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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 . 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 , 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 .

"I think it's a great idea," Nowalk said, suggesting that the receptacle be placed in the  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."

New Policeman

Nowalk swore in the borough's newest police officer—Daniel Bowman, a 2005  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 , 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.

DePuy Absent

Councilwoman Kathleen N. DePuy was not at Wednesday's meeting.

Don't(?) Tread on Me

Read .

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iluvtosing1982 September 07, 2012 at 10:50 AM
Thank you for your help Mr. Healy.
Robert Edward Healy, III September 24, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Regarding fire pits, folks: Whitehall Borough Manager James E. Leventry told me today that Whitehall's Public Safety Committee is reviewing the borough's code regarding burning. No changes to the code have occurred, but again, the committee is looking at its options.
Robert Edward Healy, III February 07, 2013 at 08:46 PM
UPDATE: "Whitehall Council to Consider New Fire Pits Ordinance" - http://patch.com/A-1J8p
Cindy Fisher February 08, 2013 at 01:48 PM
I wish Whitehall Boro would be as concerned with the escalating property damage by the overpopulation of deer as they are with stupid little fire pits! I'm ready to move out of the boro because of the problem!
Robert Edward Healy, III February 22, 2013 at 02:49 AM
UPDATE: "Whitehall Council Posts Open Fires Ordinance" - http://patch.com/A-2jpL

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