Archive for category mario Scavello

How these Pa. lawmakers plan to bring fairness to elections

House Bill 722 and Senate Bill 22 are aimed at the nonpartisan redrawing of legislative boundaries and maps.

Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced bills to reform the system t…

‘Garbage everywhere’: Pa. lawmaker wants crackdown on littering

Proposed legislation would increase fines for littering in Pennsylvania.

A bill has been introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate that would increase fines for littering and dumping…

FedEx site still in limbo, as lawmakers pave way for needed road work

Pennsylvania lawmakers OK’d a transfer of land needed for the distribution hub’s construction in Allen Township.

Pennsylvania lawmakers did their part Tuesday to pave the way for construction of a massive FedEx Ground distribution hub in Allen Township.

FedEx site still in limbo, as lawmakers pave way for needed road workFedEx Ground maintained March 22, 2016, it is committed to building a distribution hub in the Lehigh Valley, though a decision had not been made on building in Allen Township or Bethlehem. (Courtesy photo | For lehighvalleylive.com) 

The state House of Representatives approved legislation already passed by the Senate to permit the state to take on about a half-mile of road needed for improvements required by the FedEx project.

The 191-0 vote comes three weeks after an agreement appeared within reach for the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority to close its $9.8 million sale of 270 acres on which the FedEx project would be built.

FedEx Ground, however, maintained Tuesday the site for the facility remains in limbo, with an alternative site in Bethlehem still a possibility.

“We are committed to building a hub in the Lehigh Valley,” spokesman David Westrick said Tuesday evening. “The Allen Township site is our preferred site, but we are considering the second site in Bethlehem because we must break ground and start construction in the spring, early summer.”

The airport authority, owner of the Lehigh Valley International Airport near the proposed FedEx site, voted March 2 to approve a settlement aimed at settling a dispute over the Allen Township land.

FedEx hub deal for Allen Twp. pending approval

The settlement was written to satisfy claims from the township land’s previous owner, the Fuller Family Trust, that a deed restriction on the land prevents industrial development there, airport authority Executive Director Charles Everett said earlier this month.

“At this point we’re just waiting for all of the parties to sign the agreement,” he said Tuesday. “I think it should be done in the next several days, is my expectation. 

“I’m not aware of any issues with the settlement agreement that was approved” by the airport authority board, Everett continued. 

With the restriction claim holding up closing on the land sale, FedEx has been considering an offer from Majestic Realty to locate the hub in a 981,321-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility approved by Bethlehem officials along Commerce Center Boulevard, off Route 412, in the city.

For the airport authority, the land sale is critical to paying off a $7.6 million judgment to settle unrelated litigation.

Senate Bill 1064, approved Tuesday by the House, permits the transfer to the state of six-tenths of a mile of Willowbrook Road, from Race Street to Allen Township’s border with Hanover Township, Lehigh County. Transferring this portion of the road enables FedEx and its partners to make the road improvements necessary to construction there.

The airport authority says that, while the FedEx project will add vehicles to surrounding roads, studies project road improvements — including to Race Street and Airport Road — will improve existing traffic problems.

During the peak morning hour of traffic, FedEx is expected to add 20 tractor-trailer trips onto roads near the Allen Township site, in addition to 63 during the evening peak hour, the authority has said. The roads already carry 22,000 vehicles daily, and tractor-trailers will be restricted to traveling only on Race Street, Airport Road and Route 22, according to the authority.

FedEx project clears final federal approval

State lawmakers said Tuesday’s House vote brings the Allen Township location a step closer to reality. The Senate passed the bill unanimously in December, and it now goes to Gov. Tom Wolf for consideration.

“I am thrilled with how quickly we were able to advance this legislation through the legislature to the governor’s desk,” bill sponsor Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh/Northampton, said in a statement. “This road transfer component will help advance efforts aimed at bringing this FedEx hub, and the jobs associated with it, to the Lehigh Valley.”

Boscola credited passage, in part, to the work of fellow Sens. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, and Mario Scavello, R-Monroe/Northampton, as well as state Reps. Julie Harhart, R-Lehigh/Northampton, and Daniel McNeill, D-Lehigh.

Browne, who is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, stated: “This major investment by FedEx to locate and build its large new operation in the Lehigh Valley will provide tremendous economy benefits to the Lehigh Valley and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“Transfer of this short stretch of roadway to the Commonwealth will provide the final piece needed to ensure this project moves forward and with it, the creation of thousands of new jobs.”

Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

Senator Scavello Visits Upper Mount Bethel Tp

Senator Scavello addresses U. Mt Bethel SupervisorsHere in the Lehigh Valley, it’s rare to see a state representative or state senator in what Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski has derisively referred to as the boonies. Unless an election is around the corn…

PennEast Pipeline: Scavello Wants Residents, Businesses To Have Pipeline Access

While I was attempted to evade a death sentence at Becahi last night, Matt Miles attended an informational meeting about the PennEast Pipeline at the Covenant United Methodist Church in Klecknersville. The meeting was hosted by State reps. Julie Harhart and Marcia Hahn, with State Senator Mario Scavello doing the honors as a guest speaker. Below is Miles’ report, for which I am very grateful.

On a cold night in Klecknersville, Pennsylvanians came to an event hosted by State Representatives Marcia Hahn and Julie Harhart, with special guest Senator Mario Scavello to learn more about the proposed 36” diameter Penn East Natural Gas Pipeline . The Fellowship Hall of Covenant United Methodist Church packed in about 130 residents. In the introduction, the representatives were adamant about having a non-biased forum and to be respectful despite the controversy.

The Penn State Extension’s Dave Messersmith gave a presentation about the procedures, construction, positives and negatives and some land-owner’s rights as well. It presented like a college lecture hall, but provided a good basis for understanding what is going to happen. If you want to learn more, he makes this powerpoint available for the asking. He is based out of the Honesdale, PA extension office, and on the web at extension.psu.edu/naturalgas.

Next up was Attorney Carl Engleman, Jr., an attorney who primarily represents land owners with right of way issues and mineral rights leases. Despite any lawyer joke you could think of, the meeting picked up pace and became much more interesting. As someone with 20 years of practice, he was quick to point out all of the tricks that utilities pull when a new transmission front is proposed. As verified by some in the crowd, PennEast has hired what Englemann referred to as “Land Agents” to start surveying properties in the proposed right-of-way. Many of the agents surveying will put offers in front of land-owners immediately, with forms to give up any rights to sue after the line is installed and (illegally) threatening eminent domain. Englemann also covered topics like areas of historical significance, environmental concerns and proximities of schools can all be reasons to re-route the line. The bottom line is that PennEast doesn’t have a formal application to FERC yet, so no one can use eminent domain to threaten you. Edelmann also cautioned that your first offer is never the best offer. The biggest take away that could be gained from the meeting is that if you are in the direct path and want to fight it directly, be ready to pay for a Dream Team of experts to testify on your behalf in Washington, D.C., and that the land speculators are already out trespassing and surveying, stating they have a right to be in the utility right of way.

As with any meeting, the real show starts during public comment. The first questions asked were centered around what would make FERC deny the pipeline. As Atty Edelmann put it, FERC approves 99.9% of all pipelines. The idea behind the pipeline is that it can provide common good to the community. With PennEast, there hasn’t been much of a negative impact. My question was whether residents of the affected areas be able to have Natural Gas as an energy option. Neither Representatives, the Extension representative, the Senator or the attorney could answer my question, However, Senator Scavello mentioned he was pushing for terminals along the way for community benefit. The bottom line is that this line is being designed for export at this juncture. The biggest fireworks came when someone asked the pols directly if they received campaign funding from PennEast. All three denied it, but another audience member called them out to name other gas entities that sent them campaign funding and all three admitted to UGI as a company donating to their campaign funds. Scavello later called out these citizens after the meeting for being “paid to be there” as “anti-fracking activists.”

Representatives from the website Stop the Penn East Pipeline website were there as well, with literature and signs. Both Representative Hahn and Harhart had their gun targets and Game Commission bylaws and lit available for the taking. None of the targets had Bernie’s mug on them. I will give credit to both Representatives and Senator Scavello for staying until the last folks left the church.

In my rather extensive conversations with Representative Hahn, Harhart and Senator Scavello after the meeting, I asked a few more pointed questions about a severance tax, expanding infrastructure to rural areas along the line and what they were doing for their constituents. Senator Scavello was the most knowledgeable about expanding local infrastructure. He mentioned expanding natural gas lines into several business parks in the Poconos as well as converting Sanofi-Pasteur Pharmaceuticals in Swiftwater, PA from oil to gas use. His goal is to see that as many Pennsylvanians as possible have access to the fuel. Scavello also mentioned that there is a severance tax on the table of 5%. According to Scavello, Governor Wolf wants to see 8% but with 11 capped wells in Luzerne county because of the lack of transport, he feels 8% accomplishes nothing, but that he is open to the 5% number. Mario is pro-pipeline, and was a real pleasure to talk to with some intelligent points.

Representative Hahn and Representative Harhart did more listening to me than they did explaining their stances and action items. They both agreed it would be a good thing to see the pipeline built, but when I asked what they would do about infrastructure, I didn’t get much of an answer. Harhart went so far as to tell me it was a Federal Project and there wasn’t much she could do. I suggested that she and the General Assembly do have more power to push PennEast and ask what’s in it for their constituents. I hate having to deal with nice people sometimes… it gets in the way of some good conversation. My hope is that they heard about the predatory Land Speculation and will be actively looking to do something to stop it as well as looking at getting Pennsylvania natural gas to local homes and businesses.

Overall, it was a civil meeting, with a few jabs and a lot of information to take in. Fortunately, it’s still very early in the game. You can comment on FERC’s website Docket # PF15-1-00 through Mid February, and there will be a FERC scoping meeting at Northampton Community College Feb 10th at 6pm. Now is the time to get educated and make the right choices for you and your family.

Attorney for Allentown woman who allegedly left harassing messages for lawmaker wanted to fight for “first amendment”

The 47-year-old woman doesn’t plan to fight the case and instead hopes to enter a first-time offender’s program.

mario scavello View full sizeMario ScavelloCourtesy Photo 

James Heidecker Jr. was ready to argue for his client’s right to the first amendment, but he said the 47-year-old Allentown woman wanted to put the incident — harassing messages left at a state politician’s office — behind her.

Sharon Marie Manning appeared Tuesday morning for a preliminary hearing before District Judge Thomas Olsen in Pocono Township, Monroe County, on charges of stalking and harassment stemming from Sept. 19. Police say Manning left a series of messages for Senator-elect Mario Scavello, R-Monroe/Northampton, during the state representative’s campaign for the senate. 

Manning gave up her right to a hearing and intends to apply for the county’s first-time offender accelerated rehabilitative disposition, or ARD, program. If Manning successfully completes the program, she will have the charges erased from her record. 

Manning’s comments came on the heels of an ad run by Scavello’s Democratic challenger Mark Aurand, which sharply criticized Scavello’s views on abortion.

In one of the messages, played for a reporter, Manning tells the lawmaker “to get the (expletive) out of our country” because of his “backward ass views about abortion” — says, “you should be taken out back and shot, the lot of you.”

Though Scavello characterized the messages as threatening in interviews following the incident, authorities never issued such a charge. Heidecker said that’s because though Manning’s comments were unpleasant, they weren’t a crime.

“Although presented not very tastefully, I still believe the law allows her to say that,” Heidecker said. 

Harassment, he said, requires the offender have not engaged in legitimate communication — and that characterization does not fit Manning’s actions, he said. But Heidecker said Manning wasn’t interested in taking the matter to court.

“Her intentions are paramount,” he said. “My own selfish interests were to litigate this matter. I would have liked to have our day in court with the first amendment.”

Heidecker described Manning as a good woman who had a lapse in judgement when she made the calls. He said she’d been drinking and felt strongly about her views, but that such behavior was largely out of character for the educated accountant.

“She was very emotional and upset to even be in this environment,” Heidecker said. “She’s learned a very strong lesson.”

Manning remains free on $15,000 unsecured bail. 

Pennsylvania Senate 40th District debate reveals alleged death threats against candidate

Candidates for the newly relocated 40th Senate District in Pennsylvania debate the issues and raise concerns over death threats.

View full sizePennsylvania Senate candidates Mark…

Aurand – Scavello to Debate in Forks Tp

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

Mario Scavello Kicks Off Senate Race at Weona Park

Mario Scavello, currently a State Representative, is the Republican choice for a new senatorial district that consists of most of Monroe as well as the northern half of Northampton County. He kicked off his campaign Saturday at Pen Argyl’s Weona Park, …

Aurand Takes Swing at Gas Tax

State senatorial candidate Mark Aurand , has kicked off his campaign with a Youtube video that slams Governor Corbett’s controversial gas tax, a 25 cent per gallon increase at the pump. Daily Times columnist Chris Freind calls it Corbett’s “path to sin…