Pennsylvanians ought to be aware that the problems with pensions and deteriorating infrastructure are so great that a big increase in state funding for public education is highly unlikely, regardless of who will be governor next year, or four years down the road....
In an episode of the venerable “Andy Griffith Show,” an unemployed Gomer Pyle tells Sheriff Andy Taylor that he’s going to apply for a butcher’s job at the local market. Andy asks him, “You know anything about cuttin’ meat?” Gomer replies, “You think they’ll ask me that?”
Just as it makes sense a grocer would want a butcher with appropriate qualifications, it is reasonable to expect women who wish to become Pennsylvania State Police troopers should meet the existing physical fitness standards for those positions. The federal government, however, begs to differ and decided to meddle with the way Pennsylvania conducts its public safety business.
The Justice Department, having apparently run out of legitimate cases to pursue, filed a 10-page lawsuit earlier this week against the state police, claiming the PSP’s physical fitness test for state trooper applicants amounts to illegal discrimination against women, because a lower percentage of women than men are able to pass the test.
The Justice Department crunched a few numbers and determined that had it not been for these supposedly onerous physical requirements, Pennsylvania would have another 45 female troopers.
Now, let’s look at reality.
State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan, in an Associated Press report, was quoted as saying identical physical requirements for men and women who wish to become troopers make sense because male and female troopers do the same job, and he notes that lowering the standards would threaten public safety.
“By the nature of our job, we’re out there by ourselves,” said Noonan. “A lot of times we don’t have backup. So, to put a test in place that basically passes everybody – well, what’s the point of having a test?”
Noonan is expressing what we like to call “common sense.”
The commissioner pointed out the standards for state police recruits are fairly moderate. They include completing a 300-meter run in one minute and 17 seconds, 13 push-ups, a 14-inch vertical leap and finishing a 1.5-mile run in less than 17 minutes and 48 seconds.
“This is not an impossible task,” said Noonan.
The number of Western Pennsylvanians who own plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles is quite small. But it only stands to reason that as gasoline prices inevitably rise and as battery technology continues to improve, that number is sure to grow.
Although electric motors provide vehicles with plenty of power and speed, the batteries that power them are limited in capacity, and the range at which electric cars can travel at this point is limited. Nissan says the average range for its all-electric Leaf sedan is 84 miles. That’s enough to commute from Washington to Pittsburgh, but not much more.
The fear of running out of power and being stranded is a powerful disincentive. But things are looking up for owners of electric cars. Some companies are now providing charging stations for their employees, and an article in Wednesday’s Observer-Reporter announced that shoppers at the Mall at Robinson can now charge their vehicles for free at a solar power station outside the food court entrance. Complete recharging takes about two hours.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened four charging stations earlier this year, bringing the number to 274 statewide. That number is also sure to grow as more people take advantage of grants of up to $2,000 toward the purchase of plug-in hybrids and electric cars through the state’s Alternative Fuels Incentive program.
The auto industry has been woefully slow in recognizing the interest in vehicles that cost so much less to operate and are so much more environmentally friendly. Although Tesla Corp. has plans to produce an electric pick-up truck, none of the major manufacturers has so far announced any intention to enter that market, which is strange. Pick-up trucks are more likely to be used in short-range situations than passenger cars and SUVs, and, unlike small cars, they have more than enough room for batteries.
A future in which electric vehicles are common would be a boost to families who struggle with the cost of transportation and go a long way toward reducing carbon emissions and their effects on our health and the environment.
As long as we have used money as a means of exchange there have been unscrupulous types out there looking to fleece and rob people. Once upon a time, it was snake-oil salesmen promising that their concocted elixirs would bring eternal youth and sexual potency, or preachers of dubious repute......
If you were living near a facility where something could go dreadfully haywire – say, a nuclear power plant like Three Mile Island – chances are you would not only want to know how to proceed in case of an emergency, but that you would also want to have such a plan up on your......
Last month’s Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field cast an unfavorable light on Pittsburgh nationally, thanks to images of trash-strewn parking lots and loutish, drunken behavior among some concertgoers. It ended up costing the city more than a few bucks to clean up the mess, and Mayor Bill......
The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority last week approved a grant and low-interest loan totaling more than $9 million to rehabilitate Dunkard Valley Joint Municipal Authority’s water system to facilitate the authority’s consolidation with the neighboring East Dunkard......