Townships should pay fair share, but explore options
Even though it will mean higher taxes in our Benner Township homestead, I salute the governor’s proposal that all Pennsylvanians pay their fair share for police protection. Why should I get a free ride while the taxpayers in Spring Township and Bellefonte pay for local police and a little extra for freeloading me?
Of course, Benner Township does not have to pay for State Police protection. It can follow the example of College and Harris townships and purchase police services from a nearby municipality.
Instead of accepting the default, I urge my Benner Township supervisors to consider alternatives. Seize the opportunity.
Centre County has coordinated effort toward opioid crisis
Our Centre County community is at risk from the burgeoning opioid crisis and we need to work harder to solve it. How bad is it? We had 52 deaths here from drug overdose between 2016-18. Sixty percent of deaths were from fentanyl, heroin or oxycodone, all opioids. The financial costs are significant to create treatment and prevention programs. The human costs are nearly unbearable. Some victims are parents of young children. Amy Mitchell in Howard lost her daughter, age 29, to heroin addiction. Now Amy takes care of her young grandson full-time. She didn’t know where to look for help before she was her grandson’s official guardian, so she started Grandfamilies Support Group, which meets in Bellefonte twice a month, to help others in the same position. Education and prevention are needed so the next generation doesn’t fall into opioid addiction. The Centre County Youth Service Bureau works with the HOPE (Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education) Initiative. YSB provides drug and alcohol prevention classes in schools during Red Ribbon Week.
At Penn State, the Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse assembles researchers, educators and practitioners to develop programs aimed at preventing and treating substance abuse including opioid abuse.
Opioid addiction is a huge problem that won’t go away overnight. With a coordinated effort, teachers and families, university researchers, government and non-government agencies and the medical community can rise up and beat the opioid crisis. We can do this!
Failures with Freeh report
Penn State President Eric Barron and Board Chair Mark Dambly said the following (excerpt only) with regard to the damning leak of some alumni trustees’ assessment of the Freeh Report. “We wish to make clear the report does not represent the position or opinions of the Penn State Board of Trustees or the University in any way.”
These words are more than six and a half years late, and millions of dollars short. They should have been spoken by Mr. Dambly and his fellow trustees, and then-President Rodney Erickson, in July 2012 when then-Chair Karen Peetz affirmed the Freeh Report’s findings on Penn State’s behalf but without approval by the board as shown by the minutes of the July 12-13, 2012 board meeting. As matters stand, this unauthorized affirmation of the Freeh Report played a role in exposing Penn State to the NCAA sanctions.
Nothing can change or excuse the board’s rush to judgment against Coach Paterno while failing to exercise due diligence by (for example) interviewing Joe Paterno and Mike McQueary, apparent failure to review the Freeh Report when it was first delivered, failure to clarify that it had not voted to approve the report, and failure for the subsequent six and a half years to revisit and correct its past mistakes. So here we are.
Disparity in hourly wages
The federally mandated, minimum, hourly wage for visiting foreign labor, under H-2A visas, in Pennsylvania, is $12.05.
Yet the Commonwealth’s GOP controlled legislature opposes offering $12 to Pennsylvania residents.
Further, that legislature allows restaurants to pay their waitstaff only $2.83 per hour, with the assumption that customers will supplement that wage.