Pennsylvania Ranks Fourth Nationally In Number Of Hotels Breaking Labor Laws: PublicSource

If you’ve stayed at the Heritage Hills Resort in York County while touring Amish country, toasted newlyweds at the Avalon Hotel in Erie or settled in for a weekend of pampering at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in the Laurel Highlands, chances are the person who made your bed, poured your Champagne or washed your towels wasn’t being paid minimum wage.

In fact, Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the nation — behind Texas, Alabama and Florida — for the number of hotels breaking labor laws, according to an analysis by PublicSource, a nonprofit news organization.

York, Erie and Pittsburgh had the highest number of violations by their hotels, with Farmington, Lancaster and the Harrisburg area coming in behind them.

These working men and women, who might have few skills to find another job, are often reluctant to talk about their situations, as PublicSource discovered after making many attempts to reach them.

“These workers are subject to retaliation from employers, and some hotels have nondisclosure agreements,” said Mackenzie Smith, an organizer and executive board member of Unite Here Local 57, which represents hotel workers in Pittsburgh.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/07/pennsylvania_ranks_fourth_nati.html#incart_m-rpt-1

Home Team: Pittsburgh Police Should Live In The City

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)

A change in state law has opened the door to eliminating a requirement that Pittsburgh police officers live in the city they are sworn to protect.

That door should be slammed shut.

Last year, a state law that said Pittsburgh police officers “shall” reside within the city was softened to say that officers “may” do so. That language would be completely meaningless — of course officers may live in the city — but for the City Code, which includes a residency provision that applies to all city employees.

The change in state law provided an opening for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 1 to challenge the requirement, and during a recent arbitration hearing, dozens of current and former officers testified in support of abolishing the residency rule.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/editorials/home-team-pittsburgh-police-should-live-in-the-city-694537/#ixzz2YOLcFVHT

Deepened Delaware River Channel Should Boost Commerce

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

With 60 percent of the Delaware River navigation channel now at or deeper than 45 feet, steamship lines and port officials say the dredging will do two things:

Put more cargo on ships currently coming into the ports of Wilmington, Philadelphia, and South Jersey, and allow larger ships from Asia to sail the river when the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2015.

It’s been 30 years since Congress directed the Army Corps of Engineers to investigate the feasibility of deepening the channel from 40 feet to 45.

Since the project began in March 2010, 42 miles of the 102-mile channel from Camden to the Atlantic Ocean have been deepened.  Thirty-five miles are already naturally at or below 45 feet, which leaves about 25 miles left to be dredged.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130707_Deepened_river_channel_should_boost_commerce.html#3Lq7HTFsuY5Yy3zG.99

Town By Town: Houses Sell Like Hotcakes In Collegeville

Location of Collegeville in Montgomery County

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

There appear to be many more people who want to live in Collegeville Borough than can fit inside of its 1.6 square miles, so finding the perfect house right on the edge is just fine, too.

That’s the impression you get talking with Drew Bergman, who, with his fiancée, Colette Lapinski, settled May 26 on a house in Skippack Township near Evansburg State Park that has a Collegeville post office address.

Bergman, who is selling his house in Franconia Township, Montgomery County, and Lapinski, who is doing the same with her Collegeville place, had been not-yet-seriously looking for seven months or so online when the couple found what he calls “the perfect property.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/town-by-town/20130707_Town_By_Town__Houses_sell_like_hotcakes_in_Collegeville.html#eTILVLwkcKgV1Fqg.99

Food Trucks Are Cookin’ In Suburbs Now, Too

Editor’s note:  Nice mention of Pottstown‘s own George Bieber by the Inquirer!

“Honestly, when I started, I was thinking I would be in the city a lot, but now we’re hardly ever there,” said George Bieber, a Pottstown restaurateur who started Sunflower Truck Stop in August.

Bieber, whose truck offers gourmet sandwiches such as Green Curry Bacon BLT, Crab and Artichoke Grilled Cheese, and Sweet Potato Quesadilla, recalled that in one town, two older permitting officials eyeballed his rig as if it had landed from Mars.

“They saw that it was not just a hot dog truck, it was something different,” said Bieber, who ultimately was invited by the officials to park at the town’s Community Day.

Last year, Montgomery County licensed 76 mobile food vendors.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/food/20130707_Food_trucks_are_cookin__in_suburbs_now__too.html#JswUzf9HP6Dcre0h.99

Arrest Made In Wissinoming House Collapse

Police say a neighborhood man stole copper piping from a vacant home in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia, causing a natural gas leak and explosion that leveled the two-story house Saturday afternoon.

Michael Migliaccio, 35, was arrested later that night.

The house on the 4700 block of East Howell Street had been vacant for about a year, and was for sale, according to Philadelphia police.

No major injuries were reported in the collapse.  A fire department dispatcher said crews are still excavating the home to make sure there was no one inside.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20130708_Arrest_made_in_Wissinoming_house_collapse.html#Gm5RLYxgOBs1Sdzm.99

Bald Eagles Thriving In Pa., Game Officials Say

Photo of a Bald Eagle taken at the Toledo Zoo.

Photo of a Bald Eagle taken at the Toledo Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – State game officials say the number of bald eagles in the commonwealth has grown dramatically three decades after efforts to restore the population began.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission says 252 eagle nests have been confirmed throughout Pennsylvania so far this year, with nesting sites in 56 of the 67 counties.

That represents a big increase from last year’s midyear report, which noted only 206 confirmed nests in 51 counties.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pennsylvania/20130707_ap_ea42d3a5d96c40afb210588e01834b43.html#47HrtTsGBHsx7kiI.99