Archive for September, 2010

Architects, engineeers now pass the buck

Posted on September 29th, 2010

Architects, engineeers now pass the buck

The Watchdog is involved in a total renovation of a hotel as part of a conversion to another brand.  For the first time in two decades, he is reviewing construction drawings.

Upon receipt of a detail from an architect, he contacted his construction consultant  and asked why there was no indication on how pieces were to be affixed and installation take place.

He was told that architects today shy away from giving such instructions.  They leave it to the contractor to come up with their own approach.   Furthermore, they no longer stamp plans as “Approved” but rather only as “Reviewed.”

The explanation is that architects (and others) are terrified of liability claims.

To the Watchdog, this was the antithesis of  how things were done in past decades.   His architect and engineers were responsive to input but took full responsibility for every aspect of the construction.   The architect referred to “My project.”

The dumbfounded Watchdog asked “In other words, the architect just paints pretty pictures.” The response was: “You might say that.”

The Watchdog asked “Is that what went wrong with McCaskey East… no one took responsibility despite glaring discrepancies?” The response:  “Exactly.”

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Prescription Drug Discount Cards saved $500,000

Posted on September 29th, 2010

Prescription Drug Discount Cards saved $500,000

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Angie Eichelberger, Executive Assistant

September 29, 2010 (717) 735-1589 – aeichelberger@co.lancaster.pa.us

Residents Saved Over $500,000 Using Free

Lancaster County Prescription Drug Discount Cards

Lancaster, PA (September 29, 2010) Lancaster County Commissioners Scott Martin, Dennis Stuckey and Craig Lehman announced today that residents of Lancaster County have saved over a half a million dollars on more than 27,000 prescriptions using the Lancaster County Prescription Drug Discount Card-a program they initiated in May of 2009.

“$518,286.67 is truly an astounding savings for our residents – especially in these difficult economic times,” stated Commissioner Martin, Chairman. “We are very pleased with the amount of money residents have saved and the number of people who have benefited from the program.”

The Lancaster County Prescription Drug Discount Card, which is sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo), provides a discounted rate on prescription medications not covered by an insurance plan.

“In August, 2010, Lancaster County residents saved an average of 24.34% on their medications,” reported Commissioner Stuckey, Vice-Chairman.  That equates to an average savings of $13.30 per prescription.  “Since the program is free for residents to use, that is money straight back into the hands of our residents.”

All residents are eligible regardless of age, income or existing health coverage, and there are no enrollment forms or fees to use the card.  Simply pick up a discount card from one of our many distribution centers throughout Lancaster County or print and ID card at www.caremark.com/naco, and take it to a participating pharmacy to receive the discounted rate on your medications not covered by a health insurance plan.

“During each of the last six months, more than 1,500 residents have utilized the card,” reported Commissioner Craig Lehman.  “That is solid performance and shows the popularity of the program; however we know there are many more people who could benefit by using the card.  We will continue to build partnerships with organizations throughout Lancaster County with the goal of increasing the number of people who use the program in order to maximize the savings to County residents.”

More than 165 entities throughout Lancaster County have already partnered with the County to distribute the Lancaster County Prescription Drug Discount Cards.  A complete list of distribution centers can be found at www.co.lancaster.pa.us.  Anyone who is interested in sharing this savings with others should contact the Commissioners’ Office at 299-8300.

“We want to extend our gratitude to all our partnering distribution centers and also all of the participating pharmacies in Lancaster County,” stated Commissioner Martin.  “This program would not be a success for our residents without their assistance.”

This program is not insurance and is administered by CVS Caremark.

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Lancaster initiative results in 364 small libraries in Afghanistan

Posted on September 29th, 2010

Lancaster initiative results in 364 small libraries in Afghanistan

Editor’s note:  Individuals can make differences through service, through ideas, and through donations.  Ideas can be made practical when backed up with contributions. NewsLanc is also such an idea.

From CARE: Since January 2006 CARE has established 364 libraries in Primary Community Based schools in the provinces of Khost, Kabul, Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni, Kapisa, Parwan, Logar, Wardak, and Balkh.

The project is funded by Robert Field and Société Générale.

Sixty-seven libraries for Lower Secondary Community Based Education in Khost and Paktia have also been put in place. The initiative improves access to reading materials and resources for students, teachers and School Management Committees members in order to reinforce and supplement what is taught in the classroom.

The Lower Secondary Community Based Education in Khost is funded by two private donors (Dusty Huscher and the Boll Foundation) and the project in Paktia is funded by AusAid. The project provides the only educational library service in those provinces.

During the second quarter of 2010 the project could establish 78 new libraries for COPE,Emergency CBE, and Secondary projects in Khost, Logar, Wardak, Ghazni, Parwan, Kapisa, and Balkh provinces and also undertook its routine activities for the previously established libraries.

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The War on Drugs: What a Joke!

Posted on September 29th, 2010

The War on Drugs: What a Joke!

Editor’s note.  The following, sent by a reader, contains language which many (including the aged editor) finds offensive.

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The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition

Posted on September 29th, 2010

CATO INSTITUTE:  State and federal governments in the United States face massive looming fiscal deficits. One policy change that can reduce deficits is ending the drug war. Legalization means reduced expenditure on enforcement and an increase in tax revenue from legalized sales.

This report estimates that legalizing drugs would save roughly $41.3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. Of these savings, $25.7 billion would accrue to state and local governments, while $15.6 billion would accrue to the federal government.

Approximately $8.7 billion of the savings would result from legalization of marijuana and $32.6 billion from legalization of other drugs.

The report also estimates that drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. Approximately $8.7 billion of this revenue would result from legalization of marijuana and $38.0 billion from legalization of other drugs.  (Full report)

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The Crossings should not be built in flood plain

Posted on September 29th, 2010

The Crossings should not be built in flood plain

Two Lancaster County TIGER II (federal economic incentive) grant request projects – the rebuilding of the U.S. 30/Harrisburg Pike Interchange and the widening of a stretch of Harrisburg Pike – were initiated and promoted by High Real Estate Group (HREG), that plans to build a large shopping center [The Crossings]  on Harrisburg Pike. The amount being requested from TIGER II for these two projects totals $22,615,000.

I have a degree in environmental science and am concerned because this shopping center will be built in a 100-year flood plain created by nearby Conestoga Creek. I understand that many homes in the area already experience water run-off problems. Another problem is that the shopping center will be located directly across from Long’s Park, Lancaster City’s largest park. The average attendance at these concerts is 5,000, with the annual July 4th concert attended by 50,000. The shopping center’s main entrance and exit will be directly opposite the park’s main entrance.

Federal (taxpayer) money should not be used to pay for the required infrastructure for an unneeded and unwanted shopping center. The Crossings project does not have the support of the general public. If it is built, the developers themselves should pay for the reconstruction of the Rt. 30/Harrisburg Pike interchange and the other roadway changes that Manheim Township Commissioners are requiring before work on The Crossings can begin.

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Re letter: Outsourcing Public Libaries

Posted on September 29th, 2010

Re letter: Outsourcing Public Libaries

This is a terribly biased article based on the author’s obviously limited knowledge of library operations.

It is not the rule for library employees to be unionized; this is probably only the case when the library is part of the county or city government, which is not the case for any of Lancaster County’s Libraries.

Their employees are generally underpaid (Masters Degrees earning $25-35,000/yr?) and have skimpy benefits. Government funds only 1/2 of the budget of the Lancaster Public Library; the rest comes from donations and fee-based services.

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INTELLIGENCER NEW ERA

Posted on September 29th, 2010

INTELLIGENCER NEW ERA

Article “Millersville approves fire merger” reports “Millersville borough acted Monday to adopt the Blue rock Fire District, which will replace four fire companies which serve the borough and Manor Township.”

WATCHDOG: Three wags of the tail!   Now let’s move ahead with the concept of a regional police department.

It is unlikely that the historic boro and township plethora will be reversed, but we can mitigate the fractionalization and achieve savings by merging school districts, police forces and, where appropriate, fire departments.

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Gallup: Voters Split Evenly Between Dems, GOP

Posted on September 29th, 2010

Gallup: Voters Split Evenly Between Dems, GOP

From THE HILL:

Registered voters are split over whether they will vote for a Republican or a Democrat in the November midterm elections, the latest Gallup generic ballot poll shows.

The survey released Monday shows Democrats and the GOP in a 46-46 percent tie among those asked what party’s candidate they would vote for on Nov. 2.

The results of Gallup’s generic ballot, a key bellwether of congressional elections, has shown consistent results the past two weeks after the advantage flipped between Republicans and Democrats. Last week, both parties we locked in a statistical tie but the week before that Republicans opened up a 5-point lead after falling into its first tie with the Democrats in six weeks ago. The week before the previous tie, the GOP held a 10-point advantage over the Democrats, a lead Gallup called “unprecedented.”

Click here to read the full article.

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Bork: Canada Prostitution Ruling Could Happen Here

Posted on September 29th, 2010

Bork: Canada Prostitution Ruling Could Happen Here

From NEWSMAX:

In  an exclusive Newsmax interview Tuesday, esteemed constitutional scholar Judge Robert Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan was derailed by Senate Democrats in 1987, warned that U.S. federal judges might follow this week’s court ruling in Canada and concoct an unwritten right to practice prostitution within the U.S. Constitution.

“I have no doubt that federal judges in the United States may one day define prostitution as a constitutional right,” said Judge Bork, now a distinguished fellow at the Hudson Institute and a professor at the Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan…

In a landmark decision, a Toronto judge on Tuesday struck down a series of prostitution laws on the books in Canada, arguing that they violated the “right to security of the person as protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” The ruling could lead to legalized brothels north of the border…

Click here to read the full article.

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"....I have never made it a consideration whether the subject was popular or unpopular, but whether it was right or wrong; for that which is right will become popular, and that which is wrong, though by mistake it may obtain the cry or fashion of the day, will soon lose the power of delusion, and sink into disesteem." Thomas Paine, Common Sense, on "Financing the War", March 5, 1782

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