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Council Rock School Board - After Hearing from Angry # StandWithTheStudents Parents - Waived Disciplinary Action Against Students Who Walked Out of the Building 

Council Rock School Board - After Hearing from Angry # StandWithTheStudents Parents - Waived Disciplinary Action Against Students Who Walked Out of the Building  | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Despite threats of disciplinary action, dozens of Council Rock North students left the building Wednesday during the national school walkout on Wednesday morning.

 

Outside, a small contingent of supportive parents got as close as possible to the campus, across the street at St. Andrew's Catholic Church.

 

Students who left said they were made to sign back in upon return to class, and will face detention. However, in an email to the school community following the demonstration, Council Rock Superintendent Robert Fraser said the district had reconsidered its position and involved students will not be disciplined.

 

"Following this morning's walkout, the administration appealed to the School Board for the disciplinary consequence to be waived for students who walked out of the building, and a majority of the School Board members agreed that no disciplinary action is warranted in this extremely unusual situation. Thus, no disciplinary consequences will be administered. The indoor restrictions were put into place for good reason, as safety is and always will be our foremost priority. There were rumors that non-students would attempt to gain entry onto school property during these protests, and so the School Board was rightfully concerned about student safety. That said, after seeing just how incredibly well our students handled today's remembrance events, we feel that no discipline is warranted. This decision in no way should be viewed as precedent setting for any future event," the Wednesday message said.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I was with those parents on the grassy knoll across the street from the school and took this photo. I heard their anger about the proposed disciplinary action and their plans to let the school know how they felt about it.

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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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Bucks County Continues to Get Failing Grades for Ozone Pollution

Bucks County Continues to Get Failing Grades for Ozone Pollution | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The American Lung Association ranks Bucks County as the second worst county in Pennsylvania for air pollution. 

 

Bucks County continues to struggle with high levels of air pollution, putting its residents at risk of lung-related ailments, according to a new report card from the American Lung Association. The effects on Burlington County across the Delaware River are unknown: There are no monitoring stations in the county, where prevailing winds from Bucks County typically blow.

 

The ALA annually releases its “State of the Air” report, which analyzes air pollution levels across the country. Released this week was its 2018 report, which reviewed data from 2014 to 2016 and gave Bucks a “failing” grade. Bucks joined 13 other Pennsylvania counties with a failing grade, although a scoring system ranked Bucks second worst overall, just behind Philadelphia.

 

“Bucks County is one of the areas that has a long history of F’s,” said Kevin Stewart, director of environmental health with the American Lung Association’s Mid-Atlantic Region.

 

Pennsylvania DEP records show Bucks surpassing Philadelphia for ozone pollution last year. According to the DEP’s website, Bucks exceeded 70 ppb for ozone during 12 days last year, and exceeded 75 ppb during eight.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Polluters and their friends in Washington, D.C. want to weaken the Clean Air Act. That’s why we must keep fighting to make sure the U.S. EPA enforces the Clean Air Act to reduce pollution and save lives

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Merck Chemist, Charged with Dumping Cyanide in Public Water Supply, Found Dead in Apparent Suicide

Merck Chemist, Charged with Dumping Cyanide in Public Water Supply, Found Dead in Apparent Suicide | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Two months after he was charged with dumping poison in public water (read about it here), Richard O’Rourke reportedly has been found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A chemist from Warrington charged with dumping a poisonous chemical in a Bucks County storm water inlet has been found dead, police say.

Officers Tuesday afternoon discovered the body of 60-year-old Richard L. O’Rourke inside his home along the 2800 block of Highland Road during a well-being check requested by a neighbor, Warrington police said in a CRIMEWATCH post.

The neighbor asked police to check on O’Rourke because he had not been heard from since Sunday and was reportedly unhappy with his life, according to police.

O’Rourke is believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police say.

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EWG Report: Perfluorinated Pollutant (PFAS) Contamination of Water Spreading

EWG Report: Perfluorinated Pollutant (PFAS) Contamination of Water Spreading | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The chemicals are in the drinking water of about 16 million Americans, a nonprofit group has calculated.

 

A new analysis from the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, finds that drinking water contamination with PFAS chemicals now exists in 36 states.

 

The pollutants, also known as perfluorinated compounds, have been found at high levels in the drinking water of approximately 70,000 residents in Bucks and Montgomery counties and are the subject of ongoing investigation by this news organization.

 

According to a new mapping effort by the Environmental Working Group, known drinking water contamination sites have grown from just a handful a decade ago to more than 94 locations. That includes dozens of military bases where the chemicals were used in firefighting foams, as well as near industrial plants that used the chemicals in manufacturing processes.

 

The chemicals have been linked by some studies to health effects including high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, immunodeficiencies, low birth weight babies and some cancers. However, researchers say much about potential health effects is still unknown, prompting lawmakers to provide $10 million this year to fund a nationwide federal health study on the chemicals.

 

Despite growing concerns, the chemicals remain unregulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA officials previously said they are considering the creation of a formal safe drinking water limit for the chemicals but might not decide until 2021. In lieu of federal action, states such as New Jersey and Michigan have passed or proposed regulations such as drinking water and surface water limits, as well as limits for the consumption of sport fish. Pennsylvania is considering regulation of one chemical, PFOA.

 

“With the alarming spread of known PFAS contamination sites, it’s unconscionable that the Environmental Protection Agency has taken only the most feeble steps to respond to the crisis,” said Bill Walker, an investigative editor for the Environmental Working Group, in a prepared statement. “States are stepping up to set cleanup standards, but a national crisis demands a national response.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

At an August, 2017, Board of Supervisors meeting, Dan Angove, Assistant General Manager of Newtown Artesian Water Company, claimed that EWG, which is responsible for this analysis, is a "California resident who was working for a company selling water fitters." Read "Company Discounts Study That Found 7 Carcinogens."

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Redistricting Activists Flood PA State Capitol to Make Their Voices Heard

Redistricting Activists Flood PA State Capitol to Make Their Voices Heard | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

After suffering a setback last week in the state House of Representatives, activists in the redistricting fight flooded the Capitol Building to make their voices heard.

Fair Districts [a citizen-led, statewide coalition working to create a process for redistricting that is transparent, impartial, and fair] has advocated for a pair of bills in the state Senate and House of Representatives to amend the state constitution and strip the power to draw voting maps from the General Assembly, placing it instead with an independent commission.

But despite a sustained campaign that drew more than 700 people Monday to chant and sing under the Capitol Rotunda — a number organizers say likely suffered last-minute losses because of the morning’s heavy rain — Fair Districts Chairwoman Carol Kuniholm said many politicians continue to skirt the issue.

The state’s highest court drew the ire of many Republican lawmakers when it tossed the state’s 2011 congressional map and later imposed its own map in a radical reshaping of house districts that some say could favor Democrats. Yet those new lines — which put Bucks and Montgomery counties into the newly drawn 1st and 4th districts (except for a sliver of Montgomery County in the new 5th District) — could again be redrawn after the next U.S. Census in 2020.

Andrew Benton, of Blue Bell, who rode the bus with his wife Sally Benton, said he was encouraged by the bipartisan showing of politicians who made appearances at the rally.

Having just gained citizenship after immigrating from England in the 1980s, Andrew Benton, a semi-retired engineer, said he too feels change is inevitable as he plans to finally vote in his first American election.

“I can’t see how much longer this goes on. There’s just so much support,” he said.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

This issue was discussed at the April 16, 2018, Working Session of the Newtown Board of Supervisors. Jan Filios - a Newtown resident and supporter of Fair Districts PA - asked that the Newtown Board of Supervisors adopt a resolution supporting an impartial, nonpartisan commission to draw the legislative districts in Pennsylvania.

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New Autism-Friendly Playground Opening This Month In Bucks County

New Autism-Friendly Playground Opening This Month In Bucks County | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The playground is at Potential, a non-profit organization located at 170 Pheasant Run in Newtown. It will open on Saturday, April 21. A grand opening event is planned from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the special event, children will be able to use the playground. Snacks and beverages will also be available.

 

Kristine Quinby, founder, president and CEO of Potential, said she is excited for the new playground to open. "Learning to play (with others) and playing to learn (social interaction) is a real benefit to children with autism," Quinby said. "We wanted to make this securely-fenced playground available to the community, free of charge, during evenings and weekends, when it is not in use by our clients," she said in a statement.

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DRBC "Swamped" by Over 9,000 Comments (Including Comments from Newtown Township) on Proposed Fracking Ban

DRBC "Swamped" by Over 9,000 Comments (Including Comments from Newtown Township) on Proposed Fracking Ban | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

With public comment closed on a controversial fracking ban proposal for the Delaware River basin, regulators must now tackle an arduous task: combing through nearly 9,000 submissions received over the past four months.

 

Last fall, when the commission put forth updated proposals that would ban fracking in the basin — a measure long sought by environmentalists — but allow for the disposal of treated wastewater and extraction of river water for fracking operations outside the basin.

 

The proposed regulations are among the most controversial in years put forth by the DRBC, an interstate regulatory group composed of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and the federal government. Introduced last fall, the proposal calls for the banning of hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — in the basin. The process involves injecting highly pressurized fluids underground to crack up rocks and release natural gas deposits.

 

Among the proponents of a ban are the Newtown Township supervisors, who recently voted 4-1 to submit a comment calling for a ban of all fracking-related activities. But the town is also considering preemptive action, with supervisors saying they may dust off a proposal to amend the township’s joint municipal zoning ordinance, which it shares with Upper Makefield and Wrightstown.

The amendment would establish “oil and gas drilling, processing and transport” as a new land use, requiring conditional approval for fracking. It would also only allow drilling in Wrightstown’s rural industrial and quarry/agriculture districts, not on any property subject to a conservation easement or open space restrictions.

Newtown Township Supervisor John Mack said board members recently had discussed resuming work on that amendment [read “Newtown Supervisors Discuss Proposed Ordinance to Allow Fracking”], though it has not yet been placed on any planning commission meeting agenda.

The proposed amendment came under review at a January 2017 community meeting, where attorney Jordan Yeager, of Doylestown Township’s Curtin & Heefner law fim, discussed its pros and cons as a way to regulate gas and oil drilling at the municipal level.

Yeager noted in a letter to the Riverkeepers that officials in the jointure municipalities should not approve the amendment without first revising it, saying a lack of scientific due diligence could render the municipalities vulnerable to legal challenges under the state’s environmental laws.

Amendments to the joint zoning ordinance cannot go into effect until all three municipalities approve them.

Wrightstown supervisors have considered the fracking jointure amendment on and off for the past two years, said Chester Pogonowski, the board’s chairman. Right now, he said, there is no consensus and there is no scheduled discussion.

The amendment has not yet been in front of Upper Makefield’s board of supervisors, said Chairman Tom Cino. Some environmental groups have been critical of the proposal, saying it could signal to drillers that the township is open for business.

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Wolf Backs Anti Workplace Sexual Harassment Bills and Mandatory Training for Employees & Township Supervisors

Wolf Backs Anti Workplace Sexual Harassment Bills and Mandatory Training for Employees & Township Supervisors | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration says the Democrat is backing a package of forthcoming legislation that’s designed to improve protections in Pennsylvania against workplace sexual harassment and discrimination.

Wolf’s announcement Thursday with Democratic lawmakers comes amid revelations of misconduct allegations against several lawmakers and state agreements to pay more than $3 million to settle sexual misconduct claims over the past decade.

The proposals include extending from 180 days to two years the period in which victims and whistleblowers can file a court complaint and allowing them to seek punitive damages in workplace discrimination cases.

It also would extend state anti-discrimination laws to all workplaces, from workplaces with at least four employees. Wolf also supports mandatory trainings for employees and supervisors to prevent discrimination and harassment.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Wolf Backs Anti Workplace Sexual Harassment Bills and Mandatory Training for Employees & Township Supervisors

 

Speaking of anti-sexual harrassment training, Newtown Twonship Supervisors approved the hiring of the Curtin & Heefner law firm as Township Labor Attorneys. 

 

Kyong Ha Growney, Partner, Employment & Labor Law and Public Sector Law at Curtin & Heffner, will counsel the township on all labor, employment, and employee benefits related matters, including employee discipline, sexual harassment, and in the creation or revision of employee policies and handbooks. When she was interviewed for the job I specifically asked that she consider providing sexual harassment training for employees. It would be a good idea, IMHO, for Supervisors to also get this training.

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Fire Teachers to Pay for Armed Guards in Schools?

Fire Teachers to Pay for Armed Guards in Schools? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Eschewing the popular “blue ribbon” title, Governor Tom Wolf announced the “School Safety Task Force.” To his credit, Wolf’s panel will include parents and students — in other words, regular people — in addition to experts from education and law enforcement.

 

“Ensuring the safety of Pennsylvanians, especially our children, is my top priority as governor,” Wolf said. Until, of course, he’s done running for re-election. But for now Wolf said his chief objective is to “make sure our schools are a safe place for our children to learn.”

 

Sarah E. Daly, an assistant professor of criminology, told members of the state House Education Committee recently that schools could immediately beef up their security by establishing anonymous tip lines to report threats and concerns. Daly had other suggestions on ways to make schools safer. But the tip line is something schools can do right away.

 

Here’s something else they can do: Post an armed security guard at each school entrance. That’s our suggestion based on a layman’s perspective. Call it common sense.

 

Look, most schools already post a monitor at the front door, where the ID of visitors is checked and recorded. But in many cases the monitors are volunteers and look like somebody’s mother or grandmother. Not very intimidating.

 

We suggest replacing those well intentioned volunteers with real security guards — full-time paid employees wearing uniforms and armed with a gun. Doing so would eliminate the debate about arming teachers and the safety concerns that controversial idea stirred up. Of course, it also would produce a debate ... about cost. So here’s another common sense idea: Eliminate one teacher or administrator at each school and use their very generous salary to pay a security guard or two.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

This is insanity, especially when teachers are rebelling across the nation because of low pay, lack of student resources, and increasing class size! Replacing teachers with guards is NOT the answer, IMHO!

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Flushable Wipes Are "Enemy Nuber One" for Newtown Bucks County Joint Municipal Sewer Authority

Flushable Wipes Are "Enemy Nuber One" for Newtown Bucks County Joint Municipal Sewer Authority | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Contrary to what Madison Avenue ad execs may proclaim regarding the modern marvel of “flushable wipes,” the idea of flushing these wipes is a terrible idea.

 

Flushable wipes have become enemy number one amongst sewerage authorities across the nation and beyond due to the fact that they can, and do, create sewer blockages that result in overflows. Since these “wonder wipes” don’t degrade the way that toilet paper does, they combine with fats, oil and grease that exist in the sewer system and can become giant blobs of immovable objects that create nasty overflows of raw sewage in the streets.

 

Not only do these wipes create havoc for a sewer authority, but they also can create blockages in your internal plumbing or in your yard. Repairs could be costly when you have to call the local plumber to clear a blockage in your home.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Yuck!

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F&M Poll: Today, 55% of PA Residents Say Environmental Risks of Fracking Outweigh Economic Benefits. That is a Much Higher % Than Four Years Ago

F&M Poll: Today, 55% of PA Residents Say Environmental Risks of Fracking Outweigh Economic Benefits. That is a Much Higher % Than Four Years Ago | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

A majority of Pennsylvanians still support the natural gas industry, but a new opinion poll shows the number of people concerned about its environmental impact is growing.

 

A Franklin & Marshall/StateImpact Pennsylvania poll found that 50 percent of respondents said they support the gas industry — while 42 percent say they don’t. But dig a little deeper, and another picture emerges.

 

In the latest poll, conducted in late March, 55 percent say the environmental risks of fracking are greater than its economic benefits. A few years ago, that number was in the 30s.

 

“That’s a real change,” said Berwood Yost, director of the Center for Opinion and Research at Franklin & Marshall, which conducted the poll. He thinks more people worry about the environmental risks of fracking now because the economy has improved, and because of reports of the industry’s environmental impacts.

 

“Now the economy is a little better, there’s been more negative publicity around fracking and the environmental damage it can create — I think that’s in part driving this change,” he said.

 

Further Reading:

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Newtown Township Supervisors Discussed Zoning for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in 2017. Will It Be On the Agenda Again in 2018?

Newtown Township Supervisors Discussed Zoning for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in 2017. Will It Be On the Agenda Again in 2018? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

[This article was published in Jan, 2017.]

 

Because Newtown Township is part of a joint municipal zoning consortium with neighboring Upper Makefield and Wrightstown townships (JMZO), any zoning ordinances regulating the location of the cannabis operations must be approved by all three municipalities, collectively known as the “jointure.”

 

At the Jan. 11 Newtown supervisors meeting, township solicitor Jeffrey Garton briefed the board on the Jan. 5 joint zoning council meeting, which he attended, and the lengthy discussions over the state’s medical marijuana law which was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf in April 2016.

 

“We need to proceed on how to zone for medical marijuana,” he said. “Under the act, dispensaries and growing facilities have to be treated the same way as other similar uses in the zoning ordinances, but you can regulate it.

 

“In Pennsylvania, there are restrictions on growing,” added township manager Kurt Ferguson, who said that it can be grown “hydroponically,” which is in chemically-treated water.

 

“It also cannot be smoked,” he added. “It will be sold in little strips.”

 

The new state law only allows edible forms of marijuana and vaporization to be dispensed; smoking is not permitted.

 

Ferguson also told the board that he and assistant township manager Micah Lewis are planning to attend a half-day seminar on Feb. 1 sponsored by Lafayette College in Easton.

 

According to the township manager, the conference will have speakers from surrounding states that already have medical marijuana laws in place and discuss the issue from a zoning perspective.

 

“There will also be a medical marijuana grower who will talk about what kind of facilities they look for and what land,” Ferguson said. “We’ll gather all of that [information] and provide it to the board [of supervisors] and the jointure.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:
Additional and more detailed information can be found in the power point presentations from the conference.
 
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Newtown Community Supports Family of Council Rock Grad, Young Father Who Died Suddenly At 28: Fundraiser Launched

Newtown Community Supports Family of Council Rock Grad, Young Father Who Died Suddenly At 28: Fundraiser Launched | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The Newtown community has come together to support the young family of a 28-year-old local resident and 2008 Council Rock North graduate who died suddenly earlier this month.

 

Erik W. Storjohann passed away suddenly on Saturday, March 10, his obituary says. A GoFundMe online fundraiser was launched to support his infant daughter, Ella Rose. That fundraiser has raised nearly $12,000 as of Monday morning.

 

The details surrounding Storjohann's death are not clear. His obituary says he was employed as a project manager with Antolino Construction in Washington Crossing.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I contributed $25.

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To Frack or Not to Frack? That is the Question. 

To Frack or Not to Frack? That is the Question.  | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the March 19, 2018, Working Session of the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, a proposed "Oil & Gas Drilling" (i.e., fracking) amendment to the Joint Municipality Zoning Ordinance (JMZO) of Newtown Township, Upper Makefield, and Wrightstown (the "Jointure") was discussed. This amendment would allow fracking in the RI Rural Industrial District and QA-A Quarry/Agriculture-A District of Wrightstown.

This action is being considered because it is feared that the temporary ban on facking by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) - a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the Delaware River Basin – will not be renewed in 2018.

The Board discussed alternative courses of action (listen to the discussion here), which will be discussed further at a future Board of Supervisors public meeting.

Please take this short 2-question survey that asks your opinion of various courses of action that Newtown-Upper Makefield-Wrightstown Jointure should take regarding fracking. No identifying information is collected via this survey unless you provide such information within your comments. After taking the survey you will be able to see the results to date. De-identified results also will be submitted as comments to the DRBC.

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How Much Does a Family of Four Need To Earn To Live Comfortably In Bucks County?

How Much Does a Family of Four Need To Earn To Live Comfortably In Bucks County? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Bucks County is one of the priciest places to live in Pennsylvania, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The organization recently released its 2018 family budget calculator that estimates how costly it is to live in each of America's 3,142 counties and 611 metro areas.

 

The group estimates a family of two adults and two children in Bucks County would need to earn a combined $99,846 per year — or $8,321 a month — to live comfortably.

 

Here's how the group breaks down that number:

 

  • Housing: $1,316 per month
  • Food: $817 per month
  • Child Care: $1,757 per month
  • Transportation: $1,246 per month
  • Other Necessities: $860 per month
  • Taxes: $1,224 per month

 

Bucks County's family budget is higher than the average across the Philadelphia metro area, where the same sized family would need to earn $92,163 to "attain a modest yet adequate standard of living," the organization said.

  

The family budget calculator accounts for geographic differences in cost of living, but does not include many expenses associated with a middle-class lifestyle, including student loan payments or saving for college or retirement.

 

Also read:

How Prosperous Is Your Pennsylvania ZIP Code? New Data Reveals Wealth Gap

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Newtown Township Announces Snow Emergency

Newtown Township Announces Snow Emergency | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Newtown Township has announced a snow emergency will be in place starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 and going until 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 22. Residents cannot park on the street during a snow emergency.

 

"Please do not park your vehicles on the roads so that our Department of Public Works can safely and efficiently snow plow them," township police announced Wednesday afternoon. The snow emergency may be extended depending on the circumstances, according to authorities.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

In case of a power failure, I hope the Township building will remain open as a "warming center" as it was the last time power went out.

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Faulty Bids Cause Delay in 2018 Road Improvement Program

Faulty Bids Cause Delay in 2018 Road Improvement Program | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the March 14, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Township Solicitor David Sander advised the Board to reject all bids due to "deficiencies" and to re-bid the 2018 road improvement project.

Township Manager Kurt Ferguson confirmed that this would result in a delay and repaving of approximately 2.8 miles of roads will not be complete until the fall.

 

According to the public "Notice to Bidders" published in the Bucks County Courier Times today (March 20, 2018) and shown on the left, bids from contractors can be submitted not later than April 19, 2018, at 10:00 AM, at which time they will be opened and read aloud at the Newtown Township Administrative Building at 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA 18940.

 

There will be a non-mandatory pre-bid meeting on April 10, 2018 at 10:00 AM. This would be a good opportunity for bidders to make sure they include all the necessary information when submitting bids.

 

Needless to say, this may be a big disappointment to residents in the neighborhoods where repaving was scheduled.

 

View a video clip from the BOS meeting here.

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Pennridge Students Extend Their Protest During Detention to Honor Parkland Victims

Pennridge Students Extend Their Protest During Detention to Honor Parkland Victims | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The 46 students sat in a circle in the high school cafeteria Saturday morning with the names of the 17 Parkland victims taped to themselves.

For Jayson Badal and 45 other Pennridge High School students, calling for stronger gun laws, other student safety measures and honoring the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting didn’t end with Wednesday’s national walkout.

The students used their Saturday morning detention — the district’s punishment for walking out of school Wednesday without permission — to continue protesting and honoring the 17 students and staffers killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Before the students went inside the school at 7:55 a.m. Saturday to serve the detention, they carried signs with messages like “enough is enough” and enjoyed doughnuts furnished by supportive parents, Jayson said. The parents also had pizza for the students when they got out of detention.

The students spent the 125-minute detention sitting in a circle with arms locked, he said. There were flowers in the middle of the circle in recognition of the victims, and each Pennridge student taped a list of the victims to themselves.

The entire two hours was spent in silence, except when student Anna Sophie Tinneny spent the final 17 minutes reading the names of the Parkland victims, Jayson said. Students also made a 19-second video of the sit-in detention and shared it on their Twitter account, @NeverAgainPenn. The tweet was liked more than 96,000 times and retweeted more than 30,000 times by Monday afternoon.

He added that the remainder of the 225 students who walked out will serve their detentions on Saturday mornings over the next few weeks.

“We want to honor the victims but also bring about change, that’s the whole point,” said Jayson, a senior. “We thought the way we did this Saturday was impactful.”

He said it was unfortunate school district administrators and school board members decided to punish those who walked out. Many other high schools in Bucks County either allowed students to walk out under supervision and various safety precautions, or, like Pennridge, held indoor ceremonies to honor the Parkland victims.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Also read: “Council Rock School Board - After Hearing from Angry # StandWithTheStudents Parents - Waived Disciplinary Action Against Students Who Walked Out of the Building”.

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Council Rock School Board - After Hearing from Angry # StandWithTheStudents Parents - Waived Disciplinary Action Against Students Who Walked Out of the Building 

Council Rock School Board - After Hearing from Angry # StandWithTheStudents Parents - Waived Disciplinary Action Against Students Who Walked Out of the Building  | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Despite threats of disciplinary action, dozens of Council Rock North students left the building Wednesday during the national school walkout on Wednesday morning.

 

Outside, a small contingent of supportive parents got as close as possible to the campus, across the street at St. Andrew's Catholic Church.

 

Students who left said they were made to sign back in upon return to class, and will face detention. However, in an email to the school community following the demonstration, Council Rock Superintendent Robert Fraser said the district had reconsidered its position and involved students will not be disciplined.

 

"Following this morning's walkout, the administration appealed to the School Board for the disciplinary consequence to be waived for students who walked out of the building, and a majority of the School Board members agreed that no disciplinary action is warranted in this extremely unusual situation. Thus, no disciplinary consequences will be administered. The indoor restrictions were put into place for good reason, as safety is and always will be our foremost priority. There were rumors that non-students would attempt to gain entry onto school property during these protests, and so the School Board was rightfully concerned about student safety. That said, after seeing just how incredibly well our students handled today's remembrance events, we feel that no discipline is warranted. This decision in no way should be viewed as precedent setting for any future event," the Wednesday message said.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I was with those parents on the grassy knoll across the street from the school and took this photo. I heard their anger about the proposed disciplinary action and their plans to let the school know how they felt about it.

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Doors Blocked With Tables To Stop Council Rock North Walkout, Students Say

Doors Blocked With Tables To Stop Council Rock North Walkout, Students Say | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Students at Council Rock North report school employees were blocking the doorways with chairs and desks so no one could leave the building during a 17-minute National School Walkout event Wednesday morning.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

UPDATE (4/19/2018): Last night I heard a first-hand report from a couple of Council Rock senior students who participated in the walkout. They confirmed that the tables were set up AFTER the students walked out so that when they came back in they could be identified as students and marked for potential disciplinary action. That, of course, never happened. The students I heard from said if there was disciplinary action - such as detention - they would use that occasion to stage another protest. I guess the school was smart to let well enough alone. The seniors also mentioned that the colleges that accepted them sent them letters saying that they would ignore any disciplinary action taken against students for participating in the protest.

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Council Rock To Discipline Students Who Walk Out Wednesday

Council Rock To Discipline Students Who Walk Out Wednesday | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Council Rock students who walk out of school on Wednesday will now face "disciplinary consequences," the superintendent said in an email to the school community on Tuesday.

 

The sentiment seems to veer from earlier communication distributed by Superintendent Robert Fraser, who last month said in a letter to parents that Council Rock School District "respects the rights of our students to peacefully assemble, we will permit any student who wishes to participate in this organized event to do so."

 

[Read Council Rock Takes the “Out” Out of the Planned Student “Walkout” on March 14 – Confines Students to Designated Areas INSIDE the School]

 

Fraser, in his most recent communication, said the district will accommodate students who wish to partake in a "non-political event" and invites students to engage in a "class walkout — not a school walkout."

 

The disciplinary consequences will align with grade span and the nature of infraction, said Fraser.

 

The change in attitude towards the event is driven by safety concerns, school officials say.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Are they kidding! How is walking out in protest less safe than walking out to go home??? Council Rock should provide the same level of protection for the former as they do for the latter, IMHO!!!

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8th Annual Newtown Irish Festival Kicks Off Thursday

8th Annual Newtown Irish Festival Kicks Off Thursday | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The 8th annual Newtown Irish Festival will kick off Thursday, March 15 at the Green Parrot and go through the weekend. Festivities include music, food, drinks and dancing.

Admission is $10 per person at the door. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Special additions to the menu include corned beef and cabbage, reuben ravioli, and seafood chowder. In the tent, there will be a walk-up taco bar as well as other finger foods. A special Irish breakfast is planned for March 17 and 18. The breakfast menu includes creamed chipped beef, an Irish breakfast sandwich, and bangers and beans.

Entertainment will happen inside the bar, as well as in the outdoor tent.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Newtown Township issued a 2-day permit for the outdoor festivities with the setup of tents on Thursday and take down on Sunday. There will be a 5K run on Saturday morning; participants will park at Veterans Park and a shuttle will provide transportation to the event.

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Recent Newtown Health Inspections: The Saloon, Jake's, Starbucks

Recent Newtown Health Inspections: The Saloon, Jake's, Starbucks | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Newtown Restaurant Inspections - Newtown, PA - The Bucks County Department of Health inspected 14 Newtown establishments over the past month. Here's what they found...

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Council Rock Takes the “Out” Out of the Planned Student “Walkout” on March 14 – Confines Students to Designated Areas INSIDE the School

Council Rock Takes the “Out” Out of the Planned Student “Walkout” on March 14 – Confines Students to Designated Areas INSIDE the School | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Hundreds and perhaps thousands of public and private school students from throughout Bucks County plan to participate in Wednesday morning’s national walkout.

 

The event, starting at 10 a.m. and lasting 17 minutes, is being staged in support of stronger gun laws and other safety measures in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The duration is in honor of the 17 students and staffers killed in Parkland.

 

At most county schools, administrators and teachers are supporting the action and are working with students to stage the event in a way that allows for free expression but also ensures safety.

 

Walkouts at Council Rock’s two high schools, Council Rock North in Newtown Township and Council Rock South in Northampton, will be confined indoors for safety reasons, district spokeswoman Susan O’Grady said.

 

“Student activity will be proactively organized and fully supervised by CRSD administrators, teachers and safety personnel,” she said.

 

But one student said she and others aren’t going along with staying inside the schools.

 

“A couple days ago, the superintendent (Robert Fraser) sent out an email that said there will be designated areas inside the school where the students can walk to,” said Council Rock South sophomore Krupa Mysore. “But the students do not agree and will be outside the school.”

 

O’Grady responded that district administrators will discuss in the coming days whether to discipline students who go outside.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Is this necessary?

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Former Newtown Township Supervisor Ryan Gallagher to Challenges Incumbent Perry Warren in 31st House District

Former Newtown Township Supervisor Ryan Gallagher to Challenges Incumbent Perry Warren in 31st House District | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Ryan Gallagher wants a rematch.

The Republican fought Democrat Perry Warren for the 31st state House District seat in 2016 and lost by only 75 votes.

He announced Friday that he intends to challenge Warren for the seat in the general election.

“It is only fair for voters to ask what has changed since my opponent took office, and the answer is an increase in partisan bickering and gridlock. We continue to face the same fiscal challenges, loss of our young people to other states, and more that he promised to change,” Gallagher said in a press release. “I want to work for the people of our community to make a positive change that improves our everyday lives.”

Gallagher, 41, is an attorney and Realtor who served on the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors for about six years.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

In my opinion, Mr. Gallagher led Newtown Township down the path of fiscal irresponsibility while he was a Supervisor. "Holding the line on taxes" is irresponsible when there are increased expenses, an opioid epidemic to deal with, holes in the Police Department building roof, old Police Cars and Dump trucks that need replacing, etc. - funding for ALL of which Mr. Gallagher opposed when he was Supervisor. With you help he's going to lose by a lot more than 75 votes this time!

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Larry Kirwan - Ireland, A History in Song - Bucks County Community College

Larry Kirwan - Ireland, A History in Song - Bucks County Community College | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Celebrate St Patrick's Day with this exciting new one man show!

IRELAND – A HISTORY IN SONG is a new and exciting one-man show by Larry Kirwan that combines his 25 years experience leading Black 47 with his parallel careers as playwright, author, journalist and radio host. Through a mixture of story-telling, acting, and singing Kirwan brings Irish history alive with emphasis on The Great Hunger of 1847, Emigration to America, The Celtic Revival, 1916 Uprising, and the recent “Troubles.” You’ll be introduced to and get to the heart of James Connolly, Michael Collins, Countess Markievicz, James Joyce, WB Yeats, Bobby Sands & Bernadette Devlin McAliskey among others.


The show will include classic Kirwan songs such as Black 47, James Connolly, The Big Fellah, extracts from his plays and books, Mr. Parnell, Blood, Hard Times, A History of Irish Music, and Green Suede Shoes in a seamless story that will entertain & educate.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I just bought 2 VIP tickets - for an extra $10 you get to attend a reception with hors d'oeuvre and 2 drinks (beer or wine)!

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I am a retired small businessman who has lived in Newtown PA for 23 years. The opinions expressed here are solely mine and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.