August 30, 2018.
Our program featured Glenn Kranzley whose employment at the Bethlehem Globe Times and the Morning Call spanned 41 years. Glenn was chosen by the Northampton County Historical Society to update the historical documentation of the County starting in the 1950s where an earlier volume had concluded. 6 years of research allowed him to produce a book titled "Still Changing, Still Home". He noted three distinct trends over that time period. First is the suburbanization of the area. People essentially moved out of the cities. Secondly the economy changed from manufacturing based to service sector jobs. The people also changed into a much more diverse mixture of cultures.
His talk centered on some of the people who served as influential leaders. William F. Moran, Jr. led the 1970's push to change the Charter of the County government. The goal was for less patronage and more openness and accountability. Globe Times publisher John Strohmeyer had a strong influence on the makeup of the eleven-member committee elected to effect that change.
Senator Jeanette Reibman and Dr. Robert Kopacek played major roles in the establishment of the Northampton Community College. The schools enrollment has grown from 850 to over 37,000 and 20% of local high school graduates continue their education at NCC.
Nancy Shukaitis played a role in delaying the Tocks Island Dam project long enough for LBJ to decide to spend the allotted money elsewhere. Al Seiss campaigned against the 178 project. The highway was eventually built but Al's activism changed the construction to save local parks and eliminate unnecessary exits.
Gertrude Fox became politically active after the death of her young son who was struck by a car on Jacksonville Road. There were no sidewalks at the time but her campaign changed that. Her sidewalk success led her to attend many public meetings where she would sit calmly knitting until it was time to address the crowd with well-informed and insightful commentary. Alan Jennings has been a local fixture for years. Alan always seems to be the one who surfaces to lend a voice to the voiceless, especially regarding banking and housing practices.
John Strohmeyer took a risk in 1971 when a former policeman came to the paper with a Thanksgiving Day incident where the then-employed officer witnessed distinctly different treatment for whites versus non-whites. John went ahead and published the story. The result remains the only Pulitzer Prize winning story from a Lehigh Valley-based paper. The late 60s saw troubled times in the City of Easton. Rather than sit quietly and watch the situation deteriorate, a group of religious leaders came together from the Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant communities. The result was the birth of ProJeCt which continues to serve the community today addressing literacy and hunger needs