At this month's borough council meeting, the council unanimously approved Councilman Jesse Barlow’s resolution for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Now that it has been approved, State College joins 126 municipalities across the country that are considered a Sierra Club “Ready for 100” municipality.
Chloe Selles, who is an organizer for the Pennsylvania chapter of the organization, spoke briefly on behalf of the Sierra Club
“State College ‘Ready for 100’ action envisions the future of State College as a healthy, thriving community powered by affordable community-based and 100% clean renewable energy sources by 2050,” Selles said.
Nittany Valley Environmental Coalition President Dorothy Blair told the council it is “really brave to do this.” She later suggested the council create a timetable for periodic check-ins, such as at 2030, so as to not “wait until the bitter end” of the 2050 deadline.
Council President Evan Myers concurred with the idea, stating "the earth is warming." As a meteorologist and scientist, Myers said he knows it is "true" that humans have impacted the earth regarding greenhouse gas emissions.
"The very things that cause the earth to warm are harmful to the water, to the air, to our lungs," Myers said, "and to life itself, so I think it's past time we took this action."
According to Barlow's resolution, Pennsylvania contributes to 1% of global greenhouse gases, which is affecting "agriculture, energy, human health, infrastructure, recreation, water quality, forests, and other ecosystems in Pennsylvania, and human health and ecological systems around the world."
Barlow highlighted notable changes he has seen, including the fact the average number of days per year over 90 degrees has historically been 10 but will increase to 40 should there continue to be high admissions of greenhouse gases.
Further, he drew attention to the lower yields of "Concord grapes, sweet corn, [and] some apple varieties" as well as several hardwood trees, such as cherry and sugar maple, he said could "disappear from Pennsylvania."
Previous efforts by the borough to decrease greenhouse gases include former Mayor Bill Welch's resolution 944, which according to Barlow's resolution, declared State College a "Climate Protection Community." This resolution's goal was to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas net emissions by "10% from 1990 levels" by 2012.
Rainbow banners throughout downtown State College signify one of the borough of State College's efforts to participate in Pride Month this June, but that isn’t the only celebration State College is recognizing over the next four weeks.
At Monday's State College Borough Council meeting, Mayor Donald Hahn said Immigrant Heritage Month, Men’s Health Month and Nittany Knights Day would also be recognized this June.
As Hahn read through his official statement, he recognized the efforts of immigrants who he said have been “tireless leaders not only in securing their own rights… but have also campaigned to create a fairer and more just society for all Americans."
After this statement, Hahn spoke of his own parents, who are Korean immigrants. He said his mother was 15 years old when she and her sister became war refugees and later traveled to the United States without their parents.
“I am a proud son of Korean immigrants and I am a proud American citizen who believes that as long as we stay to our American ideals and welcome the contributions of well-meaning immigrants to our nation, our greatest years are still ahead of us,” Hahn said.
Law professor Shoba Wadhia accepted the proclamation on behalf of the Centre for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic.
Like Hahn, she spoke of her parents, who came to the U.S. from India, and said the two had a “complicated, rich and courageous story” that is common for immigrants.
She also discussed the current administration’s choices regarding the 2017 travel ban, asylum ban and changes with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival.
“Today’s proclamation is more than just a vision for State College but also reflects how far we have already come,” Wadhia said.
Myers gave broader statements regarding Hahn’s first proclamation, emphasizing that America is “a nation of immigrants.”
“We are stronger because of the rich, diverse heritage of our nation,” Myers said. “We’re better as a nation than children in cages… [and] preventing people from achieving a presence here because they are escaping violence or political and religious persecution.”
Hahn also declared June as Men’s Health Month to increase awareness of the “importance of a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise and medical checkups” and to seek “preventative health practices and early detection efforts.”
“Fathers who maintain a healthy lifestyle are role models for their children,” Hahn said.
Hahn later encouraged the council to frequently check for updates from the State College police about initiatives responding to the death of State College resident Osaze Osagie at every council meeting “for the foreseeable future.”
“Council and the staff need to start addressing issues like mental health practices, body cameras, hidden biases in police and staff recruitment [and] potential foreign language issues regarding crisis response,” Hahn said.
The State College Borough Council held a work session to hear concerns of community members regarding the Centre County District Attorney's decision to not press charges against the police officers involved in the death of State College resident Osaze Osagie.
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During the May 13 work session, Council Manager Thomas Fountaine collected questions from the public and has since responded to several of the questions, which are available on the State College Borough website.
For his another proclamation for recognitions this month, Hahn introduced the Nittany Knights Choir, a local group currently celebrating its 55th anniversary.
Roughly 20 men in blue polos gathered by the podium at the front of the room, using their allotted time to sing for the entire audience.
The Nittany Knights choir performs in front of the Borough Council as they accept @MayorDonHahn's proclamation of Nittany Knights Day on June 17 in honor of the group's 55th anniversary pic.twitter.com/0tHFR3LMJD— Lilly Forsyth (@lillyforsyth_) June 3, 2019
Vice President of Music and Performance Paul Wagner spoke for the group, thanking the council and highlighting the group's community contributions, such as retirement home funding as well as a youth program.
“We love to sing. We have a blast,” Wagner said, “We are honored to receive this proclamation.”
Upcoming street closures and rerouting were also discussed and approved, many of which intend to aid traffic as students move in during the fall semester.
Approved closures through the end of August
The portion of the block between 538 and 520 Westview Ave. will be blocked off for a graduation party from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
During the Central Pennsylvania Theatre and Dance Fest, Allen Street between College Avenue and Beaver Avenue will be blocked off from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day of the festival.
On Saturday, June 22, the blockage will extend to Highland Alley from 9 a.m to 4 p.m.
To improve traffic movement as students move in for the Fall Semester, Calder Way will become one-way, moving westbound between Hetzel Street and Garner Street and moving eastbound from Hetzel Street to High Street.
Hetzel Street will be limited to Northbound traffic from Beaver Avenue to Calder Way from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to help students moving into The Legacy apartments. Additionally, Calder Way will become One-Way from Hetzel Street to Sowers Street.
For both changes, the left lane will be used for cars waiting to unload.
The left lane of the 400 block of West College Avenue will shut down from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day to help students moving into The Metropolitan apartments.
The right lane of the 600 block of East College Avenue will shut down from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day to help students moving into The Meridian apartments.
The left lane will remain open but the intersection of East College Avenue and High Street will be limited to a right turn only. However, there will be a given alternate route from this option for those needing to travel westbound.
H Alley will be limited to southbound traffic from Calder Way to Beaver Avenue from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to help students moving into The Graduate apartments.