Monday, April 27, 2009

Hit-and-run Damages Historic Cemetery Gate at Gettysburg

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Gettysburg National Military Park
1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100
Gettysburg, PA 17325
717/334-1124 phone
717/334-1891 fax

Gettysburg National Military Park News Release
For Release: April 27, 2009

Hit-and-run Damages Historic Cemetery Gate at Gettysburg

Gettysburg, PA, April 27, 2009. Park Rangers at Gettysburg National Military Park are asking the public for information about a hit-and-run accident that damaged the gate to the Soldiers’ National Cemetery on Baltimore Street late on the night of April 25 - 26, 2009.

Law Enforcement Rangers believe a car - possibly yellow in color - drove into the gate, damaging it and then drove away from the scene. They recovered part of a license plate holder at the scene that says “I’d rather be shopping.” The vehicle may show damage to the front end.

The damaged gate was on the left side of the Baltimore Street entrance to the Cemetery and has been temporarily removed for repairs. The historic iron fence gate is from the late 1930s. Repair costs are estimated at $2500.

Anyone with information is asked to call 717/ 334-0909.

The Soldiers’ National Cemetery is the burial site for more than 3,500 Union soldiers killed at Gettysburg in July 1863. President Abraham Lincoln dedicated the cemetery on November 19, 1863, with his immortal Gettysburg Address. The cemetery is the final resting place for veterans from the Civil War to the Vietnam War and is maintained by Gettysburg National Military Park.

END

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“Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

“Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dodge Ball

The recent efforts of a bunch of Cumberland Township residents to get some answers on a test well operated by the Gettysburg Municipal Authority [GMA] in their neighborhood, has resulted in a very ugly game of Municipal Dodge Ball between the GMA and the Township Supervisors while the citizens wind up the losers.

The township told the citizens that the well was drilled and operated by the GMA, and they would have to go there to get their answers. So they went to GMA. GMA's board is comprised solely of residents of Gettysburg Borough. GMA told the citizens to go to their Supervisors because their supervisors should be attending GMA meetings.

Both municipal entities are gutless. They hide behind phrases such as:

  • "We are not required to..."

  • "We have no plans at this time..."

  • "We are required only to..."
  • Now they play the "Go ask your Dad"--"Go ask your Mom" game. No one will give these folks the answers they seek.

    Indeed, the situation arose most likely when the Township, or some developer, asked GMA if there was sufficient water in the area to support "x" number of new homes. So, GMA goes and drills a test well that threatens the water supply of the existing residents in the area. Perhaps that is legitimate. What is not legitimate is that neither the developer [if one is involved], nor the Township, nor GMA bothered to inform the locals that they were drilling a test well in their area. Further, at every turn there were vague warnings that if pressed, the testing of the surrounding wells to see the effect the test well had on them could get expensive for the homeowners.

    That is a shameful shirking of responsibility. For elected officials to take this approach when they are there to protect the citizens is reprehensible. This is not the first time, either. The same thing happened 8 or so years ago when an enormous test well was drilled and spewed tens of thousands of gallons of water out on the ground to see if there was enough to support the construction of the new prison and the new power plant out in Straban Township. The Strabaddies were surprised when a large contingent of local farmers showed up complaining about their wells running dry --and all this in the middle of a two year drought!

    The buck-passing and shirking of responsibility by elected municipal officials is usually a sign they've been caught out at something. They do not like being publicly exposed when what they are about is the least bit shady. While the Strabaddies have finally learned to play by the rules, The Cumberland Clowns, and apparently the GMA Goofballs have not. Cumberland is well known for looking the other way at violations of agreements with contractors, totally ignoring green laws, and violation of their ordinances -- just so long as the money keeps rolling in...and it will as long as the developers and contractors continue to play the game. And they never tell anyone who may be affected by their decisions about how it will affect them. When asked, they hide behind "We are not required to...", and "We have no plans at this time...". You can tell they are lying because their lips are moving.

    The GMA Goofballs simply take the word "Authority" far too seriously. They forget they ARE elected. The fact that no other municipalities are represented on their board when they claim "authority" over a very wide area is almost malfeasance. They should have restructured their representation to include folks from all the municipalities they operate in -- at the very least! Without that representation the board should stand up to its responsibilities and tell people the truth. And if their actions affect others negatively they need to bear the responsibility, especially financially. They SHOULD be monitoring the nearby wells for changes in recovery times, and water levels. And any developer involved should be made to pay the costs.

    They are shameless in their wretched excesses.

    The time for free rides for developers must come to an end. These municipalities need to become more responsive and sensitive to their constituents, even when they are not represented by some elected official. But get some guts and start charging the developers for all the tests, and do so without cutting back on what those tests are comprised of. Make sure nearby wells are also monitored.

    Irresponsible government sucks. Playing dodge ball with constituent groups sucks big time.

    Both municipalities owe these constituents an apology and the action steps necessary to make good what they should have done automatically in the first place.

    Then they need an attitude readjustment. YOU FOLKS WORK FOR THE TAXPAYERS. AND DON'T FORGET IT. The Developers are your customers, but the taxpayers are your constituents.

    GettysBLOG

    We support the Roadmap to Reform!

    “Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

    “Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

    Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

    Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Times Spreads NPS Smear to Congressman Platts

    innuendo: An indirect or subtle, usually derogatory implication in expression; an insinuation.
    What a sad day in Gettysburg and its surrounds when the local "smear paper" spreads its stink-ink to include our local Congressman. Writing in today's edition, hatchet specialist Scot Pitzer put every unproven allegation against Dr. John Latschar, Superintendant of the Gettysburg National Military Park, in a front page article. Pitzer managed to disguise it all in an article showing the views of Representative Todd Russell Platts [R 19] on the Inspector General's investigation into some of the allegations made against Latschar and the Park.

    This is not the first time Pitzer and the Gettysburg Times have gone the route of a smear and innuendo campaign. Indeed, the Times should not have home delivery, but rather should market itself at the supermarket checkout. A recent front page article on the tree clearing and replanting operations at the Park was headlined to the effect that the NPS was continuing to "Hack" at the trees. Little mention was given to the fact that the National Park Service Plan includes the planting of hundreds of acres of orchards and historic tree lots. The use of the word "hack" [which might more appropriately be used to describe Mr. Pitzer's talents as a reporter] in both the headline and the article intends a negative bias against the Park and the program. This in spite of repeated letters to the "editor" of the Times fully explaining the plan. The anti-tree clearing letters continue to be published, in all likelyhood because they are anti-National Park Service, which fits the apparent agenda of the Times.

    Now Pitzer and the Gettysburg Times have extended their smear to Platts by innuendo:

    "Platts has represented the 19th District in Congress since 2001. York area developer Robert Kinsley, Chariman of the Gettysburg Foundation Board of Directors and the developer who managed the vistor center project has reportedly funded Platts' past political campaigns. Federal investigators are probing Latschar's relationship with Kinsley."
    The use of the word "reportedly" shows intentional innuendo of political ethics violations which simply do not exist. This fits entirely with the record of the Gettysburg Times in the last election campaign, where ten times the ink was given to Obama than to McCain, both nationally and locally. No bias there, of course. Of course not. Do ya think?

    What a shame for the area to have a newspaper of this low quality. To have a newspaper that publishes all the negatives it can in an obvious effort to destroy people by innuendo rather than facts.

    There is an investigation by the Office of Inspector General. Nothing has been released from the investigation. Apparently the Times knows more than the investigation as they have tried and convicted Dr. Latschar of all kinds of crimes. Now they have spread their innuendo to include both Bob Kinsley, and Congressman Todd Platts.

    What they fail to grasp at whatever stands for leadership at the Times is they cannot continue to survive by publishing innuendo. We have predicted before that the life of the Times was limited. This might well be their death knell. If they are trying to portray the paper as a crusading journal they are failing miserably. If Pitzer sees himself as a crusading journalist, he is in way over his head.

    At this point, the Gettysburg Times should change its name to the Gettysburg "Slimes".

    GettysBLOG

    We support the Roadmap to Reform!

    “Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

    “Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

    Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

    Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Celebrate Junior Ranger Day on April 25 at Gettysburg & Eisenhower National Parks

    National Park Service
    U.S. Department of the Interior
    Gettysburg National Military Park
    1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100
    Gettysburg, PA 17325

    Gettysburg National Military Park News Release
    For Release: April 14, 2009
    Celebrate Junior Ranger Day on April 25 at Gettysburg & Eisenhower National Parks

    Gettysburg, PA April 14, 2009. For National Junior Ranger Day on April 25, the National Park Service is inviting young visitors to Gettysburg and Eisenhower National Parks for special activities.

    Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation will celebrate the newly expanded Junior Ranger program at Gettysburg.

    Activities for the day include special presentations at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. about the national parks. Kids will play National Park trivia and other games, and can try on a ranger hat, and other activities in the Visitor Center lobby.

    Throughout the day, the Gettysburg Foundation will offer a one dollar discount on admission to the film, cyclorama painting and museum exhibits to all kids working on the Junior Ranger activities booklet. Main Street Gettysburg is also offering a one dollar discount on admission to the David Wills House for all kids working on the Junior Ranger activities booklet throughout the day.

    A special table will be set up in the park’s Museum and Visitor Center lobby for distribution of Junior Ranger activities booklets and check in. At the end of the day, a special drawing will offer all those who've earned a Junior Ranger patch an opportunity to win a “Behind the Scenes” tour of Gettysburg National Military Park to be conducted at a later date.
    The Junior Ranger program at Gettysburg National Military Park is a family activity recommended for children aged 6 to 13. The park provides an activity booklet and participants are invited to spend two to four hours exploring the park’s Museum and Visitor Center, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, the David Wills House, the Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station and other sites on the battlefield and in the town of Gettysburg.

    After completing the activities, the participants return to the park Museum and Visitor Center to receive a Junior Ranger patch and certificate.

    The booklet reads: “Junior Rangers are important young people who help Park Rangers with their jobs. National Park Rangers take care of Gettysburg National Military Park, as well as the people who visit the park. A Junior Ranger has to learn about the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War, as well as set a good example for other visitors.”

    Gettysburg’s new, expanded Junior Ranger Activity Guide was produced by Gettysburg National Military Park in partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation and through the generous financial support of the Ford Motor Company Fund and Bob and Marion Wilson.

    The Junior Secret Service Agent program at Eisenhower National Historic Site.
    The National Park Service is also inviting children aged 7 to 12 to the Eisenhower National Historic Site on April 25 to participate in the Junior Secret Service Agent program. The Junior Secret Service Agent program allows the children to learn about President Dwight Eisenhower and how the Secret Service protected him on his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
    Children participating in the Junior Secret Service Agent program engage in activities such as practicing radio procedure, looking for suspicious objects using binoculars, and becoming familiar with surveillance equipment in the site’s restored Secret Service office. Trainees may also have to approach a “suspicious” staff member and “interrogate” them about their activities. Parents should plan to assist their children as they complete this self-guided activity. Upon completing the program, the children will receive a Junior Secret Service Agent badge and certificate, plus a special certificate and button commemorating National Junior Ranger Day 2009.

    Eisenhower National Historic Site is open daily. All visits are via shuttle bus from the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg. Shuttles depart every half-hour from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekends and every hour on weekdays. Admission is $6.50 for adults, $4.00 for children ages 6-12, under 6 free. The Junior Secret Service Agent program activities are included in the site admission and available daily. Families should allow at least two hours for their children to complete the program.

    For more information call 717/334-1124 or visit at www.nps.gov/gett and www.nps.gov/eise.

    -NPS-
    Thank you Katie! The Park Service continues to do a fantastic job in addressing the needs and interests of all of its visitors.

    GettysBLOG

    We support the Roadmap to Reform!

    “Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

    “Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

    Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

    Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.

    Thursday, April 09, 2009

    DR: Rendell's Pay to Play!

    Here is the latest from Democracy Rising. If this doesn't stick in your craw...
    --------------------------------

    Pay-to-Play

    It sounds like another form of gambling getting ready to take root in PA. But for many years it hasn't been much of a gamble for those who bankroll political campaigns, and its roots are firmly established.

    Pay-to-play refers to the coincidence of campaign contributors receiving no-bid contracts from the government after their candidates win. If such arrangements were in writing, they would be illegal. But they exist in the land of Wink and Nod with no paper trail for prosecutors to assemble as evidence. Click here for Wikipedia's description of pay-to-play.

    Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported on a specific instance of what it called the "State Lawsuit Racket" involving Gov. Ed Rendell and a law firm in Houston, TX. Click here for Wednesday's WSJ story and here for The Philadelphia Inquirer's follow-up today.

    F. Kenneth Bailey, a principal in the firm of Bailey, Perrin & Bailey, made repeated donations to Rendell when he was seeking re-election in 2006. During the eight-month period from February through October 2006, the donations totaled $91,100. During the same period, Rendell, with the concurrence of Attorney General Tom Corbett, negotiated a no-bid contract with Bailey to prosecute a lawsuit by the state against a pharmaceutical manufacturer.

    The story presents another one of those timelines that strain the definition of coincidence. Here it is, as presented in the WSJ story (all dates are 2006):

    • February 23: Bailey contributed airplane travel valued at $9,200 to Rendell's re-election campaign.
    • March 3: Bailey contributed $50,000 to the Rendell campaign.
    • May 12: Rendell's office asked Corbett's office, which normally would represent the Commonwealth in such a lawsuit, to allow the governor's office to handle the case.
    • May 24: Corbett's office granted Rendell's request.
    • August 14: Bailey signed a no-bid contingency-fee contract with the state.
    • September 15: Bailey contributed airplane travel valued at $6,900 to Mr. Rendell's campaign.
    • October 23: the Governor's Office of General Counsel mailed the contingency fee contract to Bailey.
    • October 30: Bailey contributed another $25,000 to Rendell's campaign.

    As is customary when awarding no-bid contracts, Rendell's office claims that the Texas law firm has "experience" in such matters. The pharmaceutical company has challenged the legality of Rendell's arrangement with Bailey, Perrin & Bailey. Apart from the smell test, the company contends that the Bailey contract violates the state Constitution. The matter is now before the PA Supreme Court.

    Questions:
    • Why did this have to be a no-bid contract?
    • Why did Corbett's office decide not to handle this case? How many and which other cases have they allowed Rendell to pursue with outside counsel? Who got the contracts to handle those cases?
    • How is a Texas law firm better able than the attorney general to argue the interpretation of PA's Constitution?
    • In a state that is home to pharmaceutical companies, how likely is it that the experience of a Texas law firm is better than the experience of PA law firms that might have bid on the work?

    A Timely Proposal
    The WSJ story arrived just two days after House Republican Leader Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, announced that his caucus will propose a package of bills to improve various aspects of public integrity, including pay-to-play. Click here for the list of 12 proposals.

    One of five parts in the pay-to-play proposal says, "No government contract can be awarded to a person, partnership or corporation that donated to the campaign of the state official responsible for awarding the contract within one year of the date a contract is posted for public bidding."

    Question:
    • If the campaign contribution is intended to influence an election that won't occur again for a specific term of years, why not ban contracts with agencies for the full term of the officials who benefit from the contribution? (E.g. two years for contributors to representatives; four years for contributors to senators and the governor; and ten years for contributors to judicial campaigns.)

    Philadelphia First?
    Now here's some news that those who love to hate Philadelphia won't like: Philadelphia has taken the lead on ending pay-to-play in PA.

    Three years ago, Philadelphia banned large campaign contributors from getting large city contracts. Businesses that contribute more than $10,000 to a city candidate may not get no-bid contracts worth more than $25,000. Individuals who donate more than $2,500 may not get no-bid contracts worth more than $10,000. It's still a pretty good investment, but not nearly as good as it used to be.

    Click here for access to the Philadelphia Code provision. Look for Section 17-1404.

    Question:
    • Will enough rural legislators be embarrassed by Philadelphia's leadership to ensure passage of a better law for PA?

    Remember: Only you can keep democracy rising!
    Donate here!
    Thanks!

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    Thanks to Tim Potts for keeping Democracy's fires burning!

    GettysBLOG

    We support the Roadmap to Reform!

    “Be steadfast in your anger, be sure in your convictions, be moved by the right and certainty that abuse of power must be defeated at every turn; uphold Liberty as the just reward of a watchful people, and let not those who have infringed upon that Liberty steal it away from you. Never loosen your grip on Liberty!" -- GettysBLOG

    “Legislation without representation is tyranny.” -- GettysBLOG

    Remember in May and November! Before you vote, GettysBLOG!

    Copyright © 2005-2009: GettysBLOG; All Rights Reserved.