Laflin Council Abolishes Police Force

LAFLIN, PA — The meeting of Laflin Borough Council devolved into chaos Monday night as four council members voted to immediately disband the police department and hire a consultant to liquidate the department’s property.

After hearing impassioned public comment against relying solely on state police to enforce the law in Laflin, a council majority voted to do just that, with Councilman Glen Gubitose the lone opposing vote.

The majority defended the move by saying the borough infrastructure is crumbling and in desperate need of repair after years of neglect. But that didn’t satisfy dozens of residents who showed up to voice their opposition to the move. As council members finished the vote, the room erupted in jeers and boos loud enough to drown out council members for the rest of the meeting.

Residents ordered to quiet down challenged council members to call the police.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/laflin-council-abolishes-police-force-1.1799795

York City Budget: Parties Scramble To Find Solutions

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

York’s budget woes have set off a scramble to find ways to save positions in the departments that could face the deepest losses — police and fire — and triggered a whirlwind of questions about what would happen to the city if a balanced budget can come only at the cost of cutting public safety personnel.

Mayor Kim Bracey‘s budget, which she introduced Tuesday, would cut 46 positions in the police department and eight fire-fighting jobs, and would cut the city’s work force from 412 employees in 2014 to 315 next year, documents show. Bracey said she was faced with few options and asked community partners, legislators and the county for outside help.

As of Friday, “no one has knocked on the door,” she said.

She has called for union concessions. Bracey said she will meet with fire union President Fred Desantis on Monday, and the city already is in negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police. Police union president Mike Davis said he is “committed” to reaching an agreement before the end of the year.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_26992449/york-city-budget-parties-scramble-find-solutions

York Budget: Backlash Against Proposal Begins

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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

Hours after York Mayor Kim Bracey outlined her proposal to dramatically reduce the city’s work force, including deep cuts to public safety forces, in order to close an anticipated $7 million budget gap, public backlash began.

“I’m ashamed for the city,” said James Waughtel during public comment at a City Council meeting Tuesday night, calling the potential loss of police and fire personnel “extremely devastating.”

Read more from Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Members of the fire union also lined the council chambers to listen as Bracey presented her plan to council members.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/politics/ci_26971075/york-budget-backlash-against-proposal-begins

Fear Grows Along With Body Count In Week Of Violence On Pittsburgh Streets

Locator map with the Glen Hazel neighborhood i...

Locator map with the Glen Hazel neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gunmen targeted three victims in two apparently unrelated incidents Monday after a “pretty violent” week around the city that left some residents fearing for their lives.

A Pittsburgh sanitation worker was shot to death in his car Monday morning as he prepared to begin his route. Less than five hours later, two masked gunmen chased two victims on the streets of Glen Hazel in full view of neighbors, killing one and leaving the other in critical condition. A Chicago man was shot in the face and killed Saturday night in Beltzhoover. Arlington Heights was the scene of two daylight shootings Saturday and Sunday that wounded four.

Police are treating the incidents as unrelated, said Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler.

“Right now, there’s no reason to believe they’re connected,” Toler said. She described the past week as “pretty violent” and said the people involved in most of the shootings participated in “undesirable activities.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/6956058-74/pittsburgh-hodges-police#ixzz3GA1DJZje
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Council Members: Sherman Hills Owners Have No Plans To Increase Security

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The company managing the Sherman Hills apartment complex has no plans now to put up a guard house or around-the-clock armed security, said city council members this week.

Council members Bill Barrett and George Brown met in July with John VanMetre, director of property management at The Aspen Companies, a sister company of Treetop Development, the facility’s owners. Barrett and Brown are members of a group organized by Congressman Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, looking at living conditions at the apartments.

“We have recommendations, not just cameras and fencing. I think we do need a guard system and to have people there who are monitors. I feel that’s something that’s necessary,” Brown said.

“The bottom line is I feel there’s a need to more closely monitor who’s there,” Barrett said. “There are problems still occurring, still continuing. I think they need to seriously consider having an armed security presence there to make it a safer place. That should be the objective, to make a safe living place for residents of the development. The only way you can do that is to make sure people who aren’t supposed to be there are not there.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/council-members-sherman-hills-owners-have-no-plans-to-increase-security-1.1732933

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department Announces Schuylkill River Trail Patrols

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

COURTHOUSE — The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department will be randomly sending up to three motorcycle-riding deputies to different parts of the Schuylkill River Trail to provide an extra level of security to trail users.

“We just want the people to know that those trails are a jewel to Montgomery County. They are used by thousands and thousands of people every year. Fortunately there are very little problems up there, but I’m all about preventing problems rather than trying to figure them out afterwards,” Montgomery County Sheriff Russell Bono said on Friday.

Bono said when he was the Norristown chief of police he did the same thing to protect trail users in the Norristown section of the trail.

“Now that I have a countywide position, our cycles are able to ride the entire trail,” he said.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140808/montgomery-county-sheriffs-department-announces-schuylkill-river-trail-patrols

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

In Solving Camden Homicides, Intimidation Is Huge Hurdle

English: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poor...

English: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the United States. Camden suffers from unemployment, urban decay, poverty, and many other social issues. Much of the city of Camden, New Jersey suffers from urban decay. 日本語: ニュージャージー州カムデンのスラム. Svenska: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the United States. Kiswahili: Camden, New Jersey ni moja ya mataifa maskini zaidi katika miji ya Marekani. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ernesto Torres was gunned down nearly two months ago, the bullets flying, his family suspects, because of his dispute with another man about a woman.

Like others whose loved ones have been killed in Camden this year, his mother, Cary Soldevila, hoped for a quick arrest. But the investigation, which came to a head over the weekend when an arrest warrant was issued for a suspect, took patience.

“I want peace in my heart,” said Soldevila, 43, “that I can go to sleep at night and know that this person who destroyed my life is put away.”

Torres, 22, is one of 17 people killed in Camden so far this year. Of those 17 homicides, 12 are unsolved. Investigators say they have promising leads in some of the cases. But witness intimidation, a lack of people willing to step forward, and a backlog of homicide cases from past years – including 2012, when a record 67 people were killed – have slowed progress.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20140526_In_solving_Camden_homicides__intimidation_is_huge_hurdle.html#QDSmOQafb3k89YLB.99

Enhanced by Zemanta

Volunteers Search For Answers For Sherman Hills In Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Volunteers who have been trying to help residents of the troubled Sherman Hills Apartments complex in Wilkes-Barre met Saturday to review their progress and provide a sympathetic ear to those with complaints.

The gathering originally was planned as part of a walking tour of the low-income, crime-ridden development with U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, but volunteers said they received notice Friday afternoon that Cartwright was postponing his visit.

Cartwright formed a task force to address problems at Sherman Hills last year after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) threatened to withhold funding to the prior complex owner if it did not make safety and security improvements.

The complex received around $2 million in rental subsidies last year and was sold last month to Teaneck, N.J.-based Treetop Development for $15.7 million.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1415766/Volunteers-search-for-answers-for-Sherman-Hills

Enhanced by Zemanta

Survey Good News For Downtown Wilkes-Barre

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership, Friday released limited details of an online survey that asked respondents to assess the downtown.

While Newman wouldn’t give specifics, citing an unfinished analysis of the data, he did say he was pleased with what he has seen so far and that was good news for the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association.

“We’re thrilled with the results,” Newman told about 50 members of the association at a breakfast meeting at the Westmoreland Club. “We received thoughtful opinions and insights and we learned what it takes to bring people to the downtown — their likes and dislikes.”

Newman said the success of the downtown is like a four-legged chair — organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring. He said the downtown business group is the promotional leg that offers events and activities to draw people.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/news/1366375/Survey-good-news-for-Downtown-W-B

Enhanced by Zemanta

Murder Victims’ Relatives, Law Enforcement Officials Meet In McKeesport

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

McKeesport residents, city and Allegheny County police officials took a step toward building a better relationship at a meeting about unsolved murders.

Booker T. Washington Lodge 281 along Walnut Street, commonly known as the McKeesport Elks Club, was packed on Thursday evening with friends and relatives of victims of violent crimes.

“It’s a start and it’s a beginning,” said Latoya Wright. “We still have a long road to go, but I do believe that if this happens more often and the solutions that were given today are taken care of, then I believe more things will start to happen in the city.”

Wright’s daughter’s father, Carlos Napper, died after being shot outside the Elks Club on July 14, 2007. He was 30 and his case remains unsolved.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/6029311-74/police-mckeesport-county#ixzz30ZyUwadN
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Enhanced by Zemanta

Criminal Justice, Public Safety Careers Focus Of Biennial Event

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Blue Bell, PAMontgomery County Community College (MCCC) will host its 15th Biennial Criminal Justice and Public Safety Career Day on Wednesday, April 23, from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The event is free of charge and is open to the public, including students from other institutions. For information, contact MCCC Director of Criminal Justice Studies and Fire Science and Emergency Management & Planning Benn Prybutok at 215-641-6428 or bprybuto@mc3.edu .

The event begins with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m., which will include remarks by Montgomery County and MCCC officials and presentation of awards. Then, starting at 10 a.m. participants will have the opportunity to meet with top law enforcement, criminal justice and public safety agencies and recruiters in order to become better acquainted with opportunities in these fields.

More than 50 exhibitors will be in attendance, including municipal police departments, state and federal law enforcement and investigative agencies, private security companies, public safety agencies, four-year baccalaureate programs and area law schools.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Allentown Mayor Announces Plans To Improve Poorest Neighborhoods

English: City of Allentown

English: City of Allentown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski announced an initiative today to make health and safety improvements in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

The city has committed $2.5 million for such Center City improvements and has asked the business community to match or exceed that amount in donations.

Working with the Allentown School District, the city plans to focus on blight remediation, housing redevelopment, home ownership and streetscaping projects.

“I believe Allentown will become a beacon of hope and an economic model for redevelopment (that) can be replicated across the state and across the country,” Pawlowski said.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/allentown/index.ssf/2014/03/allentown_mayor_announces_plan.html

Enhanced by Zemanta

Legislator Wants Action On Mine Fires

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OLYPHANT, PA — Coal heated up the Lackawanna and Wyoming valleys’ job market decades ago, and today it’s still making the region hot as no fewer than eight underground mine fires are burning from Carbondale to Newport Township.

The issue has not been taken seriously enough by the state Department of Environmental Protection, according to Rep. Kevin Haggerty, D-Dunmore, and officials in Olyphant, where one of the fires has been burning for nearly a decade.

During a public meeting Haggerty organized in Olyphant on Thursday, he said he has written a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett urging him to declare Luzerne and Lackawanna counties “disaster areas” so federal and state funding could be freed up to help extinguish the fires.

Three of those fires, all in Luzerne County, are designated as serious by the state Department of Environmental Protection, meaning occupied structures are less than 1,000 feet away. The other five are classified as moderate, meaning occupied structures are at least 1,000 feet away.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1156029/Legislator-wants-action-on-mine-fires

Enhanced by Zemanta

DRUGS: The Epidemic Some Choose To Ignore

For some inexplicable reason, the “powers that be” in Pottstown seem to think that ignoring rampant drug use in the borough will make it go away.  As a blogger who posts news from around the state on a regular basis, I see how this problem has invaded the Commonwealth.  Drugs have crept into our smallest and remotest towns.

Drug use and drug dependence seem bring with them crime and violence.  Shootings, stabbings, burglaries etc…  I have made a point of posting articles along these lines so that anyone who reads this blog will see the alarming rise of drug use and drug related violence in our state.   Our Attorney General, Kathleen Kane has been particularly supportive in trying to ferret out drug dealers through various “sting operations” which have taken down a large numbers of dealers around the state.

One drug in particular is making an alarming comeback.  Heroin.  Pottstown is not immune to this trend.

Our story for today comes from a friend of mine who lives in Pottstown.  This person has “walked the talk” by being a public servant for a several years and is also a Mom.

Walking to school this morning, my son tells me he has seen two “thermometers” outside.  I stop, dead in my tracks, red flag warning.   I turn and retrace my steps.  Sure enough, two hypodermic needles are there on the sidewalk adjacent to the cemetery between 6th & 7th streets!  I picked them up and turned them in to the school office.  I did not want a young child walking to school to pick them up thinking they were “thermometers” also and possibly stick themselves.

So our lesson for today is that no matter how hard we wish something wasn’t a problem, it will not make it go away.

Thank goodness this Mom had the sense to retrace her steps and remove the threat, thereby protecting many other children.  Because of the neighborhood our courageous Mom lives in she unfortunately knows about such things.  Honestly, I would not have put two and two together and thought syringe.

So to the “powers that be” I say, “WAKE UP!”

To our courageous Mom I say, “Thank you!”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Plans For Sherman Hills Remain Secret

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Park Management Inc.’s detailed plans for the Sherman Hills Apartments will remain secret for a little longer.

The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based company submitted a remediation plan for the troubled complex Dec. 2 after a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspection in September found “possible life-threatening security issues” due to management’s neglect of the 344-unit facility.

The Citizens’ Voice, along with congressional leaders and Wilkes-Barre officials, have filed a Freedom of Information Act request for that plan.

In a letter released Friday, Shirley Bryant, Freedom of Information Act liason for HUD, says the agency is giving Park Management until Jan. 31 to object to the plan’s release based on the department’s FOIA regulations exempting “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person [that is] privileged or confidential.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/plans-for-sherman-hills-remain-secret-1.1618522

Enhanced by Zemanta

Philly Ups Aggressive Tactics In Fighting Blight With CLIP Bill

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

CODE OFFICERS looking to rid nuisance conditions in locked-up, vacant lots around town just might get a pair of shears to gain access, if a bill becomes law by the end of January.

Legislation passed in City Council on Thursday would allow workers in city’s Community Life Improvement Programs, or CLIP, to clip the locks on vacant and abandoned fenced-in lots whose owners are either lost, unknown or unresponsive.

The ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, gives greater power to CLIP, which works to improve the appearance of neighborhoods and eradicate blight.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131215_City_ups_aggressive_tactics_in_fighting_blight_with_CLIP_bill.html#VPr0fYt2tSrQLCqu.99

HUD: Sherman Hills Issues Life-Threatening

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Sherman Hills tenants are experiencing life-threatening security issues that include inoperable surveillance cameras, broken windows and more than half of exterior lights not turned on or broken, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report said.

The report, made public Thursday, follows a two-day HUD inspection in September of six of the eight “garden style buildings” within the complex, including Building 328, where two girls suffered gunshot wounds in August.

The sprawling 344-unit apartment complex off Coal Street has been plagued by violent crime in recent years, including the shooting of the two girls and a fatal shooting of a woman on Nov. 11.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1001665/HUD:-Sherman-Hills-issues-life-threatening

Reading Officials Form Plan To Find Foreclosed-Property Owners

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A two-alarm fire in September 2011 gutted a vacant row home at 1422 Muhlenberg St., damaged two neighboring properties, and started the city on yet another frustrating journey to find an owner and order that a building be properly boarded up.

The Muhlenberg Street problem was just one skirmish in the city’s ongoing battle to find elusive property owners for such things as fire cleanup, unpaid taxes, quality-of-life tickets or blight.

But the battle may soon be over.

The city has a plan to get banks to register their foreclosures and may hire an outside firm to help monitor and enforce the rules.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=515575