Donora Demolishing Former Fifth Street School

For more than a decade, Virginia Summers anticipated the day she could gaze across the street from her Donora home and see – nothing.

She is about to get her wish.

The borough on Thursday began demolition of the century-old building known as Fifth Street School. The structure, located at the intersection of Fifth Street and Allen Avenue, has been deteriorating for years and had become a safety issue.

“It’s been a pest,” Summers said. “… It is unsafe and everybody knows it. You could see bricks falling down. We’ve been troubling council for 10 years asking to please get it down, get it down. And I’m grateful they were finally able to make it happen.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/8054591-74/street-borough-building#ixzz3Vb3VVDgV
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Commissioners Lament ‘Divisiveness’ Of Mt. Lebanon Deer Culling Debate

The most disappointing part of Mt. Lebanon’s deer management program that ended abruptly last week was “the divisiveness and mean-spirited rhetoric” that split the community, commissioners said at their meeting Monday night.

“For the good of the community, we must try to reset the dialogue,” President John Bendel read from a letter at the meeting.

But opponents of the program said there is still work to be done.

They again lined Washington Road before the commission’s discussion session and subsequent meeting.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2015/03/24/Commissioners-lament-divisiveness-of-Mt-Lebanon-deer-culling-debate/stories/201503240130

Municipalities Move To Form South Valley COG

Six communities are moving forward on formation of a Lower South Valley Council of Governments.

The success of other government councils in Luzerne County has sparked enthusiastic support for a South Valley organization, said Andy Gegaris, city manager in Nanticoke.

“By the fall, I think we will have this together,” Gegaris said.

Communities that have met and remain in contact largely via emails are Nanticoke, Newport Township, Hanover Township, Plymouth Township, Sugar Notch and Ashley. The towns hope that Warrior Run also will join, Gegaris said.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/municipalities-move-to-form-south-valley-cog-1.1851925

Philly L&I Dodges Questions About 600 Inspections By 9 Rookies In One Week

A group of inexperienced and uncertified inspectors for the Department of Licenses and Inspections conducted around 600 inspections of unsafe buildings in a single week last month, The Inquirer has learned.

Each of the nine newly hired inspectors then recorded their work in L&I’s database under the name of another man, an experienced inspector with the agency.

L&I officials say the inspections were part of a training exercise for the rookies.

The inspections, from Feb. 9 through 13, were performed the same week City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a report criticizing L&I for not inspecting unsafe buildings – those that are badly damaged or deteriorated – in a timely manner.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150323_L_I_dodges_questions_about_600_inspections_by_9_rookies_in_one_week.html#E4ZoYtgCSAIfCJof.99

Gov. Wolf Says Manufacturing Tax Credit Could Boost Pennsylvania Jobs, Industry

Pittsburgh may not be the steel town it once was, with the economy of the state’s second largest city these days tied more to hospitals and higher education than smoke stacks. But manufacturing is still a huge part of Pennsylvania’s economy.

The sector employs more than 571,000 people in the commonwealth — including more than 30,000 in the York-Hanover area alone.

The average compensation for someone who works in manufacturing, not just assembly line workers but plant managers and other executives, is more than $69,000. That’s well above Pennsylvania’s median household income, which was $52,548 in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

With manufacturing’s above-average wages, new Gov. Tom Wolf has identified increasing the number of manufacturing jobs as one of his top economic priorities.

Read more:

http://www.ydr.com/business/ci_27743500/gov-wolf-says-manufacturing-tax-credit-could-boost

Total Cost Of Pennsylvania’s Proposed Budget: $78.6 Billion

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania could own a bunch of professional sports team if it wanted.

OK, maybe we’re taking some liberty with that, but there is some math to back it up. If Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget is enacted exactly as he presented it earlier this month, the state’s total operating budget would soar to $78.6 billion, the highest level ever.

To put that in perspective, it’s enough to buy all 32 teams in the National Football League, based on average team values compiled by Forbes.com. And then for fun, the state still could buy all 30 teams in Major League Baseball and have enough left to build a few state-of-the-art stadiums.

Of course, that’s assuming the state would spend nothing on its actual responsibilities, like public education and roads and bridges. But for our purposes, it helps illustrate the sheer volume of state spending that’s on the table.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150319/total-cost-of-pennsylvanias-proposed-budget-786-billion

Wolf’s Sales Tax Proposal To Include More Goods, Services

HARRISBURG, PA — The Wolf administration this morning released estimates of the new revenue the state expects to bring in by expanding the 6 percent sales tax to include more items and services.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal, which is the subject of ongoing hearings by the House and Senate appropriations committees, also would raise the rates of the sales and personal income taxes, while cutting corporate income taxes and providing homeowners with relief from school property taxes.

Applying a proposed 6.6 percent sales tax to a host of new purchases would bring the state approximately $1.16 billion in the fiscal year beginning July 1 and $2.97 billion in the following year, according to a memo released this morning by the Department of Revenue.

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2015/03/18/Wolf-s-sales-tax-proposal-to-include-more-goods-services-pennsylvania/stories/201503180188

York Residents Complain About Trash Around City

Instead of the first capital, York should be called the trash capital of the United States, one resident told the City Council on Tuesday night.

Soiled diapers, cat waste and other household garbage pile up in alleys and on sidewalks, creating horrendous odors and an appalling situation across the city, said Teresa Johnescu, who lives at 31 S. Queen St.

Two other Olde Towne East residents spoke during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s council meeting, urging council members to address the city’s trash problem.

“I’ve never seen trash like it anywhere else,” Judy Fry said after she addressed the council. Fry, who lives on East Locust Street, said she recently came home and found plastic foam packing materials, paper plates and plastic bags strewn all over the alleyway behind her house.

Read more:

http://www.ydr.com/yorkcity/ci_27732156/york-residents-complain-about-trash-around-city

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Moody’s Upgrades Montgomery County’s Bond Rating Outlook To ‘Stable’

NORRISTOWN, PA – Moody’s Investor Service upgraded the county’s bond rating outlook from “negative” to “stable” on Monday, according to a press release.

The county is expecting to refund $25.6 million in outstanding bonds in the coming weeks and had its rating “affirmed” to an Aa1 rating, according to the release sent out Monday afternoon.

“With the upgrade, Moody’s is recognizing the remarkable turnaround in the fiscal situation in Montgomery County,” commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro said in the press release.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150317/moodys-upgrades-montgomery-countys-bond-rating-outlook-to-stable

Solar Looks For A Sunny Outlook In Pennsylvania

SolarCity Corp., the nation’s largest rooftop photovoltaic developer, is hoping a new day is dawning for solar in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The San Mateo, Calif., company announced Thursday a bundle of new financing options aimed at customers in the Peco Energy Co. service territory. SolarCity and its competitors typically install their systems on customers’ roofs for no money down.

The campaign is aimed at reversing the shrinkage in the Pennsylvania solar market, which went into hibernation after 2011, when federal and state incentives dwindled.

“We have a few hundred customers in Pennsylvania, but it’s been slow to develop over time,” said Leon Keshishian, SolarCity’s regional vice president.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150313_Solar_looks_for_a_sunny_outlook_in_Pa_.html#lSQXTxsBwMKzL3DW.99

Phoenixville Borough Council Targets Crime On Bridge Street

PHOENIXVILLE, PA – After a recent increase in crime along Bridge Street, borough officials, residents and business owners say they’ve had enough and are searching for solutions.

During Tuesday night’s borough council meeting, Councilman Michael Kuznar added his voice to the growing number of people concerned about the borough’s safety. A recent armed robbery at the Save More Discount Center on Bridge Street and bricks thrown at two businesses were examples he used that something needs to be done.

“Since Jan. 1, Bridge Street has had over 900 calls to dispatch,” Kuznar said. “That’s a lot for just one street.”

Residents complained about “shady activity” at the Children’s Plaza at Bridge and Banks streets, too.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150313/phoenixville-borough-council-targets-crime-on-bridge-street

Saint Clair Residents Speak Out On Merger, Board Gives Reasoning

SAINT CLAIR, PA — Seven of about 70 borough residents raised their hands in favor of a merger between Saint Clair Area and Pottsville Area school districts at a borough school board meeting Wednesday.

The school board welcomed feedback from borough residents about the possible school merge after a public meeting Monday describing details from the feasibility study.

Many points and questions were brought up by residents, including what would happen to the school if they didn’t merge.

Various school board officials including Jason Bendle, acting superintendent, Michael Holobetz, board president, and Michael O’Pake, board solicitor, explained that the school would eventually be taken over by the state and go into receivership. The school board would still exist, but an assigned recovery officer would have the ultimate say in decisions.

Read more:

http://republicanherald.com/news/saint-clair-residents-speak-out-on-merger-board-gives-reasoning-1.1846958

Mt. Lebanon’s Controversial Deer-Culling Program Gets Underway

Mt. Lebanon’s controversial deer-culling program began late Monday night with another protest, though all the activity surrounding the cull scared deer away from at least one of the corrals and the rest of the night appeared to pass uneventfully.

About 15 anti-culling protesters gathered starting at 9 p.m. in the parking lot for Bird Park off Beadling Road, hoping to document the arrival of the contractors and their departure with any deer, said Dina Alberts, 27, of Carnegie.

“Our goal is to go to each (commission) meeting with up-to-date information, truthful information, and the only way to get it is to see it with our own eyes,” said Alberts, who grew up in Mt. Lebanon but joined the protesters who feel the culling will be inhumane and ineffective.

The group broke up and headed home by 11 p.m. without seeing any activity, though other protesters who’d visited Robb Hollow Park were approached by police and asked to leave earlier in the evening, said Leila Sleiman, who helped organize the protest at Bird Park.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/7909414-74/deer-benner-culling#ixzz3U0JgoFgs
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Zoning Code Changes Would Help Guide Redevelopment Of Former Industrial Sites In Philadelphia

Two members of City Council are proposing changes to a new zoning classification that’s meant to encourage the redevelopment of former industrial sites into mixed-use residential projects.

The category, Industrial Residential Mixed-use (IRMX), was created during the overhaul of the zoning code that culminated when a new code was enacted in 2012. Because it’s a new category, it has yet to be mapped into many neighborhoods.

But Councilmen Mark Squilla and Kenyatta Johnson are co-sponsoring a bill that would make a number of changes to the category. The changes would require IRMX projects to include non-residential uses, incentivize artisan or light-industrial uses, reduce the maximum lot coverage, and ease parking and loading regulations.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Zoning_code_changes_would_help_guide_redevelopment_of_former_industrial_sites.html#tBqxSQKwwjLgiCLY.99

Technical Issues Could Delay Mt. Lebanon Deer Cull

The cull of 150 white-tailed deer in Mt. Lebanon, scheduled to start tonight, might be delayed for technical reasons.

Brian Benner of Wildlife Specialists in Wellsboro, Tioga County, said Sunday that some necessary equipment wasn’t in place.

The company also plans to request an addendum to its Pennsylvania Game Commission permit, he said, expanding the number of workers it may use during the operation.

“I’m not sure if we’ll start Monday or not. It depends on how much equipment we can set up,” Mr. Benner said. “We still have to set up some cameras and different technology that lets us know where the deer are.”

Read more:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2015/03/08/Mt-Lebanon-deer-cull-may-be-postponed/stories/201503080211

Special Project: Is Pottstown Becoming More Dangerous?

Editor’s note:  Nice job, Evan.  Make sure you read the whole article because this is a good news, bad news piece.  Crime is still a problem in Pottstown.

POTTSTOWN, PA – Crime is not up in Pottstown, at least not according to the numbers.

Crime in the borough last year was, in nearly all categories, below the borough’s 10-year average, according to a Mercury analysis of crime statistics provided by the Pottstown Police Department.

The numbers of serious crimes like murder, rape and arson have remained relatively flat since 2005, and in addition, the statistics show that 2014 saw 13 percent fewer major crimes and a decrease of more than 16 percent in all reportable crimes.

Pottstown has not had more than two murders per year since 2007.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150308/special-project-is-pottstown-becoming-more-dangerous

Wolf’s State Store Plan An Ambitious Cocktail

Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal Tuesday called for a modernization of State Stores to generate $185 million in additional annual profit by fiscal 2018.

The dramatically increased profits would be used to make payments on a $3 billion bond issue designed to help close the $30 billion gap in the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System, according to Wolf’s plan.

Under it, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, endangered by Republican talk of privatizing the system, instead would have a monumental task – assuming it gains General Assembly approval.

Based on the system’s profitability in the year ended June 30, gross revenue from the state’s 600-plus wine and spirits outlets would have to soar to $5.7 billion in fiscal 2018 from $2.3 billion in fiscal 2014 to generate an additional $185 million in profits.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150307_Wolf_s_state_store_plan_an_ambitious_cocktail.html#rm8GTPsAek3O34kS.99

Scranton City Council OKs Revised Recovery Plan

Scranton City Council on Thursday passed the first of three votes needed to adopt a revised Act 47 recovery plan.

Council voted 4-0, with President Bob McGoff and Councilmen Joe Wechsler, Wayne Evans and Bill Gaughan all in favor, to introduce an ordinance to adopt the recovery plan crafted by the city’s Act 47 recovery coordinator, Pennsylvania Economy League.

Councilman Pat Rogan was absent.

Before the meeting, council held a caucus with PEL officials Gerald Cross and Joseph Boyle, city Business Administrator David Bulzoni, and Jim Rose of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, which oversees PEL.

Read more:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-council-oks-revised-recovery-plan-1.1844068

Outcry Against Evesham Mayor Who Forbade Questions At Meetings

The heated exchange between a proud mayor with a football career and an elderly resident who wanted to question town policies sorely needed a referee that bitter December night.

For four tense minutes, Evesham Township Mayor Randy Brown drowned out Kenneth Mills, 81, after Mills asked about a tax abatement on a property and attempted to tell Brown to calm down. In a booming voice, Brown, the kicking coach for the Baltimore Ravens, told Mills that he had been overwhelmingly reelected in November and that “65 percent of the people who came out love what I do.” He barely addressed the tax abatement.

“You’re acting like a jerk,” Mills said as he sat down, sounding exasperated.

The following month, Brown made it clear that future council meetings would be different. Residents would not be permitted to question council members during public meetings, he said. Instead, they could “make comments only.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20150303_Outcry_against_Evesham_mayor_who_forbade_questions_at_meetings.html#VKpAssuyu1cQVBhH.99

Espirit de Corps Is Circling The Drain In Pottstown Borough Hall

Roy:

Our friend the Golden Cockroach has a few things to say about what’s happening in Pottstown. Very eye-opening commentary. History has a way of continually repeating itself in the borough. Perhaps because of political inbreeding. Time for some new blood and fresh air.

Originally posted on Corruption, Cronyism, Poverty Pimps in Pottstown, Pa:

While Council contemplates the lint in their belly buttons.

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Should You?  Heck, ask Dave Woglom, Dave knows the answer.

In the chaotic demise of the Land of Potts, we venture boldy, tip-toeing through the illegal dumps, sliding across the unkempt, icy sidewalks as the rank odors of wet, moldy decay from bank owned / investor owned properties waft through the air and…

WE THINK TAXPAYERS SHOULD HAVE THEIR EYES WIDE OPEN FOR THE POTTSTOWN ADVENTURE THEY NEVER SIGNED UP FOR…

Let a little sunshine in !!!

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While public employees espirt de corps circles the drain, under Mark Flanders leadership, our confidence in local government and council’s  prowess has already circled, gone down the drain and leaked out the other end into the gutter along with the regular occurrences of raw sewage.

Dave Woglom of the Meyner Center’s presence was felt prior to and on Nov. 13, 2012 when Borough Council annointed Mark Flanders, king for…

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