IT LOOKS A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS: LIGHTS IN THE PARKWAY RETURNS

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Lights in the ParkwayAllentown’s favorite holiday tradition has returned as Lights In The Parkway is once again delighting kids of all ages.  The excursion of over a mile through one of Allentown’s most beautiful parks, the Lehigh Parkway, features larger-than-life displays, tunnels and familiar holiday scenes.  Families can enjoy the spectacular light show, featuring thousands of brilliant lights, in the comfort of their own cars. Dazzling new animated displays are now part of this winter wonderland, set to music that you can listen to on your car radio.  “Lights” returns for its 19th season this year.

“This will get any Grinch into the holiday spirit,” said Mayor Pawlowski.   “There are several new displays this year, and it truly is an awesome sight for kids.  If you haven’t visited, ‘Lights In The Parkway,’ do it this year and make it a holiday tradition, like so many across the Valley do.  You’ll not be disappointed.”

Lights In The Parkway is open until Sunday, December 28th, every day except Christmas Day, from 5:30 pm to 10 pm.

Admission is $12 per car, and $22 per commercial van, minibus and limo. A $2.00 off coupon is available at www.lightsintheparkway.com. Cash or check only is accepted at the ticket booth, although cash is preferred.  Advanced sale discount tickets for $10 and $20 are available at Wegman’s Stores in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, At Allentown City Hall, and all locations of Allentown Federal Credit union.

Lights in the Parkway has entered a new era with the commitment to use energy-efficient LED lights in all new displays and to begin converting all existing displays to LED. LED lights use 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and last about four times longer.

After enjoying the light display, don’t forget to stop by the Gift Barn at the end of the route, which features a large selection of one-of-a-king decorations, ornaments and holiday collectibles for everyone on your holiday shopping list.  Hot Chocolate, popcorn, cookies and other refreshments are available inside the Gift Barn.  Santa will be available for pictures in the Gift Barn Thursday through Sunday from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm through December 23rd.  Credit Cards are accepted in the Gift Barn.

Special thanks to Jason Hertz, City of Allentown’s Parks Department Supervisor and his crew for all their hard work in creating this magical display.

Lights in the Parkway is sponsored by Allentown Federal Credit Union, Butz Construction, Service Electric Cable TV, 100.7 LEV and CAT Country 96, Run Lehigh Valley, Boyle Construction, The Morning Call, iHeart Media, Waste Management, 69 News and WFMZ.com, Viamedia, Rileighs Outdoor Décor, Yocco’s The Hotdog King and Lehighvalleylive.com powered by The Express-Times.

MAYORS AGAINST HUNGER: MONEY RAISED FOR SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK AT PA SOCIETY

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shfb_logoPA Society, the annual gathering of politicos from across the state in Manhattan, had a new twist this year.  Mayor Ed Pawlowski helped to organize an event to raise money for Food Banks in the Commonwealth, including Second Harvest Food Bank here in the Lehigh Valley.  “Mayors Against Hunger” was hosted by Mayor Pawlowski, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.  Over $60,000 was raised for Second Harvest, while over $200,000 total was raised at the event.

The “Cocktails For a Cause” reception was held at the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South, and was attended by over 200 people.  Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton and Chester Mayor John Linder made up the host committee.  New York businessman and part-time Allentown resident Nicola Bulgari, who runs the Bulgari Watch empire, served as the sponsor of the event.

“We decided instead of the usual receptions, we might as well raise some money for a good cause,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “The response was overwhelming.  We still got to mingle as usual, but at the same time raised money for our local food banks, who could always use more funding.  It was very rewarding event.”

Mayor Nutter said, “Food banks are an important avenue for many families and individuals struggling with hunger and poverty.  This was a unique opportunity to demonstrate our sincere commitment to supporting vulnerable individuals by hosting a fundraising event at PA Society.  I am moved by the generosity of so many and am proud that the money raised will help food banks across the Commonwealth, including Philabundance.”

Each Mayor was charged with finding a local food bank in their city that was willing to participate.  All proceeds from the fundraising event will go to these participating food banks.  Second Harvest in Allentown, Philabundance in Philadelphia, and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank are just some of the organizations who received significant donations.

“I am proud of the support that Pittsburgh has shown for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.   “I am grateful to be able to take the opportunity to participate with many of Pennsylvania’s leaders to help those most in need.”

Alan Jennings, Executive Director of Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, which runs the Second Harvest Food Bank, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. “Today’s mayors face extraordinary challenges,” he said.  “It speaks to these mayors’ sense of compassion and humanity that they made this special effort to uplift their poorest citizens.”

 

SEASONS GREETINGS: HAVE A SAFE HOLIDAY AND HAPPY NEW YEAR

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seasons-greetings-25This will be our last Pawlowski Press of the year.  Mayor Ed Pawlowski would like to pass on the following message:

“As we enter this holiday season, I hope everyone appreciates what they have in their lives.  Here in Allentown, we have done remarkable work in revitalizing our downtown.  We saw the Eagles open the PPL Arena and the first puck drop for our new hockey team, the Philadelphia Phantoms.  I have called this version of our City “Allentown 4.0,” and this is just the beginning.  I’d like to thank every single person who helped plan, design, and build all the new structures downtown, and the residents and small business owners who believed in our vision and who put up with all the distractions during construction.

We have made tremendous progress this year, but this is just the beginning.  Next year will see the opening of our new downtown Marriott Renaissance Hotel, the opening of the American Parkway Bridge, and the start of construction along our waterfront.  The prospect of a great 2015 is shining bright like a beacon drawing people back to Allentown once again to live, work and play.  Next year will also be a prosperous one for our Commonwealth, with Governor Tom Wolf taking the reigns and leading our state back on the road to prosperity.

During this holiday season, let’s remember those less fortunate who need shelter, food, clothing, and toys for their children.  Please remember that this is the season of giving, and your kindness could mean all the difference to someone in need.

I wish all of you a wonderful and safe holiday season and the happiest of new years, from my family to yours. “

MORE MONEY IN YOUR POCKET: NO TAX INCREASE FOR 10th STRAIGHT YEAR IN 2015 BUDGET

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City LogoMayor Pawlowski recently submitted his 2015 budget to City Council for approval.  The highlights include no property tax increase for the tenth straight year, and a decrease in the Earned Income Tax for non-residents who work in Allentown.

The Mayor started his budget presentation by summarizing how far Allentown has moved forward in the last few years.

“We’ve truly captured lightning in a bottle,” said the Mayor about the revitalization that has occurred in the downtown area.  “We are probably one of the only Cities in the state to achieve 10 straight years of a budget with no tax increase.  We have been adding police officers and cameras to increase the safety of our residents.   This year we are going increase our public safety technology by purchasing cameras for all police cars and body cameras for our officers, which will improve efficiency and lower our liability.  We now have more cameras on the street than Pittsburgh has.” Pawlowski noted that Allentown was again successful in securing a federal grant which will allow the City to hire five additional police officers by the end of the year.

The Mayor has also included infrastructure upgrades in the budget, including $3 million to upgrade all the city streetlights with new LED technology, which will save $200,000 to $300,000 a year in energy costs.  Other improvements include $3 million to improve several City pools, including Cedar Beach and Mack, and $2.5 million for street repairs.

ELECTION DAY 2014: BIG WINS FOR PA AND LOCAL DEMS

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Schweyer election nightElection Day provided a big win for Democrats in Pennsylvania as Tom Wolf easily beat Tom Corbett, who became the first incumbent Governor in decades not to win re-election.

“If we’re going to fund a world-class public education system, create family sustaining jobs, bring about fairness and equality under the law, provide access to affordable health care, build safe communities, and keep Pennsylvania beautiful, it’s going to take all of us doing our part,” Wolf said in his victory speech.  “Democracy requires healthy debates, but our duty to Pennsylvania requires that we listen, that we roll up our sleeves, and that we come together to do what is right.”

Local Democrats won big as well and will give Allentown more representation in Harrisburg starting in January.  Peter Schweyer easily won the 22nd District House seat, a brand new seat that was moved from Lancaster thanks to redistricting.  Mike Schlossberg was re-elected in the 132nd District, while the other Democrats in the Lehigh Valley, Dan McNeill, Matt Cartwright, Lisa Boscola, Bob Freeman and Steve Samuelson were also victorious.

Statewide, Tom Wolf defeated Republican Tom Corbett, providing strong, Democratic leadership in the Governor’s Office.

Mayor Pawlowski attended the Lehigh County Victory Party at Chickie’s and Pete’s in the PPL Arena.  “We had a great day here in the Lehigh Valley,” said the Mayor.  “We put a lot of effort into this race, and it paid off.  Starting in January, we will have a leader in Harrisburg who can put Pennsylvania back on the path to prosperity, and that’s when the work will really begin, to fix the damage that has been done over the past four years.”

AN EASIER WAY TO FIND A JOB: PAWLOWSKI LAUNCHES ALLENTOWN TWEETMYJOBS

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Tweet_Jobs1Finding a job is difficult enough, but now the City of Allentown has made it easier for job seekers by launching a service that combines mobil technology and social media.  Mayor Pawlowski recently announced Allentown TweeMyJobs, a new online jobs platform that revolutionizes job recruitment by offering an easy and user-friendly online tool to find employment.

The TweetMyJobs platform is a cutting-edge job matching process which helps users learn about available jobs faster and helps employers reach qualified, local candidates fast and at no cost.  The service provides job seekers with information on thousands of jobs in multiple industries at all levels of employment.

“We have enough jobs available right now to significantly cut our unemployment rate,” said Pawlowski. “By adopting new technology and leveraging social media to drive local employment solutions, Allentown TweetMyJobs presents a unique opportunity to connect those dots and create a stronger foundation for future job growth throughout the region.”

The Mayor made the announcement at a news conference at Lehigh Carbon Community College’s Donley Center.  He was joined by Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, Inc. Executive Director Nancy Dischinat, Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority board member Nelson Diaz, TweetMyJobs Vice President/Client Services Bo Kemp, Lehigh Carbon Community College President Dr. Ann Bieber and community employers.

Individuals who register at http://allentown.tweetmyjobs.com will receive relevant job matches instantaneously by e-mail, text message, or from social networks like Twitter and Facebook.  Allentown TweetMyJobs also offers people the opportunity to tap into their Facebook network to get introductions from their friends who are connected to hiring companies, which provides them with a great competitive edge.  In addition, employers in the Allentown and the Lehigh Valley area who are seeking to fill open positions can use Allentown TweetMyJobs to advertise their jobs at no cost.  The Allentown TweetMyJobs service also enables job seekers to view available jobs in their neighborhood through an incredible smartphone application.  At the request of The White House, TweetMyJobs recently launched a site designed to help veterans and returning military personnel find jobs.

The service is a partnership between the Mayor of Allentown, Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, Inc. and TweetMyJobs.

 

 

ANOTHER GOLD FOR THE MAYOR: PAWLOWSKI AWARDED LET’S MOVE! GOLD MEDAL

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Let's Move LogoMayor Ed Pawlowski was recently 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).  LMCTC is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, which is dedicated to solving the childhood obesity problem in our country.  LMCTC asks local elected officials to adopt sustainable and holistic policies to improve community access to healthy, affordable food as well as offer a five goal program of physical activity.

The City was awarded four medals for its efforts to improve access to healthy, affordable food.  The gold medal was awarded for the city’s achievement of having at least 30% of municipally or county – owned or operated venues that offer or sell food that have implemented a policy for healthy, affordable food and adhere to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  The City previously met the standards for the bronze and then the silver benchmarks.

“I am extremely proud to accept these medals on the city’s behalf,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski said.  “The Allentown Health Bureau has worked diligently to achieve the benchmarks set forth by Let’s Move! to win these medals.  We are working hard to reduce childhood obesity in the city and the information campaign is part of our effort.”

Allentown was also honored with a bronze medal for prominently displaying “MyPlate” in at least 51% of municipally or county-owned or operated venues that offer to sell affordable, healthy food and beverages and for registering as a MyPlate Community Partner.  Displaying the MyPlate logo is intended to prompt consumers to think about a healthy plate at meal times, and are encouraged to visit the website at ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information on healthy meals.

“We congratulate and commend Allentown for its efforts to improve the health of the city’s children and families,” said NLC President Chris Coleman, mayor of Saint Paul, Minn.  “Through the leadership and dedication of local elected officials in cities, towns and counties across the country, we are beginning to see a measurable decrease in obesity rates and a cultural shift towards health.”

The City of Allentown had previously been awarded eight medals in 2012 for their achievement in reaching goals I and III; Start Early, Start Smart and Smart Servings for Students.

For more information about LMCTC and Allentown’s accomplishments, please visit www.HealthyCommunitiesHealthyFuture.org.