Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Roads are empty.
Schools are dark.
The mall is closed.
Emergency workers are at their posts.
Skies darkened and rain began falling hard as the county hunkered down, waiting for Hurricane Sandy to howl through here with its full power later today.
“Get out now,” said Mayor Rick Gray, urging residents to evacuate in flood-prone areas of the city. ”If it doesn’t flood, thank God. If it does flood, you’re safe. We don’t want to be in a position to put our police officers and our firefighters in harm’s way because you didn’t evacuate.”
The first significant power outage hit late this morning, when about 600 people lost their electricity in the Elizabeth Township area, after power lines were reported down along Route 322 there.
But for most of the county, the morning was the calm before the Frankenstorm as local residents, who had days to buy flashlight batteries, stock up on water and clean out their gutters, waited for the storm.
Icon for a Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale Category 1 hurricane. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After almost a week of ominous forecasts, the weather system born of a giant hurricane, a winter storm and an arctic air mass is upon us. And it’s not going anywhere fast.
Across the Lehigh Valley, residents and government officials worked through the weekend to protect lives and property as Hurricane Sandy morphed into a gargantuan storm that will affect every part of the Northeast.
Although Sandy, which remained a Category 1 hurricane, was not expected to make landfall on the New Jersey coast until late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, the storm’s effects have been felt since Sunday evening. Ahead of Sandy’s landfall, every school district in the Lehigh Valley canceled Monday’s classes. Some colleges closed through Tuesday.
The worst of the weather will persist throughout the day Monday, with sustained winds from 35 to 45 mph and gusts up to 55 mph. That will bring down tree limbs and small trees causing power outages and property damage.
Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Reading School District isn’t likely to get any relief from the financial straits that have led the district to cut programs, layoff staff and close schools.
Robert Peters, the district’s chief financial officer, provided the school board with an initial overview of the district’s 2013-14 budget process at a meeting Wednesday night. And the outlook doesn’t appear good.
The district, like others across the state, will yet again be facing increasing expenses with little hope of jumps in revenue.
Peters said increases in pension contributions will probably cost the district about an extra $2.5 million next year, and health care costs will likely increase somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million.
The stone mansion, on 8.9 acres, has served as the home of the archbishops of Philadelphia since 1935, when the church bought it for Cardinal Dennis Dougherty for $115,000.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who assumed leadership of the archdiocese one year ago, put the 16-room residence on the market in January. In June, he reported that the archdiocese faced a $17.5 million operating debt.
Sources said Chaput, a Franciscan Capuchin friar, was not comfortable living in a baronial-style mansion as he was preparing his flock for school and parish closings to trim the deficit. He has also put the retired priests’ summer home in Ventnor, N.J., up for sale, with an estimated value of $6 million.
She’s been teaching in the Reading School District for 32 years, longer than some in the capacity crowd gathered inside the Reading School District’s board room Wednesday night have been alive, she pointed out with a smile.
Swope spoke passionately to the school board about her dedication to the district. About her passion. About giving her heart, her soul, her blood, sweat and tears to Reading schools.
It was a stark reminder of what the district will be losing.
The Grand Poobah of the Pottstown School Board, Thomas Hylton seems to suffer from convenient memory loss. After carefully reading Evan Brandt’s account of the latest school board meeting, I found this quote by Numero Uno Responsible Citizen, Thomas Hylton rather humorous.
“Our first responsibility,” Hylton said, “is the economic viability of this community and, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is astonishing to me that we are thinking of adding extra classrooms to our elementary schools.”
This cow patty of wisdom from the number one Rupert-lover himself. What about the architecturally correct windows and geothermal heating and cooling that Responsible Tom proposed for Rupert? Now suddenly we’re “astonished” that we want to add classrooms to house the Edgewood students. Should we educate them on the lawn, Tom?
The Middle School would need to be retrofitted to segregate the elementary students from the middle school students. That will cost money as well. It was made abundantly clear by the parents of elementary students that they do not want their children mixed in with the middle school population. I guess Tom forgot about the community outrage when he proposed putting 5th grade in the Middle School during his heyday as Neighborhood Schools Potentate.
I think somebody needs some Ginkgo biloba or the wifey needs to take better notes at meetings.
Despite the enormous amount of time and effort put forth by the Task Force and the cross-section of people who were involved in the process; the Pottstown Hyltonville School District Board of Education has voted to maintain five old elementary school buildings in light of the fact that: a. Hyltonville cannot afford them and b. in the long run taxes will increase more by doing nothing.
Great job! Not!
Many thanks to the Task Force for their hard work and many thanks to the four forward-thinking school board directors (Huss, Hartman, Pargeon, Weand) who voted NO to this giant step backward. Watch how many homes go up for sale now!
Please keep in mind the five school board directors (Harris, Hylton, Wausnock, White, Wilson) who voted for this stick your head in the sand ”plan” so when your taxes spiral even further out of control you’ll remember who to blame! In case you forget, I’ll remind you when the times comes.
Two gigantic Roy’s Rants thumbs down and a cyber raspberry.
The local print newspaper announced today that two elementary principals are leaving PSD. The revolving door out of Pottstown continues.
Dr. Angela Tuck (Edgewood) and Robert Giering (Barth) have taken positions at two distinguished elementary schools. Both schools have received a 10 out of 10 rating from Great Schools.org. Dr. Tuck is bound for Swarthmore Rutledge School in Delaware County and Robert Giering is joining the Downingtown School District at Uwchlan Hills Elementary School. Both Tuck and Giering will be principals at their new schools.
Dr. Tuck has been with PSD for 10 years. Giering has been with PSD for 6 ½ years.
The school district and Task Force are in turmoil; no thanks to Mr. Hylton’s constant meddling. People are not going to stick around PSD to end up out of a job. Especially high-caliber employees like Terri Lampe, Angela Tuck and Robert Giering. These people have marketable skills as shown by their rapid departures.
These headlines will be repeated over and over. The longer this climate of uncertainty continues the more people will leave. If Team Hylton wins in November, the end draws nigh.