Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1990 · Page 5
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 5

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Indiana, Pennsylvania
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Thursday, September 13, 1990
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Page 5
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'(She Ciazettc STATE Monday, September 15, 2003 — Page 5 Mine plan spurs debate By MICHAEL RUBINKAM Associated Press Writer TAMAQUA—Along the edge of town there is a gaping hole in the earth, a barren place where men and machines once extracted thousands of tons of anthracite coal. It's called the Springdale Pit, and it is at the center of a scientific and political debate over •what to do with the thousands of abandoned strip mines that pock the Appalachian landscape, turning streams and rivers into orange-tinted dead zones and scenic areas into eyesores. A Pottsville company, with encouragement from state environmental officials, wants to fill the Springdale Pit with a potent mixture of coal ash, dust from cement and lime kilns, and river sediments dredged from the harbors and shipping lanes of New York and New Jersey, Philadelphia and Baltimore. The goal is to prevent acid mine drainage — the contaminated water that flows out of abandoned mines and pollutes waterways — and restore the hillside to something of its original contour. But neighbors of the Springdale Pit bitterly oppose The Springdale Pit, along the edge of Tamaqua, is at the center of a debate about what to do with abandoned strip mines. (AP photo) the plan, fearing the mixture will leach into the groundwater, contaminate their wells and make them sick. They're backed by some environmental groups and at least one geologist who says the state Department of Environmental Protection is about to make a big mistake. DEP favors the placement of coal ash and river sludge into abandoned mines as a "beneficial use" for these materials. The department is considering an application by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company for a permit that would allow the Springdale Pit to be filled with 500,000 tons of dredged material and 480,000 tons of coal ash each year. If approval is granted—and it's not clear when that decision will be made — the implications for abandoned mine reclamation in Pennsylvania are enormous. At DEP's request, LC&N's application asks for a general permit, as opposed to a site-specific permit, meaning that thousands of abandoned mines could eventually be targeted for the ash- sludge mixture. "We're the pioneers, but others will be able to use our permit," says James J. Quran Jr., president of LC&N, which owns the 700- foot-deep, 3,000-foot-long, 1,500-foot-wide Springdale Pit. Standing in Curran's way is Dante Picciano, a patent attorney who lives in a wooded area about four miles away from the hole. Picciano, who leads a grassroots group called the Army for a Clean Environment, said he doesn't know whether coal ash and harbor muck are safe or unsafe — but he doesn't want to take any chances until scientists can answer the question definitively. He cites LC&N's own application as evidence that it should be rejected. The document identifies a variety of toxic substances in the river sediments that would come from harbors in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, including PCBs, pesticides and •heavy metals. "They have a propaganda machine that this stuff is good for you," Picciano said. But the DER he said, "has a burden of proof to show it's safe. The burden of proof is not on us to show that it's harmful." (On the Net: Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co., www.oldcompa nyslehigh.com; Army for a Clean Environment, www.armyfora cleanenvironment.org; Department of Environmental Protection, www. dep. sta te. pa. us) Police officers testify against colleague LAFAYETTE HILL (AP) — Nearly three-quarters of a suburban Philadelphia police department have turned on a former colleague for alleged rogue behavior, a remarkable breach of the so-called "blue wall of silence." Whitemarsh Township Sgt. Guy Anhorn built a reputation as an aggressive officer who made plenty of arrests, organized the department's Cop Camp for youth and twice received the Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police's award for valor. ~ 'But some 'officers"'are calling" him a rogue who engaged' in' racial profiling, violated established police procedure and trampled on civil rights. Anhom, who denies any wrongdoing, retired in July after a 33-year career amid myriad investigations into his conduct. Twenty-four of Whitemarsh Township's 33 police officers have gone on record against Anhorn. Many of those officers have testified against him in investigations opened by the township, the FBI, and a county grand jury. "To have 24 officers in a 33-officer department come out and make statements about the misconduct of another officer is virtually unheard of," said David Harris, a University of Toledo law professor and an expert on police misconduct. "It's as rare as a moon rock." David Kairys, a Temple Law School professor, called it an "extraordinary event—even for one 'police officer to come forward and testify in this way against another officer." Five senior police officers laid out the case against Anhorn at an April meeting with the township supervisors. According to documents obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the officers claim that Anhorn randomly followed vehicles, encouraged officers to ' enibellish' 'their 'arrest' 'affidavits ' 'to' strerigthie'n their cases, .lied under oath about his own trumped-up affidavits, and routinely searched vehicles without cause. Six black men filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Anhorn, saying he targeted blacks for illegal vehicle stops, unlawful searches and fabricated affidavits of probable cause. An analysis of cases on file at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, conducted by The Inquirer and published in Sunday editions, shows that Anhorn's arrest rate of blacks over the last five years well exceeded the department's average. But at the same time, a review of 20 years of cases by the county public defender turned up no cases in which Anhom's arrests could be challenged. And An- hom's defenders say he is the target of a political plot by officers who disliked his work ethic or wanted to eliminate him as a potential candidate for chief. "It's like classic political dirty tricks that has just taken on a life of its own," said Jack McMahon, Anhorn's attorney. Friction in the police department first surfaced after longtime Whitemarsh chief Richard Zolko died in July 2002. The township supervisors hired consultant Charles Hale of Chicago to evaluate the department's op e'ratwrns; Hale inter;. viewed .every police, employee and then told supervisors .that they had a problem with one of their sergeants. ENROLL NOW FOR FALL HAIR DESIGNING AND NAIL ARTISTRY CLASSES ALSO: CosmetologyTeacher Classes Saturday Classes Financial Aid Available Placement Assistance Available Call For FrM Brochure ittanning Beauty School 120 Market St., Krttanning, PA 1-800-833-HAIR (4247) "If even a portion of the allegations against this sergeant (are) true, (the) department has a serious problem on its hands and swift action must be taken to correct it," Hale wrote on Dec. 15 to township manager Larry Gregan. The township then hired lawyer David MacMain to look into the matter. MacMain's report, submitted in February, found the officers' claims to be unsubstantiated. 'But'in a] March'letter signed by 24 .officers,^supervisors were told of coercion and intimidation by their superior officers during the MacMain investigation. The BlOflex® Concentric Circle Magnet is the ONLY Magnet Clinically Proven to Reduce Pain, Accelerate Healing and Improve Circulation i. Inc. CONCENTRIC CIRCIE MAGNEIS Clinically Ptoven to RELIEVE PAIN FAST! Magnetic Back Pain Relief $ 59°° Magnetic Wrist Splint Wrap $ 14 95 Magnetic Ankle Wrap $ 13 95 Magnetic Wrist Wrap $ 9 95 Other types and styles in stock! IAMON MEDICAL SUPPLY 1354 Oakland Ave. Indiana 724-349-2830 Mon-Sat 9 to 5 Briefs By The Associated Press Strike at tube company to continue SHARON — A four-month strike at a western Pennsylvania metal tube plant will continue after union members voted to reject a contract offer. Workers at the Wheatland Tube Co. on Sunday rejected, 230 to 184, a three-year labor contract that would have ended a walkout that began April 28 at the plant, about 60 miles northwest of Pittsburgh on the Ohio border. William Kerins, a vice president for WHeatland Tube, called the contract a final offer and said the company was disappointed in the vote. "It's up to them. We made an offer and we'll wait and see what they want to do," Kerins said. Officials with the United Steelworkers Local 1660, which represents 470 workers at the mill, said members rejected the pact because it failed to remedy the sticking points of the negotiations — health care costs, retirement benefits and reduced pay and benefits for newly hired workers. "It's like he CKerins) wants everything all at one time," said Mike Munger, president of the Steelworkers local. The plant produces mechanical tubing used as tire rods and bushings in automobiles, and for conveyors and motor housings in industrial settings. Database to help monitor patients PITTSBURGH — Hospitals, doctors and insurance companies have banded together to create a database that could help doctors to better monitor patients with diabetes and depression in western Pennsylvania. The database, called the Pittsburgh Health Information Network, would act as a storehouse of patient information mat doctors could access over the Internet to save time during patient visits — and perhaps lives. "Doctors are getting six faxes from six different labs, and everything tends to be shoved into piles," said Tania Lyon, a chronic care coordinator for network. "Sometimes the filing doesn't get organized in time for the next patient visit." Dr. Nick DeGregorio, who manages a practice of 30 doctors south of Pittsburgh, said doctors can often spend as much as one-third of a 15-minute consultation looking for records. 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