State College Borough Council OKs Neighborhood Plan

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region ...

Counties constituting the Happy Valley Region of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

— Council unanimously voted Monday to approve the borough’s neighborhood plan, bringing almost two years of work and planning to a successful conclusion.

The plan was presented to the board by borough planner Meagan Tuttle. Tuttle had previously presented the plan to the board during the July 14 work session.

She explained that following board feedback, the planning staff looked into the borough’s role in realizing several of the goals presented. Some changes were made from the version presented on July 14 that moved the borough to a leadership position, and the council would see those changes on the final draft.

King’s College Among Three Interested In Buying Former Springbrook Water Co. Building

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — King’s College has submitted a proposal to purchase the former four-story Springbrook Water Co. property in Wilkes-Barre from Luzerne County.

The county sought proposals from prospective buyers as part of an initiative to shed unused properties and generate revenue for the cash-strapped county government.

Three entities submitted purchase proposals by last week’s deadline, said county Purchasing Director Mark Zulkoski. County officials say copies of all proposals will be publicly released before county council votes on options.

John Loyack, King’s College vice president for business affairs, confirmed the institution submitted a proposal but said he will leave it up to the county to release of the offered dollar amount.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1538937/Kings-College-among-three-interested-in-buying-Luzerne-County-property

Fiscal Board Approves Philadelphia’s 5-Year Plan

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philadelphia’s finances are improving and are likely to continue doing so through 2019.

The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) board made that optimistic determination Monday when it unanimously approved the city’s five-year plan.

The city’s fiscal overseers cautioned, however, that various risks were still associated with the Nutter administration’s long-term budget, including unresolved labor contracts, the School District’s fiscal crisis, and the pension fund.

Despite its concerns, PICA staff found enough good news in the five-year plan and in its most recent revenue reports to endorse that administration’s fiscal road map to 2019. So did the City Controller’s Office. Both the staff and the controller had recommended the opposite last year, for the first time in PICA’s history.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140722_PICA_likes_Phila__s_5-year_plan.html#qRukpGb4zKGUI7xu.99

Clock Is Ticking On Consolidating 4 Pottstown Fire Companies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — For more than three years, borough government has been urging Pottstown’s four independent fire companies to come up with some plan for consolidating.

Earlier this month, the clock started ticking for real when the borough issued a letter to all four companies notifying them that the fire service agreement between them and the borough would be terminated at the end of the year and starting in 2015, the borough will only sign one fire services agreement with a single, consolidated fire company.

Unlike the police department, fire protection in Pottstown is not under the direction of borough government, but instead is provided by four independent volunteer fire companies over which Pottstown Fire Chief Richard Lengel has operational control during a fire.

But in matters of their own affairs, such as finances, the election of officers and the like, the fire companies are independent.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140722/clock-is-ticking-on-consolidating-4-pottstown-fire-companies

Web Petition Wants To Stop Sherman Hills Funding

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A post on the White House’s We the People website petitions the Obama Administration to cease Section 8 subsidies to the Sherman Hills apartment complex.

But before it earns a response from White House staff, it first must gather 100,000 signatures by Aug 15.

Readers on the Times Leader’s Facebook page were quick to respond when asked if they would sign the petition. Many readers commented emphatically that they would sign. However, the petition only gained 5 signatures in the same time period.

One commenter suggested tenants receive criminal background checks and drug tests.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1541121/Web-petition-wants-to-stop-Sherman-Hills-funding

Wilkes-Barre Police Chief: Sherman Hills Cameras Not Working

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Surveillance cameras in Sherman Hills did not record Tuesday’s shooting at the troubled apartment complex when two men were seriously injured, city police Chief Gerard Dessoye said Thursday.

Dessoye said the camera system, he believed, was “not fixed” as pledged by the complex’s former owner, Sherman Hills Realty Inc.

“(Cameras) couldn’t provide any details about the shooting,” Dessoye said, noting he has not seen any security enhancements at the apartment complex besides the installation of a chain link fence.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, stated in a news release that Treetop Development, which purchased the apartment complex from Sherman Hills Realty earlier this year, “repaired all cameras.”

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1536916/Dessoye:-Few-security-improvements-at-Sherman-Hills

Lower Macungie Approves 3 Million Square Feet Of Warehouses

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lower Macungie Township officials signed off tonight on plans to construct just under 3 million square feet of warehouses.

The plans by developer Liberty Property Trust call for the buildings to be developed on 225 acres in the western part of the township, near Spring Creek and Mertztown roads.

The project includes three warehouses which are 1.2 million, 1.1 million and 650,000 square feet in size, as well as a 10,000-square-foot office building, township planning director Sara Pandl said.

Township commissioners voted 5-0 tonight to approve the project. Construction is expected to begin as early as this year and could conclude by 2015, according to Bill Bumber, Liberty Property Trust’s vice president of development.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2014/07/lower_macungie_approves_3_mill.html

Dog Fighting In Pottstown: A Tragic Result Of Government Negligence…

EDITORIAL

Pottstown Borough Hall

Pottstown Borough Hall

Our scuz-busting friend, the Golden Cockroach, has more horrific news about the results of the absentee extractive investors who have taken over large numbers of properties in Pottstown.  These folks buy up homes for “cents on the dollar” and rent them to anybody who will pay their rent in “cash”, **wink, wink. The properties are not maintained and the tenants are left to run wild and terrorize their neighbors.

The typical absentee extractive investor lives in a large suburban home, in a township where mostly upper middle class white folk congregate.  They take their wads of “rental cash” and do “fun stuff” like take vacations to tropical locations with municipal employees (who also make wads of cash thanks to the overburdened taxpayers in Pottstown).  While these folks are sunbathing, and having drinks with little umbrellas in them, back at the ranch all hell is breaking loose.  OR when they aren’t sunbathing and having funky beverages south of the border, they are at home in their virtually crime-free suburban communities reading about Pottstown’s ills in the Mercury.

Meanwhile, Pottstown is falling apart and these rental properties are crumbling off their foundations. HOWEVER, unless “I” live next to a problem rental property it’s not my problem.  These properties somehow pass inspection, they are somehow issued occupancy permits and everybody is happy.  Well, except for the people who live in Pottstown and are being terrorized by these tenants who aren’t properly vetted before being allowed to occupy said rental properties.  But again, unless it directly impacts me, it’s not my problem.  RIGHT?

Apparently, this is the attitude emanating from Pottstown Borough Hall.  This attitude comes across loud and clear when you read the latest post from the Golden Cockroach.  You should be utterly incensed by the complete disregard for the residents of Pottstown.  This stunning information confirms what we have always thought.   The fact that it was said out loud by a municipal employee makes us sick.

The result of this blatant contempt for Pottstown is crime.  Evidently, we can now add dog fighting to the list of heinous crimes being perpetrated in Pottstown and ignored by the very folks who are paid to look after the interests of the taxpayers.  Why?  Because many municipal employees do not live in Pottstown and these problems do not impact their quality of life.  Ergo, it’s not my problem.  They can read the Mercury on their iPad while they sip their morning latte from the safety of their suburb.  After reading about “life in Pottstown” they can head into the office for another fun-filled day of work “screw over the taxpayer” behind bullet-proof glass.  We think that’s a game like “pin the tail on the donkey” but we aren’t 100 percent sure.  Can you hear them cackling as they drive over the borough line with their big fat paychecks?

So we have people with virtually no interest in seeing Pottstown revitalize running the show.  These same people are allowing absentee extractive investors to make large profits at the expense of the fine folks who do live in Pottstown (and who pay very high taxes for these stellar municipal services brought to you by people who don’t give a shit crap).

Crime is running rampant and no matter now many miniature golf courses you build, you are still putting lipstick on a pig.  Don’t get us wrong, miniature golf is fun and we expect to try it out soon, however there are far more important issues that need to be addressed.  CRIME and JOBS should be the TOP priority of the municipal government.  The job market should be high and crime should be low!  It’s ass-backwards in Pottstown!  It’s time for the taxpayers to say “enough” and hold these co-perpetrators accountable for Pottstown’s ruination.

Please take a few minutes to read Golden Cockroach’s latest post.  Please watch the video about the animal abuse and dog fighting if you haven’t already seen it.  The video is included in the post for your convenience.

CLICK HERE:  http://goldencockroach.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/dog-fighting-in-pottstown-a-tragic-result-of-govt-negligence/

York Mayor Kim Bracey: 5 Game Changers That Could Save York (Column)

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the 2015 budget season approaches, it is my duty to talk straight about our city’s fiscal challenges and pension legacy costs that have been growing since before the turn of this century. While laying out the dire conditions, leadership requires us to hold out meaningful hope by advocating for bold measures. Long term fiscal game-changers can stabilize our property taxes while enabling us to continue providing quality public services and infrastructure that our people deserve and demand.

At times, I feel like a night watchman of earlier centuries who witnesses a spreading fire and vigorously shouts and rings the bell to alert citizens of the imminent crisis. During the last two city administrations, we’ve been warning of the growing fiscal crisis for 13 years, and we’ve done as much as we can internally to make our budget process transparent, to seek sound recommendations from outside experts, to cut costs, and to be fiscally responsible. The list is extensive.

• In 2003, under Mayor Brenner, our city initiated its first open budget hearings, an annual tradition that continues to this year.

• In 2006, our city was one of the very first in the state to enter the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Early Intervention Program, which provided an analysis of York’s finances by outside experts. Their analysis concluded that York’s financial controls and management were strong but that systemic constraints beyond its control were leading to out-of-control costs. Recommendations included implementing a parking tax, which was done.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/letters/ci_26165619/kim-bracey-5-game-changers-that-could-save

A Must See Video About A Rental Unit In Pottstown – Contains Adult Language

Former Police Chief Sues Monroeville As Whistleblower

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monroeville’s former police chief has sued the municipality in federal court, alleging mistreatment after he exposed lapses in how officials protected sensitive law enforcement and medical information about residents.

In the suit filed late Monday night, Steven Pascarella, a 26-year veteran, is claiming civil rights violations, retaliation despite his status as a whistleblower, and failure of the municipality to accommodate an unspecified disability.

Mr. Pascarella, 46, was quietly fired in April. By then he had returned to the rank of lieutenant at his request because of medical issues.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/east/2014/07/15/Former-police-chief-sues-Monroeville-as-whistleblower/stories/201407150135#ixzz37Y2z8uqz

Testimony: Luzerne County Transit Authority Employees Worked In Fear

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ROYALTON, PA — Employees at the Luzerne County Transportation Authority worked in constant fear of losing their jobs unless they fraudulently inflated ridership numbers, and the former chairman of the board knew about it years ago, according to testimony heard Monday.

Prosecutors began laying out their case against Executive Director Stanley J. Strelish, 60, and Operations Manager Robb Alan Henderson, 58, who were charged last month with conspiring to inflate senior citizen ridership numbers in the “ghost rider” scandal.

Both men, who are free on unsecured bond and remain suspended without pay, declined to comment following an all-day preliminary hearing held Monday before Magisterial District Judge David Judy. The hearing, which continues today, represents the first public testimony in the case.

Robert Turinski, former LCTA board chairman, testified that he suspected Strelish was inflating senior ridership numbers as far back as 2007.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/testimony-lcta-employees-worked-in-fear-1.1719124

Howard Brown Backs Growing Stop The Violence Campaign In Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — A local hoops legend lent his support Monday night to the anti-violence movement that began in the borough a little more than a month ago.

“When I heard about this, it’s just a natural thing for me to want to be involved in some capacity,” said Howard Brown, the Pottstown grad who went on to play basketball at Villanova and internationally. “We’re actually drumming up a lot of residents and former residents to just not only bring awareness but to talk about some of the issues that we do have, to change.”

With a driving rain cancelling plans for a full march, the Stop the Violence campaign moved indoors at the Ricketts Center, where players in the Olivet Boys and Girls Club’s summer basketball league gathered together between games to pose for a picture and show their support of the movement.

A Maryland resident now, Brown is in town for a combine for his basketball agency, iBall United, which will be held over the weekend both in Valley Forge and at The Hill School.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140714/howard-brown-backs-growing-stop-the-violence-campaign-in-pottstown

Judge Gives South Hills Landlord 30 Days For Tenant Relocation Proposal

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A landlord facing an avalanche of building and health code violations for a row of town houses and a neighboring apartment complex in Carrick will have until the end of the month to clear out the remaining tenants before his next appearance in front of a local judge.

Davin Gartley of Mt. Lebanon has been cited repeatedly since October for problems related to lead paint, sewage, trash, lack of running water and more.

The continuance Magisterial District Judge Richard G. King granted June 26 required Mr. Gartley to come up with a “good faith” relocation plan for the tenants living in three apartment buildings at 2531-2539 Brownsville Road in exchange for the possibility of reduced fines, said Jim Thompson, deputy director of environmental health for the Allegheny County Health Department.

“We were surprised. This has been a long, ongoing case,” Mr. Thompson said. “Granting another 30 days, with this landlord being so difficult, we’re not sure exactly what that will accomplish.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2014/07/14/Judge-gives-South-Hills-landlord-30-days-for-tenant-relocation-proposal/stories/201407140044#ixzz37SYJI2Nh

Boscov: Mall Price At Sheriff’s Sale Probably Too High

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Department store owner Al Boscov is unlikely to bid when the Mall at Steamtown goes on the block at a sheriff’s sale next week, saying he anticipates the asking price will be too high.

The businessman has been unable to strike a deal with LNR Partners, the real estate company representing the mortgage holder, to acquire the mall but hopes to renew negotiations if the lender finds no takers for the property at the sale Tuesday, he and his lawyer said.

“At that point, it would be just as if we were buying a property in a private sales transaction,” said attorney Scott M. Esterbrook. “The (sheriff’s) sale is not the be-all, end-all. It’s one step in the process, and where we’re at today is we just haven’t reached an agreement yet.”

The mall entered foreclosure March 7 after owner Steamtown Mall Partners defaulted on a principal balance payment of $37.1 million due last July on its 2003 mortgage, setting up the sheriff’s sale. Mr. Boscov is a principal in Steamtown Mall Partners.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/boscov-mall-price-at-sheriff-s-sale-probably-too-high-1.1718214

Glodzik Gets 3-12 Months, Work Release In Theft Case In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — “An unfair sentence by a timid judge.”

That was how defense attorney Joseph Sklarosky Sr. characterized the three- to 12-month jail term handed down against his client, former city towing contractor Leo A. Glodzik III, following Glodzik’s sentencing on theft charges Friday morning in Luzerne County Court.

County Judge Lesa S. Gelb gave Glodzik until 9 a.m. Friday to report to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, and declared him immediately available for work release. Sklarosky said Glodzik will appeal in the near future.

LAG Towing owner Glodzik, 43, of Wilkes-Barre, was the city’s exclusive tower for more than eight years, until May 31, 2013. That’s the day he was arrested on accusations of stealing $2,100 planted inside a Cadillac he towed four months earlier, believing the car had been seized from a drug dealer. The cash was bait money planted as part of an FBI sting operation.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1525405/Glodzik-gets-3-to-12-months-in-jail

Pittsburgh-Allegheny County SEA Moves Ahead On Redevelopment Of Civic Arena Site

Mellon Arena in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Mellon Arena in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority board has taken another step in preparing the former Civic Arena site for redevelopment.

Board members authorized a $555,685 contract with Michael Baker Jr. today to do final design work for four roads — Centre Avenue, Washington Place, Bedford Avenue, and Crawford Street — that border the 28-acre site in the lower Hill District.

Plans call for those existing roads to be repaved, with upgraded signals, intersections and sidewalks at an estimated cost of $12 million.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/07/10/Pittsburgh-Allegheny-County-SEA-moves-ahead-on-redevelopment-of-Civic-Arena-site/stories/201407100268#ixzz375Nwumqr

Rep. Mark Painter: Farmers’ Market Vouchers Available For Seniors.

SANATOGA, PA –  State Rep. Mark Painter, D-Montgomery, reminds older residents about a program that provides low-income seniors with vouchers redeemable for fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs at local farmers’ markets.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides qualified seniors with four vouchers totaling $20 that they may exchange for Pennsylvania-grown produce. Recipients are given a list of participating farmers and farmers’ markets when they receive their checks.

“This program is immensely beneficial for senior citizens to enhance their daily diet with nutritious produce grown right here in Pennsylvania,” said Painter, a member of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

To qualify, recipients must be 60 or older by Dec. 31, with a total household income before taxes of less than $21,589 for a single person, $29,100 for a couple and $36,611 for a family of three, based on 2013 income.

The vouchers will be distributed at the Pottstown Cluster from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursdays and Fridays; and at the Pottstown Senior Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The vouchers, made available through funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, are distributed on a first-come basis.

Painter said constituents with questions may contact his office at 610-326-9563.

Contact: Tom Andrews, 717-787-7895

Survey Of Washington, Greene Elected Officials Shows Positive Views Of Gas Industry

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A survey of elected leaders in Washington and Greene counties found generally positive experiences with the gas exploration industry that has changed the face of their communities.

“They’re starting to see a lot of vitality. There’s physical activity in the communities and new wealth among some property owners. New employees. That’s all very positive,” said Diana Stares, the director of the Center of Energy Policy and Management at Washington & Jefferson College, who oversaw the survey. “Now they’re anxious to draw from that development some long-term results. And some don’t know how to go about that.”

Interactions between drilling companies and local officials are improving as both sides get to know each other, and as money and jobs flow into the region, several people said.

“It was a growing experience, I think, by some of these companies coming in here,” said Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi, a Democrat. “But they saw that if you treat people fairly, they’ll respond in a positive way.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/6383333-74/industry-officials-percent#ixzz36tbYQPSg
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Lancaster Mayor: Advantages Of College Use Of Former Armory Site Outweigh Price

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology officials came to City Hall and asked the city to sell them the former National Guard armory site, Mayor Rick Gray’s answer was “no.”

The armory was an unexpected windfall for the city, but the city needed it badly.

The buildings which had been used to service military vehicles would become a new maintenance garage to replace the city’s crumbling facility.

But, eventually, college officials persuaded Gray an expansion of the technical school was in the best interests of the college and the surrounding neighborhood.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/lancaster/news/mayor-advantages-of-college-use-of-former-armory-site-outweigh/article_1b928054-0646-11e4-b8d3-0017a43b2370.html