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If You Can't Measure Opioid Overdoses, You Can't Improve the Response

If You Can't Measure Opioid Overdoses, You Can't Improve the Response | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Chuck Kiessling - the current president of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association - can’t tell you how many opioid overdose deaths the 67 members of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association handled last year. 


It’s not because there are too many to count — but that’s probably true, too, he said. It’s because there’s not enough manpower to finalize the association’s annual report. His best estimate lies around 4,880 statewide for the whole year, almost 240 more than the federal Drug Enforcement Administration detailed in a July report fueled by coroners’ reports. 


 And that’s a problem, DEA officials say. 


“Our report, it quantifies what drug is responsible for deaths,” said Patrick Trainor, special agent for the DEA in Philadelphia. “In some counties, that drives a lot of our enforcement activities.” 


It took Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier to launch a study of county 911 calls to determine just how much the epidemic was impacting the community. Lozier was inspired by voters he met while campaigning door-to-door in 2015. Many begged him to do something about opioids. 


As elected officials in Pennsylvania, coroners are required to report a cause for every death. That is where the DEA is running into a brick wall trying to figure how what drugs are killing people. 


Trainor said some coroners say they’ve been told by the state coroners association not to release the information, but officials from the association say that isn’t true. 


“Some coroners are very, very cooperative in giving us data, and there are some that are not,” Trainor said. “Some we have had to serve with subpoenas to get stuff. Why? We don’t always get an explanation. Because they’re busy, some tell us.” 


Kiessling, a nurse and paramedic who has served as coroner of Lycoming County for 18 years and is the current president of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association, said that’s true. Most elected coroners are part time, at best, he said, and as more and more people die from opioid overdoses, the workload gets heavier. 


Kiessling said he doesn’t understand the emphasis on overdose death data. “The people that make it to my office, we can’t do anything for,” he said. “It isn’t going to impact the living.” 


But it is, Trainor said. The data helps law enforcement and public health officials understand what drugs are killing people and what areas need the most help. 


“It helps us to identify which areas are the hardest hit,” he said. “Which counties might need more Narcan than others, which counties are in need of more treatment resources. That report, it quantifies what drug is responsible for the deaths.” 


Further Reading: 

“Pennsylvania Underestimates Death Due to Opioids by More Than Half!”; http://sco.lt/5mMtVp


“The Other Cost of the Opioid Epidemic: Increased Taxes”; http://bit.ly/opiodsandtaxes

johnmacknewtown's insight:
It’s a disgrace that Mr. Kiessling does not see the benefits of accurately reporting drug overdoses and believes that such data “isn’t going to impact the living.” In a paper published in the Archives of Pathological & Laboratory Medicine, the authors conclude that “It is foreseeable that the public health role of medical examiners and coroners may continue to grow and that, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, public health impact will surpass criminal justice as the major focus of medicolegal death investigation in the United States.”
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News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
These curated news items were selected by John Mack. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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The Newtown Township Planning Commission Stymies - For Now - Path Forward for Wawa

The Newtown Township Planning Commission Stymies - For Now - Path Forward for Wawa | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At its October 16, 2018, public meeting, Newtown Planning Commission members ripped apart the proposed ordinance amendment (a so-called “text amendment”) to the Newtown Area Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO) that is designed to allow a “modern, motor vehicle fueling center consisting of a convenience store with accessory motor vehicle fuel sales” on the Bypass. The ordinance was drafted by developers and their legal counsel and modified by Newtown Township officials specifically for a Wawa Super store, a sketch plan for which was first presented to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) in May, 2018 (read “Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass”).

 

The following is a summary of the questions and comments made by Planning Commission members regarding this proposed Ordinance, which would amend the OR District zoning regulations to allow for this conditional use, which otherwise does not allow such use. The Planning Commission review is the first step before the draft ordinance is presented to the Jointure for approval by all three members (Newtown, Wrightstown, and Upper Makefield). Newtown is the only municipality in the Jointure that encompasses an OR District.

 

Find the comments by the Commission as well as audio of comments by residents here.

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Path Forward Nebulous for Newtown Township Wawa

Path Forward Nebulous for Newtown Township Wawa | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Newtown Township planners say a developer has work to do before it can proceed with plans to build a Wawa with gas pumps off Newtown Bypass.

 

The township planning commission recommended at its meeting Tuesday evening that attorneys for the township and the Provco Group revisit a draft zoning amendment, which the developer had authored to permit the Wawa where the bypass intersects with Lower Silver Lake Road.

 

[For more background, read:

 

The amendment would create a new “motor vehicle fueling station” use under the Newtown Area Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance, with specifications such stations must meet to be permitted within the ordinance’s office research district. Standalone convenience stores and gas stations currently are not allowed in that district, where the 5,585-square foot Wawa with 16 fueling stations is proposed.

 

The Newtown Area Zoning Jointure also includes Upper Makefield and Wrightstown. Planning commission Chairman Allen Fidler said, because neither township has an office research district, both likely will approve Provco’s proposed amendment if Newtown Township does so first.

 

Before any vote on the amendment, planners said Provco needs to return to the commission after revising aspects of the draft. The specifics of the amendment are of key importance, in that they could have long-term ramifications for future development along Newtown Bypass, commission members agreed.

 

For example, the township could be seen as creating an uneven playing field if it were to give Wawa leeway to install LED signage after turning down similar requests from previous developers, planners said.

 

In addition, an allowance for the chain to remain open 24 hours could create potential for crime after hours, commission members said.

 

A majority of the approximately 15 residents in attendance spoke out in opposition to the Wawa.

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A Scary Preliminary 2019 Budget, But at Least It Calls for More Roads to be Repaved

A Scary Preliminary 2019 Budget, But at Least It Calls for More Roads to be Repaved | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The ghouls, goblins and skeletons were all there last night at the 2019 Budget Presentation. These guys greeted me at the door!

 

Interim Township Manager Micah Lewis and former Manager, Kurt Ferguson - now a consultant working for Newtown - presented some pretty scary numbers to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) throughout the night. Those numbers have to do with:

 

  • unpredictable Earned Income Tax (EIT Definition)
  • decreasing Real Estate Transfer Tax Definition
  • alarmingly low predicted year-end General Fund Definition balance
  • the looming shortfall in the debt service fund

 

I will post more information about these scary items in the next couple of weeks leading up to Halloween. The budget itself should become available for public access soon after it is approved for advertising, which I expect will happen at the next BOS meeting on October 24, 2018.

 

For now, I will focus on some good news: the budget includes a road paving program.More about that here.

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Political Tracker Working for Brian Fitzpatrick Posed as Courier Times Reporter at Scott Wallace Event

A Philadelphia man falsely told Wallace he ”(files) for Bucks County Courier” while questioning him on camera as a part-time tracker with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s campaign, which cut ties with him after learning of his behavior. Five videos Ariel Benjamin Mannes shot at campaign events were uploaded to a YouTube channel housing more than 600 videos of Democratic candidates for dissection by opposition researchers.

 

In today’s high-stakes political landscape, trackers are there to catch politicians in their less-guarded moments. Both parties enlist trackers under the radar, hoping to cultivate and capture footage of their opponents off the stump speech. One memorable slip-up — highlighted in a campaign ad or a viral video — could swing an election.

 

Last month, “Ben Mendelson” [real name: Ariel Benjamin Mannes] showed up at a Falls event, where Scott Wallace touted the importance of food stamps in Bucks County, and asked the congressional candidate multiple off-topic questions on camera. Nearly a week later, Wallace’s answers surfaced in a Washington Examiner editorial and a press release from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

 

This news organization learned Wednesday that the videographer was working for Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s re-election campaign. But unbeknownst to campaign representatives until a reporter reached out, that man submitted a guest opinion to this news organization last month under a pen name, then weeks later falsely identified himself to Wallace as a Bucks County Courier Times reporter while shooting video.

 

The man can be heard telling Wallace, “I file for Bucks County Courier in Philadelphia” before trailing off, in a YouTube video shot at a campaign event Sept. 15. The video was uploaded Sept. 25 to the channel “Democrat Tracking,” an anonymous depository for footage that opposition researchers can mine for soundbites to use against candidates. Previous finds have been spotlighted in conservative media outlets and Republican campaign ads.

 

[Shane Fitzgerald, executive editor for the Courier Times] said neither Mannes nor a “Mendelson” had ever worked for the Courier Times. The newspaper’s editorial policy requires guest opinion authors to provide their real full names, hometowns and phone numbers to be considered for publication — a measure Fitzgerald said helps the paper keep accountable as well as provide the authenticity of the author. “But that’s obviously not foolproof,” he said.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

The congressman indicated Mannes’ behavior was “completely unacceptable” and that the campaign’s working relationship with him immediately ended, Fitzgerald said.

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Doylestown Borough Budget Talks Propose Fee Increases Rather Than Tax Hikes

Doylestown Borough Budget Talks Propose Fee Increases Rather Than Tax Hikes | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Doylestown Borough’s first 2019 budget meeting Thursday had council members apparently favoring fee increases over a tax hike to cover a projected $388,000 shortfall in next year’s general fund balance.

Most of the “modest” permit and fee increases raised by Borough Manager John Davis during Thursday’s three-hour meeting were generally $5 to $10 changes for event and special parking permit fees, some which haven’t been raised in over a decade.

“A lot of these fees — over the years — we’ve been reluctant to raise them, because individually they wouldn’t generate significant revenue,” Davis told members of borough council and finance committee.

Much of the gap between projected revenues and spending comes from increases in the borough’s portion of the Central Bucks Regional Police Department budget, which Borough Manager John Davis said was about 4.43 percent higher than last year.

While the regional police budget is not expected to be finalized until later this month, Mayor Ron Strouse said the increase in the department’s budget was in part due to a more accurate projection of overtime costs, but an increase in police pension costs also contributed to the spike.

Davis added that projected revenues in 2019 are about half a percent lower compared to this year, partly due to an underwhelming real estate market.

Borough officials are expected to continue reviewing future challenges to keep its projected $4.7 million capital projects reserve fund stable.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Interesting. Newtown Township budget talks begin Monday, October 15, 2018. The Newtown Twp Manager will present a draft of the 2019 budget to the Board of Supervisors. The final budget must be approved by December 31, 2018. This important meeting will also be televised live and can later be viewed via channel 22 on Comcast Xfinity and Chanel 40 on Verizon FIOS. See the rebroadcast schedule for the days and times: http://www.newtownpa.gov/newtown-township-board-of-supervisors/#

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Yardley Borough Councilwoman Cites "Pervasive Bullying Mentality" on Council

Yardley Borough Councilwoman Cites "Pervasive Bullying Mentality" on Council | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

A Yardley Borough Councilwoman, saying she has been repeatedly bullied by a council colleague, is calling on the council to take action to end what she says is a “pervasive bullying mentality and culture on council.”

In a public statement read at the October 2 meeting, Councilwoman Sandi Brady said the most recent bullying took place during a late September executive session called to interview two finalists for borough manager.

At that meeting, Brady said Councilman Mike Ruttle “unleashed his rage on me” and called on her to resign. Brady said she walked out of the session along with Councilman Ryan Berry, leaving Ruttle, Council President Bryon Marshall and members David Bria, Caroline Thompson and Matt Ross to finish the meeting.

“The fact is this was not the first time I have been on the receiving end,” said Brady. “I have been repeatedly targeted since I joined council. And everyone on council knows it. There is in fact a pervasive bullying mentality and culture on council.”

As with most bullies and their targets, Brady continued, “Mr. Ruttle doesn’t know me at all. We have never had a one-on-one conversation. We have never worked on a committee together. He simply targeted me at the onset and has repeatedly undermined and insulted me since I joined council.”

Brady said when she made requests of the former borough manager, “Mr. Ruttle would give a direct order not to fulfill my request.” And at an executive session in April, she said, “Mr. Ruttle sat with his back toward me as I presented research and analysis that Mr. Berry and I had spent hours preparing. Then he yelled and he screamed. He has called me a viper, the enemy, poison and the worst thing to happen to this town.

“All of my colleagues, including the solicitor, have witnessed Mr. Ruttle’s attacks on me, but unfortunately politics and the power of a vote sometimes carry greater weight than human decency or doing the right thing,” said Brady. “Thursday’s executive session was no exception,” she said.

“Unhappy with the outcome of the search committee process, and I remind you I was not and never was the chair of that committee, Mr. Ruttle unleashed his rage on me, he yelled insults at me and called on me to resign,” said Brady.

With the exception of Councilman Ryan Berry, “bystander apathy once again took hold of my colleagues,” said Brady. “Mr Berry and I walked out of the meeting. So let me ask you, ‘If you were Mr. Ruttle, would you change your behavior?’”

Ruttle did not attend the October 2 meeting. And BucksLocalNews.com was unsuccessful in reaching Mr. Ruttle for comment.

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Council Rock Gets $20K Grant To Prevent, Reduce School Violence

Council Rock Gets $20K Grant To Prevent, Reduce School Violence | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Council Rock School District has received $20,000 in funding from the state to help reduce and prevent violence in schools, officials announced on Thursday.

The money will be used for a number of programs, including improved anti-violence efforts involving schools, local law enforcement, parents, and community organizations, the state said.

Details on exactly what these programs will look like have not yet been made available.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

IMHO, this money should be used to support student lobbying lawmakers for better gun control measures such as thus proposed by a Newtown Twp Resolution passed not too long ago:“Newtown Township Passes Gun Safety Resolution After Emotional Student Testimony”.

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Celebration to Mark the Grand Opening of the Newly-Restored Newtown (Borough) Common

Celebration to Mark the Grand Opening of the Newly-Restored Newtown (Borough) Common | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The newly restored Newtown Common at the foot of West Greene Street will officially open to the public during a public celebration on Sunday, October 14.

 

A ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1:15 p.m. inside the Newtown Theatre, 120 North State Street. Light refreshments will be provided. The ceremony will be followed by the official grand opening of the park at 2 p.m.

 

The Newtown Common and Creek Restoration Project was completed by Flyway Excavating, which was awarded a contract by the borough earlier this year to revitalize and restore the small patch of history, which once included more than 40 acres of open space along the east and west side of the Newtown Creek in the heart of town.

 

The Common, when it was laid out in the late 1600s by William Penn, was designed as a focal point of the town and was used as a pasture for livestock and for other common purposes - public speaking, business and recreation.

 

Unfortunately the Common was left unattended over the years and became overgrown, which resulted in the sale of all but one of the common lots to fund the construction of the Centre Avenue Bridge and other projects in the late 1700s. The last remaining lot is located at the foot of West Greene Street on both sides of the creek and is marked by a stone memorial.

 

Borough councilwoman Julia Woldorf, working in partnership with the Newtown Creek Coalition and the Borough (which owns the land), secured state and county funding to restore the lot and bring attention to the historic piece of land.

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Yardley Borough Council Offers Manager's Job to Longtime Employee Paula Johnson

Yardley Borough Council Offers Manager's Job to Longtime Employee Paula Johnson | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

After a search that got off to a contentious start, the Yardley Borough Council found its new manager inside its own borough hall.

In a unanimous 6-0 vote on October 2, council extended the job offer to assistant borough manager/secretary Paula Johnson, who has been serving as acting borough manager since the resignation of John Boyle in February.

The announcement brought a standing ovation and extended applause from a packed house of more than 50 residents, including Johnson’s family and friends.

“I just want to say how much I agree that she can do this job,” said Council Vice President David Bria, who headed up the search with councilwoman Sandi Brady and who made the motion to extend the job offer. “This is not a reluctant decision.”

Bria continued, “There’s a lot of history here that we have spent the last few months discussing - about how things were run downstairs under the previous manager,” said Bria. “I want this to be a fresh start.

“We have someone in Paula Johnson who can step into this job, who is qualified and willing to learn and has the number one quality that we need in someone who is going to hold this position - she cares about this town,” said Bria.

Johnson, who has worked under three borough managers and is the daughter-in-law of the late borough mayor S. Edward Johnson, will now take the helm as the borough’s new full time manager.

“I am very excited,” said Johnson after the meeting. “I am honored to be able to do this job and represent the borough. I love the borough. I love the residents. It’s my home. My family has been here for such a long time.”

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Two Bucks Towns Pass Bamboo Regulations

Two Bucks Towns Pass Bamboo Regulations | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Northampton supervisors approved an ordinance in August, setting requirements for new and old bamboo following residential complaints about the plant’s invasive nature, while last month Lower Makefield supervisors tightened a bamboo ordinance the board originally passed in 2016.

 

Two townships’ recent votes on bamboo ordinances are likely to satisfy a number of residents, unless they happen to be panda bears.

 

Residents cannot plant new bamboo unless they contain its root system entirely within an above-ground planter or barrel, or they enlist an “experienced installer,” who must provide certification to the township, to install a barrier that meets six design standards for thickness and depth.

 

Once dead or destroyed, bamboo cannot be replanted unless it is in compliance with the ordinance.

 

Those found in violation could be found guilty of a summary offense in district court and fined $1,000, with each day a violation persists constituting a new offense.

 

Bristol Township, New Britain Township, Perkasie, Quakertown and Yardley are among the Bucks municipalities to regulate bamboo in recent years.

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How's the Newtown Township Financial Garden Doing?

How's the Newtown Township Financial Garden Doing? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Budget season is upon us! The draft 2019 budget is currently being worked on by Newtown Township officials and will be presented to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) for discussion at a public meeting later this month. The public, as always, is invited to attend this meeting. Refer to the Events calendar to find out when this meeting is scheduled.

Meanwhile, two financial reports were presented to the BOS at the September 26, 2018, public meeting:

2017 Audit Report
Newtown Township Finance Committee Report

 

View the videos of the presentations and download the reports here.

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Newtown Supervisors Agree to Draft Anti-discrimination Ordinance to Protect LGBTQ Community

Newtown Supervisors Agree to Draft Anti-discrimination Ordinance to Protect LGBTQ Community | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The board of supervisors has agreed to expand anti-discrimination protections to the LGBT community for public accommodations, housing and employment within the township.

At the Sept. 26 meeting, the board unanimously voted to give township solicitor David Sander the authority to draft a proposed ordinance after hearing a presentation from Yardley Borough Council Vice President David Bria.

The measure would also establish a township-run human relations commission to handle all discrimination complaints.

Voting for the motion were Chairman Phil Calabro, along with fellow Supervisors, Linda Bobrin, John Mack, Dennis Fisher and Kyle Davis.

Earlier this year, Bria had introduced a similar measure in Yardley which passed in March. It extends legal protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Yardley became the fifth municipality in Bucks County to enact such a law, following the lead of Doylestown, New Hope, Newtown and Bristol Boroughs.

Yardley’s ordinance was modeled after the Doylestown law which enhanced LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) rights.

Bria told the Newtown supervisors that such an ordinance is needed because LGBT protections are not specifically mentioned in federal and state anti-bias statutes. Because of those statutory exclusions, interpretations are left up to elected officials and the courts.

“Currently there is no federal law which references sexual orientation and gender identity,” he emphasized.

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A Month in the Life of a Newtown Supervisor: Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings!

A Month in the Life of a Newtown Supervisor: Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

In total, I spent nearly 60 hours in September attending meetings, preparing for meetings, and travel to and from meetings!

 

Find out more details here.

 

Was September an unusual month? That remains to be seen. Coming in October is budget season, which I am told requires a lot of time and effort. Stay tuned – I intend to continue to keep a record of my activities and report back to you every month.

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Lower Southampton Zoning Department Charged Residents for Permits That Were Not Required

For more than a decade, the Lower Southampton Zoning Department improperly required building permits for some exterior home improvements, but most residents who were wrongly charged won’t get a refund.

Zoning Officer William Oettinger confirmed that a 2004 change in the Uniformed Construction Code excluded the need for permits for all residential alterations if there are no structural or egress changes. The means building permits aren’t required for replacements of residential roofs, siding, doors and windows in municipalities that did not previously require permits.

But Lower Southampton continued to require residents get the permits for the work. The township’s current fee schedule charged residents $82.50 for most door, window, siding and roofing work. It charged $97.50 for roof with “structural alterations.”

Earlier this month, the township stopped requiring building permits for those residential improvements, Oettinger said, after the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry — which oversees building code compliance — visited the zoning department and learned about the error. The agency is investigating the department’s handling of permit applications.

 

For background, read “PA Department of Labor and Industry Investigating Lower Southampton Zoning and Building Department Records”.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Outright Theft, IMO!

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Council Rock Committee Releases Revised Redistricting Plan for Elementary Schools

Council Rock Committee Releases Revised Redistricting Plan for Elementary Schools | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

A Council Rock School District redistricting committee has released a revised plan that would move more than 860 elementary school students to new buildings.

 

The proposed plan brings each school close to average capacity for the elementary, middle and high school levels; balances enrollment at the secondary level by shifting students from the south to the north and eliminates elementary islands, the release said. The plan proposes to shift about 16.5 percent of elementary school students — or 861 students, according to the district.

 

Officials will present the plan during a public forum 7 p.m. Monday at Council Rock High School South in Northampton.

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Toll Brothers Twining Bridge Road Proposal Presented to Newtown Board of Supervisors

Toll Brothers Twining Bridge Road Proposal Presented to Newtown Board of Supervisors | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

A presentation of a "sketch plan" was made before the Newtown Board of Supervisors on September 17, 2018. The plan was presented by by Toll Brothers representative Greg Adelman.

 

Click here to see the presentation slides along with audio comments and questions, comments, and concerns of residents who were at the meeting.

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Bucks Towns Get $3.45M in State Sewer, Greenway, Trails and Other Projects

Bucks Towns Get $3.45M in State Sewer, Greenway, Trails and Other Projects | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

A dozen Bucks County towns and municipal authorities received more than $3.45 million in state grants for sewer, greenway and other projects this week.

 

The grant are awarded through the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Marcellus Legacy Fund, a revenue source from gas well fees through local governments and state agencies, according to a news release from Gov. Tom Wolf’s office.

 

“These projects will ensure that vital services are being provided to communities all across the commonwealth,” Wolf said in the release.

 

The fund, created through Pennsylvania’s Act 13 of 2012, is used for various sewage, flood mitigation and other similar projects through the Department of Community and Economic Development.

 

[Act 13 of 2012 establishes the Marcellus Legacy Fund and allocates funds to the Commonwealth Financing Authority (the “Authority”) for planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks and beautification projects using the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program (GTRP).]

 

More than $2.46 million of the grants will go toward water and sewer projects in Bristol Borough, Dublin, Lower Makefield, Penndel, Morrisville, Plumstead, Sellersville, Upper Southampton, Warrington and Warwick.

 

Act 13 grants in Bucks County:

 

  1. Bristol Borough: $167,450 for Adams Hollow Creek flood mitigation
  2. Bensalem: $94,127 for Central Park trail improvements
  3. Northampton: $237,567 for New Road trailhead and neighborhood link
  4. Morrisville: $85,000 for Patriots Park at Historic Summerset master plan
  5. Redevelopment Authority of the County of Bucks: $140,904 for Bensalem drum dump site assessment
  6. Morrisville Borough: $187,992 for Melvin Avenue basin improvements
  7. Plumstead: $76,500 for Summer Meadow streambank restoration project
  8. Bristol Borough Water and Sewer Authority: $361,845 for Pond Street pump station upgrade
  9. Warrington: $100,000 for Warrington Oaks sewage pumping station rehabilitation
  10. Dublin: $95,893 for Kern Drive sewer rehabilitation
  11. Sellersville: $293,277 for Green street sewer line replacement
  12. Penndel: $213,155 for resolution of capacity constraint
  13. Plumstead: $339,746 for Summer Hill filtration system
  14. Warwick Township Water and Sewer Authority: $65,965 for water main extension
  15. Lower Makefield: $408,481 for Stackhouse Drive pump station replacement
  16. Upper Southampton Municipal Authority: $408,000 for water main improvements
  17. Morrisville Municipal Authority: $180,625 for water main improvement project
johnmacknewtown's insight:

Unfortunately, Newtown Township is not one of the grantees. The Twp applied for a DCED grant for the Lower Dolington Multi Use Trail (Segment M-1).

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Newtown Township to Consider Amending Noise Ordinance

Newtown Township to Consider Amending Noise Ordinance | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the September 26, 2018, public meeting, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) will consider and vote on an ordinance to remove from the Code of Ordinances of Newtown Township “certain provisions related to excessive and unnecessary noise and other nuisances.”

 

Learn which specific changes are being considered and why here.

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Doylestown Council Approves Resolution Against Separating Immigrant Children from Their Parents

Doylestown Council Approves Resolution Against Separating Immigrant Children from Their Parents | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Council members received applause Monday evening after they unanimously approved a resolution opposing the “zero tolerance” approach to immigration, under which an identified 2,654 migrant children were taken from their parents following illegal U.S.-Mexico border crossings.

 

In their resolution, Doylestown Borough officials accused the Trump administration of pursuing the “zero tolerance” policy “to deter families from entering the United States and as a bargaining chip to force a broader immigration agenda that limits legal immigration.”

 

The borough resolution also includes provisions sympathetic to migrant families, saying “criminalizing all immigrants who have fled the violence and poverty in their homelands undermines due process” and “misrepresents the motives and aspirations of the vast majority of immigrants who take seriously the inscription on the Statue of Liberty — Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’”

 

Comprehensive immigration reform is imperative, borough officials noted, but should not be achieved at the expense of children’s welfare. They called in their resolution for Congress and federal officials to commit to “good faith negotiations” so that reform can ”(honor) due process, (preserve) the value of family reunification, (adhere) to international human rights principles and (acknowledge) the root causes compelling immigration.”

 

The borough also called on Gov. Tom Wolf and other Pennsylvania officials to ensure no state resources are used “in any way to support or facilitate” family separations.

 

Wolf was among a handful of state governors to agree, saying in late June he would not deploy National Guard troops to further the “zero tolerance” policy.

 

Borough Manager John Davis said  said he was not aware of any other municipalities that had approved and mailed similar resolutions concerning the immigration policy.

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Coffee with a Cop: October 3 and October 6, 2018 | Newtown Township Police Department

Coffee with a Cop: October 3 and October 6, 2018 | Newtown Township Police Department | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

It's that time again. We continue to receive positive feedback regarding our previous Coffee with a Cop events so this time we are scheduling two events, one in Newtown Township and one in Wrighstown Township. Please mark your calendars for: October 3, 2018 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Corner Bakery Cafe (Newtown Township) and October 6, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Wrighstown Farmers Market (Wrighstown Township).

 

Coffee with a Cop provides a unique opportunity for community members to ask questions and learn more about the department’s work in both Newtown and Wrightstown Townships neighborhoods.

The majority of contacts law enforcement has with the public happen during emergencies, or emotional situations.  Those situations are not always the most effective times for relationship building with the community and some community members may feel that officers are unapproachable on the street.  Coffee with a Cop breaks down barriers and allows for a relaxed, one-on-one interaction.

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Court to Decide Toll Brothers Appeal of Westtown Township's Unanimous Decision to Deny Its Plans for Crebilly Farm Development

Court to Decide Toll Brothers Appeal of Westtown Township's Unanimous Decision to Deny Its Plans for Crebilly Farm Development | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Traffic and road improvements were the main topics of discussion during a hearing concerning an appeal by Toll Brothers in the bid to build 319 homes at Crebilly Farm in Westtown.

 

Common Pleas Judge Mark L. Tunnell made no immediate decision on whether to overturn the unanimous December 2017 township Board of Supervisor’s decision to deny a conditional use application.

 

Toll Brothers plans to preserve 193 acres at the 322-acre Robinson Family site, the largest slice of open space along Route 202 and between King of Prussia and Wilmington. The farm is located at the corner of routes 926 and 202.

 

Greg Adelman, of law firm Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter and Stein, in Blue Bell, represented Toll and said it was not the Horsham-based builder’s job to construct a collector road that might relieve congestion on Route 202.

 

Pat McKenna, of Gawthrop Greenwood Law Firm, said building the connector road was required by the township.

 

“It would take traffic off access roads and through residential property,” McKenna said. “It seems like a simple matter of profit for Toll.

 

“This was a profit decision.”

 

Mark Thompson is a lawyer with Lamb McErlane and represented grassroots organization, Neighbors for Crebilly. He was applauded by much of the audience after addressing the mostly packed Courtroom One.

 

He spoke against the subdivision’s possible environmental degradation, stormwater management plans and hopes to preserve what many say was a 1777 Battle of Brandywine site.

 

"The 19th century had its robber barons like Carnegie and Rockefeller who built their fortunes on the backs of people and society,” Hemphill said. “The 21st century has traded oil and steel millionaires for heartless corporations like Toll Brothers which don't care one iota what impact their developments have on people, the environment, or our history, as long as the profits continue to roll in.

 

“It's long past time for courts and elected officials to take care of people, our land, and our history instead of the Toll Brothers of the world."

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Coincidentally, Greg Adelman, representing Toll Brothers, presented a Twining Bridge Road development "sketch plan" to the Newtown Twp Board of Supervisors at a September 17, 2018, work session. That plan has similarities to the Crebilly development plan discussed in this article, including the preservation of open space. The Crebilly plan would preserve about 59% of the land for open space and the Twining Bridge plan would preserve nearly the same percentage - 51%. Residents in both townships were concerned about traffic, environmental degradation, and stormwater management. Some Westtown residents created the Neighbors for Crebilly, a community advocacy group effort "aspiring to redirect the outcome of the pending development of Crebilly Farm is Westtown Township, Pennsylvania." Find them on Facebook here.

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Council Rock to Hold Dedication Ceremonies for $50 Million Middle School Projects

A dedication ceremony for the new Newtown Middle School has been scheduled for 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 24 at the school, 116 Richboro Road in Newtown Township.

 

Dedication for a major renovation-addition at Holland Middle School is 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at the school, 400 East Holland Road in Northampton.

 

Both events will include student music, guest speakers, self-guided building tours and light refreshments.

 

Each building features bright, state-of-the-art classrooms, performance spaces, large new gymnasiums and indoor/outdoor common areas for learning and socialization, district officials said.

 

Both projects cost about $50 million and were completed in time for students to report to both schools on Sept. 4 for the state of the academic year.

 

The new Newtown Middle School was constructed on the same property as the now-vacant former school, which soon will be demolished. The new structure is 185,000 square feet, 65,000 square feet larger than the old building.

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U.S. Census Reports 5% Income Rise in Bucks County Since 2015, But Not in Newtown Township

U.S. Census Reports 5% Income Rise in Bucks County Since 2015, But Not in Newtown Township | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The U.S. Census reports three straight years of rising income. But those financial gains come as prices rise and the value of the U.S. dollar drops.

 

“Income is a measure of all cash or money resources coming into a household. It includes wages and earnings from work as well as social security benefits, retirement income, interest, dividends and public assistance,” explained Trudi J. Renwick, U.S. Census assistant division chief for economic characteristics.

 

“Ten percent of the households had income below $14,200,” Renwick added. “Ten percent of households had income above $179,100, and 5 percent had income above $237,000.”

 

In Bucks County, median household income was up from $80,575 to $84,749, a 5 percent increase, since 2015. That would make Bucks 69th among 825 U.S. counties for median household income.

 

But a closer look shows gender and race remain major factors in how much we earn.

 

For example, in Burlington County, white households earned $90,984 while black households averaged $76,004, or 16 percent less, according the census figures released Thursday.

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Newtown Township Votes to Delete PRD from JMZO, Which Allowed for a Process to "Expedite" Development

Newtown Township Votes to Delete PRD from JMZO, Which Allowed for a Process to "Expedite" Development | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the Sept. 12 meeting, the board of supervisors voted unanimously to eliminate a process which allows developers to bypass local advisory boards and take their plans directly to the supervisors.

If the zoning change is also approved by neighboring Upper Makefield and Wrightstown townships in the coming weeks, then the oftentimes controversial option known as a Planned Residential Development (PRD) will no longer be available to developers in the three municipalities.

Voting for the measure were: Chairman Phil Calabro, along with fellow-Supervisors Linda Bobrin, John Mack, Dennis Fisher and Kyle Davis.

PRDs are currently permitted under state law, if a municipality wants to adopt them.

The hearing, which lasted less than six minutes, evoked hardly any discussion from the board, nor was there any comment from the public.

Filing a PRD application gives developers the opportunity to bypass a township’s normal planning and zoning channels, which can be time consuming, leaving the decision solely up to the supervisors to approve a medium or high-density ‘mixed-use’ housing plan in an expedited manner, while at the same time allowing developers to fast-track their projects.

‘Mixed use’ is usually single family homes and townhouses, along with substantial open space.

Under the PRD process, at least one public hearing must be held to allow supervisors to collect details about a project and decide whether to grant tentative approval.

Because Newtown Township is part of a joint zoning agreement (JMZO), known as the “jointure,” with neighboring Upper Makefield and Wrightstown Township, all three municipalities must agree whether to eliminate PRDs.

Wrightstown has scheduled a similar hearing on the matter for Monday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. with Upper Makefield having its public hearing at the same time the following evening, Tuesday, Sept. 18.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

If the PRD option is eventually eliminated, an existing option, known as the “performance subdivision” would be modified to take its place. See video of the decision here:

Newtown Votes to Delete Planned Residential Development (PRD) from JMZO

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August 2018 Police Report

August 2018 Police Report | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Interim Police Chief Jason Harris presented the Calls Report for August 2018 at the September 12, 2018, Board of Supervisors meeting. In August, the Newtown Police Department responded to 1,519 calls, 327 (22%) of which were in Wrightstown Township (Newtown Police provides services to both Newtown Township and Wrightstown). See a summary of the report above. Note: Not all calls are listed.

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I am a retired small businessman who has lived in Newtown Township PA since 1995. The opinions expressed here are solely mine and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.