2/6 was the first day to pick up petitions to run for public office in PA…

running

Have you ever considered running for public office?  If you been appointed to a board or commission, chaired a committee for a community organization, helped to organize an event — or just care about your community, you may be a good candidate for your local municipal council.

February the 6th marked the kick off of the campaign season.  May mark the next big adventure of your life.

Are you passionate about Farmland Preservation or Smart Growth? Would you like to see vibrant, walkable commercial districts in your community?  Are you a supporter of bicycle infrastructure?  Passenger rail?
Did you know that for many local government races, you only need to get ten signatures on your petition in order to be on the ballot for the spring primary?  They do need to be signatures of people in your party from your municipality, and it’s a good idea to get 50% more. The modest number is hard to believe, but true.  The numbers of signatures you need depends on whether you live in a borough, township or city, but the threshold is relatively easy to meet.

RenewLV has long encouraged civic engagement.  By serving in local politics you will be engaging at a deeper level with your community…and that’s where real change is possible.   At RenewLV we have held numerous public engagement events on topics related to smart growth.  Perhaps you’ve come to one.  The more informed you are about local issues, the better prepared you are to run for your local municipal council.

If you already have been serving on your local municipal council and you are an advocate for farmland preservation or Smart Growth,* now would be a good time to consider running for your county council /commission.  With the rapid loss of farmland in our region, it has never been more important than now to have farmland preservation advocates as Lehigh County commissioners and on Northampton County Council.

Where do you go to pick up a petition?

Northampton County:  670 Wolf Ave, Easton, PA, 18042 Questions?  Call: 610 829 6260

Lehigh County:  17 South 7 Street, Allentown, PA Questions?  Call: 610 782 3194

Dates:

Pick up petitions:  Date Feb. 6th

Start circulating petitions: Feb. 14th

Submission deadline: March 7th

Number of Signatures:

Northampton County

Township: 10

Borough: 10

Cities Bethlehem: 100

Easton: 10 or 100*

Others: 10

*Please contact Northampton County Feb. 6th for clarification

Northampton County Council: 250

Lehigh County

Townships 10

Boroughs 10

Cities 100

District Commissioners 100*

*There are no longer “at large” seats commissioners, all seats are for one of the five districts

The Lehigh County League of Women Voters has information on their website at: http://www.lwvlv.org

Penn State Cooperative Extension Office will be holding a workshop on February 9th for people interested in running for public office.

hat-in-ring-poster

We are a non-profit and cannot endorse specific candidates.

*What is Smart Growth?

Smart Growth is a way to build cities, towns and neighborhoods that are economically prosperous, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable. (Smart Growth America)

Smart Growth is planned economic community development that attempts to curb urban sprawl and worsening environmental conditions.

Smart Growth is an urban planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in compact walkable urban centers to avoid sprawl. (Wikipedia)

Smart Growth advocates for mixed-use development with a range of housing choices and neighborhood schools. (Wikipedia)

Renew Lehigh Valley is a non-profit organization committed to promoting smart growth and smart governance in order to revitalize our core communities, preserve open space, and establish an economically and environmentally sustainable foundation for our region’s future growth.

Click here to donate to RenewLV

Fired Up? Consider throwing your hat into the ring…

Fired up?  Consider throwing your hat into the ring…

hat-in-ring

Do you care about how taxpayer tax dollars are being spent?  Do you want to be a voice for citizens in your community?  Holding public office is a way to make things happen in your community, bringing your voice to your vision and ensuring accountability.

Have you ever considered running for public office?  If you been appointed to a board or commission, chaired a committee for a community organization, helped to organize an event — or just care about your community, you may be a good candidate for your local municipal council.

February the 6th marks the kick off of the campaign season when petitions may be picked up  — that could be the beginning of the next big adventure of your life.

Are you passionate about Farmland Preservation or Smart Growth? Would you like to see vibrant, walkable commercial districts in your community?  Are you a supporter of bicycle infrastructure?  Passenger rail?  We encourage you to consider throwing your hat into the ring.

Did you know that for many local government races, you only need to get ten signatures on your petition in order to be on the ballot for the spring primary?  They do need to be signatures of people in your party from your municipality.  The modest number is hard to believe, but true.  The numbers of signatures you need depends on where you live, but the threshold is relatively easy to meet.

RenewLV has long encouraged civic engagement.  By serving in local politics you will be engaging at a deeper level with your community…and that’s where real change is possible.   At RenewLV we encourage citizen engagment and for you to consider running for your local municipal council.

If you already have been serving on your local municipal council and you are an advocate for farmland preservation or Smart Growth,* now would be a good time to consider running for your county council /commission.  With the rapid loss of farmland in our region, it has never been more important than now to have farmland preservation advocates as Lehigh County commissioners and on Northampton County Council.

The primary will approach quickly.  February 6th is day you can first pick up a petition. 

Where do you go?

Northampton County:  670 Wolf Ave, Easton, PA, 18042 Questions?  Call: 610 829 6260

Lehigh County:  17 South 7 Street, Allentown, PA Questions?  Call: 610 782 3194

Dates:

     Pick up petitions:  Date Feb. 6th

Start circulating petitions: Feb. 14th

Submission deadline: March 7th

Number of Signatures:

Northampton County

Township: 10

Borough: 10

Bethlehem: 100

Easton: 10 or 100*

Others: 10

*Please contact Northampton County Feb. 6th for clarification

Northampton County Council: 250

Lehigh County

Townships: 10

Boroughs: 10

Cities: 100

District Commissioners 100*

*There are no “at large” seats in this Lehigh County commissioners’ race.  All seats are for one of the five districts

Penn State Extension is offering a workshop on running for local office on Tuesday, February 7th.

RenewLV is a non-profit and cannot endorse specific candidates.

*What is Smart Growth?

Smart Growth is a way to build cities, towns and neighborhoods that are economically prosperous, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable. (Smart Growth America)

Smart Growth is planned economic community development that attempts to curb urban sprawl and worsening environmental conditions.

Smart Growth is an urban planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in compact walkable urban centers to avoid sprawl. (Wikipedia)

Smart Growth advocates for mixed-use development with a range of housing choices and neighborhood schools. (Wikipedia)

Correction:  the Lehigh County League of Women Voters reminds us:  “there ARE at-large commissioners in Lehigh County, but none are up for reelection this year. Check League of Women Voters of the Lehigh Valley Home Page for information on what positions are open this year (in Lehigh County only). Also, when collecting a certain number of signatures in order to be a candidate, people need at least fifty percent more, or even better twice as many. Signatures are frequently contested by opponents.”

Renew Lehigh Valley is a non-profit organization committed to promoting smart growth and smart governance in order to revitalize our core communities, preserve open space, and establish an economically and environmentally sustainable foundation for our region’s future growth. 

Click here to donate to RenewLV

Mulligan Moments of 2016 – Public Activism Edition

Thanks, Lou Cinquino, for giving attention to a worthwhile redevelopment project in the Lehigh Valley. We hope to have “Mulligan Moments” breaking out all over the region, but kudos to Catasauqua for being first!

Taking Mulligans

Sometime a mulligan is more than just a mulligan.  It’s a way forward that breaks abruptly with the past and establishes a whole new perspective on the world.  Here are two Mulligan Moments that may be harbingers of new understanding and appreciation of what’s best about our great nation and the towns that we live in.

The most startling and emotional moment came at the contentious location of Standing Rock, when a gathering of veterans offered a very public apology for transgressions of the United States government, military, and citizens upon the native peoples of the land of North America.  Seeking forgiveness is a humbling step.  And accepting forgiveness is a tremendous gift to all parties involved.  May this moment be the mulligan that heals and protects  and brings peace and justice to our nation and our Native American family.

A dear friend and inspiration of mine, Joyce Marin…

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Come to the Summit for Smart Growth on Friday: Reason #3 Dynamic Speakers (Alan Jennings/Ben Price)

Everybody needs to get stirred up a little sometimes.  

Sign up now for the RenewLV Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities THIS Friday, December 9th at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown:

 Reason #3, today is Dynamic Speakers and Panels.

“Dynamic?”  Perhaps the more appropriate word would be “Revolutionary.”

The two revolutionary key note speakers are:  Alan Jennings and Ben Price.

1) Alan Jennings, Executive Director of CACLV, speaking about a topic he has taught for six years at Lehigh University, “Doing Well by Doing Good.” 

   mc-alan-jennings-15-jpg-20160318

Alan Jennings of CACLV to speak at Summit for Smart Growth at 9:30 a.m.

 

Alan Jennings, who thinks that he may “well be the most hated person in the Lehigh Valley,” is certainly one of “movers and shakers” of the region (in our opinion.) 

This man has challenged, threatened and beaten up powerful people and institutions over the last 36 years to get them to do better by their neighbors. 

Alan, known in the Lehigh Valley for having dedicated his life to ending poverty throughout his career at CACLV, jokes that he has sometimes been described as an “evil false prophet” and “a poverty pimp.” He warns us that “if we want a government that doesn’t want to govern, we better figure out how to get along.”  The radical message of this life-long radical may surprise many with opinions that are often inconsistent with how he is characterized.  He will be presenting a seemingly right-leaning message on socially responsible business creation that you will not want to miss.

Alan says, “The best social program is the creation of a profitable business.”  

Driven by his professional passion to make a difference, Alan will challenge us on:  “how we, through our actions, can avoid the need for government intervention.”  

Come hear Alan’s take on “Social Entrepreneurship,” a topic today that is hotter than a pistol. Alan’s message is sure to motivate us to do better.

After his presentation, Alan will be followed by a panel discussion to explore the triple bottom line (people, planet and profit) and B-Corporations (Benefit-Corporations) — the latest business structure idea in socially responsible businesses.  We will also hear examples of two businesses where entrepreneurs are working to make a difference, one through working to build employee wealth while creating employee housing to make it easy for his staff to walk to work.  The other will compare traditional economic development strategies to another approach that involves the preservation of historic food, farmland and “local food ways.”    We will  explore, “What’s on our table? both literally and metaphorically.

Panelists for Panel 1 will include:  

  • Jamie Gauthier, Executive Director of Sustainable Business Network, “The Good Economy”
  • Jack Logan, Director of SolarStates, a certified B Corporation focused on the Triple Bottom Line
  • Trey Bianco, Co-owner and President of Smooth On, a business located in Lower Macungie Township with a   unique perspective of influencing change through creating employee wealth
  • Chris Kauzmann, The Young Entrepreneur in Residence and Innovations Programs Manager, with the Baker Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Lehigh University 
  • Todd Auman, entrepreneur and former professional economic developer, co-owner of Dundore & Heister an organic, grass-fed butcher at the Easton Public Market

At 11 a.m., we’ll hear from Vince Smith, the President of Catasauqua’s Borough Council and his team.  He’ll be showing us Catasauqua’s new mixed use, walkable, bike-able community, the Iron Works.  Then, we’ll break for lunch.

benpriceKey note speaker, Ben Price of CELDF will speak in the afternoon

2) Ben Price, the National Organizing Director of CELDF (the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund,) will speak in the afternoon about local community self-determination and “Making Sustainability Legal.”  

Besides having assisted over 300 local municipalities in writing ordinances for local community self-determination, CELDF is known for their instrumental work in helping to write the Ecuadorian Constitution, the first constitution to give legal rights to nature.  

Ben states, “If democracy doesn’t exist at the local municipal level in protecting its citizens, it doesn’t exist at all.”  

Ben will be followed by a panel discussion, facilitated by Michael Drabenstott, one of RenewLV’s Board of Directors that will challenge Ben’s ideas. Panelists of Panel 2 will include: 

  • Robert Freeman, PA State Representative and RenewLV Board Member
  • Jim Preston, Attorney, Broughal & DeVito (knowledge re: municipal planning             
  • Donna Wright – Supervisor, Lower Milford Township and Commissioner, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission where she chairs the Comprehensive Plan Committee, and Municipal Coordinator at Lehigh County Farmland Preservation Office
  • Sunny Ghai   – Concerned Citizen and Chairperson/Facilitator of the Good Neighbor Coalition, member of the Upper Macungie Township Planning Commission

 Join us and community leaders on Friday for thought-provoking speakers, dynamic panels, and break out sessions that will connect you to people who can help you make your ideas a reality.

The Summit, Friday (8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with registration at 7:30 a.m.) costs only $70 for a full-day conference with inspiring and informative programming, collaborative networking opportunities (and two great meals.)  Click here for all of the program details.

Seating is limited, so sign up now by sending an email, calling our offices at 484-893-1060 or online at:

http://tinyurl.com/jfe9pm3

 

 

Reason #4 to attend Summit for Smart Growth: Making Connections

Everybody needs friends.

There are lots of great reasons to attend the Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities THIS Friday, December 9th at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown. We’ve assembled six:
Reason #6: Fresh ideas: Social Entrepreneurship & Making Sustainability Legal
Reason #5: RenewLV’s New Urbanist Project of 2016: Catasauqua’s Iron Works (you are going to LOVE this project!)
Today, Reason #4 is…Make connections with like-minded people

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrowd at the Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities 2015

You know Smart Growth is being done effectively in places like Seaside Village, FL or New York City or other parts of the Lehigh Valley like Allentown, Bethlehem or Easton.
You see the pictures. You visit. But you want to know how to make it happen in your own town, on your own block.
You need a little more inspiration and a few more connections with folks who believe in your vision, people who can help you with practical solutions as you move from ideas to actions.
At the Summit for Smart Growth, you will make connections with like-minded people from all backgrounds.
We attract folks from the business community, education, the arts, non-profits and all levels of government. You’ll see old friends and make new ones as we work together to create vibrant, healthy urban communities and mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods adjacent to protected farms, trails and open space. You’ll find people who want to preserve more farmland and people who won’t give up the dream of restoring passenger rail to the Lehigh Valley.
Part of the magic of the Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities is the way we hold a conversation when we gather together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADr. Gregory Edwards asked, “Who is at the table when decisions are made?”on the panel discussion at the 2015 Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities

We have our smart growth ideals — and while we know that high ideals are not always realized quickly, we don’t give up — and we never vilify anyone along the way. We hold up our ideals as we respect competing positions and the complexities involved in collaborating in order to make sustainable communities happen.
So, join us on Friday for dynamic panels, thought-provoking speakers and break out sessions. The breakout sessions are where you will roll up your sleeves, make connections and really make things happen. It’s in the breakout sessions where our successful farmland preservation campaign was born only two years ago at the 2014 Summit — and as a result, farmland preservation funding in Lehigh County will be restored to $2 million per year over the next three years starting in 2017!
Come to the Summit on Friday (8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with registration at 7:30 a.m.) The cost is only $70 for a full-day conference with inspiring and informative programming, collaborative networking opportunities (and two great meals.) Curious about the program and who the panelists and speakers are? Click here for the program details.

We hope to see you on Friday, December 9th at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown.
Seating is limited, so sign up now by sending us an email at smartgrowth@renewlv.org, calling our offices at 484-893-1060 or online at:

http://tinyurl.com/jfe9pm3

Reason # 5 to attend the Summit for Smart Growth: Catasauqua’s Iron Works

Everybody loves a comeback story.

There are lots of great reasons to attend the Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities Friday, December 9th at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown. I’ve assembled six to share with you over the next few days.

#5 is…See RenewLV’s New Urbanist Project of 2016: Catasauqua’s Iron Works
Last year Andy Twiggar of The Waterfront took our attendees on a “magic carpet ride” of the drone video plan for that 100 acre development on Allentown’s Lehigh River. It was an amazing moment to see what is happening there after many years of effort.
Now, on Friday, we’ll see the plans for the next most exciting New Urbanist development we know of in the Lehigh Valley: Catasauqua’s Iron Works. Here is what it looks like today…

 

ironworks

Who are the hardworking people who have made a new, walkable, bikeable, mixed use future for this neighborhood possible? Every ambitious project of this nature has a whole team that makes it happen. Catasauqua’s professional team included Thomas Committa Associates and Spillman Farmer Architects.

Vinceandchris.jpg

But, two of the local elected leaders who are driving the project forward are: Catasauqua Borough Councilwoman Christine Weaver and Council President, Vince Smith, pictured here.

Come to the Summit and hear Vince tell us the story of this project.  He’ll introduce us to his team and show us drone footage of both the detail of this project and the future vision for this project. If you have questions, you can ask them later in the program during the break out session.  Real estate developers and professionals will want to know that this project will be going out to bid in early 2017.
By coming to the Summit for Smart Growth on Friday, you’ll have first dibs to sign up for a bus tour RenewLV planning for early 2017 of both Catasauqua’s Iron Works and Allentown’s Waterfront. That’s when we’ll tour the sites and learn first hand from the local leaders and professionals what they did and how you can make projects like this happen in your municipality.
For only $70 you get a full-day conference with inspiring and informative programming, collaborative networking opportunities (and two great meals.) Curious about who the panelists and speakers are?  Go to Renewlv.org for the program details.

So sign up now and mark your calendars for Friday, December 9th — we’ll plan to see you at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown at the Summit.
Seating is limited, so sign up now by sending an email to smartgrowth@renewlv.org, calling our offices at 484-893-1060 or online at:

http://tinyurl.com/jfe9pm3

P.S. Hey smart growth supporters…if you want to support Vince Smith and Chris Weaver in their efforts to convert their one-way main street into a two-way street for the increase in pedestrian safety, improved property values and downtown vitality, go to the Catasauqua Borough Council meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at 118 Bridge Street, Catasauqua, PA  18032!

Reason #6 to Attend the Summit for Smart Growth on 12/9: Fresh Ideas

There are lots of great reasons to attend the Summit for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities next Friday, December 9th at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown.  I’ve assembled six to share with you over the next few days.  smart-growth-poster-vertical-1-jmIdea #6:  Fresh Ideas

People say that our events are high energy, full of fresh ideas on how to get from ideas to actions, to realize more sustainability and smart growth in our region. 

This year the two big themes we’ll be exploring at the Summit will be Social Entrepreneurship:  “Doing Well by Doing Good” (the intersection of money and meaning) and “Making Sustainability Legal.”  Each of these ideas on their own is hotter than a pistol.

The first, Social Entrepreneurship, has the potential to literally transform our regional economy from the ground up — and in ways that we can all feel good about.  The second, “Making Sustainability Legal,” will discuss what kind of communities we will leave for our children and the road blocks local municipalities often find in preserving their communities and quality of life.  We’ll be exploring some somewhat revolutionary ideas on how some municipalities are handling those challenges.  

We’ve got exciting speakers, dynamic panelists, and great opportunities to network and collaborate at our break out sessions, (this is where people find the real opportunities to make a difference can happen.)  

As an added bonus this year, through the magic of technology, Vince Smith, the Borough of Catasauqua’s Borough Council President will taking us on a magic carpet ride of their new mixed-use, walkable, bikeable neighborhood in the planning stages:  the Iron Works.  You won’t want to miss this!

For only $70 you get a full-day conference with inspiring and informative programming, collaborative networking opportunities (and two great meals.)  

So mark your calendars for next Friday, December 9th at the Renaissance Hotel in Allentown and plan to see us at the Summit.

Seating is limited, so sign up now by sending me an email, calling our offices at 484-893-1060 or online at:

http://tinyurl.com/jfe9pm3

 

 

Join Us for Launch of Farmland Preservation Flash Mob/Photo Op

smile

Smile!

Please join us with your fabulous smile and show up for farmland preservation this Thursday (September 29th) at our inaugural RenewLV Farmland Preservation Flashmob/Photo Op!

This will be fun…and easy.

You will arrive by 5:30 p.m. at 4813 Meadowview Terrace in Zionsville (Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County.)

You will hold up or stand near the “Save It – Don’t Pave It” banners.

You will flash that smile of yours for the camera. We will post the photo to social media.  Easy-peasy, right?

And, if that doesn’t sound like enough fun, there’s a rumor that someone will be bringing a guitar and leading us in a chorus of “Big Yellow Taxi.”  You know the words:  “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot…do-wa, do-wa, do-wa!”

saveitbanner
Please, invite your kids, friends and neighbors to join us. You don’t have to be a resident of Upper Milford Township to be in the photo. Everyone is invited. We consistently see that when we show up in support of smart growth ideas, change happens.

Maybe afterwards, we’ll all go out together for a bite to eat.

By the way, Upper Milford wins kudos for putting farmland preservation on the ballot in November. Voters will be voting on whether they want a local EIT (Earned Income Tax) to direct toward openspace preservation, including farmland preservation. This is the type of local strategy for which RenewLV advocates. When local dollars are pooled with county dollars, they can be leveraged against state farmland preservation dollars, mobilizing the maximum resources to save our precious farmland.

If you have a farm field in Northampton or Lehigh Counties and would like to schedule a future Farmland Preservation Flash Mob/Photo Op, please let us know.  Shoot us an email at smartgrowth@renewlv.org.
Does it make you happy that we are doing this?  Would you like to support us, whether or not you can show up on Thursday?  We appreciate financial support in any denomination.  To make a donation in support of RenewLV or the Farmland Preservation Campaign, please go www.renewlv.org/donate.  Thank you SO much!

PA farmland

We know that this is very last minute, but if you consider yourself a Lehigh Valley farmland preservation supporter, here’s something you can do tonight before the sun sets over the cornfields (9.14.16)… come out to learn more about what’s happening at the local municipal and regional levels and to show your support of farmland preservation at Upper Milford Township in Lehigh County tonight at 7:30 p.m.

RenewLV has been invited by the township attend their Open Space Committee and to extend the offer to you.  We’ll update the committee on RenewLV’s farmland preservation campaign, following Diane Matthews-Gehringer on the agenda.  Diane is Lehigh County’s recently hired Director of Farmland Preservation. RenewLV board member and Farmland Preservation Committee Chair, Julie Thomases, will be joining me for our presentation.

We’d love to see you, too.  We consistently see that when you show up for meetings like this, change happens.

In January of this year RenewLV held a “Save It Or Pave It” event where approximately 125 appointed and elected officials and interested citizens gathered.  It was a high-energy event.  There, we explored various strategies of the 15 outlined in our RenewLV Farmland Preservation Toolbox, including raising dollars locally to match with county and state dollars.

Representatives of Upper Milford Township were at that meeting and are now moving toward a referendum in November to have an EIT (earned income tax) raise money locally for farmland preservation and open space. (More information below.)

RenewLV believes that the leverage of local, county and state dollars will mobilize the greatest amount of funding for the county easement programs.

We are thrilled to hear of Upper Milford’s efforts.

If you are able to join us tonight, the meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at the Upper Milford Township building at 5671 Chestnut Street, Old Zionsville, PA  18068 (the former Kings Highway School Building.)

What’s going to happen there?  After Diane speaks Julie and I will be reviewing the RenewLV Farmland Preservation Snapshot that summarizes how each county is doing toward meeting the farmland preservation goal.  This goal is stated on page 35 of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s regional comprehensive plan:

“to preserve approximately 25% of the land in Lehigh and Northampton counties for agriculture.”

farmland-preservation-snapshot

To urgently work toward meeting this goal, RenewLV has recommended the restoration of funding to both county farmland preservation programs ($2 million per year for Lehigh County and $1 million per year for Northampton County) for ten years.

We will be updating everyone on recent progress made in Lehigh County toward funding their program (Lehigh County Executive, Tom Muller has proposed a budget that restores funding of $2 million for three years for Lehigh County.)

Saveitbanner.JPG

Also tonight, we will be bringing along and displaying our new SAVE IT – DON’T PAVE IT banners as seen in the photo above.

We need you!  We are inviting interested citizens to help us with our new photography/social media project in which people hold these banners up in a rural vista or farmfield in your community – perhaps a farm you own or to which you have access.  Preservation advocates will assemble with these banners for photos that RenewLV will widely distribute on Facebook, Twitter and through emails like this one.

Let us know if you’d like us to put a spotlight on the support for farmland preservation in your community.  We’ll happily schedule a day and time to come to you.

Some friends of mine helped me to create these banners which we just finished last Sunday night — so we are just NOW rolling out this project.  With your help, we can show our elected leadership the grassroots support for farmland preservation in the Lehigh Valley.

Here’s a brief summary of Upper Milford’s referendum from Tim Haas, their Assistant Manager/Secretary:

The Board of Supervisors deem it to be in the best interest and general welfare of Upper Milford Township to acquire interest in open space for the purposes of protecting, conserving,  and preserving undeveloped open spaces; forests and farmland; natural and scenic resources; and recreational and historical land. There will be a ballot question before the voters of Upper Milford Township at the general election of November 8, 2016, asking if they favor the imposition of an additional Earned Income Tax to finance the acquisition of interests in real property.

The ballot question to be asked is:

“Do you favor the imposition by Upper Milford Township of an additional Earned Income Tax at the rate of 0.1385 (%) percent on an annual basis beginning January 1, 2017, to be used for the purposes of financing the acquisition, protection, conservation or preservation of undeveloped open spaces or areas; forests and farmlands; natural and scenic resources; and recreational or historic lands; and payment of the attendant costs associated with such actions? YES or NO”

If the referendum passes, there will be an additional Earned Income Tax increase of thirteen and 85/100 ($13.85) dollars per ten thousand ($10,000.00) dollars of earned income beginning in 2017. All revenue raised by the additional Earned Income Tax will be used to acquire agricultural conservation easements, finance the acquisition of open space, finance the protection of recreational or historical lands, and to pay the costs associated with such actions. The additional Earned Income Tax will remain in effect for at least five (5) years, at which time a new question can be placed on the ballot asking the voters whether they wish to rescind the additional tax.

We hope to see you tonight.  If you are an ardent farmland preservation supporter but cannot attend, please let us know by email at smartgrowth@renewlv.org or phone call at 484-893-1060.  We’ll put you on the list to be invited to show up for future photos!  Also, if you like the work we’re doing and want to keep the drum beat going for farmland preservation, please make a donation to RenewLV at this link.

 

Joining us for Lunch at The Easton Experience?

tomatoes-in-basketMany of you have signed up for The Easton Experience tomorrow, an exploration of how Easton, PA used local food as a focus of its economic development strategy.  For those that have not signed up, there is still an opportunity for you attend, if you act fast!

You will not want to miss this event! The Easton experience will provide the opportunity to hear from the people who made it happen!  We’ll start with Mayor Sal Panto and PA State Representative (and RenewLV Board Member) Bob Freeman telling us a little history of what it was like and how Easton’s amazing turn-around happened.

Dundore and Heister, the top shelf butcher at the Easton Public Market will be catering lunch for us, with five kinds of fabulous meat dishes and some vegan options, too.  Chef Mike Schnaulzer will be preparing the lunch at 11 a.m. in the demonstration kitchen designed and installed by Morris Black & Sons.

After the Mayor and Bob Freeman speak, a who’s who of Easton movers and shakers will tell us how they did it, followed by breakouts to explore the finer details.  During the panel discussion moderated by Dawn Hart, the Director of Community and Economic Development at the City of Easton, we’ll hear from Jared Mast of GEDP, Megan McBride of the Easton Public Market and the Easton Farmers Market, Kim Kmetz of Easton Main Street, Tod Auman of Dundore & Heister, Ben Scholl of Scholl’s Orchard, Jo Moranville of the Garlic Fest, Troy Reynard of Cosmic Cup and Two Rivers Brewing Company and Allison Czapp of Buy Fresh Buy Local of the Greater Lehigh Valley.

This event provides a GREAT opportunity to become inspired by the excellent work done in Easton, and hopefully take those lessons into your community.

Because The Easton Experience is so robust with lessons learned and networking and mentoring opportunities, the program will run from noon to 4 p.m.  We understand that this is a time commitment, but this is also a great opportunity to become inspired and connect with like-minded people.   If you cannot stay for the entire program, we encourage you to stop by for the lunch, and the Mayor’s presentation.

There is no cost to attend this event thanks to the generosity of our sponsor, Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream.

Seating is limited, so please register today at:  http://tinyurl.comj6er2xf

Learn how one communitycreated economic prosperity from Focusing on Local Food