Salisbury Township inflicts real damage to a treasured Lehigh Valley restaurant | Turkeys & Trophies

TURKEYS

Restaurants struggling to recover from the financial blow dealt by COVID-19 certainly don’t need the kind of local government ineptitude that forced Bolete to pivot on its service plans this month. The restaurant, a James Beard Award nominee and one of the Lehigh Valley’s most-treasured fine dining establishments, closed its ingenious “shed village” in response to an order by the Salisbury Township Planning and Zoning Department. Zoning officer Kerry Rabold told the restaurant the sheds, which allowed diners to more safely enjoy outdoor service through inclement weather, were no longer allowed because the state had lifted its emergency declaration for COVID-19. But Rabold got the date wrong. It turns out Bolete actually had until Aug. 9 to remove the sheds. The officer later acknowledged the mistake, but it was too late. Bolete had already cancelled all reservations for the final two weeks of July and switched to curbside-only service. The township’s mistake proved even more painful to Bolete because the restaurant all along planned to close for August in part to prepare for indoor dining. Instead, it’ll lose out on income in the stretch leading up to the planned closing. Rabold is at least publicly accepting responsibility for the mistake, but this never should have happened. When you’re going to inform a business of something this consequential, you need to get it right the first time.

TROPHIES

It’s easy to take for granted that the Lehigh Valley ranks up there with the best in Pennsylvania in terms of quality health care. Thanks to our two health networks – Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network – almost all local residents are within a short drive to a capable emergency room and specialized care that’s usually found only in big cities. Both health networks this week received well-deserved praise in the annual hospital rankings compiled by U.S. News & World Report. Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township ranked fifth amongst Pennsylvania hospitals on the 2021-22 list, while St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill clocked in at nine. Congratulations to both and keep up the great (and critical) work of taking care of us.

Funding for animal shelters tends to be one of the last issues lawmakers consider and one of the first issues to get shelved in the budget process. That leaves essential organizations like The Center for Animal Health and Welfare largely fending for themselves when it comes to paying the bills and promoting services. Creative approaches are sometimes necessary, and few in recent memory have been more creative than the Williams Township-based center’s Project Paw. The community outreach center with a thrift shop and café will be opening soon at 452 Northampton St. in Easton. Among the features will be six cats up for adoption for patrons to curl up with while sipping a hot beverage. It sounds like the perfect coffee break for animal lovers.

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