The origin of the fire which destroyed the Parkland School District garage and the 16 buses inside on Feb. 23 remains undetermined.
Director of School Services David Keppel, told The Press, local and state fire inspectors, the insurance carrier and officials from Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on the scene the afternoon of the incident and gave a report to the district.
“They ruled out arson,” Keppel said. “It was an accidental fire.”
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rod Troutman also commented on the matter.
Parkland School District Superintendent Richard Sniscak reported the 2017-18 district calendar had to be adjusted to provide make-up days for school time lost since Feb. 20.
Although the first five snow days were built into the calendar, Sniscak said during the March 20 meeting, the day lost for the bus garage fire and storms since then required the district to make changes to the spring vacation.
In order to have the state required 180 days for students, Thursday and Monday of spring break become class time, and Friday, June 15 was added to the school term.
When the Parkland School Board convened Feb. 20, several days after the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Superintendent Richard Sniscak commented on the tragedy and reported on district security measures.
“We are here with a heavy heart and mind after that horrific incident,” Sniscak said.
“Parkland School District and this board have placed school safety as a priority for many years and will continue to improve as we learn from such tragic situations as the one in Parkland, Fla.
Union Lutheran Church, Schnecksville, will host an all-you-can-eat Italian dinner from 4-7 p.m. March 10.
Menu includes salad and breadsticks, chicken Marsala, baked ziti, white vegetable ziti, pasta with Alfredo, sausage or marinara sauce, cake, and beverages. Proceeds benefit church youth.
Tickets will be available at the door but a discount is given if purchased in advance from the church office between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Call 610-767-6884 for more information.
Parkland School Board President David Kennedy started the Feb. 27 meeting with expressions of gratitude to the organizations and individuals who provided assistance during the garage and bus fire five days earlier.
“I want to sincerely thank the seven fire departments, Cetronia Ambulance, South Whitehall police, and Parkland personnel,” Kennedy said. “Our garage mechanics removed 14 buses parked next to the garage and saved them.
“The American Red Cross showed up with coffee and food for the workers.
When two attempts to gain approval for construction of a new building were turned down by voters, Parkland Community Library staff and board members looked for ways to increase space in the existing location.
Director Debbie Jack commented on the matter to The Press.
“Where we are now is where we are staying,” Jack said. “At this point, we’re stuck here.”
South Whitehall commissioners have approved a project to examine options for enhancements to the public areas and visual character of the township.
Penn Praxis, an extension of the University of Pennsylvania design studio, will use architectural students to conduct an investigation of three sites and offer suggestions for improvements.
South Whitehall Director of Community Development George Kinney, reported at the board’s Feb. 7 meeting.
“It’s typically pretty good stuff that comes out of them,” Kinney said.
Under the direction of Alvin C. Thompson, the South Whitehall Tax Office has been moved from its Walbert Avenue site to 2227 Albright Ave., Greenawalds, but the office has an Allentown mailing address.
Thompson reported the building is handicapped accessible and has a large parking lot.
Tax payments may either be taken to the new office in person or sent through the mail.
The tax office is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
At a recent meeting, commissioners granted authorization to Thompson to appoint Sandra Dieter and Lynn-Anne Kocon as deputies.
The South Whitehall planning commission presided over a lengthy meeting at Orefield Middle School Feb. 25 concerning Ridge Farm, a Kay Builders undertaking of 741 housing units on 190 acres of land held by Jeras Corporation.
The project proposes development on the north and south sides of Huckleberry Ridge, and the east and west sides of Cedar Crest Boulevard, between Walbert Avenue and Huckleberry Road.
Thirty-five residents stepped forward at the recent South Whitehall planning commission meeting to express their feeling on the possible impact on their lives of the proposed Ridge Farm development.
The 741 housing units, showed in a slideshow by Kay Builders, the new community would occupy 190 acres of what is now open fields, woodland, and a few older homes.
While traffic issues were mentioned frequently, residents’ comments covered nearly every aspect relating to quality of life in the township.