Backyard Fire Pits an Issue Facing Whitehall Council
Also, a discussion about a war memorial, and other leftovers from a June 20 borough meeting.
Residents Have Fire Pits Concerns
The aroma of a backyard fire is a welcome smell to many folks in Whitehall Borough. But to some others, it's a nuisance.
Because with the smell comes the smoke.
That was the story from a discussion among Whitehall council members at a borough meeting on Wednesday night.
Some council members admitted that they enjoy backyard fire pits in the borough, but some of those same members said that they understand why their neighbors might not.
Councilman Philip Lahr said that residents tell him that they can't open their windows when a neighbor starts a fire.
Borough Manager James E. Leventry said that whenever the weather gets nice every year, Whitehall's municipal offices' phones start to ring with calls from just such residents complaining about fire pits.
Leventry has suggested to the borough council that it should at least consider some controls over the use of fire pits so as not to upset many residents.
Council President William J. Veith directed a fellow councilman—and the borough's Public Safety Committee chair—Robert McKown, to look into the matter.
Councilman Glenn Nagy opined that some residents are perhaps just as (if not more) concerned with the "beer-infused noise" that often accompanies the use of backyard fire pits as they are with the smoke.
Nagy recommended to McKown that one place to start addressing the fire pits issue would be the borough's townhomes complexes, which may have local rules that limit or prohibit fires.
Baptist Road War Memorial to Be Moved?
Councilman Harold Berkoben has suggested that borough officials work to restore and possibly revamp a Whitehall war memorial that sits along Baptist Road near McKee Drive.
Berkoben said that a paint job on the memorial, which honors veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, is showing signs of age. He is suggesting "something more permanent" made of bronze and/or aluminum.
But Lahr felt that the memorial should be taken down in its entirety and moved to or even rebuilt at the Whitehall Municipal Complex along Borough Park Drive so that it can have better care.
He also said that more veterans would be honored that way.
"It's kind of like a nothing up there (on Baptist)," Lahr said, "and it should be more honorable down here (at the municipal complex)."
Berkoben said that those who built the memorial—he does not know who they are—must have placed it on Baptist for a reason and that Whitehall officials should respect that.
Councilwoman Linda J. Book expressed worry that the memorial might become damaged in transit.
No formal decision was made on Wednesday regarding the memorial.
Retired Flags Collection in Whitehall?
Mayor James F. Nowalk said that a Whitehall firefighter, Bob Webber, has suggested that borough officials establish a local receptacle to collect damaged or worn U.S. flags so that they can be properly retired in a fire pit, such as how it is done every year in South Park.
"I think it's a great idea," Nowalk said, suggesting that the receptacle be placed in the Whitehall Public Library lobby.
McKown expressed concern that space in the library's lobby is already at a premium. He also pointed out that the annual ceremony in South Park takes place not very far from Whitehall and that local residents can bring their flags there.
"I'm not saying that I'm necessarily pushing it (a Whitehall flags receptacle)," Nowalk said, "but I do want to explore it. ... I like when residents call and present ideas."
Nowalk swore in the borough's newest police officer—Daniel Bowman, a 2005 Baldwin High School graduate. (See this article's media gallery for photos of the swearing-in ceremony.)
"We strive for the best," Nowalk said to Bowman. "We take great pride in our police department, and we welcome you as an addition."
July 4 Meeting Canceled
There will only be one meeting of the Whitehall Borough Council in July—Wednesday, July 18, at 8 p.m.
Councilwoman Kathleen N. DePuy was not at Wednesday's meeting.
Don't(?) Tread on Me
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