The construction and use of the proposed gas pipeline to Shamokin Dam from the Marcellus Shale region to the north of our state presents a huge threat to the health of all valley residents. However, gas company UGI are conspiring to downplay the risks – refusing to publicly accept that there is even a problem! At a recent public meeting one UGI official – Mr. Bernie Holcumb, turned the truth on its head by deceptively denying that there was any radon in the gas from the Marcellus Shale beds!
The company which was recently fined by the Public Utility Commission the maximum amount of $500,000 following a 2011 Allentown explosion which killed 5 people, had their safety record at the same hearing described as “downright alarming”.
UGI – Safety record “downright alarming”!
However, they are taking no such chances with the Sunbury Pipeline. They have set up a separate company – UGI Sunbury LLC – to front the construction and operation of the pipeline and to insulate themselves from the prospect of any future liability. In the event of a catastrophe the parent company can simply wash its hands of it all and walk away, leaving their subsidiary to pay what it can towards any plaintiffs out of their limited resources. Do they even have adequate levels of insurance to cover potential damages to landowners and their property, or are they just minimally bonded? We just don’t know as they have stonewalled any questions concerning this issue.
Going by what has been written in the Daily Item, Mayor David Persing is now totally delusional over the city’s camera surveillance system. Having presided over the squandering of around $300,000 in tax dollars in a futile attempt to install an ill conceived and non-operational system, he now has the audacity to claim that the cameras are a “boon”.
This in the wake of a daring daylight robbery carried out on the 100 block of Market Street, a busy downtown area with no camera coverage, and a crime which seems to be no closer to resolution. “The city has no buildings in that block on which to hang a camera”, was his lame excuse. Has anyone been asked? What about Purdy Insurance, whose client was the victim in this crime, and who also happen to be the City’s insurers? What about Weis Markets? What about PP&L? Would they have any objections to hanging cameras from their poles? If the worst came to the worst, then the City could install its own pole. Now there is a revolutionary idea!
The obvious lack of security on this block can hardly be doing Purdy’s business much good. How many people now feel safe taking sums of money to this office in the light of what happened? Friend of the Mayor or not, Bill Purdy should be asking some very pointed questions as to what the City intend to do to safeguard his and neighboring establishments from similar threats in the future, and to restore an environment in which citizens can feel confident to go about their daily business without fear of assault or worse.
Since that event there have been further robberies around Market Street – one of a sports store at #228 where the front window was smashed to gain access, and one of an apartment in the 300 block, where the intruder gained access via a window overlooking the fire escape. Obviously these establishments were also outside the area or surveillance, as the police seem to have very little evidence to go on.
With the on-going revelations about the conduct of Sunbury police officers being featured almost on a daily basis in the pages of our local newspaper, we have to ask the question – what is the City’s agenda?
Once again our beloved Mayor has been caught fiddling while Sunbury burns. At a city meeting on Monday 8th December his proposals, to lay off two police officers from an already under-staffed department, were being discussed at the exact time an armed robbery was taking place not more than half a mile away, at the Turkey Hill gas station on Front Street.
Can anyone else see something very wrong here?
Turkey Hill – Armed Robbery while City Discusses Police Cuts
Deborah and Brian Betz of Sunbury came to us with details of a serious assault by a teacher, which they say took place at the Middle School earlier this year, on Friday February 21st, when their son Isaiah, only 13 and small for his age, was violently pushed into a door with such force that he sustained an enormous gash to his head – leaving 2 pints of his blood all over the school floor and requiring the insertion of 9 staples at the hospital emergency room.
The school did not call 911 to request either medical or police assistance, and failed to even alert the parents about this incident. The school nurse did not appear willing to offer medical aid, but instead sent Isaiah to the washroom to clean up his wound all by himself!
Police Contract Debacle Threatens to Engulf Persing
Last year, faced with a strong opponent in his race for re-election, a desperate Mayor Persing sold out the city, giving in to every pension demand made by his police department. He certainly wanted their contract off the table in the worst possible way, to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2005, when dissatisfied local officers played a significant role in helping secure Jesse Woodring’s primary victory.
Persing was terrified at the consequences of losing again, this time to Joe Bartello. Having built up his lucrative softball business over the years, and making a small fortune from the questionable use of taxpayer-funded city property and other assets, he had to do whatever it took to retain control. For him, the alternative was unthinkable. (see A Tale of Two Cities)
City Drug Dealers Cashing In after Mazzeo Dismissal
A Common Sight on City Streets
Following the ill-advised and rash removal from office by the mayor of our popular, experienced and effective Chief of Police, Steve Mazzeo, drug dealers are flocking to Sunbury PA like never before.
Many new faces are to be seen on our streets. The word is out – our under-manned and under-resourced police department, still struggling to come to terms with the loss of their leader, and with a new chief yet to find his feet, is being overwhelmed by an unprecedented crime wave – a wave fueled by the activities of these very same drug dealers.
At a time when many local businesses are closing their doors, not only because of the economy but also thanks to the business-hostile environment created by our city administration, the local drug business is booming.
Home invasions, car break-ins, burglaries, robberies, and other violent crimes are keeping our police tied up – and much too busy to deal with the real cause of these activities – drugs. Drug addicts turn to crime in order to finance their habit, and the deeper into it they get then the more money they require.
Right now Sunbury is in the midst of an unprecedented crime wave – gang activities, burglaries, home invasions, shootings, serious drug problems – as our local politicians continue to squabble behind the scenes over the appointment of a new police chief – an appointment only made necessary by their stupidity and propensity to put politics and self interest before citizen safety.
The criminals are well aware of this. They are flocking into our town to take advantage of the situation. Everyone should take extra precautions – secure their vehicles, windows and doors at all times, and stay alert for any suspicious activity.
The Daily Item is also aware of this situation, but refuses to alert our citizens to the dangers they face. Dark forces, we are told, have hamstrung their ability to fully report the news. Little more than the propaganda wing of this hapless city administration, they have been shown up once again as part of the problem in Sunbury rather than being part of its solution.
Winston Churchill once disparaged US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles as being the only bull who carried his own china shop around with him. Obviously Mr. Churchill had not come across our very own Sunbury Councilman Jim Eister.
Councilman Jim Eister
The Daily Item Saturday headlined Mr. Eister’s claim that it is the City who are dumping dirt on the Celotex site! This audacious but ludicrous statement blatantly flies in the face of all available evidence. According to Eister the source of the material is the new Municipal Authority transfer station being built between the existing establishment and the railroad tracks, at the end of South 4th St. Where his argument falls apart is that there are no excavations taking place on this site – it is being leveled and all the top soil and other dirt can be clearly seen piled up to one side.
This week we received disturbing news from concerned Caketown residents that dumping had resumed at the former Celotex site in Sunbury. Sure enough, on Thursday 29th May there was clear evidence in the form of several hundred tons of fill which had been dumped but not yet leveled, to add to the thousands of tons dumped previously. By Saturday, this fill had been leveled off, but a further 100 tons or so had been dumped and was waiting to be similarly treated.
Now You See It – 29th May 2014
Now You Don’t – 31st May 2014
If Moran Industries, or whichever of their subsidiaries is now operating this site, has nothing to hide, why is this stuff always arriving so clandestinely in the dead of night? Apparently they are now using the Front Street access gate, which means that local residents are not so aware of what is going on there.
If this fill is clean fill as they have always claimed, why is it even being dumped here? What would be the point, commercially or otherwise? However, if it is contaminated, toxic, potentially carcinogenic or radioactive, then where better to put it than on a site with no inspection, no access restrictions, no reporting requirements, no radiation detectors and a city code administration under the control of a compliant mayor with no apparent motivation to intervene?