I Like TJ’s Opinion!

Have a look at this eloquent defense of music and art in Boyertown.  It comes from a former student and someone I think you’ll be able to see has gained a lot from those “extras” in his education.  It’s a great letter and I’m glad he took the time to send it even though Boyertown is going to start slicing out the programs because they decided that Scenario One was their best option for moving forward.  Check out the letter here-



Pooling is Frackings “Dirty Little Secret”

Governor Tom Corbett hasn’t been getting the best reviews after his first 100 days in office, but he’s still voicing his strong commitment to the idea that Pennsylvania should allow natural gas drilling, or fracking to move forward without adding what some call a severance tax which was something the Rendell administration wanted to add.

In this article you’ll hear Corbett sharing what he says is a “dirty little secret” of the fracking companies- they want to pool developing land parcels so that if one owner doesn’t want to sell their mineral rights, but enough surrounding land owners do, the owner who doesn’t want to can actually lose the right to object.  Corbett says that is too much like eminent domain and he objects to it.  He says the drilling companies say they are willing to accept the severance tax, but they want the pooling rights instead.

In our local area we aren’t selling mineral rights to fuel companies, but we might have to worry about how these companies handle the poisonous fracking chemicals that are used in the process of extracting the gas. 

I think this article from the Wall Street Journal  is worth reading.  Here is a bit-

 Gov. Tom Corbett told a crowd from the region’s booming natural gas industry Tuesday that Pennsylvania needs its help to climb out of the recession, but he also warned that he would aggressively enforce environmental laws and that he opposes a controversial change in law sought by drilling companies.

“Forced pooling” is tantamount to private eminent domain, and he doesn’t agree with it, Corbett told the seminar crowd in suburban Pittsburgh, which is a fast becoming a hub for multinational energy companies exploring the Marcellus and Utica shales beneath Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

“I’m sure there’s many here, many here that would like to see” forced pooling for Marcellus Shale gas, he said. And then he told what he called “maybe a dirty little secret” about companies that say they would be willing to pay a severance tax that is the subject of much debate in the state Legislature.

“They never add the caveat that I know that many of the companies that have gone to Harrisburg have said, ‘Yeah, we’ll take the tax if we get certain things in regulation, including the forced pooling,'” Corbett said.

Forced pooling is on the books in some other states and can be used to force holdout landowners to lease their below-ground gas rights under certain conditions. The issue, at the top of the industry’s wish list since at least last year, has gained little traction in the Legislature. Companies say it would help limit the number of roads and wells built to extract gas.

Corbett also opposes a severance tax on gas extracted from the Marcellus Shale, the nation’s largest-known gas reservoir.

On Tuesday, he reiterated his stance against it, and tried to underscore the urgency of competing for the industry’s money and equipment. The Marcellus Shale beneath Pennsylvania is one of six natural gas deposits vying to offer the best return on investment for energy companies, he said.

“I need, we need, Pennsylvania needs the jobs today to get out of this recession,” he said.

Pennsylvania is the nation’s largest natural-gas producing state that does not tax the activity.

Corbett, who said the media would call Tuesday’s crowd of several hundred a “friendly audience,” accepted nearly $1 million in donations to his gubernatorial campaign from people in the natural gas industry.

However, he closed his 35-minute speech by promising to vigorously enforce environmental laws and saying he will use his power to grant drilling permits to punish companies, if necessary


WPAZ’s Question of the Day!

Calling all radio lovers!  Calling all radio lovers!  There is a new segment on over at the New WPAZ, 1370 in Pottstown!  It’s called the Question of the Day.  Lisa Varley, the station’s new events coordinator along with Dave Devlin the News Director and Ross Landy the “Station Hero” develop a question and then Lisa goes  out and talks to folks in and around Pottstown about those  questions that pertain to the local news.

It’s just one more thing the folks over  at WPAZ are doing to bring community radio to life in Pottstown!

If you don’t see Lisa asking folks questions when you are out and about you can sign onto Facebook and answer the question right there!  Go check out the  news and weather team at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/WPAZ-News-Sports-Weather-Team/149721565088764


Traffic Calming and Tom Hylton

Have you ever heard of “traffic calming”?  It sounds like something the Department of Homeland Security might be engaged in, or something that you’d have to worry about if you ran a huge airport or an Olympic venue right?  Well, it’s much simpler than that.   Traffic calming is the term used when we want to talk about making cities and towns more user friendly. 

Cars are still king here in  our town.  Our main streets are wide and they accomodate a lot of traffic, but that can be a problem when we are thinking about pedestrians using the same spaces.  I’m sure you’ve heard some noise about people not being  able to walk across some intersections that have recently been “upgraded” in the Pottstown area.  Somehow someone thought it was a good idea to create a shopping center without giving anyone other than those  with motorized vehicles access to it- but that says something about how much we value our cars and buses.  But what if you want people to walk around an area like say…downtown Pottstown?  What could you do to make people slow down without adding extra streetlights or signs posting  speed limits?

Well, You could create tricky parking patterns that force drivers to be patient and wait till someone pulls forward and then backs into a space to park.  We all know Pottstown did that a few years back and I don’t think that everyone was thrilled with the idea then and if we  were to fast forward I think we’d have to recognize that not too   many folks have changed their minds- but it was a good idea- we just never fully understood the concept.  Maybe most of us didn’t care whether folks slowed down to a speed friendly to pedestrians in the down town area.  Maybe some people are upset because they don’t like backing in themselves because other cars will run them down if they take too long- but that was the point!

Sometimes  change is easy to make and at other times i takes a little more force.  I’m afraid Pottstown wasn’t ready as a town to embrace the downtown.  But research proves that people do enjoy hanging out together- so the attempt to make downtown friendlier was a really good idea!  Before we knock the folks ( one person who jockeyed for it  was Tom Hylton)   who came up with the plan down there I think we could at least try to envision what that area might look like if the folks in town actually used High  Street regularly! 

The next time you are wondering if you should take the time to stop and back in your car on High  Street- take an extra moment to congratulate yourself on making  Pottstown’s downtown more “people friendly”.  In one backwards glide you’ve contributed to making our town a slower, calmer place to live and work. 

Or not 🙂