LanChesterLocal Weather Alerts
There are currently no active weather alerts.

Category Archives: Neighborhood News

Sinkholes and Hired Muscle on the Mariner East Pipelines

Published by:

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that there had been new
developments along Sunoco’s Mariner East pipelines in Chester County, Pennsylvania over the
weekend. On Sunday, January 20, a new sinkhole opened up in a neighborhood along the
pipelines. In addition, the District Attorney’s Office discovered that constables from outside of
Chester County apparently had been hired by Sunoco to act as a private security force around the
pipelines, holding themselves out as acting in an official capacity to people approaching the area
of the pipelines.

District Attorney Tom Hogan stated, “At this point, the criminal investigation is widening
and deepening, much like the damage being caused by these pipelines. We are investigating
what individuals bear legal responsibility for these sinkholes. In addition, we want to know who
hired these constables and authorized them to act like they have some type of legal authority in
Chester County. This has the appearance of hired muscle showing up to intimidate our citizens.”
On Sunday, January 20, another sinkhole opened along the Mariner East pipelines in the
Lisa Drive neighborhood in Chester County. See attached photographs. The sinkhole exposed
the Mariner East 1 pipeline, which had volatile natural gas liquids pumping through it when it
was exposed. Coincidentally, a natural gas pipeline in Ohio exploded over the weekend, on January 21. A pipeline run by Sunoco exploded in Beaver County, PA in September of 2018.
This same neighborhood previously has suffered through multiple sinkholes
caused by drilling related to Sunoco’s pipelines. The prior sinkholes damaged the homeowners’
properties, caused an evacuation of the area, and resulted in work on the pipelines being halted.
During interviews in the last few weeks, Chester County citizens reported that state
constables were patrolling the pipelines in Chester County during the prior sinkhole incidents.
The District Attorney’s Office discounted this report because no Chester County constables had
been authorized to do any such work.

However, when the January 20 sinkhole appeared, citizens reported the sinkhole to the
District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Hogan dispatched Chester County Detectives to the
scene at Lisa Drive. When a Chester County Detective in plain clothes approached the scene, an
armed man flashed a badge at the Detective and identified himself as a constable. The Detective,
who is familiar with all of the Chester County constables, asked the armed man who he worked
for. The man then finally identified himself as a constable from Northumberland County in
central Pennsylvania. When pressed further by the Detective, the man admitted that he had been
hired as security by Sunoco.

The Chester County Detectives subsequently informed the man that he was not permitted
to claim any official authority in Chester County or use his badge for such a purpose. District
Attorney Hogan will be contacting the District Attorney of Northumberland County to discuss
this situation. “Sinkholes. Fouled well water. Obscene messages from out-of-state pipeline workers to
Chester County residents. Hired guns flashing badges. Volatile natural gas liquids flowing in
pipelines just a few feet from schools and homes. We are not sure what it will take to get the
attention of Governor Wolf and the Public Utility Commission. All of this is happening on their
watch. The Chester County District Attorney’s Office is committed to this criminal
investigation, even if we must fight alone. The citizens of Chester County deserve our
protection.” Anybody with further information about pipeline-related incidents should contact Chester
County Detective Ben Martin at (610) 344-6866. Reports may be made confidentially. The
Chester County prosecutors assigned to this matter are Alexander Gosfield, Myles Matteson, and
special prosecutor Seth Weber.


Approved for release:
Thomas P. Hogan, Chester County D.A.

 

Planet Fitness Is Coming To Parkesburg

Published by:

Parkesburg Borough officials report that Monday morning Planet Fitness had filed for a construction permit to renovate the interior of the former Acme location along First Avenue. The borough posted this status to facebook, “We are pleased to announce that this morning permit applications were filed by Planet Fitness to begin construction inside the old Acme building.”

Report: Construction Contractors Cheating Workers, Taxpayers

Published by:

By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Unscrupulous contractors in southeast Pennsylvania routinely are violating labor laws and victimizing customers, including state and local government, according to a new report.

The report from the Keystone Research Center found many contractors in the regional Philadelphia construction industry are in a race to the bottom.

Stephen Herzenberg, author of the report, calls that “destructive competition” – cutting costs by misclassifying workers as independent contractors, cheating them out of overtime pay, investing little in worker skills and in some cases operating unsafely.

“When construction contractors and subcontractors compete by violating the law, wage theft, threatening workers’ health and safety, in the end nobody else wins,” he states.

The report says imposing stiffer penalties for labor law violations and directing more resources to enforcement agencies would help safeguard workers, law abiding contractors and taxpayers.

Herzenburg points out that effective enforcement can pay for itself by directing revenue from fines and penalties to enforcement agencies, and it can change the current landscape of the construction industry.

“It creates a situation where, instead of people violating the law becoming the rule, you get back to what you’re supposed to have, which is most companies complying with the law,” he explains.

The report cites a study that found the Philadelphia residential construction industry operates “informally” with no pretense of adhering to state or federal labor laws.

Herzenberg notes that the skilled construction trades are among the last pathways available for blue collar workers to move into the middle class, and reining in construction companies that break the law benefits everyone.

“In the end, that’s not only good for our middle class, it’s actually a better way to run your economy,” he stresses. “You end up with a more productive economy as a whole as well as a more productive construction industry.”

Chesapeake Bay More Polluted for First Time in Decade

Published by:

By: Laura Rosbrow-Telem

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Chesapeake Bay became more polluted last year for the first time in a decade according to a new report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation – and a majority of the pollution came from Pennsylvania.

The foundation’s “State of the Bay Report” said extreme weather from climate change – including record rainfall in the summer – caused large amounts of dirty water to flow into the bay. In particular, increased pollution from farms and city streets drained into rivers and streams, especially the Susquehanna River.

According to Harry Campbell, Pennsylvania executive director for the foundation, more than half the state of Pennsylvania is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“It’s all about Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams and the lands that drain into them,” Campbell said. “And if we were to sustainably and successfully address this issue, we have to start at that source.”

Campbell recommends cost-effective, green solutions such as planting more trees along city streets, rivers and streams. This would help absorb nitrogen and other pollutants from the air and runoff from the land. According to the state Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania has 19,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams.

Campbell also advocated helping farmers so that less debris and pollutants from agricultural areas enter bodies of water. He said helping farmers adapt will likely cost the state resources beyond what is available in the farm bill.

“There is a need for additional logistical, technical and financial assistance to help get the plans that are necessary to keep soils and nutrients on the land instead of in the water,” he said.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William Baker applauded the Keystone State’s efforts to improve the watershed.

“The Commonwealth is actually developing a good science-based plan as to how to move forward,” Baker said. “But there is simply no evidence that they have the political will to fund it.”

Baker had some pointed words for the president.

“The Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies must be stopped,” he said.

He urged the public to oppose the administration’s denial of climate change and efforts to roll back environmental protections.

The foundation’s State of the Bay Report is available at cbf.org.

PA 41 SHUTDOWN IN CHESTER COUNTY DUE TO HEAD ON CRASH

Published by:

COCHRANVILLE, PA ( WLRI )  Keystone Valley Fire Department along with Cochranville Fire Company and Christiana Fire Company are responding to a head on accident along HONEYCROFT BLVD  in the area of Gap-Newport Pike. Further information will be provided as it becomes available. Crews advise motorist that the road will be closed for hours this evening.

 

Education Advocates: Ending School Discipline Guidance Won’t Improve Safety

Published by:

By: Andrea Sears

PHILADELPHIA – Education advocates are condemning a Federal Commission on School Safety report that recommends ending Obama-era policies against discriminatory discipline practices in schools.

Studies have shown that black and brown students are punished more frequently and more harshly than are their white peers for similar or lesser infractions.

According to Raynelle Brown Staley, policy director at the Education Law Center, ending the policies won’t change the law – discrimination based on race, disability or identity will still be illegal – but if the change goes into effect, it will have an impact.

“We think it’s going to invite discrimination to occur,” she said, “because the Department of Education has shown their unwillingness to protect the civil rights of students across our country.”

The anti-discrimination policies only served as guidance, but their critics have claimed they have hampered teachers’ ability to discipline students and compromised school safety.

The recommendation to rescind the discipline policies is, in part, a reaction to mass school shootings such as the one in Parkland, Fla. However, Staley said, efforts to end racial disparities in educational discipline are a totally separate issue.

“There’s no correlation between the implementation of restorative justice and other strategies as alternatives to school discipline and the mass shootings that prompted the School Safety Commission report,” she said.

She noted that Pennsylvania school districts that have implemented policies to limit suspensions and expulsions have seen school climates improve.

Staley said Pennsylvania’s Department of Education has stated that it maintains a commitment to examining issues of discrimination, in suspension and other forms of school discipline.

“So, we feel confident that the Pennsylvania Department of Education will continue to uphold the civil rights of students across the state,” she said.

Staley added that the School Safety Commission report also recommends that school districts consider arming school personnel, a policy many believe would severely compromise school safety.

The School Safety Commission report is online at ed.gov.

Chester County District Attorney Opens Criminal Investigation Into Mariner East Pipeline

Published by:

 

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that the District Attorney’s
Office (the “DAO”) has opened a criminal investigation into the construction of the Mariner East
1, 2, and 2X pipelines being constructed through Chester County. This investigation includes the
owners of the pipelines – – Energy Transfer LP, Sunoco Logistics Partners, and related corporate
entities (collectively, “Sunoco”).
District Attorney Hogan stated, “In the last two years, we have seen these pipelines rip
through the heart of Chester County. We have seen sinkholes created by the pipeline drilling,
contaminated well water, and some subtle and not-so-subtle bullying of Chester County citizens
by big corporate interests. We expected the state regulators and the governor to step in and
assure the safety of Pennsylvanians. They have not. So now the Chester County District
Attorney’s Office will demand that every aspect of these pipelines be conducted safely, or we
will bring into play all of the tools of the criminal justice system.”
The Mariner East 1, 2, and 2X pipelines are intended to ship volatile natural gas from
western Pennsylvania all the way to Marcus Hook in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. These
pipelines cut directly through the middle of Chester County, bisecting heavily populated
residential areas, running near schools and businesses, and in close proximity to railroads and
streets.
The Mariner East 1 pipeline previously existed to ship refined petroleum under Chester
County running from the eastern portion of Pennsylvania to the west. Refined petroleum is a
very different substance than natural gas and Mariner East 1 is smaller than the planned Mariner
East 2 and 2X pipelines. Sunoco intended to build the Mariner East 2 and 2X pipelines along the
same route as Mariner East 1. In order to accomplish this, they intended to use horizontal
directional drilling, a process that can be problematic depending on the area where drilling is
occurring. Sunoco also introduced plans to reverse the flow of Mariner East 1 and use it to ship
natural gas under Chester County in the older and smaller pipeline.
The Mariner East pipeline construction has experienced significant problems. On the
property of homes in West Whiteland Township, the drilling resulted in significant sinkholes in
the residents’ back-yards. In another area of Chester County, the drilling caused the apparent
contamination of well water for multiple residences. In Beaver County, Pennsylvania, there was
an explosion along a pipeline, destroying a home. The Department of Environmental Protection
has fined the owners of the pipelines. But the construction of these pipelines keeps continuing.
“Two things recently happened that drew the attention of the District Attorney’s Office,”
District Attorney Hogan added. “First, the explosion in Beaver County changed speculation into
tangible danger and destruction. Second, over Thanksgiving, some of the residents of Lisa Drive
in West Whiteland were kind enough to take me onto their property and show me the damage
caused by the pipelines. The concerns and fears of those citizens were both disturbing and heartwrenching.
I then detailed District Attorney staff members to do the legal research to make sure
that the DAO had jurisdiction to investigate the pipelines and received an affirmative response.”
The District Attorney’s investigation will cover both past and future conduct related to
the pipelines. Potential charges include causing or risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief,
environmental crimes, and corrupt organizations. Such offenses could include criminal charges
directly against the individual employees involved, from workers on the pipelines through
corporate officers. Sunoco has been advised of this investigation via a letter. See attached,
Exhibit A.
District Attorney Hogan stated, “This investigation will not be easy. It will take time to
dig into the historical information and we will need to constantly monitor any future activity.
But we are committed to protecting Chester County. And we will need our citizens to help.”
Chester County Detective Ben Martin is the lead investigator. The assigned prosecutors
are Alexander Gosfield and Myles Matteson. Anybody with information should contact
Detective Martin at 610-344-6866.
District Attorney Hogan concluded with, “We understand that only the Pennsylvania
Utility Commission or the governor can shut down construction of these pipelines, and neither
has shown any inclination to do so. But we can at least make sure that anything that happens in
Chester County complies with the criminal laws of Pennsylvania. We owe that to our citizens.
Money should not be allowed to trump safety.”


 

FULL PRESS STATEMENT HERE

Low Temps Put Pets at Risk Too

Published by:

By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Animal rights advocates are reminding pet owners that cold weather can be fatal to dogs and cats that remain outside.

Many people keep their pets in backyard enclosures or tied to dog houses, even during the winter.

But like humans, pets can suffer from deadly frostbite and exposure and can experience dehydration if their drinking water freezes.

Last winter, at least 50 cold weather animal deaths were reported nationwide, but most deaths are not reported at all.

According to Kaleigh Rhoads, a campaign coordinator with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), pets already are at risk in Pennsylvania this year.

“Just this week in Fayette County, a dog was found left outside in 26-degree weather and police are currently filing charges for animal cruelty on that case,” she relates.

Rhoads urges pet owners to bring their animals inside if possible when the weather is cold.

If animals cannot be brought into the house, then Rhoads says owners are responsible for making sure they have adequate shelter outside of the house.

“A legal shelter in cold weather must be raised off the ground and completely waterproof, properly sized so the animal can stand and turn around while still retaining their body heat, have a protected entrance, dry bedding, and should be placed in an area where it will have the best protection from the wind and cold,” she states.

Rhoads adds that animals may need extra food in the winter if they’re burning more calories to keep warm.

Rhoads wants everyone to be aware that pet ownership comes with legal obligations, and protecting pets from severe weather is one of them.

“These dogs and cats are required by law to have adequate shelter,” she stresses. “So if you see an animal who has inadequate shelter or none at all, please report it to the authorities.”

More information and tips for cold-weather care of animals is available online at PETA.org.

CALN TOWNSHIP SET FOR $525,000 WATER MAIN UPGRADE

Published by:

COATESVILLE, PA  – Pennsylvania American Water today announced the start of construction to install new water main in Caln Township to improve service reliability and prevent water outages. The project cost is approximately $525,000 and will replace outdated pipe dating back to the 1940s.

Starting this week, the company will install nearly 3,500 feet of new eight-inch ductile iron along Reed Street between 17th Avenue and 13th Avenue, and along 13th Avenue between Reed Street and West Chester Road. Crews expect to complete the water main installation, testing and disinfection, and connecting customers’ service lines to the new main by early December, weather permitting. Final street paving restoration is scheduled for next spring.

Crews will work weekdays between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Traffic restrictions will be in place during construction, and motorists are urged to give themselves extra time and exercise caution when traveling through the work zone. During construction, customers might experience temporary water service interruptions, discolored water and/or lower than normal water pressure.

PARKESBURG BOROUGH WITHOUT WATER; MAIN STREET WATER MAIN BURST

Published by:

Photos: KVFD/facebook
Image may contain: car and outdoor
Image may contain: tree and outdoor
Image may contain: one or more people, sky, car and outdoor
Image may contain: tree, sky, outdoor, nature and waterImage may contain: tree and outdoor
Pennsylvania American Water has confirmed to WLRI that a water main break along 100 block of First Avenue. No estimated restoration time was available at 9:22 AM ET. According to our neighbors, the incident took place around 7:30 AM (+/-) this morning, to be confirmed. There is no known reason for the water main break at this time. Stay with Gap Lancaster Coatesville Quarryville for the latest developments throughout the incident, as we plan to follow-up with out sources until service is restored.
-Water service has been restored to all affected customers from the 1st St main break. We appreciate everyone’s patience while crews made these difficult repairs on 24-inch pipe. Parkesburg Office of Emergency Management
7:16 AM (8/6)
————–
-Incident Summary:
2000 – American Water ran into challenges in the repair of the water line. ETR is now 2200. Normal pressure was established today for all but 19 customers. Repair for the main line is still in progress.
9:11 PM
– Crews have isolated the water main break along 1st Street that occurred this morning and disrupted local water service. Water pressure will start to return to normal for most customers, but it will take several hours to refill the system. You might also experience discolored water due to the increased flows from the break. If you experience discolored water, run your cold water taps a few minutes until the water runs clear. We expect repairs will take until 9 pm to restore service for about 20 customers near the main break location. To ease the inconvenience, water tanker is located in parking lot behind Borough Hall. Please bring your own containers. Thanks again for your patience. Parkesburg Office of Emergency Management
1:12 PM
-PA American Water has provided a water tanker at the Borough Hall/Police Station. Bring your own containers.
11:40 AM
-Residents on the North side of the Borough should have water just low pressure.
10:13 AM
-PA American Water will have a water tanker available after 10 a.m. at the ACME parking lot. Please bring your own containers to fill.
-Officials in Parkesburg Borough are reporting that municipal water services are out of service. The company responsible to provide water to Parkesburg, American Water, is attempting to locate a break in the water main. Fire officials are being advised.
 
-Due to the water main break affecting the residents of Parkesburg Borough, a source of drinking water has been made available at the Parkesburg Borough Police Department, 315 W First Avenue.
Skip to toolbar