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.
There’s a new video on the issues, made by Andy McKinnon and Ben Andrew:
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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.
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.