Letter: Borough Resident Sees Sociological Changes

Hellertown resident Lee Weidner says a lack of civility is evident in the actions of some.

To the editor:

In 2012 lack of civility seems to have increased. Young people who expound an interest in the environment throw their fast food containers everywhere, including on . Adults walking their dogs in Hellertown refuse to clean up canine excrement.

Young people, while seated on the on the Hellertown Rails to Trails section, hurl rocks at the new wooden fence. The projectiles land on the grass beyond, perhaps later becoming missiles shot toward walkers or sitters at the pavilion in .

Adults exhibit road rage at the drop of a hat. The middle finger signal is not uncommon. They coast through stop signs indiscriminately with no expectation of punishment. They tailgate motorists on Main Street if the drivers are abiding by the speed limit and .

It seems that in today's world the favorite expression verbalized is "f--- you," spoken as if the First Amendment allows it. Youth scrawl this in public parks and schools, as if they are entitled.

Ask anyone what his or her favorite show on TV is, and the answer will be "Desperate Housewives" or "Jersey Shore," both obscene to the point of no return.

Yes, this is certainly a wonderful world to live in--small town America--Hellertown.

On the other hand, respectful folks abound, as do volunteers who love what they're doing. Many citizens love Hellertown, as do I. It's too bad that at times the lack of civility overshadows good intent. What has happened to taking personal responsibility for civility in 2012? I hope civility lives in a majority of hearts of young and old.

Recently an issue of "The Smithsonian" featured an article named "The King of Beisbol" about a baseball hero and humanitarian named Roberto Clemente, who sacrificed his life for civility 40 years ago. As David Maranis wrote, "In the final years of his life, his mantra was: 'If you have a chance to make life better for others and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on this earth.'"

In another issue of the same magazine, the article featuring "The 20 Best Small Towns in America" stars as numero uno Great Barrington, Mass., totally culturally different from Hellertown, although a certain startling difference exists to start off. Susan Spano writes, "You've got to slow down when R7 leaves behind the wide-open valley of the Housatonic River to enter Great Barrington. The road becomes Railroad Street there, right of way to pedestrians stalled in the crosswalk trying to decide whether to have sushi or chimichangas for dinner."

Hellertonian walkers can only dream of such an advantage. Mayor Fluck and Borough Council, you've had years to improve in this area, to no avail.

Lee Weidner


Walter July 31, 2012 at 12:52 PM
While Pedestrians "Have the Right of Way" Title 75, Chapter 35, Section 3542 ALSO requires: Pedestrians not to leave the curb, or other place of safety, when there is a vehicle so close that it presents a hazard. There is rarely a time on State RT 412 that this is not the case. Stop pushing the limit Mr. Weidner. You are constantly stepping out into traffic. And if you keep waving that staff of yours at people, someone is going to drop you in self defense.
J. Drew Stefancin July 31, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I always liked to think of Hellertown as Bedford Falls or Star's Hollow. The cutest little town in the world with an old style Main Street and you can't go two blocks without hitting a little league baseball field or a park or an ice cream place. The truth about tiny towns is there's often so little to do the kids end up in trouble - either finding drugs or knocking each other up. Parents become "soccer moms" as to shed their own wild past. Grandparents spend their time looking out their windows, gossiping about their neighbors. Lee, I agree with a lot of what you have to say but I'm finding out the hard way that sometimes you've got to accentuate the positive and just do your own little bit to eliminate the negative. OK, so we (people who aren't their parents) can't stop kids from littering but we can take a few minutes a week to pick up trash when we see it - Things like that. To me, Hellertown is still the cutuest little town in the whole world.
Stephanie Brown July 31, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Are you advocating violence towards Mr. Weidner? Because it sure sems like it.
J. Drew Stefancin July 31, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Agreed, Walter. While I'm fine with stopping my vehicle to let someone cross when they're at a corner with one of those signs - I am endlessly annoyed by people who jaywalk in the middle of the block, not at a corner, people who DO walk at the corner when the orange NO WALK sign is lit. Some of these people are even with children or worse - pushing a baby stroller. There are RULES to crossing the street - you can't just say "The cars HAVE to let me go."
Lower Saucon Guy July 31, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Take a day trip and walk around Newark, Jersey City or Camden. Then come back here and tell me we still have problems. Learn to appreciate what you have instead of focusing an the negativity you see in your little universe. Don't worry, Be Happy.
Jessica G. July 31, 2012 at 07:01 PM
I honestly have never seen any of the problems Mr Weidner is talking about, ever. I don't get tailgated driving down Main St (although it is usually very trafficky). I've never heard yelling or cursing from other drivers. Everytime I see teens in Hellertown, they are all just hanging out and staying out of trouble. I've never seen any poor behavior on the rail trail either. I get the impression Mr Weidner is just attempting to rephrase his years old complaint about drivers not yielding to pedestrians. Even with that, it is very rare that I have seen pedestrians trying to cross Main St. in the correct manner to not have a car stop for them. The only complaint that he mentions that has some validity is the dog poop on the trail. Every once in a while I will see a pile, and one person it looks like in particular bags it up and tosses it towards the swamp. Frustrating, but 95% of the time everyone is behaving there. There's always going to be bad few in a bunch.
Walter July 31, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I believe this is a case of you reap what you sow. If you are constantly stepping out in front of traffic … If you are constantly yelling at young people for their behavior … If you are constantly yelling at people for walking their dogs … If you are constantly yelling at people for the way they drive … If you are constantly degrading what people watch on TV … If you are constantly writing editorials bad mouthing people … If you only see the bad in people … You will get f-bombed and finger flipped.
charles hampton July 31, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Eight out of ten drivers will not stop for me while I attempt to cross the street at the crosswalk. I will not step out until I make eye contact, but SO MANY drivers just ignore. And, while driving, I have seen countless ignorant pedestrians crossing the street within 20 feet of a crosswalk, just too lazy to walk the extra steps. I stop for them as well, because I don't want any dents or blood on my car!!
Lower Saucon Brother July 31, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Sadly, alot of the crosswalk problem is probably non-resident drivers who don't realize how hard it is to cross Main st. I remember back when the state was deciding what path to use for I-78. Everyone went to council meeting to voice their concern about the possible growth in traffic. I remember them saying " It won't effect us, everyone using that highway will be coming from or going to Bethlehem". If only hind sight was 20/20.


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