“The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine” is a saying that certainly applies to the 2012 home invasion of a Lower Saucon family that, until now, has gone unsolved.
Based on a grand jury presentment, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli has directed that criminal charges be filed against David Bermudez, 37, a fugitive who is formerly from Bethlehem. Morganelli describes home invasions as a terrifying experience, and this in particular a very serious case.
Decrying the growing epidemic of heroin use in Pennsylvania, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli announced Jan. 5 that he had approved filing criminal charges against an accused heroin dealer whose customer died of an acute heroin intoxication last summer. Daniel Joseph Fisher, age 29, has been charged with drug delivery resulting in death as a result of the death of Thomas O’Brien Jr., 27, on Aug. 20. This is a first degree felony, carrying a maximum penalty of 40 years imprisonment.
Elections have consequences. There’s a new tea party faction on Northampton Council. It consists of exec wannabe Hayden Phillips, Matt (that’s two t’s) Dietz, Mat (that’s one t) Benol and Seth Vaughn. Their new leader appears to be John Cusick. He’s walked right back into the council president job he had when he left politics four years ago, fearful that his advocacy of Gracedale’s sale would cost him an election. He managed to become president the same way he did in 2011 – by ousting the incumbent.
Professors from China’s medical and legal professions are among those who recently wrapped up a semester at Northampton Community College. Yan “Maggie” Zhang, who teaches medicine and Ying “Sunny” Shan, a lawyer who teaches law, are from China’s prestigious Jinhua Polytechnic, one of the nation’s leading vocational colleges.
Maggie and Sunny took some time to offer their perspectives on the differences between the China and the United States.
The Legal System
By an 8 to 1 vote, Northampton County Council has approved $720,500 in table games grants. They are part of Executive John Brown’s Community Investment Partnership Program (CIPP), which he first announced in January. The plan is to use table games revenue from the Sands Casino for a variety of grants and revolving loans, with an emphasis on aging boroughs and townships. By August, there were 43 grant applications, which were rated by a committee comprised of county bureaucrats, LVPC and council member Scott Parsons.
Northampton County’s nine-member Gaming Board met Dec. 14 to gear up for next year’s round of grants. It awarded $1.66 million this year in slots machine money from the Sands Casino in Bethlehem and can be expected to do the same next year.
Bob Donchez, mayor of the Christmas City, has little reason to be jolly. Instead of being greeted with holiday cheer at the Dec. 8 city council meeting, he was treated more like a piñata.
At their final meeting of the year on December 10, Northampton County Council members voted 8-0 to approve a three-year contract with AFSCME Local 1435. That’s the union representing about 650 workers at Gracedale. It provides for a step and grade increase this year, followed by a 1 percent increase in 2016 and 2 percent increase in 2017.
Sometime early next year, a new building will start climbing for the stars in South Bethlehem, at the South Third and New streets intersection.
Developer Dennis Benner, who is also a Bethlehem attorney, unveiled plans for a $20 million six-story office building that will house two very important tenants - St. Luke’s University Health Network and Lehigh University.
The ground floor of the 125,000-square-foot building, which will be linked to a new four-level parking garage, will consist of retail, with the remaining floors being occupied for office use.
Bethlehem’s Zoning Hearing Board continued hearing testimony Dec. 3 on plans to convert the vacant Rosemont ES, located at 815 Pennsylvania Avenue, into an assisted living center. Because the school is located in the middle of a residential community, a use variance is needed. On Oct. 21, nearly 50 neighbors calling themselves the Rosemont Neighborhood Coalition packed into Town Hall to oppose Abe Atiyeh’s latest plan. At last night’s meeting, about 40 neighbors attended.
At the first hearing, Atiyeh unleashed his secret weapon - his wife.