Cherishing the past, celebrating the present and welcoming the future.
For all of 2022, this has been the motto of Northampton Township as it commemorated a major historic milestone -- its 300th anniversary.
On Dec. 14, 1722, a petition was granted by the Quarter Sessions Court at Bristol to establish a new township on the lands lying “between Southampton Township and other lands and the Neshaminy Creek.” Thus, Northampton Township was born.
Over the past 12 months, the 300th Committee, helmed by former supervisor Eileen Silver, has hosted a slew of celebratory happenings. These included a summer reading program at the Free Library of Northampton Township, colonial weaving and wool spinning presentations at the James E. Kinney Senior Center and a history walk at the Northampton Municipal Park.
The jam-packed year of festivities
wrapped up during the Northampton Township board of supervisors’ Dec. 14 meeting, which saw the local leaders dressed in powdered wigs and other garb of the 18th century.
Chairman Adam Selisker and his fellow board members recreated the signing of the petition that established a brand new township so many years ago. At that time, 21 petitioners put ink to paper and made it a reality. A birthday cake, complete with sparkler candles, was brought out.
“This has been quite a long year of
celebration. Three-hundred years is just remarkable,” said Selisker. “I think you will all agree that Northampton is a great place to live, and it has been for 300 years.”
Citations and other honors were presented on behalf of U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, outgoing state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson and Sen.-elect Frank Farry.
On hand at the meeting was outgoing state Rep. Wendi Thomas and newly-elected state Rep. Joe Hogan.
The board of supervisors donned powdered wigs and recreated the signing of the petition on Dec. 14SOURCE: NORTHAMPTON TOWNSHIP YOUTUBE
Year’s Eve party
The Newtown Athletic Club is hosting its first family-friendly New Year’s Eve event at the NAC Sports Training Center, 120 Pheasant Run, from 4 to 8 p.m.
The party includes an unlimited food buffet, mega inflatables, DJ and dance floor, adult cash bar, balloon artist, face painting, movie characters, cotton candy, games and giveaways.
Tickets are $30 per child, $35 per adult. Ages 18 months and under are free. Multi-sibling and NAC member discounts are available. All ages and members of the community are welcome to attend.
Visit newtownathletic. com/event/nye-2023/ for tickets and more information. Contact programs@newtownathletic. com or call 215-968-0600, Ext. 156 with any questions.
Holiday Sock Drive
Newtown podiatrist Dr. Lawrence Kalker is once again partnering with Valley Youth House in Warminster, the Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter in Levittown and the Coalition to Shelter and Support the Homeless in Doylestown for the 10th annual Holiday Sock Drive to benefit the three facilities.
The Sock Drive takes place now through Jan. 1. Since 2013, this initiative has collected more than 13,000 brand new pairs of socks from patients and community members.
All new socks for children and adults are accepted. Socks may be dropped off at Kalker Podiatry, 6 S. Sycamore St. in Newtown. Drop off sock donations in the marked container outside of the office.
Visit KalkerPodiatry.com or call 215-948-4048. ••
“A valuable presence in this commonwealth, Northampton Township is a community which has always been blessed with steadfast citizens, concerned community and civic-minded leaders, lasting traditions and a resilient spirit that have helped it thrive for 300 years and prepared it to meet the challenges of the future,” said Thomas. “The state of Pennsylvania is very, very proud of our township and I must say, so am I.”
Though Hogan grew up in Levittown and Langhorne, he praised the township: “Working in Bucks County my whole life, we always knew how great of a place this is. Here’s to another 300 years of a successful, great Northampton.”
In 1722, there were 40 existing settlements on the land. Now, the township boasts 40,000 residents, a major uptick from its humble beginnings. According to official records, Northampton used to be a strong farming community, with local workers never failing to keep busy. Whether they were hosting Memorial Day parades, attending carnivals, enjoying plays or competing in county fairs, their schedules were usually filled, not unlike that of residents this anniversary year.
Nancy Opalka, director of parks and recreation, had a big hand in the planning process as a member of the 300th Committee. She said, “The 300th Committee is thrilled to see the many activities, programs and events come together.”
The supervisors’ meeting on Dec. 14 was the opportune time to also celebrate Opalka, who announced her retirement from parks and recreation.
Supervisor Kim Rose listed the many accomplishments of Opalka, who came to Northampton Township in 1988, when she managed a full-time staff of two employees. The township had a population of 31,000, with the department offering a handful of programs, including three exercise classes, three summer camps and limited sports. Since then, the department has grown to 10 full-time employees, several part-time workers and over 100 seasonal summer staffers.
Opalka oversaw the 2001 revamp of the Northampton Recreation Center, a space that was formerly part of the library. It now has two offices, kitchen facilities, preschool classrooms, a dance room, gym and more,
with programs offered for all ages totaling over 100.
She also spearheaded the development of the Northampton Township Municipal Park, which now houses picnic pavilions, athletic courts and, most recently, the Miracle League Playground. The latter includes equipment designed to give individuals of all abilities the opportunity to play.
Rose told Opalka, “Your love and dedication to our community has been endless. You are leaving a legacy, a township that values physical activity, team sports, inclusive play and programs for every age, ability and lifestyle. We all wish you the best in your next chapter.”
For Opalka, this next chapter is an exciting one -- she’s about to become a grandmother. Rose said to her, “I can tell you from experience, that’s gonna be your best job ever.”
“I appreciate all the support over the years,” Opalka said tearfully. “But I leave the department in great hands, a great staff. I’m gonna miss them all.” ••
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When it came time for Dominic Andrews, a longtime scout with Troop 316 in Levittown, to choose an Eagle Scout project, he immediately knew which population he wanted it to benefit -- veterans.
After conducting some research of area organizations, he reached out to Alpha Bravo Canine, a 501(c)(3) that raises, trains and donates service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD and other debilitating medical/psychological problems that resulted from their active duty combat.
For the Philadelphia-based nonprofit, which also has a training space in Newtown, the recent graduate of Bucks County Technical High School planned, designed and built puppy training equipment.
Tracy Ruepp, ABC’s puppy raising director, explained how Andrews constructed two sets of steps with a platform connecting the two sides. On one side, the steps are deeper than the other.
“This enables our service dogs in training to practice different types of steps without pulling,” said Ruepp. “This is especially important if we have a veteran coming into our program who has a physical disability. This project has enabled Alpha Bravo Canine to really work on the basics of ‘step training’ without having to leave our facility before we take the service dogs in training out into a public setting. It has truly been a beneficial and helpful addition to our organization.”
Also constructed were pivot boxes used for balance training and a portable (and adorable) puppy kissing booth that ABC plans to use at promotional events.
Ruepp shared that, in the U.S., an average of 20 veterans commit suicide each day. Alpha Bravo Canine, established in 2015, works to save lives via little furry
“The dog is trained to pick up on their movements and their breathing. We train the dogs to monitor breathing patterns for anxiety,” she said. “It goes a long way to getting the veterans their life back. Some of them can’t leave the house because of their anxiety and PTSD, and they’re able to once they get a dog. It gives the veterans another purpose with the dog.”
Andrews, assisted by a self-assembled crew of 17 volunteers, including fellow scouts, leaders, family and friends, finished the project in 335 hours. Thanks to fundraising efforts, the entire cost of the project was covered.
The Bristol Township council recognized Andrews during its recent meeting. Council president Craig Bowen said, “It’s great to see dedication and hanging in there and getting to the point of Eagle Scout.”
For those unfamiliar, becoming an Eagle Scout is the highest honor that one
can achieve, but it’s not easy. According to Northern Star Scouting, only about 6 percent of all scouts earn this rank. Those working to achieve this goal prior to turning 18 must complete an application, service project workbook and other steps.
Throughout his years with Troop 316, Andrews held various positions, including patrol leader, senior patrol leader and scribe.
Accolades from his years at BCTHS include the Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence and Distinguished Senior in a Civil Engineering Technology. He’s currently in his freshman year at Elizabethtown College, where he plans to obtain degrees in civil engineering and physics.
“Scouting was some of the best years of my life. I definitely won’t be forgetting it anytime soon,” said Andrews. “It’s taught me a lot of valuable lessons and I was very, very thankful to be a part of that.” ••
The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Bucks awarded over $4 million in grants from funds generated at Bensalem’s Parx Casino. The Authority’s board of directors approved the grants to eligible municipalities at a public meeting held earlier this month at its office in Bristol Borough.
Grant funding will be used for a variety of municipal projects that include infrastructure improvements, facilities, health and public safety, human services and equipment for law enforcement, firefighters and emergency responders.
“Thanks to the leadership of recently retired Sen. Tomlinson, we have seen firsthand the meaningful difference the Municipal Grant Program has made to improve and protect our communities,” said Ralph DiGuiseppe, chairman of the Redevelopment Authority board. “Sen. Tomlinson’s vision for the gaming legislation has resulted in tens of millions of dollars being used locally to address gaming’s impact on our region while reducing the burden on the local taxpayers.”
Outgoing state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson said, “The Municipal Grant Program has been more successful than I could have ever envisioned when first drafting the legislation to legalize gaming in the commonwealth. Since its creation, the Redevelopment Authority has saved taxpayers money by awarding over $56 million in grant funding to local municipalities for critical projects.”
According to Jeff Darwak, executive director of the Redevelopment Authority, 49 applications requesting over $7.2 million were received this year. The Authority was able to support 42 of those projects.
Funds for the Municipal Grant Program are provided by 1 percent of the gross terminal revenue
from Parx Casino, as authorized by the Pennsylvania Race Horse and Development Gaming Act of 2004. The grant application is offered annually along with application guidelines to each of the eligible municipalities.
Grants awarded include:
- Bristol Borough Public Works Dump Truck - $115,450
- Bristol Borough Public Works Bobcat - $83,986
- Bristol Borough Public Works Pickup Truck - $69,275
- Bristol Borough Police Tasers$10,568
- Bristol Borough Police Patrol Vehicle Acquisition - $70,561
- Bristol Borough Fire Department Water Rescue Equipment - $44,176
- Relocate Essential Fire and Rescue Communication Equipment at Grundy Towers - $50,000
- Bucks County Rescue Squad Ambulance Acquisition - $158,178
- Lower Bucks Public Safety Training Center - $550,000
- Morrisville Borough Police
Department Vehicles Acquisition (via County of Bucks) - $133,324
- Feasterville Fire Co., Lower Southampton Fire Dept. & Lower Southampton Township Fire Marshal Office Self-contained Breathing Apparatus Replacement Project$200,000
- Lower Southampton Township Police Vehicles & Equipment Acquisition - $78,746
- Lower Southampton Township Road Improvements - $100,000
- Hulmeville Borough Road Repair and Resurfacing - $195,000
- Hulmeville Borough Traffic Signal Modernization - $25,191
- William Penn Fire Company Boiler Replacement - $68,500
- Towns Against Graffiti, Partnership of 9 Municipalities for Graffiti & Litter Removal - $165,000
- Bucks County Police Chiefs Association RMS Integration$115,600
- Middletown Township Police Vehicles Acquisition - $246,510
- Middletown Township Public Works Vehicles Acquisition - $202,590
- Penndel-Middletown Emergency Squad Power Stretchers - $65,184
- Langhorne Manor Borough Stormwater Management Project$125,515
- Langhorne Manor Borough Hall Repairs - $53,800
- Penndel-Middletown Emergency Squad Stair Chair Replacement$24,591
- Penndel Borough Hall Renovations - $139,416.60
- Langhorne Borough Police Vehicle Acquisition - $65,751
- Langhorne Borough Municipal and Police Software Acquisition - $19,509
- Langhorne Borough Police Department Weapon Enhancement and Acquisition - $7,179
- Langhorne Borough Police Department Radio Batteries Replacement - $2,971
- Penndel-Middletown Emergency Squad Auxiliary Communication Equipment Acquisition - $19,450
- Bristol Township Traffic Signal Upgrade Project - $211,000
- Bristol Township Traffic Signal Video Detection Upgrade - $60,000
- Bristol Township Police Department Body and In-Dash Camera System Project - $100,000
- Bristol Township Storm Sewer Inlet Replacement Project - $175,000
- Bristol Township Firefighting and Rescue Equipment for Township Firefighters - $20,000
- Levittown-Fairless Hills Rescue Squad Cardiac Monitors - $20,000
- Edgely Fire Company Rescue Tools - $20,000
- Levittown Fire Company #2 Paratech Vehicle Stabilization Struts$20,000
- Croydon Fire Company Tablets and Laptops - $20,000
- Third District Fire Company Rescue Equipment - $20,000
- Newportville Fire Company Floor Replacement - $13,298
- Bucks County Rescue Squad Building Improvements - $150,000
The funding will be used for public safety, human services and moreSOURCE: PEXELS Needed funding: Municipalities across Lower Bucks County are receiving over $4 million in grants awarded by The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Bucks.
filled quickly and she’s had to put dozens of kids on a waitlist. In Bucks County, 67 percent of eligible children do not have access to high-quality, publicly-funded Pre-K.
“This is the type of program there shouldn’t be a waitlist for,” said Farry, who awarded Yesypenko with a certificate of recognition from the state Senate for her recent certification as a 4-STAR center. “This program is going to give these young boys and girls here a better opportunity to succeed and be productive in society.”
He noted that quality Pre-K programs save communities “potential criminal justice costs, human services costs and more down the road so it’s money well spent in terms of the investment.”
Khalid. “The center is accessible and well-maintained, which was attractive to me as a business owner. We love helping people and their pets. This new shop will allow me to serve my existing clientele while introducing MK Traders’ products to new customers in the community.”
Commercial real estate services firm Levin Management Corporation serves as the exclusive leasing and managing agent for the 44,000-square-foot shopping center located on Galloway Road. Leading representative Fred Younkin arranged the MK Traders transaction.
According to Younkin, pet supplies represent a new retail category for Centre Plaza, making MK Traders a welcome addition to the property’s in-place tenant mix.
Grindhouse MMA fighters are
Grindhouse MMA & Fitness is a mixed martial arts school in Feasterville that offers classes for all ages and levels, including beginner, intermediate, amateur and professional.
Earlier this month, four Grindhouse athletes competed at Art of War 27, a regional MMA promotion at the Newtown Athletic Club. All four were victorious, with one of the professional fighters taking home a championship belt.
Fighter Isaiah Herring kicked off the night by competing in his second amateur fight, which was over fast. He won by submission in the first round and improved to 2-0.
Christian Hannigan took victory in the second fight after winning a unanimous decision over a tough opponent. He now sits at 2-0, with other wins in Muay Thai kickboxing competitions.
Next up was Anis Abdulloev, who joined Grindhouse last year after coming to the U.S. from Tajikistan. He went the distance with a tough opponent and took the win with a split-decision victory, also improving to 2-0.
The main event was a professional bout between professional fighter Shawn Stefanelli, who decisively won against a tough opponent and improved to 3-2. He’s now the reigning Art of War
Featherweight Champion and hopes to fight again this winter.
Grindhouse, located inside AFC Fitness at 1040 Mill Creek Drive, invites those with varying goals to stop by, including losing weight, competing in MMA or simply becoming a better version of themselves. A free week trial is offered for all new students.
Visit grindhousemma.com for more information.
Pre-K Counts classroom in Langhorne celebrates open-
A new Pre-K Counts classroom for young learners recently opened in Langhorne thanks to a historic infusion of $79 million in early education state funding that is being distributed to local early learning centers. Baby Genius Day Care Center, a 4-STAR program, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate this expansion, which provides access to Pre-K for 18 children, many of them Ukrainian refugees.
Victoria Yesypenko, owner of Baby Genius Day Care Center, welcomed Sen.-elect Frank Farry, Rep.-elect Joe Hogan, Middletown Township Police Chief Joe Bartorilla and Children First executive director Donna Cooper to tour the facility.
Yesypenko noted that the 18 new slots
Hogan agreed. He said, “Now we have two voices in Harrisburg that can address the waitlist issue. It’s important to have programs like this so children are learning from a young age how to share, how to be good neighbors and friends. These are critically important skills.”
Bartorilla added, “In addition to the academic benefits, high-quality Pre-K programs have also been shown to reduce problematic social and self-control behaviors that hinder student learning and can lead to future delinquency and crime.”
“Ages zero to five are the most important years for brain development,” said Cooper. “Which is why high-quality centers like Baby Genius are so important. Every child has one shot at an early education and every child should be able to go to great programs like this.” ••
MK Traders leases space at Centre Plaza in Bensalem
Boutique pet supply shop MK Traders has leased a 1,100-square-foot space at Centre Plaza in Bensalem.
After establishing a successful online presence, this will be the company’s first brick-and-mortar location. MK Traders will sell pet food, toys and accessories, over-the-counter pet medication and other items.
“I have been a Bensalem resident for five years and am excited to bring MK Traders to Centre Plaza,” said local resident and business owner Muzamil
The past year has seen the additions of Slim’s Irish Pub, Ryan Wagner’s Martial Arts & Fitness, Middle Eastern restaurant Great Indian Kitchen and Bensalem Nutrition.
LMC is currently marketing one remaining availability (1,700 SF) at Centre Plaza. ••
Bensalem students give back
The annual Bensalem High School canned food drive was a huge success this year. More than 2,700 canned goods and other non-perishable items were donated, all of which go to families in the Bensalem community.
The district is giving special thanks to the English teachers who collected the donations, the Community Service Club members who helped pick up the items from the classrooms, the Marine Corps JROTC cadets who helped with the collection and moving of the cans, and MCJROTC Leadership Instructors Colonel John C. Church and Master Sergeant Shawn Worthen for their assistance.
Maggie Jordan’s seventh-period class collected the most items and won a pizza party.
Additionally, Snyder Middle School’s student council held a food drive in conjunction with the Bensalem Lions Club. Snyder students collected 581 items, which will be donated to local families in need. ••