Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Letter to the Editor: HIGH SCHOOL CONTINGENCY FUND

Lebo Citizens reader and Mt. Lebanon resident, Richard Gideon has been following the change orders for quite some time now; keeping spreadsheets, corresponding with Jan Klein, and filing Right To Knows, when necessary. Below is Mr. Gideon's Letter to the Editor concerning the High School Contingency Fund.


As of the end of October, 2014, the high school reconstruction contingency fund was 90.1% depleted.  Here are the numbers:
Change Order (CO) Total:  $3,852,473.57
Change Order Average:     $15,724.38*
Median CO:                         $9,797.00
Number of CO's:  245
*Including refunds
    
Contingency fund beginning balance:  $4,276,000.00
Current Balance (October):                    $423,526.43

Change orders must be vetted and approved, then voted upon by the school board before they are paid.  Therefore, an official accounting by the Mt. Lebanon School District is not available to the public until the month following board approval.  Because the district has shifted payment of various CO's out of the contingency fund and into the Capital Projects fund I wait to request the change order listing until after the business meeting vote.  More on that in a moment.  However, based on the numbers announced by the district, here are the projected totals for November:

Projected CO's (November):         $127,994.00
Projected total:                               $3,980,467.57
Projected Contingency Balance:  $295,532.43
Projected used:  93.09%

The MLSD is currently spending its contingency fund at the rate of $132,843.92/month.  Should this rate of expense continue the district will run out of money by February, 2015.  I should point out that at the construction update on 10 November 2014, Mr. Berkebile stated that the project was "..34 months out of a 41 month project."  He also stated that the project is slated to be completed "..by the end of next year."  This throws some understandable confusion into the numbers.  My estimation, based on the rate of expenditure from confirmed October figures, is that the district will be short approximately $630,000, if the project ends by June, 2015.  However, if the project goes to the end of 2015 then all bets are off.  (If you have not heard the last construction update I highly recommend it; especially the 25 minute mark onward.)

When I requested the October, 2014 contingency fund listing and reconciled it with my own spreadsheet I found a discrepancy of $810.  After combing through the numbers I found the difference was due to a contradiction in a change order for Farfield Electric that occurred back in June, 2013.  The original figure was $28,907, but the October, 2014 CO PDF showed that figure to be $28,097.  At first I thought that the original figure must have been wrong or entered incorrectly back in 2013.  But after a couple of messages to Jan Klein it turns out the number was reported incorrectly on the October, 2014 PDF.  Ms. Klein told me the figure would be changed back to the original amount in the December report.  Therefore the numbers shown above, as of the end of October, are correct.  On this Blog the running total extends though November, and is eight cents higher than the projected figures shown above due to an original figure, early in the project, that had not been rounded.  

Richard Gideon

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mt. Lebanon approves archery, trapping to cull deer population UPDATED

OK Kristen, you win. Now go away.

The commissioners approved the deer management plan that I shared on this blog. They have approved archery and "trap and bolt,: as their lethal deer management plan.

Mt. Lebanon is applying to the Game Commission for a broader archery program and the use of “trap-and-bolt” methods that can take place on public or private land with the homeowner's consent. With trapping, deer are lured into a corral with bait, shut in with an automatic gate, then killed with a captive-bolt gun to their heads similar to those used in slaughterhouses. 
The commission will then submit a second application for using surgical sterilization to control the deer population, though Benner's report noted that Pennsylvania has never approved it before.
Read more: Mt. Lebanon approves archery, trapping to cull deer population

http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/mt-lebanon-council-votes-how-deal-growing-deer-pop/njFZ7/

Don't be misguided.

There is a new blog in town. Just like all the other blogs that have come and gone in the past four years (four years on Saturday) I have been doing this, I am announcing this one too. It is called Lebo Citizen, not Lebo Citizens. I have nothing to do with this blog.

Check it out. It has a Real Lebo blog feel to it. Real Lebo was a blog run by Elaine Labalme and Kristen Linfante.

It is unfortunate that the anonymous bloggers have chosen a name so close to this blog. I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

"This project continues to move forward."

That is what Kristen Linfante says about the toxic turf project. In addition to "robbing Peter to pay Paul," the commissioners continue to ignore warnings from doctors. The latest report comes out of Amarillo, TX. Pediatric oncologists are noticing a trend.
Artificial turf may be linked to cancer
AMARILLO, TEXAS -- Artificial turf--it's used everywhere. Football fields, soccer stadiums, playgrounds, they all have it-- but many times we don't give this fake grass, or what's in it, too much thought.
"If it wasn't safe they wouldn't have us playing on it, so I guess I trust my school and my principals and my coaches", said Palo Duro High school student, Malik Allen, who plays soccer and football.
Recently though, some have begun questioning its safety. After Amy Griffin, a soccer coach in Washington state compiled a list of around 30 soccer players who have developed rare types of blood cancer, national attention is now on the issue. Griffin says around 22 of those diagnosed, are goalies. She says they're the players who spend the most time diving onto the turf.
Doctors here in Amarillo say they are noticing a trend as well.
"Over the last three decades the cancer rate in children is increasing and it's quite a bit, it's concerning," said Dr. Turner, a pediatric oncologist at Texas Tech.
But Dr. Turner also says we don't know why this is happening. He says most types of blood cancer are linked to genetics, or certain viruses like epstein bar, but that environmental factors could be contributing as well.
"Benzene," he said, has been shown to cause cancer."
Benzene and Butadiene are both volatile organic compounds, or VOC's, and are used in the production of rubber tires. In large enough quantities, they have been linked to various types of leukemia.
It's not the actual artificial turf grass itself that some think is dangerous, but what they use to fill in the grass to make it softer when athletes fall. It's called "crumb rubber", and it's not just found in stadiums, but also children's playgrounds, like Medi-Park in Amarillo.
But, adds Dr. Turner, "it's hard to tell an association vs. being causal."
The EPA has yet to do a rigorous study on this link and refuses to comment to any news outlets, but studies conducted by the California government showed trace amounts of Benzene and Butadiene in the crumb rubber used in artificial turf.
"I think it'd be money well spent to do the studies to look for any possible association with these products and leukemias and lymphomas," said Dr. Turner.
A study done by the California department of resources and recycling says there is added danger for exposure to Benzene when the crumb rubber is exposed to heat, but that it has not been studied thoroughly enough yet.
A year ago, almost to the day, the commissioners told residents that their preference was organic infill. See Son of a bitch Just like everything else related to this project, that was a lie. Franklin on organic infill.

My message to the Commission back in February compared the turf project to the tobacco industry. They're required to have warning statements on their ads and products.

I had shared this interview of one of our nation's foremost experts on synthetic turf here on Lebo Citizens. David S Brown, Sc.D. is a public health toxicologist. Artificial Turf Fields: A Troubling Perspective 

Two local pediatric groups wrote about toxic turf.
Local pediatric blog writes about tire crumb infill UPDATED

The EPA said that more studies are needed. Have they done any more? NO.

Tomorrow, the commissioners will be discussing the toxic turf project during the Commission Discussion Session. They will be confirming Feller's inappropriate approval of change order number 1 and moving money out of one project to pay for this one, which was "only" to be costing taxpayers $750,000.

With all this said, "This project continues to move forward."
                                                       - Kristen Linfante
                                                         Fri, Nov 21, 2014 5:39 pm


Friday, November 21, 2014

First change order for turf project done without approval

According to Monday's agenda,

JB 19. Consideration to confirm the approval of a change order for the Wildcat Field turf project.

Vasco Sports Contractor has submitted Change Order No. 1 for additional trench volume to promote infiltration as required by the DEP in the NPDES permit. The change order totals $86,694. The Municipal Manager has approved the work and transferred $80,000 of available funds from the Bower Hill/Segar/Greenhurst signal project into the capital improvement fund account for this project.

Recommended Action: Move to confirm the actions of the Municipal Manager.

Commission wants your children to witness this UPDATED

On Monday evening, the commission will be voting on lethal and non-lethal methods of deer "management"which include sterilization, archery, and trap and bolt. Information on trap and bolt was provided by others. I can't even look at that stuff. PLEASE write to commissioners and attend Monday's meeting and try to stop these lethal methods of deer "management." I will not be able to attend the meeting since I will be working. Kristen Linfante, who once described herself as the "lone wolf" on deer culling, knows how I feel about this issue.

The commission's goal is to reduce car accidents by 50% in five years. Interestingly, the municipality stopped tracking deer-vehicle collisions when the numbers indicated a decline in this final 7/31/14 report. The municipality is back to showing deer "incidents," which include deer sightings.

Mt. Lebanon commissioners take steps toward deer management

Mt. Lebanon revises plan to thin deer

Game Commission would prefer Mt. Lebanon hunt deer


Sterilization
Deer sterilization is a non-lethal method of deer management. Grant money is available for deer sterilization, which was not reflected in the costs posted by the PG. Sterilization is being done in other states with much success. If the Game Commission approves sterilization, we will be the first in the state to have such a program.

Archery
Archery will be done in daylight hours. Just as I had seen a buck with an arrow in its side walking around on MacArthur on Election Night, this will be a common sight for all. During a recent commission meeting, I asked if Bethel Park had an obligation to contain their deer within Bethel Park while they shot their deer. The answer was no.


Clover Trapping Deer

Please click on URL link below to view a short video that gives an example of the intense stress, panic, and struggle that deer experience in a clover trap. (I won't watch this.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XezJJNzg3nY


Clover Trapping and Shooting Deer

Expert Testimonial

Laura Simon, Wildlife Biologist, The Humane Society of the United States - Excerpts from Letter to Mt. Lebanon Commission, Nov. 6, 2012
While it may sound humane to live capture deer in this way and then euthanize them, the reality is quite different. First of all, deer are extremely stress-prone animals with a highly developed flight response. Once captured, deer tend to panic and "bounce off the walls" in response to being captured and restrained. Their fear level is compounded by the lack of visual barriers, which allows them to see oncoming threats but lack the capability to flee. ... Any effort to safely and humanely kill deer captured in a clover-trap will be arduous and potentially dangerous. The stress levels of deer in a clover trap approached by humans can be huge. Some deer will lie down and try to become invisible, but others will repeatedly charge all the sides of the trap, making a lethal shot extremely difficult at best. ... And of course pistols, like all firearms, are susceptible to ricochet and misfire, which raises additional humane and safety issues. There are various protocols which can be used for capturing and killing deer in clover-traps, yet all have high potential for inhumane outcomes. ... For all these reasons, the HSUS does not recommend the use of clover traps for live-capturing and euthanizing deer. ... T
Capture and Bolt Killing of Deer

EXPERT TESTIMONIALS

Jack Schrier, the NJ Fish & Game Council
The U.S. Veterinarians' Association has stated publicly that net-and-bolt is not appropriate for use in the field. If this loathsome slaughterhouse killing method is employed in any town, it will debase that town and its good people.

Allen T. Rutberg, Ph. D., School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
My personal opinion ... is that netting & bolting free range deer is at best difficult to carry out humanely and at worst is brutally cruel. Because the practice localizes responsibility for killing with specific property owners, it also stirs up personal animosity among members of the community. Again in my opinion, the potential for animal suffering and the elevated animosity generated by the practice outweighs any benefits that might be achieved by deer population reduction.

Peggy W. Larson, DVM, MS, JD
[Trap and Bolt] This is a very inhumane way to rid yourselves of excess deer because of the extreme fright experienced by the deer and because the captured bolt does not effect a clean kill when the animal’s head is not immobilized. ... If a wounded deer escapes the netting, a resident of the town could be injured and the town held liable. Anyone watching this violent procedure or even knowing about it certainly would find it unpleasant and some may find it emotionally traumatic, especially children. Bait, net and attempt to kill is not a humane solution.

John W. Grandy, Ph.D. Senior Vice President of The Humane Society of the United States
The Humans Society of the United States (HSUS) is committed to preventing needless pain and suffering to all animals. It is cruel to attempt to euthanize a wild animal with a captive bolt gun because the animal will suffer needlessly and terribly. There is nothing remotely humane in this process.

Laura Simon, Wildlife Biologist, The Humane Society of the United States
HSUS Letter to Mt. Lebanon Commission Opposing Clover Trap and Kill, 11/6/2012
I am writing to object strongly to your town’s plan to use trapping and the captive bolt as a management tool for white-tailed deer. The HSUS is committed to preventing suffering in all animals. We firmly believe that it is impossible to ensure that this technology is used correctly and consistently enough in the field to provide a humane death to deer. Captive bolt guns are designed for use on restrained domestic animals in highly structured and controlled environments. Even there, the "humaneness" of these devices has been called into question. These guns were not designed for use on wild animals under any circumstances, and certainly not as a management tool for white-tailed deer.

Clover Trap Capture and Bolt Killing of Deer

After the deer are trapped in a clover trap a hired contractor collapses the trap on the deer and attempts to steady the deer while another contractor fires the bolt gun -- a 4 inch retractable steel rod -- into her skull. Since the deer are inadequately restrained and are strong and heavy, they frequently manage to move. The bolt-gun is then misfired into their eye, jaw, ear or nose. The contractor must reload the bolt gun before trying again. Death from the bolt-gun is often not immediate, adding more prolonged suffering to already terrified animals.

The Reality of Net and Bolt Killing of Deer

www.youtube.com/watch?v=neOr8F8c6as

An explosive charge propels nets over a group of deer, tossing them in the air and ensnaring them. They thrash around, crying out in fear and panic as they are shot in the head with metal bolts. (Undercover footage by SHARK)

The above Net and Bolt youtube video was a S.H.A.R.K undercover investigation to expose animal cruelty. You can see the original video, background info. and veterinarian testimonies who viewed these videos regarding animal cruelty at the S.H.A.R.K. URL link below. We urge you to review the veterinarian testimonies.

Net and Bolt
http://www.sharkonline.org/index.php/deer-rocket-netting















Update November 21, 2014 6:16 PM The deer management plan is available for viewing on Monday's agenda. A few fast ones by our tricky experts: The plan discusses sharp shooting even though Manager Feller, Dave Brumfield, and John Bendel stated that they are opposed to sharpshooting.  Second, the Municipal Deer Control Permit is to include both lethal and sterilization, NOT file two separate permits. Finally, we are NOT to assume that there are 500 deer. That was a number that Kristen and Tony DiNicola came up with during a telephone conversation.  There was no aerial survey conducted.

Little Things Matter: The Impact of Toxins on the Developing Brain

Little Things Matter: The Impact of Toxins on the Developing Brain

I watched this short YouTube video and it hit me. The reason why the four commissioners aren't getting it must be because they have been exposed to too many toxins.



Kratsa selling off 15 hotels

Kratsa Properties, owner of Hotel Tyvek, located in the heart of Mt. Lebanon, is selling off 15 hotels. Don't worry, Folks. Hotel Tyvek is not being sold. It is scheduled to open 2012 2013 2014 2015.

Sources: Kratsa selling off portfolio of 15 hotels in region

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mt. Lebanon School District Teams Up With Pittsburgh Foundation

First, we had the Feasibility Study with Pursuant Ketchum for the $30 million $15 million $6 million fundraising campaign.

Next, PK was hired as counsel for the $6 million capital and endowment campaign. (March 2013)

The School District Hired DeLuca as Capital Campaign Director and Executive Director of the Mt. Lebanon Foundation for Education (MLFE) with a $82,000 a year salary. (August 2013)
The Mt. Lebanon School Board unanimously approved Alyssa DeLuca as the Director of the Mt. Lebanon School District Capital Campaign and Executive Director of the Mt. Lebanon Foundation for Education (MLFE). Ms. DeLuca will work with the Superintendent, MLFE Board Chair and campaign leadership to raise $6 million in capital and endowment funds. She will serve as the primary staff support for a volunteer campaign committee and the MLFE Board in the identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of individual donors. Ms. DeLuca will lead campaign logistics and prospect management activities while establishing a long term development program for the District. She is expected to join the District on August 30.
In addition, MTLSD has been buying fundraising software on more than one occasion. I would love to know how much has been spent so far toward fundraising efforts. If a reader could do that research for me, I would appreciate it.

The Trib's Matt Santoni has an article in today's paper announcing that the Mt. Lebanon School District is teaming up with the Pittsburgh Foundation. I am trying to get a link to his article and will share it here as soon as I can. Mt. Lebanon, Pittsburgh Foundation team

Last I heard, we were in the "Quiet Phase," the longest quiet phase in the history of fundraising. In the article, I understand that our super Super Timmy would not disclose how much has been raised so far.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lebo Light Up Night

Tree lighting is at 7:30 PM with Santa arriving shortly thereafter!



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Waiting For This

A Lebo Citizens reader shared some news that we have all been waiting for.

2013 SAT Scores for Public Schools
I’ve been "waiting" for MTLSD to release the SAT scores for 2013. Other districts reported these via press releases a month ago. I was able to locate them on my own.

Maybe the scores were not reported because 1) MTLSH was 14th in the state and 2) they were the lowest average SAT scores since the 3 part test began to be administered in 2006, 8 years ago. They may be the lowest scores ever but I didn’t go back beyond 2006 in this summary. This doesn’t look like a promising direction for SAT scores… which of all the countless tests that are administered to students, these actually carry some weight.

Here are the averages:
     20132012201120102009200820072006
 16841695173716901714170717031741
The School Board/Superintendent will claim the reduction from 2012 is only 0.65%, a statistically insignificant number. They cannot wiggle out of the reduction from 2006 being 3.3%, which is significant, particularly over a time period where the average cost per student increased by approximately $1,000/student  $2,170 or 19.9%.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A letter from Edward C. Ketyer, M.D.

This letter is reprinted with permission from Edward C. Ketyer, M.D.

Dear Mt. Lebanon Commissioners:

On November 7, 2014 I wrote a post on The PediaBlog concerning the worrisome incidence of cancer in young athletes associated with crumb rubber turf playing fields.  Alerted to the problem from reports on NBC’s Nightly News, I wrote:

“The list of chemicals and materials in these tire crumbs is extensive and includes some toxic and carcinogenic substances such as arsenic, benzene, lead, mercury, naphthalene, toluene, and many more.  Pediatrician Samantha Ahdoot explains why children are so vulnerable to toxic chemicals and pollutants in the environment that kids live and play in:

‘Children are not just little adults. They breathe faster than adults, spend more time outside and have proportionately greater skin surface exposed to the environment, making them increasingly vulnerable to environmental contaminants. Their ongoing development heightens risk of infection, malnutrition, undernourishment and trauma that can cause permanent dysfunction.’”


Noting that many communities around the country are debating the costs and benefits of installing crumb rubber fields – with many areas choosing to go with alternative options – I cited this from the South Hills Almanac:

“Mt. Lebanon commissioners endured a fusillade of criticism at the Oct. 27 meeting, as residents once again took to the microphone to protest the municipality’s installation of artificial turf at Middle and Wildcat fields. Despite the opposition, commissioners steadfastly refused to reconsider the project.”


I find it profoundly disappointing and very hard to believe that the commissioners from such a fine community like Mt. Lebanon would “steadfastly refuse” to respectfully consider (and reconsider) the legitimate health concerns based in medical science of the citizens you represent.  I understand the difficult balancing job that your positions as commissioners require – and I recognize that no field (even a natural grass field) is 100% safe.  Still, unless you are comfortably deluded, I highly doubt that even you would let your own children play ball on crumb rubber fields – especially as a soccer goalkeeper – when the medical community is reporting a high incidence of cancer associated with these fields.  At least it should make you pause for a moment and “steadfastly” reconsider.

I have practiced pediatrics in this community for nearly 25 years.  I implore you, on behalf of all my young patients from Mt. Lebanon, and from other communities that may visit yours to play a game, to reconsider constructing crumb rubber playing fields for your children – and all children – to play on.


Sincerely,

Edward C. Ketyer, M.D.
Pediatric Alliance – Chartiers/McMurray Division
Editor, The PediaBlog

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kelly Fraasch - on NPR in Philadelphia! UPDATED

Kelly Fraasch was on NPR's WHYY The Pulse in Philadelphia today at 6:00 PM. Could there be a link between artificial turf and cancer? Click on the link. Just under the title of the article is an arrow/play button to the radio broadcast. Way to go, Kelly! [I told you that Mt. Lebanon is getting national attention, Lebo Citizen readers.] 

Below is a segment of the November 8, 2014 rally that took place at Clearview Common in Uptown Mt. Lebanon.



Kelly speaks at the end of the rally and asks residents to contact State Representative Dan Miller, Senator Matt Smith, Congressman Tim Murphy, and City Council Sue Means. As soon as I get that snippet, I will add it to this post.

Unfortunately, Mt. Lebanon residents were unable to get an attorney to file an appeal with the Environmental Hearing Board. The Environmental Hearing Board has jurisdiction over appeals of DEP permits. Here is a link to their website: http://ehb.courtapps.com/public/rulesDecisionsAndResources.php.
That website has information regarding the process, however to file an appeal you must register on this website, if you plan to file electronically.  You can also download paper forms and mail them:  ehb.courtapps.com
An aggrieved party typically has 30 days to appeal the issuance or denial of a permit.
The permit was issued October 16. I imagine tomorrow would be the last day to file.

Update November 14, 2014 12:53 PM Letter sent to commissioners.

From:egillen476 <egillen476@aol.com>
To:commission <commission@mtlebanon.org>
Cc:sfeller <sfeller@mtlebanon.org>; philip.weis <philip.weis@bipc.com>
Subject:Another group of local pediatricians speak out against toxic turf
Date:Fri, Nov 14, 2014 12:52 pm

Commissioners,

A second pediatric group is now warning their parents about toxic turf. Pediatrics South just added a post on the dangers of artificial turf on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pediatrics-South/115097255209738 This is in addition to the pediatric group, Pediatric Alliance, I mentioned during Citizen Comments at the November 11, 2014 commission meeting.

In case you missed it, Kelly Fraasch was on NPR in Philadelphia last evening. Here is a link to it and a portion of the rally from November 8.

http://lebocitizens.blogspot.com/2014/11/kelly-fraasch-on-npr-in-philadelphia.html

Any update on the new costs? Considering you started the project almost four weeks ago, I would think you would know something by now. Personally, you should have known the new cost PRIOR to the start of construction. From your website, we were told that the total cost of the project would be $888,000. See below.


On July 8, 2014, the Mt. Lebanon Commissioners awarded the contract to Vasco Sports Contractors for Base Bid 1 - Blended Turf with Thatch Zone with Sand and Rubber Infill ($859,000) 
Add Alternate 6 - Storm Filtration System ($21,000) and 
Add Alternate 9 - Water Fountain ($8,000) 
for a total price of $888,000, subject to: 
a) Receipt of the NPDES permit, 
b) Receipt of $250,000 of non-municipal funds, and 
c) Review and approval of all contract language by the Solicitor and Municipal Manager. 

What a sham!

Elaine Gillen

Update November 14, 2014 3:42 PM Kristen Linfante is more confident than ever about her vote.


-----Original Message-----
From: Kristen Linfante <klinfante@mtlebanon.org>
To: egillen476 <egillen476@aol.com>
Cc: sfeller <sfeller@mtlebanon.org>; philip.weis <philip.weis@bipc.com>; <commission@mtlebanon.org> <commission@mtlebanon.org>
Sent: Fri, Nov 14, 2014 1:23 pm
Subject: Re: Another group of local pediatricians speak out against toxic turf


Ms Gillen,

I'm so glad you brought this to our attention. Pediatrics South is the practice I use. Of course, I immediately called them to find out where they stand on the issue. This is what I was told. I was told that an "irate" woman has been repeatedly calling their office and demanding that they address the issue because other pediatricians have. They told me that after so many repeated calls by you - I mean by "the woman " - that Dr Tyson said he was NOT willing to make a statement or take a stand on turf, but that to appease the irate caller and to get her to stop calling, he agreed to allow the article to be posted on their Facebook page. That is all. Pediatrics South has not taken a stand against turf. I know Dr Tyson personally, and I feel more confident than ever about my vote.

I would suggest that you stop badgering doctors and allow them to spend their precious time treating patients rather than dealing with calls like the ones you are clearly making.

Kristen Linfante
Commissioner, Ward 3 


Sent from my iPhone
Please forgive any texting typos 

To which I replied with:

From:egillen476 <egillen476@aol.com>
To:klinfante <klinfante@mtlebanon.org>
Cc:sfeller <sfeller@mtlebanon.org>; philip.weis <philip.weis@bipc.com>; commission <commission@mtlebanon.org>
Subject:Re: Another group of local pediatricians speak out against toxic turf
Date:Fri, Nov 14, 2014 1:28 pm



Wow, Kristen. You've really gone too far. I went to school with Scott. He was also my son's pediatrician. I never called his office or any pediatrician's office.

I wish I had the money to sue you. You are as toxic as the turf.

Elaine Gillen

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Brilliant MTL Commissioners and the Voters Violate State Law UPDATED

Mt. Lebanon residents vote to allow legal notices outside newspapers





Only 30% of us voted NO. The remaining 70% voted to permit Mt. Lebanon to use its own media for public notices. According to the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, Mt. Lebanon Media is not a reputable source since it does not meet the legal requirements. Karma's a b!tch, isn't it?
“This policy is inconsistent with both the Home Rule Charter and the Newspaper Advertising Act, which governs public notice advertising statewide,” said PNA attorney Melissa Melewsky, “because the Home Rule Charter... prohibits municipalities from exercising powers contrary to, or in limitation or enlargement of, powers granted by statutes which are applicable in every part of the Commonwealth.”

“Publishing in their own electronic distribution or in the municipal building does not meet the legal requirements. It has no legal effect. It has to appear in a paper in general circulation per the Newspaper Advertising Act,” she said.
Melewsky also said the Newspaper Advertising Act is the statute that supersedes the change to home rule charter.
It cost Mt. Lebanon residents to put this on the ballot. How much is it going to cost us, when it goes to court?  Maybe Feller and Gateway will find an answer to that too.

Read this op-ed. Mt. Lebanon charter change bad news I am really lovin' The Almanac.

And in the Post-Gazette Mt. Lebanon referendum would allow non-newspaper legal advertising

Update November 13, 2014 10:59 PM General Election 2014 Recap

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Deer and turf

Over an hour was spent tonight discussing deer during the Commission's Discussion Session. Over. An. Hour.

The PA Game Commission spoke tonight and really took over the discussion. He kept talking about sharp shooting, until finally Steve Feller had to stop him and say that the commission doesn't want sharp shooting. Mr. Game Commission went on to say that we can bow hunt without a permit with the owner's permission. So all the pro-kill people who signed up before the meeting, all written by the same person and spoke before me should be thrilled to hear that. They don't think the commissioners are listening to them even though they have over a thousand signatures for deer culling. Get four thousand signatures, and we'll talk about elected officials not listening, Folks.

Unfortunately, the Game Commissioner ate up all the time and left none for a turf update. Over an hour was spent to discuss $68,000 for deer management and nothing for the over a million dollar project. I had to leave the discussion session several times. The commissioners are willing to do lethal methods of trapping and killing deer, but not sharp shooting. Mr. Game Commissioner said that if we do sterilization, we must also have a deer cull. And it also has to be on public property, a.k.a. parks. According to Mr. Game Commissioner, it appears that the Allegheny County Parks do deer culling. What Mr. G.C. failed to mention is that the County has nine parks, totaling over 12,000 acres. South Park alone is 2013 acres. Guess the size of Mt. Lebanon. 3,840 acres. So let me get this straight. It is OK to bow hunt on your own property without permission from your neighbors. We must shoot on public property (parks). We cannot do sterilization alone. It must be in combination with killing deer. Later tonight, the commissioners were going to vote on bee keeping. Yes, bees. Madness. One pro-kill man thanked Dave Brumfield for doing his research over the misinformation that was said at the last meeting about the supposed dangers of artificial turf. Why not do the same research for deer culling, he asked. HA!

When I got up to speak, I said this:
I sent an email on Thursday, Oct 30, 2014 03:11 PM and a second request today, Tuesday, Nov 11, 2014 01:05 PM concerning the revised cost of the turf project to the commission, Manager Feller, and Gateway engineer, Dan Deiseroth.
My email was short and sweet.
"Based on the required upgrades for stormwater management, the DEP told us that the changes will be quite expensive. What is the new cost of the project? Will the SAB be contributing more funds to cover their 25% obligation?"
Will you please answer my questions?
Do you know what Steve Feller's answer was? Gateway and the municipality don't know and will let me know as soon as they find out. They are looking at cutting costs and even discussing funding. 

OMG. They started the project and have no idea how much it will cost or who will pay for it. 

I went on to say:

Pediatric Alliance St. Clair Office in Pine Bridge Mall, which is made up of pediatricians, recently blogged about the dangers of artificial turf. They mentioned Mt. Lebanon and not in a good way. And they (the pediatricians) aren't misinformed. 
Please recede and reseed Middle and Wildcat Fields
Finally, I wrapped up with something that I saw on MacArthur around 11:30 PM on Election Night. It was a buck with an arrow stuck in its side. I learned tonight that Bethel is bow hunting. I asked if Bethel has an obligation to neighboring communities to contain their hunted deer within their boundaries. It was a very disturbing site to me. The answer? They have no obligation.

Total insanity tonight. I left shortly after I spoke. I didn't even stay for the budget hearing for which I signed up to speak.