Allentown Officials Name Interim Police Chief; Announce Other Promotions

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allentown officials announced an interim police chief and other promotions at a ceremony Friday.

Allentown police Assistant Chief Joseph Hanna has been named interim chief. Hanna and most of the top brass will be retiring this year under terms of a pension deal they signed almost five years ago.

Allentown police Capt. George Medero was also promoted to the department’s assistant chief, the first Latino to be named to the position.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-police-retirement-promotion-ceremony-20130906,0,697661.story#ixzz2e8d1HBaZ
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Postal Service Considers Eliminating Door-To-Door Delivery

USPS service delivery truck in a residential a...

USPS service delivery truck in a residential area of San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’ve got mail … a block away.

That could be what’s ahead for millions of Americans who still get mail delivered directly to their front doors.

With the U.S. Postal Service losing billions of dollars each year, this tradition could be phased out in less than a decade under a proposal in Congress.

Taking its place would be cluster boxes, mailboxes for individual addresses grouped together at a central neighborhood location.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/883882_Postal-Service-considers-eliminating-door-to-door-delivery.html#ixzz2cMbro8gb

Harrisburg Police Chief Pierre Ritter To Retire; Mayor To Name Replacement Thursday

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

Harrisburg officials will hold a news conference Thursday to announce the retirement of city police Chief Pierre Ritter.

Mayor Linda Thompson also is expected to announce Ritter’s successor, said Robert Philbin, the city’s interim chief operating officer.

Ritter was named chief in January 2010.  He has been on the city’s police force for more than 30 years.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/harrisburg_police_chief_pierre_2.html#incart_river_default

Guard Changing, Not Mission At Western Berks Regional Police Department

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

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

Dressed in blue uniforms, Scott L. Wagner and William S. Schlichter sit across from each other talking about the past, present and future of the Western Berks Regional Police Department.

“As I told Chief Schlichter, I got this agency to where it is now,” said Wagner, 54, the outgoing chief of the department.  “It’s now his turn to take it forward, and I wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

The department, which has provided 24/7 police coverage in Wernersville and Robesonia since 2010, is in transition as Wagner prepares for retirement and Schlichter begins his tenure as the new chief.

During an interview at the department, Wagner and Schlichter said they were excited and ready for their next steps.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=494779

Mazurie Steps Down As Spring Township Manager

Editor’s note:  Interesting that this 18 square mile township of 27,000 people and 90 employees found a manager for $87,000.  The new guy is starting at less money that than retiring manager’s salary.  Guess the Spring Township supervisors don’t operate like Pottstown Borough Council and GROSSLY overpay their employees.

Thirty-six years ago, Leon W. Mazurie II came up with a clever plan to nab the job as Spring Township’s first parks and recreation director.

He vowed to find the money to pay the $9,500 starting salary.

Mazurie, then 24, called the township municipal office after reading an article stating that supervisors might start a parks and recreation department.  He was a part-time community director for Reading’s Keffer Park at the time.

“I told the township I would assist them in finding federal money to pay for the director’s salary,” said Mazurie, now 60.  “I guess deep down I was hoping I would be selected.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=468925

The Real Fiscal Cliff: The 4.8 Million Long-Term Unemployed

Today’s alarming financial news is the rise in first-time unemployment claims to 385,000, up 28,000 and also above expectations.  The U.S. Labor Department report shows the labor market is weakening, not that it was anything resembling strong in the first place.  It makes me want to cry, because every piece of news like this makes me even more distraught about the future of the 4.8 million long-term unemployed.

I’ve covered unemployment issues or more than a decade and the future for those who are out of work beyond the normal six months funded by state benefits is very bleak.  These aren’t lazy bums, but desperate people who are financially and emotionally devastated by their situation.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/jobs/INQ_JobbingBlog_The-real-fiscal-cliff-The-millions-of-long-term-unemployed.html#ixzz2PVbVF6gR
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Dr. Whittaker Stepping Down From Pottstown Memorial Medical Center Post After 38 Years

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN – Although it’s accurate to say that Richard Whittaker will retire at the end of the month after 38 years as an orthopedic surgeon at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, it is not accurate to say he will be taking it easy.

Reached at Planet Fitness during a work-out Tuesday, Whittaker enthusiastically laid out his plans for a series of undertakings that few would describe as “retirement.”

Whittaker’s plans mostly revolve around his bicycle.

Himself the beneficiary of a double hip replacement two years ago, Whittaker said he plans to bike 3,000 miles in the coming year to raise money and awareness for a variety of causes, not the least of which is the benefits of orthopedic surgery.

Read more:  http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-mercury/story/whittaker-stepping-down-pottstown-hospital-post-after-38-years/1

West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller Won’t Seek Re-Election To U.S. Senate

Official photograph of Jay Rockefeller, U.S. S...

Official photograph of Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Senator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who came to West Virginia as a young man from one of the world’s richest families to work on antipoverty programs and remained in the state to build a political legacy, announced Friday he will not seek a sixth term.

The 75-year-old Democrat’s decision, coming at a time when his popularity in a conservative state had been waning for sparring with the powerful mining industry and supporting President Barack Obama, told The Associated Press ahead of his formal announcement that it was time to retire.

After about three decades in elective office, it was time to “bring more balance to my life after a career that has been so obsessively dominated by politics and public policy and campaigns,” he said.  “I’ve gotten way out of whack in terms of the time I should spend with my wife and my children and my grandchildren.”

Mr. Rockefeller’s retirement was widely expected and puts the seat held by Democrats since 1958 in jeopardy for the party.  Within weeks of November’s elections, Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito vowed to run for the Senate seat in 2014, even if it meant going up against Mr. Rockefeller and his storied name.  Other Republicans also have been eyeing the seat in recent weeks.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/politics-national/west-virginias-jay-rockefeller-wont-seek-re-election-to-us-senate-669999/#ixzz2HgtUoBYB

Garden Spot Village’s Urban Retirement Project Dropped

In the nearly two years that Garden Spot Village marketed high-end units planned for the former Lancaster Press building, they saw lots of interest.

But no takers.

More than 450 people looked at the model unit that opened in February in the building at North Prince and West Lemon streets or stopped at the previous marketing office down the street.

They liked the building. They liked the downtown location. But they were looking for a condominium to buy or an apartment to rent.

When faced with questions about where they wanted to retire, “it caused them to pause in the process,” said Steve Lindsey, chief executive officer of the New Holland-based retirement community.

Pennsylvania Makes Magazine’s Top 10 As Tax-Friendly To Retirees

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allegheny County residents smarting from the sting of new property assessments may not agree, but Pennsylvania was just picked as one of the 10 most tax-friendly states for retirees.

The rankings by Kiplinger magazinecompared a variety of taxes including sales, income, retirement and inheritance taxes.

Local taxes were not a factor.

Pennsylvania ranked high overall primarily because the state largely avoids dipping into retirees’ nest eggs by not taxing Social Security benefits, public and private pensions, or distributions from IRAs and 401(k)s, said Rachel Sheedy, retirement editor for the personal finance publication.

The state’s high ranking from Kiplinger follows several other recent surveys that have pointed to the Pittsburgh region in particular as one of the most livable places for retirees.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/pa-makes-magazines-top-10-as-tax-friendly-to-retirees-652374/#ixzz25tLU1PE1

Galens Of Ephrata To Close

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Galens of Ephrata, an independent retailer of furniture and appliances that has operated in Ephrata since 1949, is closing because of the retirement of its owners, Mike and Edith Amico.

The store, at 389 N. Reading Road, has launched a going-out-of-business/retirement sale that is expected to last through the end of October.

The Amicos said that with their lease expiring at the end of November, now is the time to get out of the business.  They said they never made an attempt to sell, since they figured it would be too difficult.  “We just ruled that out,” Mike said.

However, they said the store continued to do well, with customers coming from all corners of Lancaster County.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/722965_Galens-of-Ephrata-to-close.html#ixzz254UujluU

Social Security Worth Higher Tax, Most In Poll Say

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...

Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – Most Americans say go ahead and raise taxes if it will save Social Security benefits for future generations.  And raise the retirement age, if you have to.

Both options are preferable to cutting monthly benefits, even for people who are years away from applying for them.

Those are the findings of a new Associated Press-GfK poll on public attitudes toward the nation’s largest federal program.

Social Security is facing serious long-term financial problems.  When given a choice on how to fix them, 53 percent of adults said they would rather raise taxes than cut benefits for future generations, according to the poll.  Just 36 percent said they would cut benefits instead.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=411559

110-Year-Old Pa. Widow Gets WWI Benefits Boost

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cambria County

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

EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A 110-year-old Pennsylvania widow is getting a benefits boost because of her husband’s World War I service.

Family members say Alda Collins is now getting about $1,000 a month to assist with her stay at a nursing home near Ebensburg. She had been getting $36 a month.

Her son tells the Daily American of Somerset (http://bit.ly/OURXLU) that Collins lived by herself in a trailer until she was 106.  She can use a walker, feeds herself and knows the Pirates are in second place.

Read more: http://hosted2.ap.org/PATOW/5715a04f327d44b9b9ab039463c2d9db/Article_2012-08-13-World%20War%20I-Benefits/id-949930100c08497dae95b1159d0873fb

Scranton To Return Part Of ‘Free Money’ For Firefighters

After learning the hard way that closed fire stations can slow responses to fires, city officials last month celebrated an almost $8.2 million federal grant that would pay for recalling laid-off firefighters and hiring more.

Now, they plan to reject about a third of the money.

The grant was enough to pay for calling back 29 laid-off firefighters plus one on military leave and for adding 20 new firefighters – a total of 50 – for two years, but Mr. Doherty decided to decline the money for the new firefighters because the city could not afford to keep paying them after the two years and because the city would have to pay unemployment benefits when they were laid off.

It is unclear whether the city will be able to afford to keep all the other 29 after two years.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-to-return-part-of-free-money-for-firefighters-1.1331750

Wyomissing Schools Chief Downplays Pending Departure

It’s been 39 years, but Wyomissing School District Superintendent David P. Krem can still remember his first day in the classroom as an elementary teacher.

It was 1973.

He was teaching fourth grade.

And there were firecrackers.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=387472

Wyomissing School Board Accepts Krem’s Retirement

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

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  That didn’t take long!!!!!!!

The Wyomissing School Board has accepted the resignation of Superintendent David P. Krem and hired his successor.

Krem submitted his resignation for the purpose of retirement Monday night. His final day with the district will be June 29.

Krem will be replaced by Julia R. Vicente, the district’s assistant superintendent/ director of elementary and secondary education.

The magnitude of the moves was belied by the mechanism, a board vote to approve a personnel report that spelled out the administrative changes.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=386236

City Of Reading Needs More Cops, Police Chief Warns

Despite needing 174 officers this year and budgeting for 168, the Reading Police Department has fewer than 140 officers able to do their full jobs, Police Chief William M. Heim told City Council on Monday.

And the Reading Fire Department is down seven firefighters from its already pared force – a gap being filled by mandatory overtime because the firefighters are too tired to volunteer for it – acting Fire Chief Jeffrey Squibb said.

Mass retirements have plagued both departments, and council asked the chiefs what their needs were for the city’s safety. The question was partly a reaction to council’s earlier, grudging approval of two new hires for the mayor’s office.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=380219

Metropolitan Pittsburgh Records Population Gain For Second Year In A Row

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Image via Wikipedia

For most of the span since the end of World War II, more people have been leaving the Pittsburgh region than flocking to it.

For the second year in a row, that trend has been halted. The relative health of the local economy appears to be a motivator for retaining existing Pittsburghers and creating new ones.

The seven-county metropolitan region attracted 1,430 more people than the number who left it between 2009 and 2010, based on new Internal Revenue Service migration data, according to a report by Christopher Briem, a regional economist for the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social and Urban Research.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11344/1195941-53.stm#ixzz1gBpZAiaH

The Silver Tsunami: Retiring Baby Boomers

An excellent article from the Lansdale Reporter about what impact the gigantic retiring Baby Boomer generation will have on cities.

As a Baby Boomer, I found this very interesting reading.  Learning how cities are coping with increasing senior populations is important to me and I thought it might be to others as well.

To read the article, click here:

http://hosted2.ap.org/PALAP/d3444c3add384b05a39deb3258f13309/Article_2011-07-10-Aging%20America-Age-Friendly%20Cities/id-cc6478c041d742a7a6ef226c7c57db29

Cumberland Valley School District Considers Larger Elementary Classroom Size

The Cumberland Valley School District is facing a $6.7 million budget shortfall for the 2011-2012 school year but is not considering redistricting or closing schools.  However, there are 17 teachers retiring who may not be replaced and that would lead to larger elementary class sizes.  Hiring nine new teachers would cost the school district $1 million and is part of a possible compromise plan to keep class sizes below a certain level.

The board does not want to increase taxes and is looking at all options to cut spending, including teacher and administrator wage freezes.  If teachers took a one year wage freeze it would save the district $1 million.  Teachers have not volunteered to do so at this time.  Administration wage freezes would save the district $177,000.  The board is also shelving a contract that would have given teachers 3.15 percent raises over the next four years.  The board will begin renegotiating with the teachers unions.

The Cumberland Valley School District is located on Harrisburg’s West Shore with the principal town being Mechanicsburg.  The district has about 7,800 students.  There are seven elementary schools, two middle schools, a high school and some administration buildings.  The district was recognized in 2007 for the number of students achieving high PSSA scores and having a relatively low per-pupil expenditure.  In 2011 Cumberland Valley was ranked 23rd out of Pennsylvania’s 498 school districts.