Consultant to evaluate structural strength of Housenick Park mansion

Author: , WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published: Sep 16 2013 09:58:21 PM EDT

Another modest step forward in the restoration of the mansion at Housenick Park occurred during Monday night's meeting of the Bethlehem Township Board of Commissioners.

By a 5-0 vote the legislative body agreed to have a consultant evaluate the structural strength of the 17-room mansion's roof, provide an analysis and develop bid packages to replace the old slate roof that currently sits atop the mansion.

"I think it is important that we keep the process moving forward," noted Commissioner Thomas Nolan.

The consultation would be at no cost to the township, according to comments made to commissioners by resident William Berry, who along with wife Karen Berry, is a member of the Friends of Johnston, a group whose interest is in preserving the mansion built by Archibald Johnston, the first mayor of the City of Bethlehem.

In other business Monday night, Solicitor James Broughal told commissioners that he is "hopeful" that at the next meeting the body would finally have an opportunity to hear and vote on the preliminary and final plan involving the Freemansburg Square Land Development. Any skepticism of that word would be warranted, since Broughal has been making the exact same promise for months, each time to have extension thwart that event occuring. The township's planning commission recommended the project to commissioners nearly one year ago.

In other business, Broughal informed commissioners that he expects commissioners to finally have a chance to hear a preliminary and final plan on the Freemansburg Square Land Development proposal within less than two months. The proposal has been on the township’s “old business” agenda since October of last year, with delays after delay preventing a discussion of the the topic, let alone a vote. Broughal noted the extension granted toward the project will expire in less than two months and be eligible for review and vote.

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The project, which is the vision of Dr. Atul Amin, would develop a commercial park highlighted by a 10-story hotel on Freemansburg Avenue at Emrick Boulevard nearby to Route 33. If and when the project is finally approved, Amin has indicated at previous meeetings that his first goal would be to secure a hotel franchise agreement for the project's centerpiece, which also includes a parking garage, three six-story retail buildings, two five-story office buildings and a three-story bank and office building on just under nine acres of property.


ISIS video is counterpoint to Obama speech

52-second video plays much like a trailer for an action-adventure movie

Author: By Ed Payne CNN
Published: Sep 17 2014 07:49:40 AM EDT   Updated:  2 MIN. AGO
ISIS flag carrier
(CNN) -

The production is slick. The imagery: ominous.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is out with a new video from its Al Hayat Media Center. ISIS also produced the videos of the beheadings of two American journalists and a British aid worker.

It took nearly a week, but this appears to be the terror group's response to President Barack Obama's speech in which he said the U.S. objective in expanded airstrikes would be to "degrade, and ultimately destroy" ISIS.

The President is expected to speak Wednesday about the U.S. strategy for combating ISIS, which also calls itself the "Islamic State."

The 52-second video plays much like a trailer for an action-adventure movie.

There are plenty of slow-motion explosions, and flames are shown engulfing American troops.

There are cameos from President George W. Bush and his "Mission Accomplished" banner, along with plenty of menacing fighters with masks over their faces, ready to execute civilians.

The producers even toss in a clip from Obama at the White House: "American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq," he says.

A lingering explosion puts an exclamation point on the whole thing.

And then the logo, fit for a Hollywood blockbuster: "Flames of War -- fighting has just begun ... Coming soon."

The video fades to black.

An ISIS magazine

Named after a town in northern Syria, Dabiq magazine publishes stories portending a battle between Islam and the West. It has portrayed Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona as "crusaders" who will "bring about the complete collapse of the modern American empire."

It also carries images evoking apocalyptic battles between the Sunni extremist group's fighters and the rest of the world, including American soldiers enveloped in flames.

ISIS is taking a page from the playbook of al Qaeda, a former ally that has praised and advocated terrorist attacks in its glossy magazine, Inspire.

But experts say the terrorist groups don't appear have the same propaganda goals.

Inspire focuses more on practical advice for terrorists planning attacks, publishing guides on how to make bombs and get them onto planes.

Dabiq is a vehicle intended to spark desire in its readers to join and fight with ISIS, said Seth Jones, a security analyst at the RAND Corporation.

Kurds say they killed an ISIS commander

The Kurdish fighting force known as the Peshmerga killed an ISIS commander during battle Tuesday, according to a senior Peshmerga official who took part in the operation.

The Peshmerga killed ISIS commander Abu Abdullah during a Kurdish operation to push ISIS farther from Irbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region, the official said on condition of anonymity Wednesday.

In the battle, the Peshmerga reclaimed five Iraqi villages as well as a bridge along the main highway linking Irbil to Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, according to a senior Peshmerga official taking part in the operations.

The Peshmerga said the battle was meant to push ISIS fighters back toward Mosul, to the west of Irbil -- and part of the Peshmerga's larger plan to reclaim areas that ISIS claimed this year.

ISIS destroyed the bridge linking the two cities a month ago, hoping to prevent any opposing force from advancing on Mosul, but the Peshmerga said its forces went around the bridge for Tuesday's attack.

U.S. air power appeared to play a role in the offensive. Two U.S. airstrikes targeted an armored vehicle and ISIS fighting position northwest of Irbil, according to the U.S. military. That's the same area where the Peshmerga operation was under way.


On this Day

  • Civil War, Battle of Antietam painting

    Library of Congress

    On this day: September 17

    The U.S. Constitution is signed, the Civil War sees the bloodiest battle in American history, the prototype space shuttle Enterprise is unveiled, and the Camp David Accords bring peace between Egypt and Israel, all on this day.

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