Local Politics

Town meeting sets up tough crowd for Rep. Paul Clymer

Pa. State Sen. Paul Clymer town meeting in Quakertown.

State Rep. Paul Clymer faced a small but cantankerous audience Thursday night when he held a town meeting in Quakertown’s public library.

Lawmakers examine local housing of minors entering US illegally

Lawmakers news conference at Bethany

Chad Blimline/69 News

Three members of Berks County's delegation to the House of Representatives gathered Tuesday in an effort to learn more about the local housing of Central American children who entered the United States illegally.

Probe of Reading mayor's campaign finances ongoing, AG says

69 News

The investigation of alleged finance violations by Vaughn Spencer's 2011 campaign for Reading mayor is ongoing, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Tuesday.

Charter presented for new Berks County community

Antietam Valley meeting

Mount Penn and Lower Alsace Township officials presented a home rule charter for the proposed municipality of Antietam Valley during a meeting Monday night.

One Northampton County official sues another... again

One Northampton County official sues another again

It's a case of deja vu for Northampton County Executive John Brown.


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Double shooting leaves Wilson residents scared

Wilson meeting addresses violence in borough

A rash of violent crime in one borough in Northampton County has residents seeing red.Last week, Susan Counterman sat in an alley near her home with a man who'd just been shot.

The shooting still haunts her a week later.

"I didn't even want to be home," on Sunday, she said. "It was playing in my head."

She's not the only one still haunted by last week's week's double shooting in the 1500 block of Washington Street. A standing-room-only crowd of Wilson residents packed Monday night's borough council meeting to ask officials for help.

"When I have to sit on my front porch with my .9 mm, that's enough," said resident Amerigo Paoline.

He and other residents say the shooting July 20 was the final straw. Two men - Shane Walden and Latek Smith, both 22 and from New York City - were shot and wounded that afternoon.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for 18-year-old Tchella Bellamy, but Wilson police Chief Steven Parkansky said Monday that it might be a difficult case to make because Walden and Smith haven't been forthcoming about the shooting.

Walden has also been charged with drug possession, having tossed 52 bags of cocaine as he ran from the shooting.

"Chances are this will never get prosecuted, because we won't have any victims," the chief said.

The real victims, Parkansky said, are the residents who want no part in the drug trade.

It was a raucous meeting, with residents and council members talking over each other. People blamed a lack of police presence, landlords who rent to the wrong people, and the drug trade itself.

Borough officials stressed again and again that residents need to call police as they witness illegal activity, and encouraged them to join Wilson's fledgling block watch.

And Councilman Russ Lipari told residents to attend next week's National Night Out, scheduled for Tuesday evening in the borough's Meuser Park. Wilson and a number of other local communities participate in the annual event, which is designed to get people more involved in their neighborhoods.

"Get to know who people are," Lipari said. "Start a block watch on every block in the borough if you have to."

The borough's block watch has been in existence for a few years, but thus far has only four members.

About 10 times that many people attended the meeting Monday. Resident Anna Odyssey said that number only represents some of the Wilson residents worried about crime in their community.

"A lot of people were scared to come," she said.

(Photo captions: Wilson Councilman Russ Lipari speaks to residents.

Residents Anna and Blaze Odyssey listen to speakers at Monday's Wilson council meeting.)

Quakertown park naming rights up for grabs

Borough of Quakertown council

Quakertown officials will be visiting with potential donors in coming weeks in hopes of finding a name for their newest park, currently under construction in the borough.

With cake, a plaque and a gift, Bangor says farewell to business manager

Steve Wiencek talks to the audience Monday night at his last school board meeting as business manager, a post he held 16 years.

Bangor Area School District officials said goodbye Monday night to Steve Wiencek, the district’s business manager who is retiring after 16 years.

Northampton County exec undeterred by low attendance, budget deficit

Northampton Co. Exec John Brown at a town meeting

Low attendance at his town meeting didn't affect John Brown's attitude.

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