Pa. State Park Head’s Resignation Sparks Probe
Posted By RV Business On October 10, 2012 @ 3:40 pm In Breaking News |
John Norbeck, head of Pennsylvania’s award-winning park system, said the current administration forced his resignation last week because of “philosophical differences,” including his opposition to commercial timbering, mining and Marcellus Shale gas drilling in the parks.
 
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that his departure comes on the heels of recent criticism of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by Paulette Viola, a longtime Citizens Advisory Committee member, about its lack of transparency on resource extraction issues and amid reports of widespread morale problems.
 
In a phone interview from his home, Norbeck, 56, said he received a termination letter from the state’s human resources office on Oct. 1, informing him that his last day of work would be Friday, Oct. 5, but “if he wanted to tender his resignation it would be considered.”
 
On Wednesday he agreed to resign and asked for, and was granted, a two-week extension, through Oct. 19, to prepare a transition document for a new parks director. In response, State Rep. Camille “Bud” George,   Democratic chair of the House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, called for a hearing into the resignation of John Norbeck as director of the Bureau of State Parks within the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  “I have asked the Republican chair of the committee to schedule a hearing as soon as possible to probe the troubling and apparently forced resignation of John Norbeck as director of state parks,” said Rep. George, D-74 of Clearfield County. “The state parks and forests belong to the people of Pennsylvania, and the committee has a duty to oversee and protect those lands.”
Rep. George noted that while time is running out on the 2011-12 legislative session, responsibilities to the public are not on a timer.
 
“I was willing to give the Corbett administration the benefit of the doubt and wrote to DCNR Secretary Richard J. Allan last week asking for his explanation of Mr. Norbeck’s departure,” Rep. George said. “When the news broke, the administration said that, ‘Any assertion that there’s a connection between John Norbeck’s resignation and natural resource development on state land is totally without merit.’
 

Pa. DNR Refuting Ousted Park Chief’s Assertion Posted October 12, 2012

October 12, 2012 by   Leave a Comment
A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said there is no connection between last week’s dismissal of the state parks director and his opposition to a higher-up’s support for timbering or mining efforts on state lands.
The dismissal of John Norbeck is raising questions about whether Gov. Tom Corbett is making plans to allow mining or timbering on the lands.
 
“DCNR also does not plan to make any changes to policies related to commercial timbering or mining on state park lands,” spokeswoman Chris Novak said in an emailed statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We have no intention of allowing anyone to cut timber solely for revenue generation on state park lands. We would not allow surface mining where we control the mineral rights.”
 
Norbeck told the newspaper this week that his last day will be Oct. 19 after he received a termination letter from the state’s human resources office.  Corbett administration officials are not saying why they wanted Norbeck out, but say there’s no connection to resource development issues.
 
Norbeck told the newspaper he opposed one company’s plans to mine limestone beneath Laurel Ridge State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania and objected to discussion by an administration official about allowing commercial timbering operations in state parks.
 

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Compiled by Harold Higgins of the NorCal Unit

Finding Road Food

Maps To Good Restaurants

Off-Beat Eateries

Quickly finding local restaurants while on the move in an Airstream can be a frustrating task. Food from the chain restaurants has predictable quality, but boredom sets in after a few meals. Some of the best traveling experiences are found at small restaurants serving genuine regional foods. Sometimes they are cute or quirky. They are just about always a memorable experience.

This page gives you direction to local restaurants by linking to several popular reviewers. Many of the sites have easy to use search functions and maps. It has been my experience that foods recommended by the reviewers are usually the best. Every item on the menu may not meet the same standard.

My criteria includes:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Quality of maps and directions
  3. Content consistency and reliability

Click on anywhere on the reviewer's blurp to go directly to that site. Enjoy the Airstream life. Have fun.

-- Harold H., WBCCI #1874, Northern California Unit Web Dude

Roadfood


This site directs you to great regional meals along highways, in small towns and city neighborhoods. On the web site they describe it as "non-franchised, sleeves-up food made by cooks, bakers, pitmasters and sandwich-makers who are America's culinary folks artists." I have found the site reliable when I stick to the two or three foods recommended by the reviewer. Always check the date of the review because some are years old and the cook or ownership of the restaurant could have changed since the last review.

Zagat


Zagat utilizes a sophisticated method of survey to review restaurants. It was acquired by Google in 2011 so it works nicely with Google Maps. Zagat has been around since 1979. The Newhouse Syndicate has called Zagat "the most up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable guides ever published."

Yelp


This is the big free-for-all of review sites. It is great for checking out a restaurant's reputation. Some of its commentators may be at opposite opinion with what has been written by reviewers from Roadfood or Open Table. It is also good for identifying a place that may have sloppy service, since that appears to me to be the most common comment.

Trip Advisor


Trip Advisor is similar to Yelp because all the reviewers are self selected. I look for trends where a lot of reviewers have similarly good experiences. It has good map capability.

Urban Spoon


A great web site for finding restaurants in urban areas, and the close in neighborhoods. Great mapping and locating service. Some popular guides include "unique" places to eat in the city as well as places to avoid. 

Open Table


This is a restaurant on-line reservation site. However, patrons have the ability to weigh-in with their opinions on the restaurants. The site is handy for surveying the high-end restaurants in a location. If you see something you like you can make a table reservation on-line. It includes location maps. It is most useful near larger cities.

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives


This is the web site for Guy Fieri's fun and sometimes wacky visits to America's classic "greasy spoon" restaurants. The web site is very busy and promotional for Guy's show. The link I am providing you here goes straight to the "find a restaurant" part of the Food Network web site that includes most of the Food channel's reviewers.

Flavortown USA


This is a blog site from fans of Guy Fieri who try to follow up on the restaurants where he has done shows. Sometimes there are raucous opinions expressed about the restaurants. It can be interesting and funny.

Andrew Zimmern


Another TV personality, Andrew Zimmern, reviews a lot of unusual foods from both little joints to world-class restaurants. I think of his TV shows as mostly global, but I have found he does a lot of work in the United States. His site is a little harder to use because it does not offer a map. Go to the home page and enter a city in the upper right corner of the page and do a search. It is not very useful in small towns.

Restaurant Chains

Just in case you want to park your Airstream in front of a particular restaurant chain, here are Wikipedia links to just about every eating spot imaginable. Most have a link that takes you to the corporate website where you can determine if it has a local franchise.

Fast food restaurants
Fast casual restaurants
Coffeehouse chains
Ice cream parlors
Pizza chains

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