Bailiwick News – June 13, 2017 and Daily Updates from the Occupation

6.13.17 Bailiwick News – The battle for the Slab Cabin Run watershed and the political and ecological future of the Centre Region.  Part 10B and the final installment of a 10-part series on water and farmland protection in the Slab Cabin watershed.

Links to daily updates, posted at Nittany Valley Water Coalition’s website.

 

 

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Battle for Slab Cabin Run – Updates & Friends of Slab Cabin Social Tonight

6.6.17 Bailiwick News – The battle for the Slab Cabin Run watershed and the ecological and political future of the Centre Region community. Part 10A of a 10-part series. Part 10B – critical analysis – forthcoming. Prior installments.


NEW WEBSITE

Nittany Valley Water Coalition has a new website, set up by Ian Boswell, in addition to the NVWC Facebook page.

NEW VIDEO

There’s a new video on the issues, made by Andy McKinnon and Ben Andrew:

ONLINE PETITION

There is also an online petition to sign, created by Lori Bedell of Friends of Slab Cabin Run: “Demand that Penn State act as a responsible steward to our community’s water.”

YARD SIGNS

Yard signs have been delivered and are available for pickup or delivery. Suggested donation: $6 per sign (to cover the purchase costs). Text David Hughes at 814-777-7366 to coordinate pickup at site or home delivery.

MORE INFORMATION

Open Letter and Informational Flier:


WATT LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Sent to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Harrisburg newspapers June 1:

For Centre County residents, the death of Timothy Piazza is only the most recent example of a pattern of corporate Penn State’s community abuse.

In 2011, we learned that Penn State administrators, enabled by the Board of Trustees, had covered up the serial rape of young boys by Jerry Sandusky.

In 2013, State College residents fought a fierce battle against Penn State and Columbia Gas, over Penn State’s plan to install a 12” diameter, high-pressure natural gas transmission line through a residential neighborhood, solely to serve the West Campus Steam Plant. Penn State trustees only backed down after citizen outrage and a lawsuit combined with air quality compliance deadlines, which caused the trustees to move the route of the proposed pipeline onto campus, where it now threatens the lives of thousands of Penn State students, faculty and staff.

In 2015, Centre Region residents were forced to mobilize for our own public safety against another Penn State threat, when we learned that Penn State had engaged in a sweetheart land deal with Toll Brothers developers to build hundreds of luxury student housing units right on top of the groundwater recharge area for our public drinking water supplies.

We have no large lakes, reservoirs or rivers in Centre County. If our groundwater is contaminated, we’re screwed. And Toll Brothers has a horrible record of non-compliance with Clean Water Act regulations.

So citizens took Toll Brothers and the enabling Ferguson Township municipal board to court. Centre County Court of Common Pleas Judge Jonathan Grine ruled in our favor in July 2016, finding that the developers, in collusion with the supervisors, attempted an unlawful “end run” around local zoning ordinances. The Commonwealth Court reversed Grine on a procedural technicality. Our case is now on the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and we’re directly petitioning the trustees to break the sales agreement.

This spring, we learned that corporate Penn State’s continued promotion of an institutional culture of alcohol abuse, and negligence in supervising sanctioned and unsanctioned fraternities and sororities, again led to the death of an undergraduate student. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last.

It’s leadership behavior driven by the same private profit-driven greed that drove the Sandusky cover-up, the Columbia Gas pipeline plan, and the Toll Brothers water threat, hidden behind the slipping disguise of a public land grant university.

Penn State’s administrators, enabled by a complacent, out-of-touch Board of Trustees and a weak state legislature that can’t even be bothered to bring the state-related universities under the provisions of the Right to Know Law, continue to demonstrate a pattern of callous disregard for the externalized human and social costs of their internal decisions.

The recent and not-so-recent pious handwringing by Penn State’s purported leaders is unlikely to lead to any constructive change. It can’t. There are too many incentives for business as usual, and none for genuine reform.

Katherine Watt, State College PA, PSU Class of 1996.


JUNE 3, 2017 – THE OCCUPATION BEGINS

 


JUNE 10, 2017 – OCCUPATION IS ONE WEEK OLD

June 10, 2017 Update from Kelli Hoover of Nittany Valley Water Coalition:

Thanks to all who came out to the encampment June 9 for our meeting of the Nittany Valley Water Coalition. There were about 25 people there and the energy was contagious. Lots of new faces and people are really stepping up to fight the Toll Brothers development, i.e., Penn State.

We had people step up to coordinate various activities and here is the information about who to email to offer your help on a specific task.

Item #1: Your presence at the occupation; please stop by the occupation on West Whitehall near Blue Course Dr. whenever you can. There is parking right across the street at High Point Park. Coordinator: Joe Cusumano at jpcusumano@gmail.com. Even if you can only stop by for 15 minutes a few days a week, please let Joe know because he is trying to ensure there is always someone there, especially if you can camp out there overnight. There are plenty of tents.

Item #2: “No Tolls” signs need to get out in people’s yards. David Hughes has them in his garage and can be reached at: davidpeterhughes@gmail.com, or text his cell: 814-777-7366. We have about 700 still to go out. We are asking for a $6 donation for each sign, BUT the most important thing is to get them out, so give them to people who have a yard to put them whether or not they want to give a donation. You can also ask for someone’s address if they aren’t in a position to take a sign at that moment and we have a list of people who will drop them off.

Item #3: Write a letter to the editor of the Centre Daily Times and/or to the Board of Trustees of PSU. This is being coordinated by Erin at etreanore@gmail.com.

Item #4: Post on social media. Any Facebook pages you belong to or have of your own, post about why you oppose the Toll Brothers development. Also post on our FB page at https://www.facebook.com/Nittany-Valley-Water-Coalition-411453045714666/. Like our page; the more hits the better.

Also, Terry Melton is using Twitter and you can follow her at: @twm107

Or tweet yourself about occupation at the Toll Brothers site to stop development. Protect Slab Cabin Run!

Item #5: Press contact. There have been numerous press reps stop by the site and we have sent out several press releases. If you have an item that you think should go to the press, let me know. Press coordinator: Kelli Hoover kxhoover2015@gmail.com

Item #6: Donations to cover legal fees for the appeal to the Supreme Court and signs. If you want to make a donation, you can stop at the site or send a check to: CommunityWise at PO Box 1256, State College PA 16804.

What a great community we have. If only Penn State felt that we deserved better treatment.


Glowstick “fire” from first night at the site, Saturday June 3.

JUNE 11, 2017 – FRIENDS OF SLAB CABIN SOCIAL AT THE SITE

Come on down to the Nittany Valley Water Coalition encampment at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 11 to share dinner, conversation, and solidarity with the dedicated folks occupying this land to keep the Toll Brothers away from it. Wave a sign if you like – or pick one up for a donation if you haven’t already done so – or boost the cause just by being there. Let’s help to keep up morale and show Penn State’s decision-makers that we’re in this for the long haul!

The encampment is next to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Whitehall Road. Parking is available across the street at High Point Park.

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Petition to Penn State

Sign the petition.

The housing development corporation, Toll Brothers, is planning a 264-unit development covering 32 acres at the intersection of West Whitehall Road and Blue Course Drive.

Nothing is more fundamental to the well-being of a community than its water and this project poses a serious threat to the Harter-Thomas Wellfields, which supplies State College with the majority of its drinking water. In addition to risks that come simply due to the planned location fo the project, the Toll Brothers, one of the largest homebuilding corporations in the nation, has an alarming record of Clean Water Act violations for which they did not pay fines, but a settlement. For over 300 EPA violations of the Clean Water Act, Toll Brothers paid about $720,000. This corporation has a reputation for not following agreed-upon stormwater management plans. Paying off the EPA on settlements is just the cost of doing business for them. Relative to the size of this corporation, the risk of fines has not proven to be a deterrent from reckless, destructive practices.

Penn State is responsible for selling this land for development. To continue to be a faithful partner in the preservation of health and quality of life afforded to the residents of State College–both permanent and student– we urge President Barron, David Gray, and the Board of Trustees to reconsider their decision to sell this land for development. Penn State prides itself on sustainability, a principle hardly served by threatening drinking water.

We ask that Penn State partner with the community to think creatively about setting an example for responsible environmental stewardship. Put a halt to the sale. Talk to the community. Let’s move forward responsibly, together.

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Water, Farmland & Accountable Local Government Protection – May Recap

Ahead of Monday night’s COG General Forum meeting, starting at 7 p.m. Monday, May 22 at the COG building (2643 Gateway Drive) here’s a recap of the last month or so of activity on the proposed Whitehall Road Regional Park project, in the form of a chronological list of posts.

April 20, 2017 – Note sent to COG legislators, regarding the design selection by the ad hoc committee and projected cost overruns, ahead of April 24, 2017 General Forum meeting, at which the legislators were presented with yet another “information-only” report – the latest “information-only,” non-deliberative General Forum agenda item in a series dating back to September 2016.

May 2, 2017 – Citizen Action Alert: Whitehall Road Regional Park Finance Votes Coming Up in May, regarding the schedule of meetings; some background information on design and funding decisions; adverse auditor opinions on Parks Authority financial reports; pay-to-play proposals to obtain private funding for park amenities in exchange for priority use; legal principles regarding taxing authority as related to expiring municipal guarantees as collateral for the loan, along with email contact info for General Forum legislators. 5.2.17 Watt Email to COG Auditors (no response received); 5.2.17 KW Email to COG Legislators.

May 11, 2017 – Water, Farmland & Accountable Local Government Protection Update – May 11, 2017 – Report on the joint meeting of the COG Finance Committee, COG Parks Capital Committee and Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority, including further analysis of the legal principles regarding taxing authority as related to expiring municipal guarantees as collateral for the loan.

May 16, 2017 – Water, Farmland & Accountable Local Government Protection Update – May 16, 2017 – Report on Notice of Intent to Sue, delivered to State College Borough Council on Monday, May 15, in direct response to the obvious intent of the COG committee leadership and administrators to circumvent deliberative legislative procedures and usurp General Forum legislative authority regarding taxation related to expiring municipal guarantees as collateral for the loan, for the gain of the Parks Authority and private interest groups. 5.15.17 KW Notice of Intent to Sue

May 17, 2017 – Water, Farmland and Accountable Local Government Protection Update – May 17 – Report on Commonwealth Court decision in Nittany Valley Water Coalition v. Toll Brothers, handed down May 17; agenda-setting discussion at COG Executive Committee; and the doctrine of non-delegation as it relates to General Forum authority regarding taxation related to expiring municipal guarantees as collateral for the loan, for the gain of the Parks Authority and private interest groups.

Other useful resources:

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Bailiwick News – May 13, 2017

5.13.17 Bailiwick News – Critical analysis: Piazza’s death, the Centre County court credibility crisis, Beta Theta Pi fraternity, corporate Penn State profiteering, and possibilities for change. Prior installments.

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Bailiwick News – May 8, 2017

5.8.17 Bailiwick News – Timothy Piazza, Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Penn State Interfraternity Council, Pennsylvania investigating grand juries and the Centre County court credibility crisis. Part 6 in a series on the 2017 Centre County District Attorney race. Prior installments.

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Up-coming Plant Sales…

Looking for plants for your yard or garden, then here are a couple of events to keep in mind:

May 6:  Native Plant Festival and Sale.  The PA Native Plant Society will have a festival and sale today, May 6, from 10 am – 3 pm at the PA Military Museum (51 Boal Ave, Boalsburg, PA).  Over 350 different plant varieties will be available to purchase.  There will be presentations on pollinators and birds, opportunities to talk with experts on native plants, and more.  For a plant list and more information, visit the PNPS website.

 

May 9 – 12:  Spring Bedding Plant Sale at Penn State.  This sale runs from 11 am – 4 pm.  It be in the Headhouse 2 sales area.  Headhouse 2 is located on Curtin Rd near the Berkey Creamery (actually across the street and a closer to the Curtin/Shortlidge Intersection).  Here’s a map of the area.  You can park in the East Parking Deck behind the Creamery.  Pansies, marigolds, coneflowers, and more will be available.

 

May 20:  Centre County Master Gardener Plant Sale.  This sale runs from 9 am – 3 pm at the Ag Progress Days Site (2710 Pine Grove Rd, PA Furnace, PA).  There are lots of good vegetable plants, herbs, annuals, and perennials including native plants.  Just make sure to get there early, because this is a popular event and stuff goes quick.  In addition to the plants, there is the opportunity to talk with Master Gardeners, and attend demonstrations and workshops.

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