Good morning, Bethlehem.
- Today is Tuesday, May 31, 2011, the first day of a shortened workweek for many of us. This is the 122nd anniversary of the Great Johnstown Flood. On this day in 1889, the South Fork Dam, a recreational area for the industrial elite of Pittsburgh, failed after days of heavy rain. The waters of Lake Conemaugh were unleashed on an unsuspecting city and its residents 14 miles away. A 60-foot high wall of water and debris slammed into the city less than an hour after the dam break. There were 2,209 deaths, to this day the third largest single civilian casualty event in American history after the 9/11-terrorist attacks and the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The disaster relief effort that followed was the first-ever tended to by the , with Clara Barton herself leading the way.
- The National Weather Service has issued a “Code Orange” Air Quality Alert for this area today. The alert means that “air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy … (for) children, people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases and the elderly. The effects of air pollution can be minimized be avoiding strenuous activity or exercise outdoors.” We are expecting it to be hot and humid, with a forecast high temperature of 91 degrees.
- If you are driving through South Bethlehem today, you may encounter some construction along Route 412 between Williams Street and Silvex Road. Pothole patching is planned. Crack sealing is also planned in the northbound lanes of Route 33 from Route 22 up to the Belfast exit. Expect lane restrictions during daytime hours. And of course, the construction at the south end of the Hill-to-Hill Bridge continues.
- The makes its weekly return to the PNC Plaza on the western side of the old Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces. Every Tuesday, the market features locally produced meats, cheeses, baked goods and other items, along with whatever locally grown produce might be available this early in the season.
- Today is preview day at , an annual sale at the to benefit cancer patients and programs in the Lehigh Valley. The rink will be filled with new and gently used items of all kinds, including clothes, shoes, toys, gardening supplies, household items, jewelry, accessories – and all at bargain prices. Now in it’s 37th year, it would probably be gauche to call it a “rummage sale.” Especially when veteran boutique-goers say they have found gently used Coach handbags for sale. Today’s preview, starting at 4 p.m., includes live music and a fashion show for $10 admission. The sale continues through Saturday.