Law


Limerick police didn't care where unwanted prescription medicines, dumped into a box surrounded by officers, came from. They accepted them for incineration.

LIMERICK PA – “It’s been pretty busy here,” Limerick (PA) Police Chief William Albany declared, as he watched people deposit unwanted and expired prescription drugs into a box designated for the purpose during Saturday’s (Sept. 25, 2010) “National Take-Back Initiative” to keep such medications out of the hands of potential abusers.

He checked to ensure the bottle was empty.

The Limerick department and six other area law enforcement agencies were among those participating in the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) campaign to accept drugs for free, safe and legal disposal. They were due to be incinerated once collected.

A tall cardboard container adorned by the collection effort’s red, white and blue poster was the focal point of the police booth at the township’s Community Day activities in Limerick Community Park on Swamp Pike at Zieglerville Road. Albany smiled broadly as he noted that “a lot of people have stopped by so far,” only an hour into the four-hour long exercise.

It was that way, too, across much of the nation. More than 3,400 locations were involved in the take-back initiative. Collectively they accounted for tens of tons of pills, creams, syrups, liquids, lotions and capsules, almost all of them containing pharmaceutical substances.

In Houston TX, the Chronicle newspaper reported Sunday (Sept. 26), that city’s 17 sites accumulated 3,000 pounds of drugs for disposal. Compare those numbers to tiny Anderson IN, where that city’s Herald Bulletin newspaper said only eight people rid themselves of a small pile of meds they had no further use for.

The volume didn’t matter, DEA representatives told the media; getting drugs off the streets did. “Rates of prescription drug abuse … are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show a majority … are obtained from family and friends,” according to agency studies.

There was no immediately available estimate of the number of pounds of medications collected in Limerick, although Albany indicated it was substantial.

Participating departments promised they wouldn’t ask where the drugs came from or who was dropping them off. The ability to remain anonymous seemed to help,  law enforcement officers told the press.

Limerick's state senator, John Rafferty (left), briefly joined Police Chief William Albany at the prescription drug collection site in Limerick Community Park.

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A solar-powered landscape lamp may do the trick, says Police Chief Albany.

LIMERICK PA – Bringing what’s outside in can be a literal life-saver during severe storms, according to Limerick (PA) Township Police Chief William Albany.

During storms that leave homes without electrical power for several hours, most people  traditionally turn to flashlights and candles for emergency lighting. Candles, however, present a potential fire hazard, Albany notes, and usually there are too few working flashlights available for an entire household.

The chief’s suggested alternative may be right in a home owner’s front yard. They’re the decorative, solar-powered lights that illuminate sidewalks, pathways, and landscaping at night.

Bring the solar lamps inside the house during a power outage and strategically place them so they offer enough illumination to move about, Albany said in a recent e-mail. It’s easily accomplished, he noted, because most lights can be lifted from their stakes and placed in a glass or mug for stable mounting indoors.

They are always ready and have no open flame. Better yet, the chief added, they usually last all night long and can be returned outside in the morning to recharge beneath the sun … assuming, of course, that a storm has passed by then.

Photo from Limerick Township

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Many of the properties located in and around Fricks Lock are owned by Exelon.

EAST COVENTRY PA – A proposed agreement between East Coventry (PA) Township and Exelon Corp. regarding details of the Frick’s Lock Historic District is scheduled to be publicly discussed Monday (Sept. 13, 2010) at 7 p.m. during the township Board of Supervisors, according to Supervisor Michael Albert Moyer.

The district is said to encompass many properties Exelon acquired during the construction of the Limerick Generating Station in Limerick (PA) Township. In a Friday (Sept. 10) e-mail, Moyer said Monday’s meeting would be the first opportunity for the public to learn specifics of the agreement. So far it has been discussed by board members only in executive sessions because the matter dealt with real estate, Moyer noted.

The discussion appears on the board’s agenda as “other business,” Moyer said.

Map from Google Maps

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LIMERICK PA – More than 190 area charitable groups – 78 of them located in municipalities from Limerick east to Norristown, and covering everything from religious bodies to foundations that help worthy students pay for college – are in jeopardy of losing their federal tax-exempt status because they failed to file necessary paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service during the past three years, the government agency said.

The problem, the IRS acknowledges, is that groups in trouble still may not know the paperwork is overdue.

However, it’s giving them until Oct. 15 to make amends, by sending what the agency considers relatively brief forms to cover its reporting needs. That will allow groups to keep their exemptions, on which contributors rely to deduct donations when filing annual income tax returns.

A loss of tax-exempt status certainly could put a crimp into these charities’ fund-raising efforts. It also could impact thousands of area residents who support the causes or beliefs of, or who benefit from, the organizations’ efforts.

The IRS’ lengthy list of local groups facing revocation of their exemption includes 21 from Phoenixville, 16 from Collegeville, 12 from Harleysville, nine from Royersford, six from Spring City, five from Schwenksville, four from Kimberton, two from Limerick, and one each from Parkerford, Rahns and Zieglerville.

See a list of all affected area groups, compiled from the complete and most recently available (dated June 30, 2010, and downloaded Monday, Aug. 9) IRS information, here.

Some listed organizations may no longer be operating. Some may have merged with other groups. Some may have resolved their issues with the IRS after June 30 but have not yet been removed from its list. Unfortunately, according to area accountants, most are still in business as one- or two-person groups with limited or no staff or budget, and who haven’t paid attention to the IRS’ rules.

Their problems stem from a Congressional bill known as the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which took effect in 2007. As part of an attempt to encourage growing charitable organizations to be held financially accountable, federal legislators ordered non-profits with gross incomes of less than $25,000 annually to file a report every year with the IRS. It’s known as Form 990.

To ensure non-profits complied, the legislation carried a penalty: those who didn’t file for three consecutive years risked losing their tax-exempt status. Sure enough, three years after the law took effect, the IRS has come knocking on the doors of the delinquents. The IRS video above, hosted at its YouTube account, explains the requirements.

Nationwide, the agency is reported to have sent more than a million letters to non-filing non-profits, reminding them of their obligations. Because so many are in trouble it even created postcard-sized short forms that can be electronically filed.

Groups that lose their exemptions can have them reinstated, but at an average cost of several thousand dollars. Because the law does not give the IRS any discretion in its enforcement, an agency spokesman added, those who do not comply will lose their exemptions early in 2011.

Editor’s note: The Post thanks Chris Huff, a member of the writing team for The Pulse! – the blog of Pottstown advocacy group Code Blue – for suggesting this story and contact sources. If you’ve got a story idea or tip we should explore, e-mail The Post.

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Forty-five cadets graduated last Wednesday from the Montgomery County Municipal Police Academy during ceremonies held in Blue Bell PA.

BLUE BELL PA – Forty-five police cadets – including residents of Linfield, Limerick, and Harleysville – graduated last Wednesday (July 28, 2010) from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy, during a ceremony held in its Science Center Theater on the college main campus in Blue Bell PA.

Six of the 45 have already been hired and are currently working for local police departments.

Graduates included Brian Britcher of Linfield, Raymond Liczbinski of Limerick, and Amanda Pfister of Harleysville.

Montgomery County PA Court of Common Pleas Judge Thomas P. Rogers, an alumnus and Hall of Fame inductee of the college, and Abington Township Police Department Director of Training Robert Sands – both of whom are long-standing instructors for the academy – were keynote speakers. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman and Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. attended the ceremony and acknowledged the work of the cadets.

The college, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the academy at the county Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Rd., Conshohocken PA. It has been the training ground for about 3,000 cadets, with a consistent graduation rate of higher than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to receive up to 20 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in criminal justice.

“This program is built on discipline, commitment and teamwork,” academy Director Frank A. Williar said. “The graduates are the best, the elite.” Williar, a 1974 academy graduate, was hired as director in 2005. The academy is certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission.

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LIMERICK HONORS POLICE SERGEANT – Limerick (PA) Township Police Department Sgt. Brian Skelton, left, was honored Tuesday (July 20, 2010) by Chief William Albany, right, and members of the township Board of Supervisors with an award commemorating Skelton’s 20 years of continuous service on the force. During a presentation ceremony that opened the board’s meeting in the municipal building, 646 W. Ridge Pike, Albany cited several of Skelton’s important arrests and acts of service, as well as his efforts to help improve relationships between the department and the community.

Related (to the Limerick Township Board of Supervisors’ July 20 meeting):

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SPRING CITY PA – Guns collected by the Spring City Police Department as evidence of crimes committed during the past three decades will be put to new – and peaceably decorative – use next Tuesday (July 13, 2010), as they get melted down to create ornamental lighting to be erected on Main Street in the borough.

One of Spring City Electrical's ornamental street lights is shown against the Philadelphia skyline at night in this photo from the company's website.

The guns will be stripped down by the police and, in partnership with the borough, handed over to the foundry at Spring City Electrical, a nationally known firm that casts and manufactures street lights for architectural and landscaping uses in the U.S. and internationally, according to company spokeswoman Tracie Wolf.

Borough Mayor Michael Weiss, Police Chief Deidre Sherman, and company employees are expected to be on hand for the melt-down and subsequent metal-pouring in the firm’s factory at Hall and Main streets, Spring City PA. A ceremony to unveil the finished products should be scheduled sometime in early August, Wolf added.

Spring City Electrical has been in operation for 166 years, according to its website, and does the bulk of its business in cast ornamental lighting systems like those being created for Main Street. Many of its products include light-emitting diodes (LED) that produce bright, white light and consume less electricity than traditional lighting. Its LED product line was introduced last March (2009).

Photo from Spring City Electrical

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