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News Briefs 10/11/18

Baseline study completed regarding Highland Compressor

ELDRED, NY — A baseline study of the quality of air and water on property within half a mile of Millennium Pipelines compressor station in the Town of Highland has been completed (tinyurl.com/yaghusrr).

The Sullivan County Legislature commissioned the report, which was prepared by KC Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. The company said the results are “the baseline testing for air quality, sound monitoring and water quality associated with the proposed Highland Compressor Station, a new compressor station to be owned by Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC. The testing was conducted in the Town of Highland between October 2017 and July 2018, divided into three separate sampling rounds. The purpose of the baseline testing was to:

“• Establish a baseline for air quality, sound levels and water quality for the area in the vicinity of the proposed station.

“• Use the baseline as a reference for any potential future study performed once the station will be in use.

The results obtained through the testing for air, sound and water were as expected for the area.”

 

PA domestic violence firearms bill

HARRISBURG, PA — Senators Tom McGarrigle (R-26) and Tom Killion (R-9) praised the October 3 vote on landmark domestic violence legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate.

The legislation includes a requirement for abusers to relinquish their firearms within 24 hours of having a final Protection From Abuse (PFA) order filed against them. It also bans the current practice of allowing friends and family members of the abusers to store perpetrators’ guns, and instead requires sheriffs, attorneys and licensed gun dealers to hold these firearms. This makes it impossible for abusers to retrieve their weapons and commit further acts of violence.

The legislation also allows the victims of domestic violence to ask for an extension of PFA orders if the abuser has been incarcerated within the past 90 days.

“The effort to protect citizens from domestic violence is an ongoing one. It’s a process, and a sometimes imperfect one. When we can identify a way to reduce the potential for this violence, and do so within the parameters of the constitution, I believe we should do so,” said McGarrigle.

Gov. Tom Wolf said he will sign the bill.

 

Roundtable discusses housing issues

MONTICELLO, NY — On September 25, the Sullivan County Land Bank convened a housing roundtable to discuss housing-related problems and opportunities in the county.

Held at the community room in Monticello’s West Broadway Villas, the event brought together a diverse group of stakeholders and experts to identify the most pressing housing problems in the area, with a particular focus on the villages of Monticello and Liberty.

According to a survey of attendees, 22% said that housing for low-income and homeless families was the most pressing issue, 19% articulated an urgent need to improve the physical quality of substandard housing, and 17% believe there are too few houses to meet the needs of middle-class families.

Other issues identified included a shortage of quality rental properties, lack of educational resources for potential homebuyers and limited transportation options.

The event was moderated by Sullivan County Assistant Planning Commissioner Jill Weyer, who spoke about the abilities of the land bank to begin resolving some of these problems alongside community partners. Guest speaker Andrew Masters, from housing consultant Opportunity360, discussed tools and resources for communities to create data- and community-driven policies.

 

Postal workers protest in Scranton

SCRANTON, PA — Postal workers on October 8 joined others from around the country protesting outside their respective post offices in opposition to possible plans by the administration of Donald Trump to privatize the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).

In April, Trump created a commission to study USPS, and create a report. The report is complete, but has not yet been released.

A post on the White House website says, “The United States Postal Service accounts for almost half of global mail volume and is regularly cited as the Federal agency with the highest public approval rating. However, a number of factors, including the steep decline in first-class mail volume, coupled with legal mandates that compel the USPS to incur substantial and inflexible costs, have resulted in a structural deficit where revenues are no longer sufficient to fund the pension liabilities and retiree health obligations owed to current employees. The USPS... must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.”

 

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