Yellow Breeches EMS officials took what they see as a step toward safety for their crews by recently purchasing bullet-proof vests.
“Our dispatches around here have gotten more and more intense,” Yellow Breeches EMS Chief Robert Weidner said. “We’re getting more overdoses. We’re getting more overdose patients. We’re getting more assault victims. … We want to take step forward and protect ourselves and protect everybody else.”
He said the emergencies his crews get called to can sometimes be unpredictable and volatile.
The department recently purchased 15 ballistic vests. Weidner said that is enough vests for all personnel on Yellow Breeches’ five ambulances.
The vests are rated to withstand most standard handgun ammunition, according to the National Institute of Justice, and cost roughly $200 a piece, or a little more than $3,000 in total.
Yellow Breeches EMS, based at 223 Mill St. in Mount Holly Springs, serves the southern portion of South Middleton, as well as Cooke, Dickinson, Penn and Monroe townships and Mount Holly Springs, according to the organization’s website.
Yellow Breeches received a $1,000 grant from Walmart — which provides funding to community organizations through its Walmart Foundation — to help offset the costs. The company is applying for other grants, including one through Firehouse Subs.
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has provided more than $31 million in equipment, training and support to first-responders, according to the company’s website. A portion the proceeds from all purchases at Firehouse Subs is donated to the foundation.
Weidner said there was no specific incident that spurred the decision to purchase the vests.
But he pointed to situations like in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire on a crowd at a country music concert in October.
Nearly 60 people were killed in that shooting, including Bill Wolfe, of Shippensburg.
“It just got to the point where the world’s changing,” Weidner said. “It’s unfortunate.”
Weidner said his staff has been receptive to having the vests, which are worn during most calls at least until the scene is assessed and determined not to be a threat.
He said Yellow Breeches is one of the first departments in the area to purchase and utilize ballistic vests.
“You never know what you’re getting into on a daily basis,” Weidner said. “I’d rather come home to my family at the end of a shift.”
The Carlisle Borough Council took a timeout at its December meeting to honor one of their own.
That meeting was the last for Perry Heath, who retired from the council after 12 years of service. He was honored during the meeting by his colleagues who presented him with a clock, which Heath quickly, and with a laugh, noted showed the incorrect time.
Heath served as the president of the council from 2012 through 2015. His service on the council has also included chairing the Downtown Improvement District Task Force, the Parks & Recreation Committee, the Police Contract Negotiating Committee, the Economic Development Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee.
He has also served on a number of boards and community organizations through the years.
“I will miss sitting next to you. I make it a point to learn something from everybody that I’ve served with. You’ve taught me to carry myself with dignity and respect, and also to boil down the issues. You’re always very good at that,” Mayor Tim Scott said.
Q. Of the council’s actions during your tenure, which ones are you most proud of?
A. I’m most proud of the work that has occurred and remains to be done for the Urban Redevelopment Plan and the re-use of the former IAC, Carlisle Tire & Wheel and Tyco sites. Rather than have eyesores as blighted properties, the public/private partnerships that have been created and still strive to pursue an awesome vision gives me great pride and satisfaction. Additionally, despite the challenges of the Downtown Improvement District effort, the end result was an aggressive and very successful implementation of downtown economic development goals, objectives and strategies under the leadership of the Downtown Carlisle Association. By virtually all measures, our downtown is thriving with events, activities and opportunities. I’m proud of their accomplishments and the role that council had in supporting the DCA and its mission.
Q. What’s the most challenging aspect of being a member of the borough council?
A. “You can’t make all the people happy all the time.”
There are limits on resources that preclude us from doing or providing all the things that constituents would like to have and striking the balance between necessary public services (police, fire, public works, water/sewer, etc.) and “quality of life” services (parks, recreation programs, community pool, shade trees, trails, etc.) can be quite challenging. Additionally, being involved in decision-making on an issue that is highly emotional requires a fact based review and perspective that might not be the most “popular” but is truly your conviction and belief.
Q. On the other hand, what is the most rewarding aspect?
A. It is most satisfying to receive validation of our activities and work by third party objective reviewers (among many examples are Government Finance Officers Association, America’s Promise, TIGER Grant award, police department accreditation, water quality testing, etc.) On a personal note, it is gratifying when someone acknowledges the effort you put forth to be an effective councilor regardless of whether they may or may not agree with a given agenda item position.
Q. Who were some of the key people who influenced you or otherwise assisted you during your time on the council?
A. In the end, life is all about relationships, and I have been blessed with a multitude of them from which I have drawn advice, wisdom and consolation. I am forever grateful and indebted to all from whom I have sought or been given advice as there are far too many to specifically mention by name. Key business leaders, educational institution leadership, military personnel, elected leaders at all levels of government, personal friends and acquaintances, partners with whom I teamed to pursue an objective are all among them. But I have truly appreciated the extraordinary, knowledgeable, passionate and dedicated people who are the staff for the borough. Their public service knowledge is incredible. This community is blessed to have the caliber of professionals who we often take for granted who make our town work. I must also acknowledge the flexibility, support and insight provided by my employer (R.S. Mowery & Sons) and especially Don Mowery. Finally, but certainly not least is my wife, Sue, who had many lonely dinners while I attended meetings, listened with compassion as I wrestled with an issue and always encouraged me to serve. Thanks to all.
Q. What advice would you give someone running for public office on the local level?
A. A couple of things come to mind. First, understand what the job is and what it entails before running. It takes time and you must be prepared to dedicate the time if you wish to be effective. Know the roles and responsibilities of the position. A councilor is not a manager — that’s the role of staff. A councilor’s role is to make policy and work toward its implementation. Finally, be respectful of diverse opinions and be prepared for open criticism, fair and unfair. Good luck and best wishes.
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania has revealed it paid $900,000 in 2016 to settle a workplace sexual misconduct case, its biggest payout of that type to come to light in recent months.
The money was paid to a woman who accused her boss of molesting, harassing and threatening her while she worked for the Department of Revenue from 2011 to 2013.
The settlement was disclosed by Gov. Tom Wolf's office in response to questions by The Associated Press about sexual harassment settlements by the executive branch. Wolf's office is expected to disclose additional settlements discovered in an ongoing review of cases.
Amid a national reckoning over sexual harassment on the job, more than $1.5 million in payouts by Pennsylvania during the last eight years have become public in recent weeks. They include a $250,000 jury award last month in a state trooper's lawsuit.
The victim told the AP she felt she should have received a bigger settlement because of her long ordeal. She had been a 20-year employee of the state when she quit her position assisting her boss and the enforcement agents in the office.
She originally sought $5 million in a 2014 federal lawsuit accusing Albert Forlizzi, a regional administrator, of molesting her repeatedly, exposing himself at work, demanding sex and threatening retaliation if she reported his behavior.
"On occasions, at the workplace, Mr. Forlizzi placed his hands inside of Plaintiff's pants and underwear," her lawsuit said.
At other times, he would force the victim to enter his office, pull up her shirt and move her bra so that he could molest her, the lawsuit said. He had a "sick, perverted desire to sexually assault and harass her," it said.
The victim, who is black, also accused Forlizzi, who is white, of making disparaging remarks about her race and about women.
Forlizzi pleaded no contest to charges of indecent assault and official oppression in 2015. He was sentenced to four years of probation and required to register as a sex offender.
The AP does not typically identify victims of sexual crimes, and the woman, interviewed Monday, said she did not wish to be identified for the report on the settlement with the state.
A person who answered the phone at Forlizzi's workplace said he could not get a message to him, and a message left at his home seeking his comment was not returned Monday.
The Wolf administration called Forlizzi's conduct, which occurred before Wolf became governor, "abhorrent, appalling and criminal."
"The victim deserves commendation for her courage in coming forward and making sure this individual was held accountable for his repulsive conduct," the Democratic administration said.
The state workforce under Wolf's jurisdiction numbers about 73,000. Agencies under the governor's jurisdiction fielded 339 reports of sexual harassment over a recent five-year period, according to state data released last week.
Records released to date show all three branches of Pennsylvania state government have settled sexual misconduct allegations in recent years, including claims for unwelcome touching, kissing and lascivious comments.
In the past two weeks, Wolf has called on two Democratic lawmakers to resign following disclosures about their behavior, including one, Rep. Tom Caltagirone, whose former aide's claim of sexual harassment was settled with a $250,000 payment. Caltagirone has said he is innocent.
Former federal prosecutor and drug enforcement official Joe Peters has become the fifth Republican, and eighth candidate overall, to declare his intention to run for Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District.
The 11th District will be an open race in 2018, as current Congressman Lou Barletta plans to vacate the seat to seek the Republican nomination to run against Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey.
In a news release issued Monday, Peters touted his law enforcement and legal experience — first as a police officer in Scranton, then as a federal prosecutor specializing in mafia cases, and then as a drug enforcement executive.
Peters was the state’s top drug prosecutor before serving in the federal government during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
Thus far, four other Republicans are also seeking the nomination: state Rep. Stephen Bloom of North Middleton Township; Dauphin County businessman Andrew Lewis; former state Secretary of Revenue Dan Meuser of Luzerne County; and Berwick Borough Councilman Andrew Shecktor.
On the Democratic side, candidates include Alan Howe of Carlisle, a retired U.S. Air Force foreign policy expert; former Hazelton Mayor Mike Marsicano; and former state Agriculture Secretary Denny Wolff of Columbia County.
When Barletta first won the 11th District in the 2010 midterm election, it was significantly different, being located solely in Pennsylvania’s northeast and including the metro areas of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.
However, subsequent redistricting stretched the district’s boundaries south to include more Republican-leaning rural areas, including parts of Cumberland County.
In 2016, Barletta bested Marsicano for the seat with 64 percent of the vote.