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Resident petitions to have nighttime siren silenced

Published July 23. 2010 05:00PM

Should Palmerton buck a long-time tradition and silence its nighttime siren?

One resident believes so, and explained the reason for his request to Borough Council on Thursday.

Seth Rehrig, who resides at 423 Lafayette Avenue, informed council that he was the person who created the postcard-style petitions that were distributed to several homes in the borough.

A longtime tradition in the borough, the siren sounds off twice a day to signify the noon lunchtime and evening curfew for children.

Rehrig then asked council how many postcards the borough received, to which council President Terry Costenbader replied six.

"I invite anyone to sit on my porch at 10 p.m.," Rehrig said. "You're more than welcome to."

Rehrig, who has lived at his current address for 27 years, asked council to consider his request.

"We want just the nighttime one to stop," Rehrig said. "It gets a little loud."

Costenbader then explained the borough's rationale behind the siren.

"Our police chief likes it because young people have no excuses [to be home by curfew]," Costenbader said. "They're supposed to be at home."

But, Mayor Brad Doll said he, too, is against the siren.

"I don't like it either," Doll said. "Personally, I don't think the whistle curfew makes a difference."

Doll said that despite the siren, kids still frequent the borough after curfew.

"It's archaic, and very loud," Doll said. "If you're trying to use it as the backbone to make kids go home, it's not working."

Councilman Richard Nothstein asked whether the borough should consider doing away with the siren on a trial basis. But, Doll said the noontime whistle had been discontinued for about a year at one point, only to return amid much public support to bring it back.

Costenbader then told Rehrig the borough would refer his request to its safety committee for its review.

In other business, council approved on 6-0 votes, with Councilman Jason Behler absent:

- The appointment of William Smelas to the borough Municipal Authority.

- The renewal of the PennDOT agreement for the maintenance of Delaware Avenue.

- The adoption of a handicapped parking ordinance.

- The hiring of Dan McDonald to replace Drew Sestok as a summer employee at a rate of $7.25 an hour.

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