• Comments

This year we will be electing all three Bucks County Commissioners to serve four-year terms. So what, you say. Who cares? If these are the thoughts running through your mind, you are in good company. What do those three commissioners do anyway?

  • Comments

After years of development and review by internal teams and the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC), the Lower Makefield Board of Supervisors passed an updated Comprehensive Master Plan. The BCPC commended the township for “continuing efforts to guide growth and development through sound…

In August 1619, a month or so shy of 157 years before Thomas Jefferson finished the Declaration of Independence, the first enslaved Africans were purchased by English colonists whose descendants would establish the United States. The 20 or more men and women were brought to Point Comfort, ne…

For years now health professionals, educators and government officials have been warning about the dangers of vaping by children and trying to come up with ways to eradicate the practice.

Earlier this year, Newtown Borough became the first municipality in the region and possibly the state outside of Philadelphia to designate its public parks a tobacco-free, vape-free and e-cigarette-free zone through a resolution.

Councilor and borough mom Nicole Rodowicz brought the issue to council’s attention in 2018 concerned by the increase in vaping and e-cigarette use among young people.

She  led the effort to draft an updated "Young Lungs at Play" resolution, with the help of the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania and the borough’s solicitor, to educate the public and to protect the “young lungs” of children from the potential harmful affects of second hand smoke from cigarettes and second hand aerosol from vaping and e-cigarettes.

At the time, Rodowicz said she was hoping the action would send a strong message to the area’s young people that vaping is just as dangerous and addicting as smoking.

Yet despite attempts to spread the word about the dangers of e-cigarettes and to impose regulations meant to discourage their use by young people, the problem persists.

Electronic cigarettes have been described as a less dangerous alternative to regular cigarettes, but they contain heavy amounts of nicotine, which health officials say is harmful to developing brains and might make kids more likely to take up cigarettes. According to the surgeon general, each Juul cartridge contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, and it’s formulated to give a smoother, more potent buzz that can get people hooked quickly.

It’s almost time for a new school year, meaning educators once again will be put in the difficult position of trying to tame a problem that’s so hard to control because popular vaping devices are so easy to hide.

And the latest news on the subject is not encouraging.

The Associated Press reported that as many as 50 people in at least six states have come down with breathing illnesses that may be linked to vaping products. No deaths have been reported, but at least a few have come close. Symptoms have included shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and vomiting.

Wisconsin health officials this month said they’ve seen 15 confirmed cases, with another 15 illnesses under investigation. New York officials are investigating 10, Illinois has seen at least six, New Jersey at least nine and Minnesota doctors said they have four more. California and Indiana have also been looking into reported illnesses.

Health officials have only been counting certain lung illnesses in which the person had vaped within three months. Most are teens, but some adult cases have also been reported. No single vaping device or liquid is associated with the illnesses.

One key question is why such cases are surfacing now, when e-cigarettes have been widely used for years. Dr. Anne Griffiths, a lung specialist who saw all four of the reported Minnesota cases and is convinced they’re related to vaping, said it’s possible illnesses previously weren’t recognized as being related to the practice.

It’s going to be difficult, but we must keep up the fight.

That means parents must be vigilant about ensuring their children understand the dangers of these products and make sure they’re not using them.

Retailers should put the public good ahead of the profit motive and refuse to carry the sort of vaping products most likely to appeal to kids.

And the government must keep up its efforts to pressure e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers to engage in proper practices.

It took decades to finally put a serious dent in the dangerous use of traditional tobacco products in this country. It would be a shame to lose all that ground now.

— MediaNews Group

  • Comments

Like many Americans, I was horrified by the senseless loss of life in El Paso and Dayton this weekend. I mourn for the loss of innocent lives and the devastated families and friends they leave behind. These terrible events mark the 31st and 32nd mass killings in the U.S. since Jan. 1 of this…

The U.S. Supreme Court recently overruled the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Three things are apparent: A) There is no census consensus. While the decision was a setback for the administration, the issue isn’t dead, as a similar case is making…

  • Comments

I admit it. I’m guilty of using plastic bags, even though I know they are harmful to the environment and especially to the oceans. I use reusable cloth bags at the grocery store and I recycle plastic bags at home, but I could do more; we could all do more.

  • Comments

Democrats. On Tuesday, May 21 you have the opportunity to select 3 experienced lifelong Democrats to run for 3 vacant judicial positions in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. Are you sick of Mitch McConnell and Trump appointing conservative judges? Well here is your chance to elect judg…

  • Comments

I am 19-years-old and I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont. Yardley is the only place I’ve known for the past 19 years. I drive along River Road admiring the vibrant greens of the tree canopy above. I walk my dog, Rudy, on the canal towpat…

  • Comments

When I sent my column over to the editor, the statue of the Flyers' good luck charm had only been covered in a black tarp-like fabric. It was still there, and there was a scintilla of hope that it might remain where it belonged, greeting new generations of Flyers fans as they came to enjoy a…

I love Bucks County. I moved here in 1985, raised my family here, and will most likely stay here the rest of my life. I love the Delaware River and am always awed by the fact that since some famous general named George crossed that river long ago on his way to Trenton to fight our enemy, we …

  • Comments

The PA Department of State has mandated that all counties in PA replace older voting machines by 2020 with new machines with auditable paper records. The Danaher voting machines which Bucks County has used for the last 13 years are past due for replacement. But more importantly, they do not …

  • Comments

In the cover story in the March 2019 issue of The Atlantic, Benjamin Lowy presents an in depth analysis of the case for impeachment of Donald Trump. This possible action by the US House of Representatives has been characterized by many in the media and in the Democratic party, as well as by …

  • Comments

Finally, the 35 day national nightmare caused by the incompetent selfish man whom the Republican Party and Vladimir Putin helped elect to the Office of the Presidency is over. The initial estimate is that the economic cost was 6 billion dollars. And what did the Trump shutdown accomplish? Ab…

I never really knew Sam, but I met him briefly several times. Even in those brief times, he left me with the impression of a quiet, gentle man. I knew that he was much respected in the Bucks County area, but it wasn’t until I read his obituary and other articles that I realized what a truly …

  • Comments

Sponsorship memos have been circulated to Pennsylvania State Representatives and Senators that claim to “improve” local government by abolishing the elected office of Tax Collector by a simple resolution by another governmental entity. Everyone wants to improve local government but you can’t…

As I write this letter, a group of concerned citizens who care deeply about the direction our country is headed have protested 85 consecutive Fridays outside of Congressman Fitzpatrick’s office. But not once in 85 weeks did Brian bother to visit us to hear our concerns. I guess if we wrote l…

Congressman Fitzpatrick: Your Republican Party is moving in the wrong direction on a myriad of environmental issues. As a leader, you have a responsibility to your constituents, to your country, to future generations, and to this fragile planet to speak loudly against the environmental catas…

There are many reasons why I’m unhappy with Brian Fitzpatrick, Congressman of the 8th Congressional District and candidate for the newly created 1st Congressional District in PA. But first, a brief history lesson: