News from across the Commonwealth
Lackawanna River named 2020 River of the Year
The Lackawanna River, which flows 60 miles through Susquehanna, Wayne, Lackawanna and Luzerne counties in northeast Pennsylvania before joining the Susquehanna River, has been recognized as the 2020 Pennsylvania River of the Year.
The Pennsylvania Organization for Watershed and Rivers (POWR) administers the River of the Year program with funding from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The honor has been presented annually since 1983.
The Lackawanna River was one of five waterways nominated across the state. Other nominees included: Brandywine Creek, Buffalo Creek, Connoquenessing Creek and the Ohio River. The voting process is open to the public.
DCNR and POWR officials are working with the Lackawanna River Conservation Association to create a free, commemorative poster celebrating this year’s selection. In addition, the association will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund a year-long slate of activities tied to the river.
Every response to the census matters; it's time to be counted
The U.S. Constitution requires a census of all residents in the United States every 10 years. Everyone, no matter whether they are living in an apartment, house, group housing situation (like a college dorm or a nursing home) or are homeless, is counted based on where they are living on April 1, 2020.
To make replying easier, U.S. households can respond to their census invitation — 95% of which will be delivered via the U.S. Post Office — by filling out the form online, by phone or by mail.
It is vitally important to count every single resident — rural, suburban or urban — as it is the data from the decennial census that determines how federal dollars are allocated for the coming decade. About $2,100 per person every year for the past 10 years was provided to Pennsylvania as a result of the 2010 census.
There’s a second, critical reason to make sure as many people as possible are included in the census count. That’s because the outcome of the census determines how many congressional seats each state is allotted. Pennsylvania lost one congressional seat in 2010 and there is the possibility it will lose another one as a result of the 2020 census count.
Residents who do not reply to their invitation to fill out the census form will be contacted in person between May and July.
This is in response to a “Reader Response” letter to the editor in the January 2020 issue of Penn Lines. In his letter, the writer implied that in a Penn Lines article, the Audubon Society had a political agenda when it suggested that climate change could affect ruffed grouse populations.
The Audubon Society article simply stated that if summer temperatures due to global warming experience a 3-degree increase, our state bird will move northward to a cooler climate. The author cited West Nile Virus and habitat for the decrease in the grouse population. What he fails to understand though, is that all these factors, including the ones he mentioned, are impacted by climate change.
Climatologists agree the Northern USA has experienced both an increase in precipitation and temperature. With this comes an increase in mosquito populations, which in turn, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, increases vector-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus. Loss of grouse habitat can be caused by agricultural practices and deforestation. Grouse like young forests. Many species of native trees have been ravaged by insects coming northward in expanding warmer temperatures due, once again, to climate change.
Climate change is not a political issue, or at least it shouldn’t be. Climate change will affect every aspect of life and the safety and well-being of animals and humans alike. I hope rural electric cooperatives everywhere move toward supplying their members with renewable energy sources to help counteract this massive, worldwide, immediate problem.
Gloria J. Shields – Northwestern Rural Electric Cooperative