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Rendell Administration Recognizes Achievements of PA Local Governments

Lt. Governor Catherine Baker Knoll and Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Yablonsky praised the efforts of eight municipal organizations and nine local leaders this week during the 12th annual "Governor's Award for Local Government Excellence" award ceremony.

"The most successful teams have players who work together towards a common goal," Secretary Yablonsky said. "Whether it's allocating funds to help purchase new police department equipment, supporting efforts to consolidate services, distributing grants to make our neighborhoods more attractive, or offering guidance when new laws take effect, we consistently and effectively work with our municipal entities, making them some of our strongest teammates in putting Pennsylvania on the road to enduring progress."

The Lieutenant Governor also noted her appreciation for those who serve on the "front line" closest to their constituents.

"Local government people simply have no place to hide from the high expectations of their friends and neighbors. They are the first line of offense and defense in the American system of government," she said. "Thank you for being so good at what you do."

The two presented plaques and certificates to local government entities in six categories. Nine individual awards were also presented to those who saw where their communities could use improvement, then worked tirelessly to fix them.

Local governments and officials give awards related to environmental projects include:

Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority, Lebanon County: The authority was recognized for developing a unique educational program within renewable energy power production facility. The power plant doubles energy production from existing renewable fuel supplies, applies innovative technology to collect landfill gas, reduces the risk of landfill gas escaping to the environment, and educates the public on renewable energy. This project exemplifies efficiency, cost savings, and innovation.

Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee, Lancaster County: The group received its award for developing a multi-municipal plan for 11 contiguous municipalities that are members of the Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee, a council of governments in central Lancaster County. The plan stresses the importance of directing expansion to designated growth areas, and delineates 36 growth opportunity districts where officials can encourage more compact, mixed use development. The plan exemplifies strategies of how municipalities throughout Pennsylvania can work together in planning for the future.

City of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County: The city received this award for its work to prevent flood devastation in South Wilkes-Barre. The city completely reconstructed four bridges that span Solomon's Creek. The new bridges, two of which are complete, feature state-of-the-art flood protection equipment which allows high water to flow in a way that alleviates the potential dangers of flooding to the surrounding areas. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this is the first system of its kind in the United States.

NewsClip: Wilkes-Barre Receives Award for Flood Work

Douglas K. Bowen, Manager, Whitehall Township Authority, Lehigh County: As manager of the Whitehall Township Authority for more than 30 years, Bowen has shown his dedication to his community and a commitment to providing people with safe, sufficient drinking water in an environmentally responsible manner. Bowen has shared his expertise and commitment in various capacities. He has served as a volunteer committee person, board member and officer of the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association, leading the organization for the past year as its president. Appointed by Governor Casey and reappointed by Gov. Ridge, he served on the board of directors and as chairman for the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System. Bowen is a tireless worker for governmental efficiencies, advocating new technologies and environmentalism. He has demonstrated attributes above and beyond the call of duty when serving the interests of his communities.

Barry Seymour, Executive Director, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission: Leading 117 staff and overseeing a $20 million work program at the DVRPC, Seymour began the first planning grant program at DVRPC and created the Smart Transportation for Growing Suburbs program to manage transportation planning and community design. He is a tireless advocate for regional, county and local government planning.

Dallas A. Dollies Award for Excellence in Planning: Anna Breinich has served more than 30 years in the municipal, private and non-profit sectors and has been active in state and national affairs with a lengthy list of accomplishments. As director of community planning for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, she helped towns and rural

areas across the state promote economic opportunity and a local legacy of history, architecture, beauty, and natural resources. She was an adjunct associate professor and Harrisburg program coordinator of Temple University's Planning Master's degree program. She has served as president of the Pennsylvania Planning Association, chair of the American Planning Association's Chapter president’s council, and PPA Professional Development Officer as well as a member of the PPA board of directors and legislative committee. She was elected to national office in 2006 and is the Region I Commissioner for the American Institute of Certified Planners. She also had an active role through the 10,000 Friends policy advisory committee in building the 2000 Growing Smarter MPC amendments and has served on her own township planning commission. Anna is being recognized for demonstrating a lifelong commitment and devotion to planning.

The Governor's Awards for Local Government Excellence are presented annually by the Governor's Center for Local Government Services. The Center's staff chooses the winners from applications submitted by municipal organizations throughout the Commonwealth.

A list of all award winners is available online.


4/18/2008

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