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Harrisburg is Too Kind

I think our city is too nice for its own good sometimes.  I just read this article about how our city let another municipality in the region use its fire safety truck which clearly did  not take good care of it.  It was returned apparently in even worse condition, with one of his axles broken.  But, as the city of kindness, the Remodelers Council of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg on hearing about this, pulled out its wallet and gave us a van worth $20,000 to be used for fire prevention and safety demonstrations with our kids.  I know that all my kids will love that so that will be another activity I will be able to do with them when they next come to stay.

I love seeing such kindnesses in my city.  After that initial donation, Harrisburg’s Fire Department’s Relief Association gave a further $15,000 to the fire department to be used to purchase supplies, equipment, etc. for the van.  And then I heard that kids at Downey Elementary School will be the first  ones to see the new van; such a shame that it is not Jake’s school.  Still, hopefully at some point soon he’ll be able to see it too.

Harrisburg Encounters Excessive Carbon Monoxide Levels

The Pennsylvania Farm Show complex was forced to close the Mid-Atlantic Antique Tractor Super Pull event over the weekend, after extremely high levels of carbon monoxide made tens of people sick. Thereafter, one test showed that the levels were up to four times of what is considered safe.  One of these individuals even had to be treated at the hospital, but was released the same day.  According to Michael Horst (the city’s Bureau of Fire Battalion Chief), it was caused by the modern fuel that was burning from the antique tractors.  Indeed, as soon as these tractors entered the building, the carbon monoxide sensors were ignited.  Currently, Harrisburg’s Agriculture Department is looking into what happened and will be filing a report on the matter.

Harrisburg’s Act 47 Fiscal Recovery Plan

Harrisburg’s City council has approved a federal grant worth $1.5m which will finance the hiring of eight full-time firefighters from now until 2013. This move was contrary to the recommendation from the Act 47 fiscal recovery plan.  Had the city followed that, five firefighters would have been “fired,” excuse the pun.  But according to an article in Penn Live, the recovery plan’s coordinator was said to have expressed “surprise” that there are only around 70 firefighters in Harrisburg (which is eight less than the plan calls for).

Firing Not So Easy

The bottom line is however, even if they had to, firefighters couldn’t be so easily let go.  They have a union contract that only expires at the end of next year.  By then it is likely “there will be enough attrition to allow for more hirings.”  As well, since the plan was introduced last month, five firefighters have already filed their retirement paper work.