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Governor Wolf to Launch First Statewide LGBTQ Affairs Commission

Governor Wolf to Launch First Statewide LGBTQ Affairs Commission | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Governor Tom Wolf today will sign an executive order creating the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning] Affairs, the only one in the nation.

 

“The creation of the commission on LGBTQ Affairs is one step of many we have taken to ensure obstacles are removed for anyone who is facing an unfair disadvantage based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression,” Gov. Wolf said. “It’s a step we took together with our stakeholder and advocacy groups and one that those involved asked for – a commission to help coordinate and drive statewide equality efforts.”

 

The 40-member commission will be led by executive director Todd Snovel. Most recently the Assistant Dean for Engagement and Inclusion at Lebanon Valley College where he led the team working with students in the co-curricular experience and initiated campus-wide efforts in equity, diversity, and inclusion, Snovel also teaches college-level courses on the studies of genders, sexualities, and identities.

 

“Today’s announcement is timely and important, but also not the end of our efforts to create a Pennsylvania that espouses inclusion and diversity in all that we do,” Gov. Wolf said. “The efforts of the LGBTQ work group, established early in my administration, are recognized in many accomplishments that will continue and that group’s work will move forward as a function of this commission.

 

“When I became governor, we saw that change was needed and we made it happen. Better yet, we are still making it happen and will do so until every Pennsylvanian can live, work, love, and thrive in our state with an assuredness of support and safety.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

If only there was a state law that banned discrimination against the LGBTQ community, local municipalities would not have to pass anti-discrimination ordinances that filled the gap!

 

At the July 11, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors meeting, John Mack proposed that Newtown Township adopt an anti-discrimination ordinance similar to neighboring municipalities (e.g., Yardley; read "Yardley Borough Passes Local Anti-Discrimination Ordinance") to protect from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations, etc. Town solicitor Mr. Sander will provide a draft of an ordinance for a future agenda item.

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News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. 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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Friends of Delaware Canal to Hold Native Plants Presentation on September 12

Friends of Delaware Canal to Hold Native Plants Presentation on September 12 | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Kelly Sitch, an ecologist with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources — Bureau of Forestry, will share an illustrated program about Pennsylvania’s native plant species at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Old Library by Lake Afton, 46 W. Afton Ave.

The free presentation is hosted by the Friends of the Delaware Canal.

As well as providing the basics, Sitch will tell how native plants can be threatened, what the commonwealth is doing to manage and protect them, and what the public can do to help conserve them. Sitch will be joined by Kristi Allen, coordinator for the Pennsylvania Plant Conservation Network.

The PPCN is a new statewide program that coordinates conservation efforts of native plants by working with communities to promote stewardship.

Pennsylvania is home to about 3,000 plant species; two-thirds are considered native because they have adapted to the local environment and can exist without direct or indirect human intervention. The use of native plants in the landscape can save time, money, water and provide vital habitat for birds and other wildlife.

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Ransomware Attacks Are Costing Big & Small Municipalities - Including Allentown - Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars!

Ransomware Attacks Are Costing Big & Small Municipalities - Including Allentown - Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

More than 40 municipalities have been the victims of cyberattacks this year, from major cities such as Baltimore, Albany and Laredo, Tex., to smaller towns including Lake City, Fla. Lake City is one of the few cities to have paid a ransom demand — about $460,000 in Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency — because it thought reconstructing its systems would be even more costly.

 

In most ransomware cases, the identities and whereabouts of culprits are cloaked by clever digital diversions. Intelligence officials, using data collected by the National Security Agency and others in an effort to identify the sources of the hacking, say many have come from Eastern Europe, Iran and, in some cases, the United States. The majority have targeted small-town America, figuring that sleepy, cash-strapped local governments are the least likely to have updated their cyberdefenses or backed up their data.

 

Two years ago such attacks were still relatively rare. But now they are far more targeted, and as companies and towns have shown an increased willingness to pay ransoms, criminals have turned to new and more powerful forms of encryption and more ingenious ways of injecting the code into computer networks. Only this summer did the United States begin to see multiple simultaneous attacks, often directed at government websites that are ill-defended.

 

Last year, hackers based in Ukraine hit Allentown, Pa., a city of 121,000 residents, with a malware package that shut down the city government’s computers for weeks. No explicit ransom demand was made, but the attack played out like many that target cities, said Matthew Leibert, Allentown’s longtime chief information officer.

 

When an Allentown city employee took a laptop with him while traveling, it missed software updates that might have blocked the malware. The employee unwittingly clicked on a phishing email, and when he returned to the office, the malware spread rapidly.

 

The attack cost about $1 million to clean up, Mr. Leibert said. Improved defenses are costing Allentown about $420,000 a year, squeezing the city’s budget. He said one frustration was the scattershot targeting that happened to hit Allentown. “There are warehouses of kids overseas firing off phishing emails,” Mr. Leibert said.

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Keeping Residents Better Informed Via Smartphones

Keeping Residents Better Informed Via Smartphones | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Is a mobile-based service needed to notify Newtown residents about emergencies, public meetings, special events, etc.?

 

Like many local municipalities, Newtown Township has no official Twitter Account or Facebook page to help keep residents informed about public meetings, special events, public service notices, public works projects, etc.

 

The Township publishes notices in the classified ad sections of local newspapers and posts limited information to its website.

 

Wouldn't it be better if residents could subscribe to one service that is capable of providing ALL this information or just the information they want to receive? And wouldn't it be great if residents could get this information via a cell phone app, text message, or email?

 

Learn about a notification system that the Township may consider implementing and TAKE THE SURVEY to express your opinion.

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Bucks County Residents Got a Chance to Test Drive Possible Voting Machines in Newtown

Bucks County Residents Got a Chance to Test Drive Possible Voting Machines in Newtown | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Bucks County [held] a public demonstration of new voting machine options Monday night [at the Bucks County Community College campus in Newtown]. Voters [tried out] out the different machines, [talked] to the vendors and [gave] feedback to county officials who will make the decision.

 

This … demonstration [was] Bucks County’s third and final voting machine demo. County chief clerk Deanna Giorno [said it was] not only a good chance for voters to test drive the machines and ask vendors questions, but [it was] also a chance for county officials to ask voters what they think.

 

“What they’re looking for, what they like, what they don’t like, to help guide the decision on what machine Bucks County’s going to go with," Giorno said.

 

Giorno says they got great feedback in the first two demonstrations, and she hopes that continues.

 

And, she adds, once a final decision is made, they’ll have as many demonstrations of the new machines as possible to try to familiarize as many people as possible before the 2020 presidential primary.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I tested all 5 machines. I wouldn't say they were any easier to use than the current machines. A few required that you first use a touch screen to vote, get a paper readout of the results and then insert it into a scanner - a two-step process that many people will need help to complete at the polls. Expect delays! Especially when many people opt to use the paper ballots.

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Newtown Supervisors Pass a Resolution Urging Use of Native Plants Without Citing a Source for Defining What Is Considered a "Native" Plant 

Newtown Supervisors Pass a Resolution Urging Use of Native Plants Without Citing a Source for Defining What Is Considered a "Native" Plant  | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Saying that native plants are better adapted to local soils and climate, the board of supervisors unanimously passed a resolution at the August 14 meeting saying that "every reasonable effort" will be made to plant native species on township-owned property.

 

The measure also states that the township's Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) will do everything "to educate and empower" the public to help transition private properties to include native plants.

 

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

 

… importantly, the resolution notes, local plant species protect water quality by reducing runoff and soil erosion.

 

That's important to the township because of newly-mandated federal and state regulations requiring that municipalities greatly decrease stormwater runoffs into local waterways. [For more on that, read, “Newtown Township Revises Pollution Reduction Plan After Hearing Resident Comments”]

 

Meanwhile, Newtown Township has a list of native species to help property owners with future plantings, something that the EAC is ready to advise residents in order to bring the township closer to its goal.

 

However, EAC member George Skladany cautioned the supervisors that this list should be updated over time.

 

"Because of climate change some native plants that were acceptable years ago might be on the decline now," he contended.

 

Planning commission chairman Allen Fidler, who labels himself an amateur horticulturist, agreed with Skladany's assessment.

 

"The list of natural species that may be viable for the next 20 years, might be different than today," maintained Fidler, who called on the Bucks County Planning Commission to also update its native plant list.

 

He also pointed out that invasive plant-eating insects, such as the spotted lanternfly, might affect what species to plant in the future.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

At the meeting, I suggested that the resolution include an acceptable definition of what is considered a “native plant”. Specifically, I suggested referring to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which defines a native plant as one that occurred within Pennsylvania before European settlement. The DCNR maintains a list of native trees, shrubs, perennials, ferns, and grasses. It was decided that the ambiguity should remain in the Resolution until the Township revises the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO).

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Bucks County Courier Times Gives Navy a “Thumbs Down” for Ducking PFAS Contamination Culpability

Bucks County Courier Times Gives Navy a “Thumbs Down” for Ducking PFAS Contamination Culpability | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

For years, we’ve been closely following the U.S. Department of Defense’s response to the discovery of toxic PFAS chemicals in water wells used by more than 70,000 local residents near current and former military bases where firefighting foams containing the chemicals were used since the 1970s. So we weren’t surprised to learn government officials knew about — but did little to address — the ways residents could be exposed to the chemicals beyond drinking water from their wells.

Still, the U.S. Navy gets a Thumbs Down for showing, once again, that ducking culpability while minimizing and delaying its response took priority over protecting residents from the contamination it caused.

Thousands of pages of recently obtained internal documents, which reporters Kyle Bagenstose and Jenny Wagner reviewed, yielded a number of instances in recent years in which environmental experts counseled Navy officials to evaluate exposure pathways other than drinking water. Examples include consumption of crops fertilized with waste from treatment plants and fish caught in nearby ponds and streams.

But it seems the advice was either ignored or considered but then dismissed. In one case, a remedial project manager for the Navy sent word to the East Coast director of the Navy’s Base Realignment and Closure program that he could evaluate potential fish exposure pathways in Warminster. The director responded telling him to “hold off on that course of action” until higher-ranking officials could weigh in.

We’re not sure what happened after that, but the communications office of the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry told us last month that fish near the bases still had not been tested. We wish that came as a surprise.

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johnmacknewtown's curator insight, August 12, 9:44 AM

Related Stories:

 

  • “U.S. Military Refuses to Test for PFAS in Fish in Horsham, PA & Other Areas”; http://sco.lt/98J6Qr
  • “PFAS From Tainted Water on Military Bases My Be Spreading to Other Towns in Bucks, Montco”; http://sco.lt/7Lill
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
  • “U.S. House Launches Bipartisan PFAS Task Force That Promises to Set Formal Drinking Water Standard for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/6JjI4P
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Newtown Township Will Develop a 5-Year Financial Plan

Newtown Township Will Develop a 5-Year Financial Plan | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the August 14, 2016, the Newtown Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of approving and advertising a Request for Proposal (RFP) for developing a 5-year financial plan. Voting in favor were Supervisors Phil Calabro, Linda Bobrin, John Mack, Dennis Fisher, and Kyle Davis.

 

The goal is to develop a multi-year trend analysis of historic financial data and to perform an assessment of current budget performance. A secondary, but an extremely important objective, is to identify additional sources of revenue for the township.

 

According to the RFP, which was developed by the Newtown Finance Committee and reviewed by the Township Solicitor and Manager, “Newtown Township’s finances are facing difficulties and will need to address fire protection, emergency response, policing, as well as routine operational needs. Currently, the Township relies entirely on earned income tax, real estate transfer tax, and a local services tax to fund the general operations of the Township.”

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Lower Makefield Residents Jam Hearing to Protest Proposed Ordinance Amendment to Allow Wegmans & Apartments on Stony Hill Road Near Shady Brook Farms

Lower Makefield Residents Jam Hearing to Protest Proposed Ordinance Amendment to Allow Wegmans & Apartments on Stony Hill Road Near Shady Brook Farms | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Lower Makefield residents have a message for developers proposing a mixed-use development near Shady Brook Farm: not in our town.

 

Hundreds packed the township’s planning commission meeting Monday to oppose a proposal by Shady Brook Investors LP and ELU DeLuca Yardley LLC to amend a zoning ordinance to establish a “mixed-used overlay district” around a 36-acre property they have dubbed Prickett Run at Edgewood. The proposal includes a Wegmans grocery store along with other stores, apartments and amenities.

 

After less than an hour of discussion between the board and developers, residents complained they couldn’t see or hear the presentation since much of the crowd spilled outside of the township building.

 

Several attended after receiving a flier in the mail warning that “Lower Makefield is for sale” since the proposed ordinance would “change our zoning for big box retail, apartments, warehouse, stores ... whatever.”

 

Several residents said Monday that they are worried that the development would bring even more traffic to the heavily traveled road across the street from Shade Brook Farm near the Newtown Bypass. Many said that the township doesn’t have room for more development.

 

Developers want to amend the current ordinance to bring the 100,000-square-foot supermarket, 55,000 square feet of retail space and 200 apartments less than than a half mile from Route 332 in the property at one point known as Capstone Terrace. Along with the supermarket and retail space, Prickett Run would include a “community gathering area” featuring a clubhouse, courtyard, splash fountain and amphitheater, said Vince DeLuca, of DeLuca Homes.

 

The proposed development would replace a proposal for a 125,775-square-foot warehouse on 14.85 acres at the site, which stalled in April after the township’s zoning hearing board questioned the traffic impact of the project. Some residents also objected to the project because of traffic concerns.

 

…planners voted to continue the hearing and seek another venue to accommodate the crowd. Officials said they would reach out to Pennsbury School District to secure a school for the meeting.

 

No date or location has been selected, but officials urged residents to check lmt.org or the township building at 1100 Edgewood Road for updates.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Statement published the FB group page “Citizens Aligned for Lower Makefield”:

 

"We need smart development with informed decisions. We need a plan with a real vision for what we want our community to be. Changing the rules to allow developers to do what they want is not a plan and it should not matter who they are, who they donated to or to whom they are related.”

 

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Newtown Borough Council Passes Climate Change Resolution and Calls For State House & Senate Bills to Address Causes

Newtown Borough Council Passes Climate Change Resolution and Calls For State House & Senate Bills to Address Causes | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

About a month after passing a resolution urging Congress to pass climate change legislation, the Newtown Borough Council passed a similar resolution urging the state legislature to do the same.

The council voted unanimously at its August 7 meeting to approve the resolution, which calls on the Pennsylvania legislature to consider and pass a bill which will significantly address the causes of climate change.

In its resolution, the Council acknowledges its commitment to fighting climate change and to protecting borough residents from the impacts of climate change and air pollution.

“Climate change,” reads the resolution, “poses a serious threat to Newtown Borough in terms of the economic, public health and environmental consequences of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases contribute to poor air quality in Lower Bucks County, which can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular issues.

“As a result of climate change,” the resolution continues, “Bucks County and the Northeastern United States are experiencing higher average daytime and nighttime temperatures resulting in erratic weather patterns, increasing invasion of non-native plants and insects and an increase in the number of days a year during which harmful species – such as ticks carrying Lyme and other diseases and mosquitoes are active.

“More frequent heat waves in Newtown Borough and the Northeast are expected to threaten human health through an increase in heat stress,” says the resolution. “More excessive heat impacts outdoor activities such as individual and team sports played on local fields, and residents and tourists who use outdoor facilities for biking, hiking and sightseeing, as well as those residents who work in the construction and landscaping industries or hire persons who perform such work.”

The resolution adds that “an increase in the amount of and frequency of rainfall measured during precipitation events are expected to increase local flooding of streams. This will also regionally contribute to higher water levels in the Delaware Bay, threatening storm water drainage systems, roads, Delaware River fresh water intake locations, buildings, bridges, and infrastructure.

“With the rise in temperatures and the increase in erratic rainfall patterns,” the resolution continues, “agriculture in Bucks County and Pennsylvania is already experiencing reduced yields, potentially damaging livelihoods and the regional economy. We have already seen agriculture impacts, which affect local farmers who sell organic food at farmers markets in Bucks County.”

The resolution concludes by saying that the “legislature has the responsibility to act swiftly and meaningfully on the issue of climate change.

“Legislation addressing climate change should not be economically burdensome to Newtown Borough residents,” says the resolution, “but must significantly improve environmental and associated economic outcomes.”

Finally, the council requests “that our State Representative Perry Warren cosponsor and vote for an appropriate House Bill, which will significantly address the causes of climate change based on sound science and that our State Senator, Steve Santarsiero, cosponsor and vote for the Senate Companion Bill to that bill as soon as it is introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

The Borough always seems to lead the way in promoting quality of life issues!

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Who Makes the Best Pizza in the Newtown Area?

Who Makes the Best Pizza in the Newtown Area? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Like hoagies, pizza is really BIG in Newtown! There are many pizzerias in Newtown and soon to be more (read "MOD Pizza to be Opening In Newtown").

 

But which one makes the best pizza?

 

To answer that question, I started a poll on Nextdoor, which included the 10 pizzerias most mentioned by pizza afficionados:

 

  1. Acqua e Farina
  2. Dolce Carini Pizzeria
  3. Dominick's Pizzeria
  4. Francesco's Pizzeria
  5. Jules Thin Crust Pizza
  6. Marco's Pizzeria
  7. Meglio Pizzeria
  8. Newtown Pizza
  9. Tre Fratelli
  10. Vince's Pizzeria

 

The chart above shows the results as of today (August 9, 2019).

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What’s the Most Satisfying Part of My Job as Newtown Township Supervisor?

What’s the Most Satisfying Part of My Job as Newtown Township Supervisor? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

I'm often asked "How do you like being Supervisor?" I can't answer that without some kind of qualifier such as "...on a scale of 1 to 10." But even then, it depends.

 

A better question is "What’s the Most Satisfying Part of My Job as Newtown Township Supervisor?" That one is easy to answer...

 

Find the answer here...

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It’s Time for Newtown Township to Update Its Comprehensive Plan!

It’s Time for Newtown Township to Update Its Comprehensive Plan! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the June meeting of the Joint Zoning Council (JZC), Lisa Wolff, Senior Planner at the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC), presented a proposal to update the Newtown Area Joint Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted in 2009. Newtown Township is a member of the JZC. Other members include Upper Makefield and Wrightstown Townships.

 

The JZC is recommending that the proposal be accepted by each of the member municipalities. The Proposal must be considered by each Planning Commission Definition and by each Board of Supervisors with the Board of Supervisors adopting a Resolution that: authorizes the Proposal; authorizes the preparation of the Comprehensive Plan Update; agrees to splitting the cost in accordance with the Jointure Agreement; and authorizes the Chair of the JZC to apply for any grants that may be available to offset the cost.

 

Newtown Township is in receipt of the BCPC proposal, which will likely be moved forward for review by the Township Planning Commission to evaluate and advise the Board of Supervisors.

 

The Municipalities Planning Code recommends that Comprehensive Plans be updated every 10 years.

 

More information, including a copy of the proposal and an audio recording of the proposal presentation by Lisa Wolff, can be found here: http://bit.ly/ComPlanProposal

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BCCT Guest Opinion: Zoning Changes Can Harm the Community

[Opinion of Marilynn Huret, a resident of Lower Makefield, published in the Aug. 4, 2019 edition of the BCCT].

 

Zoning.

The word is derived from the practice of designating mapped areas that regulate the use, form, design and compatibility of development. The primary purpose of zoning is to designate uses that are compatible. In practice, it’s also used to prevent new development from interfering with existing uses and/or to preserve the “character” of a community.

It is the way governments control the physical development of land and the kinds of uses to which each property may be put. This includes regulation of the kinds of activities that will be acceptable on particular lots, such as open space, residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial.

It includes the densities at which those activities can be performed, from low-density housing such as single-family homes to high density such as high-rise apartment buildings. It includes the height of buildings, the amount of space structures may occupy, the location of a building on the lot (setbacks), the proportions of the types of space on a lot — such as how much landscaped space, impervious surface, traffic lanes, and whether or not parking is provided.

Among other things, zoning helps protect property values and improve safety. In communities where developers seek to convert land to uses that were not intended, it opens a larger concern for all.

Once a change is approved — such as an overlay for a large tract or even extreme variances for single lot — this opens up a landslide of similar requests from other property owners to rezone their land to purposes other than what they were originally meant to be.

 

Restructuring a tract to a lower standard of use or category creates an impact on a community in terms of municipal services and lowers standards of value to existing zoned areas. Can primarily residential communities be broken into other types of usage that defy the original purpose of the planners?

 

The cost of such changes places uncalled-for financial and infrastructural stress on the existing balance of police, fire, emergency services, roads/maintenance and schools that will take years to recoup. And in doing so, it harms the character and face of the community.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

As an example of the importance of comprehensive planning and zoning that benefits the whole community, consider Wawa’s efforts to amend the OR (Office Research) zoning ordinance to allow it to build a combination gas station/convenience store on the Bypass.

 

The Newtown Planning Commission balked and suggested that the amendment proposed by Wawa be scrapped and that the Township create its own version of the amendment (more on that here). This is still an ongoing process.

 

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Upper Gwynedd Township Versus Wawa: A Lesson for Newtown Township?

Upper Gwynedd Township Versus Wawa: A Lesson for Newtown Township? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The legal battle over plans for a proposed Wawa fuel station and convenience store continued Thursday night and looks likely to remain ongoing for at least two more months.

 

The developer behind the Wawa began making their case to the township’s zoning hearing board Thursday night that the fuel station and convenience store should both be allowed, while the township and Merck will continue their arguments over the next two months.

 

“The use is the issue. We are not arguing that the township has not provided enough fueling locations. We’re arguing the use has not been provided for,” said land planning consultant Charlie Schmehl.

 

More recently, the township’s solicitor said in mid-July 2019 that the Wawa project is still the subject of a court fight and would need more testimony taken at the zoning hearing board level. That testimony continued at length Wednesday, with Schmehl and traffic engineer Joe Barron testifying on behalf of Wawa, and attorneys Jim Garrity and David Brooman opposing on behalf of the township and Merck respectively.

 

Testimony from the two witnesses took nearly three hours Thursday night, whit occasional interruptions for lawyers to confer or copies to be made, as the Wawa team argued the township’s current codes should, but do not, allow the convenience store and fuel sales as a single use.

 

“If the township’s position is right, and the only way that you can develop a convenience store with motor vehicle fuel sales is with a special exception for a ‘service station’ use — in other words, having two principal uses — then the ordinance, in our opinion, is exclusionary,” said Van-Luvanee.

 

Garrity argued on behalf of the township that the gasoline sales and convenience store are both allowed in the township, and both could be allowed under certain conditions: “What we have said is, either way, it requires a special exception. That is what didn’t happen here, and that’s why we took an appeal, and why we have so many appeals out there.”

 

“The applicant has the burden of proving the ordinance totally excludes — totally excludes — the proposed use. It clearly doesn’t,” he said.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Wawa wants to come to Newtown with a store in the OR (Office Research) district on the Bypass. Attorney VanLuvanee, representing the Wawa developer, proposed an amendment to the OR Zoning Ordinance that would specifically allow for a gas station/convenience store use. The Newtown Planning Commission balked and suggested that VanLuvanee's proposed amendment be scrapped and that the Township create its own version of the amendment (more on that here).

 

Upper Gwynedd Township is taking a different approach by arguing that the township allows for both uses, although not a combined use as desired by Wawa. It contends that a Wawa could seek a special exception under one or the other of those uses.

 

VanLuvanee has already said that Newtown may be sued because it does not allow for a combined use. But if Upper Gwynedd wins its case, then Newtown can make the same claim that a combined gas station/convenience store is allowed by special exception in zones that allow either gas stations or convenience stores. One such zone is the TC (Town Commercial) zone where Lukoil is located.

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Big Question in Opioid Suits: How to Divide Any Settlement

Big Question in Opioid Suits: How to Divide Any Settlement | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The roughly 2,000 state and local governments suing the drug industry over the deadly opioid crisis have yet to see any verdicts or reach any big national settlements but are already tussling with each other over how to divide any money they collect.

 

The reason: Some of them want to avoid what happened 20 years ago, when states agreed to a giant settlement with the tobacco industry and used most of the cash on projects that had little to do with smoking's toll.

 

In the opioid litigation, plaintiffs want to make sure the money goes toward treating addiction and preventing drug abuse. Some also want to be reimbursed for extra taxpayer costs associated with the epidemic, such as rising expenses for jails and mental health services, more ambulance runs and police calls, and more children of addicts placed in the care of the child-welfare system.

 

"If we don't use dollars recovered from these opioid lawsuits to end the opioid epidemic, shame on us," Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said.

 

In the event of a nationwide settlement, Rice and other lawyers representing local governments have proposed a plan that would set in advance how much county and local governments would get, based on the amount of drugs shipped there, the overdose deaths and the number of people addicted.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I’m on record saying “If [Newtown] Township were to get some money out of this, small as it might be, it is my hope that the funds are used to support opioid anti-addiction programs and implement educational programs for the general public and students.” See the video here: http://bit.ly/OpioidSuitPost

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Activist Women in Newtown Want to Elect More Democrats to Local Offices in 2019 to Build a Foundation to Beat Trump in 2020

Activist Women in Newtown Want to Elect More Democrats to Local Offices in 2019 to Build a Foundation to Beat Trump in 2020 | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

[This is an excerpt from a story published in the NYT on July 30, 2019.]

 

Diane LeBas, a 71-year-old substitute teacher attending the Newtown Democrats’ summer picnic on Sunday, recounted how she was tear-gassed protesting the Vietnam War. No one could question her progressivism.

 

“But at the moment, I’m leaving progressivism in the back seat for pragmatism,” Ms. LeBas said about the 2020 presidential race. “We have to get rid of the guy who’s threatening our core values. For pragmatism, I would choose Joe Biden.”

 

Among a circle of activists at the picnic here in Bucks County — a swing town in a swing county in a swing state — there were many nods.

 

At the gatherings in Bucks and Delaware Counties, outside Philadelphia, there was plenty of support for several candidates. In a straw poll at the Newtown picnic — held with Democratic-approved paper straws, not plastic — the results were: Elizabeth Warren, 15, Kamala Harris, 14, Mr. Biden, 8 and Pete Buttigieg, 7. Bernie Sanders earned just one vote.

 

Elen Snyder, a 62-year-old full-time activist at the picnic, was an example of how passionate many Democrats have become in the drive to defeat the president. Ms. Snyder said she divorced her husband of 35 years in 2016 over his support of Mr. Trump.

 

“He’s always been a Republican, and I’ve always been a Democrat and that was fine,” she said. But with the rise of Mr. Trump, she said: “He became an angry man. It was like I was watching this white guy who I thought I knew all of a sudden become racist, become all of the things Trump represented which I abhorred.”

 

The Newtown activists… want to elect more Democrats to county and municipal offices in 2019 to continue building a foundation for 2020 turnout, when Pennsylvania will once again be in the eye of the presidential storm.

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Cosmo DiNardo Killings To Be Featured In True Crime TV Show

Cosmo DiNardo Killings To Be Featured In True Crime TV Show | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The case that rattled Bucks County, and the nation, will be featured in an upcoming true crime special on Investigation Discovery.

"The Lost Boys of Bucks County," a two-hour special, will follow the story of four men, who all went missing within days of each other, and who were all later found dead on the same Solebury Township farm.

After several harrowing July days, investigators arrested 21-year-old Cosmo DiNardo, whose family owned the farm where the bodies were buried. Later, in confession tapes, DiNardo would admit to the killings with brutal dispassion. In a matter-of-fact tone, he graphically and calmly describes the gruesome details of the murders, and tells investigators the killing spree began on July 5 over a botched drug deal with his first victim, 19-year-old Jimi Taro Patrick of Newtown. Later victims were Dean Finocchiaro, 19, Thomas Meo, 21, and Mark Sturgis, 22.

The show, according to the production company, Story House Productions, seems to focus on the investigation; specifically, the work of Middletown Township Office Megan Freer. Freer was given the Award of Valor by the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia for her work in the case.

 

It's estimated that the show will be released in the first quarter of 2020.

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Former Salesman Gets Probation for Role in Lower Southampton Corruption Probe

Former Salesman Gets Probation for Role in Lower Southampton Corruption Probe | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

A former outdoor sign salesman will serve probation for lying to federal investigators about intended bribe payments that former Lower Southampton public officials sought in exchange for promises of a favorable outcome for an electronic billboard proposal.

 

U.S. District Court Judge Gene E.K. Pratter sentenced Robert DeGoria, 39, of Hamilton, New Jersey, to two years of probation and $3,100 in fines and fees last week. DeGoria, who pleaded guilty last year to one count of false statement, had faced a potential sentence of up to six months in prison.

 

His sentence is slightly less than the 30 months of probation and $5,000 fine that Pratter gave former Lower Southampton solicitor Michael J. Savona, who also pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities about his knowledge of a $10,000 proposed bribe former public officials sought from DeGoria. Savona also must complete 150 hours of community service.

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  • “Ex-solicitor charged with lying to FBI in Lower Southampton corruption probe”: http://sco.lt/7rYeu0
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According to the Associated Press, Trump Faces Trouble Ahead in 2020: Women in Newtown and Other “Suburbs”

According to the Associated Press, Trump Faces Trouble Ahead in 2020: Women in Newtown and Other “Suburbs” | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

[The following is an excerpt form an article published in MyPlainView]

 

The president's recent return to racial politics may be aimed at rallying his base of white working-class voters across rural America. But the risks of the strategy are glaring in conversations with women like Evans.

 

Many professional, suburban women — a critical voting bloc in the 2020 election — recoil at the abrasive, divisive rhetoric, exposing the president to a potential wave of opposition in key battlegrounds across the country.

 

In more than three dozen interviews by The Associated Press with women in critical suburbs, nearly all expressed dismay — or worse — at Trump's racially polarizing insults and what was often described as unpresidential treatment of people. Even some who gave Trump credit for the economy or backed his crackdown on immigration acknowledged they were troubled or uncomfortable lining up behind the president.

 

The interviews in suburbs outside Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Detroit and Denver are a warning light for the Republican president's reelection campaign. Trump did not win a majority of female voters in 2016, but he won enough — notably winning white women by a roughly 10 percentage-point margin, according to the American National Election Studies survey — to help him eke out victories across the Rust Belt and take the White House.

 

Since then, there are few signs Trump has expanded his support among women. The 2018 midterms amounted to a strong showing of opposition among women in the suburbs, registering in unprecedented turnout overall, a Democratic House and a record number of women elected in statehouses across the country.

 

A continuing trend of women voting against Republicans could prove exceedingly difficult for Trump to overcome in his 2020 reelection bid.

 

"It's one of the more serious problems that the Republicans face," said G. Terry Madonna, a pollster and director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania.

 

Trump's tweet at the so-called squad of Democratic congresswomen along with interviews in politically divided Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where Clinton beat Trump by 2,700 votes, or less than 1 percentage point, demonstrated the Trump campaign's challenge. Nearly all of the dozen women interviewed disapproved of Trump's rhetoric.

 

"The way he treats people, it's horrible," said Victoria Galiczynski, a 63-year-old registered Democrat, before she pushed her shopping cart into an upscale grocery store in Newtown.

 

Chris Myers, a 52-year-old accountant and Trump supporter, ticked off such attributes as his negotiating grit, but also quickly acknowledged his behavior.

 

"He's not the most pleasant person. He can be very blunt and boorish," Myers said as she prepared to go grocery shopping. "But I think this country needs someone who is more business-oriented."

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I Attended a Newtown Business Association Breakfast Meeting Where Guest Speakers Advised Attendees How Best To Use Social Media for Business Purposes

Can you find me? Hint: Look for the Hawaiian shirt!

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13 Changes To Village At Newtown Shopping Center You Should Know About

13 Changes To Village At Newtown Shopping Center You Should Know About | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Take a drive through the Village at Newtown shopping center and it's no secret there are big changes on the way [view this drive-through video: https://youtu.be/-3xNi7U2D0c]. The shopping center is in the middle of a major reconstruction and renovation, and that has big implications for where you'll be dining and shopping in the near future.

 

Catch up on businesses that have recently opened in the shopping center, and those that are coming soon:

 

  • Bomba Tacos & Rum
  • Chipotle
  • [Read “Which Latin-American Style Restaurant - Bomba Tacos & Rum or Chipotle - Will Reign Supreme in Newtown Township?”; http://sco.lt/7GvtIG]
  • Factory Donuts [Read “Factory Donuts is Opening in the Village at Newtown Shopping Center”; http://sco.lt/9D6uwq]
  • MOD Pizza
  • Iron Hill Brewery [Read “Co-Founder & Brixmor Property Group “Thrilled” That Iron Hill Brewery is Opening in Newtown Township in 2020”; http://sco.lt/7KdIHI]
  • Solstice [Read “Another New Restaurant Has Plans To Open At Village At Newtown”; http://sco.lt/7GvtIG]
  • Cherry Blow Dry Bar

 

RECENTLY OPENED

 

  • Fuze Barbershop [Read “Barbershop Opening Soon In Newtown”; http://sco.lt/6Qrp6u]
  • Melt
  • Naked Chocolate
  • Starbucks [Read “Newtown Supervisors Approve Agreement that Will Allow Drive-through Starbucks at Village of Newtown”; http://sco.lt/7CTj7o]
  • Turning Point [“Newtown Business Association Welcomes Top Cleaners and Turning Point to Town With Ribbon Cuttings”; http://sco.lt/92HRFg]
  • Nina's Waffles

 

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Friends of Roberts Ridge Park Plan to Plant Tens of Native Trees in the Park

Friends of Roberts Ridge Park Plan to Plant Tens of Native Trees in the Park | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

[Elen Snyder (standing), founder of Friends of Roberts Ridge Park and Joyce Ely of the Neshaminy Creek Watershed Fnd speak at an "Information Party" hosted by Newtown Supervisor John Mack.]

 

The first Friends of Roberts Ridge Park (FRRP) “Information Party” was held at the home of Newtown Supervisor John Mack on July 21, 2019. The purpose of the party was to introduce local residents to FRRP’s plan to initially plant 25-30 native shade trees in the park. At the meeting about 25 people heard from several experts and township officials, including John Mack and fellow Supervisor Dennis Fisher, about FRRP’s plan and how it would benefit residents and the Township.

 

Find more details about the plan here: http://bit.ly/FRRP-Party-NP

 

If you would like to learn more about the Friends of Roberts Ridge Park and/or make a donation to plant a tree, please contact Elen Snyder via email at elensnyder@gmail.com or by phone at 215-776-0482. You can also join the Facebook Group: http://bit.ly/FRRPgroup or the Nextdoor Group: http://bit.ly/FRRPgroupND

 

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LMT Planners To Review Wegmans Proposal 

LMT Planners To Review Wegmans Proposal  | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Plans for a mixed-use development that would include a Wegmans supermarket on 36 acres off Stony Hill Road will be reviewed Monday by the Lower Makefield Township Planning Commission.

 

The development, called Prickett Run at Edgewood, is proposed to be located on a strip of land between Stony Hill Road and I-295, just across from Shady Brook Farm.

 

Developers last month offered an informal presentation in front of the township's Board of Supervisors (read “Lower Makefield Supervisors to Hear Proposal for Mixed Use Retail/Residential Village Anchored by Wegmans on Stony Hill Road Across from Shady Brook Farm”; http://sco.lt/76Y2PQ). No vote was taken. The next step in the process is Planning Commission review.

 

Monday's Planning Commission meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. Here is the full agenda.

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The insert shows the fountain area. Note the pigeons on the right. I have never seen a pigeon in the Newtown area. Lots of geese, however! And goose sh*t!

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St. Mary Medical Center Accused of Taking Actions to Prevent Nurses from Voting to Unionize!

St. Mary Medical Center Accused of Taking Actions to Prevent Nurses from Voting to Unionize! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Posted to Facebook by State  Sen. Steve Santarsiero.

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Analysis: Companies with Local Ties Among Top Manufacturers, Distributors of Opioids

Analysis: Companies with Local Ties Among Top Manufacturers, Distributors of Opioids | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Several drug companies with locations in the Delaware Valley were among the top producers and distributors of opioid pain pills during the time the crisis was beginning to grip the country, according to a Washington Post analysis of a federal database (read “KVK Tech - Located in Newtown Township - is #7 Among the TOP TEN Biggest Rx Opioid Manufacturers! According to DEA Database”).

 

The Post and a West Virginia newspaper company fought for the release of the database, which is part of an ongoing lawsuit filed by state, local and county governments from across the country against numerous drug companies.

 

Bucks County and several area municipalities, including Newtown Township, Bensalem, Morrisville and Warminster all are pursuing their own lawsuits against various drug companies, executives and others seeking damages related to the opioid crisis. [Read “PA Sues Purdue Pharma: If They Won’t Negotiate, Then We Must Litigate!” and “Newtown Files Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors”]

 

Newtown Township Supervisor John Mack was surprised to see KVK Tech near the top of the list of drug manufacturers.

 

“It’s not something I would like Newtown Township to be known for,” he said.

 

He has objected in the past to the company’s plans to expand in the township, citing the opioid crisis.

 

“We can’t afford to ignore the impact of the opioid crisis on our own people,” Mack said he told zoning board members during a 2017 hearing about variances requested by KVK Tech.

 

“This is an opportunity to do a small part in reducing the over prescribing of opioid painkillers,” he continued. “Shouldn’t the community where these pills are manufactured do what it can to reduce the flow by denying expansion of production in the center of town? At the very least, we should insist KVK Tech do more to help solve the problem.”

 

[Read “Attacking the Root of the Opioid Crisis - Pharmaceutical Companies”]

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Curated by johnmacknewtown
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.
Other Topics
Good Government
A good government is an open government where transparency reigns supreme. These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. 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.
Human Relations
This board is dedicated to promoting the value of diversity and addressing discrimination based on age, race, color, gender, religion, creed, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin and disability. These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. 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.
News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. 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.
Newtown Twp Board of Supervisors Business
This topic includes summaries of BOS meetings based on official minutes and/or audio and video recordings. Also included is information about ordinances, resolutions, etc. passed by the BOS.
Public Health & Safety
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. They focus on public health issues such as opioid addiction, water and air quality, environmental issues, emergency services, traffic, crime, etc. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. 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.