Thursday, June 16, 2016

Nestlé has been ejected from Eldred Township and Kunkletown

Last night, the Eldred Township Zoning Hearing Board met to formally accept the withdrawal of Nestle's special exception application.

Fucking refugee weasel breaks lease and heads back to Breinigsville

The hearing was held at the Kunkletown Fire Company, and a dedicated group of 120 or more interested and concerned citizens attended for the fifth time - even though there was little planned since Nestle announced its intentions to withdrawal its application on June 8.  These people care deeply about their community, they care deeply about their precious resources, they care about their quality of life.  Most all didn't come to speak, but rather to show they care by their presence.  It was moving to see these people, virtually all familiar faces, unwavering in their patience with the task at hand.  The event was covered only by a couple of bottom feeding bloggers, and a freelance reporter doing a trial piece to get his foot in the door at a local media outlet.  But the villagers came together one last time to show their support, nevertheless.  In a fitting conclusion, Eldred residents toasted Nestle's precipitous exit with a glass of water - not bottled.

120 taxpayers were present to witness the conclusion of the Defense Against the Great Deception
"We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender"  W. Churchill 4-June-1940
This blogger shares the same shock as many residents, that this intense and stressful episode came to such an abrupt conclusion.   Those who had diligently prepared cross examination of Nestle Civil Engineer Ed Davis were disappointed that they could not continue to expose the numerous significant deficiencies in Nestle's application - a process that Eldred Solicitor Mark Freed had merely begun at May's hearing.

Picking apart Nestle's application was child's play on cross examination
"During that war we repeatedly asked ourselves the question, "How are we going to win?" and no one was able ever to answer it with much precision, until at the end, quite suddenly, quite unexpectedly, our terrible foe collapsed before us." W. Churchill 18-June-1940
Some citizens would like to see the court appeal proceed, in order to conduct depositions of key witnesses.  This is understandable, because it is obvious to this blogger after much time spent investigating the events surrounding the passage of the 2014 water extraction amendment, that it was passed through a corrupt and corrupted process.  The failures were across the board, from top (county) to bottom (township).  It is rumored that Intervenor and landowner Rick Gower is interested in withdrawing from the court appeal, in which case there would no longer be a party to defend it.  If this happens, the case is likely over.

Preservation for those who follow in our footsteps - it's a good thing

For an analysis of why Nestle withdrew when it did, click here.

State Representative Jack Rader has told multiple Eldred citizens "this is a local problem."  Mr. Rader was Vice Chairman of the regional planning body CJER in 2014 - and CJER is responsible for instrumental failures that resulted in the passage of the amendment.  Mr. Rader is in denial, playing politics, grossly ignorant, or some combination of the three.  It is very very sad that neither Mr. Rader or CJERP has admitted the errors that were made - errors that were extremely costly to Eldred residents.

This episode has shaken the very fabric of this small community - but it didn't fracture it.  It caused people to join together in solidarity to combat the Nestle threat.  In the past week, this blogger (and nonresident) has been fortunate to be invited to break bread on two occasions with small groups of Eldred residents.  In each case, there were people present who knew each other "pre-Nestle", and people who did not.  This episode has brought people together, and caused "neighbors around the corner" and across the township and even beyond the township to get to know each other.  It was heart warming to be welcomed and to participate in their celebration of new friendships and the renewal of existing ones.

Now Eldred Township must plot a path forward, with a new group of supervisors.  There is much to do, not the least of which is getting its finances and priorities in order.  With leadership and the reinvigorated participation of the community, Eldred Township will succeed.  Godspeed.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Eldred Township supervisors to hold special meeting to discuss multiple community owned properties

On June 27 at 7:30pm, the Eldred Township supervisors will hold a meeting to discuss community owned properties, including the old post office, Mock Park, the rail trail, and the Community Center.

The Community Center is a wonderful resource, but the cost to support it is reported to be about $50,000 year.  It is reported that only a handful of residents, including two former supervisors, were in favor of its purchase.  Is it viable for a community the size of Eldred Township to retain it?

The rail trail is marginally usable in its current state, for anything but equestrian, mountain bike, and hiking use by people who don't mind puddles, uneven and rocky terrain.  It's the worst rail trail this reporter has ever seen, and one wonders if it was left in this condition while funds were diverted to other interests of supervisors who are no longer in office.  Bub the former zoning officer thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, but it isn't clear that he ever attempted to walk the trail or that he saw the horrendous destruction to both it and adjoining property when trees were recently ravaged on the rod and gun club property.

The old post office is badly in need of preservation and possibly restoration measures.  Are grants available for one and/or the other?  Is the plan for Mock Park the right fit for Eldred Township, or should it be modified?

Obviously serious and thoughtful discussion is needed to create priorities, and determine what the best use of limited resources is for Eldred Township.  The legal bills from the Nestle debacle will be winding down, an expense which could have been completely avoided if action had been taken by former supervisors that would have prevented Nestle from proceeding with its plans.  This is an excellent time to take stock of the fiscal health of the community, and chart short term and long paths forward that best serve residents.

Eldred Township penguins bid Nestle Deer Park adieu

Hit the road, Jack, and don't-cha come back