more stupid human tricks

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Canadian Geese.  We have a love hate relationship with them.  They can be dirty birds and they will defend their nests and CAN pick odd unexpected places to nest.

BUT.

They are wildlife. You can read about them on the Pennsylvania Game Commission Website.

Canadian Geese mate for life. In Pennsylvania we have migratory and non-migratory populations.

58922_157217640957862_2520117_nPeople get all pissy about them on their properties.  So they buy those metal predator cut-outs. And wonder why they don’t work. Ummm maybe they should occasionaly MOVE them around?  I see these cut-outs at Immaculata and they have never moved since they were put up…which is why you can see the geese right next to them.

Today on NextDoor a thread popped up.  About geese and they are off and running (only sharing this much):

BYBH6841

They are talking about East Goshen Township in this thread.  Yes this stuff – goose birth control – exists.  But if the wrong or grossly uneducated try to use this do you all think it will affect JUST geese?  If this were an alternative it would have to be very specifically administered, not just tossed out onto fields by crews cutting fields in parks.

But because it is NextDoor and most of the people on NextDoor seem to think no one else sees their crazy (which is why I blotted out the names of those commenting), these comments popped up:

InkedFEQD4991_LIInkedBRDW0664_LI

Ok can I be horrified now? First the whole Vaseline of it all, and oh hell you deserve to be pecked and attacked if you do that.  Secondly the profoundly disturbing pronouncement of someone witnessing “township officials” pour oil on wild goose eggs at some spot at Route 3 and 252.  This is cruel and inhumane on ALL counts.

If this is true at Route 3 and 252, which municipality is this?  Marple? And would they REALLY do that?  I actually e-mailed the township to ask.  Don’t know that they will reply. But I am hoping this is just some thing that DOESN’T actually happen.

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An easy way to manage them is to let humans who train field dogs clear the fields of geese.  They used to do that down at Haverford College years ago. And plenty of places employ the services of those who remove the poop.

No solution is perfect but hey don’t we live in Chester County at least partially for the nature? Open space (what’s left of it) etc?

Anyway, the cruelty of humans combined with stupidity is always a dangerous combination, isn’t it?

 

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“roundabout” we go in east whiteland and east goshen looking for answers…that don’t add up to eminent domain….

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Roundabouts. That is PennDOT new speak for traffic circles.   I know, I know I have been writing about this a lot on this blog. Most recently at the beginning of this month (October, 2019) That is when East Whiteland and East Goshen released a letter they received from PennDOT September 30:

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At that time I said  September 30th was Monday, so why has it taken this long for the people to be notified and have they even notified the potentially affected residents? I marvel that PennDOT dated the letter September 23rd and it took until September 30th to be received? DO they not also send an electronic copy?

PennDOT needs to define “minor construction” and does that mean any eminent domain land takings?

PennDOT will do this project when exactly and how long will it take?

And if PennDOT was offering to meet with both townships, I suggested that when that occured the most directly affected homeowners should be present with whatever representation they so chose to be with them.

Well guess what? According to residents I know (directly affected in fact) the meeting DID take place. And East Whiteland Towsnhip verified this on October 15 when they said on their websiteOn September 30, East Whiteland and East Goshen Townships received a letter from PennDOT regarding its recommendations for the Route 352 and King Road intersection.

The Townships recently met with PennDOT to discuss those recommendations. No decisions as to road improvements have been made, but the Townships agreed to update traffic counts along the roads and expect to continue discussions with PennDOT when those studies are completed.

Please note who was missing at said meeting with PennDOT. Yup, you’ve got it, the potentially affected residents.

When they received the news these residents (my extended neighbors) replied to East Whiteland very politely but firmly:

Thanks for keeping us in the loop and for pushing back on PennDOT’s recommendations.

That said, while we appreciate that you may be hesitant to proceed with the only two options PennDOT is permitting (a roundabout or making the roads perpendicular), we still have much to talk about. Will you share why the townships are willing to pay for new traffic counts, what the townships think are the existing problems that must be fixed and what is your goal?

It is my understanding that the various justifications the township has presented have been adequately debunked. It started with cut through traffic, then law breaking cut through traffic, then rush hour delays, then unjustified future traffic predictions, and eventually it morphed to safety. Now, it seems like rush hour delays may be the leading reason again. Or, is this all just a means to mask future plans for over-development? Whatever the reason, it is concerning and very disappointing that the township hasn’t ruled out eminent domain given the community feedback as well as an overwhelming evidence contradicting those justifications.

If the township still feels adequate justification exists and cares about the affected residents, you will help us to understand those justifications. We don’t need to wait for new counts.

If people were dying in the intersection, bad accidents were above “normal” or traffic was backed up frequently enough that it was unpleasant for those of us who actually live here, we would understand (or move). However, these conditions absolutely do not exist. We live here because we want to. If you plan to take our land, destroy our properties, reduce our quality of life, eliminate our privacy and reduce our safety by making the traffic move faster and closer to our homes, we need to understand and accept your justifications or we will fight you to the bitter end.

Finally, can we audit the new counting process when it occurs? Or can we be involved in hiring the firm to perform the counts? Given the conflicts of interest identified with McMahon and the weakness of their presentation, the legitimacy of any further data they present will be called into question.

Subsequent email letters went to PennDOT (three times) from directly affected residents and as they can be obtained on a Right To Know Request, I am publishing them now.

Here is the first letter:

From: Tom Stuart
Sent: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 11:28 AM
To: ASHPATEL@pa.gov
Cc: Sue Drummond <sdrummond@eastwhiteland.org>; Rich Orlow <rorlow@eastwhiteland.org>; ‘slambert@eastwhiteland.org‘ <slambert@eastwhiteland.org>; 
Subject: Eminent Domain Taking @ King & 352

Dear Mr. Patel:

I read your September 23, 2019 response to East Whiteland and East Goshen Townships regarding the intersection of Sproul (S.R. 0352) and King Road (S.R. 2022).

In your first paragraph you cite an increase in traffic volumes as the justification for a solution requiring eminent domain taking.  A solution that “must be advanced for eventual implementation within a reasonable timeframe.”

Given your solution will destroy homes, privacy, safety and home values (for which payment alone will not cure), are you basing your recommendation on the two traffic reports prepared by McMahon & Assoc in 2005 and 2016?  Or, do you have some other traffic volume data that you can share?

It is my understanding that both McMahon studies were performed for just (2) one-hour periods during peak traffic periods in 2005 and 2016, respectively.  Further, while I am not currently able to locate the 2005 report to confirm, I was informed by an EG township official that there was very little traffic volume increase measured at the intersection between 2005 and 2016.  If this is true, then what “increase in traffic volumes” are your referring to?  Is it based on only future predictions?  Please quantify.

My wife and I have lived at the intersection for over 20 years. (I purchased the home on December 31, 1996.) Our home literally faces the center of the intersection.  Based on my extensive experience, I vehemently disagree with the premise that there is a volume problem that must be resolved.  You may consider my opinion biased because the widening and tree/brush removal will eliminate all of the privacy I have spent 10s of thousands of dollars (and a couple decades) to build up, it will dramatically reduce my safety (I can provide more details), and moving me closer to the intersection will destroy my property value.

That said, don’t take it from me.  At the June 5, 2019 meeting at Immaculata, I surveyed an audience full of 100+ township residents by asking, “Who thinks delays are the primary problem at the intersection?” Exactly zero people raised their hands.  (https://bit.ly/2oueoGQ:  Time Stamp: 1:50:10)  

So, while your recommendations may be suitable if there were a traffic delay problem at the intersection, the township residents do not agree with the premise under which you have proposed a solution.

So, if PennDOT will not support a permanent, signal-only solution to help address the left turn issues from 352, does PennDOT support a “do nothing” approach?  It was not entirely clear whether you were recommending or requiring your “comprehensive” eminent domain taking solution.  This is an important detail.  Please clarify.

Best Regards,

Tom Stuart

Here is the second letter:

From: Tom Stuart
Sent: Thursday, October 3, 2019 3:37 PM
To: ASHPATEL@pa.gov
Cc: Sue Drummond <sdrummond@eastwhiteland.org>; Rich Orlow <rorlow@eastwhiteland.org>; ‘slambert@eastwhiteland.org’ <slambert@eastwhiteland.org>; ‘rsmith@eastgoshen.org’ <rsmith@eastgoshen.org>; John Nagel <jnagel@eastwhiteland.org>
Subject: RE: Eminent Domain Taking @ King & 352 – *** Major Safety Concern ***

Dear Mr. Patel,

I have a critical safety concern regarding your suggestion to enable King Rd traffic to drive head on through the 352 intersection at the same time (“in exchange” for split phasing on 352.)

First, do you have a sketch or diagram of the revised intersection layout you are proposing?

I have driven up and down King Rd through the intersection a few times since I read your letter—including in the pitch dark last night. I wanted to get a feel for and imagine the shifted sight lines you are proposing (if the township proceeds with a 2-phased approach.) I imagined it with the westbound King Rd lane being re-located southward by about 1 lane width.

Given that the westbound approach rises slightly to the intersection and the eastbound approach rises significantly, you are inviting a full-speed, head on collision by letting that traffic flow at the same time and at full speed with such limited visibility.

Even if your plan includes destroying a half dozen or so properties by removing all of our privacy and safety providing trees and shrubs, safe sight lines simply do not exist with the current (or the slightly modified) geometry.

As you may or may not be aware, the left turns from 352 are not a major safety hazard now. They are more of an inefficiency and annoyance. The resulting accidents from those turns tend to be low speed fender benders… not head on and certainly not at full speed. The worst symptoms are frustrated drivers honking and cursing.

For this reason, I believe that switching the split phasing from King Rd to 352 as you propose (in part 1 of your 2-phased approach) will make the intersection considerably less safe.

Incidentally, there is a similarly shaped intersection geometry where Paoli Pike meets route 30 in Paoli. The sight lines are MUCH better there because it’s more level. However, in the mid to late 1980s (before the lights were changed to include a protected left turn phase from 30) there was a head on collision that occurred with so much force the driver’s heart detached from all of her arteries. So, unless you and the township want to be directly responsible for introducing fatalities to the intersection, I suggest you withdraw or amend that portion of your recommendation.

If you have any feedback defending what you proposed, I’d be interested to hear it—especially because the townships will likely heed your input more than mine.

I urge the townships to respond to this concern as well.

Best Regards,
Tom Stuart

And here is the third letter:

Tom Stuart 
Thu, Oct 17, 8:21 PM (12 hours ago)
to ASHPATEL@pa.gov, Sue, Rich, slambert@eastwhiteland.org, rsmith@eastgoshen.org, John, Christie, benpoe4@juno.com, TINA, Timothy, Christine, Zeek747, me, Ted

Dear Mr. Patel,

I gather from your lack of response to my previous emails (and because the residents were not invited to recent closed-door meeting) that you do not intend to respond to me. The important part is that I have raised my safety concern, you saw it, the townships saw it and it’s now part of the public record.

I would like to draw your attention to a few more critical issues I have identified in your letter of Sept 23 to the townships:

Your suggestion (2e) indicates that signal upgrades could better detect traffic. Obviously, this means reducing delays without any negative impact on safety or otherwise. If PennDOT thinks traffic delays are a problem, why would this not be your recommended solution as a first and immediate phase? Why wasn’t this recommended and implemented years ago? You go on to state that this improvement would not be approved by PennDOT unless the township also agree to take land from local residents in “a reasonable timeframe”. This is outrageous and extremely upsetting. Is this how PennDOT operates– with a complete and total disregard for residents’ homes and properties not to mention a disregard for common sense and unnecessary expenditures?
One of your suggestions is to clear the vegetation through the intersection along King Rd to improve visibility (2c). When it comes to the goal of improving safety, this applies not only to the drivers but also to pedestrians and residents, I assume. As Senior Manager of Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, you must be aware that trees and shrubs create a safety barrier between the traffic and the residents when they must co-exist in close proximity. Tearing them down, as you propose, reduces safety for residents (and pedestrians).
You state that that safety is the department’s primary goal. Yet, you directly contradict this statement with your proposed solutions. If safety is the primary goal, a safety improvement like enhanced traffic detection and painted lines (as you suggest in 2f) could be implemented now. (Or, years ago.) In fact, if safety were the primary goal, a safety improvement such as signal phasing on 352 could be delivered even if it came at the expense of added delays. Your proposals not only fail to make safety the primary consideration, you go so far as to suggest that signal-only safety improvements to 352 traffic can only be delivered if the township agrees to reduce safety on King Rd by letting it drive head on, simultaneously. Local residents would likely agree with me that this could be a net reduction in safety. The reality is that the goal of your proposal appears to be: reduce delays and, if possible, improve safety and do so at the highest possible expense. I find it disappointing that neither you nor the townships ever acknowledge this glaring falsehood being perpetuated. This is not and has never been about improving safety.
Each time I read your proposal and consider what has transpired to date, I become more and more disappointed by what appears to be a complete lack of competence, integrity, honesty, transparency and common sense by all parties carrying some sort of responsibility here. If you disagree with anything I have said and do not wish to have a dialogue with me directly, I understand. I hope you will communicate your feedback to the townships so they can pass it along to me. Or, if the townships care about the affected residents, they can prove it.

Until I see common sense prevail, I will not go away.

Best Regards,

Tom Stuart

“….would not be approved by PennDOT unless the township also agree to take land from local residents in “a reasonable timeframe”.”

There you have it. EMINENT DOMAIN.  They always try to make it sound pretty. How was it one of the East Whiteland Supervisors referred to it? As “slivers” of land or something equally preposterous?

It’s eminent domain. It’s stealing someone’s property and for what? So PennDOT can have their Roundabout Reign Of Terror?

I noticed in September PennDOT was doing the old soft shoe PR on their pet project to ruin where we live. All. Across. The. State.

media1media 3

Here, courtesy of Talk Erie News, is essentially PennDOT’s press release in September about this:

ERIE NEWS
PennDOT Data Shows Pennsylvania Roundabouts Reducing Fatalities, Injuries, and Crashes
By TalkErie News – September 16, 2019

roundabout

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Now whomever heads up PennDOT gets a plum pickings patronage job with taxpayer funded benefits of pure political pork, right? Well it is currently one of the original Wolf girls, Leslie Richards:

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If you wonder why our roads are so bad, can it be said look no further than Ms. Richards?  Would you like to contact Leslie Richards? Try:

The Honorable Leslie S. Richards
Secretary, PA Dept. of Transportation
Keystone Building
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
lsrichards@pa.gov

Leslie also has a Facebook page, but she allows no contact there. Just public adoration. She also has Twitter – Leslie S. Richards (@SecRichards) REALLY making her a Wolf girl.

Here (courtesy of Wikipedia) is the chronology of her ascent to the cushy land of political patronage jobs:

Richards was elected to the Whitemarsh Township Board of Supervisors in 2007, and became chairwoman of the board in 2008. 

Richards was elected to the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners in 2011. Her election, along with that of fellow Democrat Josh Shapiro, marked the first time in over a century that Democrats controlled the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. Richards served as Montgomery County’s representative on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.  Richards also serves on the board of SEPTA. 

Pennsylvania political operatives had mentioned Richards as a potential Congressional candidate in Pennsylvania’s 6th congressional district. Richards declined to run for the seat after incumbent Congressman Jim Gerlach retired in 2014. 

In 2015, following the election of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, Richards was nominated to serve as Secretary of Transportation of Pennsylvania. She was subsequently confirmed by the Pennsylvania State Senate in May 2015. 

In 2017, Richards was appointed the first female chair of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission as well as the Public Private Partnership (P3) Board. 

But what does she actually DO? I will note I contacted Ms. Richards when this whole Roundabout Reign of Terror began.  Her response, even an acknowledgement, of the fact that I contacted her must have gotten lost in the mail.

So people always say when it comes to things like road projects to follow the money, right? So what happens when we follow the money to PennDOT with regard to things like Roundabout Reigns of Terror? Who is benefitting? Is it a long list? Is it a short list?

I sent an e-mail overnight to Senator Andy Dinniman since I feel the State Representatives have been quite invisible on this.

What is happening here is terrifying. He needs to act. He actually might have the power to help my neighbors and get the pause button pushed.

NO ONE HAS TRIED BASIC SIGNALIZATION CHANGES! Why the heavy PennDOT push for traffic circles or the more politically new speak term of “roundabouts” ? Whatever happened to trying something less expensive before taking people’s homes?

Again, if the money trail is followed all the way to Harrisburg where will it lead?

The basic intersection changes affected residents asked for would cost a whole lot LESS than a Circle. And it would not involve eminent domain.

But we, as residents and taxpayers, have been told that PennDOT doesn’t want that. Everything they want seems to involve  eminent domain doesn’t it?

Money, money, money. It’s only money and OPM or Other People’s Money at that.  Do you want your taxpayer dollars to go to stealing a neighbor’s home?

Why should my neighbors be forced to this? Why should they fear losing their homes? How would you feel if you were facing eminent domain?

None of us asked for this. And the origins of this current situation is somewhat mind boggling to me. That all came out when we did RTK requests a few months ago.

People have asked State Reps for help and to the best of my knowledge that has kind of gone nowhere.

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My neighbors need and deserve help. This affects residents in East Whiteland and East Goshen. Truthfully it affects anyone who travels through this intersection.  Have you watched people use roundabouts? And what about Immaculata and the buses that come through to them and the trucks, big trucks, which travel these roads?

Of course my personal thoughts include that wanton development is also a culprit here- another thing residents didn’t ask for.

I have seen what the threat of eminent domain does to communities as I have been to this movie before. I just didn’t expect it out here as a threat quite as often as I have seen it.

We have done rights to know.  In the spring we learned a lot.  Is that the only way we can ever get answers is to pay to be flooded with paper?

This summer I took photos while a passenger in a car. Of a roundabout no one knows how to drive on in Chester County.  On Route 52. Where it is still kind of rural and no one lost their homes, although undoubtedly someone lost some land as in open space/farm land.

The topography where that circle was placed is radically different from where PennDOT seems hell bent for leather to get one at King and 352.

Putting a traffic circle, roundabout, whatever you wish to new speak it as on King and 352 is like the proverbial square peg in the round hole, or is it round peg in the square hole? (Sorry, traffic circle humor)

Remember this issue when election day rolls around.

Soon it will be Halloween.  Then we will have Thanksgiving and Christmas and Channukah and so on, so what do these poor residents have to look forward to with the evil specter of eminent domain courtesy of PennDOT lurking around seemingly every corner?

Residents asking for traffic improvements on side streets somehow translated to a potential pork project and please stop the roundabout turntable, residents want to get off.

Can anyone help stop this? Does anyone give a crap about residents anymore? Or all we just expendable?

Other posts:

the dance around eminent domain and other tales from the king road/route 352 meeting

no eminent domain. no circle/roundabout. people before politics.

meeting on route 352 and king road set for june 5th at 7pm at immaculata university

east goshen responds to right to know request on 352 and king intersection improvements

dear east whiteland and east goshen: we need a little “sunshine” about shared intersection improvements at king and 352.

penndot responds on king and sproul/352

Image may contain: outdoor

are we safe co-existing with sunoco/energy transfer?

Photo taken by my friend Tom last evening after explosion or whatever it was from Energy Transfer/Sunoco

Last evening around 8 PM social media exploded from Facebook to Next Door with Chester County residents concerned about an explosion.

A friend of mine said today:

“It’s no longer about feeling angry and powerless about these pipelines, today I no longer feel safe in my home.”

What do you say to someone who is your friend when they say this? How do you console them? The short answer is you can’t.  How can you?  These pipelines are one problem after the other. Inadvertent returns or whatever you want to call it when drilling fluid rises up and floods a street, gets into a water well, and so on. Sinkholes. And now an explosion?

Residents of streets like Mary Jane Lane and in Hamlet Hill in West Chester actually felt their homes shake. Shake.

Oh and how dis Sunoco/Energy Transfer respond? See here:

For real? That’s it? That is the best they have got? Do they really think we are such rubes? I think we all know the difference between say an electrical transformer blowing, a car backfiring, and and actual explosion sound where HOUSES SHAKE????

It’s appalling. And will someone kindly explain how when people called this noise into 911 it didn’t even end up on PulsePoint? And only a lone police officer responded? There is a fire station right there, correct? With first responders who are response trained? Was this officer also trained in responding to pipeline emergencies? And before ANYONE FLIPS OUT I am not criticizing the fact this officer showed up, I am GRATEFUL he at least arrived on scene but where was everyone else? And now as the dust settles, I am being told by residents that the county says it is West Goshen’s responsibility yet supposedly the West Goshen Emergency Management Coordinator who is also purportedly the fire marshall over there did NOT know a thing until they saw it on social media this morning?

Who is playing God with the potential safety of residents?

All day long helicopters have been circling over there. My friends recorded them above their homes and I saw them myself when over at the Giant on Boot Road. They all can’t be from the helicopter museum, so who were they?

Saw this earlier:

And this:

Once again I am struck with the fact that residents and homeowners and even people who are just driving by pipeline sites are just constantly exposed to risk.  We can’t live our lives in fear, but how about credible information?

Yes no one was hurt BUT this is scary, scary stuff. And as residents we seem to be forced to absorb an inordinate amount of potential danger when it comes to these pipelines. And we don’t benefit. There is no reward for the risk, just risk.

We have friends who have left this part of Chester County because of the pipelines. We have other friends who received NO as in ZERO disclosure of the pipeline easement when they bought their home in West Whiteland. They only found out purely by accident. Now they have their dream home and not so dreamy pipeline in their front yard.

Officials claim they are looking into all f this and to them I say try harder, look faster. Last night was an unwelcome reminder of the risk of those pipelines. Every day we see the destruction.

Sunoco says Mariner East 2 system ‘backfired’ during maintenance but no risk to public. Residents report loud explosion; company says no liquids leaked from line By Jon Hurdle

east goshen responds to right to know request on 352 and king intersection improvements

3 intersection

UPDATE 5/3/2019: Today I received a US Mail reply to my Right To Know submitted on 4/23/2019 to PennDOT which was identical to my requests of East Goshen and East Whiteland.

This is why people believe in conspiracy theories.  What any of us have asked for should be simple, right? We live in one of the two municipalities contemplating intersection changes , we live in Chester County, this has SORT OF been being discussed mostly out of the public view for a couple of years, right? (I can’t say intersection improvements any longer since two out of the three parties seem hell bent on hiding from the public what is going on and why?)

Well as per the response from PennDOT well,  they also want additional time to contemplate their bureaucratic navels…letter very similar to East Whiteland’s response so I guess this is going to be a thing?

I am thinking it already is a “thing” since someone I think of as a total social media blowhard (they are not someone I would chose to have in my circle in real life and removed them from a social media group for essentially harassing and haranguing myself and anyone else who didn’t agree with his limited view of the world and life as we know it) has been bandying about my name in vain again. 

Apparently myself and others concerned about this because a roundabout/circle WOULD have to mean eminent domain are essentially drama queens and everyone should remain calm and informed. He claims to be Master of the Universe and to have been having conversations with “one of the players”?  My, my, my is it one of the “players” resisting a Right to Know? Sure hope not because that might be a problem if they won’t discuss this with all residents but will discuss it with select residents? He also says he personally will see that this project gets the attention it deserves. Excellent, right?

I will note that I did not originate discussion on this topic, neighbors closer to him did. 

Here is what PennDOT said: 

PA DOT RTK p 1

PA DOT RTK p 2

UPDATE 4/27/2019: Today  I signed for certified mail from East Whiteland Township regarding my right to know request on the proposed yet somehow TOP SECRET intersection improvement plans for King Rd and Sproul/N.Chester/352 which may or may not end up being a circle or roundabout which in turn could mean eminent domain to gather the necessary land.  I have redacted personal data from the Right to Know, but basically they sent me BUPKIS.  While I appreciate the timeliness of their response (because PENNdot has completely ignored me), I do not understand how East Goshen can send me LOTS of information, and East Whiteland nothing…BUPKIS? 

I also had a comment to this blog which I forwarded onto PENNdot for comment and …well…BUPKIS… I am finding this whole situation curiouser and curiouser.  

Here is what I am adding to this post:

RTK 4.27.19 redactedcomment

⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗

ORIGINAL POST: 

 

The other day I wrote a post about the proposed intersection improvements at King Road and Route 352/Sproul/N. Chester Rd.  I also submited Right to Know requests to East Goshen Township, East Whiteland Township, and PennDOT.  The reason I did that is this whole issue has been sort of out there at different times over the past couple of years that I have been aware of, only most residents feel completely in the dark.  Especially homeowners that would be the most potentially and directly affected and how is that fair to them?

And people feel the municipalities are to blame for the intersection issues because of all of the development approved and continuing to be approved which is incredibly hard on the infrastructure and so on. Failing intersections like these can be directly connected to increased volume thanks to increased development, correct?

March 2018 3 EGTI am vehemently opposed to one of the ideas floating around – a roundabout or “circle” because in order to have it be the right size, people will undoubtedly lose their properties and homes via eminent domain.

I am not sure what I will get out of East Whiteland, and PennDOT did not even acknowledge I contacted them and the head Mahatma Leslie Richards was cc’d.  But I was not impressed with her when she was a Montgomery County Commissioner and figured she was a political payback from Wolf when he was elected to his first term as Governor in PA. (But I digress)

However, I did get a response from East Goshen.  Their manager is very fair to deal with.  Here is what I was told:

I am in receipt of your right to know  request of April 22, 2019

At their meeting on February 19, the East Goshen of Supervisor accepted the February 5, 2019 proposal from McMahon to develop a conceptual  design plan for a roundabout and update the cost  information.  We received the report on March 28, 2019 and are currently working with East Whiteland to set up a  joint meeting to  roll out the  project.  The links below will take you to the agenda for the February 19 meeting and the minutes.

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019-02-19_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda-for-web.pdf

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/BOS-Mins-2-19-19-FINAL.pdf

How the project will be funded has not been determined at this time. There are several federal and state grant programs available and the links to  two of  them are  below.

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/factsheets/cmaqfs.cfm

https://www.penndot.gov/ProjectAndPrograms/MultimodalProgram/Pages/default.aspx

Based on past  experience I would add that:

1)      All of these grant programs a very competitive.  

2)      State and federal grant money comes with a lot of strings and red tape attached.

3)      The Township  will have to fund some of the project costs.

4)      While it is possible to receive grant money for engineering and construction; you  typically have a better chance if the project is shovel ready.

Call if  you have any  additional  questions.

3 Attachments

2019-03-28_Nagel_ Smith_Feasibility

Executed 020519 Proposal

Memo to BoS 021419

Because a roundabout or circle would drastically affect around the Lockwood Chase development, I am including the photos below:

2 circlecircle area

Here is the video of the East Goshen meeting referenced above:

I will note that since 2015, articles have occasionally been appearing about how New Jersey is REMOVING circles.

Someone wrote to me from East Goshen:

Go to the Wegmans in Frazer/Malvern and see how good circles work! They SUCK. When we lived in northern Chesco and used Hares Hill Road between 724 and 113, we had 3 “4 way stops”, and a one lane bridge. even during rush hrs everyone would do the every other car thing. Circles don’t invite such nice driving habits.

As a matter of fact since I wrote my first post on this topic, the conversation on it has been coming at a fast and furious pace. And the consensus is (1) the townships are not discussing this enough with the public and should be more forthcoming (especially East Whiteland), (2) those who live around the intersection and in these townships do NOT want a circle or roundabout, they was signalization which would make each side of the intersection go one at a time and (3) the only people in favor of the circles and roundabouts don’t necesarily live in either East Goshen or East Whiteland Townships.

One of the things I wonder about is if either township has taken the temperature of Immaculata and Villa on this because buses have a crazy impossible time with circles and roundabouts and these academic institutions have many school buses daily and the big coach buses that transport visiting collegiate sports teams. And a lot of trucks also have issue with circles and roundabouts.

I will also note that if you are concerned, contact East Whiteland and East Goshen, preferably in writing.  If you submit a Right To Know, you may find the following helpful:

“The Right-to-Know law has an express presumption that all records in possession of government agencies are public. However, there are more than 30 exemptions that allow agencies to deny access. There are two critical things to understand about exemptions An agency’s use of an exemption is discretionary; they are not required to deny access just because they can. There are other state laws that mandate secrecy but the Right-to-Know law does not. The legal burden of proving the legitimacy of the exemption falls to the government, not the requestor. In the years since the passage of the Right-to-Know law in 2008, significant case law has been developed, so it is critical to do some legal research on any specific exemption.” http://pafoic.org/right-to-know-law-exceptions/#ex22

If anyone else responds to my Right to Know I will continue to update my readers.  I will close with sharing my friend Tim’s presentation to East Whiteland recently:

the case for better gun control and better mental illness treatment hits too close to home

shooter

Actual text message I received from a friend who lives in one of the neighborhoods across Boot  Road in West Chester and the retirement communities and Giant 

The text message you don’t EVER wish to receive.  Active shooter.

As in person with gun or guns.

Near where several of my friends lived….in multiple municipalities.

Yet that is what a lot of us lived for a few hours in Chester County last night. I had several friends, good friends on lock-down or shelter in place in East Goshen, West Goshen, and Willistown. Kind of surreal. Like watching a live episode of Law & Order unfold in neighboring municipalities.

Shooters shooting up schools and every place else is NOT what you think of living around here…until last night when shooting up nursing homes became a thing.

As NBC10 Philadelphia and others like Daily Local reported (video and article HERE) this guy, this unbalanced man named Bruce Rogal must have snapped and first went after his ex-wife in West Bradford and shot AT her six times (he missed thank God), drove to Bellingham, one of the retirement communities in East Goshen near the Giant on Boot Road and then proceeded to shoot and murder his elderly parents, William and Nancy Rogal. Nancy Rogal was an artist. She was as per the Inquirer featured in a 2008 show at the Chester County Art Association.

Those poor people were in their 80s. May God have mercy upon their souls.

I guess retirement communities and nursing homes are going to have to consider getting metal detectors like a lot of schools now?

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan  released the following statement:

PRESS RELEASE

Investigation Into Retirement Community Murders Is Ongoing

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that the investigation into the deadly shootings at the Bellingham retirement community and the death of the suspect is ongoing. The suspect, Bruce Rogal, age 59, killed his parents in the Bellingham retirement community in East Goshen Township on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, at approximately 6:15 p.m. The suspect attempted to kill his wife in West Bradford Township earlier in the evening at approximately 5:30 p.m. This activity appears to have been triggered by a divorce decree received by Rogal that day.

The murders and attempted murder set off an intensive manhunt for Rogal. The media put out warnings, identifying information, and photographs of Rogal to the public. The Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team responded to Rogal’s home to search for him. Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”) Troopers eventually observed the suspect driving his 2002 Honda Odyssey on Strasburg Road. Rogal led the police on a high speed chase back to his wife’s home, where he had shot at his wife earlier in the evening. Shots were exchanged during the pursuit.

Rogal’s vehicle eventually crashed into his wife’s residence. PSP, the Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team (“CCRERT”), and municipal police departments all were at the scene. CCRERT members approached the vehicle and discovered that Rogal was already deceased in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, with other firearms still in the vehicle.

The investigation into Rogal is ongoing pending review of multiple crime scenes, autopsies, interviews with the involved Troopers who discharged their weapons, and additional investigative tasks. There is also an ongoing investigation with family members into the circumstances leading to Rogal’s attempted murder of his wife and the murder of his parents.

District Attorney Hogan stated, “Chester County law enforcement worked cooperatively and swiftly to bring this situation to a close. Virtually every law enforcement agency and other first responders in the county and region either assisted or volunteered their assistance during the tense hours of this manhunt for a killer. The citizens of Chester County can take comfort in knowing that when dangerous situations like this take place, their police and first responders are prepared. We will continue to investigate this matter and provide additional information when the investigation is complete.”

This case was investigated by the Chester County Detectives, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Westtown/East Goshen Regional Police Department, Chester County Regional Emergency Response Team, and multiple assisting agencies. The Chester County Department of Emergency Services, the Coroner’s Office, and numerous fire companies and EMT services played critical roles in securing the scenes and assisting law enforcement. Anyone with further information should contact Chester County Detective John O’Donnell at 610-344-6866.

* * * * * * *

Approved for release:

Thomas P. Hogan

You will note, I am not posting a photo of the shooter. I just. CAN’T.  I keep thinking of the terror his ex-wife must have felt, and the final moments of an older couple living in a retirement home. His parents. Family shattered in an instant.

The police, state troopers, and all first responders did a magnificent job last night.  This was a welcome to crazy town situation to be sure.

I do not know what is known about this man Bruce Rogal.  I have seen chatter back and forth on Facebook especially that say he was a local guy, went to Henderson High School, got married, got divorced…don’t know if he has children, don’t know why he delaminated but as uncaring as it might sound, as a woman I am glad he is no longer among the living because now at least his poor ex-wife won’t have to look over her shoulder for the rest of her life.

But I think this begs the question of when we are all going to lay down our politics and self-righteousness and have a real conversation about better mental health resources and sensible gun control in this country?

I am not saying that so I can start getting hate comments, but we as reasonable human beings have to ask how a man with issues like that GOT A GUN??? I know the arguments on both sides of the gun control debate in this country but I have to ask, while everyone and politicians are hashing this out, why aren’t there at least mental fitness exams for those who wish to possess firearms?

Forbes in February, 2018 published a very interesting op-ed by Chris Ladd called One Simple Step Toward Sane Gun Laws.  You can click on the hyperlink to read.  I will note his bio:

For almost thirty years I was active in Republican politics. Most recently I spent ten years as a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago. I am a Texan in exile. While a college intern at the Texas Legislature I met a young Rick Perry, fresh off his switch from the Democratic Party. As a donor and volunteer for a Republican PAC in Houston I volunteered for Republican state and local campaigns. From 2009-2016 I wrote the GOPLifer blog. My book, The Politics of Crazy, is a distillation of ideas from the blog. After the 2016 Republican National Convention, I resigned my position as a precinct committeeman and left the Republican Party. I now maintain a new blog, PoliticalOrphans.com.

We deserve peace where we live. People should not be able to just go shoot up people anywhere. But until we convince our elected officials on a national stage to stop pontificating and start governing responsibly in a bi-partisan manner, it won’t happen.

Our mental health resources aren’t where they should be either thanks to the continuing crisis of healthcare, politicians (whose benefits we as taxpayers fund but I digress), and big pharma who think pills fix everything.  Pills do not fix everything and there needs to be more comprehensive care resources available to people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic levels.

And domestic violence? Does this play a part here as well? I have to wonder because some of the media outlets have posted this at the end of their coverage like NBC10 Philadelphia did:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HELP: The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY) provides people in distress, or those around them, with 24-hour support.

Today, anyone related to this Bruce Rogal either by family or other kinds of relationships will have to start to pick up the pieces and move on. And mourn their dead.  No family should be torn apart by this.

Here is some of the coverage on this hideous event:

Man allegedly killed his parents and shot at ex-wife after getting divorce papers

By Faith Karimi, CNN Updated 6:58 AM ET, Thu September 20, 2018

Delaware Online: Suspect found dead after officials say he killed parents in retirement home Associated Press

 Daily Local DA: Suspect in double-shooting at senior living facility found dead
Fran Maye, Pete Bannan, Bill Rettew  

Philly.com CRIME & JUSTICE
D.A.: Shooter dead after killing his parents at Chester County retirement community
by Erin McCarthy, Vinny Vella and Robert Moran

 

3PM Updated details via Philly.com:

 

Updated details from the Inquirer — It is a LONG article, but here is an excerpt:
 

After a bitter, three-year divorce proceeding, Bruce Rogal’s marriage of 24 years ended Tuesday, with a formal ruling from a Chester County judge…He then drove 20 minutes away to the retirement community where his elderly parents lived and gunned them down, a violent outburst that betrayed the financial support they had provided for him for years….Rogal and his wife, identified in the paperwork as Catherine Christian, married in 1990. They have one son, Walter, now 27…..James Oley, who lives a few yards away, said Rogal’s minivan crashed into the front of the home. Then he heard the rapid fire hail of gunshots from police who had been tailing Rogal.

Rogal’s vehicle dented the front of his ex-wife’s home, he said. Afterward, Oley said he received a text advising people to stay inside, and soon another that declared the scene safe.

“Everyone is still in disbelief, just soaking it in,” Oley said. “But I think we all feel pretty fortunate nobody in our street was harmed, given those bullets were found from his weapon on both sides of the street and a couple houses were hit.”…Christian also was granted a protection from abuse order against Rogal around the same time the divorce was filed. It expired two years later, in June 2017, records show….The complaint filed in their divorce hints that an extramarital relationship led to their marriage’s dissolution. Rogal, 59, had started seeing another woman in 2011

skin in the game of pipelines?

8619939a-a9f3-4ba4-b60e-a0ab19f2f7ab

So I started looking at the interactive pipeline map again along with the pipeline website for Chester County set up by the Chester County Planning Commission. And it prompted an email to pipeline companies and the Chester County Planning Commission to clarify how we would possibly be affected where we live. ( I will note we have neighbors not so far away who have like three pipelines running through their property.)

“When I look at our mapping, which uses the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) that the Federal Government maintains, in conjunction with the pipeline operators, the western edge of your house is roughly 1,030 feet from the closest line, which is Interstate Energy, which is planned to be converted to natural gas.”

~ Carrie from Chester County Planning Commission

Close enough.

Yikes. (and that is the most polite phrase fit to print.)

And for what isn’t planned, possibly planned, maybe planned, who knows what plan exists right through my backyard and/or woods, well I would be close enough to be in a blast zone. Only it is apparently not politically correct to use that phrase, because when I did, I was told:

Regarding your concern about being in a “blast zone,” our office does not define or utilize the phrase “blast zone.” We do use the term Consultation Zone, which is a term used by the federal government and operators to distinguish an area of 1000 feet (in Chester County) on either side of an existing transmission pipeline where coordination between local officials, landowners, and operators are encouraged to consult with each other before land developments are planned for these areas. The US Department of Transportation (which houses the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Office of Pipeline Safety) sponsored a planning effort known as “Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance” (2010,) which identified the phrase Consultation Zone. They define it as an area extending from each side of a transmission pipeline to describe when a property developer/owner, who is planning a new development in the vicinity of an existing transmission pipeline, should initiate a dialogue with the operator. (see https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/…/pipa-report-final-20101117.p…) These zones are a recommended practice and not something that is required.

As another person pointed out to me:

 …the Blast Zone is something different. PHMSA calls it the “Buffer Zone” but sorry, we and our loved ones are not buffers.

If Adelphia [and others] end up being like Mariner East, at a 1000 ft you will be within the Blast Zone.

 

Whether Buffer Zone, Consultation Zone, or Blast Zone….they are all scary bad zones to me, o.k.?

Well now, apparently I will have skin in the game? That now I can join all of the other Chester County and Delaware County residents worrying about pipelines?

Fabulous. Worry is such a good look on people, right? (Dripping sarcasm, can you feel it?)

What started me like Alice down the proverbial pipeline rabbit hole this week is something I saw posted on Charlestown’s website:

adelphia

You see, in neighboring East Whiteland Township where I live, the township doesn’t have much out there yet on the pipelines.    All I found (easily – I say easily because perhaps information is hidden deep down in website ) was the Adelphia Gateway letter from January, which I had already seen.  Here it is:

A lot of townships now have stand alone pages with pipeline information.  Like East Goshen, Uwchlan, and Upper Uwchlan, for example. (CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE) All townships with any pipelines should have these informational pages in my opinion.

I will note that when I sent my email to Chester County Planning about pipelines in my particular neighborhood, while the planning commission was kind and replied to me, only  ONE pipeline company gave me the courtesy of a reply acknowledging my outreach. Ryan Lumbridge from Enbridge. He offered up his phone number if I need to speak with him.  I will call him but I am most concerned with Adelphia Gateway and Interstate Energy. And apparently since now a couple of days has passed without even a simple acknowledgement of contact, Adelphia Gateway and Interstate Energy don’t seem to think they need to communicate with residents.

Wrong.

The pipeline companies need to communicate. To Interstate especially I say if you plan to maybe possibly or maybe definitely plan to do something 1,030 from the edge of our property, you can show a little interest. I am on a well, I have gardens, I have beautiful woods and more.  I want to know exactly what Interstate is planning to do if they do it and when. I am sure I am but one of many emails they get, and I am trying to be calm and rational, except I have seen what is going on in neighboring municipalities with Sunoco, and well, I don’t want my neighborhood to have these problems. 

I reiterate my objections to these pipelines which rape and pillage and destroy so they can ship their good overseas so other companies in Europe and elsewhere can do things like make more plastic.  Our homes are our castles, our American dreams and it is heinous that American companies can just take our land (without even just compensation in my opinion) and trash it for their profit. And put us in danger.

We are also densely populated enough that what if with other pipeline companies wishing to be Sunoco-Mariner East II-Lite something blows up? Collapses? Ruins wells, breaks water mains? Causes sinkholes? Brings down property values? We as residents are NOT protected. Officials can’t say it won’t happen because all the media coverage and whatnot shows it HAS happened.  Are we just to repeat the same darn patterns over and over from pipeline company to pipeline company and municipality to municipality???

I am sure pipeline companies want residents to just go quietly into the night.  We can’t. Our lives and our homes and our properties are at stake.  You can’t bully, harass, or threaten us into submission. We live here and like it or not, we have rights.  We shouldn’t have to be pipeline guinea pigs should we?

And right or wrong, I feel like these pipeline companies, our sitting Governor Tom Wolf, and even municipalities at times want us as residents to know as little as possible.

#DefendWhatYouLove

Here is a round-up of some recent articles I found:

DelCo Times Guest Column: An opposing view to Sunoco’s rosy outlook on pipeline project

Daily Local News: Middletown to Pa.: Stop pipeline construction

Dragonpipe Diary: Here’s how the “worst case” could happen: a dry run

Philadelphia Business Journal: PUC rules to keep Mariner East 2, 2X pipeline construction on hold

Delco Times: Delco moves forward on pipeline risk assessment study

Daily Local News:  Local lawmaker calls on PUC to post pipeline public comments online

State Impact PA:Officials: Water main contractor struck Mariner East 2 in Delaware County

Daily Local: Chesco Commissioners urge PUC to stand against pipeline projects

dear east goshen, are you nuts???

So East Goshen is into re-purposing dams in 2017.  One is Hershey’s Mill Dam.  Ok it’s a great idea, as it all looks a little sad right now BUT if you look at last week’s presentation, you can see the plan needs tweaking.

And East Goshen has been wrangling with this for years.

The most glaring problem is putting handicap ADA accessible parking right there on one of the curves of Hershey’s Mill Road.  Hershey’s Mill Road is a beautiful road. But it is windy and twisty, really windy and twisty and where they are proposing the barely off street parking is especially narrow as well.

Here is a survey you can take:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HMDraftPlan

Here is the East Goshen Township Manager’s e-mail address: rsmith@eastgoshen.org

Take a look at the plans: http://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/170323_HMD-Pub3.pdf

Not a bad concept, my issue is strictly with the location of the parking – if you are familiar with the road you know not all people treat it with respect and go quite fast. Seems to be a disaster waiting to happen. East Goshen Township, are you nuts to propose the spaces there? What are the alternatives? 

Anyway, thought I would put this on your radar dear readers in Chester County and especially those in East Goshen and neighboring municipalities.

Thanks for stopping by.

so NOT cool.

not cool - breaking news on Philly.com

not cool – breaking news on Philly.com

I think I am about to become my mother in one fell swoop. I also think I completely understand now why she was the uncool mother along with the uncool father who called ahead to find out if parties would be serving alcohol and if parents would be present.Truthfully my mother was a bit ahead of her time on this.  I graduated high school in 1981.  But I am also alive to write this post, so while my sister and I mocked our mother and father ever so slightly on this a million years ago, well in retrospect was she wrong?

Today, more than ever there seems to be a weird dynamic going on between some parents and kids.  No parent wants to be labeled uncool, but some parents seem to forgo actual parenting for this odd popularity contest.  It is human nature to want to be friends with our children, but the job first and foremost is to be a parent, right?

So what the hell was this father in East Goshen thinking over the weekend? What am I talking about?  Why what lots of people are talking about this morning which are headlines regionally of an underage liquored up teen party where parents knowingly served minors alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day weekend last weekend.

Here are the dockets: Docket 1, Docket 2

Will kids drink? Yes, and don’t say no unless you were never a teenager.  But for an adult to in essence sponsor a party where a teen is found unconscious and covered in vomit and other parents could not reach their kids?  Not acceptable.

This story unfolding is every parents’ nightmare when it comes to teenagers.  You want your kids to have the autonomy they crave, yet you still have to keep an eye on them to ensure they make smart decisions and stay safe. And then there is the added thing of having other parents as trusted partners in this process.

We can’t keep our kids wrapped in cocoons of cotton wool, but seriously, where was this parent’s head?  I bet there were parents of kids at this party trusting this guy to keep kids safe, and I also bet there were other parents who did not know their kids attended this party.

Talk about teach your children well.

Sorry, but not only is this every parent’s nightmare but this is also the kind of parental antics that just make me very angry. So uncool.  Utterly irresponsible.

Here is actual WEGO press release for underage party . Below are links to some of the media coverage.  There is a lot on this.

Chesco father, son charged over illegal party

Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer

Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 3:01 AM

The underage drinking party was one complaint.

Then there were the two fathers out on the lawn who could not contact their daughters, thought to be at the Saturday night party inside the East Goshen Township, Chester County, house.

And then there were the hosts of the party, who allegedly refused to let police see what was happening inside the house in the 1600 block of Bow Tree Drive.

After finding what was inside – including several teenagers hiding in a basement crawl space – the Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department arrested Raymond Bonnett, 46, and his son Elliott, 18, and charged them with hosting a party at their home for 19 underage drinkers on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.

The most serious charges were not for hosting the party, but two felony counts of “interference with custody of children.”

After more than an hour in which the Bonnett son ordered police officers off the family property and refused to let them enter the house, they found one juvenile “unconscious and covered in vomit on the basement couch,” according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Police charge father, son with hosting underage drinking party

 By MICHAEL N. PRICE mprice@dailylocal.com

CBS 3: Father, Son Accused Of Hosting Underage Drinking Party At Chester County Home.  By Brad Segall

The Unionville Times: Father, son accused of hosting teen booze party

March 18, 2013

….Members of the Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department said they responded at 11:17 to a complaint regarding a residence in the 1600 block of Bow Tree Drive in East Goshen Township, where officers observed vehicles parked near the home, individuals “who appeared to be under 18 outside holding beer bottles,” and numerous juveniles inside the home with beer bottles and plastic cups, a news release said….The arrival of officers prompted the young people outside to go inside the home, and a teen later identified as Elliott Bonnett, 18, “instructed police to leave the property,”

coach touchy feely pleads guilty

In May, 2012 when I first wrote about the touchy feely swim coach in the West Chester Area School District I took some heat in the comments for being harsh.

Well I hate to say I told you so, but I was right and former  West Chester Rustin High School swimming coach Kenneth Fuller has pled guilty in Common Pleas Court.

God help his poor family.  Through no fault of their own they get to live this every day with him.

I have said it once, I will say it again, I am sick of predatory authority figures whether teacher or clergy or anyone else.  And these school districts need to pay better heed to issues teachers are having.   Take for example the teacher booted from Conestoga High School around Christmas for being blotto drunk on the job.  That stuff doesn’t happen overnight.

I have to say sometimes I tire of all the whining you hear regarding contracts, pay, and benefits from teachers when their school district contracts are up for renewal.  I think that people might be more amenable at times to them getting a little more here and there if they took their moral obligation to our children more seriously. That includes those who work with someone that they know is doing wrong by kids.

Teaching is an honorable profession, but teachers/coaches like this guy Kenneth Fuller are without honor.  Sorry, but I find taking advantage of kids despicable.  And to put his family through this is despicable too.  And selfish. Hope he gets help in the clink.

Former West Chester swim coach admits having sex with student

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013

By MICHAEL P. RELLAHAN
mrellahan@journalregister.com

WEST CHESTER – The former West Chester Rustin High School swimming coach pleaded guilty Wednesday to engaging in an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of his female team members.

Kenneth Fuller stood before Common Pleas Court Judge David Bortner and admitted that he had taken the girl, then 17 years old, to a hotel and an area park in the spring of 2012 and had sex with her after supplying her with alcohol.

He also admitted that he had helped fake a doctor’s letter for her that would excuse her from missing class when the two had one of their trysts. Finally, he acknowledged that after his arrest in May, he had continued to contact the girl about his case – although there is a disagreement about what exactly he said and why.

Fuller, dressed in a blue business suit, striped dress shirt and tie, said little during the 30-minute hearing in Bortner’s courtroom besides saying he understood the rights he was giving up in entering his guilty plea, and understood the charges against him. He was accompanied by family members and his attorney, Vincent DiFabio of Paoli….Fuller, 48, of East Goshen, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of endangering the welfare of children, which carries with it a possible maximum sentence of 3½ to seven years in prison, and a standard recommended sentence of between three months and one year in jail.

 

 

let’s talk election turkey, chester county

Politics and I have a love hate relationship. Lately it has been a supreme turn-off basically because I feel under assault from robo calls and a mind boggling display of obnoxious lawn signs (from both parties).

Seriously GOP, a robo call from Newt Gingrich at 7:15 in the morning is a bit much. This morning Arizona Jan Brewer called me.  Because you know she and I are tight BFFs, right?  I have also received robo calls from Barbara Hafer, Newt Gingrich, and no foolin’ home schoolin’ Rick Santorum. And Ann Romney – she and I have also made a date to go shopping, apparently.

If the political inundation isn’t enough from THAT side of the aisle, there are all the people who call for Obama that aren’t Obama. And then there are the Democrats’ ads.  You know like pick your congressman by their hair.  Really Manan Trivedi, that was the best you could come up with?

Here is how I feel about Jim Gerlach: I like the man and have known him for years.  I will admit I am a little disgusted the way he seems to have been sucking up to the fringe of the Republican Party and may have drunk too much tea, but I think that is more his campaign than him.  I know the good Jim Gerlach is capable of and does do every day.  He was my congressman in Lower Merion before my move to Chester County.  I am no one special and he has made much time for me and my questions over the years, so for the measure of the man, I still think he is aces.

I have met Manan Trivedi too.  He gets bonus points for being a candidate that doesn’t politick at non-profit sponsored events.  Which is more than I can say for Lower Merion ex-pat Bret Binder (but I will get to that in a moment.)

Manan Trivedi might be nice, he may have served his country admirably, but that doesn’t mean he is the right choice or equipped for public office.  He was plucked up last Obama election cycle by the Democrats to ride Obama’s coattails.  I think they figured their other election strategies hadn’t worked against Gerlach (they had pitted the whiny Lois Murphy against him, and others like Bob Roggio who used to politick at every non-profit event possible) so they picked Manan.

I think they picked Manan Trivedi basically because he represented another minority.  That type of political pandering is disgusting. He is a nice man, but he doesn’t have the chops, nor am I sure he actually lives in the district.  He is sort of like the Democrats’ answer to Rick Santorum on the whole residency thing and we all know how well that worked out at the time, don’t we?

I can’t vote for Manan Trivedi.  He is a nice guy who will just be a puppet.  There is enough of that in Washington.

But let us talk about the PA senate race for a minute, shall we?  As a woman, Tom Smith terrifies me.  Period.   Bob Casey will never light the world on fire, but I just can’t go the extreme to Tom Smith as a woman. (And I believe interestingly enough that before Tom Smith was a tea partier, he was a Democrat? Is that like confusion in politics?)  I also have a parent who collects social security and is on medicare, and I don’t believe his about-face on social security and medicare.  He can trot out aged mama in all the television ads he wants but the simple truth is his mother would never be affected by cuts to either as her son is a very wealthy man. And Tom, global warming is not a hoax.  Look at Hurricane Sandy.

Onto State Senate.  I am new to Chester County, but I like Andy Dinniman.  truthfully, I could not even tell you the name of his opponent.  Andy truly tries to work in a bi-partisan way for all the residents he serves.  I happen to respect and like that in my state senator.

However, I can’t say that I will show that love to Democrat Bret Binder.  Bret Binder is running for State Representative.  He is an ex patriot of Lower Merion Township, and to be honest, having recently moved out of Lower Merion and having lived how the Democratic majority there has made a mess out of Lower Merion even though they claimed they wouldn’t, I just can’t support someone like Binder.

And I am annoyed when he tells people he is “fully local” and is from Lower  Merion in the same breath.  Never the twain shall meet.

Hey look, as someone new to Chester County from Lower Merion I am not going to tell anyone I am “fully local”. I am not.  I am new to this area. Period.  And as someone who literally feels like they can breathe because I have escaped the horrid politics of Lower Merion I am not going to support someone born out of Lower Merion Democrats.  And that is not to say all Lower Merion Democrats are bad, but those who are in power do not even represent all the voices of Lower Merion Democrats.  Suffice it to say it is very Boss Tweedy in Lower Merion and I don’t want that again where I call home and I do not believe without the financial support of those outside the district he wants to run in, would he have made it this far.  Bret Binder’s campaign finance reports tell a tale of support from OUTSIDE Chester County. That is fine, everyone has a right to contribute how they see fit, but the thing is this: he is going to represent us, and who the heck is he?  Other than a Democrat from Lower Merion?

And what else? Oh yes, Bret Binder is currently running an ad against Dan Truitt where he laments the public school system.  People, he went to Harriton, which is a study of privilege and excess.  It’s certainly not your average public school, so I wouldn’t bet the farm on him from that angle, either.  Bret Binder also stretches and shapes the truth to fit his needs (as any good lawyer is wont to do) as far as Charter Schools getting money.   What is wrong with charter schools seeing some of the educational money available?   Does Mr. Binder have or has he had children in the public school system in West Chester?  The West Chester Area School District is haphazard and broken in my opinion (and I am allowed even if some will find that opinion irritating).

Mr. Binder should not be judged harshly if he is single and has no children in the district, don’t misunderstand me on that.  But I do know a lot of people in the West Chester Area School District who have pulled their kids out of this school district because of the problems in this district.  If you can’t afford private or parochial school, charter school is one of the few options out there.  And let me tell you this much: because of the West Chester Area School District feeling threatened by charter schools, charter schools in this area probably get about half of what they deserve.  And do not tell me that the WCASD can’t be petty about this, just ask anyone who wants their kid on a bus for any school other that West Chester Area School District Public Schools.

Mr. Binder made an appearance at the East Goshen Farmers Market which was recorded for posterity. Now the East Goshen Farmers Market is run kinda by a non-profit, right? The Friends of East Goshen? So why would Lisa O’Neill who is a member of this 501(c)(3) and one of the people who runs the farmers market be in a political ad so to speak?  Binder gets a grade of an F of politicking at a non-profit sponsored event that is SUPPOSED to be NON political and using it for campaign purposes like advertising and marketing, but wow really? One would think the farmers market folks would have known better?  That is the kind of stuff that can harm a non-profit status is it not?

Bret Binder candidate for State Rep. at East Goshen Farmers Market with Lisa O’Neill who runs the market for Friends of East Goshen Township

Now onto the presidential vote of it all.  I have to tell you that as of this minute writing this post, I am torn.  There is quite frankly so much I do not find appealing in both major candidates.

At the end of the day it may come down to the size of government, however.  While we have suffered through an economic period potentially as devastating as the Great Depression there is one sector that has had enormous job security: big government.  It keeps getting bigger and more Orwellian big brotherish.  I am not comfortable with that.

In this case, maybe change is good? Tomorrow will see.  But please, whatever you do, vote your own conscience tomorrow.  Do not vote a certain way because you were told to.  Hope, change, and forward are just words. Remember that.

I remain, as always, an opinionated inveterate ticket splitter.  I have not been compensated for any of my opinions by any candidate, nor do I donate finacially to campaigns.  I make my own decisions and am my own woman politically.  Sometimes it makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland Party of One, but seriously? I think that is the best way to be.  Politically Stepford I am not, and no matter how you vote tomorrow, that is what I encourage people to do: do not be politically Stepford.

Do not just pull one lever for one party if you have doubts about some candidates.  Mix it up.  It’s between you and your God, no one will know unless you tell them.

In my mind, the solution in American politics is simple: we need a return to balance.  Political extremism is ruining this country. So is not being able to hear the actual voice of the candidates over the din of the political party machines.

One size does not fit all in politics, either. And my last word on the subject? I wish municipalities would zone the SUPER sized political signs out of existence.  They are obnoxious.