Pa.’s new pension forfeiture law is great, even if it’s a little late

Carolyn Oppenheimer

Grove City

I applaud the Pennsylvania legislators for passing Senate Bill 113, which that ensures Pennsylvania’s elected officials and public employees who commit serious job-related crimes (felonies) lose their pensions.

Gov. Wolf signed this into law March 28. Unfortunately, as reporter P. Muschick points out in an article at the Allentown Morning Call (Mar. 24 www.mcall.com), this legislation was introduced in February 2015 (by former Rep. Scott Petri, R-Bucks) and could have been Pennsylvania law years ago.

Because Petri’s bill was not signed into law earlier, former Pennsylvania Sen. Mellow was able to get his $245,000-a-year state pension restored (2017), though he was found guilty of federal conspiracy charges (felony) and is now serving prison time. Disturbing!

However, the bill is now law. Beyond that, a lesson can be learned from those who persevered, and reintroduced Senate Bill 113. That is, if you are advocating for an outstanding bill in the Pennsylvania legislature, don’t give up. Keep advocating; there is a good chance it will become law.

Borough commended for neighborhood utility project

Bob Gropp

Grove City

As residents of West Washington Boulevard, my wife and I found the April 17 meeting between Grove City Borough Council and East/West Washington homeowners very beneficial and informative. The meeting satisfactorily answered our questions and convinced us that we are right in fully supporting the borough’s plan for upgrading infrastructure in our neighborhood.

The engineering plan is well conceived with consideration of residents’ concerns as well as cost effectiveness to ensure the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

At the project’s conclusion, residents will enjoy good, new reliable underground power and new water lines as well as having unsightly overhead utilities removed. The street lights will be replaced with aesthetically pleasing fixtures that are similar to the existing ones, which will provide better light and a safer environment.

The new lights will also be less costly to repair/replace compared to the existing ones. Finally, and most importantly, there will be increased safety for workers who have to work on these facilities.

The word “historic” has been used as justification for expensive restoration work. The neighborhood is old, quaint, picturesque and full of character. But historic? No battles were fought here. No one famous was born here. No house has a sign proclaiming, “George Washington Slept Here”. No state or government agency has designated the neighborhood historic. Were that the case, the borough would indeed have to address many expensive considerations to maintain a designated historic site.

But we are not Williamsburg. We are like a lot of neighborhoods in Grove City: nice, friendly and very much in need of infrastructure upgrades. Spending over $200,000 to replace curbs when $5,700will provide a very acceptable substitute is a waste of taxpayer dollars – dollars which could (and should) be used to improve other neighborhoods with similar infrastructure issues.

Finally, all underground facilities and above ground appertunances belong to the borough and are located on its property – none on any private property. Bottom line: The borough is working on its equipment that is situate on land to which it holds title. The borough has done its best to address neighborhood concerns, but it is now time to move on and get the work started.

Our thanks to the borough for developing a sensible plan that ensures utility reliability, restores the neighborhood in a common sense manner and ensures tax dollars are spent prudently to benefit the most citizens.

Be alert for slow farm vehicles on the roadway

Robert Craft

East Lackawannock Township

The Mercer County Farm Bureau is observing Rural Roads Safety Week April 14-20 by encouraging county motorists to travel safely on roadways this spring and throughout the year.

You may have noticed that farmers are returning to the fields to begin planting crops. As the new season gets underway, tractors, farm trucks, wagons and other large equipment are once again traveling on Pennsylvania roadways. To the distracted or impatient motorist, vehicles such as these can pose a threat when safe driving practices are not observed. For example, if a car is traveling 55 mph and comes upon a tractor moving 15 mph, it only takes five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field between the car and the tractor.

Don’t forget to reduce your speed when driving on roads where you might encounter large farm machinery. Also make sure to slow down immediately when you see the Slow Moving Vehicle emblem, which is an orange triangle with a red border, attached to farm vehicles.

In order to accommodate motorists, drivers of slow moving farm vehicles often pull onto the shoulder of a paved roadway to give other motorists a better view of road conditions and enough room to pass. Keep in mind that if the shoulder is soft, wet or steep, the farmer cannot move aside, because it could cause the equipment to roll over. If the farmer is unable to safely pull his or her vehicle off the road, and you feel you must pass, do so with caution.

On behalf of the Mercer County Farm Bureau, I encourage all residents to be aware of farm vehicles and equipment during their travels on rural roads. By working together, we can make the trip safe for motorists and farmers.

Robert Craft is president of Mercer County Farm Bureau.

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