UNLOCKING THE COURTHOUSE BY JIM REDWINE

first_img Gavel GamutBy Jim Redwinewww.jamesmredwine.com(Week of 30 January 2017)UNLOCKING THE COURTHOUSEDr. Weaver, a Posey County, Indiana physician, and Judge Parrett, the Posey Circuit Court Judge when our courthouse was built in 1876, were friends. If Dr. Weaver could step into an operating room of a hospital today he would be unable to function. If Judge Parrett walked into the same courtroom he presided over 141 years ago, he would not miss a beat. Medicine has progressed. Law remains much as it has been for centuries. However, starting in April 2017 citizens in Posey County who need legal services will see a change much like Dr. Weaver’s new operating room.No longer will one need to be chained to a courthouse to file legal documents or check on the status of their case. E-Filing and digital pleadings will soon take the place of musty old file folders. The legal profession has often seen changes in the law as a dangerous meddling with carefully and slowly developed procedures that are based on years of experience, good and bad. Lady Justice has always worn the same blindfold and toga for good reason. She carefully guards the courthouse portals.This attitude has sometimes led to arcane mysteries that stultify the system and result in slow or incomplete legal outcomes or even unjust ones. Perhaps modern technology will help staunch the flow of inordinate amounts of legal documents, much of which are irrelevant to just resolutions, and will reduce the time between when cases are commenced and resolved.Instead of citizens getting their knowledge of their legal system at the coffee shop or from television, much as patients used to turn to home remedies and wives tales, now one will be able to go right to the actual source.Of course, changes in trappings and procedures do not guarantee justice. We might be able to increase access to the legal system while we reduce costs and delays. But justice must still come from people, not just the staffs of the Clerk and the Court, or the attorneys and judges, but also from the lay people who come to or are brought to the Bar.Regardless of legal procedures and technologies, a desire in the participants to fairly resolve controversies always has been and always will be the best safeguard of justice. Truthful testimony and pre-trial exchanges of accurate information mean far more than scanning in pleadings or printing out court decrees over the Internet.On the other hand, if one cannot access justice easily and economically, a proper spirit of honest compromise is of little help. Soon Posey County’s legal system will address the access portion. Citizens and those who operate the system will still need to address the rest.For more Gavel Gamut articles go to:www.jamesmredwine.comFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

First virus death in Nepal — a new mother

first_imgThe woman gave birth at a hospital in Kathmandu on May 6 and then returned to her home district a day later. She was treated at a local hospital after suffering from fever and respiratory problems. When her condition worsened, she was referred to another hospital.Read also: Empty trails and deserted villages: Pandemic brings Nepal mountain economy to a standstillHer newborn and other family members will be tested to see if they have contracted the virus, local media reported. Nepal reported its first coronavirus death late Saturday — a 29-year-old woman who recently gave birth — as the total number of people infected in the country reached 281.The victim — who was from Sindhupalchowk district, some 90 kilometres (about 55 miles) from the capital Kathmandu — was on her way to a hospital for treatment when she died.”It has been proven that is this the first case of death caused by COVID-19 in Nepal,” the deputy spokesman for the health ministry, Samir Kumar Adhikari, said in a statement.  Nepal, which has a population of 28 million, has conducted fewer than 100,000 tests so far. Experts say the lack of mass testing may have prevented identification of other fatalities. “I don’t think this is the first death. There have been cases of deaths where similar symptoms were seen, but the cause was unclear,” said epidemiologist Lhamo Sherpa. “There needs to be more tests, contact tracing… and more transparency.”In January, Nepal was the first south Asian country to report a case of coronavirus. The country has been under lockdown since March 24 after a second case was confirmed. Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf Recognizes Recipients of 2016 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence

first_img April 13, 2016 Governor Wolf Recognizes Recipients of 2016 Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence Government That Works,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today recognized municipalities and local government officials for their dedication and commitment to strengthen their communities and better serve their residents.“Today’s event highlights just some of the local initiatives that are producing successful results across the state,” Governor Wolf said. “Each exemplifies the great achievements of local governments that work to provide opportunities to collaborate and develop localized best practices.”Eight government officials and nine communities from across the commonwealth received awards honoring their service today as part of the 20th Annual Governor’s Awards for Local Government Excellence.DCED’s Center for Local Government Services sponsors Local Government Day annually to honor local governments and officials who serve their communities and improve quality of life. Live tweets will be available throughout the ceremony at #PALocalGovDay.The following local government officials were recognized for their dedication to public service and their communities:The Honorable Anthony Bellitto, Jr., Executive Director, North Penn Water Authority, Montgomery CountyThe Honorable Kim Bracey, Mayor, York City, York CountyThe Honorable Edward Child, Council President, Trumbauersville Borough, Bucks CountyThe Honorable Ronald Faull, Township Supervisor, Liberty Township, Mercer CountyThe Honorable Kent Gardner, Treasurer, Lancaster Inter-Municipal CommitteeThe Honorable Darlene Heller, AICP, Planning Director, Bethlehem City, Lehigh CountyThe Honorable Basil Huffman, County Commissioner, Forest County CommissionersThe Honorable J. Andrew Sharkey, Commissioner, Cheltenham Township, Montgomery CountyThe following municipalities, organizations, and counties were recognized:Building Community Partnership: Demonstrating it was instrumental in fostering partnerships between both public and private stakeholders within the community.Schuylkill CountySchuylkill County developed a Youth Summit to help address the outmigration of youth from the county. The Youth Summit brings together students from every high school throughout the county to participate in local decision making, as well as identifying action steps in response to immediate issues and concerns.Responding to Adversity: Exemplify the localized response to an event that resulted in the overall deterioration in demographic or environmental conditions that affected the viability of the municipality.Lower Allen Township, Cumberland CountyLower Allen Township, Cumberland County in conjunction with Upper Allen Township, worked in unison to address the presence of an underground stream that results in recurrent flooding over a portion of Gettysburg Road causing adverse economic impacts that extended beyond the municipal border. As a result of the collaboration, an inter-municipal agreement for the creation of a shared Transportation Development District was created to address planning and funding.Promoting Community/Economic Revitalization: Direct involvement in efforts that revitalize a designated residential, commercial, and/or industrial area or property, and/or alleviates blight and deterioration and returns properties to their most productive use.Newport Borough, Perry CountyNewport Borough, Perry County in preparation for the borough’s 175th anniversary celebration envisioned and implemented a series of revitalization initiatives, resulting in the creation of attractive outdoor spaces, including the Newport Heritage Park, which can be enjoyed for many years to come. Much of the associated project costs were covered by a massive fundraising effort facilitated by Newport Borough, local nonprofits, volunteers, and members of the community.Innovative Community/Governmental Initiatives: Instituted an innovative approach to carry out its community and/or governmental function that resulted in cost savings, increased productivity, improved risk management and/or overall service delivery efficiencies/economies of scale.Pittsburgh, Allegheny CountyThe City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County developed the “Talent City” hiring system to attract top regional and national talent to fill key leadership positions within the mayoral administration, as well as appointments on various boards, authorities, and commissions. The initiative was fully funded by contributions from local foundations, and is largely managed by a 10-member, bipartisan Oversight Committee representative of the local community.Fiscal Accountability and Best Management Practices: Instituted a process, policy and/or procedure that enhanced its fiscal accountability and utilization of resources and assets, and which can serve as a model for other local governments to use as a best management practice. Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne CountyWilkes-Barre, Luzerne County implemented a series of cost-saving energy conservation measures saving the city an estimated $250,000 per year. Project measures implemented across the city include LED street lights, low-flow water features, demand control ventilation, and solar photovoltaic system to convert sunlight into electricity.Innovative Planning and Sound Land Use Practices:Instituted an innovative approach to planning principles, sound land use and/or utilization of renewable energy sources.Clymer Borough, Indiana CountyClymer Borough, Indiana County through the development and enactment of their form-based zoning codes, developed land use strategies, policies, and regulations that respect and preserve the community’s history and culture while encouraging orderly growth and development.Intergovernmental Cooperation: Engaged in an intergovernmental cooperative agreement/arrangement in which the service, function and/or activity involves two or more governmental units.Centre Region Parks and Recreation AgencyCentre Region Parks and Recreation Agency has demonstrated its commitment to building working partnerships by collaborating with State College Borough along with College, Ferguson, Harris and Patton Townships. As a result of the intergovernmental cooperation arrangements, the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Agency now operates 47 municipal parks, as well as two new regional parks and two community swimming pools, spanning a total of 915 acres.Information Technology: Demonstrate that it is currently using new information technology as an innovative tool to foster greater public access to local government and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the entity.South Fayette Township, Allegheny CountySouth Fayette Township, Allegheny County in one years’ time developed a website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages to engage thousands of community members and stakeholders with direct access to information. Added engagement is offered through customized, automatic e-mail and text message notifications relating to topics such as police news, recreation events, emergency alerts, and road closures,Health and Wellness Initiatives: Direct involvement in efforts to provide health and wellness benefits to a community.Tatamy Borough, Northampton CountyTatamy Borough, Northampton County is the first community to receive this award. In partnership with various educational, religious, commercial, and other organizations, Tatamy Borough established a community garden to grow fresh produce for families in need.  Produce harvested from the half-acre garden is donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, and summer lunch programs for students in Northampton County.For more information on the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Governor’s Center for Local Government Services visit www.newPA.com or call 1-866-466-3972. # # #Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolfcenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more