Government, Law and Politics

Articles covering local, state and federal government events, meetings and conferences, in addition to school board meetings and court cases throughout the Allentown, PA area and Lehigh County.

Bylines in the weekly papers of the Lehigh Valley Press and the daily Times News.

Planners take Ridge Farm under advisement | Parkland Press

More than 60 people were present during the virtual May 21 South Whitehall Township Planning Commission meeting for the preliminary review of the Ridge Farm major development proposal. Developer Kay Builders originally received conditional use approval for the plan in November 2019. According to township planner Gregg Adams, the Community Development Department recommended the planning commission take the plan under advisement to allow the applicant time to receive and address feedback. Adams

Wolf, Boockvar provide primary election update | Parkland Press

Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar held a public livestream May 4 to provide an update on Pennsylvania’s June 2 primary election, discuss protective measures for in person voting and encourage Pennsylvanians to cast their ballots by mail. “From where we stand today, it is unlikely we’ll eradicate COVID-19 from our commonwealth by June 2, but we still need to hold a primary election,” Wolf said.

School board discusses furloughs, staffing | Northwestern Press

During the board president’s report portion of the virtual May 13 Northwestern Lehigh School Board meeting, Willard Dellicker acknowledged the meeting would be difficult as the district would be furloughing some teaching and support staff due to decreased enrollments and duty reorganizations. He also noted the district’s proposed 2020-2021 budget, which reflects anticipated reductions in revenues brought on by COVID-19, would require a tax increase to maintain existing programs.

Solicitor Zator discusses Senate bill on virtual meetings for municipalities | Parkland Press

During the opening of the May 6 South Whitehall commissioners’ virtual meeting, township Solicitor Joseph Zator discussed the impact of recently passed Senate Bill 841 which provides flexibility for municipalities to conduct public meetings during the COVID-19 emergency. Under SB 841, for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency, public meetings are authorized to be conducted through authorized, two-way telecommunication channels.

South Whitehall board meets virtually | Parkland Press

To address important township business during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, South Whitehall commissioners met April 15 online via GoToMeeting and over the telephone. Board President Christina “Tori” Morgan, Vice President Diane Kelly and Commissioners Matthew Mobilio and Joe Setton were in attendance. Assistant Secretary Michael Wolk was absent. The first order of business was a request to advertise changes to several sections of the zoning ordinance to raise the maximum height limit for resi

Northwestern School Board discusses education plans during virtual meeting | Northwestern Press

Despite the ongoing school closure, members of the Northwestern Lehigh School Board met April 15 via Zoom and by phone to discuss plans to continue new instruction and to address district business related to the ongoing coronavirus situation. After the opening exercises, board President Willard Dellicker delivered a short message thanking community members for their dedicated work during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “I’d like to take a minute to thank our friends, neighbors and family member

Board discusses fire tax | Northwestern Press

Fire tax funding was one of the main talking points during the Feb. 20 Heidelberg Township supervisors’ meeting. Supervisor David Fink reported that at the meeting of the Goodwill Fire Company, Germansville, there was discussion on the over allocation of $53,730.41 in fire tax funds from 2018 and 2019 due to a calculation error. Fink proposed the township establish a loan with the fire company in annual installments over a five-year period, commencing with the 2020 fire tax collection.

South Whitehall Twp planners discuss senior living facility at virtual meeting | Parkland Press

South Whitehall planners met virtually on April 16 with a short agenda due to social distancing rules caused by the coronavirus pandemic. One item on their agenda was a subdivision review for Phase 4 of the Parkland Manor Senior Living campus, 4636 Crackersport Road, at the site of the former West End Racquet Club. The applicant proposes to construct a four-story, 94,000-square-foot senior living building with 16 studio apartments, 64 single-bedroom units and an 88-space parking lot.
Parkland Press

NOT GUILTY | Parkland Press

Jurors deliberated almost six hours before delivering the verdict around 6:45 p.m. March 19. After being acquitted, Roselle was escorted by cheering friends, family and supporters from the courthouse. Earlier in the day, jurors heard closing arguments from Roselle’s defense and prosecutors. His attorney, Gavin Holihan, said the “fundamental bottom line” was Roselle’s actions were reasonable, justifiable and legal, and thus could not constitute a crime.
Parkland Press

Prosecution, defense give opening statements | Parkland Press

The trial of former South Whitehall Township police officer Jonathan Roselle for the July 28, 2018, shooting of 44-year-old Joseph Santos along Hamilton Boulevard near Dorney Park began March 12 before Judge Kelly L. Banach in the Lehigh County Courthouse. Roselle, 34, faces one charge of voluntary manslaughter based on unreasonable belief, known as “imperfect self-defense,” as explained by Banach. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Video shows events before, during and after fatal shooting | Parkland Press

Graphic video footage and testimony detailing the fatal July 28, 2018, encounter between Joseph Santos and former South Whitehall Township police officer Jonathan Roselle near Dorney Park was presented to the jury during the afternoon of March 12 in the Lehigh County Courthouse. Roselle, 34, of Parryville, has pleaded not guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Santos, 44, of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
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