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Welcome to "News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents." The following are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity. If you are a subscriber and do not wish to receive further updates, please use the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of this email. 

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The township will soon have a new police chief.
At the Jan. 9 meeting, the board of supervisors hired Philadelphia police captain John Hearn to head the township's 31-officer police department.
In a quick vote without discussion or debate, the board unanimously approved an employment agreement with Hearn.   Voting for the police chief’s contract were: Chairman Phil Calabro, Vice Chairman Linda Bobrin, along with Supervisors John Mack, Kyle Davis and Dennis Fisher.
Although Hearn’s name was not publicly disclosed at the supervisor’s meeting, BucksLocalNews.comhas confirmed that he will take over the position sometime this spring after he wraps up his job with the Philadelphia Police Department, where he has worked for nearly 30 years.
Once on board in Newtown, the 52-year-old Hearn, who lives in Northampton Township, will oversee 31 officers, commanders and civilian staff members along with a $5.27-million budget this year.
He’ll replace former Chief Rick Pasqualini, who retired in July. In the interim, Lt. Jason Harris has been serving as acting police chief.
Capt. Hearn’s resume is both extensive and impressive.
Since 2017, he has been the commanding officer of the 14th District in Northwest Philadelphia, which covers the Chestnut Hill and Germantown sections, as well as East and West Mt. Airy.
Prior to that, he was a lieutenant for 12 years with the Highway Patrol, a specialized unit in the Philadelphia Police Department.
While there, he had extensive experience with logistics, security and training.
District teachers union President Tara Huber and former student and student newspaper editor Gillian McGoldrick said they consider the name Neshaminy uses for its sports teams racist.
Neshaminy School District teachers union President Tara Huber was told by Superintendent Joseph Jones III that she should “find work elsewhere” when she brought up the “Redskin” name and logo the district uses for its sports teams, Huber testified Tuesday during a Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission hearing on the issue.
During the second day of a weeklong series of hearings being held at Bucks County Community College in Newtown Township, Huber said she brought up the name issue to Jones last year after a meeting of a district committee designed to promote workplace diversity.
“I asked him how can we be having discussions about workplace diversity while at the same time having a mascot that is racist,” Huber testified.
At one point during their talk, Jones told her she should “find work elsewhere” if she felt that way, Huber added.
During her lengthy testimony Tuesday, Huber recounted the long history of the “Redskin” issue as it related to the Neshaminy student newspaper The Playwickian. Huber, an English teacher at Neshaminy School, was faculty advisor to the newspaper from 2000 to 2016.
The newspaper first published an editorial opposing the use of the name in 2001, and then two more during Huber’s later years as advisor. In 2013, a majority of the editorial staff voted to ban use of the name from the paper. The district eventually imposed a policy that the name could be deleted from stories but not from submitted letters or opinion pieces, Huber said.
McGoldrick, a 2016 Neshaminy graduate and a junior at Temple University, was on the Playwickian staff all four years of high school and was editor-in-chief her last year. She had started attending Neshaminy schools as a sixth-grader after going to Catholic schools before that.
She testified that her opinion about the use of the name changed in 2013 during a newsroom debate on the issue.
“I just accepted it at first and didn’t think much about it,” she said. “I knew it was a big tradition. During this debate I started on the side that was defending use of the name. Then, somebody on the other side compared use of the Redskin name to (another slur), and that made me just get up and change sides. It felt like I had been lied to, that I had been bamboozled into thinking use of ‘Redskin’ was OK and I had been accepting it for so long.”
Newtown Township supervisors denied Arcadia at Newtown Holdings’ proposal for a 76-home development off Buck Road and the Newtown Bypass in November (read “Arcadia Green PRD Three Peat: Denied Again!”), but the developer argued in a recent appeal the plans actually are approved because it did not receive a signed, certified copy of the decision within an allotted timeframe.
The rule of three has held true — a prospective Newtown Township developer has submitted three plans for homes, denied through three votes by supervisors over a three-year period.
And, for the third time, Arcadia at Newtown Holdings has gone to county court to contest the board’s denial.
But in its most recent appeal, filed Dec. 21, the Philadelphia-based developer argued that Newtown Township actually has approved its plans for a walkable 76-residence community on 21.47 acres off Buck Road and the Newtown Bypass. Arcadia attorney John VanLuvanee said his client did not receive a signed copy of township supervisors’ unanimous “no” decision within the required window, according to court documents. Without a decision by the deadline, the plans are approved by default, the developer argued in the appeal.
Arcadia presented its plans to supervisors over four planned residential development hearings between early August and late September, and the board voted down the project Nov. 14, within a 60-day window expiring Nov. 25. Though township Solicitor David Sander mailed the decision to VanLuvanee on Nov. 24, Arcadia contends the document was not certified, and supervisors did not approve it at a public meeting until mid-December.
If the court upholds the board’s vote, VanLuvanee said a referee should be appointed to receive additional evidence to review in determining whether supervisors acted in “bad faith” voting at all.
The following are the TOP TEN viewed local news stories in 2018 in rank order. These stories were “Scooped” (i.e., curated*) by John Mack as being of interest to Newtown residents. See all curated news here. https://www.scoop.it/t/newtown-news
5 Doctors Are Charged With Taking Kickbacks for Fentanyl Prescriptions - Lock 'em Up! http://sco.lt/667BBp
Doors Blocked With Tables To Stop Council Rock North Walkout, Students Say http://sco.lt/8dyQ65
Bucks County Initiates Smart911 with RapidSOS to Quickly Serve Callers http://sco.lt/504cQz
Arcadia Green Sues Newtown Township http://sco.lt/7Ns6wz
Craft Beer Brewery, Food Trucks and Fun Coming to Newtown Commons This Summer http://sco.lt/94LdU9
EWG Report: Perfluorinated Pollutant (PFAS) Contamination of Water Spreading http://sco.lt/4xLDiD
In God We Trust. Lower Southampton Supervisors Not So Much! http://sco.lt/7anRk9
Opioids Not Better Than Acetaminophen at Reducing Pain to Improve Function for Chronic Back, Knee and Hip Pain http://sco.lt/6GPlwn
How Much Does a Family of Four Need To Earn To Live Comfortably In Bucks County? http://sco.lt/9IDSML
Falls Wawa Developer Wins Case Brought by Local Service Station But “SLAPPs” a Lawsuit Against Residents Who Spoke Up at Public Meeting http://sco.lt/5UZzxB
* A Content Curator is someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on specific issues online. I curate stories published in local and national media that I believe are of special interest to Newtown residents. Many of these stories relate to issues discussed or acted upon by Newtown Township Supervisors.
I use the Scoop.It platform to capture and organize these stories (news articles) online. Each curated story is called a “Scoop,” which is a shortened version of the article. Within the Scoop is a link to the original, long version of the article plus links to related articles, blog posts, etc. Some Scoops include my personal insight.
2019 © John Mack
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