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.

Jul 14, 2014

Walking On Water

Sundays are a favorite day for park lovers to visit Covered Bridge Park, and enjoy the majesty of Wehr Dam. This particular Sunday, July 13th 2014, provided one of nature's tricks, geese walking on water. Because of the porous limestone creek-bed, during dry periods, the Jordan turns into a Disappearing Stream. Slightly downstream from the dam, the stream bed becomes completely dry, with the water only reappearing past Wehr Covered Bridge. A number of environmentalists have criticized the Wildlands Conservancy for the misinformation they provided to the South Whitehall Commissioners, concerning their plan to demolish the dam. With or without the dam, fish will not be migrating up the Jordan during dry periods, they don't swim well without water. Without the dam, the Disappearing Stream area would be significantly larger, and more pronounced. Please join me next Saturday, July 19th, as we Picnic To Save Wehr Dam, between 12 and 2:00pm at Pavilion #2, Covered Bridge Park.

Jul 11, 2014

Radio Free Molovinsky

Yesterday was a difficult day with the broadcasting equipment. Although the usual channels are still out, the blog is back up with emergency equipment.

Yesterday, Bernie O'Hare and I were guests on Alan Jennings' Lehigh Valley Discourse radio program. Next week the program will be available for download from WDIF.

The list of supporters to save the Wehr Dam continues to grow. Various scientific and environmental types have come forward to support preserving this icon. Mary Ann Bungerz, creator of the Covered Bridge Tour and other promotions as Director of the County's Visitor's Bureau, has come forward to support the dam. The first pavilion at Covered Bridge is named after her devotion to the park.

Although I tried to rent Bungerz Pavilion for next week's Save The Dam picnic, that pavilion was already booked for the summer. Please join us in Pavilion 2 next Saturday, July 19th, between noon and 2:00pm.

Jul 9, 2014

Contributing To Change

I have no allusions concerning the amount of work and expense that it will require for me to go to Harrisburg. The incumbent sent no less than three expensive mailings against her primary opponent. However, if the residents of the 183rd District, and the greater Lehigh Valley, are to benefit from change, I'm willing to do the hard work, but must ask you to make a monetary contribution. If you live in the 183rd, the need for the change that I can bring is apparent, your town has been stagnating for years. I also ask for contributions from everybody in the Valley. Your representative is complacent. Many go unopposed, election after election. It's time to shake up Harrisburg, it's time to think independently. I ask that you make a check or money order payable to:

                                       Michael Molovinsky, Designated Account
 and mail it to:
                                       Michael Molovinsky
                                       1636 N. Cedar Crest Blvd.
                                       PMB 145
                                       Allentown, Pa. 18104

or contribute through paypal

Thank you!

Jul 8, 2014

The Biology and History Of Wehr Dam

The Wildlands Conservancy is fond of telling municipalities that mill dams create warm water above them, and serve no purpose. Also obsolete, by modern design, in Wehr Dam Park, now know as Covered Bridge Park, is the covered bridge. A recent writer to The Morning Call noted the beauty of the water flowing over the dam and under the bridge. The Wildlands Conservancy has said that the dam has no aesthetic value, but they're also wrong even about the biology. Not far downstream from the dam, the creek disappears into it's limestone bed during dry periods. This natural disappearing stream phenomenon makes the dam a moot point in regard to upstream fish migration. What we're left with then is extraordinary beauty and history,  that needs to be preserved. Since mill dams and wooden covered bridges are obsolete, and they're not making any more of them, let's defend this irreplaceable legacy with which we were entrusted.
photograph by K Mary Hess

Jul 7, 2014

Saving South Whitehall's History

In 1952, South Whitehall lost Wehr's Mill, constructed in 1862. Last week, on July 2, 2014 the Commissioners signed the township's historic overlay ordinance, designed to provide protection for historical structures and sites, by cooperating owners. When Wehr's Covered Bridge was designated a National Historic Site in 1980, the application specified 1.45 acres. Whether or not the dam is included in this area is unclear, but the historical significance of the dam is unquestionable. It was the most elaborate dam built for any mill, on either the Jordan or Cedar Creeks. A concrete slab, inscribed and dated by none other than William Wehr himself, remains near the former mill site. In their haste to harvest another dam demolition grant, the Wildlands Conservancy told the Commissioners that the 1904 dam is neither historic or aesthetic, but the public knows that their iconic dam has both those attributes, in abundance.

undated photograph of the former Wehr Mill

Jul 4, 2014

In Defense Of The Irreplaceable

Yesterday, residents of South Whitehall received a well designed card promoting concerts in The Covered Bridge Park. In a recent letter to the editor, Dale Heffelfinger wrote; The Jordan Creek flowing over Wehr's Dam and then under Wehr's Covered Bridge is an often-photographed location that has appeared on calendars and in literature touting our wonderful lifestyle. To remove Wehr's Dam is unconscionable. This weekend as we celebrate our country's history, let us hope that the South Whitehall Commissioners decide to defend the historic dam.
photograph by K Mary Hess

Jul 3, 2014

Dam Hard Convincing South Whitehall

Last evening I again tried to convince South Whitehall Commissioners that Wehr Dam must be saved, for both historical and aesthetic reasons. Visiting that dam has become a generational tradition for thousands of valley residents. Although the Wildlands Conservancy has not been given explicit permission to demolish the dam, the commissioners have allowed them to continue planning for it's removal. Ironically, last night the commissioners also passed an ordinance creating an historic overlay district, including Wehr Covered Bridge. Had they been willing to add two simple words to the ordinance, and dam, they would have been fulfilling the spirit of the ordinance, not just the letter. At their meeting with the Wildlands Conservancy the commissioners asked how to deal with the residents who might want to keep the dam. The Conservancy replied that they must be educated about the fish and natural habitat. I believe that the commissioners must be educated about the values and traditions of their constituents.

Jul 2, 2014

Ezekiel's Tomb

Ezekiel's Tomb is south of Baghdad, in Al Kifl. The tomb dates back to the 6th Century B.C., during the Babylonian exile. Prior to creation of Israel in 1948, 100,000 Jews still remained in Iraq; Today, there are eight.

Last year Hebrew lettering was covered over in fresh plaster, in a process to turn the ancient Jewish shrine into a mosque. Fortunately, word leaked back to Israel and to the Jews of Iraqi descent. That community's history in Iraq spanned 2,700 years, 1,000 years before the birth of Islam. The renovation is now under international scrutiny, and hopefully the Jewish elements will remain. The photo shows Iraqi Jews in front of the tomb in 1932.

Conflicting reports: There are conflicting reports, both about the condition and intentions for the shrine. Here is an article from The Jerusalem Post, dated May 2010, which claims that there has been no damage (recent) to Jewish inscriptions.
NY Times recent article, Oct. 19, 2010

reprinted from September 2013

Jul 1, 2014

Whose Your Worm In Harrisburg?

It doesn't matter where you live in the Lehigh Valley, or whether your representative is a Republican or Democrat, either way, you have a worm representing you. Yesterday, they passed a budget with no pension reform. Two bills, one from the house, the other from the senate, offered a path away from the state's biggest problem, the pension liability. Both bills would have honored the current pension with existing employees, but would have gone to a 401 type plan for all new hires. The Democrat excuse was that it did nothing to alleviate the liability for existing employees, estimated to be as high as $50billion, for their pension life. They instead favored issuing more bonds and again deferring the state's full contribution. The Republicans also ignored the bills, also pandering to the strong unions, especially the teachers. Corbett is not an attractive candidate this year, but credit him for standing behind pension reform. The Republicans in the General Assembly, both representatives and senators, had enough seats to pass pension reform, but chose not to. The union pandering Democrats never considered it. Whose your worm?

Jun 30, 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. 

Jun 29, 2014

Morning Call Features Two Letters On Wehr Dam

The Wildlands Conservancy has noble goals. In Whitehall Township on the Jordan Creek, the group recently removed several small nuisance dams that were of little historic and aesthetic value. Wehr's Dam, however, is of high historic and aesthetic value and is at the center of a park in a tranquil setting in South Whitehall Township. The Jordan Creek flowing over Wehr's Dam and then under Wehr's Covered Bridge is an often-photographed location that has appeared on calendars and in literature touting our wonderful lifestyle. To remove Wehr's Dam is unconscionable. The Wildlands Conservancy should switch from Plan A (dam removal) to Plan B (remediation). Plan B is to pump the silt from the upstream side of the dam and build a fish ladder, which possibly could be incorporated as part of the original mill race. Fish are not stupid. Given the opportunity, they will find their way up the fish ladder. Residents of South Whitehall and the Lehigh Valley should get involved with this issue and make sure you get what you want. Perhaps the decision should be decided by a voter referendum rather than by a small group of people.
Dale Heffelfinger
Whitehall Township

 South Whitehall Township is usually good at communicating with its residents. Notices regularly arrive, announcing new township policy and initiatives. As an advocate for keeping Wehr's Dam and not allowing the Wildlands Conservancy to demolish it, I'm shocked at how few township residents know that the dam is in jeopardy. If township officials would notify the residents of their deliberation allowing the dam's destruction, they would quickly find out how near and dear this historic icon is to the people of South Whitehall. The commissioners and township have a duty to disseminate this information.
Michael Molovinsky
South Whitehall Township

The Morning Call featured Wehr Dam today in their letter section.  They coupled two letters with a photograph of the dam by Harry Fisher.  

Jun 27, 2014

State House of Cowards

Pennsylvania is a State House of cowards. Rather than pass the Tobash Amendment, which would address the state's biggest problem, the underfunded pensions, they will instead sell off the liquor system for a quick one year fix. Simply put, the Tobash Amendment honors all existing pension agreements, but changes the formula to a 401 contribution style for new employees. Your cowards in Harrisburg would rather offend one union, the liquor store employees, than all the public unions. Your cowards in Harrisburg will find a few extra dollars for the public schools after their sellout, and once again be greeted as returning heroes at home. Your elected cowards, and their local partisan supporters, will once again put their talking points for November's election ahead of real solutions for Pennsylvania.

UPDATE: The Republican controlled State Assembly is seemingly cobbling together a budget more cowardly than I predicted, adapting neither of the options mentioned above. Watch them even find a few extra dollars to bring back to their local school districts, but much less than really needed.

Jun 26, 2014

Park Follies and Misappropriations

Over the years this blog and myself have established credibility and expertise on Allentown's traditional park system and the WPA. I must report what I consider to be a major shenanigan by the mayor. $1.3 million dollars was taken to purchase two heavy industrial areas, to supposedly add to the park system. This $million plus dollars was taken from the water/sewage lease, which is being used as the mayor's discretionary fund, instead of the dedicated pension relief,  promised at the time. $950,000.00 was used to buy the parcel at Union and Basin Streets, near the city sewage plant. This is one of the oldest industrial areas in the city, and certainly not needed for more park land. Allentown has not been able to maintain the existing park land, or the features within it. The Fountain Park Pool has been abandoned, and the WPA structures are crumbling. The other just purchased parcel is the old fertilizer plant location,  along Martin Luther King Dr., west of the crumbling Schreibers Bridge. We have an administration with no memory or knowledge of Allentown's past. Anybody who knew what went on at the fertilizer/rendering plant, would not want their grandchildren playing there. The city's rationale for these purchases is to expand the biking paths and connect the parks. That's the folly, and now the misappropriations. Allentown has supposedly allocated money to engineer the repair of the leaning WPA wall in Lehigh Parkway. I know why the wall leans. Years ago, the stone shoulder between the park entrance and wall was blacktoped. As cars and city trucks drive around the curve, pressure is exerted against the wall. That strip of asphalt needs to be removed, and the stone buffer restored. The problem with the engineering study is that it's the third time it has been appropriated. In the last two budgets money was actually budgeted to repair the wall, now the process begins again. What happen to the previous appropriations? Must molovinsky on allentown now also establish expertise in forensic accounting?

Jun 25, 2014

The Train of Lehigh Parkway

With the 15th Street Bridge closed, as people detour over the  Schreibers stone arch bridge,  few will be aware of the industrial past surrounding them. The Barber Quarry railroad branch line crossed the road, just south of the bridge. On the left was the Union Carbine's Linde plant, the concrete loading dock is still visible. Although the last train ran in the early 1980's, the wooden railroad trestle is still there, to the west and south of the bridge. The area is now used as part of the disc golf course. The photograph was taken by Dave Latshaw in 1976, and is part of the Mark Rabenold Collection.

reprinted from April 2013

UPDATE: Although the 15th Street Bridge reopened this past winter, long overdue repairs to Schreibers Bridge have not yet begun.

Jun 24, 2014

The Sabaean Mandeans Of Iraq

I'm glad that the plight of Christians in Iraq is starting to attract main stream media attention, but there is another persecuted group you may not hear about. The Mandeans predate Christianity, do not believe in Christ, and are believed to have been followers of John the Baptist. Accepting no converts, their numbers have always been small. Apparently, they migrated to the swamps south of current Baghdad after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Their writings are in Aramaic, the language of the Bible in the time of Jesus. Their rules and ethics are similar to Jewish tradition. Baptism is their central ritual; they call the water Jordan.

reprinted from March of 2013

Jun 23, 2014

Peanuts For The People

While the NIZ Tax Incentive will provide almost a $Billion dollars in paid for real estate for a few men, the potential neighborhood workers will get only peanuts, as made official on Friday. This blogger maintained, early on, that there would be no jobs of substance, beyond selling peanuts at the arena. The banking and health care jobs, associated with the new office buildings, are far too sophisticated for any training programs or local unemployed. Friday's job fair, the first of two, attracted hundreds of locals, never the less. The potential employer, the arena, was upfront about the offerings. All but a few dozen will be part time with no benefits and most will pay $8 to $10 per hour, including the food service, event staff, operations and even supervisor jobs. Our experience is that they're good jobs for young people just getting started and good second jobs for adults looking to supplement their first job," said Jacque Holowaty, PPL Center assistant general manager. So, while they're only offering peanuts, as I said last year, we have created a new task force and bureaucracy, to delude the desperate.

Jun 20, 2014

Molovinsky On State Store Privatization

Local State Representative Justin Simmons has recommended selling the State Stores to meet this year's budget shortfall. Although perhaps privatizing liquor sales 95 years ago wasn't the best idea, it now is a steady revenue flow for Pennsylvania. Over the last two decades the state's retail venues have been modernized, and match or exceed private retailers elsewhere in selection. At this point in time, to sell a dependable, inflation proof, producing asset for a very short term gain, makes no business sense, what-so-ever. Although Simmons is straight party line, and wrong on this topic, at least he takes a stand. That is much more than can be said for my opponent, Julie Harhart, who only offers smiles, handshakes and birthday cards. Think independently.

photograph from Pennlive

Jun 18, 2014

Presentation To South Whitehall Commissioners To Save Wehr Dam

In their full court  press campaign to demolish the dam, the Wildlands Conservancy stated that the dam is not aesthetically pleasing. This would be a big surprise to the photographers who regularly use the dam as a backdrop to photograph couples and families. It would also be a surprise to the many people who regularly visit the dam to enjoy it's beauty, as generations have done. The Wildlands Conservancy said demolishing the dam is their highest priority, because it's dangerous and detrimental to fish. It's no more dangerous or detrimental than it was 5 months ago, before it became their highest priority. There always have been fish, both above and below the dam. You (the commissioners) have authorized the Conservancy to present options concerning the dam, but their statements reveal that they cannot function as an honest broker in presenting such recommendations.

During the King George Inn controversy last year, the Commission acknowledged the need to protect private historic property. It goes without saying that historic public property deserves the same protection. The park and dam commemorate the history and beauty of the township. I believe that you're entrusted with preserving the traditions of South Whitehall, not facilitating the agenda of the Wildlands Conservancy.

remarks made by Michael Molovinsky to the South Whitehall Commissioners on June 18, 2014

coverage of presentation by The Morning Call

photograph by K Mary Hess

Molovinsky For State Representative

Saving The Spring Pond

As a small boy growing up in the twin homes above Lehigh Parkway, I would go down the steep wooded ravine and cross the Robin Hood Bridge. The stone lined spring pond and miniature bridge was just the first in a series of wonderful WPA constructions to explore. Last year, when I organized the reclamation of the Boat Landing, my memory turned to the pond. Although overgrown with several inches of sod, I knew the treasure was still savable.

In the spring of 2010 I met Mike Gilbert of the Park Department, and pitched the idea of a partial restoration. On May 26th, I posted A Modest Proposal, which outlined my hopes for the pond. By July, Gilbert had the Park Department clear off the remaining stones, and clean up around the miniature bridge.

Park Director Greg Weitzel  indicated to me that the pond features uncovered will be maintained. Any further clearing would be at the discretion of Mike Gilbert. In our conversation he also stated that there are virtually no funds available for the preservation of the WPA icons.

I will attempt to organize a group and contributions for this most worthy cause. Between the Spring Pond and The Boat Landing there was once a bridge to the island. Wouldn't it be nice if a small boy could go exploring.
reprinted from previous posts
UPDATE August 2113Mike Gilbert has retired, and the Park Department has a new director. Although grass and sod are starting to again cover the remaining stones that surround the pond, the miniature bridge is still visible. I will make it my mission to again pitch the new personnel.

UPDATE June 18, 2014. The grass and sod has reclaimed the stones that surround the pond. Only the very top of the miniature bridge is still visible to those who know that it's there. Unless there is an immediate intervention, it's days are numbered.

Jun 17, 2014

Trexler Smiles, Landing Revealed

I believe that today, for the first time in decades, General Trexler had something to smile about. Most people never understood why three steps were near the lower entrance of Lehigh Parkway; they seemed to lead nowhere. This morning eight people joined a grass root effort to unveil, for the first time in decades, the structure I called the Boat Landing.
Buried under the dirt and grass were several more steps leading to a landing. Chris Casey was the first to arrive and cleared these steps and the first landing himself. A second set of steps led from the landing to the main landing on the creek. These second steps had a foot or so of ground and plants.
The quality and condition of the stonework is excellent, as was all our WPA icons. I will be polite and say only that it was a crime to have let this neglect occur. On the main landing the accumulated earth was two and half feet thick. The crew dug out the curving retaining wall several yards in each direction, and cleared off the top of the wall.
Eight people working four hours managed to reveal about one third of the landing at the bottom of the steps. It was a thrill to realize we were standing at creek's edge as the WPA architects had envisioned. I stood there often as a boy. There still remains a large portion of dirt to remove at the steps base, but you can now experience the Boat Landing.
The retaining wall and the landing continue for fifty feet or so in both directions. Unfortunately a huge tree has grown on the landing to the right, but the left appears reclaimable.
We who worked there today, hope to return and clear off the remainder of the dirt at the bottom of the steps.

Perhaps others will be motivated to clear off the remaining portion of the landing to the left. Now that might even be an idea for the City; imagine restoring an irreplaceable icon instead of buying something from a catalogue. I'm most grateful to all those who helped today, and will reveal their names with their permission.

ADDENDUM:Michael –

I just wanted to thank you for organizing today’s cleanup at the “Boat Landing” in the Lehigh Parkway. It’s not often that one gets to help unearth a treasure while barely leaving home, but that’s exactly what happened today.

It was truly impressive what big difference a small group of people can make. I can’t even estimate the amount of dirt that was moved with nothing more than a few shovels and a lot of hard work.
We can only hope that the City and the Trexler Trust will become aware of this location and start giving all the great structures in the Parkway the care they deserve.
However, the best part of the story for me came after we all left. I got home and my daughter Lucy (age 7) wanted to know how things went. We hopped in the car and soon we were walking up to the stairs leading to the landing. The sun was shining, and the sunlight trickled through the trees and onto the freshly-exposed stairway.
Lucy asked if she could go down to the landing by the water and next thing I knew we were both there at the waters edge, standing on what had been buried only a few hours earlier and marveling at the beauty of the location.
We spent a few moments there - a father and daughter both enjoying something completely “new” to us (even though the landing is over 70 years old). We talked briefly about what was – and more importantly what could be again.

Thank you for making that moment possible, and I hope many others take the opportunity to visit the landing in the near future.

Mike Schware
P.S. – After visiting the landing, Lucy and I walked further upstream and saw the remnants of the bridge to the island (near the water fountain). The remaining supports of the bridge confirmed what you
had told me earlier about the island being much smaller years ago.

reprinted from March 2013

UPDATE: The dig described above occurred in 2009. We came back and removed the reminder of the dirt at the bottom on the landing, and a few more feet in either direction on the landing. Although I had conservations with both the previous and current park directors, the city has not keep up with the site. History is fragile.

Jun 16, 2014

History of Lehigh County, Wehr Dam

Wehr Dam figures predominately in the history of Lehigh County, particularly in South Whitehall's history. William Wehr was born in 1871 and worked at H. Leh and Company in Allentown. While there he attended the American Business College in the evenings, graduating in 1894. By 1903 he began working at Sieger Mill, and purchased it in 1905. He remodeled the operation with the most modern rolling equipment, and soon the renamed Wehr Mill was producing his famous White Rose Flour. The concrete mill dam, considered the best constructed in the area, still delights residents of Lehigh Valley, and ties them to our agricultural and milling history.

photograph by Cyber X Ref

Jun 13, 2014

South Whitehall's Dilemma

The photographer and her assistant were photographing the newlyweds by Wehr Dam. She told me last Sunday morning that it is her favorite backdrop. Besides myself watching her work, was an elderly couple, who visit the dam every Sunday, to relax and appreciate the beauty. Unbeknown to them, their sanctuary is being threatened. The Wildlands Conservancy has targeted Wehr for their next dam removal project. I had seen the elaborate presentation they gave Allentown City Council, about the little dam in Lehigh Parkway. They used a professionally produced power point presentation, and brought in expert witnesses. They even had Allentown's brand new park director testify, although he had yet to even explore the park himself. Dam removal is fashionable, the only problem is that it destroys history and beauty, which you can't buy in a catalog. In South Whitehall's case, the township history is essentially that of the mills, which were built along both the Jordan and Cedar Creeks. I visited the dam again this week with a committed environmentalist. Although an advocate of dam removals, he agreed to survey the dam and adjoining covered bridge. He told me that in this case, the beauty and history trumped any environmental benefit, and that this was one dam that certainly should remain.

Jun 11, 2014

It's Not Enough To Just Campaign

It's not enough to just campaign for an office, you must work and advocate for those things that are important for the district's future. Please sign the petition to save Wehr's Dam, in Covered Bridge Park. The petition can be found on my facebook page, thank you.