New school is great investment in community’s future

Molly Breakiron

Pine Township

I am delighted to see how wonderful the new elementary school building is. I believe creating an updated and modern space will encourage our children to become future leaders who are bright and successful. It also indicates an investment in our community.

There is pride from the staff and students in the building. Some really creative thoughtfulness went into the different parts of it. I really appreciated the tour Mrs. Martin gave before the PTO meeting the other night.

If we tell our students they matter, they will believe they do and become the future leaders we want them to be. I am happy my daughter had a chance to be in the new building for at least one year and feel the investment for herself.

I thank the staff, administrators and workers for their hard work and dedication to this project. The times are changing, and it is on us as adults to promote the growth and change we see coming.

Here we go with plans for Trash Mountain again

Todd Spears

Pine Township

For the fifth time, Tri-County Industries is applying to DEP to build a toxic “Trash Mountain” over the trash transfer station in Grove City, and I am very concerned that our community could be left with severely polluted air and water sources if this is approved.

I was initially impressed with their extensive plans for making sure no toxic gases leak into our sky or water system. But with all those “best laid plans” they are not considering equipment malfunctions, lightning strikes, earthquakes, fires, human error, and negligence. It would only take one mistake for our community to suffer serious sickness, cancers, and even death for years on end. Why is the DEP even considering this when several “Trash Mountains” in the area have a history of mistakes and violations with these consequences?

The DEP protected plants and animals when they made the nearby airport move a man-made wetland in order to build more hangars, yet they are considering a toxic waste dump where humans reside, shop, work, and fly planes. Why couldn’t this toxic dump be located far from humans in the vast forests of central PA? Well, it’s because the local government and Tri-County are blinded by the money they will make.

I pray that Tri-County chooses to find a more remote location for “Trash Mountain” and become heroes rather than sowing a legacy of toxic air and water, resentment, sickness, and potential death in our community.

There will be a public hearing at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at Grove City High School.

Having a secure courthouse doesn’t mean terrorists won

Adam Kemmerling

Grove City

“The terrorists won.” I don’t think so Matt. Nor do the people of Mercer County think the statement made by County Commissioner Matt McConnell is true.

The citizens of Mercer County, the employees of the county courthouse, and all of the people who travel from other counties applaud the fact that there finally is a secure entrance to our courthouse.

Yes, times have changed. All public buildings, airports, schools, hospitals, and even sporting venues have had to adjust to the idea that we must make all public venues as safe as possible. The attitude presented by our county commissioner is akin to an ostrich keeping its head in the sand.

American proverbs : An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is better to be safe than sorry. Safety doesn’t happen by accident. Better a thousand times careful than once dead. If you think safety is expensive, try an accident. “Governments first duty and highest obligation is public safety.”

These tried and true American proverbs have been ignored by Commissioner McConnell. Many are grateful that Commissioner McGonigle opened his ears and heart to the request of the courthouse employees and the citizens of Mercer County. The terrorist didn’t win. The citizens of Mercer County won because of the awareness, persistence, and smart decision of those to move towards the first duty of government – public safety.

Landfill owner’s record of violations speaks for itself

Joseph Paul

Grove City

The proposal by Tri-County to reopen the landfill in Grove City is a bad idea because those who would be in charge of it have proven, through their operation of another landfill and of other garbage businesses, that they cannot be trusted to respect the local environment.

Vogel Holdings, the parent company of Tri-County, also owns other garbage-related subsidiaries, which have violated Pennsylvania environmental law numerous times. The violations run the gamut from foolish and less significant to dangerous and brazen. They have been fined for not keeping equipment updated; for having the same truck pick up and mix together recycling and trash; for not monitoring water runoff; for transporting and storing residual oil and gas waste without approval; and for doing so after the DEP explicitly ordered them not to. And the violations go on, ultimately totaling more than $1 million — a sign of their seriousness.

The DEP should deny the application of any company with environmental violations as numerous and as serious as Vogel Holdings, just as a restaurant owner shouldn’t hire a cook with a known history of food safety carelessness, or the FAA should revoke the license of a pilot if he keeps crashing planes.

I encourage anyone living near Grove City to write to the DEP and attend the DEP’s public hearing on Oct. 16 at Grove City High School. You can find a list of violations in Volume 1 Exhibit F.1 in the application at Grove City Community Library.

We all need to wake up about the environment

Bruce Cooper

Cranberry Township

Lisa Thompson’s article on the GoErie website (”Climate change finally soaks in,” Oct. 2) describes her wake-up call for what is happening all around us; not somewhere else but in our own backyards. Fossil fuel companies have known for 50 years, and climate scientists have been warning us for 30 years, that greenhouse gas emissions warm the planet, causing all manner of change to our climate and harm to the Earth.

The climate crisis is scary, and it’s easy to want to just hide under the bedcovers and hope that someone else will figure out a solution. The good news is that others have, indeed, come up with solutions which, when implemented together, have a good chance of keeping the planet from warming too much and becoming uninhabitable for future generations. What is required of each of us is to get involved and build the political will for actions to be taken across the planet, including inside the Beltway in Washington, D.C. It will take all of our voices to be heard and all of our votes to be counted.

How to start? Do what Ms. Thompson did – read up on reports from the United Nations and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Learn about the research of 13 federal agencies in the Fourth National Climate Assessment. Join a Climate Reality chapter (there are chapters in Erie and Pittsburgh); join the Slippery Rock chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

And learn about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. With over 60 co-sponsors in the House, it’s the best next step for us to take. If your member of Congress isn’t on the list of co-sponsors, urge him or her to take that step and do something!

COOPER is the group leader for the Slippery Rock chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

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