebration the weekend after the concert.  The Philadelphia Phantoms played their first regular season game in October to a sell-out, capacity crowd.  The first building to open in the Arena complex was One City Center on Hamilton Street, which houses the Lehigh Valley Health Network Sports Medicine and Fitness Center.

Two City Center opened shortly afterward across the street from the arena complex, becoming the headquarters for National Penn Bancshares, with other tenants filling it to capacity.  The year also saw the construction of Center City Three on the old Colonial Theater site, and City Center Four, which will house STRATA Flats,which will have 170 luxury apartment units.

Last year, the city booked its first convention for the now-open Marriott Renaissance Hotel when the Pennsylvania Municipal Leagues Annual Convention comes to town in June.

The revitalization of downtown has resulted in over $1 Billion in development, hundreds of jobs for local construction workers, and when completed, bring thousands of permanent jobs and new downtown residents as well.  It is also expected to attract over a million visitors a year who will dine, shop and attend events at the new arena, making center city Allentown a prime destination once again.

The City made it easier to find a job by launching TweetMyJobs, a new online jobs platform that revolutionizes job recruitment by offering an easy and user-friendly online tool to find employment by combining mobile technology and social media.  Allentown also announced a new six-year, $3.3 million initiative aimed at revitalizing the remainder of Center City and surrounding area.

Speaking of dining, several new restaurants opened in the city last year.  The seventh Street Corridor, from Tilghman to Hamilton, saw many diverse ethnic eateries open, too many to mention.  Hamilton Street saw the opening of Crust, Chickie’s and Pete’s, Tim Horton’s Coffee and Donut shop, Roar Social House, Tony Luke’s, Johnny’s Bagels, and the Hamilton Kitchen.  We also received the news that Shula’s Steakhouse will relocate from Center Valley to the first floor of the STRAT Flats at Four City Center building this year, and more new, exciting dining choices are soon to follow as well.

Last year also saw the re-opening of a bigger and better Youell’s Oyster house, which was burned to the ground in a devastating fire, and the return of the Shanty to 19th Street.  Several new stores have opened around the City as well, including the upscale New York Fashion clothing store on Seventh Street near Tilghman.  Shopping and dining became easier with the introduction of the AMP (Allentown Merchant Payment) gift card, which can be used in many businesses in the greater downtown area.

The City saw many other major highlights besides economic development.  Public Safety was increased with addition of more police officers and security cameras.  The Emergency Operations Center re-opened with over $15,000 in renovations and enhancements.  The renovated East Side Fire Station on Irving Street also re-opened with a three-bay, two-story building that can accommodate up to eight firefighters and two paramedics.   The Allentown Fire Department also received a $365,000 grant to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatuses.

The City also saw the implementation of Text to 911, a service for those who are unable to speak to seek emergency help from the Emergency Operations Center.

The Quality of life for residents of Allentown were improved with the opening of a new warming shelter inside Alliance Hall at 6th and Chew for those seeking shelter from the cold weather.

In June of 2014, Mayor Pawlowski was invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to the White House to join her in announcing the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.  He joined other mayors from across the country to pledge to work together to end this growing problem.

The City of Allentown will open the Lehigh Valley’s first Community Center for the LGBT Community.  The Bradbury-Sullivan Community Center will be located at 1021 W. Turner St.

The Inaugural Cops Meet Block Basketball Tournament was held with police officers and young adults playing side by side to further enhance the positive relationship between the two groups.

The City of Allentown was recognized for its premier park system with the designated a Playful City USA for the 6th consecutive year, and the City purchased a portable Skate Park which can be quickly assembled for block parties and community events.

Allentown also received a boost to its fiscal health.  The City saw no tax increase for the 10th straight year, and a stronger fiscal position than is has been in decades thanks to the success of the water and sewer lease.  Allentown also saw a $280, 000 recycling performance grant, awarding the city for keeping the streets clean through an aggressive and efficient recycling program.

Mayor Pawlowski received several honors during the year:  He was appointed to the US Conference of Mayors Advisory Board; received the Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Municipal League; recognized by the National League of Cities (NLC) for the completion of several health and wellness goals for Let’s Move!  Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC).

Finally, the City received national attention when Allentown’s own Andre Reed, a Dieruff High School graduate, was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

To say that last year was significant in Allentown’s history is an understatement.  The progress that was made is just the start.  We all look forward to what this year will bring, with the completion of the American Parkway Bridge and the beginning of the Waterfront Development.  Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

 

NEW WHEELS FOR THE BIKE UNIT: LEHIGH VALLEY ELECTRICIANS LOCAL 375 DONATES THREE NEW BICYCLES

Standard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Bicycle Patrol Unit of the Allentown Police Department recently received a generous donation of three brand new, top-of-the-line bicycles from the Lehigh Valley Electricians Local 375, members of the Lehigh Valley Building and Construction Trades Council.  The bikes, worth $4,500,were presented during a news conference in City Council Chambers inside Allentown City Hall.  Each completely outfitted bike costs approximately $1,500 and feature 29 speeds.

“We’ve heard so many good things about the bicycle cops downtown before and after events at the PPL Arena” said Dave Reichard, President of Lehigh Valley Electricians Local 375, which is based in Allentown.  “People feel safe with them there.  We are so grateful that we can do this for the Police Department and the City of Allentown.  Our members benefited from the jobs that were created by all of the construction downtown, so it is our way of giving something back to the City.”

Mayor Pawlowski said, “The IBEW has been a great community partner. The city gratefully accepts the donation to help the department increase public safety.”

The money for the bikes came through the membership dues for those who work in the union.  This is one of the many community service projects that members of the Lehigh Valley Building Trades perform throughout the year across the entire Lehigh Valley region.

Paul Anthony Jr., Business Manager for Local 375, stated that this supports the partnership between the business community and the Police Department.  “The Bike Patrol officers were always around during construction of the arena, and they have changed the perception that downtown Allentown in now safe again for visitors.  We’re happy to give back and support these officers.  They do a tremendous job, and we appreciate what they do, especially on cold days like today.”

According to Assistant Police Chief Mike Morris, the city has approximately 40 officers who are certified by the International Police Mountain Bike Association.  He said 17 bicycles have been donated to the city over the last 12 months.  He also stated that the bikes allow officers to get into places that patrol cars can’t and they make officers more accessible to the people in the community.

“These bikes are designed to take a beating,” said Bike Officer Scott Magill.  “The Tires are made for an urban environment and the disc brakes are designed for all weather.”

The new Trek model bikes will be put into service immediately.

 

GOING EVEN GREENER: ALLENTOWN RECEIVES $250,00 RECYCLING GRANT

Standard
Trommel Screener 2

A Trommel Screener

The City of Allentown, already recognized nationally for the success of its recycling program, received an added boost when the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) recently announced that it was awarding Allentown with a $250,000 Recycling grant.  The funds will be used for a yard waste trommel screener which will be utilized at the Yard Waste Site, as well as for the purchase of a paper shredding system at the Recycling Drop Off Center.

“We’re thrilled to receive this grant from the state DEP,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “The trommel screener will increase the speed and efficiency of the grinding process, while we will be providing our residents with a real need with the paper shredding system.  We’re proud of our recycling program here in Allentown, and this grant will help us to expand our recycling program.”

At the Yard Waste Site, where City residents can drop off their yard waste, branches, tree trimmings and shrubs are ground up by a tub grinder.  The Trommel Screener is used to separate large wood chips that are used for mulch from the finer debris.  This tool can produce up to 150 cubic yards of screened yard waste material per hour.

The mulch is used in Allentown parks, flower beds and gardens.  It is also available for free to Allentown residents, who can load it themselves, or for a pre-paid fee of $12 a bucket load, can have it loaded for them into their vehicles.

“We are very pleased to be able to improve the services and programs we provide to our residents and businesses as a result of these PA DEP grants,” said Manager of the Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste, Ann Saurman.  “The trommel screener allows us to make various grades of mulch and soon we will be able to add on-site paper shredding services for residents and businesses.”

Allentown’s Yard Waste Site is located at 1401 Oxford Drive.  Visit www.allentownpa.gov for hours of operation and mulch loading services.  Allentown conducts curbside yard waste collection from April through Thanksgiving week.

The city’s recycling program has won awards from the Pennsylvania DEP, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Recycling Coalition, the Solid Waste Association of North America, the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, the Keystone Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America and the Pennsylvania Waste Industries Association.

For more information on recycling programs in the city, call the Bureau of Recycling and Solid Waste at 610-437-8729, or visit the bureau website at www.allentownrecycles.org.