News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
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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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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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(UNOFFICIAL) 2019 Voting Record of Newtown Township Supervisors

(UNOFFICIAL) 2019 Voting Record of Newtown Township Supervisors | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

I've been keeping track of how Newtown Township supervisors voted on motions before the Board. The following is the voting record to date based on the approved minutes of meetings.

NOTE: This is NOT an official record of votes. Some very minor motions, such as to approve minutes, bills lists, etc., are not included. Please refer to the BOS meeting minutes for the official voting record of each meeting.

I will update this list after every Board of Supervisors public meeting minutes are approved for publication. Download a PDF version here.

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Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence

Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Awards to honor Pennsylvania’s local government leaders in recognition of exceptional dedication to improving public services through innovative initiatives.

Overview

Each year, one week in April is designated by the PA Legislature as “Local Government Week,” honoring the dedication of Pennsylvania’s local officials and encouraging citizens to learn how local government functions and affects each resident and business in the community. During this week, the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services has made a tradition of hosting a Local Government Day celebration, featuring the presentation of the Governor's Awards for Local Government Excellence to recognize local officials for their successes in undertaking innovative initiatives to improve the quality of life in their communities.

Submit Your Application

Nominations for the 2020 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence are now open. Do you have local government leaders in your community who demonstrate exceptional dedication to improving public services? Nominate them today for the 2019 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence now through December 13, 2019.

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Lower Southampton - Another Township Considering Zoning Variances to Allow a Super Wawa Gas Station/Convenience Store

Lower Southampton - Another Township Considering Zoning Variances to Allow a Super Wawa Gas Station/Convenience Store | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

A Lower Southampton zoning hearing for the proposed 16-pump gas station at Bristol and Brownsville roads ran late and will continue on Oct. 29.

 

Lower Southampton neighbors of a proposed 16-pump Wawa gas station will have to wait until at least the end of the month to know if the zoning board will give the plan a thumbs up.

 

Any gas station use in that area requires a special exception by the township’s zoning hearing board under the township’s ordinances, which could include certain conditions on the developer if granted.

 

Wednesday night was the first of what will likely become a series of zoning hearings, with about 60 people packing the meeting room at 1500 Desire Ave. and some heard murmuring out in the hall.

 

Only one witness was able to complete testimony and cross examination by the zoning board and other parties over the course of the three-hour meeting, and at least two more witnesses are expected to be called.

 

The civil engineer from Boehler Engineering, of Chalfont, generally testified the Wawa was similar to other uses in the area and would not adversely affect the area.

 

Julie Von Spreckelsen, an Eastburn & Gray attorney representing the developer, said her next witness would be a Wawa representative and then a traffic engineer.

 

Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor Tom Panzer mentioned the township itself did not send a solicitor to oppose the application.

 

A municipality sending its attorney to zoning hearing doesn’t typically happen unless the local governing board intends to fight the application.

 

Plumstead officials sent an attorney to fight a proposed Wawa at the intersection of state Route 313 and Ferry Road that was challenging the township’s zoning laws.

 

The Plumstead Wawa case began with the zoning hearing board early 2017, and is still fighting an appeal in the state appellate courts that would allow the gas station. [Read “Developer Wants Plumstead to Change Its Zoning to Allow More Gas Pumps to Fit the Business Plan of a Super Wawa - A Lesson for Newtown”.

 

A solicitor can be sent to observe a hearing as well, and a township isn’t waiving its rights to appeal the zoning board’s decision by not sending its own attorney to actively participate now.

 

Bucks County towns will often file appeals against their own zoning boards if elected officials think the quasi-judicious board made a mistake in its ruling.

 

Further Reading:

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Let's keep Newtown Township from becoming a 'Pottersville' - Guest Opinion of John Mack

Let's keep Newtown Township from becoming a 'Pottersville' - Guest Opinion of John Mack | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Growth, especially in Newtown, has boomed and developers continue to put pressure on the township to approve the construction of more homes, convenience stores and shopping centers. And by “pressure” I mean lawsuits and threats of lawsuits. Remember, lawsuits cost the township time and money. At some point — and that point may be now — there is just not enough space and infrastructure (roads, water and sewer services) for it all.

What will Newtown and the other “jointure” municipalities — Wrightstown and Upper Makefield townships — look like in 10 years? How much land will be preserved as open space? How will we protect our water and air from pollution?

 

I fear that Newtown will become a “Pottersville” (as in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”) in the next ten years unless we have a plan in place that puts the brakes on overdevelopment in Newtown, which has been years in the making.

 

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johnmacknewtown's insight:

On November 14, 2018, Dennis Fisher and John Mack said “No” to the developers of the Acadia Green high-density housing project and sent Newtown's solicitor to court to continue the fight to oppose overdevelopment and the disappearance of open space along Newtown Bypass. But much more needs to be done.

 

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Newtown Supervisors to Hear 2018 Audit Presentation on October 10, 2019

If you are concerned about the economic health of Newtown Township, you can't afford to miss this meeting!

 

2018 Audit: It is expected that Edward Furman, a partner at Maillie, LLC, will present a summary of the 2018 audit to the Newtown Board of Supervisors at the October 10, 2019, public meeting.

 

Newtown Township has one of the lowest real estate tax rate in the region. None of those taxes go into the General Fund to pay for things like the police department and the public works department.

 

Newtown Creek Bridge Proposal: This is likely to be a repeat of the presentation and discussion at the untelevised and sparsely attended September 16, 2019, Work Session of the Board of Supervisors.

 

The Board of Supervisors will meet on October 10, 2019, at 7 PM in the public meeting room at 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA. The meetings are recorded and can later be viewed via channel 22 on Comcast Xfinity and channel 40 on Verizon FIOS.

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Issues Important to Newtown Township Residents: Take My Survey!

Issues Important to Newtown Township Residents: Take My Survey! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Over 200 people have responded to my online survey: Issues of Importance to Newtown Township Residents, which asks respondents to rate the importance of several issues impacting the quality of life in Newtown Township.

I began this survey in August, 2016, long before I was elected Supervisor in November, 2017. At that time I applied for a vacant position in the hopes that I would be appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Unfortunately they picked someone else who served two years until he lost the election to me in 2017.

Now that I am running again for Supervisor, I want to give residents another chance to take this survey and let me know what is important to them to keep Newtown a great place to live, work, and play. 

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP APPROVED SURVEY. IT IS SOLELY A SURVEY POSTED BY JOHN MACK ACTING AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN. YOU MAY REMAIN ANONYMOUS - YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION IS NEVER REVEALED WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Go directly to the online survey NOW! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HTGLN85 

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Elen Snyder Appointed to Newtown Environmental Advisory Council

Elen Snyder Appointed to Newtown Environmental Advisory Council | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At its September 25, 2019, public meeting, the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved environmental activist Elen Snyder to fill a vacancy in the township's Environmental Advisory Council (EAC). Voting in favor were Supervisors John Mack, Dennis Fisher, Phil Calabro, and Linda Bobrin. Supervisor Kyle Davis was absent.

In her application letter, Ms. Snyder cited her family recycling business in Falls Township, her interest in the future of plastics recycling, and the "Tree Tender" title awarded to her by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

"It's very exciting to be approved as an official member of the EAC," said Elen when she learned of the BOS decision. "My passion is first and foremost the environment and specifically climate change and those things that we can do here in our township that will help our children inherit a planet that is cleaner with a focus on getting rid of single use plastics. Also, eliminating pesticides that poison our watershed."

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Do You Ever Wonder What Exactly Supervisors Do and How Much They Are Paid?

Do You Ever Wonder What Exactly Supervisors Do and How Much They Are Paid? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

 

Those unfamiliar with the role of a township supervisor may wonder: What exactly do we do? Are we compensated for our efforts?

 

To answer the first question and as a matter of accountability, Newtown Township Supervisor John Mack decided to keep track of and report ALL his activities as a supervisor on a monthly basis. Here's his list:

 

  • attend required meetings
  • attend optional meetings
  • prepare for Board of Supervisors (BOS) meetings
  • travel to & from meetings
  • interact with residents
  • engage in other official activities

 

Yes, supervisors do get compensated for their time. Article VI, Section 606 of the Pennsylvania Second Class Township Code, sets the annual maximum compensation of township supervisors depending on the number of residents counted in the last census.

 

Find out what supervisor Mack makes per month and per hour based on time spent on official business…click here.

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Birds Are Disappearing In PA. Should You Care?

Birds Are Disappearing In PA. Should You Care? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The National Audubon Society has declared a "bird emergency" after a recent study found that the United States and Canada have lost a combined total of 2.9 billion birds since 1970 — a 29 percent decrease in the bird population over a 50-year period.

Just 12 bird families, including warblers, sparrows, blackbirds and finches, made up more than 90 percent of the total losses, according to the study published in "Science."

Additionally, birds that make grasslands their home had the largest population loss with more than 700 million breeding birds across 31 different species disappearing over the course of the last five decades.

Along with grasslands, bird loss in the United States was quantified in the study across three other terrains: western forest, aridlands and eastern forest. Pennsylvania falls under the eastern forest terrain in the study, where the bird population declined by nearly 20 percent since 1970.

"The connection between birds and humans is undeniable — we share the same fate," David Yarnold, president and CEO of the National Audubon Society, said in a statement. "This is a bird emergency with a clear message: the natural world humans depend on is being paved, logged, eroded and polluted. You don't need to look hard for the metaphor: birds are the canaries in the coal mine that is the earth's future."

 

Related:

  • “Bucks Towns, Including Newtown, Aim to Boost Local Bird Populations in Celebration of 100-Year Anniversary of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act”; http://sco.lt/5BNz8b
johnmacknewtown's insight:

Newtown Township has been a designated bird town community for many years, regularly sponsoring events to promote conservation. In 2019 the Newtown Environmental Action Committee (EAC) and Pennsylvania Audubon’s Society will be jointly developing and implementing a new program promoting the use of native plants to support bird population. At the November 28, 2018, Board of Supervisors meeting, a plaque was presented to George Skladany, member of the EAC, to commemorate 2018 as the hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, protecting migratory birds for many decades. The Township also passed the “Year of the Bird” Proclamation. More on that here. https://johnmacknewtown.info/blog/?viewDetailed=201812271308 

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Newtown Creek Coalition Proposes a New Pedestrian Bridge

Newtown Creek Coalition Proposes a New Pedestrian Bridge | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the September 16, 2019, "Work Session" meeting of the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors, Mike Sellers, a member of the Newtown Creek Coalition, invited the Township to join in a project to construct a pedestrian bridge over the Newtown Creek in a partnership with the Borough of Newtown and the Coalition.

 

The prospective site for the bridge would connect Sycamore Street in Newtown Township with Frost Lane in Newtown Borough. With all of the new restaurants that are opening up in Newtown (Harvest Grille, Turning Point, etc.), some residents of the Borough feel the need for better access from North State Street/Edgeboro Drive to the Sycamore Street area.

 

There are other bridges over the creek that allow pedestrians to cross. So, why is another bridge needed or desired?

 

Learn more and give your opinion here…

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Newtown Township Supervisors Impressed By The Savvy Citizen Mobile/Text/Email Based Notification & Events App

Newtown Township Supervisors Impressed By The Savvy Citizen Mobile/Text/Email Based Notification & Events App | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

About 87% of respondents to my online survey (N=151) said they would opt-in to a notification service such as Savvy Citizen as long as it was free to them (7% say “No,” 6% “Not sure”). The survey also collected 84 comments from respondents about the types of messages they would like to receive and if they preferred to receive notices via cell phone app, text message, or via email. 

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors asked representatives of Savvy Citizen to make a presentation before the Board at the September 16, 2019, Work Session and answer questions. Unfortunately, videos of Work Sessions are not available. However, I made an audio recording of the presentation and present some highlights of the presentation - with audio and video - here.

You can download the complete presentation PDF here.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Savvy Citizen is a key component of MY BIG IDEA! for improving communications with residents of Newtown.

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Newtown Township Approves Residents' Plan to Plant Native Trees in Roberts Ridge Park

Newtown Township Approves Residents' Plan to Plant Native Trees in Roberts Ridge Park | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the September 11, 2019, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors meeting, Elen Snyder – a resident of the Windermere development on Lower Dolington Road – presented a proposal to enhance the use, appeal and ecological health of Roberts Ridge Park and its watershed through native tree planting project(s).

 

Township Manager Micah Lewis – who was trained as a landscape architect – endorsed the plan, which the supervisors voted unanimously in favor of.

 

Donations will be collected from local residents, with an initial goal of planting 32 trees. “I am collecting donations from residents now and plan to start planting trees on Saturday, November 9, 2019,” said Ms. Snyder, founder of Friends of Roberts Ridge Park, a group of local residents.

 

The donation for each tree is $70, which includes deer protection, stakes, mulch, and a dedication plaque. “Education about native trees and how they help battle pollution and give a home to the insect community will be given to all of the kids (and grownups) at the time of planting,” said Ms. Snyder.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I am very pleased that residents and local area environmentalists are supporting this plan. Not only does it provide a much-needed boost to the Township’s Pollution Reduction Plan, it also enhances the open space of the park for recreational activities such as flag football organized by residents and children's ‘Super Soccer Stars’ classes organized by the Township’s Parks and Recreation Department. It's a win-win for the Township, proving that there is such a thing as ROE – Return on Environment.

 

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John Mack, Running For Newtown Township Supervisor, Shares His Qualifications for the Job

John Mack, Running For Newtown Township Supervisor, Shares His Qualifications for the Job | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

In August 2016, I read a notice in the newspaper that the Township needed to fill a seat on the Board of Supervisors due to a resignation of one of the supervisors. I decided to apply for the position. Not being an experienced follower of Newtown Township politics meant that I was unaware that it was a quixotic attempt — the Board majority chooses someone of their own party. But I impressed the minority members during the interview process and they asked me to run for office in the 2017 election. The rest is history as they say! I received the most votes of any candidate — Republican or Democrat — for supervisor going back to 2007!

 

I hope to do even better in 2019!

 

Read more about my qualifications here…

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5G DAS Wireless: Not in Our Back Yard or Front Yard, Say Doylestown Residents

5G DAS Wireless: Not in Our Back Yard or Front Yard, Say Doylestown Residents | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

… it came as a shock when the van Rijns [Doylestown residents] returned from work about six weeks ago to find an orange construction cone and spray-painted markings in one corner of their front yard. What was that? they asked.

 

The answer came in a call the next day to Doylestown Township Manager Stephanie Mason: Telecom infrastructure firm Crown Castle was putting a new 48-foot-tall small cell antenna [aka Distributed Antennae Systems or DAS] in their public right-of-way, replacing a lamppost. Four times taller than the existing lamppost as permitted, the pole would be topped with an antenna to broaden wireless coverage in the Doylestown Township area and could be upgraded to superfast 5G.

 

Welcome, homeowners, to the leading edge of the next telecom wireless wave: small cell antennas, many of which will go on existing utility poles but others that will need new poles.

 

Already there are more than 1,800 small cell antennas in Philadelphia — with thousands more expected in the city — and discussions over them have occurred in the Main Line towns of Lower Merion and Radnor. Telecom firms and companies such as Crown Castle could install more than one million small cell antennas over the next decade nationwide, even as homeowners fear lower property values and local government officials say they will lose zoning control over rights-of-way in their municipalities.

 

Using the public rights-of-way — as electric companies do — saves money for telecom companies that don’t have to buy land, and then have it properly zoned and permitted, for big cellular towers to broaden wireless coverage for more bars on smartphones. In support of small cell antennas, the wireless industry and local officials say that many residents would like more robust wireless coverage and fewer dropped calls.

 

Small cell antennas also will lead to super-fast 5G services. The Trump administration has said that the United States has to be a global leader in 5G, beating China in this key field. 5G service will lead to driverless cars, industry officials say. It also is expected to enhance telemedicine, giving caregivers many more ways to track and help patients. Wireless companies say they will offer high-speed internet services over super-fast broadband networks to compete with Comcast and other cable companies.

 

“We didn’t change the rules,” Township Manager Mason said, noting that Crown Castle applied for the permits for the small cell antennas in March. “The rules changed on us. This is in the right-of-way and we have been told that we don’t control that anymore.”

 

Related Stories:

johnmacknewtown's insight:

To help bring you up to speed on this extremely important topic, please go to the5Gsummit.com, and listen for free to what 40 highly regarded experts inclusive of scientists, medical practitioners and lawyers from around the world have to say on the 5G subject. Further, please look at the Bio-initiative Report 2012 (updated 2017) - A Rationale for Biologically-based Public Exposure Standards for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF) bioinitiative.org and Physicians for Safe Technology – 5G Mobile Communications mdsafetech.org.

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Middletown Loves Wawa! Approves Wawa with Gas Pumps on Lincoln Highway Less Than a Mile From Wawa on Trenton Road & Just 2 Miles from Wawa on Oxford Valley Road! 

Middletown Loves Wawa! Approves Wawa with Gas Pumps on Lincoln Highway Less Than a Mile From Wawa on Trenton Road & Just 2 Miles from Wawa on Oxford Valley Road!  | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

A plan for a new 5,000-square-foot Wawa with gas pumps has received the final green light.

The Middletown Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday evening to approve major final land development for the Wawa on East Lincoln Highway.

Wawa officials said the convenience store and gas station will have one main access point with a traffic signal on East Lincoln Highway across from the Penndel-Middletown Emergency Squad building.

The Wawa will have more than 60 parking spaces and a stormwater basin that will have trees planted around it. Access to township-owned woodland behind the new Wawa will also be allowed.

The location for the new Wawa is on a busy roadway, close to heavily-trafficked I-295, and not far from Route 1. It sits under a mile from the Wawa on Trenton Road and just 2 miles from the Wawa with gas station on Oxford Valley Road, both in Middletown.

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Plans announced for first ever Environmental Film Fest in Newtown Borough

Plans announced for first ever Environmental Film Fest in Newtown Borough | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The first-ever Newtown Environmental Film Festival will be held on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 19 at the historic Newtown Theatre. The event will feature several short environmentally-focused films, a panel of experts, craft beer sampling, light fare, and a free native-plant raffle.

Tickets for the film festival are available online at TheNewtownTheatre.com or at the box office one hour prior to the event for $10.

The evening will kick off at 6:30 p.m. with socializing and beer sampling from Newtown Brewing Company, a member of the Audubon Society’s Brewers for the Delaware River Association.

At 7:30 p.m., several short films will be screened that highlight issues such as the impact of people on bird migration, our connection to the Delaware River, and the importance of native plants in keeping water clean and providing habitat for birds.

Following the film screening, a panel of experts will discuss these issues and how area residents can help protect local resources. Confirmed panelists include moderator Beth Brown, Audubon Pennsylvania’s Director of the Delaware River Watershed Program; filmmaker Bruce Byker James; Diane Smith, Director of Education for the Bucks County Audubon Society; Zack Greenberg, Senior Associate for The Pew Charitable Trusts; and Steve Meserve, Owner of Lewis Fishery in Lambertville.

Newtown Township and Newtown Borough officials will also be present to share news about local efforts to increase the use of native plants. Several attendees will win the native plants that are part of the pop-up native plant garden that has been installed outside the theatre for this event.

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Date Set for Another Hearing on Wegmans in Lower Makefield. Will the 2nd Time Be the Charm?

Date Set for Another Hearing on Wegmans in Lower Makefield. Will the 2nd Time Be the Charm? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Lower Makefield residents will get their chance to voice their support or displeasure for a proposed development that includes a Wegmans grocery store.

 

A hearing to amend a zoning ordinance to establish a “mixed-used overlay district” around a 36-acre property near Shady Brook Farm will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9 at Pennwood Middle School, 1523 Makefield Road, township officials announced Friday.

 

On Aug. 12, the planning commission voted to continue the last hearing after hundreds of residents packed the township building with many opposed to the proposal by Shady Brook Investors LP and ELU DeLuca Yardley LLC. The plan they have dubbed Prickett Run at Edgewood calls for stores, apartments and amenities along with the Wegmans.

 

On the day of the hearing, several attendees received a flier in the mail from an unidentified sender warning that “Lower Makefield is for sale” since the proposed ordinance would “change our zoning for big box retail, apartments, warehouse, stores ... whatever.” [Read “Lower Makefield Residents Jam Hearing to Protest Proposed Ordinance Amendment to Allow Wegmans & Apartments on Stony Hill Road Near Shady Brook Farms”; http://sco.lt/7p3iBE]

 

During the meeting, several residents said that they are worried that the development would bring even more traffic to the heavily traveled road 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 at the corner of Stony Hill and Township Line roads. 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.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

* This should be of interest to residents of Newtown Township for several reasons, one of which is that the developer is seeking an ordinance amendment to allow this use in zone that currently does not allow it. Similarly, Newtown Township is grappling with a developer who requested that Newtown amend its OR (Office/Research) zoning ordinance to allow a Wawa combination gas station and convenience store to be built on the Bypass. It’s unclear where that is headed. (read “The Newtown Township Planning Commission Stymies Path Forward for Wawa - For Now” and “What's Next for Ordinance Amendment to Allow Wawa on Newtown Bypass?... It's Complicated!”]

 

On a lighter note, What’s wrong with the site rendering displayed at the top of this scoop?

 

The 3 pigeons seen in the lower left are not found here. In 2017, there were 288 rock pigeons, the species of pigeon that's most commonly found in cities, reported to have been seen in Philadelphia. Personally, I have NEVER seen a pigeon in Bucks County and especially not in Lower Makefield or the entire Newtown Township area. And I know what a rock pigeon looks like – I come from NYC!

 

Obviously, this rendering was made by someone who lives in NYC. If it were made by someone local, those birds would have been Geese. And we all know what Geese leave behind!

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Gov. Wolf Says PA is NOT Going Too Slow to Set Safe Limits for PFAS in Drinking Water as He Announces $3.8M to Help PFAS-contaminated Communities

Gov. Wolf Says PA is NOT Going Too Slow to Set Safe Limits for PFAS in Drinking Water as He Announces $3.8M to Help PFAS-contaminated Communities | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Wolf also gave an update on the state’s PFAS Action Team, saying the first results from a statewide water testing program were anticipated to be released this fall. He added the Pennsylvania Department of Health had hired a toxicologist to help study PFAS and that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was finalizing a contract for an outside toxicologist to help develop state drinking water standards for the chemicals.

Asked about criticisms the state was moving too slowly to regulate PFAS, Wolf acknowledged that states such as New Jersey are further ahead on regulations but then pushed back.

“It’s not going slowly,” Wolf said. ”(New Jersey) started before we did. I think we’re catching up to them. We want to do this right, we want to have this science-based.”

State Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd, has introduced legislation that would force the creation of state standards for drinking water and hazardous substances (read “PA Senator Maria Collett Introduces Two PFAS Bills - Classifying PFAS as Hazardous Substances & Lowering 'Safe' Limits in Drinking Water to 10 ppt vs EPA's 70 ppt’"). Collett was in Greece on Thursday but released a statement welcoming the money and calling for additional action.

“While this is positive news for the pocketbooks of residents in my district, it is a band-aid on a bullethole,” Collett said. “Meaningful progress will not occur in Pennsylvania until we classify these dangerous chemicals as hazardous substances... and set a maximum contaminant level.”

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johnmacknewtown's curator insight, August 23, 7:17 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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Playa Bowls Planning Newtown Location

Playa Bowls Planning Newtown Location | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Playa Bowls opened its first location five years ago in the Jersey Shore town of Belmar by Robert Giuliani and Abby Taylor.

The pair was inspired by surf trips to Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, California and Hawaii.

"Almost every exotic surf town they visited offered their own unique version of an acai or pitaya bowl. They decided to recreate their favorite recipes with their own twist at home at the Jersey Shore," according to the website.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Playa Bowls came before the Newtown Planning Commission (PC) last night seeking permission for conditional use. Some members of the PC had concerns about the safety of the outside seating area (8 seats) and suggested barriers more esthetically pleasing than concrete bollards.

 

Others wondered when the heck would people partake of these  bowls especially if the owners plan to open the assembly-line eatery at 8 AM - a tad late for breakfast, which is the most logical time for this "meal alternative."

 

The next step for this applicant is to get approval from the Board of Supervisors at its September 11, 2019, public meeting. The consensus of the Planning Commission is that the Board not oppose this application on condition that it include safety measures for the outside seating area.

 

Joe Blackburn, the lawyer representing this applicant and Brixmor (the landlord) noted that with this restaurant, the total % of square feet allotted to eating places in the Village at Newtown Shopping Center will be 28%. Recall that the Village received a variance from the Newtown Zoning Hearing Board - without any opposition from the Board of Supervisors at that time - to allow up to 45% of the total square footage to be devoted to eateries. Of course, a lot more square footage has been added since then with all the new buildings. I presume the ZHB were apprised of these additions when they made their decision - I wasn't on the BOS at the time.

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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.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

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BCCT Editorial: Tohickon Creek Deserves the Best Protection the PA DEP Can Offer

BCCT Editorial: Tohickon Creek Deserves the Best Protection the PA DEP Can Offer | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Here’s one thing the both Republican and Democratic legislators in Bucks County can agree on: The state ought to give the Tohickon Creek in Upper Bucks County its top rating and highest level of safeguarding.

 

We’re glad that U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1, state Rep. Todd Polinchock, R-144, state Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-12, and state Rep. Wendy Ullman, D-143, lent their support to a successful grassroots effort to halt, at least for now, the state Department of Environmental Protection’s plan to downgrade the creek.

 

The Tohickon Creek is a meandering, 11-mile stream that divides Bedminster and Plumstead townships from Tinicum. In recreational water sports circles, the stream is famous for its twice-yearly whitewater releases. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources opens the Lake Nockamixon Dam, typically on a weekend in March and a weekend in November. The openings create Class 3 and Class 4-designated rapids through Ralph Stover State Park that draw kayakers, whitewater enthusiasts and spectators from near and far.

 

Earlier this year, the DEP finished a decades-long study of the steam and concluded it should be downgraded from a cold water fishery to a warm water trout fishery. That designation would suggest that the creek’s water is not suitable to support a native trout population and result in decreased environmental safeguards. The DEP reasoned that the creek is too warm to maintain its cold-water status, noting that the temperature only meets the criteria 50% of the time, yet it meets the warm water criteria 80% of the time.

 

Ullman submitted a guest opinion to our sister paper, The Intelligencer, urging readers “to fight for the Tohickon Creek” while other legislators and environmental groups like the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the Tinicum Conservancy spent the summer pushing residents to provide feedback on the DEP’s draft report. Their efforts prompted a flood of 900 public comments denouncing the conclusion.

 

But the real push that’s underway is to convince the DEP to assign the Tohickon its gold-standard “exceptional value” designation, a campaign that the National Park Service supports. The EV designation would require developers to meet standards and use practices that’d prevent degradation of the waters and wetlands.

 

More…

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Learn more about DEP’s study at the 2nd Friends of Fisher & Mack Fundraiser where State Senator, Steve Santarsiero, State Representative, Perry Warren, and environmental activist, Sharon Furlong, will discuss issues impacting the state of local rivers and streams and legislation to set safe standards for PFAS in our drinking water.

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Next Battle in Opioid Settlement Proposed by Purdue Pharma: Coming Up with a Formula to Split the Money!

Next Battle in Opioid Settlement Proposed by Purdue Pharma: Coming Up with a Formula to Split the Money! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The multibillion-dollar settlement that the maker of OxyContin is negotiating to settle a crush of lawsuits over the nation’s opioid crisis contains formulas for dividing up the money among state and local governments across the country, The Associated Press has learned.

 

The formulas would take into account the number of people in a given jurisdiction who misuse opioids, the number of overdose deaths and other factors, according to a person familiar with the talks but not authorized to discuss them publicly.

 

Spelling out the way the settlement is to be split could forestall squabbles over the money and avoid what some see as the mistakes made with the hundreds of billions of dollars received under the nationwide settlement with Big Tobacco during the 1990s.

 

Activists have complained that precious little of the money from the tobacco industry went toward anti-smoking programs and too much was diverted toward state budget holes, pensions and other things unrelated to smoking’s toll

 

[Read “Big Question in Opioid Suits: How to Divide Any Settlement”]

 

In the case of the opioid litigation, some of the plaintiffs have said they want direct control over the money to make sure it goes toward treating and preventing addiction and covering some of the taxpayer costs associated with the deadly epidemic, including mental health services, police calls and foster care for children of addicts.

 

As an example of the proposed formulas, Cabell County, West Virginia, a hard-hit part of Appalachia, and the local governments in it would get a total of $975,000 for every $1 billion in the settlement. Philadelphia would receive $6.5 million.

 

Under the plan now on the table, Purdue Pharma would file for bankruptcy and transform itself into a “public benefit trust corporation,” with all profits from drug sales and other proceeds going to the plaintiffs, news reports said.

 

[NOTE: According to the WSJ, the Slackers sold U.K.-based Mundipharma, a last-minute addition to the deal presented last week. The company was valued at $7 billion in 2017. Mundipharma is a network of international companies owned by the family. It is moving rapidly into Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and other regions, and pushing for broad use of painkillers in places ill-prepared to deal with the ravages of opioid abuse and addiction. In this global drive, Mundipharma, is using some of the same controversial marketing practices that made OxyContin a pharmaceutical blockbuster in the U.S.

 

Read “The Pain in Spain: OxyContin Sales Shrink in U.S., So Purdue #Pharma Goes Global!”; http://sco.lt/8jHyQS]

 

Related Story:

  • “OxyContin/Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Offers a $10-$12 Billion Deal to Fend Off Law Suits, Prevent Further Damage to Its Image, and Open Up a Market for Its New Drug to Treat Overdoses!”; http://sco.lt/8jHyQS
johnmacknewtown's insight:

Purdue Pharma is privately owned and not required to issue public financial reports. But Decision Resources Group, a healthcare research and consulting firm, estimates Purdue brought in $13.6 billion from 2014 through 2018 just from sales of its OxyContin, Butrans and Hysingla opioid painkillers.

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St. Mary Medical Center Nurses Vote to Join & Be Represented by PA Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals

St. Mary Medical Center Nurses Vote to Join & Be Represented by PA Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The nearly 800 registered nurses at St. May Medical Center in Bucks County have voted to unionize and be represented by the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Health Professionals.

Among the nurses who cast ballots in the two-day election that ended Friday night, the vote was 403 to 285 in support of joining the union

Based in Conshohocken, PASNAP represents more than 8,000 nurses and health-care professionals across the state.

“As health care has deteriorated to health business, nurses have had to bear the weight of the cuts in staffing and resources” said Joe Gentile, a nurse at St. Mary in Langhorne. “Now more than ever, we need to unify and advocate for each other. I’ve worked at St. Mary for over 35 years. This is my hospital, my home and my community. This hard-fought victory has given us a voice, a hope, and a future.”

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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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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.
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