March 2009
Landfill fight revs up with railroad study
by Michael Sparr
“We were disappointed it was not an
auditorium-style sit-down meeting,” said
The landfill saga in Rush Township con-
Gail Harris of Boggs Township.
tinues, taking on a new dimension after the
Instead, the presentation, meant to intro-
R.J. Corman Railroad Company applied to
duce the idea of re-activating and building
20 miles of railroad between
the rail line from Clearfield to Centre
Clearfield County and Snow Shoe
Counties, was held in the Philipsburg-
Township. The former Beech Creek
Osceola Area High School gymnasium
Railroad is planned to serve a new quarry,
without any seats. Tall display boards were
landfill and industrial park being developed
set up to show various maps where the rail-
by Resource Recovery, LLC.
road would be constructed and re-activated.
Among the more than 100 residents who
Attendees were able to view the maps and
turned out to a Feb. 10 informational meet-
ask questions pertaining to the railroad and
ing, the majority voiced concerns on at least
the STB’s Environmental Impact Statement
two fronts. First, the ongoing effort to keep
Resource Recovery from building the land-
An STB official explained that the agency
fill, and second, the years of work local res-
will then do an environmental impact study
idents have put into building and maintain-
13 specific categories and send the
ing this Rails to Trails project as a benefit to
results to Washington D.C. The study will
the community.
include categories such as safety, air quali-
“We (the community) are very disap-
ty, noise, and effect on recreational facili-
pointed in the way the STB is going about
ties. Comments and observations from the
the scoping process,” Rush Township
public will also be considered in the study,
Voices file photo
Supervisor Mike Savage said after the meet-
according to an STB handout.
Residents of Rush Township are concerned that this railroad and its associated Rails to Trails initiative
ing. “Almost everyone thought they’d have
Representatives of STB, TranSystems,
will revert to use for a proposed landfill if the Surface Transportation Board approves the move.
a chance to discuss the process.
headquartered in Kansas City, R.J. Corman
Unfortunately that was not the case,”
Railroad Group based in Kentucky, People
efits everyone. It is more environmentally
opportunities versus truck drivers from New
Savage said.
Protecting Communities, and Rails to Trails
friendly than trucks,” Tim Potts, R.J.
Jersey or wherever.”
The meeting itself did not turn out as
were on hand to answer questions.
Corman Railroad’s Clearfield Division
many hoped, causing attendees to question
Resource Recovery officials did not attend.
manager, told Voices . “And if it comes by
see Landfill , pg. 14
if their voice had any effect.
“If the landfill happens, the railroad ben-
rail there will be more local employment
Alice Fuller: The first lady of birdwatching
by Delia Guzman
birders of some of my friends. Once I flew
in a game warden’s plane to chase migrat-
“There’s the artistic, poetic kind of birdwatcher who sees the
Alice Fuller’s “Bird Watch” column just
ing snow geese, and I used to drive out onto
beauty of the bird and listens to the song. That’s what Alice
completed its 15th year in Voices , and in
the prairies to find sage grouse hens.
does; she’s a poetic birder, and that’s what she writes in her
those years she’s never missed an issue;
“Once, a friend and I had three flat tires
that’s 150 columns of her poetic and fact-
on one trip to see the sage hens!”
filled observations about the natural world
-Ted Fuller
After a few years in Bismarck, Alice was
and its avian inhabitants. Voices celebrated
called back east when her mother became
the milestone by talking with Alice about
ill, and she began working as an editor at
her life watching birds. Ed.
the Agricultural Experimental Station at
In a life dominated by birds, it’s hard to
Penn State. Her life would take another turn
pick out any one special moment as a
Cornell University to study ornithology
are the giants of American ornithology in
quickly thereafter.
favorite birding experience; such is the case
with Dr. Allen.”
the 20th century.
“I was at my cousin’s one day, and I saw
for lifetime birdwatcher and octogenarian
“Dr. Allen” is Dr. Arthur Allen, the
After college, Alice’s first job was in “the
a man sitting there on the couch smoking a
Alice Fuller.
ornithologist who founded the world-
wilds of North Dakota,” she said, in 1947 as
big cigar. I thought he was just one of the
“I grew up in upstate New York, among
renowned Cornell Laboratory
an editor for a monthly magazine, North
rude cousins,” Alice said. This
the dairy farms in Afton,” Alice said. “We
Ornithology and created the first graduate
Dakota Outdoors , with an office in the capi-
cousin” turned out to be Ted Fuller and,
fed birds on the farm, and walking around I
program in that subject in North America.
tol building in Bismarck. Once there, she
despite her first impressions, they married
saw a lot of them. One day, I saw a myrtle
His student and research partner, Peter
started teaching the friends she made about
in 1955.
warbler, or yellow-rumped warbler as it’s
Kellogg, was Alice Fuller’s advisor when
“I always say there are two kinds of bird-
called now. I went inside and identified the
she completed her master’s degree in 1946
“There weren’t any [birdwatching] clubs
bird using Peterson’s [field guide], and I
in what was then called Environmental
or anything established out there, but I
see Fuller , pg. 12
decided right then that I was going to
Science. Among birdwatchers, these men
guess I started a trend. I made life-long

March 2009
Clearfield, Centre and Huntingdon coun-
from Fuller , pg. 11
“One time, we were driving in the boon-
ers,” Ted said. “There are the scientific kind,
docks in Clearfield County, and we got
the listers, who talk about the details and
stuck in a mud puddle,” Alice said.
the field markings of the birds. They’re
“Luckily, we went to a house nearby, with
obsessed with counting and details, like
some nice ladies who called some men to
they’re getting scalps. Then there’s the artis-
pull us out of the puddle.”
tic, poetic kind of birdwatcher who sees the
The Fullers all laughed when Voices sug-
beauty of the bird and listens to the song.
gested that they might be considered the
That’s what Alice does; she’s a poetic bird-
“First Family of State College Birding,”
er, and that’s what she writes in her
saying that other people would more rightly
deserve such a title. Still, the family has
“I learned enough science when I was in
been birding together for more than
college,” Alice added. So, in addition to
helpful information about field marks and
Daughter Roana learned about birds from
bird songs, she has tried to bring the beauty
Alice, but her interest waned as school
and the poetry of nature and of birds to her
began to occupy more of her time.
readers each month in her columns, often
However, during the compilation of the first
telling personal stories of being in nature
breeding bird atlas, she went along on trips
with the birds and watching their habits.
with her mother and Bordner. She said they
Alice often mentions Ted and their
renewed her interest in birding.
daughter Roana in her column, and from
“I’d gone off to college by this point, and
Photo by Debra Grim
their earliest days together, the family took
I wasn’t really birding then,” Roana said.
Alice and Roana Fuller look on as Ted Fuller points out a sign for the Fuller Wetlands—no relation—near
trips to see birds all over the country,
“But I got back into birding because of
the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology on the Cornell University campus lands.
including many trips back to the prairies
Mom and Dorothy’s atlassing trips.” Her
and the Badlands of North Dakota. They
interest has continued to this day, and the
Finally, during a late-winter visit to Lloyd
veery because their songs are so beautiful.
hope to go birding in the state once again
Fullers and Bordner also contributed to the
Bentsen State Park in the Rio Grande Valley
Out West, I love to hear the canyon wren’s
this June, and they just took their yearly trip
upcoming atlas, with Roana taking a major
of Texas — far too early for the bird to have
song; it’s also beautiful. And I love black
to see the coastal birds of Delaware and
role, coordinating several blocks and count-
started its migratory journey back north into
terns, the way they fly; they’re so elegant.
Maryland last month.
ing birds all over the county.
the U.S.— she saw one.
“I like crows too; they’re so smart. I call
One of the major Pennsylvania birding
Ted modestly summed up his role in the
In the 1970s, Alice began writing about
them DOSCs: ‘dispassionate observers of
projects in which Alice participated was the
family’s birding adventures this way: “I see
the birds of central Pennsylvania for the
the contemporary scene.’ Bluejays are smart
state’s first breeding bird atlas in 1984, a
something, and I point it out, and they do
Clearfield Progress .
publication she often quotes in her columns.
the identification. I’m not too good at that!”
“The publisher was a birder, and so he
She said she has been to too many won-
A breeding bird atlas lists the bird species
Like all birders, Alice has had her share
asked me to write a column,” Alice said.
derful places to pick a favorite birding spot
that are found in the state during the breed-
of frustrating bird searches. For years, she
“Then I started writing for the Centre Daily
ing season (April-June); the state is divided
tried to see a painted bunting, a bird whose
Times for a little while, and then I started
“There are so many of them,” Alice said.
up into “blocks,” and local birders volunteer
breeding plumage features the rainbow-like
with Voices .” Alice has also been published
“Ding Darling, Cape May and Stone Harbor
to roam the highways and back roads of
colors of tropical parrots.
such national
magazines as
[in New Jersey], Merritt Island [in Florida]
each block they sign up for.
“We went to Florida, to Corkscrew
Birdwatcher’s Digest .
and Ocean City, Md., in the winter.
Alice and her friend, artist Dorothy
Swamp and Ding Darling
When asked to name her favorite bird,
“I’d love to go back to Belize, Trinidad,
Bordner, who provides the illustrations for
Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel Island, Fla.],
Alice cannot name just one.
Panama — that’s a great place for birds —
“Bird Watch,” traveled many miles, count-
looking for this bird,” Alice said. “But we
“I’ve always loved black-capped chick-
and Australia, New Zealand.
ing birds, watching for nesting/breeding
were always there an hour before or an hour
adees and bobolinks, because I grew up
“When I die, I hope I go to another world
behavior and braving the
“wilds” of
after someone else had seen one.”
with them. I love the hermit thrush and the
where there are more birds.”
Wise Crackers Comedy Club
Fundraiser for ClearWater
Saturday, March 14, 9pm, Ramada Inn
Love to laugh? Want to enjoy a fun evening with
friends while supporting conservation? Then come on out and join us!
Tickets are $14 (regular price for a Wise Crackers show), and ClearWater gets
$7 for each ticket sold. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Sarah
at ClearWater Conservancy, (814) 237-0400 or
[email protected]

March 2009
Is nuclear power the answer to climate change?
construction site before finally being dis-
College Friends Peace & Social Action
waves. Nuclear reactors require large quan-
by the Peace & Social Action
posed of. At this time there is currently no
Committee that it should be reinstated.
tities of water to keep their cores cool—
Committee of Friends Meeting
known safe manner in which to dispose of
We have all heard about “emission cred-
water that is already in limited supply
The United Nations Climate Change
nuclear waste. The net result is that nuclear
its”—the trading among the 36 signers of
worldwide, even dangerously limited right
talks, which took place in The Hague in
power produces emissions of 73 to 230
the protocol—among industrial plants that
here in Centre County.
November 2000, determined that nuclear
grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour of electric-
emit less carbon who can sell resulting
Climatologists tell us that if the demands
power is a dangerous and unnecessary tech-
ity produced.
credits to those who have exceeded their
of developing countries are met by burning
nology. In April of the following year, dur-
As there are a limited number of high-
allowances. This is seen as a loophole
fossil fuels, more and more carbon dioxide
grade uranium ore deposits, when these
allowing polluting industries in countries
and other greenhouse gases will enter the
Conference, the U.N. went further and
high-grade deposits become exhausted,
that signed the protocol to continue to pol-
atmosphere. This could lead to rising seas,
unequivocally denounced nuclear power as
lower-grade uranium ore will be have to be
lute the atmosphere. The Obama
elimination of other large bodies of water,
a sustainable technology. In an interview
used. This in turn will lead to CO2 emis-
Administration considered building more
fiercer storms, longer droughts, and severe
with England’s The Independent a
sions that are at even greater rates than coal-
nuclear reactors, which would have cost the
medical conditions. Some of these changes
spokesperson representing the International
fired stations. The result will be that even
taxpayers $50 billion but thankfully it did
are already in evidence. Recall that many of
Atomic Energy Agency admitted that it was
more CO2 will be released causing even
not become part of the stimulus plan. In
our U.S. cities have smog warnings. Such
very questionable that nuclear power could
more global warming.
addition, building more nuclear reactors
heavy air pollution is most notably causing
stop climate change.
In the Kyoto Protocol written at the June
will undoubtedly add more CO2 to the
a haze across southern Asia, mainly from
Is central Pennsylvania going to be
1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro,
car exhaust. The recent Olympic Games
affected by nuclear power, considered by
Brazil and signed by President Bill Clinton,
In Pennsylvania, residents have noticed
held in China and the massive effort on the
many to be negatively altering our global
countries were asked to reduce greenhouse
that the summers are getting warmer and air
part of the Beijing authorities to clear the air
climate? The general public is led to believe
gases by specific percentages. President
conditioners are being used for longer peri-
before the games began was indeed a stark
that nuclear power is an endless source of
George W. Bush overturned it with the
ods of time. Scientists tell us that nuclear
energy that can abate our global climate
unfortunate result that Congress did not rat-
power does not work well in climates that
How can we stop or at least ameliorate
problems, but this is simply not the case.
ify the protocol. It was a clear embarrass-
are warming due to global changes in the
global warming? So far, the evidence tells
There are claims that the use of nuclear
ment to many of us who know that the
Earth’s weather patterns. Recall that in the
us that certainly not by adding more nuclear
power can stop or at least slow down cli-
United States produces 25 percent of the
summer of 2004 hundreds of people died
reactors across the globe. Nuclear power
mate change but this does not seem likely,
world’s greenhouse gas emissions with a
across Europe due to a massive heat wave.
plants, without a doubt, will exacerbate the
especially when considering the entirety of
projection of even more in the years to
Nuclear reactors were forced to shut down
global climate problem.
the nuclear fuel chain. The chain starts with
come. Should our citizenry ask President
in Europe and similarly in the United
The Peace & Social Action Committee of
uranium mining, which is then converted,
Barack Obama to reinstate The Kyoto
States. In fact, it is common to see nuclear
the State College Friends Meeting:
then enriched before being transported to a
Protocol? It is the opinion of the State
reactors being forced to close during heat
[email protected] or (814) 237-0242.
Handsome tundra swan heralds the onset of spring
by Alice Fuller
with their pure white bodies contrasting
with the deep blue surface.
Flying high, heading north. On a recent
The Tundra swan is the species we most
sunny Monday morning, the notes of call-
often see in our part of the country, and it is
ing voices floated down from blue skies.
the most common swan in North America.
One naturalist described it as musical
They live primarily on vegetable matter and
laughter. I raced into the house for binocu-
therefore choose to feed in shallow water.
lars; wet clothes could wait a bit to dry.
of a funny cartoon I had seen in Audubon
Their long necks can reach down to pull up
High overhead, in a long thin V, a flock of
magazine. The cartoonist had sketched
roots of wild plants, and they can submerge
swans moved swiftly across the sky.
some swans flying in an inverted V with the
head and neck for quite some time. Often
They were wasting no time on that bright
swans on the two outer points leading the
they tip up like the dabbling ducks, and if it
day; I wondered where they would find
way. One swan is saying to another, “I have
is amusing to see them feed in this fashion,
open water on which to rest. W. E. Clyde
a nagging feeling we’re doing something
it is even funnier to see the great white bot-
manner imaginable, without bringing their
Todd observed that cold is not a deterrent to
wrong.” With six inches of snow lying on
toms of the swans protruding from the
long legs forward, or making any splash.”
swans, but they do need open water. In his
the ground today, I wonder if those swans
Swans we see in the spring and fall are
Birds of Western Pennsylvania , he com-
flying high and fast on Monday might not
Tundra swans are exceedingly fast fliers
most likely to be tundras. Occasionally, we
mented, “When the ice has weakened on
have the feeling that they, too, had been
and are also very competent swimmers,
do see mute swans in our region, and that
Erie Bay and open leads here and there, the
doing something wrong.
being extremely graceful at both activities.
can be during any season. The mute swan is
swans may be expected.”
One hopes that many more swans will
One observer, E. S. Cameron, is credited
a European species brought to this country
Somewhere, some place, the swans
travel our way as lakes and ponds thaw and
with this quotation in several bird books: “A
to adorn parks, lakes and estates; some have
expected to find some sign of winter’s
the birds take time in central Pennsylvania
compact flock of from four to six swift-fly-
escaped to become wild birds. Usually,
weakness on a lake farther north.
for a brief rest from their long journey to the
ing swans will circle the whole basin of the
most of the wild mute swans are found on
While I watched them move on, a couple
northernmost reaches of our continent. One
lake several times, and then, as if tied
the Atlantic seaboard, especially on Long
of the swans apparently had moved out of
can hardly picture a more beautiful sight
together, alight in the closest proximity to
place and were jockeying for a new position
than a flock of handsome tundra swans
each other, yet never collide. They will
in one of the trailing lines. It made me think
floating undisturbed on a mirror of water,
pitch upon the water in the most graceful
see Swan , pg. 14

March 2009
openly rejected in Snow Shoe, Resource
process. She explained that after the
The board review is scheduled for the
Recovery won acceptance among Rush
Alternatives Development and Impact
spring and summer of 2010, according the
from Landfill , pg. 11
Township supervisors and proceeded to
Assessment stages are completed, the
agency’s informational handout.
Potts said the rail line would create “at
pursue a point of access road from I-80 to
agency will conduct a meeting to address
Contact People Protecting Communities
minimum six new jobs” for local residents.
service their proposed dump. In August
the EIS draft. Upon addressing the com-
at www.stoplandfill.com.
He also said R.J. Corman Railroad
2005, the I-80 point of access road was
ments on the EIS draft, the STB will issue a
For more information on the Surface
Company contacted Resource Recovery
final draft and send it to Washington D.C.
Transportation Board go to www.stb.dot.gov.
LLC as the I-80 Interchange was being dis-
Then in November of 2007, PPC organ-
for board review, which will issue a final
Information about R.J. Corman Railroad
puted. “We called RRLLC when the I-80
ized to oust Rush Township Supervisor Jack
is available at www.rjcorman.com.
Interchange did not work out for them,” he
Shannon, who had supported the landfill
and successfully replaced him with landfill
gray. The tundra swan in flight sketched by
Landfill opponents charged that public
opponent Mike Savage.
from Swan , pg. 13
Dorothy Bordner might be a bird that was
information was limited, such as copies of
Five months later, the federal Surface
marooned in a storm and at last hastens to
the Federal Register.
Transportation Board, which is responsible
Island and southward.
catch the next migrating flock to pass by.
“The Federal Register was not accessible
for authorizing the construction, operation,
Although both species are all white, they
On a March day over a hundred years
to the attendees at the meeting,” Savage
and maintenance of new rail line facilities,
are easy to tell apart. The mute swan swims
ago, Henry David Thoreau penned these
explained. “And the displays did not include
revealed that R.J. Corman Railroad planned
with its neck gracefully curved, while the
words that will touch a responsive chord in
any of the 13 environmental impact cate-
to reactivate rail lines to service the
tundra swan holds its neck straight and its
many of us who feel deeply about each
gories or the four alternatives listed in the
Resource Recovery landfill.
bill level. It also has a black bill, while the
spring’s arrival, the laughing voices of
Federal Register.”
In January
mature mute swan has an orange bill with a
swans high overhead and the wonders of
In 2004, Resource Recovery, LLC, con-
Transportation Board prepared to conduct
black knob at the base.
new beginnings: “Each new year is a sur-
tacted the supervisors of Snow Shoe and
an Environmental Impact Statement.
I recall last spring visiting Grazier Mill
prise to us. We find that we had virtually
Rush Townships proposing the installation
“We’re looking at culverts, alignments
Pond, which is not far from Warrior’s Mark.
forgotten the note of each bird, and when
of a landfill, incinerator and industrial park
and road crossings,” said Dick Balas of
Amid the numerous mallards and one male
we hear it again it is remembered like a
on a 5,800-acre site that straddles both
TranSystems, a third party contractor.
pintail duck swam a solitary tundra swan. It
dream, reminding us of a previous state of
counties. Opposition to the landfill in Snow
have to look at what the impact of these
apparently had the good sense to find a safe
existence. How happens it that the associa-
Shoe led to the development of People
things will be on the environment.”
refuge from the snowy skies. The bird
tions it awakens are always pleasing, never
Protecting Communities, a grass roots
The STB official who refused to give her
moved serenely among the mallards, whose
saddening; reminiscences of our sanest
organization comprised of residents focused
name said the agency is halfway through
green heads dusted with snow made them
hours? The voice of nature is always
on keeping the landfill out. After being
the Environmental Impact Statement
look as though they had turned prematurely
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March 2009
A stimulus package of, by and for the people
by Christopher Uhl
being divvied up, I found myself sitting
ioned them into front-yard benches? And
here in Central Pennsylvania watching and
what if we envisioned neighborhood inter-
Ever since coming of age in the sixties,
hoping for good news. But then it occurred
sections, not as simply places where two
during the Vietnam War, I have longed to
to me that citizens don’t just “watch and
streets come together but as neighborhood
believe in my country, yearned to feel proud
hope.” They act.
gathering places with bulletin boards, food
of my citizenship. But from that time until
As I considered both where and how I
stands, tables, play spaces, and art?
just recently, the truth is that I was often
could act, I realized that there is arguably no
Why stop there? What if we began to
been ashamed of “my” country’s policies
me to travel to D.C. It wasn’t just about this
more appropriate and powerful an arena for
wear nametags and to genuinely greet each
and actions.
guy Obama being inaugurated. At a person-
citizen action than the social-geographic
other, stripping away the anonymity that
And then along came this fellow
al level, I realized that I had come, in some
unit we call
“neighborhood.” As Jay
keeps us cloistered and alone? And what if
Obama—a tapestry of Black, White,
measure, for my own inauguration—my
Walljasper of the Project for Public Spaces
we established neighborhood enterprises—
Indonesia, Africa, America, Christianity,
own induction—into citizenship! I had
points out, “The neighborhood is the basic
producing bread in front-yard, wood-fired
Islam—a mongrel uniquely suited for a
come to say “Yes!” to my country—to
unit of human civilization. Unlike cities,
bread ovens; exchanging home grown veg-
nation of mongrels.
declare my readiness to act as a citizen
counties, wards, townships, enterprise
etables, herbs, and eggs from backyard gar-
As I watched the election unfold some-
instead of a cynic.
zones, and other artificial entities, the
dens and hen houses; displaying hand made
thing began to shift inside me. Where there
That was over a month ago. In the interim
neighborhood is easily recognized as a real
quilts for barter or sale, growing u-pick
was once despair and cynicism, I now felt a
we’ve witnessed a deepening recession,
place. It’s the spot on earth we call home.”
strawberries and blueberries next to our
measure of hope and excitement. Just prior
skyrocketing unemployment, epidemic
So, imagine, if you will, gathering with
sidewalks, offering free foot massages to
to voting, I said to myself, “If this guy wins,
foreclosures, banking failures and more.
the folks in your neighborhood to really
people trekking home from work, placing a
I’m going to D.C. for the inauguration.”
People, who have lost their jobs and can’t
consider your own—not the govern-
favorite book or magazine in a special “giv-
This was not a rational decision. I didn’t
meet mortgage payments or health care
ment’s—heartfelt responses to the question,
ing box” by our mailboxes? And while we
weigh the pros and cons. I simply thought
costs, are burdened with angst and fear.
What needs to be “stimulated” and “stimu-
are at it, how about making a map of neigh-
to myself, “I have gone to D.C. so many
Even those who still have jobs register
lating” in your neighborhood? For example,
borhood households based on an inventory
times to protest; I want to go to celebrate.”
alarm as their “nest eggs” rapidly shrink.
how about “stimulating” hospitality, con-
of household gifts and talents as well as
As I stood by the Washington Monument
Our government’s first response to the
versation, kindness, creativity, household
amidst the multitudes on that cold January
economic crisis has been the Recovery and
enterprises, art, mutual caring, and trust?
day, I realized that there was something
And to this end, what if we removed the
see Stimulus , pg. 22
beyond “celebration” that had compelled
“Stimulus.” As this stimulus money was
fences separating our properties and refash-