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Riddell's response to article on football helmets


In reference to the Press And Journal article dated May 12, written by Eric Wise, titled, “Heads Up: Football Helmets Have Evolved – But How Much Do They Protect Your Kid?” (A1), Riddell has the following response:

• The article said, “Interestingly, the Riddell Revolution helmet, which was developed in reaction to the NFL’s concussion crisis and marketed as having “Concussion Reduction Technology,” was rated 11th of the 12 current helmets. Condidi’s research showed the Revolution performing worse than most of the helmets now on the market. Riddell had to pay a settlement regarding its claims about the Revolution, which were found to be false.”

It’s important to note that the Conidi study (not Condidi) was funded by a plaintiff’s expert, and it has yet to be peer reviewed and published in any reputable venue. All claims related to Concussion Reduction Technology (i.e., 31 percent claims) are truthful and always have been. In fact, in a study published in January of 2014 in the Journal of Neurosurgery citing research led by Steve Rowson, Ph.D. (Rowson S, Duma SM, Greenwald RM, Beckwith JG, et al. "Can Helmet Design Reduce the Risk of Concussion in Football?'' J Neurosurg. 2014; 10.3171/2014.1.JNS13916, published online ahead of print Jan. 31, 2014), the peer review panel concluded that use of the more modern Riddell Revolution helmet would result in a 54 percent reduction in risk of concussion compared to the traditional style Riddell VSR4 helmet. Based on the knowledge that these claims are true, Riddell has never paid a settlement nor will we ever do so. 

• The article said, “The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment also has a pass-fail standard for helmets, although testing is carried out by manufacturers. Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, the authors of “League of Denial,” a book detailing the National Football League’s crisis with brain injuries, criticized this pass-fail system because it had not been updated recently and is the industry’s self-policing standard, not an independent one. All of the helmets used by local high schools are NOCSAE-approved.”

The NOCSAE manufacturers’ certification is a stringent and rigorous testing standard and it has been very effective over the years. NOCSAE has also recently moved forward third party certification, which Riddell champions and is leading the charge on this initiative.

• The article said, “Virginia Tech rates helmets for protection from skull fractures and bruising of the brain from direct hits. Star ratings and prices are based on data from Virginia Tech. School districts may work out separate pricing with suppliers based on their needs.”

To the extent you’re implying that helmet pricing is somehow related to Virginia Tech’s STAR ratings, Riddell sets its own helmet pricing, which is done in advance of the Virginia Tech STAR rating evaluation. Pricing does not correlate in any way to the performance in the ratings.

Erin Griffin
Director of Corporate Communications
Riddell & BRG Sports
Rosemont, Ill. 


Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 May 2015 16:22

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Remember the past on Primary Election Day

In a few short days the citizens of Middletown will have the chance to make a difference! That is right – on Tuesday, May 19 you have the opportunity to vote for five Borough Council positions.

When you go to the polls on Tuesday, please remember the following items which have occurred over the long three years and five months that this council has had control.

• Remember all of the unreturned phone calls and unprofessional conversations with the borough administration since Jan. 1, 2012. The borough administration is there to help the citizens, but since council President Chris McNamara’s reign of terror the borough administration has done nothing but hurt the citizens of this town.  

• Remember the PennDOT snow plow agreement and the failure of borough leadership to follow through on a vote by council to enter into an agreement with PennDOT. Borough leadership not only ignored a vote by council but they ignored you, the voters. The disrespect by borough leadership led to PennDOT pulling the original agreement off the table because too much time had passed.  

• Remember when Borough Council voted to eliminate funding for the library. This vote occurred even after the citizens of this community attended council meetings to voice their displeasure.

• Remember Middletown Borough’s decision to cut down the beautiful trees in our central business district. This decision to cut the trees down came during a meeting that few were aware of or could attend.

• Remember the hiring practices implemented by this Borough Council. Most of the positions filled during this council’s tenure lacked any openness: Example: No open interviews and little to no advertisement that the positions were open.

• Remember the approval for the $290,000 construction project for the new police station located at the electric building. As you may recall, this was voted on without ever seeing blueprints or detailed cost estimates for the project. How can a Borough Council that says "Middletown is broke" vote blindly on a project to spend $290,000? This was passed by a 7-2 vote with John Brubaker and myself dissenting.

• Remember McNamara’s conduct during the course of the past three years and five months. One example of his behavior is from April 6: McNamara abruptly adjourned a meeting because the citizens of this town were being critical of his leadership.   This type of behavior is not what our country was founded on.  

• Remember the personal attacks by this borough towards private citizens. The borough Web site and newsletter have both delivered personal attacks on our citizens during McNamara’s reign.

• Finally, remember: On May 19 you can make a difference! Get out to the polls and vote to remove all incumbent candidates for Borough Council.

If you want to see this town regain its pride, then I encourage you to vote for the following candidates:  

• David Scully – First Ward Democrat for both the four- and two-ear seats.

• Sean Vaccarino – First Ward Republican for the four-year seat.

• Greg Wilsbach – Second Ward Republican.

• Damon Suglia – Third Ward Republican.

Additionally, if you do not see these candidates on your party's ticket, please remember that you can write them in for your party's nomination.  

The candidates above will help move this town forward, as they have a lot of energy and ideas that we need to help us move away from the division that the current leadership has created.

Scott Sites


The writer is a Middletown Borough Council member representing the First Ward. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 May 2015 16:28

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Leaders must lead by example


Why can’t we all just work together? Why can’t we move forward and stop dwelling on the sins of the past? These are very appropriate and timely questions that I hear asked repeatedly about the political atmosphere in the Borough of Middletown.


Contrary to popular belief, the answers to these questions are far from easy to ascertain. The political battles being fought today stem from disputes and differences of opinion that have roots dating back for decades – roots that have grown so deep that nothing anyone can say or do is going to help change the situation. The only way to instill real, positive change is to replace the old with the new and start fresh.


I have debated for a long time on whether or not to write this, as I know it will be misconstrued by some as a political attack when, in fact, it’s a plea for something to change.


The reason I ran for Middletown Borough Council last year was not because I wanted to stick my feet in the muddy waters of politics. It also wasn’t because I was looking for a venue to go to twice a month to fight and argue about things that shouldn’t need to be argued about. I ran because I thought I could help bring my fractured hometown back from the brink of collapse.


I was very naive to think that bringing the two sides of the spectrum together to accomplish positive things could easily be done. After more than a year of trying to work together, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way things will be different is if we put different people in charge.


Before you begin to think that this is my way of saying that I want to be in charge, think again. What I really want is a leader who will lead by example and treat others with the respect they deserve.


Andrew Carnegie once said, “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” In short, we are all a team. This includes council, borough management, borough employees, the police and fire departments, etc. Each of these groups has an investment in our town and is directly affected by the important decisions that are being made.


My problem with the current leadership is that they are not taking into account each of these groups when they make decisions. Instead of looking at the big picture, they focus their energy on big, name-worthy projects that will get their names in the paper. While the Streetscape Project and other similar projects may, in fact, be needed, that doesn’t mean that we should focus all of our attention and energy on them and forget about the smaller issues that people have to deal with every day. That’s not right.


It may be difficult for people who aren’t as involved in the day-to-day happenings to understand my frustration, so I’ll give a short example.


As some may know, I am the chairman of council’s finance committee. I have asked numerous times for monthly expense reports to be delivered to myself as well as the rest of council so that everyone can get a clear understanding as to where our money is being spent. If we don’t have a good grip on where we spend taxpayers' money, how can we even attempt to find ways to make our government more efficient?


After months of constant badgering for the information, I finally received two months’ worth of reports. I thought that maybe things were changing and we would start to receive the information on an ongoing basis – but I was wrong: We haven’t received anything since. It’s extremely embarrassing when the chairman of the finance committee can’t obtain information about the finances of the borough he represents.


Everyone can admit that right now, the borough has a perception problem. We are looked at by outsiders as a joke and are constantly the centerpiece of negative news stories. In my short time in office, the current leadership has managed to upset a state representative, a state senator and senior management-level employees of state government. This is inexcusable and, frankly, can’t be tolerated.


If we truly want to turn things around, we will need all of the help that we can get, which includes help from the state and the county. The damaged relationships that the leadership has cultured are just another reason why we need to make a strong and definitive change to turn the tide.


Before the bashing begins, let me say that I think the current majority has done some good things during their time in office. For example, our applications for grant funding from the state and county are up substantially, and on numerous occasions we have been awarded money to spend on various projects. I wish good things like this that they have done could be coupled with improvement on the other things they haven’t. Unfortunately, I have yet to see any improvement and I still feel as though there are people on council that don’t care what the people who elected them think.


When you are serving the interests of an entire town, it’s unfair to cherry pick certain things you’re interested in and forget about the rest. That’s not how public service and leadership works.


The borough is at a critical point in its revival. I, for one, refuse to stand idly by while people are forgotten about and treated unfairly. It is my sincere hope that one way or another, things change.

I will continue to do my best and give my all for the people who elected me, and I hope that others will begin to believe as I do – that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. To get there, things have to drastically change – and I’m confident that they can and will.  


                            Benjamin Kapenstein


The writer is a member of Middletown Borough Council representing the Second Ward.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 16:59

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Respect and trust make good politics


Two years ago, I made a very difficult decision. I chose to run for a position on Middletown Borough Council. I didn’t do it for power. I didn’t do it for influence. I certainly didn’t do it for fun. I did it for the future.


I did it because all too often I found myself bemoaning our local government  and complaining about how things were done, why they were done and what should be done.  Recognizing that all my talk could accomplish nothing, I made the decision to take an active part in the process of governing.


I had optimism, idealism and righteousness on my side. I had support from family, friends and fortunately, the voters. As I sit here two years later on the cusp of a movement for change, I reflect on the reality of public service and the role of the elected official.


Early in the process as a candidate, I learned that I would have to withstand personal attacks on myself and my family. I learned that righteousness is relative, idealism is naive and optimism is fragile.


These were important and necessary lessons. They toughened me up and opened my eyes to the hostility, fear and desperation of those whose power is challenged by new ideas, different styles and independent thought. I wish I could say it prepared me for my experience as a Middletown Borough councilor, but that would not be the truth. It did, however, enlighten me as to what I would face in my new role.  


I have served on council since January 2014. It has proven to be a difficult and frustrating challenge.


It is not for the faint of heart or weak of spirit. It is not for the easily swayed or easily satisfied. It is not for the egotists or the power hungry. It is for those with the understanding that everything done is done for the people they serve. Agree with them, disagree with them, like them, hate them, understand them, misunderstand them – none of it matters. The one and only thing that matters is that their elected officials respect them.


The people we serve have the right to be included in the decision-making. The government works for them; they do not work for the government. They have the undeniable right to be heard, but even more importantly they should have the guarantee that their concerns will be listened to and addressed.


It is impossible for every decision made by a government body to be pleasing and acceptable to all. It is often the case that unpopular decisions will be made, controversial choices will occur – and these will all be based on the information acquired by the body from many sources, not all of which are available to the general public. Maybe I do have some idealism left after all, because I believe that sharing information, listening to constituents, conversing with them and validating them is good government, representative of the people even when the decisions are unpopular or the vote is contrary to what was hoped.


Our government from the top down is designed to include the people in both the process and the product of decision-making, policy and procedure development, and planning for the future for this and all the generations that follow us.  


It is a sad but true fact that most Americans do not trust politicians and the government entities they populate. This is why many people try to disassociate themselves from the political process and deny that they are politicians or insiders. The truth of the matter is if you are in a position on a government body – whether it’s a council, township, school board, commission, legislative house, etc. – you are a politician, because you have chosen to run for a political office and you have been elected to do so by the power of the people.


The definition of a politician is: “A politician, political leader or political figure is a person involved in influencing public policy and decision-making. They create or propose laws that further the general interest of the public.” It is interesting to me that nowhere in that or any other definition I have seen is the description of a politician as someone who acts to gain an advantage for themselves. Of course, there are many politicians who do this, just as there are many supervisors, CEOs, directors and managers who do the same thing.  They just have a smaller audience.


Those kind of politicians give those with the better motives a bad name. Those who pretend to be what they are not and those who state that politics is not important or does not matter are lying. Politics is the driving force behind, in front of and all around the government spectrum, so please give it its due. It matters, and we should care about it because it impacts how and why government works.


I truly believe that the people of Middletown want a government body that hears their concerns, represents their needs, respects their ideas and makes its decisions based on the general interests of the people it  serves. I believe they want representatives who do not hold them in contempt but rather welcome their questions, requests and opinions.


I believe that when public servants respects their constituents, their constituents will respect them in return, even when they do not always agree with them.


The public has the right to know what their elected officials think, their positions on relevant topics, their voting record, their plans for the future. Arm yourself with that information as you head to the polls on May 19 and then vote for those you respect and trust. Vote for those who respect and trust you.


Remember: Your vote could be the one that changes the direction of Middletown.

                                         Anne Einhorn


The writer is a member of Middletown Borough Council representing the Second Ward.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 17:01

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Which candidates seem to know the true meaning of "politics?''


“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”


These are the closing words of President Abraham Lincoln’s Nov. 19, 1863 Gettysburg Address.


That famous speech served as a reminder that Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War did not die in vain. Now, 152 years later, it continues to remind us how important it is to fight for the vision and ideals of our Founding Fathers. 


In my Oct. 30, 2013 letter to the citizens, I discussed the definition of “politics” and “politician.” Generally, those words have a negative connotation.  In reality, “politics” is derived from the Greek word “politikos,” which means “of, for, or relating to citizens.” Unfortunately for Middletown, certain elected officials have given credence to the negative definition, while ignoring the very people who put them in the borough council seat to begin with.


When elected your mayor, I had no allegiance to any person or group. That being said, my very vocal opposition to the decisions and manner in which some operate should speak volumes to you as constituents.


A select few have argued my criticism only “creates a divide.” If battling for transparency and the respect of residents creates a divide, so be it. I will sleep at night knowing I am on the correct side of the chasm.


With merely weeks left before the May 19 primary election, your doors will be flooded with propaganda. While I will openly admit there have been some positives for Middletown in recent years, I ask at what cost?


Our residents are sickened at the thought of attending a council meeting. Middletown is mocked by neighboring municipalities. A state representative and senator have expressed disappointment with certain “leaders.” This is not the way a small town government should operate.


Replacing pipes and installing new curbs are accomplishments. They mean nothing, however, when citizens move away and business refuse to move in because of the polluted atmosphere. Fortunately, there is a solution. You.


It is easy for the same five people to submit negative Sound-Off entries week after week. It is easy for certain groups to make empty promises on unsigned propaganda. The actions of a candidate prior to taking office are a true indication of how they will operate while in office. I respectfully request you consider those candidates who have taken the opportunity to walk door-to-door and speak with you face-to-face. It is those candidates who will remember the true meaning of “politics.”


As voters, you bring candidates to the threshold of public service. Vote for the ones who won’t shut the door behind them once they cross it.

                   Mayor James H. Curry III



Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 17:02

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