West End Organizers of Monroe County, Pennsylvania

Our Mission

We are dedicated to working for the good of our community.  We share information on issues of importance and support one another in individual and group efforts in order to accomplish more than any one of us could on his or her own. We are issue focused and issue driven.

Announcements

  • October 2017
    Pet Food Drive to benefit those homebound clients with pets serviced 
    by Meals on Wheels.  The drive will take place on Thursday, October 19th, 
    at the Shop-Rite Kinsley's in Brodheadsville.  The hours are 10:00 a.m. 
    until 2:00 p.m.  
    This year, there are specific needs.  
    Only cat and dog foods are accepted for this pet food drive!
    Number One:  DRY CAT FOOD is terribly needed!  
    Number Two:  CANNED DOG FOOD also is very needed!  
    
    For the first time, cat litter is being accepted.  However, there are limitations.   No weight over 10-12 pounds and preferably plastic containers, as opposed to the bags of litter, are requested.  
    
    For any dry foods, the same requisite applies.  Please, try and keep weights to 
    the 10-12 pound range if at all possible.  
    
    If anyone would care to donate to our drive but cannot make it to Kinsley's on 
    Oct. 19th, please feel free to contact Kathy Burch at (570) 402-0906 to arrange 
    for drop off and/or pick up of those donations. 
    Posted Oct 11, 2017, 3:14 PM by madodel1
  • June 2017

    Greetings WEO members!

    As a group we are keeping a low profile, but we do have some news to share and a few suggestions for some simple actions we hope you will take!

     

    Health Care (Mary Anne, maryanneclausen @ gmail.com


     Proposal to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

    The Senate has released its proposed bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, which in many ways is similar to the bill the House passed previously.  On June 22, the PBS Newshour, which still provides real as opposed to fake news, summarized key points in the draft bill as follows:

                It repeals the individual mandate penalty;

    It repeals most of the taxes intended to pay for the program;

    It cuts funding to medicaid;

    It allows states to waive essential benefits requirements;

                It blocks funding for planned parenthood for a year.

    A few things I have heard relative to the likely effects of this proposed legislation, if it becomes law:  Most experts believe that its cuts to medicaid will mean the end of the program as we know it.  Subsidies for those who cannot afford the full care of health care insurance will shrink.  The essential medical benefits that insurers may be allowed to waive include not just things like maternity benefits but also things like mental health care, hospital care and prescription drugs. Although the bill provides that insurers can’t discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions, the fact that they may exclude certain treatments from coverage offers a way around this – and the bottom line is that requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions just doesn’t work without the mandate. On the other hand, according to his own statement, Warren Buffet will receive a tax reduction of about $680,000. ( On Buffett’s statement see, e.g. the report of Michael Sheetz, CNBC, June 22, 2017).

     Please call Senator Toomey to urge him to vote no on this proposed legislation. He can be reached by phone in Washington at 202-224-4254, in Allentown at 610-434-1444 and in Wilkes-Barre at 570-820-4088.  Mention the large number of people in Pennsylvania who will lose their insurance if this proposal becomes law. Tell him that this time of growing inequality between the rich and those of modest means is not the moment to enact a bill which is essentially a tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Organizing for America (OFA), the successor to Obama for America and one of many groups asking people to tell their Republican senators not to vote for this bill, has identified Pennsylvania as one the states in which the effort to build opposition to the bill is most important!

     

    Rising Health Care Premiums

    On the matter of rising insurance premiums, I was interested to hear what Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland had to say about Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s request for a 50% increase in his home state – and I think you might be also.  Senator Van Hollen said: 

    …[T]he president of Blue Cross/Blue Shield told us that well over half of that increase is due to deliberate sabotage by the Trump administration and cuts Republicans made to Obamacare/Affordable Care Act payments.  A full 20 percent of the increase they’re asking for is because the president issued an executive order on the first day of his administration saying that they wouldn’t enforce the individual mandate provision.  You tell people they don’t have to join, including healthier people, it means sicker people will pay a lot more.

    (From an interview on The PBS Newshour, June 20, 2017

     

    You might want to mention this to Senator Toomey as well.

     

    Action by the Democrats

    As for the Democrats’ well reasoned counter proposal to fix and improve Obamacare – well, if anyone hears of one, please let me know!

     

    Democratic Process (Denise, dkurnas @ gmail.com)

    Denise shares this:

    The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case out of Wisconsin regarding partisan gerrymandering.  This is significant because, in the past, the court has shied away from partisan gerrymandering cases and has only heard cases involving districts drawn with potential race discrimination.  If the Supreme Court finds that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, the finding will be favorable to the issues we have in Pennsylvania as well as other states. Take a few moments to listen to the CNN report on the case. http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/19/politics/supreme-court-partisan-gerrymandering/index.html

    If you haven’t already done so, please contact www.fairdistrictspa.com and offer to do something to help the League of Women Voters in its very important effort to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.

     

    Energy and Environment (Mark, madodel @ ptd.net)

    In a decision that is good for the environment, the State Supreme Court has ruled that the state government failed to comply with its constitutional duty as trustee for public natural resources when it leased public land to oil and gas interests without directing the profits toward conservation efforts, and that in the future leasing decisions must include an assessment of the public interest.

    For a joint press release on the case by three environmental groups, click here:

    http://pennfuture.org/News-State-Supreme-Court-Rules-Leasing-Public-Land-for-Fracking-Betrayed-Governments-Constitutional-Duties?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=4dbfc256-146d-4f8f-821c-2fed5c70cb51

     

     

    Best wishes - and remember to stay engaged and hopeful, even when things most frustrating!

    Mary Anne

    maryanneclausen @ gmail.com

    Posted Jul 3, 2017, 6:57 AM by madodel1
  • May 2017
    Congressman Matt Cartwright Town Hall Meeting, Tues, May 9th, 6:30 pm at the Mountain Center, 354 Memorial Boulevard, Tobyhanna.
    Posted May 1, 2017, 10:55 AM by madodel1
  • April 2017
    Rep. Matt Cartwright will host a “Coffee with your Congressman” Event

    • Monday, April 24 at 10:30 AM - 12 PM
      Chestnut Hill Diner
      2187 Route 209, Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania 18353

    Posted Apr 20, 2017, 6:53 PM by madodel1
  • March 2017
    The weather was not kind to us - but fortune was in that everyone who planned to come to our potluck originally scheduled for February can also make the new date of March 5.  Is there anyone else who might be able to join us then?  If so, please let Denise know at dkurnas@gmail.com, or me know by replying to this email.   Let us know what you would like to bring, too.  The current menu is below.

    Same time and place for the event - 4 to 7 at Denise's!
    Posted Feb 25, 2017, 7:01 AM by madodel1
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 53. View more »

Why You Should Support Our Organization

If you are interested in engendering change in our area and beyond, attend one of our events

August 2018

posted Aug 28, 2018, 6:01 PM by madodel1

We don’t need to tell anyone about the importance of this year’s elections - just hoping you are all out working for the candidates of your choice.

Redistricting has split the West End from which WEO draws its members between two Congressional districts.  Chestnuthill, Jackson and Polk continue to be in the 8th District in which Matt Cartwright is running for reelection.  Eldred, Hamilton and Ross, however, are in the new 7th district, in which there is no incumbent.  I am soliciting volunteers for a phone bank for Susan Wild, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 7th District, to be based in the West End.  If you are interested in joining, please let me know! (Mary Anne, maryanneclausen@gmail.com )



WEO has been very quiet lately, but I do have a few matters of interest relating to our focus groups:

Education (Kathy, ka.frisby@gmail.co)

Remember that lawsuit brought by the Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center alleging that the gross disparities in allocations in Pennsylvania’s school funding system violate the Pennsylvania State Constitution?  Filed in 2014, it is still working its way through courts.  It recently scored a significant victory, however, when the Commonwealth Court rejected a motion to dismiss the case as moot because the state legislature had adopted a new funding formula.  The last I heard, a trial date had not yet been set, but the hope is that the trial will begin soon.


Energy and Environment (Mark, madodel@ptd.net)

Clean Air Regulations

In the flood of news reports about Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, I am afraid that reports of the latest step in the Trump administration’s effort to roll back clean air regulations may have been missed.  Obama era rules pushed for accelerated closures of older coal-fired plants and encouraged the adoption of cleaner energies.   The new proposal would undo these and give states greater authority to determine whether to limit emissions and by how much.  It would also allow older power plants to operate longer. Legal challenges have so far prevented the Obama era rules from taking effect.  Legal challenges to the new rules are also expected.

For those who are interested, the link below takes you to an article on how the Trump administration assesses the cost of carbon emissions.

Fracking

Last spring the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision which strengthens the ability of zoning ordinances to limit the location of fracking. In Gorsline v Board of Supervisors the State Supreme Court overturned a Commonwealth Court decision that industrial shale gas development was similar to a public service facility and could be allowed in any zoned district that allowed for public services.    PennFuture VP George Jugovic, who argued the case for the residents before the State Supreme Court, said “[t]he Court’s decision makes clear that shale gas development is an industrial land use, and that local government must rigorously consider what other land uses it is compatible with before allowing it to occur in districts designed for incompatible uses….”  A small step in the right direction!

Exceptional Streams

There is a fight brewing over the classification of exceptional streams in the Poconos.  Jim Vogt sent this link;

Jim writes that those opposing the exceptional and high quality designations are wrong in their belief that these will prevent them from developing land for economic gain. He adds: “These designations simply require DEP protocols that must be followed, making sure that things such as Best Management Practices and sound Stormwater regulations are adhered to. So many of us in Pennsylvania rely on wells for our drinking water, and it is essential that the regulations that will protect our water are upheld and enforced.”

For more information about these designations and to sign a petition in support, go to this link:  https://ourpoconowaters.org

Flame Retardant Chemicals

Mark shares this unnerving article about the dangers of flame retardant chemical that are carcinogenic and mutagenic and may have been marketed in large part to keep a company in business that formerly manufactured lead additives.


August 2017

posted Aug 21, 2017, 7:43 AM by madodel1

Animal Welfare (Kathy, ka.frisby@gmail.com)

Flea Market Table

Once again we have the offer of free space over Labor Day weekend for a flea market table to benefit groups that work for the humane treatment of farm animals.  But to hold it, we need donations of items to sell and also some volunteers to help, especially with setting up and packing up.  If you can provide either or both, please contact me at maryanneclausen@gmail.com or by phone at 610-381-3592.

Pet Food Drive

Kathy has a tentative date of October 19 at Kinsley’s for our pet food drive to benefit Meals on Wheels’ clients with pets.  If you can help with this event, which helps to keep those pets with their owners and out of shelters, please contact Kathy at her email address above.

posted Oct 9, 2013, 4:53 PM by madodel1   [ updated Oct 9, 2013, 4:54 PM ]


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