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Newtown Police Log: Underage Drinking, Theft From Vehicles & Elderly Man in Red SUV!

Newtown Police Log: Underage Drinking, Theft From Vehicles & Elderly Man in Red SUV! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

June 3
Suspicious Persons

Just after 11:30 a.m., a Sebelius Road resident contacted police to report that an elderly man with a white beard, driving a red SUV, suspiciously drove on to her property and around her house. When the complainant approached the vehicle, the operator waved and drove away. The complainant was unable to report the license plate of the vehicle.  Police searched the area for a vehicle matching the description, but the vehicle was not found.

[See more incidents reported by the Newtown Police for May 31 through June 6 here.]

johnmacknewtown's insight:

A bit early for Santa Sightings isn't it? Could the @Newtown_Police have been "punked"?

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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.
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Report Says PA Fails to Protect Residents from Fracking, But Major Reform is Unlikely

Report Says PA Fails to Protect Residents from Fracking, But Major Reform is Unlikely | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The recent findings of a massive grand jury investigation into the state’s failure to protect communities from unconventional oil and gas development, known as fracking, were damning, and lent official credence to problems many residents have decried for years.

 

The long-anticipated report outlined explicit ways in which the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health turned a blind eye to the snowballing effects of fracking on Pennsylvania’s residents and skirted constitutional obligations to protect the environment.

 

State officials testified about directives to ignore health concerns and practices that glossed over the harm the public experienced, effectively gaslighting residents whose tap water appeared brown or experienced rashes when they showered, but were told nothing was wrong.

 

The testimony also revealed how officials deferred to the industry and poorly tracked complaints, and how state workers failed to properly test potentially tainted air and water.

 

Several of the report’s recommendations address problems previously raised by advocates in legal cases and unsuccessful pushes for new legislation to better account for the health and environmental impacts of fracking. Some lawmakers said the proposals overreach and are an ineffective way to change policy.

 

State agencies, meanwhile, dismissed the report outright, calling the recommendations unnecessary and crafted by a group of people unqualified to understand environmental law. Many of the issues raised were outdated, they said, and already addressed.

 

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the report is not the end of the investigation. Roughly a week prior to the report’s release, the grand jury issued indictments against the oil and gas companies Cabot Oil & Gas and Range Resources, alleging they committed environmental crimes, including polluting the local water supply with methane — in one case causing a well to explode — and negligent oversight of well sites, as well as knowingly covering up problems.

 

Still, many who have called for better industry oversight and regulation questioned the absence of any criminal charges against state officials and the lack of focus on Gov. Tom Wolf, who has overseen the agencies criticized by the grand jury report for five years. Others say the report’s ineffectualness is evident in the state’s current behavior. Even after the indictments, the Department of Environmental Protection issued permits to the companies charged.

 

John Smith, a Washington County attorney who has represented numerous landowners against gas companies, said the grand jury report at least provides “some documentation” that validates what people in his community have long known: Laws are inadequate and the state will not step in to protect residents against oil and gas development.

 

“There is not an appetite to enforce anything with any teeth,” he said.

 

Sen. Steve Santarsiero (D., Bucks), minority chair of the Senate’s environmental committee, said he and other lawmakers intend to introduce bills to address the recommendations, but would not say what or when. A spokesperson for Wolf said the governor would support additional legislative efforts.

 

“We are not going to let this report sit out there without some action being taken,” Santarsiero said.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

At a March 28, 2018, public meeting, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors approved Resolution 2018-R-10, which calls upon the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to “enact a complete and permanent ban on natural gas development and hydraulic fracturing and all related activities (including drilling, fracking, wastewater processing and discharges from and water withdrawals for drilling and fracking operations) throughout the basin.” More on that and video comments before the Board by Sharon Furlong, spokesperson for the Bucks Environmental Action Group and for Bucks County Sierra Club, here.

 

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This Oregon Town of 170,000 Replaced Some Cops with Medics and Mental Health Workers. It's Worked for Over 30 Years.

This Oregon Town of 170,000 Replaced Some Cops with Medics and Mental Health Workers. It's Worked for Over 30 Years. | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Around 30 years ago, a town in Oregon retrofitted an old van, staffed it with young medics and mental health counselors and sent them out to respond to the kinds of 911 calls that wouldn't necessarily require police intervention.

In the town of 172,000, they were the first responders for mental health crises, homelessness, substance abuse, threats of suicide -- the problems for which there are no easy fixes. The problems that, in the hands of police, have often turned violent.


Today, the program, called CAHOOTS, has three vans, more than double the number of staffers and the attention of a country in crisis.


CAHOOTS is already doing what police reform advocates say is necessary to fundamentally change the US criminal justice system -- pass off some responsibilities to unarmed civilians.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

This was an idea discussed at the June 17, 2020, Zoom meeting of the Newtown Township Human Relations Commission (see here) and it may be a topic for discussion at the July 23, 2020, Police Town Hall Meeting (more about that here).

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PFAS Health Study Kicks Off With Online Zoom Meeting Hosted By Bucks County Dept of Health

PFAS Health Study Kicks Off With Online Zoom Meeting Hosted By Bucks County Dept of Health | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A national multisite study of PFAS health effects begins with an informational meeting online Thursday evening.

The 7 p.m. meeting hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health will give a general overview of how researchers will test area residents to better understand the potential health impacts of the unregulated chemicals in drinking water.

The registration link to the Zoom meeting can be found on the BuxMont Coalition for Safer Water’s Facebook page.

Hope Grosse, one of the co-founders of the local water contamination awareness group, said Tuesday a recording of the meeting will be posted online for anyone who is unable to attend.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related Content:

 

  • “Dupont & 3M Face Members of Congress, Deny That Science Says PFAS Are Dangerous”; http://sco.lt/8k1yzI
  • “Gov. Wolf Says PA is NOT Going Too Slow to Set Safe Limits for PFAS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/7JCbGy
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Why Isn't the Military Cleaning up Firefighting Chemicals That Continue to Contaminate Local Drinking Water Sources?”; http://sco.lt/8JEvvk
  • “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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Middletown To Pay $250 to Each Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Worker Who Serves the Township

Middletown To Pay $250 to Each Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Worker Who Serves the Township | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Active volunteers in 2019 will be getting $250 apiece and $100 credits toward township parks and recreation programming.

Dozens of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel who serve Middletown will soon be getting $250 apiece, courtesy of the township.

The supervisors approved a total of $35,750 in payments to volunteers active in 2019 at a recent virtual meeting.

Under the township’s Volunteer Firefighter Incentive program, the volunteers will also get $100 credits toward Middletown parks and recreation programming.

Included are volunteers from four fire companies: 18 at Parkland, 23 at Penndel, 32 at Langhorne-Middletown and 38 at William Penn. Thirty-two members of the Penndel-Middletown Rescue Squad also will be getting the payments and credits.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

I think this is a good idea.

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Here’s the CDC’s Guidance for Opening Up America That Was Shelved By The White House: “Coming Soon”???

Here’s the CDC’s Guidance for Opening Up America That Was Shelved By The White House: “Coming Soon”??? | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[On Tuesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield testified before a U.S. Senate committee that the recommendations would be released “soon.”]

 

UPDATE (5/15/20): “CDC Publishes "Decision Trees" To Aid Pandemic Re-opening Decisions: Light on Actual Guidelines, More or Less Just Suggestions”: http://sco.lt/9ARzkG

 

Advice from the top U.S. disease control experts on how to safely reopen businesses and institutions during the coronavirus pandemic was more detailed and restrictive than the plan released by the White House last month.

 

The guidance, which was shelved by Trump administration officials, also offered recommendations to help communities decide when to shut facilities down again during future flareups of COVID-19.

 

The Associated Press obtained a 63-page document that is more detailed than other, previously reported segments of the shelved guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It shows how the thinking of the CDC infection control experts differs from those in the White House managing the pandemic response.

 

The White House’s “Opening Up America Again” plan that was released April 17 included some of the CDC’s approach, but made clear that the onus for reopening decisions was solely on state governors and local officials.

 

The CDC’s detailed guidance was eventually shelved by the administration April 30, according to internal government emails and CDC sources who were granted anonymity because they were not cleared to speak to the press. After The AP reported about the burying of the guidance last week, the White House asked the CDC to revive parts of it, which were sent back for approval, according to emails and interviews.

 

 

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Access the 63-page CDC Guidance for Opening Up America Again Framework document. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6889330-Guidance-for-Opening-Up-America-Again-Framework.html

 

Meanwhile, Newtown Township is planning to open summer camps without specific guidance from the CDC. Are you comfortable with that? Take my survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLYN77J

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To Reopen Local Businesses, Townships Must Develop Guidelines to Ensure Citizens are Safe. CASE STUDY: Middletown & Sesame Place

To Reopen Local Businesses, Townships Must Develop Guidelines to Ensure Citizens are Safe. CASE STUDY: Middletown & Sesame Place | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[Sesame Place’s] ongoing closure leaves a big void in Middletown’s finances…

 

The park is the lone source of amusement tax revenue for the township. Sesame Place pays 10% of its gross revenues every year in amusement tax, and the total is then split between Middletown and the Neshaminy School District.

 

The township’s share last year was $1.46 million.

 

“We are certainly feeling the financial impact of its closure,” Middletown supervisors Chairman Mike Ksiazek said. “It is one of the largest employers in the township and a big source of amusement tax and mercantile tax revenues.

 

“Sesame Place has always been an important pillar not only to the township economy but to our community as a whole. Sesame is a cultural icon. The season will not be the same without Sesame Place.”

 

Board Chairwoman Amy Strouse ... said the township is establishing an Economic Reopening Task Force. Sesame Place Park President Cathy Valeriano will take a leadership role in the group, which will also have representatives from the Oxford Valley Mall, St. Mary Medical Center and several other township businesses, Strouse said.

 

“The task force will be charged with developing guidelines to clarify what precautions businesses should have in place to be ready to reopen as quickly as is reasonable and safe, as soon as Bucks County reaches Gov. Wolf’s yellow, and ultimately green, criteria,” she added.

 

“This has been an incredibly challenging time for all of Bucks County, but we must persevere and work together to get us to the other side of this public health and economic crisis,” said Paul Bencivengo, president and COO of Visit Bucks County, a nonprofit that promotes tourism in the county.

 

“Visit Bucks County is in constant communication with all our hospitality partners, including Sesame Place, and we will be ready to market a safe Bucks County when the time is right.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

This is a good idea since the White House has "buried" CDC's guidelines for reopening. But you can find those guidelines here: https://bit.ly/3bbGb1r

 

Related story:

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What An Amazing Community We Have! A Message from @Newtown_Police

What An Amazing Community We Have! A Message from @Newtown_Police | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

It has been over two months since this COVID-19 pandemic impacted all of our lives.  Here at the Newtown Township Police Department we take pride in having a positive impact in our community and strengthening our relationships with our residents and businesses.  It brings us joy and we have so much appreciation for the many residents and businesses that have continued to not only donate food and delicious treats to brighten our days, but also for your kind gestures,  letters, and for donating personal protective equipment for officers to protect ourselves.

 

A huge thank you to; ServPro, Staples, Temperance House, The Coffee Room, Greater Newtown Republican Club, Vince’s Pizza, Pastor Leah & The Anchor Church, Vecchia Osteria, Fancy Fig, Guru’s Fine Indian Cuisine, Francesco’s Pizza, Chipotle, Mod Pizza, Pa Indian Community Association, John Myers of J-vac Maintenance, Playa Bowls, Ring, Jillamy Inc, Nails by Lindsay, Learning Express Toys, Piccolo Trattoria, Nothing Bundt Cakes, KVK Tech, Chick-Fil-A, Triple Sun Spirits Co., Girl Scout Troops, #shoplocal #supportlocalbusiness. A special thank you to Morris Kaplan and family, Jim Worthington and the Newtown Athletic Club, Delcua-Foley, Palino family, Szczepanski, Heather C., Kathy Cabo, Lauren and her family, and the Bates family, including our own member’s relatives for their special acts of kindness. 

 

We also appreciate all the anonymous donations that residents and businesses have graciously provided.  Thanks also to the Navy’s Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds for their special tribute; #AmericaStrong, Miss Birkbeck and her students at Goodnoe Elementary for their video, and particularly “Julia” for her kind letter to the Chief.

 

We would be remiss if we failed to THANK our medical providers in the region, all the nurses, doctors, and EMS workers along with our fire services; Newtown Emergency Services, Linghocken Fire Company, Newtown Fire Association, and Bucks County Radio Room, without your knowledge, skills, and abilities coupled with your dedication and professionalism, we couldn’t ask for better partners.

Sourced via CRIMEWATCH®: https://bucks.crimewatchpa.com/newtowntwppd/34824/post/what-amazing-community-we-have

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Bucks Co. ZIP Codes With Most Coronavirus Cases

Bucks Co. ZIP Codes With Most Coronavirus Cases | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Bucks County has nearly 2,000 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with the highest concentration of cases in the lower and central parts of the county.

New data released this week by the state shows the case counts by ZIP code. In Bucks County, the ZIP codes with the highest number of cases include Doylestown, Bensalem, and Morrisville, the data shows.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Newtown has 65 cases.

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Temporary Field Hospital Going Up At The NAC Sports Training Center

Temporary Field Hospital Going Up At The NAC Sports Training Center | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A temporary field hospital will be going up at the Newtown Athletic Club to help with area healthcare needs during the coronavirus crisis.

The temporary hospital, to be set up by the Bucks County Emergency Management Agency, will be located at the sports training facility, according to Newtown Township officials.

According to Newtown Township Supervisor John Mack, the facility will have between 80 and 100 [beds]. It will be an overflow facility to be used if necessary, and will not take COVID-19 patients.

The NAC confirmed it was preparing for the temporary facility; additional details are expected later Wednesday.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Bucks County worked with Newtown Township Manager Micah Lewis, emergency services department Chief Glenn Forsyth and other township officials to make sure the facility has alternative generator power, beds and medical supplies.

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Newtown Police Operating “Routinely” During COVID-19 Restrictions

Newtown Police Operating “Routinely” During COVID-19 Restrictions | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

According to the latest Newtown Township Press Release, the Newtown Township Police Department is operating “routinely” during the current coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully certain precautions are being taken to protect police officers who interact with the public on a daily basis.

 

The March 20-26, 2020, weekly call report from the Newtown Police Dept shows that officers responded to 261 calls for service versus an average of 364 per week from 9 Jan 2020 through 12 Mar 2020 – a drop of 28%. As noted in the report this is due to “COVID-19 restrictions” mostly regarding traffic citations.

 

I noticed two interesting items in the latest weekly call report that I have not seen before:

 

  • 12 Foot Patrol Reports, and
  • 0 Traffic Citations!

 

What's up with that? More...

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February 2020 Newtown Township Police Report: Sycamore Street Burglaries, Mill Pond Road Traffic "Blitz Initiative," Harassment

February 2020 Newtown Township Police Report: Sycamore Street Burglaries, Mill Pond Road Traffic "Blitz Initiative," Harassment | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Newtown Township Police Chief John Hearn presented the Calls Report for February 2020 at the March 11, 2020, Board of Supervisors meeting. The following is a summary. Note: Not all calls are listed.

 

In February 2020, the Newtown Police Department responded to 1,563 total calls, 324 (21%) of which were in Wrightstown Township (Newtown Police provides services to both Newtown and Wrightstown Townships).

 

See the full report embedded at the end of this post.

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Coronavirus prep could prompt better disaster recovery

Coronavirus prep could prompt better disaster recovery | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it
On the chance that the COVID-19 virus forces masses of employees to work from home, this could be the time to review your disaster-recovery plans and address shortcomings...
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Newtown Restaurant Inspections: Chipotle, MOD Pizza, Oishi, Turning Point, 13 More… Many of the Problems Concerned Hand Washing. Unacceptable!

Newtown Restaurant Inspections: Chipotle, MOD Pizza, Oishi, Turning Point, 13 More… Many of the Problems Concerned Hand Washing. Unacceptable! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Newtown Restaurant Inspections: Chipotle, MOD Pizza, Oishi, Turning Point, More… Many of the Problems Concerned Hand Washing. Unacceptable!

 

The Bucks County Department of Health inspected 17 Newtown establishments in February. Many of the problems found concerned hand washing, which is of critical importance these days with COVID-19 virus going around:

 

Chipotle Mexican Grill - 1 violation: “The hand sink faucet next to the grill is leaking. Repair or replace.” The place is brand new and there’s already a faulty faucet???

 

MOD Super Fast Pizza - 2 violations: “Observed employee touch their clothing/face while using the dough press. Anytime an employee changes operations or contaminates their hands they must wash their hands again before returning to food preparation.”

 

Oishi Restaurant - 8 violations: “Observed employees prepping food without gloves on. Gloves were provided immediately upon arrival.” and “Observed a whisk in the front hansink. Handsinks must be clear at all time to ensure accesiblity for employees. - employees did not wash hands prior to glove application.”

 

Turning Point of Newtown - 5 violations: “Front (coffee bar) handsink did not have soap and paper towels. All hand sinks must be supplied with soap and paper towels at all times. This handsink was also blocked with silverware. Ensure easy access to hand sinks.”

 

Find more details here.

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PA Police Reform Bills Waiting for Governor Wolf to Sign

PA Police Reform Bills Waiting for Governor Wolf to Sign | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The Pennsylvania legislature has adjourned for its summer recess after sending two police reform bills to Gov. Tom Wolf.

 

Bills waiting to be signed by Gov. Tom Wolf

As of July 9, the legislature has sent two reform bills to Wolf’s desk. A spokesperson for the governor said he plans to sign them next week.

 

House Bill 1841, sponsored by Rep. Harry Readshaw (D., Allegheny) and Rep. Chris Rabb (D., Philadelphia): This legislation will require all law enforcement agencies in the state to consult a new database with information on disciplinary actions, performance evaluations, and attendance records during a background check.

 

Currently, there is no uniform way for local police departments in Pennsylvania to share instances of officer misconduct with other agencies, meaning someone fired for an egregious reason could find a job with another department.

 

The bill does make available under the state’s open-records law “hiring reports” that must be compiled if a department chooses to hire an applicant with a criminal conviction or binding disciplinary action for wrongdoing, including excessive force, discrimination, and sexual abuse.

 

The Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC), which sets statewide training and certification standards, will determine how detailed those reports will be.

 

House Bill 1910, sponsored by Rep. Dan WIlliams (D., Chester): The other measure before Wolf will require MPOETC to train local officers on how to treat people of diverse backgrounds and require annual in-service training on use-of-force and de-escalation techniques.

 

But more training doesn’t necessarily mean better outcomes. Andy Hoover, a spokesperson for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, referenced the death of Osaze Osagie, a 29-year-old black man with chronic mental illness who was shot and killed by State College police in 2019.

 

“The officers had what is considered the gold standard of police training on [mental health] crisis intervention. And still they killed him, with no [mental health] professional on the scene,” Hoover said. “In that case, at least, more training failed to save Osaze’s life.”

 

In an internal June newsletter, MPOETC training unit director Isaac Suydam wrote that developing training for officers is difficult and training does not always change outcome.

 

“[S]ometimes we fall into the trap of believing operational mistakes indicate a lack of effective training, and while they may, that is not always the case,” Suydam said. “Sometimes, despite the training they have received, officers make bad choices.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

An idea discussed at the June 17, 2020, Zoom meeting of the Newtown Township Human Relations Commission concerned diverting some police funds to support mental health workers who could respond to 911 calls involving a mental health incident and it may be a topic for discussion at the July 23, 2020, Police Town Hall Meeting (more about that here).

  

Related Content:

  • “This Oregon Town of 170,000 Replaced Some Cops with Medics and Mental Health Workers. It's Worked for Over 30 Years.”; http://sco.lt/7o0R0a
  • “Newtown Police Will Host Town Hall Meeting”; http://sco.lt/7pKMW8
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Newtown Police Will Host Town Hall Meeting

Newtown Police Will Host Town Hall Meeting | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Based on response, additional meetings may be scheduled in the future.

 

Submit your comments/questions via my Newtown Police Town Hall Questionnaire in case you are unable attend for personal reasons (e.g., conflict) or if you were not able to attend due to seating limits. Include any questions or comments you wish for me to submit to the Chief. You also can submit questions/comments/concerns directly to the Chief via email to: PoliceTownHall@newtownpa.gov

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Middletown Supports #BlackLivesMatter AND Its Police Well-Trained Police Department

Middletown Supports #BlackLivesMatter AND Its Police Well-Trained Police Department | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

All Middletown police are required to take a total of 64 hours a year in various types of training designed to avoid incidents like the George Floyd death.

 

Middletown supervisors stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement but also support their police officers, all five board members said at a recent virtual meeting.

 

“You can do both,” supervisors Vice-Chairwoman Amy Strouse said.

 

Board members, none of whom are African-American, said they “stand with those protesting” but added they do not favor defunding the township police department.

 

Fully or partially defunding police and allocating finances elsewhere is an idea that has gotten of lot of discussion recently in the wake of protests of the death of Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police.

 

The discussion at the Middletown meeting was sparked by an emailed comment from a resident suggesting that funding for township police be curtailed.

 

“While we do not support calls to defund the Middletown police department, we certainly recognize that there is always room for self examination,” supervisors Chairman Mike Ksiazek said. “We welcome the opportunity to review our policing policies and training with the public.”

 

Middletown officers must take every year 24 hours of use of force training and eight hours each of de-escalation of conflict training; racial and ethnic bias training; gender bias training in response to domestic violence and sexual assault; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender bias training; and community policing and problem solving training.

 

“So, while there is always room for improvement, and we welcome a dialogue with the community on ways to improve policing and end racism, we also recognize that our police department is ahead on these efforts,” Ksiazek said.

 

Supervisor Tom Tosti suggested that in addition to police, all township employees take implicit bias training, which involves educating people on biases they might not even realize they have.

 

That training should also be made available to the public, he added.

 

Board member Anna Payne suggested bringing in organizations like the Langhorne-based Peace Center and the Bucks County NAACP for possible training and programs designed to improve race relations.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

"We welcome a dialogue with the community on ways to improve policing and end racism." Upon my suggestion, Newtown Police Chief John Hearn has agreed to participate in a Town Hall meeting with residents to hear their concerns about racism and other issues related to the police force. For more on that and other ideas for action items to make sure there is no room for racism in Newtown, read the transcript of the June 17, 2020, Newtown Township Human Relations Commission Zoom meeting on racism.

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CDC Publishes "Decision Trees" To Aid Pandemic Re-opening Decisions: Light on Actual Guidelines, More or Less Just Suggestions

CDC Publishes "Decision Trees" To Aid Pandemic Re-opening Decisions: Light on Actual Guidelines, More or Less Just Suggestions | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[The “Decision Tree” for reopening camps is shown above.]

 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published six "decision trees" Thursday aimed at helping businesses, communities, schools, camps, daycares and mass transit decide whether it's safe to re-open.

 

The one-page decision trees are much shorter than a much-anticipated, lengthy and detailed document that has been delayed at least once.

 

The six documents posted on the CDC's website Thursday provide step-by-step guidance advising employers, for instance, to encourage social distancing, handwashing and intensified cleaning.

 

They do not provide any detailed advice on when it would be safe for schools or business to open -- only questions to ask before making any decisions.

 

For camps, the advice includes screening. "If feasible, implement enhanced screening for children and employees who have recently been present in areas of high transmission, including temperature checks and symptom monitoring," the decision tree reads.

 

Full guidance for the pandemic is on the CDC's website. It was not immediately clear what further guidance might be coming from the CDC, or when it might come.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

The CDC’s more detailed guidance was shelved by the administration April 30, according to internal government emails and CDC sources who were granted anonymity because they were not cleared to speak to the press. After The AP reported about the burying of the guidance last week, the White House asked the CDC to revive parts of it, which were sent back for approval, according to emails and interviews.

 

Access the 63-page CDC Guidance for Opening Up America Again Framework document. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6889330-Guidance-for-Opening-Up-America-Again-Framework.html 

 

Meanwhile, Newtown Township is planning to open summer camps without specific guidance from the CDC. Are you comfortable with that? Take my survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLYN77J 

johnmacknewtown's curator insight, May 16, 7:15 AM

Newtown is planning to open summer camps this year apparently following this decision tree (read the story in the Newtown Patch: “Newtown Twp Moving Forward With Summer Camp Plans”). Would you feel comfortable sending your child to summer camp under these conditions? TAKE MY 1-MINUTE SURVEY and give me your opinion and comments.

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Bucks County Commissioners Demand State Move Bucks Into “Yellow” COVID-19 Reopen Phase Sooner Rather Than Later

Bucks County Commissioners Demand State Move Bucks Into “Yellow” COVID-19 Reopen Phase Sooner Rather Than Later | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The deadline is for the county to learn the date when Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine plan to move Bucks County from the “red” phase to “yellow,” which will allow loosening of restrictions for residents and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 300 local residents. [341 as of 5/11/20 – see graphic.]

 

“The overwhelming majority of Bucks County has understood and agreed with the unprecedented steps which needed to be taken to contain this virus,” Commissioner Harvie said. “I’m confident that the governor will allow Bucks to move into the ‘yellow’ phase before June 4. But even in the yellow phase there will be restrictions we must abide by, and not every business will be allowed to open. Still, it will be a step forward, and a step closer to normalcy.”

 

“The citizens of Bucks have been patient and committed to the requirements of a stay-at-home order and use of PPE; now they need to be given the final date so they can prepare for the change, which will involve extensive social distancing requirements,” Ellis-Marseglia said.

 

“The overwhelming majority of Bucks County has understood and agreed with the unprecedented steps which needed to be taken to contain this virus,” Harvie said. “I’m confident that the governor will allow Bucks to move into the ‘yellow’ phase before June 4. But even in the yellow phase there will be restrictions we must abide by, and not every business will be allowed to open. Still, it will be a step forward, and a step closer to normalcy.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Some people – including Bucks County Commissioners - have argued that nursing home deaths should not be counted as part of the reopening calculations. Indeed, 277 of the 341 deaths due to COVID-19 in Bucks County were “associated” with nursing homes and personal care homes (https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Cases.aspx). That’s 81% of the total. But the data also includes employees at these facilities. In terms of cases of COVID-19 cases, employees account for 270 versus 1221 among residents. That's 18% of the total. I can’t find data about the number of employees who have died. In any case, these employees can be spreading the virus in the community at large. According to Gov. Wolf’s plan, moving into the “yellow” phase depends on the number of new cases – not deaths - per 100,000 population. Nursing home employees should be counted among that number.

 

Related:

  • “Newtown Twp Moving Forward With Summer Camp Plans”; http://sco.lt/6gNAxs
  • “To Reopen Local Businesses, Townships Must Develop Guidelines to Ensure Citizens are Safe. CASE STUDY: Middletown & Sesame Place”; http://sco.lt/5n5C5Y

 

How comfortable would you be sending your kids to summer camp? Take my survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLYN77J

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Newtown Township Police Back to Proactively Enforcing Traffic Laws

Newtown Township Police Back to Proactively Enforcing Traffic Laws | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, our traffic enforcement initiative has been scaled back the past several weeks to protect our officers and the public from community spread, in addition to the reduced traffic that has been on our roadways within our communities [see chart above]. However, with the warmer weather approaching and the easing of the Governor’s restrictions to certain locations within our State, Newtown Township Law Enforcement officers will be returning to proactively enforcing all segments of the motor vehicle codes to ensure for the safety of the motoring public, as well as the pedestrian and bicyclist that are traversing our roadways.  

 

Police Chief John Hearn asking for your support that all operators of motor vehicles abide by all the rules of the road; watch your speed, obey traffic control signals, yield to pedestrians, put down your cell phones, and wear your seat belts so that unnecessary contact does not have to occur between any of our officers and you. #Communitysupport

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Related:

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Newtown Police Weekly Report for April 17-23: Theft from Cars, Fraud Top The List

Newtown Police Weekly Report for April 17-23: Theft from Cars, Fraud Top The List | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The April 17-23, 2020, weekly call report from the Newtown Police Dept shows that officers responded to 224 calls for service that week. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we are still seeing a reduction in calls compared to period prior to March 13, 2020 (see chart).

 

There were several calls regarding theft from vehicles. According to the report: "Many of these crimes have been occurring throughout Bucks County in the early morning hours. We are asking commercial delivery drivers, newspaper delivery personnel and early morning risers to pay attention and immediately report ANY suspicious activity. AS ALWAYS, WE REMIND EVERYONE TO PLEASE REMOVE ALL VALUABLES AND LOCK YOUR CARS!"

 

Several other cases involved fraud.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

See INCIDENT BLOTTER: APRIL 17 - 23, 2020 for details crimewatch.net/l/120637

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PA Releases Reopening Framework, 6 Standards Set, But No Timeline Yet

PA Releases Reopening Framework, 6 Standards Set, But No Timeline Yet | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Gov. Tom Wolf, in a Friday afternoon address, laid out six factors that will guide the state's reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed 756 Pennsylvanians.

 

During his comments, Wolf laid out additional details on the state's reopening and recovery process during a health crisis that has prompted nearly one and a half million unemployment filings in the state in the past month alone.

 

However, he did not provide a timeline for when the measures will begin to be lifted.

 

The reopening will be done regionally based on case data and risk, he said. "Unfortunately we cannot flip a switch and reopen the commonwealth," he said, noting the reopening will be data-driven and evidence-based.

 

Here are the six standards the governor announced Friday would be used to guide the reopening process:

 

  1. The reopening will be data driven and reliant upon quantifiable criteria to drive a targeted, evidence-based, regional approach.
  2. Guidance and recommendations for employers, individuals, and health care facilities and providers will be established for assured accountability.
  3. Adequate personal protective equipment and diagnostic testing must be available.
  4. A monitoring and surveillance program must be established to allow the the state to trace contacts and respond swiftly to contain or mitigate outbreaks.
  5. Protections for vulnerable populations will remain, such as limitations on visitors to congregate care facilities and prisons.
  6. Limitations on large gatherings will remain in place for the duration of the reopening process.

 

The governor said he expects additional details on the process to be released next week as discussions with experts and stakeholders continue.

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Three Additional Middletown Cops Test Positive For COVID-19

Three Additional Middletown Cops Test Positive For COVID-19 | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Three additional Middletown police officers have tested positive for COVID-19.

The names of the officers were not released, but Chief of Police Joseph Bartorilla said the officers were at home recovering.

“We have a couple more officers who have symptoms who are quarantined and we are awaiting test results on, but we can’t say for sure until we get the results. We have several with no symptoms but who have had close contact with our positive officers, so as a precaution for our safety and the public’s safety we are also quarantining and testing them before allowing them back to work,” the chief told LevittownNow.com.

Bucks County officials were not willing to name the agencies where emergency responders who had COVID-19 worked, but Health Director Dr. David Damsker said there were several responders and medical professionals who have the virus.

Since Middletown Officer Ryan Morrison was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in March, Bartorilla said the department has been “strict about quarantining and testing officers.” He said the department’s goal is to be proactive to avoid the “massive problem” of having enough officers testing positive that it impacts public safety.

Bartorilla said the department’s strategy to “immediately removing from duty and quarantining officers who have had close contact with positive cases and getting them tested before allowing them to return to work.”

The chief praised his officers who have stepped forward to fill shifts and keep protection around the clock.

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Community Message from Newtown Township Police Chief John Hearn

Community Message from Newtown Township Police Chief John Hearn | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

On behalf of all the men and women of the Newtown Township Police Department, please know that public safety always has been and always will be our number one priority. The safety and well-being of you, your families, your property and your businesses is our job, and also our passion. 

 

Out of an abundance of caution to protect our Police Department members, we have implemented a number of temporary internal policy measures to decrease the likelihood that any of our officers would contract the COVID-19 virus, and encourage you to call our non-emergency number (215-328-8524) for all non-emergencies reports and services. For emergency services, continue to contact 9-1-1 as our patrol deployment remains fully-staffed and ready to respond immediately to all emergency calls for service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

 

Our Department personnel and I understand the impact that the coronavirus is having on society as a whole and are deeply concerned for all of our residents and businesses. I cannot imagine the financial and emotional stress that some of you may be under, especially those who cannot visit elderly relatives, are self-employed, working in a business that has had to temporarily close, working at a reduced capacity, or have been laid-off as a result of this pandemic. Please remember to keep these people in your thoughts and prayers, and remember to support your neighbors, our local businesses and their staff when this incident is resolved.

 

While the Governor’s orders may seem drastic, they are necessary to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, and thereby, sustain the capabilities of our hospitals and their medical staff to meet the needs of those who will become critically ill and/or in need of respirators, as well as handling other critical emergencies.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize the professional and dedicated work that Newtown EMS, Newtown Emergency Services, Newtown Fire Association, Lingohocken Fire Company and Newtown & Wrightstown Township Emergency Management officials continue to do on a daily basis for all our protection. In addition, our emergency healthcare professionals across this region at various medical facilities have been incredible, but they cannot defeat this virus without the continued support and cooperation of all of us. Please remain calm, stay home, and stay safe!   >Follow all CDC and Bucks County Health department recommendations.  

 

It is during very difficult times like these that we as a community, must remain also committed to one another. Take care of one another!  We are not only called to follow the Governor’s Orders and the recommendations made by the CDC and Public Health officials, but we are also called to look out for one another, especially those neighbors who are lonely, those who may live alone, and those who are the most vulnerable among us. Give them a call, check on them to see if they need anything: food, medications, etc. Together we can accomplish anything. One mission, One team! This too will pass. Through this, it is my hope that we become stronger, more independent and more compassionate.      

 

As always, the Newtown Township Police Department would not be capable of fulfilling our mission without the support and partnership of our citizens. As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters together, if you need us, please do not hesitate to call us. The dedicated men and women of the Newtown Township Police Department will stand by your side continuing to protect and serve our community.

Sourced via CRIMEWATCH®: https://bucks.crimewatchpa.com/newtowntwppd/34824/post/community-message-chief-hearn

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Pennsylvania isn’t releasing details on coronavirus cases because of a decades-old law

Pennsylvania isn’t releasing details on coronavirus cases because of a decades-old law | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Pennsylvania officials are citing a 1955 law authored in the heyday of syphilis to withhold details about coronavirus cases, including how many people have been tested.

 

At frequent media briefings on COVID-19 over the last week, Health Secretary Rachel Levine has not provided the public with the total number of samples tested, the number of people quarantined after possible exposure, or the exact ages of infected people.

 

The department has released only the number of positive cases, as well as general information about the source of the infection, whether the infected individuals are adults, and which county they live in.

 

The intent of the law is actually something of a mystery.

 

The state Supreme Court wrote in a 1988 decision that the law had little legislative history, making it difficult to interpret. “Most of the historical record consists of little more than a public reading of the act,” the court said. “Apparently, the discussion of the act occurred almost entirely behind ‘closed doors’ or in committee, where there was little effort to produce committee reports or create a written record.”

 

In 2013, reports commissioned by the state Senate recommended a complete overhaul to the archaic law. But the legislature has failed to pass any updates in the years since.

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The #Coronavirus Could Help Pharma's Rep in Washington While Increasing Its Profits! Health and Human Services Secretary & Former Drug Company Exec Alex Azar Will See To it.

The #Coronavirus Could Help Pharma's Rep in Washington While Increasing Its Profits! Health and Human Services Secretary & Former Drug Company Exec Alex Azar Will See To it. | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The coronavirus outbreak could be the pharmaceutical industry’s ticket to saving its reputation in Washington.

 

Already, the fervid crusade to contain the epidemic refocused a White House meeting centered on high drug prices onto the industry’s ostensibly more commendable work to develop vaccines and therapies that target the virus. And there are early indications the industry is leveraging the shift in the conversation: new ads from the industry trade group PhRMA, featured recently in several D.C. health policy newsletters, implore readers to “See how the industry is helping.”

 

It comes just months after a September poll showed the pharmaceutical industry is the most loathed in America, and as more and more lawmakers signal an interest in once-radical policies to rein in drug companies’ pricing tactics.

 

Capitalizing on the coronavirus crisis could help the industry reshape how Americans view the drug industry before Washington gins up sufficient political support for any of those changes, especially if drug makers don’t over promise and don’t price their eventual vaccines out of reach, communications experts told STAT.

 

“It’s like a reset button for them,” said Pallavi Kumar, a communications professor at American University who previously did communications for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. “In times of crisis people want heros, even if those heroes were villains in the past.”

 

Drug industry critics, however, are unlikely to be impressed by pharma’s goodwill. Already, Democrats are insisting that drug makers should make any coronavirus treatment affordable. And the advocacy group Public Citizen has already criticized the drug industry for neglecting coronaviruses and vaccines more generally for more lucrative projects.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Excerpted from “Health secretary Alex Azar won’t promise that a coronavirus vaccine would be affordable”:

 

It’s going to be a long time before a vaccine for the new coronavirus is available. But when it is, there’s no guarantee that it will be affordable for all Americans, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

 

Azar, a former drug company executive and pharmaceutical lobbyist, told Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) during a congressional hearing on Wednesday that, although he would want to make it affordable, he won’t promise that it will be. “We can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” he said.

 

Unfortunately for Azar, the new coronavirus doesn’t care about profit margins or returns on investment at drug companies. During an outbreak of an infectious disease, that attitude doesn’t just put the poor at risk by making it harder for them to access a protective drug — it puts everyone at risk.

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