Sharon’s Day Care owner and operator Sharon Ballek, 61, has pleaded guilty to charges filed in connection with the April 1, 2016, death of a 3-month-old baby who had been entrusted to Ballek’s care. McKenna Rose Felmly died on her first day at the now-closed Lehigh Township facility, located at 4538 Third St.
Ballek entered her guilty plea before Northampton County Judge Paula Roscioli July 31. She admitted to both endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment.
Over the weekend, as the 34th Musikfest celebration came to an end, Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio had just one word to describe it: “Great!” During the 10-day festival, more than 1.2 million people visited the Christmas City. Only 36 people were arrested, mostly for public drunkenness.
Gregory Graf, 56, of Northampton — convicted of and serving a life sentence on charges that he lured his stepdaughter, Jessica Padgett, to his home in November 2014, so he could kill her and then film himself having sexual relations with her dead body — has filed papers with the court blaming his lawyer for his predicament.
That lawyer is prominent Philadelphia Defense Attorney Jack McMahon, who is currently representing Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski on federal political corruption charges.
Pennsylvania’s incarceration rate was the highest among northeast states in 2014. But housing someone in a county jail costs money.
It costs $40,000 a year in a county jail, according to the County Commissioner Association. Statewide, 65 percent of these inmates are there for a substance abuse disorder. Another 10 to 30 percent suffer from mental illness. For these people, there are community-based alternatives to incarceration that cost less than half of the cost to jail someone. And that, in turn, has led to the creation of problem-solving courts.
Northampton County’s investigating grand jury has recommended criminal charges in the day care death of McKenna Rose Felmly, a 3-month old who died at a Lehigh Township day care April 1, 2016.
Sharon Ballek, owner and operator of Sharon’s Day Care at 4538 Third St., will be charged with recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of children. She will be spared prosecution for involuntary manslaughter.
Historic Hotel Bethlehem was the venue for Executive John Brown’s State of the County address on a blustery March 2 morning.
More than 150 guests were treated to scrambled eggs, bacon and home fries, along with a wide variety of juices, coffee and tea.
Brown spoke for nearly a full hour, the longest speech he’s given as county executive.
After months of budget hearings, followed by numerous amendments, Northampton County Council voted unanimously Dec. 1 to approve Executive John Brown’s $379 million spending plan for 2017.
Council also proposed an ordinance setting the millage rate for next year at 11.8 mills, which means there will be no tax hike. A home assessed at $75,000 will have an $885 tax bill. The millage rate ordinance was scheduled for adoption Dec. 15, the last meeting of the year.
Michael B. Padgett has sued Gregory Graf, formerly of Covered Bridge Road, Allen Township, in a seven-count complaint that was filed in Northampton County Court last week for the wrongful death of Jessica L. Padgett, his late wife. Graf is accused of battery, a civil term for violent acts, as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.
In November 2014, Graf lured Jessica Padgett to his home and killed her. He filmed himself having sexual relations with her dead body.
By an 8-0 vote, Northampton County Council decided at its Sept. 1 meeting to take the show on the road. The first stop, on Oct. 6, will be at ArtsQuest SteelStacks.
If all goes well, council will consider meetings in all four corners of the county.
In county business, council voted 8-0 to adopt a resolution opposing state legislation that will prohibit county recorders from charging fees when condominium association amendments are indexed against individual owners.
In Pennsylvania, it costs $36 to register your car every year. An effort to raise that fee to $41 in Northampton County failed at council’s July 21 meeting.
For the measure to pass, five votes were needed. There were only three. Bob Werner, one of two sponsors for this rate hike, was “all for it.” But he was absent. Mat Benol, who originally called it a “good idea,” changed his mind.