Not The Item


Sunbury Pipeline – A Clear and Present Danger to Valley Residents

May 18th, 2015

Serious Cancer Threat posed by High Radon Levels

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 logo

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.

Spilling the Dirt

June 9th, 2014

Daily Item Fails to Check Eister “Facts”

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

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.

Site of Municipal Transfer Station Extension

Site of Municipal Transfer Station Extension

John Moran – Get the Frack Out of Sunbury!

June 1st, 2014

Renewed Dumping at Former Celotex Site

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.

Fracking waste dumped at the former Celotex site, Sunbury PA

Now You See It – 29th May 2014

New waste now leveled at former Celotex site, Sunbury PA.

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?

Persing’s Tax Hike – We Told You So!

November 17th, 2013

While the Persings were living high on the hog during their trip to Oklahoma City last week, others less fortunate were facing up to the prospect of a huge tax hike for the City. We hate to say it, but we told you so. Rather than a $400,000 budget reduction under Joe Bartello we face a $400,000 increase, following the same well trodden path that Persing has taken before – increasingly wasteful expenditure brought about by irresponsible policies pursued by a corrupt and incompetent administration.

Shamokin has already gone down this road and Sunbury is charging headlong in pursuit. When this latest increase proves not to be enough, stand by for an appeal to the county court for an increase in tax limits. Then, rather than going to 25 mil, we can see our tax rates going to 35 mil or even higher – a sure fire recipe for disaster, driving more good people out of Sunbury, leading to increased property blight and a rapidly decreasing tax base.

Unfortunately, this time there is nobody in City Hall who will stand up to such profligacy. With the departure of Councilmen Snyder and Bartello and their replacement by the incoming Henry and Reichner, the collective IQ of those running City Hall has probably halved, and Persing can look forward to little or no informed opposition to his misconceived plans for the next 4 years.

Persing Hoisted by Own Petard

October 8th, 2013

Vendetta against Bartello proves costly to City Taxpayers

There have been dramatic new developments in the Joe Bartello “Computergate” case.

Joe Bartello during Restore the Fourth Rally - Sunbury Riverfront

Joe Bartello

In a misleading story published September 27th, the Daily Item claimed that “US Judge dismisses Bartello allegation“. Their report went on to place the blame for the $10,000 in City legal fees for a “frivolous lawsuit” directly on Councilman Bartello – a claim which even the most elementary of investigative journalism by their chief reporter would have revealed to be patently false.

Not The Item spoke with Bartello’s attorney, Timothy Bowers, husband of Kymberley Best, who painted a very different picture indeed.

It turns out that the $10,000 in legal fees which the City claims this case has cost them to date are not down to Bartello at all, but down to the actions of Mayor Persing. Following the original hearing in Sunbury before Judge Saylor, who found against the City, Bartello offered to settle the case in exchange for the City covering his filing and service fees, amounting to some $300. This offer was rejected by Persing.

Persing – the Noose Tightens

August 7th, 2013

Previously Not The Item reported on a threat of litigation against the City from out-of-town lawyers, whose clients were concerned about ill effects to their health from operations by Moran Industries at the former Knight Celotex site.

Well, the ante has now been upped by the Speer Law Firm of Kansas City, MO.

Speers Law Firm

Mayor Persing had replied to their first letter, claiming that the City code office had received no complaints about dust from anyone. He claimed he had spent “2 weeks searching for any complaints”. Seems like this firm of attorneys do not take too kindly to such attempts to blow them off.

Breaking News – Persing threatened with Litigation

July 11th, 2013

“and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us…”

~ H. G. Wells on The War of the Worlds

With these famous words from his epic ground-breaking novel, H. G. Wells prefaced the coming invasion of Earth by the Martians. There is a modern parallel happening right now, in which the Martians are in fact Missourians and, slowly but surely they are drawing their plans against the crumbling Persing administration in Sunbury.

Mayor Persing

Mayor Persing

A letter was received by City Hall on Monday 8th July. Any alert observer at the City meeting held that night would have noticed the general demeanor at the front table – the distinct lack of bonhomie, the nervousness and, especially, the long faces. The City Administration seemed somehow distant, as if weighed down with the responsibilities and problems of government.

Not The Item has obtained a copy of this letter, addressed to the Mayor and members of the City Council, as well as to the Department of Environmental Protection in Williamsport. In it, Kansas City Missouri-based attorney Charles Speer refers to clients who have been affected by the City’s actions. He refers to concerns about health rising from the situation still existing at the former Celotex site, about early morning truck noise, about excessive volumes of dust which are causing breathing problems for local residents, and producing dust and dirt in homes near the site. He was concerned that the dust raised by these trucks could cause extreme health risks and irreversible health deterioration, or over time, death, for those, including his clients, forced to breathe dust generated on the site.

Persing – Misleading from the Front

June 7th, 2013

Bartello Vindicated over Celotex Claims

Mayor Persing

Mayor Persing

At the City meeting of May 13th, Mayor Persing, backed by City Engineer John “Pray for the Wall” Bakowicz, gleefully proclaimed that according to an agreement the City had with Northumberland County, responsibility for enforcing City Codes at the John Moran-owned former Celotex site was now with the Northumberland County Conservation District, and not with his administration. He effectively washed his hands of the problem and then reburied his head in the sand, no doubt hoping that now it would all simply go away.

Well, guess what Mr. Persing, it won’t! Councilman Bartello, nominally in charge of the Code Office, wrote to Patrick Mack, County Director of Planning and Industrial Development to seek clarification about these claims.

Feds Raid ex-Celotex Site Operator

May 30th, 2013

The Daily Item front page of today features yesterday’s raid on the Milton headquarters of Minuteman Environmental Services. Participants in this raid included the DEP, the FBI, the IRS, the PA Attorney General and even the local sewer authority. One thing the Daily Item failed to mention was the link between this company and Moran Industries – Minuteman were busily engaged in 2011 in shipping fracking waste through the Moran-owned former Celotex site, and in the process aroused much controversy and caused many problems for local residents.

Minuteman sign, Milton offices

Guilt by Innuendo

May 25th, 2013
Councilman Joe Bartello

Joe Bartello

The Daily Item sank to new depths on Saturday with their smear story against Councilman Bartello. Emboldened by their success in derailing Julie Brosius they have now taken aim at a new target – the man best positioned to stop a sixth term for Persing as Mayor of Sunbury.

The story was short on facts, short on research, but full of what amounted to little more than hearsay and innuendo. They don’t usually let the facts come between them and a good story, so nothing new here.

Not The Item