Sep 16, 2014

Allentown, Get A Grip

Mayor Pawlowski has declared today Tom Petty Appreciation Day. Apparently, we appreciate that Mr. Petty is willing to come to Allentown for his normal large fee. I have no doubt that a group like the Eagles, which normally plays bigger venues, was compensated for the difference. In his column today, Bill White is gloating that Pawlowski proved the naysayers wrong. Would that be those who feel that using the cigarette tax, originally designated for children's health insurance, to pay for private office buildings is a misappropriation of taxes? Let us hope that for $700 million of taxpayer dollars that the NIZ is indeed a success. Despite one gushing article after another by The Morning Call, even Bill must know that it's somewhat premature to evaluate success after the opening night venue. More inappropriate is Petty Appreciation Day. There's a nameless man who has been picking up litter in the West Park neighborhood every day for twenty years. I think that he should be ahead of Petty in getting that certificate.

Sep 15, 2014

Branding Candidate Molovinsky

An article on Wehr's Dam referred to me as a blogger running for State Representative. Before that label sticks,  please allow me to identify myself. I'm a long time community advocate, who in recent years has used a blog to help shine light on issues. Long before I had a blog, or even a computer, I was a contributor to the community dialogue. Although a life long proponent of historical preservation, in the late 90's I organized homeowners who felt an unnecessary proposed historic district infringed upon their property rights. Among many other issues in recent years, I turned my attention to the preservation of the WPA structures gracing our communities. Although the article referred to me as a member of the group defending Wehr's Dam, I actually started that effort. Even though Allentown is not part of the 183rd District, I continue to publish molovinsky on allentown, because it is an archive on my activism during the last decade. However, that activism started long before the blog.

Sep 14, 2014

A Candidate Of Historical Record

Wehr's Dam is the featured special in today's Morning Call. From my perspective, the story concentrates too much on dam removal science. Worse, that science is not site specific. But, what's worse than the article making that mistake, is the State of Pennsylvania making it. I understand why the Wildlands Conservancy cherry picks the science, they garner grants and administrative fees from removing dams. The Director of the Fish and Boat Commission recently told an associate that he feels that all dams should be removed, that's why Pennsylvania leads the nation in dam removal. That dubious distinction has resulted in some historical dams being removed which did not adversely affect fish or water quality; One size does not fit all.

I'm proud of my record advocating for the WPA sites in the Allentown Park System, and my attempted defense of the Robin Hood Dam there last year.  I'm proud that I was able to save the Reading Road Stone Arch Bridge. When asked to support saving the dam, incumbent State Representative Julie Harhart declined. As a citizen or as a Representative, my advocacy for our traditions and history will continue.

Sep 12, 2014

The Partisan Money Machine

The upcoming fundraiser for Justin Simmons will be held at the upscale Melt at the Promenade Shops in Center Valley. Attending will be Pat Toomey, Charlie Dent, Bob Lovett, Bill Heydt, and so on. Tickets start at $250 and run to $1000. My opponent, ten term Julie Harhart, will also be in attendance. I assume that she will be treated in kind soon enough. Someone recently commented on a post that he supports issues, not partisan politics. Although it's easy to say that you think independently, are you willing to contribute to an independent? My neighbors have already received four recent mailings from Julie Harhart. I don't need $1000 contributions at the Melt. I don't even need $250 donations, but I do need $25 from many of you. I expect just one mailing to cost $10,000 to the large district. If you have a problem with an incumbent who is running for her eleventh term, and voted herself a 50% pension increase, please contribute to my campaign. Please help me make the residents of the 183rd District know that there is an alternative available for them. Please let Harrisburg know that the voters of Lehigh Valley are not to be taken for granted. I have installed a paypal button on the sidebar, thank you.

Sep 11, 2014

Greg Weaver Art Scene

For about ten years, mid 70's to 80's, Allentown was graced with a one man art machine. Greg Weaver studied at Carnegie Mellon and then returned to the Valley to become artist, promoter and inspiration to dozens of local artists. His large studios, which moved from one low rent location to another over the years, became hubs for innovation and social activity. He was very prolific with his work, and generous with his encouragement. A typical monthly bash involved perhaps a poster by Mark Beyer( now an internationally known underground comic) performance by a jazz group such as Gary Hassay,(Greg also had a band) and perhaps a new showing by a local artist, such as Barnaby Ruhe. The loft parties were always mobbed, by many of the same people who now attend the Museum social events. This art "scene" cost the taxpayers nothing, it was done by artists, and it was real. Greg suffered from diabetes, and eventually lost his sight. Although blind he continued to produce art and inspire people until his death. Several of his works are in the Allentown Museums' permanent collection and his memory is in the hearts' of his friends. The image here is from Mark Beyer, representing an invitation to a Weaver event.

UPDATE: The post above is from September of 2007. This weekend Allentown will have two art events;  An Arts Celebration at the Art Park for the arena opening, and an Alternative Art Festival at Cedar Beach.  Weaver was the original art celebration and festival.

Sep 10, 2014

Confession Of An Independent Candidate

I have been driving and walking in the towns and villages of the 183rd District, but have not been introducing myself very often. Although I'm known as a tenacious advocate in front of councils and commissions, glad-handing and smiling are not my strong points. You are very nice people. You have allowed someone to represent you for twenty years, who has done virtually nothing for you at all. I know she attends your picnics and gives out certificates, but she has brought nothing of your taxes back to your communities. You deserve a State Representative who will fight for you in Harrisburg. Everybody in Pennsylvania pays the same income tax. Why should all your taxes be going to pay for an arena in Allentown, while nothing comes back to Danielsville, Egypt, Cementon, and Neffs? If you're happy with just a handshake and smile, keep Harhart. If you want your just share for your hard earned taxes, put me to work for you in Harrisburg.

Editor's Notes: Some abbreviated posts from this blog have become insertions on my campaign site, Mr. Molovinsky Goes To Harrisburg. This is the first insertion which became a blog post. The State distribution and benefit of taxpayer money is a most unlevel, unfair playing field. Some towns, like Cementon, look virtually like they did 50 years ago. Although Harhart may have brought a few dollars back to Northampton and Slatington over two decades, the remainder of the large district received nothing. Today kicks off a more visible campaign on my part, my first radio spots begin. I ask all my readers to please consider a contribution to my unique campaign. Although the public gives lip service to the concept of a non-partisan and issue orientated campaign, getting the message to voters, especially in such a large district, is expensive. Although most of you do not reside in the 183rd District, I assure you that my efforts in Harrisburg will benefit everybody. I ask you to think independently, and contribute through the paypal button on the sidebar. Thank You.

Checks or money orders payable to Michael Molovinsky, designated account, can be sent to Michael Molovinsky, 1636 N. Cedar Crest Blvd., PMB 145, Allentown, Pa. 18104

Sep 9, 2014

Where's The Creek?

The young man seemed proud to be at the Old Fashioned Garden with his wife and child. I got the feeling that it was a rite of passage that he had enjoyed years earlier with his parents. He approached me with a quizzical look and asked Where's the creek? I assured him that it was still here, but hidden behind all that underbrush. When he asked me why they did that, I just shrugged my shoulders and walked away. I don't think he really wanted to hear a rant.

The Wildlands Conservancy had no resistance convincing the past two park directors to allow them to plant riparian buffers along the streams in the park system. Both directors were from out of town, trained in recreation at Penn State, and had no feeling or knowledge of the park's history and traditions. To add absurdity to the situation, the storm sewer systems in Allentown are piped directly into the streams, bypassing the buffers, making them useless to their stated purpose. To add further irony to the absurdity, the park department must now spray insecticide on the underbrush to control the invasive species. Worse than blocking access and view of the streams, the recent director endorsed the Conservancy demolishing two small historic dams, after being here only six weeks, and never actually having seen the dams himself.

Why do I dwell on water over the dam? The Wildlands Conservancy is now pitching the dam demolition and riparian buffer agenda to South Whitehall Township. If they get their way, the beautiful picnic vista overlooking Wehr's Dam will be replaced with a wall of weeds. I'm on a mission to make sure that beauty and history survive at Covered Bridge Park.

Sep 8, 2014

Allentown's National Searches

Allentown doesn't hire the mediocre by chance, they use consultants and do national searches. It's second from Out Of Town park director has resigned. Years ago we had local directors, but nationally known parks. The depreciation of the park system is a sore spot with me. I will do a separate post on that subject this week. I mention the park directors as a lead in to the other prize selected by national search, the police chief.

The search consultants found the former Philadelphia policeman in Texas, working as a chief there. As mentioned in a previous post, I will not comment on the specifics of his son's arrest, that remains for a court to sort out. I am concerned with comments made by the chief and his Philadelphia lawyer, concerning racial profiling. If Pawlowski thought that the police chase, which almost ran into his tent of dignitaries this summer, was a disaster, wait until Al Sharpton starts marching on Hamilton Street. In light of the recent tension in Missouri, it was ill advised for Fitzgerald and his attorney to make such an accusation. Although the chief is a father wanting to defend his son, he was hired as a professional, to lead Allentown's police force. As Pawlowski begins to look for a new park director, he might also want  to consider a new police chief.

Sep 6, 2014

Walking With The New Park Director

I had respectfully requested, through the City Clerk, that City Council visit Robin Hood before any decision, to both see and hear the dam. Furthermore, I volunteered to take them, at their convenience, on a quick tour of the park's remaining WPA structures. Several days later, the clerk contacted me to confirm a time for me to show two council members the sites. I was delighted to hear that the new park director, John Mikowychok, would be joining us. Yesterday was the appointment, and John and I were the first to arrive. As we stood on the bridge, John told me that only 90% of the dam was being removed, and the portion near the water monitoring station would remain. I was shocked, I didn't know that the decision to remove the dam had already been determined. He then informed me that the Wildland's Conservancy was coming, and after learning the details from them on Robin Hood, we would proceed to the dams near the fish hatchery, also scheduled to be removed. The Conservancy crew arrived, with plans and documents in hand. Also by then, Council members Cynthia Mota and Jeff Glazier arrived, but my delight was gone. John explained the agenda, that first Wildland's would brief them about Robin Hood, then they would move on to the Fish Hatchery. I reminded the council members that they were there at my invitation, to see the dam, and then tour the WPA sites. To their credit, Glazier and Mota told Mikowychok that before going to the fish hatchery dams, they would take the tour with me. I wanted them to see how many park features previous park directors had arbitrarily destroyed, and perhaps be more inclined to preserve the dam.

I showed Mikowychok the abandoned island and the boat landing, things that he never saw before, or even knew existed. I found his indifference to the demise of these wonderful constructions astounding. When I criticized the tall thin weed wall blocking the entire creek view, he replied that a row of single tall weeds was better than none. He actually told Mota that the creek was more enticing when you could only get a glimpse of it here and there. It made me think of an old arcade peep show machine. It's too bad that the city hired another lobbyist for the Wildland's Conservancy as Park Director, instead of a defender of our unique park system, however, it's no surprise.  Both the out of town park directors were hired by the same out of town city manager. All three of them, four including the mayor, have no knowledge or appreciation of the formerly nationally recognized park system, in the former All American City. Wildland's was spouting voodoo science. They actually said that there's no fecal count in the creek, despite my photographs of creek shores filled with toilet paper. In order for them to harvest the current grant they must demolish the dam by the end of September. From the grant they also harvest administrative fees. The dam dates from the early 1940's, and has delighted five generations with it's sight and sound. The hard press is on City Council to approve this latest destruction with virtually no deliberation. I ask those who appreciate beauty and ambience to help me save our history.

UPDATE: The post above is reprinted from August 17, 2013.  John Mikowychok, the new park director referred to above,  has resigned.   Less than three months after being hired, Mikowychok recommended to City Council that the Wildlands Conservancy be allowed to destroy two picturesque historic dams on the Little Lehigh.  The Wildlands Conservancy deposited the demolished WPA Robin Hood Dam rubble around the Robin Hood Bridge,  ruining the visual effect of the iconic stone piers.  The demolished Trout Nursery Dam contributed to the recent record fish kill.  We have lost 75 years of history to a person who was here for 15 months.  I will have more to say about park directors with no knowledge of the park system  and the Wildlands Conservancy's self serving agenda in subsequent posts.  Let us hope that South Whitehall has more respect for Wehr's Dam and it's history.

LVCI also covers Mikowychok's departure

Sep 5, 2014

Party Above Principle

A Republican member of a local school board yesterday linked to a pension reform site, on a social network. In some strictly blue municipalities, such as Allentown, the only Republicans elected in a decade have been to school boards, and only then because they're crossed registered. As a school board member, this person is well aware that pension reform is by far the most pressing issue in Pennsylvania. Although both chambers of the State House are controlled by Republicans, they managed to avoid the issue, despite Corbett exerting pressure to pass reform. This particular board member even supported the Republican incumbent's unsuccessful opponent in the primary. So, we have a Republican school board member, in a Democratic town, who doesn't support the incumbent State Representative in a neighboring district, but still won't openly endorse an Independent. It is this sort of counterproductive partisanship which has given the voters our current paralyzed Harrisburg.

Sep 4, 2014

Building Allentown's Urban Homeowner

Allentown will once again try to induce the middle-class to live downtown. It is not a new experiment; Over forty years ago the Leh family renovated the 400 block of Walnut Street for the same purpose. Of course that was also the goal of the oversized Old Allentown Historic District. The latest plan, being financed by the local corporate heavy hitters, will concentrate on the area north of Linden Street. The plan is modeled on similar programs by Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and U of P in Philadelphia. Those are large urban area's, where gentrification is a natural development. Alan Jennings, although an implementor of such programs, realistically summed it up;  When the target group is the middle-class, that demographic has the means to live in a more suburban area. Again in the real world, Allentown has lost some of it's most committed urbanists because of the school system. I suppose if we're subsidizing the commercial real estate development, we can also pay some middle class looking folks to live and walk around downtown.

Sep 3, 2014

Charlie Tuna and Allentown Crime

When Charlie Tuna was introduced in 1961 he looked good, but he didn't taste good. The punch line was Sorry Charlie, and he was rejected for the tuna can. Charlie's still the mascot, but now he's a beloved figure, who helps mom plan an easy dinner. Allentown's fighting it's crime perception problem with additional surveillance cameras. J.B. Reilly is footing most of the bill, and the cameras will also feed into his private security force. An article in the Morning Call says that "If a crime has already occurred, the camera footage becomes an invaluable tool for identifying potential suspects and assisting in locating crucial evidence." There-in lies the problem. Knowing that your mugger will be apprehended isn't much consolation when you're sitting on the curb with your head bleeding. Like the early Charlie Tuna advertisements, visitors don't want a city that looks safe, they want a city that is safe.  Before you apologists foam at the mouth, I believe that Allentown is safe. The new cameras are being sold and installed by Charlie Thiel, who is being groomed as the next mayor.

Editor's Notes: When I read the article on mcall about the surveillance cameras, I immediately thought about Charlie Tuna from the early 1960's. When I wrote the above piece earlier this morning, I had no idea that there was an article in today's paper about canned tuna fish, headlined, Sorry Charlie, just a literary coincidence. Also a coincidence, is any name similarity between Charlie Tuna and Charlie Thiel.  I've known Thiel for years, and believe that Allentown will benefit from any political ambition on his part.

Sep 1, 2014

Candidate Molovinsky Banned By NPR

WDIY, the NPR affiliate in Bethlehem, refused to make my interview available by pod-cast on their website. The show, Lehigh Valley Discourse, aired on July 10th, and featured host Alan Jennings interviewing both myself and Bernie O'Hare. To his credit, Alan Jennings has quit the station in protest to the censorship. Who would guess that an NPR station would succumb to political pressure, but then again, it's no accident that there isn't one independent in the State House. With help from your contributions, I will begin buying spots on commercial radio.

Aug 31, 2014

Why I'm Running For Office

The headline in today's paper is that the Allentown Police Chief's son was arrested for pointing a gun at two detectives. Knowing nothing about the case, I won't comment on the charge, but wish to discuss two background aspects of the story. Allentown voters in 2001 enthusiastically elected former State Senator Afflerbach as mayor, believing that his experience in Harrisburg would be invaluable to Allentown. His contract with the police department was a complete give away of Allentown's treasury. The retirement component was so lucrative that the entire force subsequently retired. It is because of that reality, and the resulting lack of  experience in the remaining department, that Allentown recently hired an out of towner to lead the police department. Today's article tells us that the new chief's 22 year old son is working for the county Corrections Department. We have a former politician that was so embedded with the unions that Allentown had to lease it's water department to remain solvent. Afflerbach is now officially a lobbyist for hire. We have a new city police chief who was able to secure a local county job for his son. I'm running for office with no allegiance to any special interest or other motives, other than the best policy for the citizens and taxpayers. Are you ready for that sort of representation?

Aug 29, 2014

Conduit To Harrisburg

As a local activist and blogger I've heard all the complaints about local government over the years, If only Lehigh County did this, and Harrisburg done that. I've heard all the complaints about the ingrained two party system, What we need is less partisanship and more choices! The rise of Tom Wolf against an incumbent governor is testament to the degree of dissatisfaction with state government. His success has not come cheaply. He spent a record amount of money advertising in the primary. I believe that with your help I can become the first Independent in Harrisburg. I need your contribution to get my message out in an incredibly large district, stretching from Rt. 22 to the Blue Mountain, from Slatington to Bath. Although many of you do not live in the 183rd, I'm still counting on your help. Decisions made in Harrisburg affect all residents, regardless of which district you reside. My efforts will be for best policy, regardless of any political party considerations. Contributions can be made through the paypal button on the sidebar.

Aug 28, 2014

The Franking Queen

Julie Harhart appears to be abusing her franking privilege by sending one mailing after another, at taxpayer expense, to the residents of the 183rd District. Franking privilege refers to free postage for official mailings by elected officials. When an elected official starts sending several pieces every month prior to an election, the privilege is being abused. In addition to the current frequency of Harhart's mailings, they're being sent to neighborhoods which are still officially in other districts until mid December, when the new redistricting map officially begins.

Aug 27, 2014

The Cedarbrook Covenant

A current article in The Morning Call describes how Lehigh County Commissioners cut $3million from County Executive Tom Muller's plan to start renovating Cedarbrook, the county nursing home. Apparently, the commissioners felt that the proposed expenditure failed to define how it would improve Cedarbrook's bottom line. There is no bottom line when it comes to the county's responsibility toward it most vulnerable citizens, seniors alone, and in frail health. We provide a highrise prison for the mostly transient criminals among us. We provide a myriad of social services for many able bodied, but unmotivated, among us. Recently, the commissioners approved the elimination of eleven custodial jobs at Cedarbrook, probably reducing the quality of care at the aging facility. Cedarbrook is not a business, but a moral responsibility. I have defended Cedarbrook as a citizen in the past, I will now defend it as an Independent candidate for State Representative.
photograph by K Mary Hess

The King Has Abdicated

In 1958 my father had a food stand at the fair. It took him about an hour to realize you can not sell hot dogs in the King's back yard; Yocco, the hot dog king. When Yocco's claimed last year they were not at the fair because their canvas ripped, I was skeptical. This year it's official, they have abdicated their spot. Tonight the fair was jammed. In Ag Hall the granges still compete in vegetable canning. A wiseguy still incites you to dunk him. The world's smallest horse hasn't grown. Maybe Yocco's is gone, but the fair is still much more like 1958 than any other aspect of Allentown.

reprinted annually since 2007

Aug 26, 2014

The Mighty Atom

Years ago, at the Allentown Fair, as one would push through a sea of carney delusion, tucked back by the 4H animals, was an island of reality. There, in an old battered truck, an ancient Jewish strongman performed incredible feats of strength, to sell only homemade kosher soap. Standing on a platform on the rear of his truck, flanked by photographs from his performing youth, he would bent horse shoes and bite through nails. Many years earlier, my mother as a little girl in Bethlehem, saw him pull a truck uphill with his hair. Even as an old man, like a reincarnation of Samson, his grey hair was still long.
In the summers of 1964 and 1965, myself and a friend,(Fred Schoenk, retired Allentown art teacher) made and sold printed tee-shirts at the fair. We had the honor to know Joseph Greenstein(The Mighty Atom) and his wife. For those interested, there are various articles on the Mighty Atom and even at least one book. Enjoy the fair!

reprinted annually since 2007

Aug 25, 2014

A Personal Memoir

I'm not sure memoir is a good title, rather than facts and records, I have hazy recollections. Assuming my memory will not improve at this stage of the game, let me put to print that which I can still recall. In about 1958 my father built Flaggs Drive-In. McDonalds had opened on Lehigh Street, and pretty much proved that people were willing to sit in their cars and eat fast food at bargain prices. For my father, who was in the meat business, this seemed a natural. As a rehearsal he rented space at the Allentown Fair for a food stand, and learned you cannot sell hotdogs near Yocco's. He purchased some land across from a corn field on Hamilton Blvd. and built the fast food stand. In addition to hamburgers, he decided to sell fried chicken. The chicken was cooked in a high pressure fryer called a broaster, which looked somewhat like the Russian satellite Sputnik. The stand did alright, but the business was not to my father's liking, seems he didn't have the personality to smile at the customers. He sold the business several years later to a family which enlarged and enclosed the walk up window. Subsequent owners further enlarged the location several times. The corn field later turned into a Water Park, and you know Flaggs as Ice Cream World.

I'm grateful to a kind reader who sent me this picture of Flaggs

UPDATE: I first published the above post on Flaggs in March of 2009. I reprint it today in regard to yesterday's post about The Hamilton Boulevard Makeover. The proposed crosswalk funnels people between Dorney Park and Ice Cream World. My initial reply to the proposal was that it was an incredible gift to Ice Cream World, at taxpayer expense. However, although some valid questions have been raised in the comment section of yesterday's post, public safety requires some accommodation for pedestrians crossing Hamilton Boulevard.

Aug 24, 2014

The Hamilton Boulevard Makeover

I was present at the South Whitehall meeting for the presentation on the proposed makeover of Hamilton Boulevard, between Lincoln and Cedar Crest. Because I believe so strongly in level playing fields, the plan initially rubbed me the wrong way. I commented that it was a gift to Dorney Park and Ice Cream World, at public expense. The plan shows a pedestrian crosswalk halfway between Lincoln and Cedar Crest, with sidewalks, trees and other features to soften and slow the current highway feeling. There have been pedestrian fatalities, and I'm sure many near misses, on that stretch of road. Commission President Christina Morgan and others believe that for public safety, the changes are long overdue. Upon reflection, I agree with them.

Aug 22, 2014

The Road To Harrisburg

While I was at a meeting this week fighting for Wehr's Dam, my Democratic opponent was the guest of honor at a Democratic fundraiser, near the dam. Although her main qualification is that she met Michele Obama once, Democrats are working for her, and contributing to her campaign. The Republican incumbent has sent four mailers in the last two months, paid for by the taxpayers. Although she was unopposed in both the primary and general elections last time, she still spent $40,000 on that campaign. I'm presenting the voters of the 183rd District with an historic opportunity, to be represented by the only Independent in the State House. The District is enormous, stretching from Rt. 22 to the Blue Mountain, from Slatington to just north of Bath. I need contributions to help pay for a mailing and other campaigning. I'm asking all the readers of this blog, regardless of where you live, to help out with my unique campaign. State laws effect all residents, regardless of your address. I have installed a paypal button on the sidebar. You can find a conventional mailing address on the about section of my campaign page, Mr. Molovinsky Goes To Harrisburg. Thank you.

Aug 21, 2014

The Battle For Wehr's Dam

At last night's South Whitehall Township Commissioner's meeting, it appeared that Commission President Christina Morgan was marching to the Wildlands Conservancy's drum. Since this past June, when the Conservancy proposed demolishing the dam, a citizen's group has formed to preserve the dam and the township's history. At the previous meeting this month, the Commissioners agreed to sponsor an independent engineering study of the dam. Last night, they indicated that they would rely on the Wildlands' engineering report, hardly an independent evaluation. Ms. Morgan also referred to public hearings on the subject, a suggestion made by the Wildlands back in June, when Ms. Morgan asked them how to handle public opposition to the dam's removal. It's clear that the citizens, after four presentations and over 1,000 signatures, don't want the hearings, they want a decision. The Wildlands has stated that demolishing the dam is their highest priority. They have already demolished nine local dams. They should be invited back in a timely fashion to make their final presentation, and then the Commissioners should vote on the dam's future.  The Wildlands is entitled to their proposal, but they should not be determining the timeline about the fate one of the most historic icons in the township.
photograph by Gregg Obst

Addendum: 1.The Wildlands current study, which the Commissioners are waiting upon, is a bogus, decision delaying tactic. The Wildlands, in their June presentation, already claimed that the dam is past it's expected life (in their opinion) and that it has five cracks. They stated that they would pay for it's demolition at no expense to the Township.

2. At the previous meeting, Ms. Morgan mentioned being "fiscally responsible," alluding to the cost analysis of maintaining the dam, or allowing the Conservancy to demolish it. We concerned with local history, and the widely appreciated ambience of the park, believe that it would be better to be "historically responsible." They are not building any more gist mill dams, especially those that then flow under a Covered Bridge.

3. If the commissioners decide to save the dam, any repair costs are not an immediate concern. The structure will stand "as is" for many years, while grants are solicited to repair this historic structure.

4. At that point the dam should be added to the Historic Overlay District, with adjoining Wehr's Bridge, so residents need not again defend their history.

Aug 20, 2014

The Sign Of Hypocrisy

Very early this morning I was amused by the article in The Morning Call speaking of something new coming to downtown Allentown, an electronic billboard. I thought I had put the soon to be demolished Monument Building to rest, but now it features in yet another story of Allentown's double standards. Before the Mayor forced the owner to lock the doors, he had installed the exact type of new billboard coming to Allentown. I apparently was not the only one shaking my head over this story. Before 7:00AM I received the following comment.
  In regards to the future digital billboards: The sad part is that a business man had this same idea and placed a beautiful sign on the side of the 645 Hamilton Street building only to have ut turned off due to City politics.. Everything that is being thought of as new and innovative was proposed and DONE by individuals 6-10 years ago who took it "upon themselves" to make Allentown a better City. Unfortunately, we received no support so many have left or became apathetic... SMH Alfonso Todd
There is actually a proud tradition of signs in center square.  For many years during the golden era a large illuminated Neuweiler Beer sign stood atop the Whelan Drugstore, on the northwest corner.  Back to the hapless Monument owner and his innovative sign.  The sign was up for a number of months and being tolerated by the city, until one faithful day.  As a favor to the coffee shop owner,  the sign company programmed an ad for Lou Hershman running for office, just as Mayor Pawlowski was walking down the street.  The Mayor blew his fuse, and the sign shortly thereafter, when the city threw every sign law on the book at the owner.

 The billboard is actually still mounted to the building, as a testament to this hypocrisy.   Is it the same billboard firm now hired by the city to place billboards on certain streets, including N. 7th?

reprinted from August 2012

UPDATE:The post above is from August of 2012. Since that time the building shown, The Monument Building, has been demolished, and a new building is being constructed by J.B. Reilly, using state tax dollars under the NIZ. Last night, Abe Atiyeh challenged the exception clause to the new zoning law, in regard to the new electronic billboard contract with the city.  Although that story is expertly covered by both Bernie O'Hare's Ramblings and The Morning Call,  this blog is uniquely positioned to add some  historical perspective and irony.

reprinted from August 2013

UPDATE August 20, 2014: Move ahead another year, and we now have a new building, with permission for a new digital sign. In obtaining that permission, it was stated that the previous building also had a digital sign. molovinsky on allentown, source of critical analysis and historical record, notes here that in fact that sign was declared illegal at the time, and the plug was pulled.

UDATE August 24: Another source indicates that the previous digital sign was reactivated, and remained so until shortly before demolition of the building.

Aug 19, 2014

Molovinsky On Slatington

On Saturday, Slatington celebrated it's 150th Anniversary with a wonderful parade. Although the residents are entitled to be proud of their illustrious past, I have concerns for them. It was convenient that all the empty storefronts provided space for the celebration's temporary souvenir shops and history displays, but that doesn't bode well for their economy. The current State Representative has concerned herself with the past; When I'm elected, I will concentrate on Slatington's present and future.
photography by K Mary Hess

Aug 18, 2014

Harhart's Tricks Of The Trade

Julie Harhart is not known for her legislating. One of her many recent mailings describes her last law; If she was more truthful, it would have mentioned that it was her only law, in her long twenty years in office. Although never legislating, she has never stopped campaigning, since being elected in 1995. Perhaps no one in the state house has handed out more certificates than her. She hands out certificates to any business that has survived despite her, and her inability to bring any economic relief to the district.

Aug 15, 2014

Allentown's Monopoly Money

When I read about the new theme restaurants coming to downtown Allentown, I think about children playing with monopoly money. Of course in that case it was a board game purchased by their parents. In Allentown's case, it's a fantasyland financed by the taxpayer's of Pennsylvania. What would bring a long retired restauranteur like Saylor back to downtown Allentown, an offer he couldn't refuse. What would make a developer like J.B. Reilly finance and setup these larks, your tax-dollars. Needless to say, Saylor wouldn't invest a nickel of his own money, but neither is Reilly. Last year, before one door was open for business, $33million in state taxes were diverted to the debt service in Allentown's monopoly fanastyland.

The surrounding State Representatives, while smiling at political party picnics, approved this fanastyland, while bringing nothing back to their constituents. In the case of 183rd District, Julie Harhart hands out certificates to long standing businesses, that have survived, in spite of her apathy in Harrisburg. On August 1st, my name was officially added to the candidates for State Representative in the 183rd. This blog is both my campaign office and soap box. Regardless of where you live, if you think that Harrisburg is less than equitable and efficient, please consider a contribution to my campaign. Let change begin with opening some eyes and ears to how your taxes dollars are really spent.

Aug 14, 2014

The People's Candidate

In the late 1970's, neighbors would gather in the market on 9th Street to complain and receive consolation from the woman behind the cash register. Emma was a neighborhood institution. A native Allentonian, she had gone through school with mayor for life Joe Dadonna, and knew everybody at City Hall. More important, she wasn't shy about speaking out. What concerned the long time neighbors back then was a plan to create a Historical District, by a few newcomers.

What concerned Emma wasn't so much the concept, but the proposed size of the district, sixteen square blocks. The planners unfortunately all wanted their homes included, and they lived in an area spread out from Hall Street to 12th, Linden to Liberty.* Shoving property restrictions down the throats of thousands of people who lived in the neighborhood for generations didn't seem right to Emma. As the battle to establish the district became more pitched, Emma began referring to it as the Hysterical District.
Emma eventually lost the battle, but won the hearts of thousands of Allentonians. Emma Tropiano would be elected to City Council beginning in 1986, and would serve four terms. In 1993 she lost the Democratic Primary for Mayor by ONE (1) vote.

Her common sense votes and positions became easy fodder for ridicule. Bashed for opposing fluoridation, our clean water advocates now question the wisdom of that additive. Although every founding member of the Historical District moved away over the years, Emma continued to live on 9th Street, one block up from the store. In the mid 1990's, disgusted by the deterioration of the streetscape, she proposed banning household furniture from front porches. Her proposal was labeled as racist against those who could not afford proper lawn furniture. Today, SWEEP officers issue tickets for sofas on the porch.

Being blunt in the era of political correctness cost Emma. Although a tireless advocate for thousands of Allentown residents of all color, many people who never knew her, now read that she was a bigot. They don't know who called on her for help. They don't know who knocked on her door everyday for assistance. They don't know who approached her at diners and luncheonettes all over Allentown for decades. We who knew her remember, and we remember the truth about a caring woman.

* Because the designated Historical District was too large, it has failed, to this day, to create the atmosphere envisioned by the long gone founders. Perhaps had they listened to, instead of ridiculing, the plain spoken shopkeeper, they would have created a smaller critical mass of like thinking homeowners, who then could have expanded the area.

photo from Morning Call Archives

UPDATE: I wrote the post above in 2010, it last appeared in September of 2013.  I helped Emma's campaign in 1998,  when she ran for state representative in the Democratic Primary against Jennifer Mann.

Aug 13, 2014

St. Matthew's Monastery

St. Matthew's Monastery in Kurdish Iraq, one of the oldest Christian Institutions in the world, was built by Christians fleeing persecution in 363 AD. Today, 16 centuries later, Christians are once again seeking shelter there. In the last decade it has been estimated that half the Christians have left Iraq. Since the Baghdad Church bombing in October, some Christians are afraid to be seen wearing a cross; Others have fled with little more than the clothes on their back. Pray for them.

St. Matthew's is part of the Syriac Orthodox Church

reprinted from December 2010. Things have only gotten worse for the Christians in Iraq, many more have fled.

reprinted from May 2013.   The situation in Iraq has become even more perilous. Those Christians unable to leave Iraq have mostly taken shelter in north section of the country, under control of the Kurds. 

UPDATE: I started posting about the plight of Christians in Iraq and the greater Middle East in 2010. The next reprint was in May of 2013, and conditions had only gotten worse.  Now, in 2014,  they are outright victims of genocide.  The Monastery is still be used for protection.

Aug 12, 2014

Rethinking Allentown's Arena

I have previously stated on this blog that Allentown's arena could quickly become a white elephant. Recent observations cause me to hedge on that prediction. I suspect that the recent success of both the soccer World Cup and Musikfest in Bethlehem,  result somewhat from the need for catharsis from the malaise of our times. People traveling long distances with $3.60 per gallon gasoline, to work for minimal wages, creates a need for local escape. If the arena can provide a steady diet of affordable entertainment, it may well thrive in these troubling times. All three of the valley cities are suffering from too much violence and gunfire. This gangsta mentality has victimized most urban cores. With some luck and pro- active policing, hopefully,  center city's perception will be safe enough to not dampen arena attendance.

Aug 11, 2014

Pennsylvania, The Partisan State

It's no coincidence that there are no independents in the Pennsylvania's large State House, the Republicans and Democrats stacked the deck decades ago. Recently, the courts have eliminated the most exclusionary of the rules, but never-the-less, many obstacles remain. Those logistics aside, voter's partisan attitudes remain the biggest barrier. I've met many people who tell me that they're voting for the Democrat or Republican, even though they know nothing about the candidate. While help and contributions come easily to the two parties, independents must make their case, voter by voter. I ask that you recommend my candidacy to your family and friends in the 183rd District. I also ask that you contribute to my campaign, where ever you live in the Lehigh Valley. I ask that you think independently; Harrisburg has done very little, for very few.

Aug 10, 2014

Allentown's Blighted Properties

A few years ago, Allentown decided it had too many low income people, and that they would curtail that demographic by condemning buildings. Hundreds and hundreds of buildings were tagged in center city, some for such minor violations as peeling paint. It's not uncommon to find up to four tagged buildings in one block. They tagged so many buildings, that rather than contain blight, they helped create it. They also confounded the inconsistency of their housing policy by easing the requirements to convert former commercial buildings into apartments. The end result is no less density, no less apartments, but more blight. They are now trying a herding technique. The poor are being driven off of Hamilton Street, relegated to the upper blocks of North 7th Street. The Administration hopes that Pawlowski Plaza and event center at 7th and Hamilton will attract those with a gold credit card in their wallet. They might need cattle prods to keep the perceived riffraff away.

UPDATE: This post from November of 2011, originally titled The Cattle Drive, has been attracting attention. With City Council agreeing to host a special meeting on blighted property, it seems an appropriate time to repost it.

Aug 8, 2014

Playing Charades In Allentown

It wasn't that many years ago that I was asked by the former merchants of Hamilton Street to attend a meeting with them at Allentown City Hall. They were being approached and threatened by strawbuyers, and wanted to know what was going on. At the first meeting the city denied responsibility, feinted concern, and scheduled a second meeting.

This week residents of Allentown are being asked their opinion about the city's future by four paid consulting firms. In reality, the last thing the Powers That Be care about is your opinion. This is just another charade to justify the next phase of their development plan. Although the city supposedly had parking and traffic figured out two years ago, that is the speciality of one of firms hired. Another stated objective is how to redevelop the more challenging downtown properties. In an earlier post, I explained how the Parking Authority was selling off the surface lots near the arena to chosen developers, for more new buildings, in the taxpayer financed NIZ. Allentown will solve both the parking and blighted property problems by simply tearing down areas adjacent to the NIZ tax zone, for large surface lots.

A conventional candidate for the State House wouldn't be explaining how these tricks work, he would be backstage with the performers. Needless to say, I'm not a conventional candidate. On the contrary, I'm an independent, who is offended that local politicians delude the public, and pay for it using public money.

Aug 7, 2014

Saving Wehr's Dam

Last night, in another presentation to save Wehr's Dam, Bob Schantz brought a groundhog to the Commissioner's meeting. Schantz is the direct descendent of Guth, as in Guth's Covered Bridge, Guth's Station, and Guthsville. Also present was William Wehr, grandson of the mill and dam owner. This groundhog predicts something or other, every year at the dam. Sitting toward the back of the room, it was unclear to me if the groundhog was real, or just a puppet.

I have been in training for a major stunt of my own, going over the dam in the barrel shown above. Because the Wildlands Conservancy has removed all the dams in the area, I must travel to Massachusetts, where they still respect history, to find a mill dam to practice on.

Morning Call report on meeting by Meghan Moravcik Walbert report on meeting by Stephen Althouse

Aug 6, 2014

Reefer Madness

Paul Carpenter has a column in today's Morning Call about how Pennsylvania absorbed the Casino revenues, without really providing property owners with meaningful tax relief. I made the same observation back in May, when I announced my candidacy for State Representative in the 183rd District. Not only didn't the casinos bring relief, neither did it's predecessor, the lottery. Neither will hydraulic fracking or even pot, when they legalize it. Pennsylvania's problem isn't lack of revenue, it's a lack of priorities and ethics. I don't know if marijuana will make you insane, but voting for the same candidates and parties, election after election, is nuts. Imagine a candidate who doesn't need a job, or isn't looking for a career. Imagine a candidate who is non-partisan, and informed on policy issues. Imagine a candidate who is outspoken, and willing to point out the fools and their folly that waste your taxes. Where ever you live in the Lehigh Valley, help me get to Harrisburg, to help all of us. I have installed a paypal button on the sidebar of this blog. A mailing address can be found on the About section of my campaign site, Mr. Molovinsky Goes To Harrisburg.

Aug 4, 2014

Politics and Blogging

Easton's mayor Sal Panto and Blogger Bernie O'Hare have had better days. O'Hare had been historically complimentary toward Panto's accomplishments in Easton, and Panto would occasionally comment on the blog. Recently, O'Hare wrote about what he perceived as a conflict of interest in Easton, and Panto took offense. Currently, on Panto's facebook page he writes; What a great weekend in Easton. After a few days of a small group of bloggers tearing us apart and questioning our character, integrity and ethics it was great to be approached by literally a thousand people.

Although Panto may feel that it is his role to cheerlead for Easton, it's O'Hare's mission to be the fourth estate. We are in an era of reduced coverage by the traditional newspapers, and blogger scrutiny is more important than ever.

What would happen if you took a non-partisan, skeptical blogger and had him run for office, you would have me!!  After 20 years of smiles and handshakes by the same person, hopefully the residents of Slatington and Northampton are ready for some real resolve on their behalf in Harrisburg.

Aug 1, 2014

Wehr's Bridge and Dam

Wehr Mill Road goes over Wehr's Covered Bridge, next to Wehr's Dam. The dam and bridge combination compose one of the most picturesque sights in the valley. While the township and county value the bridge, the dam is on trial. Next week, while the bridge is being inspected for possible damage by an overweight truck, myself and some new allies will be defending the dam. While the truck driver was arrested and will be prosecuted for damaging the bridge, the Wildlands Conservancy was given permission to plan the dam's destruction. William Wehr and Robert Schantz, direct descendants of the two covered bridge namesakes which anchor the park, and myself, will present South Whitehall Commissioners with 600 signatures to save the iconic dam. It's our contention that the dam should be added to the ordinance with the bridge, which was recently incorporated into the township's new historic overlay district.

Addendum:  After advocating for the dam in front of the Commissioners three times,  I know that they would prefer the status quo described as such;  The Commissioners have not yet approved or disapproved of the dam's demolition, the conservancy was given permission to proceed with doing a "study" that the commissioners will then take into consideration when complete.

photo by K Mary Hess

Jul 31, 2014

The Harhart Emergency

The taxpayer paid postage incumbent Julie Harhart has been making hay with soft campaigning, masqueraded as state business. In August, she will be holding an Emergency:Be Prepared Seminar and Expo at a middle school in South Whitehall. The real emergency facing local residents is Harhart's stagnation in Harrisburg. She has initiated only one piece of legislation in 20 years, but did manage to vote herself a 50% pension increase for life. Although she presents any money coming the district's way with great local fanfare, none of it resulted from any advocacy on her part. It's time for the residents of the 183rd to think independently.

Jul 29, 2014

Lehigh Valley's Emergency Ordeal

The recent full page advertisement promoted Lehigh Valley Hospital as rated tops in ten different medical specialties. We've seen promotions for their new fitness center at the arena. What we don't read about is patients lying on gurneys in hallways, waiting up to 24 hours to be admitted through the emergency room on Cedar Crest Blvd. What we don't read about is patients being transferred from Chew Street to Cedar Crest, because of limited diagnostic procedures and services available at the Chew Street location. Although I'm no expert on this situation, I do know that sitting in an emergency room for five, ten or twenty hours doesn't help anybody's condition.

There's plenty of room at the new fitness center,  at the emergency department, not so much.

Jul 28, 2014

History Threatened In South Whitehall

The history of South Whitehall was threatened this weekend when an overweight truck went over Wehr Mill Covered Bridge. The Township has taken necessary precautions, and closed the bridge until it can be inspected. Unfortunately, another historic aspect of that location is still under threat. The Wildlands Conservancy is still using it's influence to convince the township that Wehr Mill Dam, next to the bridge, should be demolished. Last year, Lehigh County wanted to demolish Reading Road Bridge, a historic stone arch bridge from 1824. The misguided public works director said that it was obsolete, and not designed for today's vehicles and traffic. Imagine if he also wanted to demolish Wehr's Covered Bridge, for the same reason. The township commissioners apparently appreciate the value of Wehr's Covered Bridge. Let us hope that they also come to realize the historical value of Wehr's Dam.

Blogger LVCI opines on Wehr Mill Dam

Jul 26, 2014

Radio Free Molovinsky

As an early baby boomer I grew up in the era of Radio Free Europe. People would contribute to the enterprise to help spread truth and the American way to the oppressed people behind the iron curtain. The microphone image shown here I lifted from the WDIY webpage, Bethlehem's NPR station. Although Bernie O'Hare and I were guests on Alan Jennings' Lehigh Valley Discourse, the broadcast was never put on their website, as is their normal practice. As an outspoken independent candidate for State Representative, it's becoming apparent that I must solicit contributions for Radio Free Molovinsky, to bring truth to the oppressed people of Lehigh Valley. Your consideration is sincerely appreciated.

Jul 24, 2014

The Fish Kill Coverup

The fish kill last week at the Hatchery has now developed into a full blown coverup, with blame being assigned to the rain runoff from the medical office park, across from Lehigh Valley Hospital. The director of the Fish and Boat Commission says that all dams should be removed, of course his agency signed off when the Wildlands Conservancy demolished the Trout Nursery Dam, which was the real cause of the fish kill. Pennsylvania has removed more dams than any other state.  Justin Simmon's office says that they would pass along the deleted paragraph
Reggie Rickard an Allentown resident who has been volunteering at the hatchery for 45 years said the fish kill is probably the worst in the hatchery's recent history. Initially, he estimated as many as 2,000 may have been killed, but the final tally was about 1,400.
Fish have been lost in other heavy rains storms, but Rickard said this was a major fish kill. He and other volunteers who joined city workers in collecting and counting the corpses Tuesday believe the death rate may have been exacerbated by recent upstream dam removals on small streams.
from last week's Morning Call fish kill story, but as a state office, they cannot take a position on the issue.  That's news to me, that a State Representative cannot take a position on an issue, which might involve a poor decision or coverup by a state agency. I suppose that's the sort of diplomacy necessary for a young man to make a career out of Harrisburg. Although I'm also running to be a State Representative, I'm not interested in learning such a skill; I'd rather tell it like it is, think independently.

photo:April Bartholomew/The Morning Call/July15,2014

Jul 23, 2014

A State Of Apathy

Nobody thinks that Pennsylvania is doing very well. Because of that discontent, Tom Corbett may become the first one term governor in many years. Despite the reality of the state's paralysis under both parties, as of today, including myself, there are only three unaffiliated state house candidates throughout entire Pennsylvania. Although people know that they must think outside the box if progress is ever to occur, old patterns are hard to change. Please take a small step today, and help me challenge the status quo.

Jul 22, 2014

A Partisan Nation

Knocking on doors to gather signatures to run for office is certainly an educational experience. The vast majority of people quickly proclaim that they're either a Republican or Democrat, and vote that way. Never mind that Harrisburg has been broken a long time,  under both parties. Never mind that my area is in a new state house district, and most people don't even know who the candidates are. Although getting people to think independently, much less vote that way will be a challenge,  running as an R or D would be too bland for me. Help me send a message to Harrisburg.

Jul 20, 2014

Contributing To The Truth

Sunday's Morning Call features the PAC started by J.B. Reilly and his partner Joe Topper, to support those candidates who have supported their investment in Allentown's renewal. I was simply astonished as I read the article. Although the report repeatedly refers to Reilly and Topper investing in Allentown, in truth the taxpayers have made the investment, to the partner's benefit. Even the seed money to purchase property was fronted to them by the Arena Authority. The debt service on their privately owned new buildings is being paid for with state taxes. The candidates who they are supporting with the PAC are the enablers of this one of a kind private/public partnership. It's one of a kind, because in no way could the state budget afford any more of this. Reilly and Topper in essence have won the $billion dollar state lottery, they're even allowed to use the state cigarette tax toward their mortgages. At least one of the candidates they're supporting has never had an opponent, in the primary or general election. What are they really supporting?

To readers of this blog, who find it a source of truth, I ask you to contribute to my campaign for State Representative. If you live in the 183rd District, you should consider contributing because Julie Harhart has brought nothing back to the district for decades. If you live elsewhere in the Lehigh Valley, I humbly ask you to also contribute. I will be taking an unprecedented level of truth, bluntness and integrity back and forth to Harrisburg. I also ask that you share this post on your facebook page, and ask your friends to do likewise. Your  consideration is greatly appreciated.  I have installed a paypal button.

Those not registered with paypal can contribute by check or money order to Michael Molovinsky, Designated Account.
 mail to: Michael Molovinsky
              1636 N. Cedar Crest Blvd.
              PMB 145
              Allentown, Pa. 18104

Jul 18, 2014

Fight The Machine, Defend The Beauty

The view and experience of the water going over the dam and under the covered bridge is unique to Covered Bridge Park in South Whitehall. Last fall, Wildlands Conservancy diminished Robin Hood, in Lehigh Parkway, by removing the small WPA dam. They also removed the trout nursery dam, resulting in the massive fish kill last Monday. That dam regulated the amount of water entering the fish hatchery raceway during storms. The rain last Monday wasn't so unusual, what was different was that there was no dam to protect the hatchery. Please join me tomorrow at the Covered Bridge Park, Pavilion #2, between noon and 2:00pm, to let the South Whitehall Commissioners know that they must keep Wehr's Dam. The history and beauty of the park belongs to the current and future residents.

photograph by K Mary Hess

No Firewall Pretense

The Morning Call has become an official sponsor of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The article in today's paper unblushingly declares them supporters of the NIZ and Allentown's redevelopment. A local business professor explains how this corporate affiliation benefits the community. I wonder what an old school journalism professor might think? On the sidebar of their webpage there's a video lauding Pat Browne as the architect of Allentown's renewal. I wonder what treatment a future political opponent of Browne's might receive? With the taxpayer's price tag approaching $1billion dollars for Allentown's Renewal, who will watching for, and reporting any wrongdoing?

Jul 17, 2014

History Visits South Whitehall Commissioners

Covered Bridge Park in South Whitehall is anchored on either end by two covered bridges, Guth and Wehr. Last night, the two descendants of those namesakes appeared in front of the Commissioners, on behalf of saving Wehr Dam. William Wehr is the grandson of the mill operator, who built the current dam. He and Robert Schantz, Guth's descendent, presented the Commissioners with a petition of nearly 200 names. They requested that the dam be added to the new historic overlay district, a suggestion which I had also made previously. With over 300 names (including my petition) requesting protection, the time is approaching for the Commissioners to decide if this historic dam will continue adding to the magic and beauty of the park.

In other business last evening, the commissioners agreed to authorize a letter requesting a grant for Wildlands Conservancy to build a greenway in the park. Considering that there were only three commissioners present, no solicitor and no public notice or discussion, I will request that the authorization be postponed, until which time the public understands the consequences of this authorization. A greenway in Wildlands language means a wall of weeds, blocking both the view and access to the stream.

Please join me this coming Saturday, July 19th between noon and 2:00 pm at Pavilion 2, to help Save The Dam

photograph by K Mary Hess

Jul 16, 2014

A Dire Consequence Of Blind Dam Removal

In their indiscriminate haste to remove all dams in the Lehigh Valley, the Wildlands Conservancy is responsible for the massive fish kill this week at the Fish Hatchery. When General Trexler had the trout nursery built, they also built, just upstream,  a small dam, to insure and regulate a water supply for the nursery. Last fall the Wildlands gleefully demolished that dam, removing an important component of the trout nursery. Although the heavy storm Monday night occurred hundreds of times in the last century, this time the dam wasn't there to regulate the fast moving water. Over 1,400 fish were flooded out of the holding pools and died. Last summer, I watched the Wildlands Conservancy give a power point presentation to Allentown City Council on dam removals. When I invited City Council to Lehigh Parkway to defend the Robin Hood Dam, the Conservancy crashed my event, and asked the council members to come with them to the trout nursery dam, to see their wonderful plans. I hope yesterday that the Conservancy had the decency to help pick up the dead fish.

The lesson here is that not all dams are without purpose. Wehr Dam was built to help maintain as much water as possible by the Jordan's Disappearing Stream area. Without that dam the dry zone will be larger and more pronounced. Generations of valley residents appreciate it's beauty and history. Please join me this coming Saturday, July 19th between noon and 2:00pm at Pavilion 2, to help Save The Dam.

UPDATE: The Morning Call article on mcall Tuesday afternoon contained a paragraph describing how the fish hatchery workers believe that the dam removal factored into the fish kill. That paragraph was edited out of both the hard and soft copy editions Tuesday evening.

Jul 15, 2014

The Boat Landing

Getting to the Boat Landing, for six year old boys who lived above the park in 1953, was quite an adventure. There were three other wonderful WPA structures to navigate on the journey. Unfortunately,  poor foresight by a previous park director has erased some of the WPA's monuments in Lehigh Parkway. As the postcard from the mid-50's above shows, the Boat Landing (my name for the structure) was a source of pride for the city and park system. It is located at the end of the park,  near Regency Apartments. I use the present tense because remnants of this edifice still exist,  buried under dirt and debris. Other attractions lost in that section of the park include the Spring Pond near the Robin Hood parking lot, and the bridge to the "Island", plus the mosaic inlaid benches which were on the island. ( Island halfway between parking lot and boat landing). Neither the Mayor or the Park Director knows that these centerpieces ever existed. These are irreplaceable architectural treasures well worth restoring.

UPDATE: The above post was written in May of 2009. Later that year I organized a small group of volunteers, and we unearthed a portion of the boat landing. The next year I prevailed on the Allentown Water Shed Foreman, Michael Gilbert, to expose the remaining stones around the Spring Pond and remove the growth hiding the Miniature Bridge. Two weeks ago I asked John Mikowychok, new park director, to consider keeping these sites accessible. Karen El Chaar, director of Friends Of The Allentown Parks, reports those sites are now being cleared. The battle to preserve the heritage of our parks continues. Please join me this coming Saturday, July 19th, to help Save Wehr Dam. Pavilion #2, Covered Bridge Park, between 12 and 2:00pm.