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DEP to Hold Public Hearing for Rolling Hills Landfill Expansion Application

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​The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will host a public hearing to obtain comments regarding the Delaware County Solid Waste Authority’s Major Permit Modification Application to increase the capacity of the Rolling Hills Landfill, located in Earl Township, Berks County. The hearing will be held Thursday June 7, 2018, from 6:30 PM until 9:00 PM at the Earl Elementary School, 22 School House Road, Boyertown, PA 19512. Doors will open at 6:00 PM.

The application is for a lateral and vertical expansion of 14.9 million cubic yards. The expansion, if granted, would add an additional 17.3 years of capacity to the life of the landfill.

Individuals will have the opportunity to present up to five (5) minutes of verbal testimony. Comments must be limited to the conditions of the permit application. Groups are asked to designate one speaker. Relinquishing of time to other speakers will be prohibited. All presenters should bring at least one copy of their comments and exhibits tor submission to DEP.

Those who wish to present testimony are asked to register in advance by contacting John Repetz at jrepetz@pa.gov or 717-705-4904. Registration will be taken through Wednesday, June 6, 2018. Individuals will be called to testify in the order they registered. Time permitting, those who did not register in advance will be given the opportunity to testify. The hearing may conclude earlier if all testifiers in attendance have spoken prior to the designated end time.

Written comments may also be submitted until June 15, 2018. They may be mailed to John Oren, DEP Waste Management Program, 909 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110, or emailed to joren@pa.gov. All comments, oral and written, will be considered by DEP during its review of the permit application.

The permit application is available for public review at the DEP South-Central Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17110, Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Please call 717-705-4732 to make an appointment., It can also be accessed on DEP’s South-Central webpage at http://www.dep.pa.gov/southcentral.

Individuals who need an accommodation for the hearing as provided for in the American with Disabilities Act should contact John Repetz at the number listed above, or make accommodations through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 1-800-654-5984.

PENNDOT REOPENS STREET ROAD BRIDGE OVER OCTORARO CREEK IN UPPER OXFORD TOWNSHIP, CHESTER COUNTY

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King of Prussia, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today reopened the bridge carrying Street Road over Octoraro Creek in Upper Oxford Township, Chester County, following a rehabilitation project.

Under this project, PennDOT’s contractor rebuilt the northeast stone wingwall, cleaned and repointed other walls and performed some paving, as well as other miscellaneous construction.
The Street Road bridge over Octoraro Creek was originally built in 1880 and rehabilitated in 2010. The single-span, single-lane steel I-beam structure is 111 feet long and 14 feet wide and carries an average of 239 vehicles a day. The bridge had been closed since February after damage was discovered to the structure.
This bridge rehabilitation was performed under PennDOT’s $11,766,000 project to rehabilitate 10 structurally-deficient bridges in Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and replace six structurally-deficient culverts in Bucks, Chester and Delaware counties.
The bridges/culverts currently under construction include:
• Pocopson Road over Pocopson Creek in Pennsbury and Pocopson townships, Chester County;
• Grubbs Mill Road over Crum Creek in Willistown Township, Chester County; and
• MacDade Boulevard over the Muckinipattis Creek in Glenolden Borough, Delaware County.
Structures completed under this project include:
• White Horse Road over a branch of Pickering Creek in Schuylkill Township, Chester County;
• Rocky Ridge Road over a branch of Tohickon Creek in Richland Township, Bucks County;
• State Road over a branch of Cooks Creek in Springfield Township, Bucks County;
• Route 282 (Creek Road) over a branch of Brandywine Creek in East Brandywine Township, Chester County;
• Route 113 (Souderton Road) over Mill Creek in Hilltown Township, Bucks County;
• Henry Avenue over Wissahickon Creek in Philadelphia;
• The historic Loux Covered Bridge over Cabin Run on Carver-Wismer Road in Bedminster Township, Bucks County;
• Oxford Valley Road over U.S. 1 in Falls, Lower Makefield and Middletown townships, Bucks County;
• Route 663 (Layfield Road) bridge over Green Lane Reservoir Creek in Upper Hanover Township, Montgomery County;
• Edenton Road bridge over Rattlesnake Run in Upper Oxford Township, Chester County;
• Torresdale Avenue bridge over Academy Road in Philadelphia; and
• Route 82 (Doe Run Road) over a branch of Sucker Run in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County.
Loftus Construction, Inc. of Cinnaminson, N.J., is the general contractor on this project that is financed with 100 percent state funds through Act 89, Pennsylvania’s transportation plan. Work on the entire project is expected to be completed in August 2019.
For more information on projects occurring or being bid this year, those made possible by or accelerated by Act 89, or those on the department’s Four and Twelve Year Plans, visit www.projects.penndot.gov.

Deferred Maintenance Takes a Toll on National Parks

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Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – As part of National Infrastructure Week, advocates are calling on Congress to fully fund maintenance at national parks here in Pennsylvania and across the country.

There are 19 National Park Service sites in the Keystone State, drawing more than 10 million visitors a year and generating close to half-a-billion dollars in local spending in 2017 alone. But years of deferred maintenance have left a backlog of needed repairs that was estimated at $11.6 billion for all parks nationally as of last year.

According to Stephen McKnight, president of the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation, maintaining the parks not only preserves their historic and scenic value, but provides a critical boost to the state’s bottom line as well.

“Parks are part of our overall people and business attraction strategy, bringing in both visitors and tourist dollars,” McKnight said. “So, we consider them an important part of our overall economy.”

The Pew Charitable Trusts has launched a Restore America’s Parks Campaign, calling on Congress to preserve the nation’s history, protect local economies and create jobs by fixing the nation’s parks.

Marcia Argust, director of the campaign, said more than 180 infrastructure groups, including architects, electricians, engineers and construction workers, have signed on to a letter calling for Congress to put their members to work on maintenance and repairs.

“We’re talking about historic structures, buildings, roads, bridges, trails, campgrounds, waterfronts, recreation facilities,” Argust said.

A Pew commissioned analysis found addressing the maintenance backlog facing the National Park Service would create or support more than 2,800 jobs in Pennsylvania alone.

McKnight pointed out that the longer necessary maintenance is postponed, the more costly repairs become as the infrastructure falls further into disrepair.

“A solid maintenance plan year-over-year is important to avoid major reconstruction costs or, even worse, just straight-out [being] unable to maintain infrastructure within the parks and the parks themselves,” he said. “So we don’t want to see that happen.”

Congressional lawmakers are considering several bills to address deferred maintenance in the national parks.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Volkswagen Settlement to Clean PA Air

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Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvanians could be breathing a little easier after the state puts its share of the multi-billion-dollar settlement with Volkswagen to use. Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday that $118 million will be used to help clean up the air in the Keystone State.

Volkswagen had rigged computers in diesel-fueled cars to turn on emission controls during testing, but scale them back during normal driving. The state will use some of the settlement money to fund replacements and upgrades of diesel engines in everything from school buses to tugboats.

And Joseph Minott, executive director and chief counsel with the Clean Air Council, says the money will also help fund critical infrastructure for electric cars and trucks.

“That’s what car owners and truck owners want to do,” says Minott. “We know that’s the right thing for the environment. And I hope that the words of the governor translate into really promoting electric vehicles.”

The money will fund eight grant and rebate programs over the next five years with a goal of reducing nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines by almost 28,000 tons.

Minott says it would be a significant improvement in air quality.

“Diesel in general is serious, especially in congested areas like Philadelphia and Allegheny County, and so it’s great that the primary focus is going to be on reducing diesel emissions,” says Minott.

He adds the real challenge is to move away from using fossil fuels entirely, as quickly as possible.

Right now, the range of an electric vehicle is limited by the availability of charging stations. Minott points out that with enough quick-charging stations, electric vehicles could travel from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

“So a lot of that money has to go into building the infrastructure across the state, with the primary focus initially in large urban areas,” says Minott.

The governor says up to $39 million will be available for grants and rebates in the first year of the program.

Report Calls for Reforming Juvenile Probation

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Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A new report says reforming probation practices for juveniles could increase their chances for success.

In the past 20 years, juvenile justice system reforms have led to far fewer young people being held in juvenile detention centers.

But the report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation says little has changed in the use of probation for young people.

According to Steve Bishop, senior associate at the AECF Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, probation is too often used as another form of punishment.

“The research that we have about adolescent development is pretty convincing that young people respond better to rewards, incentives, opportunities, experiences – things like that, that better motivate them – than the threat of punishment,” he points out.

The report recommends transforming juvenile probation from a system based on compliance and sanctions to one of incentives and individualized goals.

Pennsylvania has developed a Juvenile Justice System Enhancement Strategy with an emphasis on family and community involvement.

John Cookus, an assistant professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, points out that relying on probation alone doesn’t work.

“Juvenile probation casts too wide a net, and it draws in youth who really don’t need to be there, and increases the volume of young people who get caught up in the system,” he states.

A 2014 study in Ohio found that low-risk young people placed on probation were 50 percent more likely to re-offend than those who weren’t placed on probation.

Bishop points out that recent research into adolescent brain development suggests taking juvenile justice practices in a new direction would enhance both community safety and the futures of young people.

“Reduce probation caseloads by diverting greater share of cases from juvenile court altogether,” he states, “and then refashioning probation into a more targeted, focused and effective intervention for the smaller population of youths that would remain on caseloads.”

The report notes that smaller caseloads let probation officers work more intensively with families and communities to help young people thrive.

Court Ruling Advances School Funding Lawsuit

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Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – A lawsuit challenging the level and distribution of state funding for public education in Pennsylvania has moved a step closer to trial.

On Monday, a panel of Commonwealth Court judges overruled several preliminary objections to the lawsuit, including one that claimed the petitioners hadn’t established that the current funding plan had caused the harm that is the basis for the suit.

Maura McInerney, legal director at the Education Law Center, calls the ruling a clear victory for public school children in Pennsylvania by allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

“It’s extremely important because it addresses both the inadequacy of school funding as well as the inequity that we see across the Commonwealth,” she states.

The court ordered further discovery on two remaining objections raised by opponents of the suit before it can proceed to trial.

State legislative leaders maintain that education is not an important or fundamental right under the state’s constitution.

But McInerney says virtually anyone in the state except those legislators would concede that education is an important right.

“It is one of the only services that is singled out in our state constitution which requires it to be adequately funded,” she points out. “In addition, it is critical to participation in democracy as well as determining the life trajectories of students.”

The court overruled the legislators’ objection but allowed for further discovery on the issue.

The court also ordered the petitioners to address Sen. Joe Scarnati’s (R-Jefferson) claim that adoption of a new education funding formula in 2016 fixed the school funding problem.

McInerney counters that the formula only applies to 2 percent of school funding.

“School children across the state continue to suffer extraordinary harm due to severe underfunding and gross inequalities, from overcrowded schools to crumbling buildings to understaffing and outdated textbooks,” she states.

McInerney says once the constitutional and school funding formula questions have been resolved, the case will be scheduled for trial.

10K Run/Walk benefiting the DUI Victims Memorial Garden

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Harrisburg, PA) – On Saturday, May 12, 2018, Pennsylvanians will be honoring and remembering those who have senselessly lost their lives at the hands of impaired drivers by participating in the 15th Annual DUI Victim’s Memorial 10K Run/ 1Mile Walk sponsored by the PA DUI Association. The on-site registration starts promptly at 8 AM. After the event, bricks engraved with DUI victims’ names will be placed in the DUI Victims Memorial Garden at 2413 North Front Street. Over 2,000 victim names are already memorialized in the garden.
An awards ceremony will be held following the Run/Walk event. Partial proceeds from this event will allow for additional DUI Victim bricks to be purchased and for upkeep of the Pennsylvania DUI Victims Memorial Garden.
The Pennsylvania DUI Victims Memorial Garden was dedicated on October 2, 2003, and it is Pennsylvania’s first statewide DUI Victims Memorial Park. As the name implies, this Garden honors and remembers the countless Pennsylvanians who are needlessly killed every year in drunk driving crashes. The garden incorporates bricks, pavers, benches, trees, shrubs and an abundance of flowering plants to create a beautiful and serene setting. Currently, the Garden contains over 2,000 bricks engraved with DUI Victims’ names, with additional 60 bricks being added during Saturday’s Run/Walk.

Special Weather Statement

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Special Weather Statement
National Weather Service State College PA
731 PM EDT THU MAY 10 2018

PAZ066-110015-
Lancaster PA-
731 PM EDT THU MAY 10 2018

...STRONG THUNDERSTORMS WILL AFFECT PARTS OF LANCASTER COUNTY UNTIL
815 PM EDT...

At 730 PM EDT, Doppler radar indicated strong thunderstorms along a
line extending from near Churchtown to Willow Street. Movement was
east at 35 mph.

Dime size hail and winds in excess of 40 mph are possible.

Locations impacted include...
New Holland, Willow Street, Lancaster, Quarryville, Bareville,
Smithville, Churchtown, Strasburg, Leola, Gap, Paradise, Leacock,
Buck, Goodville, Blue Ball, Georgetown, Farmersville, Smoketown,
Christiana and White Horse.

State Department of Agriculture Warns Consumers to Discard Tainted Raw Milk from Lancaster County Dairy

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Harrisburg, PA – Consumers who purchased raw, whole milk from Pool Forge Dairy between April 25 and May 7 should immediately discard it. The milk was sold in plastic quart, half-gallon, and gallon containers with the Pool Forge label. Tests completed during routine sampling were positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

The milk was sold at Pool Forge Dairy at 201 Bridgeville Road, Shady Maple Market at 1324 Main Street, and Hoover’s Farm Market at 1719 Main Street. All three locations are in East Earl Township in northeastern Lancaster County.

Listeria monocytogenes can cause Listeriosis, an illness which has symptoms including fever, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. Listeriosis mainly affects pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and adults with impaired immune systems. Listeriosis in pregnant women can result in miscarriage, premature delivery, serious infection of the newborn, or stillbirth. No reported illnesses have been attributed to the product, but people who consumed the milk should consult their physicians if they become ill.

Application Deadline Looming for REAP Tax Credits to Help Farmers Add Conservation Practices, Improve Water Quality

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Farmers encouraged to apply by June 1; Eligible equipment must be delivered by June 30

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today reminded farmers of an impending June 30 deadline to apply for Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program tax credits. The tax credits can help those in production agriculture offset the costs of implementing best management practices (BMPs) or purchasing on-farm conservation equipment. Producers should apply by June 1.

“Agriculture producers are facing tremendous market volatility and uncertainty today. At the same time, our farmers want to be good stewards of our natural resources, and they’re being called on to help restore and protect the quality of our waterways,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “REAP is a way for farmers to make upgrades and improvements that increase their farm’s bottom lines and clean up our waterways at the same time. If you’re an agricultural producer thinking about purchasing new equipment or implementing a BMP and you want to take advantage of REAP, now is the time to act..”

REAP is a Pennsylvania tax credit program for agricultural producers who install BMPs or make equipment purchases that reduce nutrient and sediment runoff, which improves Pennsylvania’s streams and watersheds. The program is administered by Pennsylvania’s State Conservation Commission, which provides support and oversight to the state’s 66 county conservation districts.

 

Farmers may receive tax credits of up to $150,000 per agricultural operation for 50 to 75 percent of the project’s cost. The most commonly approved projects are for no-till planting and precision ag equipment, waste storage facilities, conservation plans, nutrient management plans, and protecting barnyards and other areas with animals. Cover crops and riparian stream buffers are also popular REAP-eligible practices. REAP can be used in conjunction with other funding sources, such as the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) or the Chesapeake Bay Program to help install BMPs.

For projects that include the proposed purchase of equipment, the equipment must be delivered by June 30, 2018. For projects involving the implementation of structural BMPs, all BMPs and BMP components must be complete by June 30, 2019 to be eligible.

REAP applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, up to the June 1 deadline for this year’s funds. The longer producers wait, the less chance they have of securing funding from this year’s allocation, Redding added.

“Governor Wolf and the General Assembly have made a commitment to continue funding the REAP program in this year’s budget,” Redding noted. “They see its value for our farms and waterways, and hear firsthand from farmers who have benefited from the program. I thank everyone who has a hand in this program’s success.”

Private investors may act as project sponsors by providing capital in exchange for tax credits. Any individual or business subject to taxation through personal income tax, corporate net income tax, the bank shares tax or others is eligible to participate in REAP.

Since the program began in 2007, REAP has awarded tax credits to more than 4,800 projects totaling more than $68 million. Public and private investments in REAP have contributed to the conservation projects, worth more than $165 million.

The 2017-18 REAP application packet, as well as other information about REAP, is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website, agriculture.pa.gov, or by contacting Joel Semke at 717-705-4032 or jsemke@pa.gov. Learn more information about WIP3, Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay strategy by visiting the WIP3webpage.