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Archive for February, 2016

Kittatinny City Faces Financial Setbacks

Posted by Starr Lee on 29th February 2016

Today it was announced that the City of Kittatinny will be facing some tough budgeting cuts in hopes of recovering its financial stability. The city’s main employer, Susquehanna Steel Corp., Blast Furnace Unit 1 shut down causing the loss of 600 hundred jobs and sparking a financial crisis.

Mayor Gustavus G. Petykiewicz announced a budget plan that is sure to raise questions from the city council and community.

Petykiwicz has been talking with City Council President Denelda Penoyer in hopes of getting the proposal passed however, it will take 4 out of 7 votes from city council members to make any of the plans official.

During the press conference with Petykiwicz, he speaks on if the city tax rate was to hypothetically go up to 5 mills with a tax bill of $500 a year and increased tax by 25 percent. “By doing this, there would be enough money to take care of the financial possibilities however, Kittatinny is a working class city, says Petykiwicz.”

However, Petykiewiciz proposal now is to only raise tax rate from 4 mills to 4.3 mills.

One of the major cuts in the budget plan was police protection which will indeed cause a safety concern for many Kittatinny residents. According to the proposal, no officers will be on duty from 4 a.m. till noon each day.

When asked about his thoughts on this idea and whether it will promote more crime, Chief of Police, Roman Hruska responded “it’s a hate brained idea, I don’t know what the mayor was thinking and I cannot stand by and watch a city of this size be deprived of daily protection a third of each day.”

Bjarne Westhoff, president of Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34 was not too thrilled about it either calling the mayor’s idea “dumb.”

The police staff was not alone with their thoughts completely; Penoyer’s first thoughts on the budget plan was “some of them are unacceptable and won’t get through council.”

Penoyer also, weighed in on the possibility of taxes being raised to 5 million since it would help law enforcement keep their jobs but acknowledges the financial struggles residents are facing.

President of American Federation of State County and Municipal Local 644, Martha Mittengrabben states “there must be a spirit of shared sacrifice, pain is necessary.”

Penoyer also discusses the new Tohickon Creek Plaza and how it will add about 12 million dollars to citizen base and that “it is important to think about the future. “ There is a Trade Readjustment Allowance U.S. for people who want to get training in different fields.

This week, public hearings will be held for people to come and voice their concerns; also, send letters, email, and call.

Other proposals included in the plan was a drivable weed vehicle to help clean up the city to attract more tourists and bring in more money.

Residential Assessments will not expand until further notice due to possible problems with there being abandoned houses with people in town having no income.

A balanced budget must be approved by the council and signed into law by the mayor by March 31, 2016

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A Few Small Gestures Towards Change, Can Make a Big Difference

Posted by Starr Lee on 9th February 2016

Elizabeth “Betsy” Jordan is an English major on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus. Rarely seen without a book or coffee in her hands; Jordan is a proud Diversity Advocate and Resident Assistant.

There are many students and peers who look up to her and professors who admire the leadership she demonstrates daily. Junior, Janelle Heidelmeier describes Jordan as “someone who will help anyone academically or personally.”

In December, 2015 Jordan’s love for literature reached beyond the classroom and into the hearts of others. In hopes of helping those in homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and prisons who have little to no access to books, Jordan created a book drive on campus.

Utilizing her creed “Books are expensive, knowledge is priceless.” Jordan employed the use of social media, posters, and email to spread word.

Through these tactics, her drive has already received over 300 donations. This cause is significant to her because “A single book could potentially change someone’s life when they are in a terrible situation, it can help them gain a positive outlook for the future.”

The selection of books donated can help adults and children to expand their minds such as critical thinking, mathematics, history, and other crucial life skills. For Jordan, it is important for others to feel wealthy in knowledge, and have resources that they are able to utilize.

Therefore, she is continuing to work hard for them to have literature options.

However, Jordan’s voice for change does not stop there. She is using her voice to promote diversity and equality on campus.

Jordan comes from a mixed background with a white mother and black father, which has created some racial barriers within her family dynamics.

Her belief is that when one hears negative views on campus regarding race, people should speak up and educate others.

This past November she presented research on privilege within advocacy at a diversity forum entitled “Checking your Privileges at the Door: Boundaries within Advocacy.” The research shed light on the act of respecting the cultures and customs of others; and further, realizing that no matter what you are advocating for there will always be different levels to the privileges one has.

Jordan’s fight for advocacy for others has not gone unnoticed. Anyone can help her cause by donating books to the boxes located in the resident halls on campus and helping be that voice for change.

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