april fools’ from the pa dep on bishop tube 


My my my. My late father always said a lot of real news was buried in the Saturday paper. And here we have it.

File under April Fools’ from the Pennsylvania DEP?

At this point I can’t decide who is sleazier,  can you? Developers with their perpetual sets of the emperor’s new clothes or the state agencies who are supposed to protect us?

I wonder what does the EPA think? I realize they are a Federal agency but do they care?  Or are residents on their own with TCE across the country and the damage it does? The damage TCE has done already?

So yeah, Pennsylvania DEP, people ARE watching you. Remember Limerick? Remember how people rose up and demanded the DEP actually do their jobs and not just push paper around?

And while we are calling people out on toxic Bishop Tube and the fact that way too many in authority have known for DECADES about this site, should we not call out State Representative Duane Milne and State Senator Andy Dinniman? 

This is a deadly, toxic site and it needs to be cleaned up properly. Those three hot spots which are the only ones that supposedly are going to get cleaned up are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg and the Pennsylvania DEP knows it, don’t they?

For more recent posts on Bishop Tube see:

bishop tube in front of east whiteland march 8

calling erin brockovich?

the delaware riverkeeper opines on bishop tube to east whiteland zoning hearing board

the delaware riverkeeper sends the pa dep’s hatzell a letter…about bishop tube!

east whiteland reporting bishop tube site is OFF planning agenda for 3/22

the tale of the bishop tube documents

Pay attention to the post containing documents above, old documents tell interesting tales don’t they?

As of now there is a meeting hosted by East Whiteland Township on Bishop Tube on April 19. Note the careful wording of the notice because they have invited all the below parties to show up and hopefully all the below parties will show up considering the fact that some of them are now contacting residents right?  I think this meeting is a demonstration of good faith on the part of East Whiteland Township. Here’s hoping all  invited show up to the party, can’t we all agree?

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delaware riverkeeper urges residents to take action and act now on toxic bishop tube!

Hot off the presses from The Delaware Riverkeeper!  The Delaware Riverkeeper is urging residents to act now, and send letters as per below instructions to state officials – elected and appointed.

Dinniman’s West Chester office is 610-692-2112 and his fax is 610-436-1721

Dinniman’s Harrisburg office is 717-787-5709 and his fax is 717-787-4384

Milne’s Malvern office is 610-251-1070 and his fax is 610-251-1074

Milne’s Harrisburg office is 717-787-8579 and his fax is 717-787-1295

HERE IS A SAMPLE LETTER YOU CAN PERSONALIZE AND SEND TO DINNIMAN OR MILNE WHICH ANOTHER RESIDENT HAS GRACIOUSLY SHARED:

BishopTube…Sample Letter

East Whiteland has a meeting this week where Bishop Tube will be discussed- Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 7:30 PM. It is the Planning Commission. Same meeting room as the Zoning and Board of Supervisors. 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, PA 19355.

Residents need to pack the boardroom again. I know, I know it’s like a part time job but it is important that every board hear residents with their own ears, and you have a finite amount of time to be heard.

ah yes…the election

Poor squirrel is utterly worn out from the 2016 election season....

Poor squirrel is utterly worn out from the 2016 election season….

I have avoided writing about this U.S. Presidential Election.  I have mostly avoided speaking about it on my personal Facebook page except to share the Saturday Night Live debate spoofs.

Why them? Because Saturday Night Live is disturbingly spot on and it is one of the few things that makes me laugh at the hot mess this country has dissolved into.

This past May after the  primary, I did something I thought I would never do: I switched my political party affiliation to Independent. I could not take it anymore.  I was until that point a life-long Republican, even if I had split my ticket a lot of the time.

Why?

Simple.

As of this past spring, I was no longer in either major party category given the polarization of American politics and the extremes on extremes we have been seeing.

This 2016 election season is the ugliest certainly in my lifetime. People are vile and hateful. All we see are the politics of ignorance. And anger.

2016 has also been the year of ugly violent protests where people are getting hurt…and dying.

What does all the ugliness accomplish?

Let’s go local.

I am in particular really tired of Jack London bodybuilding campaign mailers. Ok so Senator Dinniman? You are or should be a better human being than that. If that is the best you’ve got to put on a double sided post card, save the postage and printing charges. They are stupid and wasteful.

And Duane Milne? Tell the truth and shame the devil? On the 8th day apparently you personally invented Chester County (and everything in it), and several election cycles later, State Representative Milne I am still trying to figure out what you do besides show up for photo ops, so maybe we all should just give the other guy a shot?

So that is it on specific mailings. I am not even going to bother to dissect the Clinton and Trump mailers because they are ALL awful.

Kudos to Congressman Ryan Costello for having the least offensive mailers of a national candidate. It makes it easy to choose you. You get it.

As a registered Independent I officially get EVERYTHING.  Every nasty piece of glossy tree killing junk mail that the United States Postal Service will not let me return to sender (I have tried). So I get to pay to recycle mail I did not ask for.

And not only am I getting my political junk mail but the political junk mail of a dead woman, the lady who used to live in our home. Apparently politicians do see dead people.

Now let’s talk about the calls.  Robo calls galore.  And not so robo calls from the terminally bored reading off scripts usually in an up-talk sing-song tone.  The live people are so much fun….tell them you are an anarchist.  Go ahead. It’s funny because every single one of them will stop dead and say “What? What’s an anarchist? This call isn’t about religion.”  (Then I hang up.)

wut

Social media.  Some people should just stay OFF of social media until after the election.

Why?

Because the proverbial villages are being overrun by rabid ridiculousness.  If half of the people even understood what the heck they were posting about it would be good.  But most do not.  And they spout and share angry vitriol from both sides that does nothing except foment hate.

And the political hypocrites. Do not even get me started on them.

I am just tired of this election season.  We are a country of Ugly Americans because of the insane polarity and divisiveness. Friends are attacking friends over political talking heads that basically at the end of the day regardless of the party do NOT give a damn about any of us.  The game is about the vote, a giant game of whomever gets all the toys wins.

After election day, will they know Jane and John and Sam and Cindy who shook the candidates’ hands at rallies?

NOPE.

This country is a hot angry mess.  The election has been whittled down to choosing the lesser of two evils and how is that even a choice? After November 9th will berating your friends and strangers over their choices have been worth it?

And the sign stealers. Grow up. You don’t have to like your neighbor’s sign, they don’t have to like yours. But at this point between the stealing and the corners everywhere that just have too many signs and the highways which will wear political signs for months after the election because no one took them down, I wish there were NO POLITICAL SIGNS. OR ADS. OR BILLBOARDS.

When it comes to politics, I know we will never all get along, but we have collectively lost the ability for civil discourse. And so have the national campaigns.

To quote the Washington Post from this July:

With about 6 in 10 Americans disliking each of them — and as many as one-quarter saying they dislike both of them — the 2016 campaign will almost undoubtedly be a race to the bottom. In such a situation, campaigns will almost always focus on making the case that their opponent is unacceptable rather than making a positive case for their candidate. And that was certainly the case in Clinton’s and Trump’s acceptance speeches.

It’s become cliche to decry each election as the most negative of our lives; the atmospherics of this race, though, are completely unique in recent American history — and uniquely conducive to negativity.

Polling shows voters indeed are already more prepared to vote against something than for something in 2016…

 

If you have a brain and aren’t afraid to use it, no matter who it is you will vote for on November 8th, you should be terrified. We are a country of haters and some days it feels like we are on the brink of yet another Civil War, and we all know how well that worked out the last time.

Please, for the love of what Americans used to be, do your part to dial back the vitriol and rhetoric. Remember the people who died to give us our freedoms, and try to respect them.  I do not think election season 2016 is what they fought and died for. I rather think they were trying to escape hateful behavior like we are seeing from coast to coast.

what bishop tube looks like (and more legal stuff filed)

DSC_8760I went to Malin Road and stood outside the fences of Bishop Tube today.  Totally creepy and deserted.  I was glad to see an unmarked police car do a drive by a couple minutes after I got there, the place gave me the willies.

DSC_0009

I took photos from outside the fencing on the road. What a weird feeling to be out on such a gloriously beautiful day, yet there was the overwhelming creepiness of the Bishop Tube Site, all abandoned and the only way to describe it was the place seems to radiate negative energy.  Don’t see how that feeling will be eradicated by plastic townhouses marching row after row.  The site doesn’t appear to be particularly secure and given what appears to be vandalism, nor does itappear as if it has been for years has it?

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Staring at the site, I couldn’t help but wonder where the PA DEP was on this? I can find on the Internet where they were in the past, but not in the present. Or the EPA, which is so screwed up just read THIS and THIS and THIS.  Here let me share this:

The EPA Should Resign in Shame over Orange River

Let States Step Up to the Plate on the Environment

The cause? None other than a mistake by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Wall Street Journal reported details on the incident Sunday, noting that the spill was initially downplayed by the EPA, and that it was much larger than first reported. Most importantly, as of Sunday, the mine is still releasing wastewater at a rate of about 500 gallons per minute. The pollution incident is ongoing.

This latest toxic release is yet another example of the EPA spectacularly failing at its primary mission. As I’ve expressed in this space before, the government is not particularly competent at environmental remediation and management.

When you read things written by critics of the PA DEP, it is often not much better. Look these government agencies have good intentions but they all seem to get in their own way and in the end are the accomplishing their goals of protecting all of us?

Just check out this article from 2014 about fracking contaminating drinking water :

The Pennsylvania DEP has been criticized for its poor record of providing information on fracking-related contamination to state residents. In April, a Pennsylvania Superior Court case claimed that due to the way DEP operates and its lack of public record, it’s impossible for citizens to know about cases where private wells, groundwater and springs are contaminated by drilling and fracking.

“The DEP must provide citizens with information about the potential harm coming their way,” John Smith, one of the attorneys representing municipalities in the lawsuit, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “If it doesn’t record and make available the violations records then it is denying the public accurate information, which is unconscionable.”

When is the last time the PA DEP or EPA took a good look at sites like Bishop Tube in Pennsylvania?  These aren’t new sexy disasters, they are plodding along existing trouble spots so now that there don’t appear to be lots of  government money floating around for clean up ( a la “Growing Greener“) who cares about these toxic sites like Bishop Tube?

Now the PA DEP mentions Bishop Tube in it’s 2014 report, yes but it isn’t in so much detail is it? I found the annual reports on the DEP website which crashes a lot. So where are State Representative Duane Milne and State Senator Andy Dinniman on Bishop Tube?  Aren’t they supposed to be looking after Chester County residents on this topic as well?

I happened to check the court dockets on the Bishop Tube litigation mention in prior posts when I came home and there are a few more filings on the case of ordinary hard-working people vs, everyone involved around Bishop Tube.  Here are the two most interesting:

Plaintiff Memorandum Response Bishop Tube 2015

Amended Complaint With Jury Demand Bishop Tube 2015 Aug 12

Apparently although The Daily Local did that curtain raiser of an article a couple of weeks ago, no other media seems interested in a toxic superfund site in bucolic Chester County? Or are there media inquiries and other inquiries starting to foment and ferment behind the scenes?

DSC_8764

Here are a couple of gems from all this legal stuff:

From the plaintiffs’ memorandum (2:15-cv-01919 (GJP) filed 8/10/15):

Table of Auth

Page 4: “The Plaintiffs have alleged that, during the Defendants’ respective ownership and operation thereof, they discharged hazardous substances into the environmental which have migrated onto and into the Plaintiffs’ property including the Plaintiffs’ drinking water. It is further alleged that the Defendants have failed to remediate the contamination, the regulatory authorities have failed to require the Defendants to remediate the contamination and additional response work will be necessary.”

Page 6 “It is alleged in the Complaint that, during their respective periods of ownership and operation of the Bishop Tube site, the Defendants used or permitted the use of hazardous substances, including trichloroethylene (“TCE”), during the manufacturing processes for their seamless stainless steel and other products and that, as a result of the Defendants’ ownership and operations at the Bishop Tube site, hazardous substances, including TCE, were disposed into the environment, including the Bishop Tube site’s soils and groundwater. See Complaint,¶¶34-35. It is further alleged that subsurface migration of contaminated groundwater from the Bishop Tube site has and continues to contaminate the aquifer beneath the Bishop Tube site and beneath off-site premises including the Plaintiffs’ home. See Complaint, ¶36.”

Page 7 “Accordingly, in or about 1999, the PADEP took over response actions at the Bishop Tube site, which included periodic sampling of soil, surface water, groundwater, vapor intrusion pathway analysis and maintenance of monitoring wells in the contaminated aquifer as well as the installation of a soil vapor extraction and air sparging system designed to capture and remove contamination from subsurface soils at the Bishop Tube site. See Complaint, ¶¶42-43.

However, none of the Defendants have taken any steps to actively remediate the contamination that originated on the Bishop Tube site, which has and continues to migrate onto the Warren property and neither the EPA nor the PADEP have taken any steps to compel such remedial activity. See Complaint, ¶44. Further response action is necessary to abate the release of the hazardous substances at the Bishop Tube site which have and continue to migrate onto the Warren property. See Complaint, ¶45.”

A Notice of Intent to Sue was served on all Defendants as well as the EPA and PADEPon December 8, 2014, to which no one responded”

Page 11: “III. Plaintiffs’ RCRA Claim Must Not Be Dismissed

Johnson Matthey next argues that the Plaintiffs’ RCRA claim must be dismissed because it does not adequately allege an “imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment” and because the State is diligently addressing the contamination.

However, as described in detail above, the Complaint alleges that TCE contamination from the Bishop Tube site has migrated into the Plaintiffs’ well water. TCE is a volatile organic compound “used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts, but it is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers.

Trichloroethylene is not thought to occur naturally in the environment. However, it has been found in underground water sources and many surface waters as a result of the manufacture,use, and disposal of the chemical.” There is evidence that TCE affects the developmental and nervous systems in humans and is also carcinogenic. Specifically, there is evidence that TCE can cause kidney cancer and limited evidence for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer as well as various tumors in animals. See United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Toxic Substances Portal for TCE, http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/substances/toxsubstance.asp?toxid=30 (last visited August 7,2015).

Accordingly, it is respectfully submitted that it is disingenuous for Johnson Matthey to claim that Plaintiffs have not adequately alleged sufficient imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment to sustain a RCRA claim.”

Page 13: “Conclusion

Simply stated, in support of their federal CERCLA and RCRA claims, the Plaintiffs have alleged that: (1) the Defendants, including Johnson Matthey, discharged hazardous substances, including TCE, into the environment at the Bishop Tube site which have migrated onto the Plaintiffs’ property and, specifically, into their drinking water; (2) that the Defendants have failed to remediate the contamination; (3) that the regulatory authorities have failed to require the Case 2:15-cv-01919-GJP Document 6 Filed 08/10/15 Page 12 of 13 10 Defendants to remediate the contamination; and (4) that additional response work will be necessary. Indeed, TCE is a carcinogenic. Based on the foregoing, it is respectfully submitted that the Plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts, which must be presumed true for purposes of this Motion, to withstand a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the FRCP”

From First Amended Complaint With Jury Demand:

Page 5: 37: “During their respective periods of ownership and operation of the Bishop Tubesite, the Defendants used or permitted the use of hazardous substances, including trichloroethylene (”TCE”), during the manufacturing processes for their seamless stainless steel and other products.”

 TCE

const dr ptnerbish tuNegligence Bishop Tube80 81Ok above are just snippets of the legal documents, quotes, excerpts. You can read for yourself the entire thing as they are uploaded in this post:

Amended Complaint With Jury Demand Bishop Tube 2015 Aug 12

Plaintiff Memorandum Response Bishop Tube 2015

I did not create any of this it is all on the court record.

I am a cancer survivor. I would not wish that on anyone. I have also known people who have seen their children through cancer and trust me, it is too gut wrenching for words. In my opinion based on the research available to publicly peruse, this is site is toxic is it not? And then there is General Warren Village.  Those residents deserve peace of mind don’t they?  They have always been directly affected by Bishop Tube haven’t they?

I am a realist. This might be a creepy site but it is this chunk of land that developers are salivating over (don’t know if they are glowing in the dark from walking around it, however.) This site will be made into something although really it should be cleaned up and left alone since it is also my opinion that this site will take years to properly remediate, and can’t you agree that is reasonable?

But the thing is this: a plan like that not only affects people who want their piece of the American Dream and want to live in gorgeous Chester County who might purchase these cram plan slab on grade no basement wonders if they are built, but potentially every east Whiteland resident in the future, correct?

How can East Whiteland say for certain they would not ever become a party over litigation surrounding this site?  They can’t, can they?  And they have an obligation to current and future residents to see beyond the shiny promises of developers oh so familiar to them, see beyond and some new ratables  down the road, and must put their heads down and see that this site is properly remediated and even get alternate land uses investigated, right? The bottom line is the owner of the land knows how to remediate this properly, they have the experience, correct?

Approving a development plan here while this litigation is ongoing and remediation isn’t complete can be considered a case of putting the cart before the horse, yes? And why is it all we hear is about the developer planning on “capping vapors” with the concrete slabs for the townhouses, yet the current litigation mentions aquifer again and again which is ground water, drinking water, and so on, right? A little different from vapors, right?

East Whiteland has a lot of development balls in the air and should we worry about how the land planning with all the developer driven zoning overlays are getting done?

East Whiteland, you have to do this right. Lives depend upon it. Please.

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is the bishop tube site in malvern completely remediated for environmental hazards?

Bishop Tube in Malvern PA courtesy of Abandoned Not Forgotten

It is a fairly simple question: has the Superfund toxic waste dump of a site known as Bishop Tube been completely remediated? And if not where is it in the process?

According to court records from 2005, the Bishop Tube site groundwater contamination was first formally recognized in 1980:

In 1980, Congress enacted CERCLA. Groundwater contamination associated with the
Malvern Site was first identified in the spring of 1980 in residential wells. (Pl.’s Resp. Ex. 2 at
56412.) In September 1983, the Malvern Superfund Site was listed on the National Priorities
List. (Id.)

Yesterday I wrote a post on Bishop Tube and the latest proposed development. I had the link to a health report. So…Ok look but the thing is this – that health report thing says a LOT about Bishop Tube. The site has been targeted as toxic and been investigated a bunch of time since 1972, correct?  A cancer cluster was alleged in March 2007 by the community, correct?

Community folks reported 1-2 cancer cases in every household at that time, correct? A plume of contaminants from on-site has spread and is in the groundwater and local wells, correct?  A creek flows through there. Traces of the crud have been discovered a mile away, correct? There has been activity to clean up the contaminants at the site, but is it REALLY complete? Until it is complete, crud will continue to move in the plume, correct?

Additionally, since I posted my post I have seen the post shared on social media.  Residents of the area who grew up in and around General Warren have shared memories like this one:

” I remember being evacuated in June 1982 due to chemical spills and clouds of toxic stuff being in the air. Still clear in my mind since was studying for finals and we had to spend the night up in the old school in town. Also remember how my parents felt since there were fire police knocking on peoples’ doors to get out of their homes while the cops stayed in their cars and were using  speakers to get people out.”

Lots of current and former residents who also had relative who worked for Bishop Tube have commented. And have you ever read any of the obituaries of people who worked for Bishop Tube? How many of those people died of cancer? Also getting a lot of reads is a 2007 Daily Local article that was part of a series on Bishop Tube:

Keith Hartman and Dave Worst have many things in common.

They were both born in the 1950s, two years apart. They both grew up in General Warren Village, the modest, working class subdivision located south of Lancaster Avenue near the intersection of Route 29, and named for the historic General Warren Inne.

Like many of their neighbors in General Warren, Hartman and Worst worked at the nearby Bishop Tube Co.

Most significantly, the two men know of former Bishop employees who suffer from potentially fatal illnesses that they believe may have been caused by their exposure to trichlorethylene (TCE), a suspected carcinogen, during their tenure at the plant.

Hartman’s father, Lester Hartman, who worked alongside him at the plant, suffers from Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease. Worst has stage two melanoma and lesions on his liver and kidneys that his doctors are monitoring.

According to a report from the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, breathing high levels of TCE may cause nervous system effects, liver and lung damage, abnormal heartbeat, coma and possibly death.

Hartman and Worst can also run off a list of fellow Bishop Tube workers who either died from cancer or nerve diseases, or currently suffer from them.”

Ok so then you peruse all the East Whiteland Planning Commission meeting minutes you can find online that discuss Bishop Tube and here is a sampling:

EAST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING February 25, 2015

ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT; CONSTITUTION DRIVE PARTNERS (BISHOP TUBE) – RRD RESIDENTIAL REVITALIZATION DISTRICT.
Represented by Lou Colagreco, Esquire and Bo Erixxon and Chuck Dobson
The proposed ordinance is amending the “Table of Development Standard for Residential Districts” for the RRD Residential Revitalization District for the maximum tract density by reducing the number from 20 units to 12 units per developable acre. Other changes provide for reduction in setbacks from street and building spacing. The applicant had held a meeting with the adjacent tank farm owners and residents from General Warren Village. They have been able to satisfy the access of school buses, tanker trucks and emergency access under the railroad overpass. The total number of units being proposed has decrease from 303 to 264 units.

EAST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING April 23, 2014

ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AND MAP AMENDMENT – RRD –RESIDENTIAL REVITALIZATION DISTRICT – SOUTH MALIN ROAD – BISHOP TUBE

Represented by Lou Colagreco, Esquire, Brian O’Neill, Frank Tavani, John Benson

The applicant is requesting to add a new permitted residential district by amending Section 200-19 “Permitted Uses for Residential Districts.” The property is located on the south side of Malin Road formerly known as Bishop Tube property. The intent of the RRD Residential Revitalization District is to provide for and encourage reuse, redevelopment and revitalization of tracts that have undergone remediation. Mr. O’Neill advised that he has partnered with Benson Companies to construct townhouses on South Malin Road.

Mr. O’Neill stated that he met with the Township’s Fire Marshal who expressed his concern with the ability to handle a fire for multi-story structures at this location. Therefore, Mr. O’Neill has reduced the number of units to 305 down from 537 units. Density has been reduced by two-thirds from the original proposal. There will be no building on “hot spot” within the property, thereby, providing more green space. These “hot spots” will be capped. The new design is a rear entry building with 16 or 20 foot widths, three stories and approximately 1,900 sq. ft. The issue of a school buses being able to maneuver was investigated and determined not to be a problem. Changes to the intersection timing at Route 30 and South Malin Road will require modifications. Emergency vehicles only will have access to a keyed gate through Village Way. Members were advised that stormwater runoff will be controlled and the water will be cleaning before discharged to protect the Valley Creek. Discussion ensued.

Mr. David Babbitt presented his finding of the Fiscal Impact Study. He advised that the financial impact is positive for all entities: township, school district and county. He reviewed the report and stated that this development will not have a negative impact on the school district. Discussion ensued.

Members were advised that stacked townhouses are three and one-half stories tall and approximately 1,600-2,300 sq. ft. Mr. O’Neill addressed the screening for the units on the west side facing the tank farm and the exterior building materials being proposed. He offered to provide a four foot berm in front of the homes facing the tank farm for additional protection. Members suggested: 1) further review by the Fire Marshal for the new plan configuration; 2) traffic study review; and 3) approval of the building heights.

EAST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING February 26, 2014

ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AND MAP AMENDMENT – RRD –RESIDENTIAL REVITALIZATION DISTRICT – SOUTH MALIN ROAD – BISHOP TUBE

Represented by Lou Colagreco, Esquire, Brian O’Neill, Guy Wolfington

They are requesting to add a new permitted residential district by amending Section 200-19 “Permitted Uses for Residential Districts. The property is located on the southeast side of Malin Road formerly known as Bishop Tube property. The permitted uses are by right, special exceptions and conditional uses. The intent of the RRD Residential Revitalization District is to provide for and encourage reuse, redevelopment and revitalization of tracts that have undergone remediation.

Mr. O’Neill advised that the Bishop Tube property access is restricted due to the railroad tunnel. Various other development proposals have failed due to these restrictions. He is suggesting developing the property by demolishing the buildings. He will build 34 townhouses and 360 loft apartment with underground parking. There has been a cooperative effort from all parties to clean up the site. Discussion ensued concerning the safety limitations out of this area. Mr. O’Neill offered other developments where similar access limitation exists. He offered to provide the members a tour of these other locations he’s developed.

EAST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING May 28, 2014

ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AND MAP AMENDMENT – RRD –RESIDENTIAL REVITALIZATION DISTRICT – SOUTH MALIN ROAD – BISHOP TUBE

Represented by Lou Colagreco, Esquire, Brian O’Neill, Frank Tavani, John Benson

The applicant is requesting to add a new permitted residential district by amending Section 200-19 “Permitted Uses for Residential Districts.” The property is located on the south side of Malin Road formerly known as Bishop Tube property. The intent of the RRD Residential Revitalization District is to

provide for and encourage reuse, redevelopment and revitalization of tracts that have undergone remediation.

They are proposing to construct 305 townhouses. The density has been reduced by two-thirds from the original proposal. Mr. Colagreco stated that this most recent plan has been presented to Ken Battin, Building Official/Fire Marshal, and he gave a favorable review of this plan. Members were advised that they can satisfactorily comply with the items listed in McMahon Associates letter, dated May 23, 2014. Changes to the intersection timing at Route 30 and South Malin Road can be accomplished. A discussion ensued relative to the County Planning Commission review letter. The solicitor felt that they had not been given them credit for the revitalization. Ms. Woodman asked, if the two properties under agreement with the Benson Company, contained any contamination? She suggested that the applicant investigate Section 200-25.1 (A) which requires that the properties either will or have undergone remediation standards. To date, the Township has no “brownfield” notification on these two parcels. The applicant was advised the the surrounding community is interested in the status of the cleanup. Mr. Colagreco suggested that information be forward to the Township for incorporation on the website.

ACTION:

Mr. Laumer made a motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Zoning Ordinance Text and Map Amendments to creating a new RRD- Residential Revitalization District and applying this District in lieu of the current I-Industrial Zoning District designation on three parcels including the former

Bishop Tube property located on South Malin Road east of the Buckeye Tank Farm. The motion was seconded by Todd Asousa and the vote was unanimous.

Ok, so all this craziness mostly talks ONLY about HOW many units. From a couple hundred to over five hundred, to three hundred to two hundred and sixty four and apparently after last evening’s meeting oh goodie two hundred and thirty some odd units.

But where is everyone on where exactly is the remediation of this toxic site? As of April of this year (as in 2015 in case you read this post years from now), there is a Federal Law Suit filed that is NEW about this site. Filing a Federal suit (Bishop Tube et al 2015 litigation) is not something someone wakes up one morning and decides to do like putting on a blue shirt versus a pink dress. It is a little more complex and complicated is it not?

Oh and as pursuant to the resident remembering an evacuation in 1981:

1981 Bishop Tube Acid Spill

So where is the remediation?  I have been checking old HSCA Remedial Sites Listing and De-listing Dates on the web from the state and have NOT found any de-listing of Bishop Tube, so what is going on?

If this site is NOT completely remediated , why the cart before the horse scenario? Isn’t it a little bass ackwards to be discussing a development plan if a site is not completely cleaned up?  And is it true it can take decades to properly clean up a site like this because you never know when little pools of toxic goodness will bubble up? And can’t these chemicals get trapped between rocks and stuff and get released anew if moved?

In 2007 State Senator Andy Dinniman talked a good game on TCE, or Trichloroethylene (reference July 2007 newsletter item “Dinniman Gets Tough on TCE“), so where is he now? Where is he on the Bishop Tube site? What about State Representative Duane Milne?

Ok so what about the court/legal pissing match between Constitution Drive Partners LP and the PA DEP?

Excerpt:

Philadelphia (July 18, 2014, 5:09 PM ET) — A Pennsylvania court ruled Thursday that the owner of a contaminated tract of Chester County land could not appeal a Department of Environmental Protection letter ending an agreement in which the landowner agreed to take measures to rehabilitate the site in exchange for protection from liability.   

The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board said that the letter the DEP sent to Constitution Drive Partners LP — which purchased the site of a former precious metals and steel processing facility in 2005 — was not appealable because the letter itself had no effect on the company…..When CDP bought the former Bishop Tube site in East Whiteland Township, it reached an agreement with DEP to take certain steps to remediate the existing soil and groundwater contamination, according to the opinion.

Then, in 2011, an independent contractor hired by CDP damaged piping and protective covering on a soil vapor extraction and air sparging system while conducting salvage operations on the site…..But in January, DEP sent the company the letter citing the 2011 damage and accusing the company of breaking the 2005 agreement…..CDP is represented by Jonathan Sperger and Lynn Rauch of Manko Gold Katcher & Fox LLP.

The DEP is represented by in-house counsel Anderson Lee Hartzell.

The case is Constitution Drive Partners LLC v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, case number 2014-019-M, in the Environmental Hearing Board.

So how  does the above affect this potential development?  And should there even been anything in the approval process of a municipality when remediation doesn’t appear to be complete and there is a Federal level law suit pending?

In 2007 the PA DEP out a press release which says in part:

DEP TO HOLD HEARING OUTLINING TREATMENTS FOR CHESTER COUNTY SITE CONTAMINATION

Public Invited to Comment on Plans for Bishop Tube Property

NORRISTOWN — The Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, to give residents the chance to comment on a proposal to address soil and groundwater contamination at the Bishop Tube site in East Whiteland Township, Chester County. The former industrial facility is being cleaned up under the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA), a 1988 law that authorizes DEP to investigate and clean up hazardous waste sites. “We have a unique opportunity at this site to partner with the current property owner to make sure that groundwater and contaminated soil can be treated simultaneously and efficiently,” DEP Southeast Regional Director Joseph A. Feola said. “We will present these plans at the Jan. 30 hearing for public comment.”

The site consists of a large area of contaminated groundwater associated with the former Bishop Tube Company. The company used, and most likely released, hazardous substances into the environment, including trichloroethylene (TCE), nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid and various heavy metals including nickel and chromium. TCE is of particular concern since it has been detected in groundwater on the former Bishop Tube property and in wells and springs off-site.

Although DEP activity on this site began in 1999, most recently, the agency has been concentrating its efforts on three distinct source areas of contaminated soil.

Last September, a DEP contractor installed monitoring wells to help determine the extent that contaminated groundwater from the Bishop Tube site is affecting the Little Valley Creek, part of the Exceptional Value Valley Creek Watershed.

From 1999 through 2006, DEP completed three phases of remedial investigation work at the site, mapping onsite soil contamination and conducting stream and sediment sampling while conducting groundwater investigation work. Within the last year, the agency has initiated a feasibility study to evaluate options for addressing the discharge of contaminated shallow groundwater to Little Valley Creek.

The 13.7-acre Bishop Tube property is currently owned by Constitution Drive Partners (CDP), who purchased the site in 2005 to redevelop it for commercial or light industrial use. As part of the site purchase agreement, CDP will finance the purchase and installation of equipment needed to remediate contaminated soils in the three source areas and work with DEP to address groundwater contamination issues. This will enable DEP to better coordinate cleanup actions with the developer’s plans to renovate the site for productive use.

So what happened? What is the latest? My research thus far that save development discussions as in how many units, will there be playing fields and so on I can’t find anything much over the past few years about where the clean up process is can you? Now yesterday on this contractor builder “smart bid” site I found an interesting drawing:
bishop tube site TCESo these are hot spots and contaminated areas that they know of? (And isn’t it amazing this project is being all put out for bid consideration like it is a done deal? Is it a “done deal”?)

Last night I heard a handful of residents attended the East Whiteland Planning Commission Meeting. Early reports of citizenry perspective can be summed up in one word: disappointment.  East Whiteland has a grave responsibility here don’t you think? Shouldn’t a plan with so many external balls in the air be tabled until things are settled? Like any litigation involving the site and site remediation being completed? What happens if they just close there eyes, hope for the best and approve without all of that stuff being taken care of? Litigation where the township could be added to, correct?

And a word to the wise to residents who think this plan doesn’t affect them: even if you don’t live in or around General Warren Village this affects you. Traffic, infrastructure, and costs associated with any future litigation over a site contaminated with toxic waste for starters, right? Couldn’t any potential township involved litigation related to this site be economically crippling to a municipality?

Residents in East Whiteland should stand with the residents of General Warren on this. Those people in General Warren have taken it on the chin with things like Cube Smart (and the stories of how some residents were treated are a little alarming, right?). The negatives thus far outweigh the positives of any development at Bishop Tube, don’t they?

And there is another thing to consider  – so once upon a time there was this moratorium on development in East Whiteland. See:

Fate Of Debated Building Moratorium Hinges On E. Whiteland Race

Posted: October 28, 1999

Town Eyes Construction Moratorium East Whiteland Would Take 18 Months To Develop A Comprehensive Plan. Some Say The Proposal Would Not Stand Up In Court.

Posted: February 23, 2000

East Whiteland has no regrets on moratorium Such measures were recently struck down. Still, the break from development was valuable, officials say.

Posted: July 05, 2001

Ok so this went all the way to the State Supreme Court. And it was struck down. Which isn’t any great surprise given things like, oh I don’t know…. the Municipalities Planning Code and whatnot?  At the time former supervisor Virginia McMichael was quoted as saying:

“We knew we were sticking our necks out a little bit, and people said we should wait to enact a moratorium,” Virginia McMichael, vice chairwoman of the East Whiteland supervisors, said recently.

“But by not waiting, we did have a year to work on our comprehensive plan without having to accept new plans, and that was helpful to us. Now, we’ve lost one of our arrows.”

The article continued:

The township’s 18-month moratorium was adopted in February 2000. It was suspended last July after the Zoning Hearing Board found it invalid because proper review procedures were not followed. Supervisors reinstated the moratorium in September.

On June 20, the state Supreme Court ruled that while a municipality can regulate land development, it cannot suspend it through moratoriums.

Eyes rolling. How much did Virginia’s Folly cost East Whiteland tax payers? We may never know, right? And the irony of this woman championing a moratorium on development back then and by the time she skeedaddled to  wherever she went after she stepped down she was a champion of development and do I have that straight?

Who says you can’t have it both ways?

So if you do the math starting with plans that started getting presented when McMichael was still supervisor to the present day how many living units are in the works for East Whiteland?  1200+?   1500+?   Or more?

East Whiteland is awash in a Where’s Waldo of development. But hey, since East Whiteland is working on another comprehensive plan maybe they should have a Groundhog Day and try another moratorium on development? (Kidding but if only it could happen, right?)

Look Bishop Tube is scary stuff. Why can’t they clean it up completely and get some sort of cleaned up certification from PA DEP or the EPA before proceeding on anything else? And why can’t East Whiteland ask for that?

And as far as development goes East Whiteland would be best served by taking a breath just because a developer decrees build it and they will come, it doesn’t make it so. Especially when you are talking about sites like Bishop Tube which have the distinct potential of becoming Silkwood meets Erin Brocavitch, right?

The bottom line here is we all have to care, all of us. We just have to.  Can we say  that lives and future lives depend upon it? Here is hoping in a strange collision of the universe that politicians and developers and municipal folk care about doing this one right.

Bishop Tube 20140908_Report_of_Findings Bishop Tube

Figure_12_-_TCE_Source_Area_Location_Map

Bishop Tube Environmental Impact Assessment

Chester County Hazard Vulnerability Analysis July 2009

PRESENTATION ON HAZARDOUS SITES CLEANUP FUND REPUBLICAN POLICY COMMITTEE HEARING DECEMBER 6 2007

Bishop Tube Earth Engineering Report Letter

politics + non-profit nature conservancy = ?

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Saw this on a friend’s Facebook page with this comment:

“Like if you think Political Signs should NOT be installed in a beautiful view shed. PS this property is owned by the Brandywine Conservancy and I bet the Politicians did not ask permission.”

Thoughts? And anyone else tired of all the robo-calls and political mailers and the ads on television?

preserving choice in education in pennsylvania

20140429-114458.jpg

Fifteen and twenty years ago I knew nothing about home schooling, cyber charter schools, or bricks and mortar charter schools. I wasn’t a parent, so I didn’t fully comprehend the importance of having such choice.

Yes, I predominantly went to private schools. But when I was in 7th to 9th grades I was in public school. Then called junior high in the much ballyhooed and over indulged Lower Merion School District. Welsh Valley Junior High School.

We had been living in the city, in Society Hill, and once we got past the 6th grade school choice as in a good and safe education meant little kids on buses and trains. So my parents made the move to suburbia at the end of 6th grade into the Magic Kingdom of the Main Line and Lower Merion Township.

The kids in the new neighborhood were awesome. They went to public, private, and Catholic school. Unfortunately, while my parents hoped that nice kids in a nicer neighborhood would translate into the public school I would be attending and it didn’t . Welsh Valley ended up being an education all right. Just not the positive or productive one that people like real estate agents would chatter about hoping you would purchase their listings. And some of those houses were classic. (And allow me a brief detour because I have to share the fact that as an 11 year old you haven’t lived until you have seen a Main Line house with not only a padded scream therapy room but a guest room devoted to a very odd collectible – an electric chair removed from some prison or something. The house was somewhere in Bryn Mawr.)

But back to public school. I have written about it before in detail, am not going into it again in such detail, so here are the cliff notes: drugs, bullying, inappropriate teachers, and behind the 8 ball scholastically when compared to my peer group in other schools, including other public school districts. I was a very bright student, smart enough to have been put more than a year ahead and my parents saw that their child was dying by inches in this educational environment that was supposed to be so fabulous. Only it wasn’t.

So the three year experiment was ended and I went back to private school. To Shipley. Private schools were almost affordable back then. Smaller classes, teachers who gave a damn, and actual academic excellence. It wasn’t a perfect Utopia, every school has issues, but I thrived. I will always be grateful that I was able to go to Shipley.

However, today private schools are ridiculous in price and their tuitions are beyond the reach of a lot of people. Even Catholic or other faith based schools are out of reach. Because of that, there is a need for education choice. We have seen the rise of cyber charter schools, bricks and mortar charter schools, and home schooling in Pennsylvania. These types of schools have filled the void created by that gargantuan public school vacuum in Pennsylvania.

I will freely admit that fifteen and twenty years ago I was a skeptic of alternative forms of education. But then I became a parent with a kid who was a faceless cog in the wheel of a giant school district who in my opinion did not care, or did not care enough. They did not care about effectively and consistently dealing with bullying even in elementary school. They did not care enough as a top down approach to education. And if you were the parents of a special needs child? Well I have friends who have children in that category and they will tell you that you have to fight for the basics in public schools every day. Even in affluent areas.

My personal experience is that of a very bright child who was suffocating. When my kid came home with “homework” that was not a book but a poorly copied copy of a Xerox copy of drivel I knew I was reaching a breaking point. When I experienced first hand a principal not dealing with overt, obvious, and repeated bullying, I knew I was beyond the breaking point. And this was not some inner city elementary school with no resources. This was East Goshen Elementary School in the West Chester Area School District. You would have thought that a school in what is supposedly Pennsylvania’s wealthiest county would be better than that, right? They weren’t.

And I know full well that teachers I know through social media who are in this district are going to be peeved at me once again. I also accept that friends of mine whose children were fortunate enough to make it through WCASD unscathed and prepared for life are not going to be happy either, but this is our experience, and I can’t dumb it down or sugar coat it, it happened.

I know I am not alone. I know a lot of parents in Chester County who either have their kids in charter/cyber-charter schools or who are home schooling. One friend in particular stands out. Her child is on the autism spectrum and was dying by inches in her Chester County school district. Her child was not getting needs even remotely met, and they were paying for it in taxes. So my friend decided to home school. The difference is remarkable. Her child is bright and articulate and is becoming a wonderful young lady who excels in school, loves to learn. She is like any other teen, and this is thanks not to the public school district where they live, but due to the determination of her parents.

We put our child in a charter school. As opposed to our parents, private school was not in the budget. The economics of today are very different, and when we were in private school we weren’t looking at $30k to $50k a year per child when all was said and done.

Our child is in Renaissance Academy in Phoenixville, and is thriving. The teachers care, they educate, the kids are nicer and brighter. Classes are smaller, which means your kid does not get lost, they are not just a cog in the wheel. And the irony is we are now in arguably the best school district in Chester County and we choose to keep our child there. He is happy. That also makes us lucky if we had to make a change, but most in charter or cyber charter schools can’t say that. And we all deserve choice. We are paying for it.

Another thing about how I feel now about alternatives to public school has to do with my peer group, my friends. I have two very good friends who are involved with charter and cyber charter schools. One in development and one from the administrative and educational side of the table. They are two of the brightest women I know and as a parent they are exactly the kinds of women I want in education today.

I am a realist, and I am not immune to what critics say about these schools. Yes there are issues with schools everywhere. We have seen it recently with an elite private school and some very upper crust public schools feeling the sting of a drug bust, and well then there is that principal from Chadds Ford who has “retired” after a PSSA testing scandal.

So are we bullet proof literally and figuratively no matter where we send our children to school? Absolutely not, but we pay enough in taxes every year to fund public school education that we should be able to have choice.

And there are two bills winding their way through Harrisburg that would rob parents of choice and detrimentally affect children’s lives. Especially those kids with special needs who often don’t get enough help now. Here, I will let Renaissance Academy describe it as they did in a notification to parents. It is fair and balanced and tells it like it is:

Last year, the legislature passed Act 3 which was an honest attempt to bring rationality to the funding of special education children. A commission was formed to draft a report and further legislation to achieve that objective. The commission did admirable work creating a three-tiered system and multipliers for each category of special education student. But two inequities arose in the recommended implementation. First, only in the case of charter schools is the funding based on basic education funding. Second, while the implementation is to apply only to the $20 million in new special education proposed by the Governor for traditional schools, it is applied to the total $1 billion in special education funding for charter schools.

These fundamental differences lead to two serious inequities. First, the discriminatory treatment of one class of special education student based, not on their challenges, but solely on the type of public school they have chosen to attend. The same child, with exactly the same challenges, would receive more state financial support if he or she were in a traditional school than if the family had chosen a charter school. Second, the decreased funding for charters destroys the ability of charter schools to meet state and federal FAPE requirements, and in some cases to continue to exist as a financially viable school.

To learn more about the specifics of these two bills HB 2138 and SB 1316:

Click here for HB 2138

Click here for SB 1316

I am not going to say all public schools are bad. They aren’t . But charter schools are a choice we should be allowed. Our child is in a very successful charter school and a public charter school is alternative public education. This is education we pay for, so we should not let lobbyists and politicians vote into laws things that remove educational choices.

This is of course another reason why I think people need to send Harrisburg a message this upcoming May primary. I think these bills are but another reason to render Governor Tom Corbett a lame duck. So use the power of your vote. Anyone who supports these bills either publicly as a sponsor or behind the scenes shouldn’t be representing us in Pennsylvania.

However, don’t just send a message with your vote, write your legislators. In Chester County it is suggested that you contact some or all of the following ASAP:

 

Dan Truitt (House/R) 610-696-4990

Robert Tomlinson (Senate/R) 215-638-1784

Pat Browne (Senate/R) 610-821-8468 – CO-SPONSOR of SB1085

Anthony Williams (Senate/D) 215-492-2980

Andy Dinniman (Senate/D) 610-692-2112,

Bernie O’Neill (House/R) CO-SPONSOR 215-441-2624

Dwight Evans (House/D) 215-549-0220

Jake Corman (Senate/R) 814-355-0477, Education & Appropriations committees

 

More information on what politicians do in Harrisburg:

House Education Committee:

Majority Members

Clymer, Paul I. – Chair YEA (215)257-0279

Aument, Ryan P. YEA (717) 295-5050

Christiana, Jim YEA (724) 728-7655

Emrick, Joe YEA (570) 897-0401

English, Harold A. YEA (412) 487-6605

Fleck, Mike YEA (814) 644-2996

Gillen, Mark M. YEA (610) 775-5130

Grove, Seth M. YEA (717) 767-3947

O’Neill, Bernie YEA (215)441-2624

Rapp, Kathy L. YEA (814) 723-5203

Reese, Mike YEA (724) 423-6503

Rock, Todd YEA (717) 749-7384

Simmons, Justin J. YEA (610) 282-3901

Tallman, Will YEA (717) 259-7805

Truitt, Dan NAY (610)696-4990

Minority Members

Roebuck, James R. – Chair YEA

Carroll, Mike YEA

Clay, James YEA

Conklin, Scott YEA

Harkins, Patrick J. YEA

Longietti, Mark YEA

Molchany, Erin C. YEA

O’Brien, Michael H. YEA

Santarsiero, Steven J. YEA

Wheatley, Jake YEA

Senate Appropriations Committee:

Majority

Tomlinson, Robert M., ViceChair
Pileggi, Dominic, Ex‑Officio
Scarnati, Joseph B., III, Ex‑Officio
Argall, David G.
Baker, Lisa
Brubaker, Mike
Eichelberger, John H., Jr.
Gordner, John R.
Greenleaf, Stewart J.
Mensch, Bob
Rafferty, John C., Jr.
Smucker, Lloyd K.
Vance, Patricia H.
Vogel, Elder A., Jr.
Vulakovich, Randy
Minority

Ferlo, Jim, MinorityViceChair
Costa, Jay, Ex‑Officio
Blake, John P.
Farnese, Lawrence M., Jr.
Schwank, Judith L.
Solobay, Timothy J.
Washington, LeAnna M.
Wozniak, John N.
Yudichak, John T

Be polite when you contact these people. Suggested talking points are as follows:

1. These changes would ensure that that the same special education child, with exactly the same challenges, would receive 30–60 percent less state financial support if he or she were in a public charter school than if the family had chosen to remain in the traditional public school. That is outrageous and blatantly discriminatory. At RA we have 160 Special Education students, this will be nearly a $1.5 million dollar impact on our small school.

2. This inequity will most likely also prevent my school from meeting mandated state and federal FAPE (Free and Appropriate Education) requirements, and could cause us to close –based, not on quality, but on insufficient funding.

3. The financial implications of the implementation of this bill is disastrous for one class of special education students, and will be a major step in the direction of eliminating educational choice for Pennsylvania parents.
There may not be any charter schools left in PA if this bill passes. Why are our public charter school kids being discriminated against as if they are not as worthy as traditional public school students? Our charter school kids deserve the same funding as every other public school child.

4. Children, regardless of the school they choose, should be getting the same amount of money. These are real children, with real disabilities who will get hurt by this. And if this passes, ALL of the kids in the school will be hurt because the school will not survive. We ask you, in the best interests of ALL our children, to not support this legislation.

My friends who work for an with charter and cyber charter schools are telling me that right now schools are trying to figure out how to cut 10% and more out of their budgets. Want to know why I admire charters other than the choice they provide our kids? They actually do more with less every single day. As opposed to traditional public schools and school districts they actually try harder. And well, yes, a lot of charter and cyber charter schools are making traditional public school systems look bad and work harder. I am all for that.

Students and parents deserve choice. Please join the fight to preserve such choice.

I hear a lot of parents who have kids in Charter Schools will be going to Harrisburg on May 6th. That is next Tuesday. A lot of these parents can’t really afford a day off, but they are making the choice for their children.

I hope the media will pick up on this as well. Education is so important. And the media is NOT talking about this, it’s not sexy enough for them or sensationalistic. It’s only education, right?

You can find information on the website of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Public Charter Schools.

Your voice is needed to preset student equity and my final note is this is not merely another pissing match between traditional public schools and public charter schools. As the Pennsylvania Coalition for Public Charter Schools says (and I quote):

This is not a traditional vs. charter school issue. It is about institutionalized discrimination against special education students based on the school they have chosen to attend. A special education student in a charter school will receive between 30-60 percent less than a student with the same challenges in a traditional school.

My child is not special needs. He is merely a kid who needed a better choice in public education and a charter school has provided that. But I have friends with special needs kids. I know how they scrimp and sacrifice. So for them as well as more generally speaking, anyone who chooses alternative public school education for their children, I write this post. It is also my belief that it won’t be just special needs kids who suffer if these bills are just passed into law the way they are now.

Thanks for stopping by.