Charter school plan for new location gets incomplete from city planners

Author: , WFMZ.com Reporter
Published: Jun 14 2013 12:13:33 AM EDT

A charter school's land development plan for its new location received an incomplete from the Bethlehem Planning Commission on Thursday.

"See you next month," said commission chairman James Fiorentino to proponents of the plan submitted by the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts for 321 East 3rd St., after he and his colleagues voted 3-0 to table the proposal.

The school intends to relocate to East 3rd Street for the 2014-2015 school year, after operating in leased space at 675 East Broad St. since 2003.

The planners said it was important that a traffic study be completed before they decide on the plan, which would merge five lots into one so a three-story high school with a lower level could be built.

Assurances from school director Diane LaBelle that "we'll do whatever the study says" were not enough to sway the planners.

Project engineer Bryan Ritter's promised, "Whatever recommendations the city makes, we will do them," but that too fell on deaf ears, as did architect Christine Ussler's claim , "Your approval is critical to the financing."

LaBelle, Ritter and Ussler were clearly disappointed with the decision.

After the vote, LaBelle said getting commission approval Thursday would have allowed the school to "move forward with financing." The decision to wait for the study "pushes things back," she said.

Ground was broken for the $27 million school last Friday.

After concerns about parking were raised, LaBelle said of the 450 students who will attend the school, "under 50" will be driving their own cars.

Ritter said Northampton County Community College offered parking for the students at the Fowler Center across the street from the charter school.

Parking for the school's 54 faculty members would be available at a private lot at East 3rd and Taylor streets, about a block from the school, Ritter said.

LaBelle said buses will bring students to the school from 7 to 7:45 a.m. and take them home from 2 to 2:40 p.m. "There are 23 buses, and 90 percent of them are small buses," LaBelle said. "It's pull up and leave."

In other business, the commission unanimously backed a request to rezone a 4.77-acre parcel at the rear of First Presbyterian Church, 2344 Center St., from institutional to residential.

Andy Bohl, of Hanover Engineering, representing Kirkland Village, said the residential retirement community has an agreement of sale for the property, and Kirkland Village would have "dual zoning" if a change is not made.

Developer Abe Atiyeh, who owns property near Kirkland Village, objected to the rezoning request and urged the commission to table it.

It would be wrong to rezone "without having any idea what's going to be done with it," he told the commission.

" I might be in favor it ... I might oppose it. ... But what are they [Kirkland Village] going to so with [the land], build 500 units or 50 units? I'm a neighbor and I would like to know."


Legal issues to keep Peterson off the field

Running back indicted on felony child abuse charges

Author: By Ed Payne CNN
Published: Sep 17 2014 02:16:41 AM EDT   Updated:  2 HR. AGO
Adrian Peterson

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

(CNN) -

Running back Adrian Peterson will not play for the Minnesota Vikings until his legal issues are resolved, the team said early Wednesday.

It's a reversal of course for the Vikings. The team had earlier said that Peterson, who is facing a child abuse charge, would practice this week and could play in Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

In a statement early Wednesday, the team said Peterson has been placed on the NFL's Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list, which will require him to "remain away from all team activities."

"While we were trying to make a balanced decision (Monday), after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian," said a statement from owners Zygi and Mark Wilf. "We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right."

Peterson is considered one of the best running backs in the NFL -- if not the best. His absence was probably felt during the Vikings' 30-7 loss to the Patriots last Sunday.

In 2011, he agreed to a lucrative contract, which NFL.com reported would be worth $100 million over a 7-year period.

Turn for the worse

But his fortunes have taken a turn for the worse since his indictment last week on a felony charge of causing bodily injury to his son.

On Tuesday, he lost one of his most significant endorsement deals when Castrol, a major producer of motor oil, pulled out.

Castrol used Peterson in commercials for its Edge performance oil product and on social media. Many recent social media posts of his likeness had been pulled down, and the commercials were no longer available on YouTube. (His other major sponsor, Nike, said late last week it would stand by its athlete for the time being.)

One of the team's sponsors, the Radisson hotel chain, announced Monday night that it was suspending its "limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances."

Also, the website for his All Day Foundation was taken off line after the charities represented on the site were getting "harassing" calls from gossip sites, his philanthropic adviser, Bruce Richmond, said.

"We took the website off line because the charities that Adrian supports were getting calls from the media and were getting harassed by the media," Richmond told CNN. "I spoke to one communication director saying she had received about a dozen calls today from the same gossip site."

Legal process

Following his indictment, Peterson turned himself in to East Texas authorities Saturday and was released on a $15,000 bond.

The next step is a preliminary court hearing on October 8.

According to Texas law, people can be convicted of injury to a child if they cause bodily or mental injury "intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence" or cause such harm by omission. The crime is punishable by up to two years in a state jail and a $1,000 fine.

Authorities haven't divulged the details of what led to the charge. But Peterson's lawyer said the "charged conduct involves using a switch to spank his son" -- explaining that his client did so while doling out discipline "much like "he experienced as a child growing up in east Texas."

Rusty Hardin said "Adrian never intended to harm his son and deeply regrets the unintentional injury."

Peterson defended himself on Monday, saying he is "not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser."

Other allegations

The developments came as CNN affilaite KHOU reported this week that Peterson allegedly abused another one of his children -- a 4-year-old son.

Sources told KHOU that the mother of the child filed a complaint with Child Protective Services in Texas because she alleged that Peterson beat the child, while visiting his father at his Houston-area home.

According to the report, text messages between Peterson and the boy's mother show that Peterson admitted disciplining the child, but he claims the child hit his head on the car seat in the process.

No charges were ever filed, according to KHOU.


On this Day

  • Civil War, Battle of Antietam painting

    Library of Congress

    On this day: September 17

    The U.S. Constitution is signed, the Civil War sees the bloodiest battle in American history, the prototype space shuttle Enterprise is unveiled, and the Camp David Accords bring peace between Egypt and Israel, all on this day.

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