Newest Pottstown School Board Member Is Homegrown

POTTSTOWN — To say that the Pottstown School Board’s newest member is a hometown booster would be a bit of an understatement.

Chosen from among four other candidates last week, Katina Bearden took the oath of office Thursday night and will complete the year left in the term of former board vice president Dennis Wausnock who died last month.

Born in Pottstown, educated in Pottstown, living in Pottstown and raising her family in Pottstown, you might say Bearden is fond of the place.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140919/katina-bearden-becomes-newest-pottstown-school-board-member

Hughes Named Acting Wilkes-Barre Police Chief

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Robert Hughes is the acting chief of the Wilkes-Barre Police Department after being appointed Monday by Mayor Tom Leighton.

Hughes, the department’s commander of operations, has been with the department for 25 years, according to a press release from the city.

Hughes replaces Gerard Dessoye, who retired Friday after 33 years to take a security job with King’s College.

York City Commuter Tax ‘A Very Real Possibility’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

A majority of York City Council members said they are willing to consider authorizing a new tax in 2015 that would reach into the pockets of many more people.

The distressed pension earned income tax — more commonly known as the commuter tax — has been on the city’s menu of revenue-generating options for the past several years.

But, so far, city officials have been able to balance York’s budgets without wading into the controversial waters of taxing commuters’ earnings.

That might change next year.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26465818/york-city-commuter-tax-very-real-possibility

Nazareth Council Wants Harrisburg To Study Police Department; Petition Calls For Chief’s Job

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Editor’s Note:  There are ways to get the state involved when outside intervention is needed.  This should have been done years ago in Pottstown because of the out of control crime rate, that apparently isn’t a concern to the leadership.

Political blogger Bernie O’Hare criticized Nazareth Council tonight for seeking a contractor to study the police force rather than take steps to fix it.

In a shouting exchange with solicitor Al Pierce, O’Hare claimed council had a similar study performed and didn’t like the results so the group is hoping for a better result this time.

“You don’t like what he’s telling you,” O’Hare told the mayor of the private investigator and his report.

Mayor Carl Strye Jr. said the previous study was internal. Pierce called O’Hare’s claims not “factually accurate.”

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/nazareth/index.ssf/2014/09/nazareth_council_wants_harrisb.html

Residents Facing Evictions At Jenkintown High Rise

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, P...

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some 200 Jenkintown residents, many of them elderly, are losing their apartments due to a dispute between local officials and the property owner.

“We’re the pawns in this,” said Marshall Jones, 93. “[The owner] is saying, ‘If you won’t do it our way, we’ll just close it down.’ “

Jones has lived in the Colonade high-rise apartments on Old York Road, in the Jenkintown section of Abington Township, for 16 years. He and other residents have had a string of complaints about leaks, electrical outages, broken elevators, cold water, broken heaters, and other issues, many of which ended up in the courts.

In 2012, the building was cited for more than 200 code violations, and the township’s solicitor was “looking into criminal charges,” according to an Inquirer report.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140904_Residents_facing_evictions_at_Jenkintown_high_rise.html#FfYzbjqVDIYStHix.99

Pottstown School Board Vice President Dennis Wausnock Dies At 77

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — The word most spoken by those reflecting on Tuesday’s death of longtime public official Dennis Wausnock, who served in public offices in the borough for more than 20 years, was “dedicated.”

Wausnock, 77, died Tuesday at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center after a long battle with congestive heart failure.

A U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War, Wausnock’s public service included 16 years on the Pottstown Borough Council, where he served as both vice president and president.

He was three years into his second four-year term on the Pottstown School Board, also serving as vice president, when he passed away.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140820/pottstown-school-board-vice-president-dennis-wausnock-dies-at-77

Pittston Twp. Residents Support Axed Chief

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania h...

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania highlighting Pittston Township (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSTON TWP. — Township residents spoke in support of their ousted police chief and demanded answers on his firing from township supervisors at their Monday night meeting.

“The people of the township need to know why their chief isn’t here,” township resident Gene Garron, 79, said. “This is no longer a personnel problem, it involves an ex-employee.”

Township residents filled the meeting room to support former township police chief Robert Avvisato, who township supervisors fired in July with little explanation.

“This is my chief,” township resident Mari Martinelli said of Avvisato. “This man is trying to do something finally for this township.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/pittston-twp-residents-support-axed-chief-1.1737957

Seizing The Moment: Ajay Raju Thinks Philly’s On The Verge Of Greatness

English: no original description

English: no original description (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BORN IN INDIA – made in America, Ajay Raju likes to say.

He might not be a household name in Philadelphia, but drop it around any of the power brokers who make this city churn like a giant waterwheel and you’ve just made a friend.

He’s not in the Kennedy class yet, but Raju’s name is – and has been – getting a lot of traction.

He serves on more than a dozen nonprofit boards, gives his money away unabashedly to philanthropic causes and is constantly mulling the next big idea, such as a proposed online, citizen-based journalism project with former Daily News editor Larry Platt.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20140819_Seizing_the_moment__Ajay_Raju_thinks_Philly_s_on_the_verge_of_greatness.html#TrmQ1scDqCWpYTQc.99

Rupert Won’t Be Ready In Time For First Day Of School

Editor’s note:  Many thanks to Tom Hylton for another boondoggle.

POTTSTOWN — When the newly renovated elementary schools open for the first day of school Sept. 2, Rupert Elementary School will not be one of them.

In a letter sent home to parents Monday afternoon, Superintendent Jeff Sparagana said the Rupert school year will begin in the same place it was held last school year, the former Edgewood Elementary School at 920 Morris St.

“We will keep you apprised of the progress as the Rupert School renovation comes to conclusion and notify you in advance of the plan for the return to 1230 South St.,” Sparagana wrote to parents.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this communication causes as we look forward to a great school year with the anticipation of moving back to the newly renovated Rupert School,” Sparagana wrote.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140818/rupert-elementary-wont-be-ready-in-time-for-first-day-of-school-in-pottstown

Mon Valley Transit Merger Decision Might Come Next Month

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

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

The future of transit services in the Mon Valley and throughout Washington County likely will be decided in the next month.

The Middle Monongahela Transit Authority provides services for 21 Valley municipalities. It has been studying a possible merger with Washington County Transportation – also known as Washington County Rides – and the City of Washington Transit Authority.

The MMVTA board will discuss a possible merger in a closed-door meeting this week.

By the end of September, each transit agency is expected to vote on consolidation. The MMVTA board could vote either at its Aug. 28 or Sept. 25 public meetings.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/6623980-74/transit-board-valley#ixzz3AlflikFi
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LTV Site In Hazelwood Nearly Ready For New Identity

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Work to level a former steel mill in Hazelwood is expected to be done by the end of August, clearing the way for contractors to build a 1½-mile road and run utility lines through the 178-acre property, a developer said on Friday.

“Once the infrastructure work is under way, I think it will unlock tremendous interest in the site” from prospective tenants, said Donald F. Smith Jr., president of the Downtown-based Regional Industrial Development Corp.

RIDC is partnering with four foundations under the name Almono to transform the former LTV Steel Co. site. They bought the riverfront property in 2002 and envision more than $1 billion in development happening there during the next two decades, including 1,400 housing units, 1.3 million square feet of office space and nearly 950,000 square feet of industrial space.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6583745-74/million-site-development#ixzz3A6HN2TvF
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McCandless OKs Land Development Plan For Potential Wal-Mart

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

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

McCandless gave an assist to Wal-Mart in its plan to build a store by speeding through the approval process, two attorneys said during a contentious council meeting Monday night.

“I wouldn’t be standing here if this wasn’t the most egregious consideration of a big box in my more than 32 years of experience,” said William Sittig, an attorney representing O’Hara-based Giant Eagle Inc.

The town council voted 5-2, with Cynthia Potter and Gerard Aufman Jr. against, to approve Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s subdivision application for a store in a Blazier Drive shopping center between Blazier’s intersections with Ingomar and McKnight roads. The council also voted 4-3, with Potter, Aufman and William McKim against, to approve a land development plan.

Wal-Mart plans to demolish two commercial buildings on Blazier Drive and replace them with a 150,000-square-foot supercenter that will include a grocery store, auto center and drive-through pharmacy.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6462288-74/mart-wal-council#ixzz38ruqXvcW
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Luzerne County Council Must Decide How To Spend $16 Million

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

Luzerne County has $16 million in past-borrowed fundsavailable for capital projects, or $2 million less than officials had estimated, county Operational Services Division Head Tanis Manseau said Monday.

Manseau said he received the revised figure after the budget/finance division recently reviewed payments and outstanding invoices from the account.

County Council members called a special meeting tonight to discuss how they want to earmark this remaining funding because they’re supposed to adopt a capital budget by Sept. 1 under home rule.

Manseau emailed an updated list of suggested projects to council Friday night, but Manseau said he is working on additional revisions that will total around $14 million.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/50041470/Luzerne-County-Council-must-decide-how-to-spend-$16-million

WATCH: Fall Out Boy Offers To Play Music With Garden Spot Marching Band

Fall Out Boy offered to visit and play music with the Garden Spot marching band in a video published on the band’s Youtube channel today.

The band apparently heard about the school board nixing their song, “Thnks for th Mmrs” from the marching band play list this week.

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.

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

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

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

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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