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Volume 12

Number 37
June 26, 2014
Four sections 44 pages
Pages at
are numbered from 1 to 44
Overpass silhouette Page
Upper Makefield joins
suit over jet flights
Frontier Airlines
expanding air traffic arrival
and departure patterns over
Upper Makefield have
caused environmental con-
Page A7
Developers seek cost
of moving Odettes
to another location
Wed be more than
happy to donate it to the
borough or any organiza-
tion that wants to preserve
it, said Scott Kelley, a
Page A5
Chatterbox A2
Op-ed A 10,11
Gardener A13
Sports B1
Health B8
Dining C2
Calendar C4
Business D1
Obituaries D2
Spiritual Side D3
Classified D4
Puzzle D5
Horoscope D5
Police D6
Springfields library Page A8
Members of the Relentless Dragon Boat Association of New Hope practice paddling
on the Delaware River on a recent Wednesday evening.
Jodi Spiegel Arthur
A grand jury investigation found
negligence on the part of Bucks
Countys Department of Human
Resources, resulting in more than
$450,000 in overspending on health
insurance premiums, but no evidence
of fraud by county employees,
according to Bucks County District
Attorney David Heckler.
On Wednesday, five days after the
grand jury report was made public,
Bucks County Human Resources
Director Meredith Dolan was sus-
pended without pay, according to the
county commissioners office. Dolan
did not return an earlier request for
After a 2013 audit of the countys
health insurance beneficiaries found
ineligible dependents had cost the
county an amount then believed to be
$610,611, there were calls for fir-
ings, forced repayments and criminal
Heckler said he decided to investi-
gate, and since the county con-
trollers office also was looking into
the matter, they decided to pool their
resources. When some of the people
they needed to question, were less
than cooperative, Heckler said, he
employed the grand jury.
None of the folks whose cases
were presented to the grand jury
committed anything close to fraud,
Heckler said during a press confer-
Grand jury
in county
HR office
Nancy Albence
In the hopes of getting first, or at
least early dibs on the 2015 township
budget, The Friends of the Library,
appeared before the Solebury Board
of Supervisors June 17 seeking
increased funding.
The Friends of the Library is an
independent, nonprofit volunteer
organization whose mission is to
raise funds for the support of the Free
Library of New Hope and Solebury.
Jacqui Griffith, chair of the board
of trustees, and board member Carol
Taylor made their case before the
supervisors with a comprehensive
summary of the librarys role in the
community, the services it provides,
and the limitations of its budget in
the face of increased operating costs
and impending budget cuts by the
Taylor sought to drive home the
fact that the library is a public serv-
ice organization in the borough, the
township and the state much as the
fire and police departments are. She
emphasized that 72 percent of library
users are Solebury residents and 53
percent of transactions are to
Solebury, which has seen an increase
in population of approximately 1,000
people, yet the townships contribu-
tions toward the support of the
library have remained flat since
Our library is a living, breathing
institution providing programs for
adults, kids and the elderly, an active
community center offering support
services for business, community
Jodi Spiegel Arthur
Small and charming were
among the words used to
describe the 15 towns and neigh-
borhoods in the newly launched
campaign to bring tourists out of
center city Philadelphia and into
communities including
Doylestown, New Hope and
During a recent press confer-
ence at the James A. Michener
Art Museum in Doylestown,
tourism industry officials spoke
about Towns of the
Philadelphia Countryside, the
marketing campaign led by Visit
Philadelphia in a public-private
partnership with financial sup-
port from the Commonwealth of
Each of the towns or neighbor-
hoods in the five-county region
is located within an hours drive
or train ride from downtown
In addition to the three Bucks
County boroughs, the campaign
aimed at locals and visitors to
the area also includes Kennett
Square, Phoenixville and West
Chester in Chester County;
Media and Wayne in Delaware
County; Ambler, Ardmore,
Jenkintown and Skippack in
Montgomery County; and
Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy and
Manayunk in Philadelphia
People are just waiting for an
invitation, said Meryl Levitz,
president and CEO of Visit
Philadelphia. Part of the appeal
of Philadelphia is its nearby
countryside, she said.
The campaign targets repeat
visitors to the greater
Philadelphia region specifical-
ly people from New York, New
Jersey and Washington as well
as Philadelphia area residents.
It is being advertised on
Amtrak trains, in U.S. Airways
publications, at Penn Station in
New York, on buses and trolleys,
in Zipcars, and on food and drink
and travel websites.
Interactive web pages on visit- allow potential
visitors to explore the towns they
may want to visit based upon
their interests and preferences.
Whats wonderful about our
area is that theres so much to do
that you cant do it in one after-
noon. You have to come back
again and again, said Doug
Dolan, president and executive
director of the Bucks County
Historical Society. You will be
amazed at all of the treasures that
are hidden in all corners of the
Tourism is the second largest
industry in Bucks County, right
behind farming, according to
Jerry Lepping, executive director
of Visit Bucks County. Visitor
for greater
Big benefactor
needed for rescue
Continued on page D5
Continued on page D5
Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside
aims to bring visitors to Bucks County
Doug Dolan, president and executive director of the Bucks
County Historical Society, speaks during a press conference.
The New Hope-Solebury
School Board, on Monday
evening, ratified a four-year
contract with teaching staff.
The board issued the follow-
ing statement:
As the respective leaders
of the New Hope-Solebury
Board of School Directors,
New Hope-Solebury
Administration, and New
Hope-Solebury Education
Association (NHSEA), we are
excited and proud to announce
the NHSEA's ratification and
Board's approval of a new col-
lective bargaining unit agree-
ment, effective dates July 1,
2013 through June 30, 2017.
The parties have been dili-
gently working at the negotia-
tions table for over 16 months
to craft a new agreement that
is respectful of our outstand-
ing teaching staff and respect-
ful of maintaining our school
district's strong fiscal viability
for the future in the very best
interests of our students.
The statement was signed
by Joseph G. Harraka Jr.,
school board president,
Jonathan A. Adar, vice presi-
dent, Dr. Raymond J. Boccuti,
superintendent, Elizabeth
Simon, union president, and
Michael Finley, the unions
chief negotiator.
New Hope-Solebury
ratifies contract
Continued on page D5
Page A10 (10) Bucks County Herald June 26, 2014
Published weekly at
5761 Lower York Road
Lahaska, Pa. 18931
Mailing Address:
Bucks County Herald
P.O. Box 685
Lahaska, Pa 18931
Phone: 215-794-1096
Classified: 215-794-1097
Fax: 215-794-1109
Bridget Wingert, Editor
David Campbell, Managing Editor
Jodi Spiegel Arthur, News Editor
Regina Young, News Editor
Deborah Conti, Composition Manager
Marilyn Bullock, Advertising Sales
Patricia Fitzpatrick, Advertising Sales
Michael Kendrick, Advertising Sales
Margaret McLaughlin, Advertising Sales
Joli Weber, Advertising Sales
Donald Trost, Distribution Manager
Joseph G. Wingert, Associate Publisher
Joseph T. Wingert, Publisher
Dear Friends,
Good morning. Before I get to the
controversial speech the president of the
Quakertown School Board gave to high
school graduates, I wanted to salute
Silvene J. Sil Bracalente who left this
world for the next at age 91.
Whenever I think about Sil
Bracalente, I picture the huge polar bear
that stood in the Quakertown lobby of
the Bucks County Bank and Trust about
50 years ago. Sil had shot the bear in
Alaska while on a big game hunt and employed a taxidermist to do
the honors. Today, Attorney John Heleys office occupies that site at
Third and West Broad Street in Quakertown.
I asked the family about that polar bear when I paid my respects to
Sil at St. Isidores Catholic Church last week. Janet Bracalente, Sils
daughter-in-law, told me that the family moved it to Jeffrey Naugles
Funeral Home for the calling hours. The bear was in an attack pose
and must have stood 15 feet tall.
For those that knew Silvene, it was no secret that his passion was
hunting and recreation, his obituary stated. He traveled to far
reaches of the world hunting white tail and mule deer, elk, moose,
sheep, and literally lions, tigers and bears. His exploits took him all
over the U.S.A., including Alaska, all provinces of Canada, Mexico,
South America, Asia, Africa and India. Not many people have a tro-
phy collection like Silvenes which is proudly displayed in what the
family calls the Game Room at Bracalente Manufacturing (his plant
near Trumbauersville).
It was that fabulous business which gave him the opportunity to
be a big-game hunter. Today, the Bracalente Manufacturing Group is
in its third generation with over 200 employees and more than
100,000 square feet with two locations, Trumbauersville and
Shanghai, China.
Growing up on a Milford Township farm, Sil had a knack for
mechanical things early on in his life. He would only complete for-
mal schooling to the sixth grade when he realized that his family
needed him full time to help operate the farm and the small pizzeria
run by his mother.
In that regard, Sil was like my paternal grandfather, who quit
school after the eighth grade to support his mother in North Wales.
He started as a printer in Perkasie and later became the publisher of
the News Herald and the Quakertown Free Press. Sil Bracalente and
my grandfather came from the self-taught generation.
In 1949, at the age of 28, Sil landed a job at Bethlehem Steel but
after being told he needed to join the union, he resigned stating that
I dont need a union to represent me. If my work isnt good enough
on its own then this isnt the place for me.
His family stated that Sil went home and started Bracalentes
Manufacturing on a shoestring budget and with only his will and a
prayer. Sils basement and garage were quickly overcome by machin-
ery where bar stock would come in one end, through the wall, and
out the other side would exit precision screw machine parts.
He borrowed money from a local bank on a handshake and
charmed his way into getting payment terms from his raw material
suppliers. The smell of cutting oil would be part of his life forever,
but to Sil, this was the smell of success.
From a first generation family, born in America, Sil helped the
Quakertown community grow and prosper. He donated his time and
money to St. Isidores and served on the boards of the Quakertown
Hospital, the Bucks County Boy Scouts, the Trumbauersville Lions
Club, the Sons of Italy and he was a life member of the Knights of
Sil Bracalentes life was a remarkable story about the combination
of hard work, dedication to family and community and selflessness.
Bucks County will miss him.
And now to business.
Quakertown Community High School graduates are wondering
why the president of the Quakertown School Board used the gradua-
tion ceremony on June 12 to air his views on climate change and
abortion? In his speech to the graduates, Paul Stephanoff questioned
whether global warming is happening and complained that the eggs
of sea turtles have more protection than human embryos. He also
spoke about government intrusion.
To be fair, I also gave my political views to the graduates of the
Bucks County Community College on May 22. In my commence-
ment speech, I encouraged the graduates to run for public office and
replace the state legislature. No one seemed to mind my criticism
during my 12-minute talk. I probably had put the audience to sleep in
the first few minutes.
But the Stephanoff graduation lecture went viral. By the next day, I
heard from many who were angry enough to write letters. One gradu-
ate sent an e-mail to Stephanoff demanding his resignation. Youve
already ruined my class graduation, she wrote. Do the rest of the
community a favor; either learn how to keep your right-wing opin-
ions to yourself or kindly remove yourself from the field of educating
the youth of the community.
Most graduates dont remember who their commencement speaker
was or his message. The Stephanoff lecture will disprove that theory.
As I see it, Paul Stephanoff has several choices: apologize to the
community and his fellow school board members; or resign (my
preference); or wait until his fellow board members strip him of his
presidency; or wait four years while his voting district continues to
seethe and anxiously readies to vote him out of office.
Sincerely, Charles Meredith
Columns at and
The Bucks County Herald is distributed at local establishments at no charge. Subscriptions are $33 a year.
Reflecting on recent events
Riverside Symphonia
benefit most successful
in 25-year history
The Riverside Symphonia
thanks the many individuals and
businesses that supported its
recent gala held at the
Doylestown Country Club. The
event was the Symphonia's most
successful fundraiser in its 25-
year history.
The gala honored longtime sup-
porters Candace Jones and
Stephen Phillips. As many in the
community know, Candace's
mother, Beverley Jones, was an
ardent supporter of the
Symphonia, and Candace has
overseen the Symphonia's presti-
gious Caprio Young Artists com-
petition for many years.
The Riverside Symphonia
Board of Directors and the entire
organization are grateful to those
in the community who supported
the gala event as sponsors, by
donating items for live and silent
auctions and through attendance.
Together we will launch our
25th season and continue provid-
ing live classical music in our
communities throughout the
2014-2015 season and for years
into the future.
Joseph Santoro, Gala Chair
Elizabeth Griffin, Gala Co-Chair
Immigration, health care
more than social issues
Why does Charles Meredith
uncritically repeat talking points
that seem to come from the
Democratic Party or the New
York Times, instead of research-
ing topics more thoroughly?
(And, yes, I know hes not a
In a recent column he stated
that "the Republican Party oppos-
es the Affordable Care Act but
wont tell Americans what would
be better." His statement is sim-
ply false. Basic Internet searches
will lead to information about
alternatives to Obamacare pro-
posed by other Republicans.
Mr. Meredith may say, yes, but
there is not one plan supported by
the entire Republican Party.
Thats not the way our system
works. At one time, there was no
Democratic plan supported by all
Democrats, and so we ended up
with the sausage that is
Mr. Meredith also states that
the Republicans "oppose
President Obamas recommenda-
tions about illegal immigration
but dont articulate an alterna-
tive." Again, not true. Many
Republicans have said, first
secure the border and then deter-
mine what to do about the people
here illegally.
A variety of Republican propos-
als have been made about the latter
point. Is Mr. Meredith happy with
the latest chaos at the southern bor-
der, and to what extent does he
think it has been caused by
President Obamas policies?
Finally, he seems to suggest
that health care and immigration
are social issues from which the
Republicans should stay away.
Obamacare means more intrusive
government and more unsustain-
able spending. Unwillingness to
decide who can and cannot immi-
grate here will dramatically
change our society.
These are fundamental issues
about the well-being of the coun-
try that we will leave to future
generations, and they cannot be
ignored as mere "social issues."
Don Mikes, Doylestown
Education foundation
auction raises $43,000
On behalf of the Lambertville
Area Education Foundation
Board of Trustees I thank the hun-
dreds of supporters who helped
make our 13th annual auction
benefit an affair to remember.
This year, our event raised over
$43,000 for the students of South
Hunterdon County, N.J., schools.
A special thank you to our spon-
sors: AAA Mid Atlantic, Phillips
Barber/Hunterdon Healthcare,
and River Valley Realty.
The LAEF Board of Trustees
(Kathy Ferry (vice president),
Rich Tettemer (treasurer),
Kathrine Hunt (secretary), Gina
Davio, Meg Eichman, Audrey
Frankowski, Breanna Fulper,
Nora Lewis, Phil Mackey,
Andrew Nowick, Shelly Paventi,
Julie Proulx, Melissa Ruby-
Horan, Megan Ruf and Andy
Zalescik, look forward to another
year of providing enriching grant
opportunities to the students and
teachers of Lambertville Public
School, Stockton Borough
School, West Amwell Elementary
School and South Hunterdon
Regional High School, all made
possible by our generous, sup-
portive community.
Jill Myers, LAEF President
Every important area
covered in story
As the coordinator of the New
Britain Food Larder I express my
thanks and gratitude for the
extremely well written article
Juliette Rihl wrote about our food
larder (Herald June 19). She cov-
ered every area of importance
about our larder.
I am sure her article will have a
huge impact with donations in
the upcoming months.
Dorothy Rimmer, Coordinator
New Britain Baptist Food Larder
Patterson Farm petition
reaches milestone
On June 17, the online petition
for preservation of Patterson
Farm in Lower Makefield
Township received its 2,500th
signature. Comments left on the
petition generate an e-mail mes-
sage to Lower Makefield supervi-
sors and Bucks County
Together we will convince our
elected officials to preserve the
beautiful Patterson Farm. Find the
petition at
Donna Doan, Lower Makefield
Doylestown 1954. The Stan Bowers clothing
store for men occupied 19 North Main St., between
Court and State streets. Today this site is the
home of Chambers Restaurant.
Want to learn more about local history?
Visit us at
Susan Abramson: Doylestown Historical Society
Send us letters
Send letters to P.O. Box 685, Lahaska 18931, send an e-mail
to or fax to 215-794-1109.
Letters may be cut. Only signed letters will be used and a
phone number must be included with the letter. Brevity is rec-
Bikers helping children
The Bucks County chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse presented a $1,000 check and 500
pounds of food and sundry items to the Milford Square Food Pantry and women's shelter, run
by the Bucks County Housing Group. Also included in the donation were supplies for an ice
cream party for the children residing at the shelter. BACA works to improve the lives of chil-
dren locally. Dee Franklin of the Bucks chapter, said, "Anything that we can do to help these
kids ease their way, to help them feel safer, we are happy to do." From left are case manager
Jane Burke, John Kunes, the shelters volunteer director, Ginny Decker on bike, Ed "Sweetie"
Franklin, chapter president, Steve "lone Wolf" Sitko, Jeff "Grizz" Kerns, Dee "Jersey Girl"
Franklin. Seated in front: Sheila "Baby Girl" Sitko. Photograph by Michele Buono
June 26, 2014 Bucks County Herald Page A11 (11)
Bridget Wingert: Happy to Be Here
Washington crossed the Delaware in 1778,
the only time with the bulk of the army
The route from Doylestown to Buckingham (Bogarts Tavern) where
the road intersects with the York Road, leading east to Coryells
Ferry (New Hope and Lambertville, N.J.). The hill on the maps
right is where Buckingham Friends Meeting still stands. The meet-
inghouse was used as a hospital during the Revolution. Map by
Robert Erskine (1735-1780)
When John Rees stands at the
overlooks to the Delaware River
in New Hope the bridge walk-
way, or Ferry Street Landing or
the new promenade at the Bucks
County Playhouse he imagines
himself in 1778, when George
Washingtons army passed
through on its way to Monmouth
Courthouse in New Jersey
Rees has been in the process of
tracing the entire route from
Valley Forge to Monmouth that
the soldiers took from June 18 to
28, 1778. The 1778 operation
was by far the most important
event at Coryell's Ferry (New
Hope) during the war, he said in
an article about the trek across
the Schuylkill and then the
Delaware, finally ending at the
falls at the Passaic as the British
forces moved on to New York
The British had occupied
Philadelphia that winter while the
starved and freezing Americans
camped at Valley Forge. The sol-
diers left Valley Forge on June 10
and were camped in open fields
when, on June 18, Washington
got word that the British had
crossed the Delaware and were
headed for New York.
We struck our tents and
loaded our baggage,one soldier
wrote at the time. They were on
the march north.
Marching by divisions, they
crossed the Schuylkill River via a
bridge of wagons, taking present-
day Pawlings-Egypt Road to
West Norriton, turning on to
Ridge Road, then to Whitehall-
Bethel Roads, to North Wales
Road. From there the army trav-
eled over the course of modern
Route 202 to Doylestown, then
through Buckingham to York
Road, taking Lower York Road
into New Hope, then known as
Coryells Ferry, Rees said.
Coryells Ferry was an impor-
tant crossing point for the
Continental Army over the
Delaware River, particularly in
1777, but June 1778 was the only
occasion when the bulk of the
Continental Army under
Washingtons personal command
used that ferrying point at one
Quartermaster General Thomas
Mifflin informed the commander-
in-chief: We have three large
artillery flats and four scows,
each of which will carry a loaded
wagon with horses, four flat
boats, each to carry 80 men, 13
boats on wagons at the place and
five others on the way six miles
from this ferry, each of which
wagon boats will carry 40, all of
which will transport three pieces,
artillery with matrosses and hors-
es, four wagons and horses and
1,000 men at a try.
Washington was camped with
three divisions at Doylestown
when Major Gen. Charles Lee
crossed the Delaware on June 20.
Lee continued three miles into
New Jersey, camping near
Amwell Meeting (todays Mount
Airy). The full armys crossings
began the following day and the
final passage started at 3 a.m.
Monday, June 22. The
Continental Army joined Lees
two advance divisions at Amwell
The American force moved
ahead through Hopewell, endur-
ing exceptionally hot days and
severe thunderstorms. On the
26th, Lt. Col. Alexander
Hamilton wrote to Washington
from Gen. Lafayettes detach-
ment at Robins Tavern, four
miles from the British, Our rea-
son for halting is the extreme dis-
tress of the troops for want of
provisions. Gen. Waynes detach-
ment is almost starving, and
seem both unwilling and unable
to march further till they are sup-
German Capt. Johann Ewald,
of the Hessian Field Jaeger
Corps, reported on June 27 that
he had lost more than 200 men
from heat. On the 27th, began
our march a little before sunrise
on this march. We suffer much
for water to drink. Came within
about 6 miles of the enemy,
where we spent the rest of the
day. They were positioned at
Manalpan Bridge on route to
On the morning of June 28,
Lees forces set off to confront
the enemy. As Lee advanced he
received reports of heavy opposi-
tion and he halted and turned his
troops back over a bridge they
had just crossed. Lee again
ordered an advance, but accord-
ing to Dr. James McHenry,
Washingtons assistant secretary,
the army was in disarray, much
exhausted by marching and coun-
termarching and the moment lost
for attacking the enemy. They
had now formed their order of
battle and came on briskly to the
charge with the calvary in front.
Gen. Lee ordered a retreat.
Washington, McHenry wrote,
was much surprised, chagrined
and disappointed and instantly
perceiving there was no time to
be lost for the enemy were in
full view and full march to
improve the advantage they had
gained over Lees detachment
he directed some of the disor-
dered troops to form, till the
main body could take a position
of support.
With Lord Stirling on the right,
Gen. Greene on the left wing,
and Wayne in front, neither side
showed signs of giving up until
Greene opened up with a battery
of cannon, which forced the
enemy to retire. At that point,
Washington and his staff com-
posed ourselves to sleep behind
the line of battle under a large
The battle was over with
British gaining the Heights at
Middletown and Americans
returning to Englishtown. Gen.
Lee was arrested and courtmar-
tialed for retreating.
We rest around till the 5th,
McHenry wrote. The 4th being
the anniversary of Independence,
it is celebrated with a feu de
joye. The fire from the two lines
of the army with the intermingled
discharge of cannon animating
and brilliant.
After crossing the Passaic at
the falls, McHenry wrote, I
found the general and suite seat-
ed under a large spreading oak
within view of the spray.
A fine cool spring bubbled
out most charmingly from the
bottom of the oak. The traveling
canteens were immediately emp-
tied and a sudden repast spread
before us consisting of cold
ham tongue and excellent
biscuit. With the assistance of a
little spirit we composed some
grog ,,, and then took leave of the
friendly oak ....
On June 28, the soldiers had
fought the last large northern
battle between the two main
American and British armies at
and near Monmouth Courthouse
(Freehold), N.J.
John Rees, a constant compiler
of American history, grew up in
Wrightstown and has lived in
Solebury since 1984. He has
written 150 articles and mono-
graphs on aspects of the common
soldiers experience, focusing
primarily on the War for
Part Two
What is the Plumsteadville
Grange, and what does it do?
These are the questions we get
from new visitors.
Well, first of all it is a local
nonprofit, nonpartisan and non-
sectarian organization that is
open to all who are interested in
agriculture, farmers or not.
Grange 1738, located in
Plumsteadville on Route 611,
was founded by 35 members in
1917. They met in a rented hall
until 1924, with Isaac S Gross as
the first master. Descendants of
Master Gross are members of
this Grange today. They worked
to pay off the mortgage by offer-
ing special dinners and catering
dinners for various groups. They
then purchased a house adjoining
the Grange property, which has
two apartments in it, and a barn
next to it. These three parcels
comprise the Grange compound
In addition to the monthly
meetings of the membership (the
second Wednesday of the month
at 7:30 p.m.), the buildings are in
use during the week.
The Grange building itself is
available to community activities
such as Boy and Girl Scouts, 4H
groups, and clubs and classes of
all kinds. It has provided a tem-
porary home for two different
churches in recent years and
hosted innumerable birthday and
anniversary parties for many
members of the local area.
From The first day of June to
the last day of October there is a
farmers market centered around
the red barn every Saturday
morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Farm produce and homemade
food items, as well as handmade
crafts are offered for sale. The
cost of a display area is minimal
and the only rule is that all items
must be made or grown by the
seller. Music and demonstrations
of many kinds are offered for the
entertainment of the customers.
Grange 1738 carries on the tra-
dition of supporting legislation
related to agriculture. It supports
community service projects and
operates the main refreshment
stand at the annual Grange Fair
held at the Middletown Grange
every August. In keeping with
the National Granges focus on
deaf awareness, this Grange
makes regular contributions to
send deaf youngsters to summer
camp, and several years ago pur-
chased a piece of equipment for
the Bucks County Intermediate
Unit that is capable of testing the
hearing of children too young to
be tested by other means.
The quilter group meets every
Wednesday, and with the pro-
ceeds from raffling off its work
the group has supported many
projects, including the restoration
of the barn.
As the years have passed the
Grange has changed, but not in
its original determination to be
an important part of the commu-
nity. Today membership and all
activities and clubs are open to
all residents of the area, whether
or not they farm.
Some of the rituals that graced
the meeting in years past have
been discarded and the order of
the meeting simplified. But
Roberts Rules of Order still pre-
vail, the members pledge alle-
giance to the flag, and together
they recite the opening and clos-
ing salutation of meetings of
the Patrons of Husbandry.
A good Patron places Faith in
God, nurtures Hope, dispenses
Charity, and is noted for
Toni Kellers farms in
Bedminster Township.
All things are for the best in
this best of all possible worlds.
Dr. Pangloss, in Candide
No bread? Let them eat cake.
Marie Antoinette
Assistance for those in need?
"Humbug!" said Ebenezer
Some folks insist a free market
economy is the best of all possi-
ble economic worlds, and should
be left to itself while it balances
supply and demand, settling on
an appropriate cost for all things,
including wages.
Many of these same folks
oppose a rise in the federal mini-
mum wage, based on their faith
in a free market economy, unen-
cumbered by government inter-
vention of any kind.
Reality check: While the feder-
al minimum wage is now $7.25,
states, cities and employers are
free to pay more to attract work-
ers. In fact, many do. This is the
free market at work.
Moreover, 22 states and the
District of Columbia already
have wage minimums higher
than the federal mandate. New
Jersey, for example, has a wage
floor of $8.25 an hour, and New
York State requires a minimum
of $8 an hour. Delaware's new
minimum of $7.75 an hour just
went into effect on June 1.
Pennsylvania and Maryland
match the federal minimum of
$7.25 hourly, but as noted, many
employers offer more. Baristas at
Starbucks in Doylestown earn a
minimum of $8.20 hourly, plus
fringe benefits and tuition assis-
tance. And that is 13.1 percent
above the federal mandate.
Aside from the moral argument
that workers deserve a livable
wage, there is the practical issue
of "you get what you pay for."
An employer cannot hire
skilled workers at unskilled pay
levels. Perhaps, in hard times,
when workers are desperate, they
may take a job at low pay, espe-
cially when the alternative is no
pay at all, but as soon as an econ-
omy improves and job opportuni-
ties arise, these low-paid skilled
workers are gone, leaving the
employer short-handed and
forced to hire and train new,
unskilled workers.
Historically, some employers
were willing to do just that, when
race, religion or ethnicity were
conditions of hire. The employer
bigotry preference was so strong
that they would hire an unskilled,
incompetent worker of a pre-
ferred group even at higher
pay rather than a skilled expert
from a disliked group who would
be willing to work for less.
Inefficient? Yes. From an eco-
nomic viewpoint, bigotry in hir-
ing is inefficient.
Here's another reality: We do
not have a fully free economy,
where all elements of supply and
demand as well as other factors
are left alone (laissez-faire) to
reach a new equilibrium. In the
case of wages, union contracts and
government mandates mean that
pay scales cannot go downward as
the economy changes. It's a condi-
tion called "sticky wages."
In addition, the federal propos-
al to raise the minimum wage to
$10.10 won't take place
overnight, but over a period of
several years.
As for the argument that if the
price of a hamburger rises
because of a hike in the mini-
mum wage, resulting in cus-
tomers going elsewhere, consider
this. Customers in Pennsylvania
are not likely to travel to New
Jersey just to save 20 cents on
the price of a hamburger.
Just to be clear, we do not have
a fully free market economy in
America. Nor do we have a fully
controlled economy. The first
was backed by Adam Smith in
the 18th century, and the second
by Karl Marx in the 19th century.
Neither works. We live in a
mixed economy, with many free-
doms as well as many controls.
As for those who still insist
that despite short-term problems,
in the long run things balance
out, consider the response by
John Maynard Keynes: "In the
long run we are all dead."
John T. Hardng of Doylestown
writes on economics, politics,
government, journalism, lan-
guage and history, treating all as
aspects of a single topic.
Toni Kellers:Out on the Farm
In 1867, helping Southern farmers
John T. Harding: Editors Revenge
Market wages
You could almost smell the
pizza that Chevron brought the
Bobtown residents.
I was sitting in the
Susquehanna County Courthouse,
in Montrose. Just down the road
from Dimock, numerous frack-
ing-related cases have been heard
here. I was there, with about 100
others, to hear another.
Vera Scroggins, 63, has popu-
lated You Tube with more than
250 videos of driller Cabot Oil
and Gas, violating environmental
regulations. In an effort to make
her stop, Cabot filed an injunction
against her last October. It pro-
hibits the retired nurses aide and
grandmother, from trespassing on
their leased properties.
That adds up to some 40 square
miles, most of it around
Montrose, about 40 percent of the
county overall. The injunction
makes it extremely difficult for
Scroggins to live her life food
shop, go to the hospital and vet,
visit certain friends.
As outrageous as that might be,
it was far from the main issue at
hand. Scroggins supporters, who
accounted for about 80 percent of
those in attendance, were there to
defend, not just her, but our right
to free speech.
Support for Scroggins appeared
to transcend all political stereo-
types. You couldnt tell the liber-
als from the conservatives. Take
Craig Stevens, founder of a frac-
tivist organization called
Marcellus Patriots for Land
Rights. Stevens bald head and
fire-plug build make the lifelong
Republican look more like
General Patton than a tree hugger.
His organizations business cards
even feature a Dont Tread on
Me logo.
Fractivists believe that if Cabot
gets away with what they consid-
er to be a Slap Suit, it will set a
dangerous precedent.
They think the oil and gas
industry will become even more
aggressive than they already are
to silence anyone daring to docu-
ment the dark side of fracking.
At the end of the hearing, both
sides were to draft mutually satis-
factory proposals on how to mod-
ify the injunction. Considering the
respective positions, however, the
likelihood of reaching an agree-
ment seems slim to none.
Theres way too much at stake
here for this case not to go to trial.
Within hours the story was picked
up in seven states, three countries,
by the national news media, and
two wire services.
Environmental advocates are
saying Cabot v Scroggins could
become to their right to free
speech what Roe v Wade is to
womens rights.
When you consider there are
already 13,000 gas wells in
Pennsylvania, with 350,000
400,000 planned over the next
decade, its easy to understand
Jim Kosa:My Take
Grandmother squares off against Big Oil
Team Pennsylvania
Foundations board of directors
elected three new directors at its
annual reorganizational meeting.
Bruce Heugel of B. Braun
Medical, Bethlehem; David
Karafa of FirstEnergy, Reading;
and Jason Klipa, of Walmart,
Hummelstown; were each elected
to serve three-year terms.
Heugel is senior vice president
and chief financial officer at B.
Braun Medical Inc.
Karafa is president of
Pennsylvania Operations of
FirstEnergy Corp.
Klipa is director of public
affairs and government relations
for Walmart in New York, Ohio,
Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Team PA is a nonpartisan, char-
itable, nonprofit created in 1997
to bridge the gap between govern-
ment and the private sector to
allow both sides to partner for the
betterment of Pennsylvania in
education and economic develop-
Team Pa. elects directors