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Presbyterian Congregation presents Sunday series on gun violence


When 44-year-old Eric Rivers was shot to death July 12 on a porch on Crescent Street in Harrisburg, Harrisburg police traced the crime to a suspect, Shawn Walker, who they say allegedly used an illegal gun.

Walker was arrested in North Carolina by U.S. marshals and faces charges in Harrisburg that include criminal homicide, carrying a firearm without a license and possession of a firearm. As a former convict, Walker was not allowed to posses a firearm.

After Rivers’ death, Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence held a vigil for him. The group also had prayer vigils for Quincey Brown and Jorge Toro, victims of Harrisburg gun violence in August.

The group, which also uses the shorter name “Heeding God’s Call,” will be featured at the Presbyterian Congregation of Middletown in a three-part series on gun violence starting at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20. The programs will continue at the same time on Sunday, Sept. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 4 in the church’s fellowship hall at Union and Water streets.

Bryan Miller, the group’s executive director, will speak Sept. 20, providing basic information about America’s problem with gun violence and his group’s response.

Gun rights advocates oppose efforts that they believe will prevent the lawful ownership of guns – however, this is not the goal of Heeding God’s Call or Presbyterian Church policy about gun violence.

The group seeks to remove illegal guns from the streets, including eliminating straw purchases and using other strategies to keep criminals from getting guns illegally.

The group staged a protest near the former Colosimo’s gun shop and range in Philadephia, which eventually lost its license amid accusations of allowing straw purchases. The Brady Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence said guns from Colosimo’s were tied to 425 crimes, including 10 homicides, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Although Colosimo’s was shut down by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the business now continues as The Gun Range without a shop selling firearms. CeasefirePA and Heeding God’s Call have opposed the addition of gun sales at the range.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 September 2015 17:08

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Lower Swatara approves plowing agreement

Crews from Lower Swatara Twp. will plow state roads in the township again next winter under an agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that was approved unanimously by township commissioners on Wednesday, July 15.

Lower Swatara will get about $300 more in 2015-16 from PennDOT for snow plowing. In a particularly bad winter, the department may provide additional money for the township’s services, although no money is returned to the state following a mild season treating the roads.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 August 2015 16:55

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Naming terminated public employees: public information or not?


The following is provided thanks to the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association:

Question: A local agency recently terminated several employees at a public meeting without disclosing their names. The board voted to terminate using employee numbers only and cited concerns about employee privacy to support its position. Isn’t the agency required to release the names of the employees being terminated?

Answer: Yes. The public comment provision and minutes-keeping requirements of the Sunshine Act require disclosure and recording of the names, and the Right to Know Law makes the employees’ name, salary, length of service and the agency’s final action regarding employee termination a public record.

Section 710.1 of the Sunshine Act requires a reasonable opportunity for meaningful public comment at each public meeting and prior to all official action. Without the names of employees being terminated, the public has no opportunity to give meaningful comment prior to the vote, and the plain terms of the Sunshine Act’s public comment provision are ignored. Furthermore, section 706 of the Sunshine Act requires meeting minutes to contain the substance of all official action. If the meeting minutes do not contain the names of the employees and the termination action taken by the board, they do not provide an accurate record of the meeting, raising Sunshine Act compliance issues.

Further, section 708(b)(6)(ii) of the Right to Know Law makes certain employee information public record, including name, salary, and length of service. These records would include the employees’ names, as well as beginning and termination dates. Moreover, section 708(b)(7)(viii) expressly makes the agency’s final action on employee discharge and demotion a public record. 



Last Updated on Saturday, 14 March 2015 12:56

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