Turtle Creek Mayor Walks Borough To Confront Issues

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

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

Turtle Creek Mayor Adam Forgie said that in order to fix the problems in the borough of 6,400 people, he needs to see them.

Three weeks ago, he began what he calls the “Walk and Talk” initiative — residents can call the mayor’s office and schedule a tour of their street with Mr. Forgie, during which they can point out and discuss concerns.

Mr. Forgie, who grew up in Turtle Creek and is now a history teacher at the Woodland Hills Academy in the borough, said the complaints from residents range from unkempt lawns to drug deals in alleys.

While an overgrown yard might seem minor, the mayor said he understands residents’ frustration.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-east/turtle-creek-mayor-walks-borough-to-confront-issues-703046/#ixzz2egxuSlZA

Scranton Apartment Building Partially Owned By State Rep At Center Of Controversy

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

An apartment building owned in part by state Rep. Marty Flynn has been the center of controversy, neighbor complaints, multiple police calls and finger-pointing among city agencies.

An agreement to allow an inspection at the request of neighbors of 1401 Prospect Ave., Scranton, fell through when Mr. Flynn and his partner reversed positions and said they would not consent to the inspection, accusing the director of the city Department of Licensing Inspections and Permits, Mark Seitzinger, of playing politics and wanting to run against Mr. Flynn for the 113th Legislative District seat.

Mr. Seitzinger originally considered seeking a court order to inspect the property after continuous complaints from neighbors Ann and Mark Wadika, but backed down.  After consulting with an attorney, he said the department has no right to inspect the six-unit building.  He denied wanting to run against Mr. Flynn for office or of having any other political motivation.

Mr. Flynn and his partner, Greg Hunt of Moscow, registered the building under the city’s 2012 rental ordinance after being questioned by a Times-Tribune reporter.  The ordinance entitles the city inspector to conduct a limited “safety” inspection of the building.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/apartment-building-partially-owned-by-state-rep-at-center-of-controversy-1.1520374

Hazleton ‘Tweaks’ Noise Ordinance

With Hazleton police responding to at least three noise-related calls per shift, Chief Frank DeAndrea said he welcomes council’s efforts to assist his department in stamping out disturbances that create “a huge quality of life concern” for the community.

An updated noise ordinance city council ratified earlier this week will give the police department a means to deal with problems that accompany noise-related issues that stem from a changing society, DeAndrea said.

Council approved final readings of an updated noise ordinance that was written by Councilman Kevin Schadder.  The eight-page law establishes fines of between $100 and $1,000 for people who are found guilty before a district justice of violating any one of a number of noise- or sound-violations that range from barking dogs and “unnecessary horn blowing” to loud music and construction equipment.

“Sometimes it seems like things need to be tweaked as society changes to be better able to enforce what maybe five years ago wasn’t an issue,” DeAndrea said.  “If the changes, or tweaks, in this ordinance give the police department a little bit different angle to approach noise with, I’m all for it.”

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/hazleton-tweaks-noise-ordinance-1.1480168

Spencer Unveils Bold Plan For Reading

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with ...

English: Downtown Reading, Pennsylvania; with Berks County courthouse on left; July 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reading Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer on Thursday outlined an ambitious agenda of more than a dozen initiatives, some already begun, to improve the finances and conditions of the city and its neighborhoods.

Speaking to several dozen people attending the Pennsylvania Economy League’s Issues Forum at the Berkshire Country Club in Bern Township, Spencer recounted his campaign themes and said: “Those are the promises; what people expect is performance.”

He then led the audience through a rapid-fire explanation of where the city is and where it’s planning to go in several key areas.

He said the city has set goals for each area and is requiring any department initiatives to match those goals, with their results to be measured.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=472999

Noise Complaint Leads To Arrest Of Reading Man On Drug Charges

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

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

Editor’s note:  Great job Reading P.D.  Book ‘em, Danno!

A complaint about loud music in the 600 block of North 11th Street led to the arrest of a 20-year-old man on drug-trafficking charges, police said Tuesday.

Jose Melendez-Negron was charged with possessing and intending to deliver cocaine, possessing and intending to use drug paraphernalia, possessing a small amount of marijuana and related charges.

Melendez-Negron was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail following arraignment before Senior District Judge Gloria W. Stitzel in Reading Central Court.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=470343

Graziano Reviews Scranton Police Department’s Goals For 2013

Editor’s note:  Imagine that.  Goals, leadership, a positive attitude from the top down AND a concern for the quality of life of city residents.  Hmmmmm… is this too good to be true?  Does this actually happen in the real world?   I can think of a borough that could use an infusion of Chief Graziano’s I love my job attitude.  It’s obvious that everybody doesn’t love their job, especially when they make really awful comments about they town they work in.  Just sayin….

Acting Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano has a plan in mind for the city Police Department in 2013.  Some ideas build upon a foundation laid by previous programs and chiefs; others completely new.

The mentality he is bringing during his first full year as police chief is simple: help his officers do their job by getting them the best community support and equipment possible.

“I believe we have a lot of good quality officers here,” Chief Graziano said.  “One of my main goals is you’ve got to give the people below you the tools to do their jobs.”

The first goal is to continue and improve upon the community partnership by offering more proactive neighborhood policing with two new beat cop positions created solely for patrolling and addressing quality-of-life issues for residents.

Pottstown’s New Citizen Codes Inspector Program

Quality of Life improvements in the Borough of Pottstown are high on the agenda these days.  Improving the experience of living in Pottstown is a key element in the revitalization process.  To that end, the Borough Manager found a program that tackles a long-standing problem here in Pottstown – codes!  Blighted properties and abuses by absentee landlords have plagued our town for decades.  In order to clean up the mess and make Pottstown more attractive to current residents, prospective residents and commercial/business interests, our Codes Department needs more bodies on the streets.

The Citizen Codes Inspector Program takes borough residents, in good standing, and trains them to assist the Codes Department personnel by identifying and reporting code violations.  Here is a partial list of the qualifications for a Citizen Code Inspector:

-Residency in the borough

-General good health

-Reading/writing/comprehension capabilities

-No outstanding violations/citations with the Borough of Pottstown in areas of parking, legal, codes, water, sewer, trash or taxes.

-Good communication skills

-Ability/desire to walk some distance on borough streets and alleyways

The Borough Manager and the Codes Department personnel will be responsible for selecting those individuals who have applied for these positions.

The Citizen Codes Inspector is a volunteer (unpaid) position.  The goal is to find borough residents who wish to become involved and make a difference in the community by volunteering their time to assist the Codes Department.  Programs similar to this are already in place in other municipalities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and have been very successful.  The Borough Manager researched this program thoroughly before recommending it to Pottstown Borough Council for approval.

The training program will last four weeks and require about 7 hours to complete.  The first phase is 2-4 hours of classroom training and the second phase is 2-3 hours of field experience with a Codes Department employee.  During phase two (field experience) the trainee will practice writing up reports and have them reviewed by their Codes Department trainer.

The third phase is a debriefing and group session to do a final review and answer questions.

Safety of the Citizen Codes Inspector is paramount and there are systems in place to ensure this.  Citizen Inspectors will be given identification and some sort of apparel to help identify them.  The Pottstown Police Department will be made aware when these inspections are taking place.  Citizen Inspectors will not enter private property.  Inspections will be made from the public right-of-way to minimize any confrontations between the Citizen Inspectors and property owners.

If you live in the Borough of Pottstown and would like to volunteer your time to make a difference, click on the link below.  You can read the entire article I have summarized and fill out an application to become a Citizen Codes Inspector.

http://www.pottstown.org/PDF/forms/citizen-codes-inspector-application.pdf

Many thanks to Jason Bobst, Pottstown Borough Manager, for finding a creative solution to a big problem that does not require raising taxes or adding staff!