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Daily Archives: April 24, 2018

BREAKING: Brush Fire In Bart Township

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Around 12:06 A.M. (ET) crews were dispatched to the area of  Bartville Road and Bell Road in Bart Township, Lancaster County, PA for a brush fire.  As of 12:23 A.M. ENGINE 57-5, TANKER 51, and ENGINE 51-2 we on scene attending to the fire. We will have the latest details on WLRI Newsradio as they become available.

 

12:31 A.M UPDATE:  Engine 57-5 and Tanker 51 remain on scene. Engine 51-2 was recalled.

1:AM  This incident was cleared before 1:AM

Planting Ten Million Trees for Clean Water

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By: Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A statewide partnership launched a major effort Tuesday to help protect rivers and streams by planting 10 million trees in the state by the end of 2025.

Trees planted next to streets and waterways form natural buffers to keep sediment and pollutants from reaching the water. The Keystone State failed to meet its goal of having 60 percent of its practices to clean up rivers and streams in place by the end of last year.

Harry Campbell, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Pennsylvania, said the project is critical to putting the state on track to meet its obligations under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

“By putting our resources in this partnership,” he said, “we will substantially galvanize our efforts toward cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay and our rivers and streams.”

He said the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership will put special emphasis on planting trees in Lancaster County and south-central Pennsylvania.

About 19,000 miles of rivers and streams in the state are impaired by sediment, agricultural runoff and the legacies of coal mining. Campbell said trees are the most cost-effective tools for cleaning and protecting the water.

“In fact,” he said, “streamside trees are the second leading best-management practice that Pennsylvania is relying upon to meet its Chesapeake Bay commitments.”

The state is required to have all its practices to restore rivers, streams and Chesapeake Bay in place by 2025. The partnership consists of national, state and local agencies, conservation groups, businesses and individuals.

Campbell acknowledged that planting millions of trees over the next seven years will be a challenge.

“Together, with our collective experience, ingenuity and enthusiasm, we can do this,” he said. “As a partnership, we will do this.”

When complete, he said, the project could achieve as much as two-thirds of the 95,000 acres of forested buffers called for in the Commonwealth’s Clean Water Blueprint.

More information is online at tenmilliontrees.org.

Governor Wolf Urges Commonsense Gun Safety, Background Checks on All Gun Purchases

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Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf was joined today by Acting State Police Commissioner Lt. Col. Robert Evanchick, legislators and stakeholders to urge passage of commonsense gun safety legislation, including background checks on all gun purchases in Pennsylvania.

“All of Pennsylvania’s citizens have the right to live happy, healthy lives free from fear about their and their family’s personal safety,” Gov. Wolf said. “Unfortunately, in the past decades we have seen that sense of security, that sense of safety, threatened. I am calling on the legislature to take up additional commonsense gun reform bills that will help us close dangerous loopholes and keep weapons out of the hands of individuals who pose a threat to Pennsylvania’s citizens.

“We should pass legislation that requires all those who wish to purchase a firearm to go through a State Police background check; universal background checks are one of the best ways we can keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals.”

“In the commonwealth, a firearms transaction between two private parties does not require a background check if the firearm falls within certain criteria (these firearms are commonly referred to as long guns),” Lt. Col. Evanchick said. “It is this void in the current law we are in support of changing.  The Pennsylvania State Police encourages closing this void in the current law and requests that all firearm purchases and or transfer of ownership require a universal background check.”

The governor also urged the House to quickly pass Senate Bill 501, which the Senate recently unanimously passed, and which prevents domestic abusers with protection from abuse orders against them from owning or possessing guns.

“I ask that the House work to quickly pass SB 501, and that the full legislature get to work to help close loopholes and pass reasonable gun safety reform laws,” Gov. Wolf said.

“We need commonsense gun safety laws, and we need to use the incredible system the State Police has built by requiring all those who wish to buy a gun to go through this reasonable, convenient background check system, so we can keep powerful weapons out of the hands of those who pose a danger to our citizens and we can keep our neighborhoods, our communities, and our public spaces safe.”

Wolf Administration Joins in Tree Planting Event to Kick Off “Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership” to Improve Water Quality

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 Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today joined in a streamside tree planting event at a farm in Lancaster County to kick off a local, state, and federal partnership to plant 10 million trees to improve water quality in Pennsylvania’s part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, and Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding participated in planting about 100 trees along Little Chiques Creek. They were joined by farm owner Rodney Garber, EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio, Chesapeake Bay Foundation President Will Baker, Lancaster County Conservation District Manager Chris Thompson, Future Farmers of America students, and a host of water conservation organizations.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation coordinates the “Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership,” supporting the effort with federal and private funding as well as some of more than $800,000 in state funding provided to the foundation from the DEP Growing Greener Plus and Environmental Education Environmental Justice Grant Programs and the DCNR Riparian Forest Buffer Grant Program.

The goal is to plant 10 million trees by the end of 2025 to help Pennsylvania make significant progress in reducing nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment levels in streams and rivers.

“We’ve all seen fast-moving uniformly brown water in streams after a rainstorm, and many people have come to take it for normal,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “It’s not. It’s sediment—literally the earth beneath our feet—eroding from banks to damage water quality and aquatic life.

“With 43 counties in the Bay watershed, Pennsylvania faces a great challenge to restore local water quality and help farms, towns, businesses, and residents make changes to prevent further pollution. The only way to meet the challenge is to combine innovative ideas with committed partnerships, as the Keystone 10 Million Trees initiative demonstrates today.”

“When we look at solutions for some of our conservation challenges, such as managing stormwater from very heavy rain events, having clean drinking water, and providing habitat for fish and wildlife, it turns out that trees are the answer,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “We are excited to work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and many other partners on this movement to plant trees along streams and in communities across Pennsylvania.”

“A farm is the perfect place to kick off this initiative,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “Prosperous farms and a safe, abundant food supply depend on clean water, and a clean water supply depends on strategic farm management practices like forested buffers. Pennsylvania’s farmers are key to clean water for our region and we are pleased to support them as stewards of our resources.”

While the partnership will plant trees throughout Pennsylvania’s part of the Bay watershed, special emphasis is placed on five southcentral counties, where land is under intensive agricultural use, which collectively put more than 30 million pounds per year of nitrogen pollution into local waters.

Trees will also be planted in parks, on municipal properties, and on private properties. Trees are cost-effective tools to filtering and absorbing polluted runoff, stabilizing streambanks, and improving soil quality.

By the end of April, the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership will plant more than 30,000 trees at over 50 locations.

PENNSYLVANIA RECEIVES FEDERAL CERTIFICATION FOR SAFETY OVERSIGHT OF RAIL TRANSIT

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Harrisburg, PA – Today, Secretary Leslie S. Richards announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has obtained certification from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for its rail transit State Safety Oversight (SSO) programs to meet a new federal requirement in advance of the April 2019 deadline.

Under newly established federal law, states with rail transit systems must be certified to oversee their safety or face the loss of all federal transit grants.

“PennDOT is committed to safety across all the transportation modes under its jurisdiction and this certification was critical to maintaining federal support and ensuring the continued safe operation of rail transit,” Richards said. “I applaud our State Safety Oversight Office for working diligently to meet this requirement.”

Pennsylvania is one of 30 states with rail transit that must meet the April 2019 deadline set by changes outlined in the federal transportation law, MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century. The change required FTA to certify that each state’s rail safety oversight met the MAP-21 requirements.

The SSO program is responsible for independent safety oversight of rail transit and fixed guideway operations, including subway transit systems, subway/surface trolleys, as well as all stations and maintenance facilities related to these operations.

The Pennsylvania systems covered by this oversight include:

  • The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
    • Market-Frankford Subway Elevated
    • Broad Street Subway
    • Subway/Surface Trolleys
    • Media/Sharon Hill Trolleys
    • Norristown High Speed Line
  • The Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh
    • Light Rail System (the “T”)
    • Busways
    • Inclined Plane Railroads
  • Cambria County Transit Authority in Johnstown
    • Inclined Plane Railroad

The SSO rule significantly strengthens PennDOT’s authority through its designation as a State Safety Oversight Authority (SSOA) to investigate accidents and oversee a rail transit agency’s implementation of its System Safety Program Plan (SSPP) and Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan. This final SSO rule replaces the existing regulations for SSOAs, which had been in place for the past 20 years.

In addition, Pennsylvania’s SSO certification ensures the continued flow of more than $438 million in federal funding for public transportation recipients across the state.