Friday, August 29, 2008

Nadine - You will be missed


Our family had the privilege of meeting Nadine Loane.  We did not know her well, but her passion for life left a lasting impression on our family. If you do not know her, she was the program coordinator of the Easton's Weed and Seed program. She lived with her family in the West Ward and believed her community had a bright future. We just needed to believe a little harder and lend a hand to the less fortunate. She saw the potential of Easton's West Ward, not it's faults. 

Jan meet her at several Weed and Seed meetings. She thought her passion and drive was of the one reasons the program was successful. I had the chance to chat with Nadine at the Common Union - Community Forum on: Reducing Gangs and Violence program held at Easton Middle School.  She was in a classroom with her service dog  at her side, educating people on the Weed and Seed program.  I was very impressed by her passion for community service and the conviction of her beliefs.

The West Ward community has lost a great leader.  I hope we can find the strength, wisdom, faith and courage to finish her mission on earth.  Nadine - you will be missed!

In her honor, get involved. One person can make a difference!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crayola New Favorite color- Green

I was talking to one of my colleagues about the United States energy policy and our ability to act locally to solve global  problems.  Being a native of India, she related stories about how the India people would implement new ideas to save their natural resources and reduce their dependency on foreign oil. She talked about water conversation techniques, how to save electricity, and how important it is to have a creative and forward thinking energy policy.  In India, allot of new construction projects are using solar power as a alternative energy source.  This policy is the norm, not the exception.

She opened my eyes to how fortunate we are in the United States. How we always have running water, electricity at our finger tips, and a energy infrastructure that is second to none.  For most of us, we do not have to walk miles for water, use candles for light, take a bath with only a bucket of water, or worry about how to heat our homes.  In Forks Township, we are very lucky.

As you may have read in a previous blogs, I was very excited about the Crayola proposal to install an solar power array at it's Church Lane headquarters. The solar array will use about 15 acres of land and Crayola will use about 20% of the power generated. The remaining power not consume by Crayola will be returned to the power grid.

On a 7 to 0 vote, the Forks Township Planning Commission approved the combined preliminary/final development plan. I was honored and proud to cast a "yes" vote for this wonderful and worthwhile project. I am hoping, this will be one of many "yes" votes that I cast to implement new green initiatives throughout our township.

Yes, we can act locally to solve Global problems!


Get Involved - Every Voice Counts.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Kids Paradise - Forks Elementary School New Playground!


As school begins today, I would like to provide an update on the Forks Elementary School new playground. To our children, nothing is cooler than a new playground to explore and create new adventures. I know the kids play other sports, but have you seen the way our kids eyes light up, when they see a playground in a park?

The Forks Township BoS gave a $10,000 donation which enables the Forks Elementary School Playground Committee to pay for Phase 1 of the new playground.  This was a great gesture by the township.

I stopped by Forks Elementary School yesterday to see if the new playground has been installed.  As you can see, the new playground is completed!


It is my understanding, the Playground Committee is planning a  dedication ceremony on September 29th, 2008 to coincide with a Welcome Back to School Night. The dedication ceremony will begin at 6:00 PM.


Please come and enjoy the festivities!  You will have a good time and it is for a great cause - our kids!


Get Involved. Every Voice Counts!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Forks EMS- What to do!


I know Forks EMS is in a tough situation. They have been trying to get out of financial trouble for the past few years and to establish a strong EMS for our community.  I am an avid supporter of Forks EMS.

As I have mentioned in previous blog entries, the Forks Township BoS voted to have Forks EMS provide BLS (basic life support) service and to have Suburban EMS provide ALS (advanced life support) service to our township.   I must admit this decision was interesting, as it does not provide a single provider of EMS service to Forks Township but two, one for ALS and one for BLS, and it provides one last opportunity for the Forks EMS leadership team to get its financial act together.

As reported by the Express-Times (see the Express-Times online article dated August 16, 2008 and the Express-Times Editorial dated August 19, 2008), the Forks EMS Director of Operations implied a 78-year-old person may not have died if Forks EMS had been dispatched to the scene.  Yet, according to various online accounts of the situation, Suburban EMS arrived at the scene one minute after the Forks Police and the patient arrived at Easton Hospital ER in 28 minutes.

Our family is sadden by these events.

Some public comments are so grievous that they  must be dealt with in a direct manner. The Forks EMS needs a strong leader in these troubling times and these types of comments call into question the ability of the current Forks EMS leadership team to run a professional organization.

Let me be very clear - I am a great supporter of the Forks EMS team.  However, I do not endorse these types of scare tactics to settle a business dispute between the Forks EMS and the Forks Township BoS.

At the August 21, 2008 BoS meeting, this issue was discussed. The board shared some interesting factoids about the Forks EMS financial condition:

  • Forks EMS still owes Suburban EMS: $14,262.50.
  • Forks EMS still owes Forks Township: $1,980.81 in EIT, Local Services Tax (LST), and utilities.  
  • The Office of State Fire Commission informed Forks Township that Forks EMS' State loan is in serious condition.  It is in jeopardy of default.
  • The Express-Times is reporting Forks EMS has over $500,000 in debt.

None of this debt has been addressed by Forks EMS in the past several months. The BoS expressed a desire to have the Forks EMS leadership present a business plan to retire the current outstanding debt and create a pathway to profitability.

By a 4 to 0 vote, the board did pass a resolution to place the Forks EMS on "financial watch." The township will send a strongly worded letter to Forks EMS insisting on financial statements and a business plan (for township review) at the September 4, 2008 BoS meeting.

No one from Forks EMS was in attendance.  Suburban EMS representatives were there.


Get Involved - Every Voice Counts

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Will Forks Township go "Green"?


I was unable to attend the August 14, 2008 Planning Commission meeting due to my father's wedding.  I thought it best that I attend my Dad's wedding. The wedding was a lot of fun! Congratulations Dad!

Between the wedding festivities, I reviewed the Crayola proposal to establish a solar park at their Church lane headquarters. I am extremely supportive of the establishment of the Crayola solar park. I  hope this proposal will serve as a model for other businesses in the Forks Industry parks to go "Green".

Right now, we have two major distribution centers being built in the Fort James III industry park, Weyerhaeuser and Henningsen Cold Storage. As far as I know, both will power their warehouses using a traditional model - by buying power! It would be great if the two companies would consider an solar park to provide a alternate source of energy to power the their warehouses.

The United States is at a cross-roads in its energy policy. We must take every opportunity to implement policies and laws that encourage the use of alternate energy sources.  You know the old saying: Think Globally. Act locally.

Kudos to Crayola for acting locally!


Get Involved - Every Voice Counts!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kings Mill Hearing - "The Township Rests"


ZHB Solicitor Michael Shay asked a simple, but very important question. Does the Township rest it's case?  Steven Goudsouzian, the Forks Township lead attorney, answered yes.  With those words, the latest chapter of the Kings Mill saga was closed.

This milestone was passed, as John VanLuvanee, the lead attorney for KMRD, finished his cross examination of Charlie Schmehl, vice president of the Urban Research & Development Corporation (URDC).

The cross examination of Mr. Schmehl centered on the details of the performance sub-divisions in the SR and SR 1 zoning districts and various correspondence's between the township and URDC. The KMRD legal team seemed concerned about the availability of mobile home parks in Forks Township and it's relationship to affordable housing.

Additionally, they discussed statements made by URDC to township officials that may have influenced decisions about the direction of the 2006  zoning laws.  Additionally, the KMRD team explored the relationship between the 2006 zoning laws changes and the 1997 Comprehensive Plan.

The KMRD legal team presented a rebuttal witness to refute the previous testimony of Mr Schmehl. This was the typical battle of the data experts about the availability of land to be developed in Forks Township.  Additionally, it seemed every fact presented by the township was disputed by the KMRD expert. The KMRD expert witness also stated the township was responsible for the development of the large number of single family detached homes, since the zoning laws did not encourage the development of affordability housing.  Wow!

The next Kings Mill hearing is set for September 8, 2008 at 7:30 PM.


Get Involved! Every Voice counts!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Easton Area School District - Facility Utilization Committees

As the new school year approaches, it is that time again, a group of four (4) citizen committees will resume work on the Easton Area School District Facility utilization plan.

These committees has been hard at work this year to update the current EASD Facility Utilization plan. A brief description of the committees is as follows:

  • Enrollment Projection: Determine the school district growth rate by grade by school.
  • Building Capabilities and Needs Assessments: Review the current list of school improvements and determine additional school building improvements for the next ten to twenty years.
  • Redistricting: Propose school redistricting, as needed.
  • Best Practices in Education: To determine the correct class size and the best education practices. 

The committee meetings will resume on September 10, 2008 at 7:00 PM. Additionally, the committees may meet on September 24, October 15, October 29, November 5, and November 19.  The meetings should will be held at the EASD Education building located on Bushkill Drive.

These committees are a good idea, as concerned parents and the various school PTA organizations can help write the final recommendation to the school board.

Get Involved! Every Voice Counts!


Friday, August 1, 2008

The next round of the Kings Mill Hearing is set for August 4, 2008

The next round of the King Mill hearings is scheduled for Monday August 4, 2008.  In summary, this is an on-going hearing to hear a substantive challenge to 2006 Forks Township FP Farm Land Protection district regulations. The challenge states the regulations concerning the development of single family detached homes in the FP district are arbitrary, unreasonable, and unconstitutional because effect of the zoning laws discourage a landowner to develop the land with high density housing. The developer (KMRD) wants to built 1,952 condominium apartments, 359 townhouses and 731 mobile homes on 545 acres in new development called Kings Mill. Yikes!

This could be one of the last hearings, as the KMRD attorneys finish the cross examination of Charlie Schmehl, vice president of Urban Research and Development, then presents a single rebuttal witness. I am hoping the final arguments, public comment, and the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) final vote will happen at a later date.

It is important we attend this meeting to show our support for the township attorneys and send a message to the developers, we do not want high density development in our FP district.


Get Involved! Every Voice Counts