‘What You Need to Know’: Senate-issues subpoena, Hispanic Heritage Month, and the Bethlehem Historic District closer to World Heritage site status

Written by on September 17, 2021

 ‘What You Need to Know’: Senate-issues subpoena, COVID-19 closes an elementary school, Hispanic Heritage Month, and the Bethlehem Historic District is one step closer to World Heritage site status

By Brad Klein and Jim Deegan

September 17, 2021

The kickoff event of Hispanic Heritage month took place this Wednesday in Southside Bethlehem.

In our regular Friday feature, “What You Need to Know,” WLVR’s Brad Klein speaks with WLVR’s VP of  News, Jim Deegan, about the week’s top local news. This week: the Pennsylvania Senate issues subpoenas in an examination of the State’s past two elections; a Bethlehem elementary school is forced to close due to a Covid-19 outbreak; Hispanic Heritage Month begins; and the Bethlehem Historic District, headquarters of the Moravian Church seeks World Heritage District status from the UN

Listen to the story.

Brad Klein

“This is WLVR News. I’m Brad Klein. It’s our regular Friday feature ‘What You Need to Know.’ I’m joined by WLVR’s Vice President of News Jim Deegan. Hi, Jim.”

Jim Deegan

“Hi, Brad. How are you doing? Thanks for having me.”

Klein

“It’s been almost a year since the 2020  Election in which Joe Biden won Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes. This week, the state Senate, after a lot of talk, has taken some concrete action toward a so-called investigation into the last two elections.” 

Deegan

“Right Brad. Republicans say that they’re looking for voter fraud, they’re not looking to overturn the election. Democrats have maintained that this is a partisan and baseless exercise. They’ve already audited results in most counties twice. So, here we go again.” 

Klein

“And Gov.Tom Wolf wasn’t mincing words. He called it another step to undermine democracy.” 

Deegan

“And there are other unresolved questions about who’s going to conduct this review. I mean, this information is going to be given to a third party, an independent private company that will actually conduct the review. And how much is it going to cost? And that’s the other thing, who’s going to pay for this, right? Like me and you,  Pennsylvania taxpayers will pay for this.”

Klein

“In news relating to COVID, Miller Heights Elementary School in Bethlehem has been closed to in-person teaching this week due to a COVID outbreak there and they just started school. What does that tell us about the state of the pandemic?” 

Deegan

“It tells us that, you know, we’re not out of the woods yet. I mean, this is something I think a lot of parents and educators have been bracing about, what’s going to happen when school reopens, when we have lots of kids in the same space. People who are unvaccinated, you know, kids under 12, we don’t have a vaccine for them yet. So this is what we’ve all worried about.” 

Klein

“And as we’ve discussed before, that’s really where the pandemic is right now. It’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

Deegan

“Just this week, the state released data that was remarkable in that the number I think was 97% of the 6,500 COVID deaths this year in Pennsylvania were among people who were unvaccinated. And the same is true for hospitalizations.” 

Klein

“I was surprised to learn this week that Hispanic Heritage Month began on Sept.15, on Wednesday, even though it’s been around since the 60s, we’ve had some nice reporting on events in the valley from our own Genesis Ortega.” 

Deegan

“There’s been a large Hispanic population in the Lehigh Valley for decades, that was only further emphasized and illustrated by the census. That showed a 45% increase in the last 10 years in the Lehigh Valley of people who identify as Hispanic. There are 100,000 Hispanic people in Lehigh County and something like 50,000 in Northampton County. So, a huge population in our area. It’s an important month.

“And there was a very meaningful dedication of a memorial here in South Bethlehem this week. Just this week along the South Bethlehem Greenway a memorial was dedicated to the Borinqueneers. That was a regiment of the U.S. Army made up largely of Puerto Rican soldiers. You know, that regiment fought in World War I and all the wars of the 20th century, and this memorial was dedicated this week just a couple of blocks from here along the Greenway at Taylor Street. It was an emotional ceremony and one of the Borinqueneers was there, a gentleman who lives in South Bethlehem and is a World War II veteran. He was in the regiment. His name is Santiago Rosario and just a great tribute to that regiment and to how this area played a part.”

Klein

“Yeah, and this time when we’re thinking about memorials so much more carefully it’s great to have something that has so much local meaning. 

“Since I live in Bethlehem’s historic district, I’ll end with the news that the district along with the Moravian Church which is based there has applied to the U.N. for World Heritage status.”

Deegan

“Yep. And this involves other nations, representatives from other nations who were in Bethlehem this week to support Bethlehem’s drive to become a World Heritage site because of the Moravian settlement that’s here.” 

Klein

“There’s only 1,000 in the world. I understand it will take two or three years to get any kind of answer but I look forward to saying that my neighborhood has joined the ranks of the Great Wall of China in the list of historically significant places in the world. Anyway, thanks for joining us, Jim.” 

Deegan

“Thanks for having me, Brad. Have a great day.”

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