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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

Published by:

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

Lancaster PA-
731 PM EDT THU MAY 10 2018

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,, or by contacting Joel Semke at 717-705-4032 or Learn more information about WIP3, Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay strategy by visiting the WIP3webpage.

Dog Wardens to Canvass 36 Counties for Current Dog Licenses, Rabies Vaccinations

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Harrisburg, PA – To help ensure that pets and people are kept safe across Pennsylvania, state dog wardens will conduct dog license and rabies vaccination checks in 36 counties in May. This outreach program helps educate Pennsylvanians about the need to keep dog licenses and rabies vaccinations – for both cats and dogs – up to date.

Counties to be canvassed in May include Adams, Allegheny, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cameron, Centre, Chester, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Fayette, Franklin, Forest, Fulton, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, McKean, Mercer, Monroe, Montour, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, Snyder, Tioga, Union, Washington, Warren, Wayne, Wyoming, and York. Canvassing began in April and will continue in additional counties in June.

May’s canvassing schedule is as follows:

May 1-4: Adams, Butler, Clinton, Fulton, Lehigh, McKean, Montour, Northampton, and Washington counties

May 7-11: Bedford, Blair, Chester, Lawrence, Tioga, Warren, Washington, and Wayne counties

May 14-18: Allegheny, Cameron, Cumberland, Franklin, Indiana, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, and Snyder counties

May 21-25: Allegheny, Centre, Lebanon, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, and Union counties

May 28-31: Clearfield, Fayette, Forest, Schuylkill, Wyoming, and York counties

Pennsylvania law requires all dogs three months or older to be licensed by January 1 of each year. The fee is $6.50 for each spayed or neutered dog and $8.50 for other dogs. Older adults and persons with disabilities may purchase a license for $4.50 for spayed or neutered dogs and $6.50 for others. Dog licenses are available through county treasurers’ offices.

Additionally, all dogs and non-feral cats three months of age and older must be vaccinated against rabies. Booster vaccinations must be administered periodically to maintain lifelong immunity.

Violators may be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs.

Dog wardens drive vehicles and wear uniforms labeled with “Pennsylvania Dog Law Enforcement Warden” in a keystone with a state seal. They wear a badge and state identification.

Wardens will request proof of licensure and proof of rabies vaccination. They will leave written notice for someone who is not home, or does not answer the door. Dog wardens will not enter a home or building without the owner’s permission.


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King of Prussia, PA – Westtown Township is planning overnight periodic lane closures on U.S. 202 next week between Robin’s Nest Lane and Old Wilmington Pike in Westtown Township, Chester County on Monday, May 14, through Wednesday, May 16, from 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM the following morning, for utility work, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work area because slowdowns will occur during construction. The schedule is weather dependent.
Westtown Township will complete this project under a PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit.
US 202 Periodic Lane Closures Chester County.JPG


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​King of Prussia, PA – Pennsylvania American Water is planning lane restrictions with flagging on westbound Route 82/Business U.S. 30 next week between First Avenue and Church Street in City of Coatesville, Chester County, on Monday, May 14, through Friday, May 18, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, for trench restoration, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today.

Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work area because slowdowns will occur during construction. The schedule is weather dependent.
Pennsylvania American Water will complete this project under a PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit.
Route 82-Business US 30 Travel Restrictions Chester County.JPG

Poll Shows Strong Support for More Education Aid

Published by:

Andrea Sears

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvanians from both sides of the political aisle support full funding of public education, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted for the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center by the polling firm TargetSmart, found that almost six in ten respondents favor making full funding of K-through-12 public education a top legislative priority.

According to Ben Lazarus, director of research and analytics at TargetSmart, that includes 76 percent of liberal Democrats.

“The numbers remain well above majority when we look at independents, moderate Republicans and even conservative Republicans, 57 percent of whom want the state Legislature to prioritize improving the public schools,” says Lazarus.

The poll found that 56 percent of all respondents feel the state invests too little money in public education, compared with just 12 percent who think the state spends too much.

Mark DiRocco, head of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, says the poll results show a growing public awareness that even with recent increases, state public school subsidies are not keeping up with growing costs.

“Consequently you have several school districts around the state who continue not to replace personnel when they resign or when they retire, continue to cut back on programs for kids that are much needed, whether they be reading programs or math programs” says DiRocco.

He adds that one-third of districts responding to an annual survey report they have cut staff, programs or both for the last seven years in a row.

Rich Askey, vice president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, points out that Governor Tom Wolf and the state Legislature have restored much of the billion dollars cut from education funding eight years ago.

“Our next priority is to keep increasing funding for our public schools so that they can start investing in new programs, new resources, and we can add new technologies,” says Akey. “We just need to keep it up.”

The education-funding poll is part of a campaign called “We the People” that the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center and other organizations will be launching later this month.

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