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Officials pay tribute to former councilman, president

At the Jan. 7 Northampton Borough Council meeting, council President Anthony Lopsonzski Jr. opened with a moment of silence for Charles Bodnar Jr., a former 30-year Northampton councilman and 11-year council president. He died Jan. 7 at the age of 81.

Bodnar was an icon as an elected official and community volunteer, it was mentioned. A former Bethlehem Steel machinist and member of the United Steel Workers of America, Bodnar epitomized a hardworking individual with a respect for good government and the spirit of volunteerism to improve the Northampton community.

In other business, Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski Sr. reported on an effort to restart the junior council members program. Lopsonzski Sr. noted his effort is to allow Northampton Area High School students “to bring their issues to council.”

There have been discussions with the high school about reintroducing the program, and Lopsonzski Sr. said a school counselor is receptive to the idea.

The program would be offered to students in ninth through 12th grades. Having a student serve for two years, Lopsonzski Sr. said, would be most beneficial for the student to see how local government works.

Lopsonzski Sr. floated the idea of transforming a troubled property on Laubach Avenue into a community meeting place. He asked Solicitor Steven Goudsouzian to look into the process of procuring the property as a first step.

In other business, borough Manager LeRoy Brobst provided council an update on the Northampton-Cementon Bridge replacement project. The project was delayed a year. Construction of the bridge is expected to begin in spring of 2022. Brobst noted the bridge remains a county priority.

Lopsonzski Jr. awarded Police Chief Bryan Kadingo a watch in recognition of 30 years of dedicated service. Council members also offered congratulations for his service.

In Councilman Kenneth Hall’s report, he said, “Thoughts and prayers for the unrest in the nation’s capital.”

Mayor Thomas Reenock wished all “a very merry Ukrainian Christmas.”

Ukrainian Christmas is celebrated Jan. 7, based on the Julian calendar. It is the Orthodox Christians’ Christmas. The Dec. 25 common Christmas celebration date is based on the later Gregorian calendar.

The public works report indicated the Christmas decorations were expected to be removed from street poles around Jan. 11. It was noted it may only be a few days before the Valentine’s Day decorations are fixed to the street poles.

Council made numerous appointments to a variety of boards and passed resolutions. Edward Hozza Sr. was appointed to the Northampton Borough Municipal Authority Board.

One challenging board to fill has been the uniform construction code board. The five-member board had four vacancies at the start of the meeting. Reenock was the only remaining member.

After discussion, Lopsonzski Sr. volunteered to fill one vacancy. Council quickly voted to add Lopsonzski Sr. to the UCC board.

The UCC board hears disputes that involve construction issues. Reportedly, they met one time last year. The board needs three present at a meeting to have a quorum.

The next borough council meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21. It will be a virtual meeting. Visit the borough website, northamptonboro.com, for the call-in numbers and access codes.