De Lage Landen Financial Services

DeLage Landen Financial Services, Inc. (DLL) is currently involved in several lawsuits filed in the courts of Chester County, Pennsylvania. If you are the victim of one of these DeLage Landen lawsuits, there are some things that you should be aware of in regard to DeLage Landen's business practices and how they relate to the lawsuits being filed.

DLL is a "lease financing" company based in Wayne, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Usually in a lease financing deal, the lessee, typically a small business or non-profit, contacts a local vendor to lease a piece of equipment – be it an office copier, or piece of medical equipment – and the vendor then shows the lessee the equipment and describes its features. When the lessee decides that they are interested in purchasing the equipment, the vendor uses the lessee's credit score and credit rating to obtain financing, in this case from DeLage Landen Financial Services. This is not "financing" in the strictest sense of the word in that DLL actually buys the equipment and immediately leases it to the lessee. The problem is that often times the lessee often does not realize that they are not dealing solely with the vendor. If fact, it is possible that DLL will use the assumed name of a different financing company which may be very similar to that of the vendor and DLL's name does not appear anywhere on the leasing documents signed by the lessee.While this practice may seem deceive , it is actually quite common in the lease financing industry.

When a company or non-profit is sued by DLL for non-payment, this may be the first time that they aware that their contract is with DLL. Many of the companies sued by DLL are not based in the state of Pennsylvania, have never done business in Pennsylvania and never transacted with an entity in Pennsylvania. They are surprised to learn that they can be sued in the Chester Court of common pleas, usually due to "floating jurisdiction clause" which normally appears in the lease. While these clauses have been routinely taken up by the judges of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, it is possible, depending upon the lease to have the case dismissed by the Pennsylvania Courts.

The lawsuits DeLage Landen Financial Services files in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas are usually based on Breach of Contract, Conversion, Replevin – also known as claim and delivery – a way for a person or company to recover goods unlawfully withheld from their possession, and other various claims. If you have been sued by DeLage Landen Financial Services, Inc. in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, it is important that you speak to an attorney who is experienced in defending these suits. The leases used by DeLage Landen Financial Services, Inc. are usually structured in such a way as to be favorable to DLL; there are still viable defenses that can be used, including claims against the vendor who helped structure the transaction.

If you are involved in a lawsuit bought by DeLage Landon Financial Services, Inc., contact a competent Chester County Lawyer to discuss the facts of your case and prepare a defense against the claims that you face.

John Fleming Wakefield – Missionary Extraordinaire

John Fleming Wakefield was born 12 September 1812 in Brush Valley, Indiana, Pennsylvania.

John Fleming was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church) by a missionary of the Church named Erastus Snow as he preached the Gospel in western Pennsylvania. Almost the Wakefields were of the Methodist faith and several members of the Wakefield family played a prominent part in building up the Methodist Churches in that area.

After listening to the preaching of Erastus Snow, John Fleming was baptized a member of the Church on 25 October 1836 at age 24.

John Fleming Wakefield then became a missionary for the Church and accompanied Erastus Snow to Brush Valley, Pennsylvania.

At that time, there was a family living in Brush Valley whose father was David Garlick. The name Garlick was actually an Americanized version of the German family name .. When the Pennsylvania Dutch family came to America, they chose an American name that was the closest to their German family name. Elizabeth was David's wife and they had the following children; Hannah 1818-1892, Susannah (1820-1890), Mary Jane (1822-1900), Talitha Cumi (1824-1902), Joseph Gastin (1827-1915), Sarah, Elizabeth (1830-1904) and Eliza Elizabeth 1835-1841).

One night, the wife, Elizabeth, had a dream that two young men came up the path to their house and there was a sign over their heads that said, "These are the true messengers of God, hear and obey." The next day Elizabeth told the dream
to her family.

The next week, two young men came up the walkway to their house. Elizabeth exclaimed, "Those are the two young men I saw in my dream." The two men were John Fleming Wakefield and William Bosley. They were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elizabeth and two of the children were baptized, but David and the other children were not.

After his mission was over, John Fleming went back to Brush Valley and married Susannah Garlick on 5 August 1838 in Pennsylvania.

John and Susannah moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where they took an active part in the Church. John was one of the "special missionaries," sent to various counties in Illinois to disabuse the public mind about the Prophet Joseph Smith, his arrest, and alleged crimes.

Due to separate persecution, the members of the Church in Nauvoo including John and Susannah and their family were preparing to leave Nauvoo to seek rest from persecution.

John died on 13th of January 1854, near Nauvoo before he could guide his family to the Salt Lake Valley in what is now Salt Lake City, Utah.

In the words of his son, John Fleming Wakefield II, "Who knows but that father is now laboring in the missionary field in continuation of the labor he was doing while here on earth."

How to Win the Connecticut Pick 4, New York Win 4, & Pennsylvania Big 4 Lotteries

The Connecticut Pick 4, New York Win 4, and PA Big 4 Lotteries have the same amount of drawings. Each State's Lottery Pick 4 games offer two drawings per day seven days a week. I decided to compare the Daily Pick 4 midday and evening drawings and results of these three neighbling states from the period of February 1, 2009 through April 30, 2009.

The Pick 4 Lottery has 10,000 possible winning numbers from 0000 to 9999 to play with an investment of either $ .50 or $ 1. To play a straight ticket means that the player expects his / her four (4) chosen digits to come in the exact order of the drawn Pick 4, Win 4, or Big 4 numbers in their relevant States.

The Pick 4 Lottery is a popular choice for professional lottery players because of payout of $ 5,000 for a $ 1 Straight Ticket Win. The 10,000 to 1 odds of winning a Straight Ticket is very winnable compared to the State Lotteries, Powerball, and Mega Millions with the odds of over 175 million to one of winning the multimillion dollar jackpot.

The Win 4 number with all four digits being the same is known as a "Quad". These numbers – 0000, 1111, 2222, 3333, 4444, 5555, 6666, 7777, 8888, & 9999 – can only be played as a Straight Ticket investment because it is the only form available. Each of these ten number's odds is 10,000 to 1, and the payout for one dollar is $ 5,000.

Most average Americans believe the only way to become "rich" is to win the Lottery. Despite the astronomical odds against them of winning they invest their money in these multimillion dollar prize drawings in hopes that this time they will be "The Jackpot Winner". But week after week they throw their losing tickets away. Their hopes of winning are rekindled as the jackpot amounts soar to new heights of $ 100 to $ 300 Million.

These folks are just "gambling" their money away. Most professional investors will tell that in order to be successful you need to know the odds against you, have a strategy or system for your game of choice, and use good money management. When you do these things, you can become a winner. Some professional lottery players, including the Pick 4, Win 4, and Big 4 players make a second income with smart knowledgeable investment strategies and good money management. Others make it their full-time job. With one $ 20 investment a Winning Straight Pick 4 Ticket pays out $ 100,000. This is a nice year salary which doubles that of the average American worker.
There is another option of investment for the Win 4 players, and that is investing your money smartly on a "Box Ticket". The Box Ticket allows you winning four digits to come in any order. The odds are lower and so are the payouts.

If you play a "Triple" Pick 4 number such as 1222, then you will be a Winner if any of the following orders are drawn: 1222, 2122, 2212, or 2221. In playing a Triple number (three of the four digits are the same) you have reduced your odds of winning to 2500 to 1. Your Box Ticket Payout for each $ 1 is $ 1200. Or, for a $ .50 Box Ticket you will receive $ 600. This is a great return on your investment. These numbers are referred to as 4-way box. One $ 5 investment will give you a ROI of $ 6,000.

The next playable numbers are known as 6-way box numbers or "double-doubles". The four digits are composed of two sets of 2-like numbers such as 2233. By playing double-doubles in the PA Big 4 Game to be drawn in any order – 2233, 3322, 2332, 3223, 2323, & 3232 – your return on your $ 1 Box Ticket will be $ 800. Your odds of winning are 1,667 to 1. A $ 7 Box investment on the right number will bring in over $ 5,000.

With odds of 833 to 1 the "double" or 12-way Pick 4 Box Winning number will increase your wealth by $ 400 for every one dollar invested. In a double number two of the four numbers are the same, and can come in any order: 1233, 2133, 3312, 3321, 3132, 3231, 1332, 2331, 3132, 3231, 3123, & 3213. A $ 5 Box Ticket investment gives you a ROI of $ 2000 with any of these 12 possible winning numbers.

The last and largest segment of Pick 4 numbers are known as "singles". All four digits are different …. 1234. There are twenty-four different forms of 1234 that will make you a Winner. Your $ 1 investment will pay you $ 200. Your odds of winning are lowered to 417-1.

Comparing the last months (February.-March-April 2009) of these three State Lotteries of Pick 4, Win 4, and Big 4 the chart below shows the outcomes from each of these five groups of Daily Pick 4 Winning numbers.

CT Pick 4
# of Draws – 178 = 100%
Quads – 0 = 0%
Triple – 7 = 4%
Dbl-Dbl – 5 = 3%
Doubles – 77 = 43%
Singles – 89 = 50%

NY Win 4
# of Draws – 178 = 100%
Quads – 1 = 1/2%
Triple – 9 = 5%
Dbl-Dbl – 2 = 1%
Doubles – 70 = 39%
Singles – 96 = 54%

PA Big 4
# of Draws – 178 = 100%
Quads – 0 = 0%
Triple – 7 = 4%
Dbl-Dbl – 3 = 1%
Doubles – 71 = 40%
Singles – 97 = 54%

Note: Due to fractional percentages the totals are rounded up and may not always equal 100 percent.

If you want to WIN, then according to the chart above, your best investment potential is to stay with singles and doubles. These two categories represent 93 to 97 percent of all the winning Pick 4 numbers.

The Connecticut Pick 4, New York Win 4, and Pennsylvania Big 4 results are very similar with very little difference in their percentages. Play smart, start by choosing to keep your investments to single and double CT Pick 4, NY Win 4 and PA Big 4 numbers. Find a proven and verifiable Pick 4 Strategy and use good money management to be a successful Pick 4 Player to put some extra money in your pocket.

Pennsylvania Driver's License Suspensions and DUI Cases

Pennsylvania DUI driver's license suspensions are handled by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot). The Department has the authority to suspend or revoke the licenses and driving privileges of those arrested for DUI. License suspensions are not imposed by a criminal trial judge. A report of your conviction is sent to PennDot by the court and PennDot determines the suspension.

If you are arrested for DUI in Pennsylvania, your license will be suspended if you refuse to submit to a breath / blood test or if you provide a chemical test result of .08 or higher. Upon conviction, the Criminal Court Judge is required to send to PennDot a form detailing your conviction. PennDot then determines your suspension period and notifies you, usually within 4-6 weeks of conviction. The Criminal Court Judge does not have any ability change the term of your license suspension which is determined solely by PennDot. There are no harps exceptions as PennDot applies the law equally to everyone.

Implied Consent Law:

Consequences of Chemical Test Refusal – Pennsylvania DUI law requires additional penalies to be imposed upon DUI suspects who refuse to submit to chemical test analysis. Refusals carry an automatic suspension of your driver's license or privilege to drive within the state for a period of 1 year, or 18 months if you previously refused chemical testing. The driver's license suspension that flows from your refusal is in ADDITION to whatever suspension may be ordered by the court as part of your sentence in your criminal DUI case. The Arresting Police Officer is generally responsible for sending a report to PennDot, informing them of your alleged refusal to submit to chemical testing. PennDot will then, within a few weeks, send to you a letter informing you of your driver's license suspension.

Statutory Appeals Hearing – Although your driver's license is said to be automatically suspended for 1 year upon your refusal to submit to a chemical test, you still have the opportunity to contest the suspension by requesting what is called an "Stautory Appeals Hearing." The hearing is a civil hearing that is held to resolve the issues surrounding the suspension of your driver's license or driving privileges in the state of Pennsylvania. In order to qualify for a hearing, you must request one within 30 days of being notified by PennDot. Failure to timely request a hearing will be considered a waiver of your right to contest your suspension.

At the hearing, a Judge will consider the testimony of the arresting officer to determine whether a refusal actually occurred and whether you were placed under lawful arrest. If the Judge determined that there was not sufficient evidence to establish a refusal took place or that your arrest was unlawful, your license will be reinstated and your driving privileges will be fully restored. If the police officer does not appear to testify as to the circumances surrounding your alleged refusal to submit to the chemical test, your appeal will generally be sustained and your driving privilege restored.

The Railroad Roots of Altoona, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Railroad:

No city is more synonymous with the Pennsylvania Railroad than Altoona. Located at the base of Brush Mountain, in Logan and Pleasant valleys, it is the state’s tenth most-populous one after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Scranton, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Harrisburg. But it was that very mountain which first inhibited, and then sparked, its growth.

Blanketed by hard-wood forests and traversed by the spine of the Appalachian Mountain range-which stretches from Newfoundland to Alabama and serves as the Eastern Continental Divide-Pennsylvania posed an obstacle to both westward population expansion and trade with its own Allegheny ridge section of them thrust as high as 4,000 feet toward the sky. Trans-state travel, by rudimentary tracks and trails left by wild animals and Native Americans, over the imposing peaks, required three weeks to complete-under the best of conditions.

British colonists, etching out a few clearings for farms in the 18th century, constituted the area’s first modern settlers, while early industrialists harnessed its minerals through coal and iron furnaces. Yet their products could only be transported by wagons to Pittsburgh, considered the gateway to the west, over these crude trails.

The first remedial effort to ease this transportation barrier was made in 1823 when John Stevens was granted a state charter to construct a dual-section railroad, the first from Philadelphia to Columbia and the second from Columbia to Pittsburgh. But the idealized, east-west rail link evaporated with its promised capital.

New impetus for the connection, however, occurred when trade, hitherto brisk in Philadelphia, was siphoned off to the Erie Canal route, completed in 1825, and legislature, attempting to reverse its effects, authorized construction of a state-owned Main Line Canal linking Philadelphia with Pittsburgh for the first time by means of the Allegheny Portage Railroad. Opening on March 18, 1834, it employed an inter-modal system in which canal boats would ply waterways to the Hollidaysburg Canal Basin in the east before being transferred on to flatbed rail cars and then transported across the 36.65-mile Allegheny Ridge section, pulled by cables and stationary steam engines. Refloated in the Johnstown Canal Basin in the west, they would then complete their journey to Pittsburgh via water.

Although it reduced the trans-Pennsylvania trip to four days over the rudimentary, trail-plied Conestoga wagon method, the system was still less-than-optimal, arduous to negotiate, and subjected to the occasional mishap. What was needed was a single-mode, continuous-track link, the obstacle to which, of course, was the mountainous terrain.

Its spark, once again, was lit by competition. Indeed, destined already for Pittsburgh, at least in construction form, was track to be used by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, stretching 178 miles from Cumberland, Maryland, and approaching it from the southeast.

Fearing a second loss to its lucrative trade with the west, Philadelphia advocated a Pennsylvania-indigenous lifeline across the state in the form of a rapid, efficient, single-mode rail link. Surprisingly, the Pennsylvania State Assembly, concurring with the need, authorized both the extension of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s track to Pittsburgh and the charter of a state-reflective line named the “Pennsylvania Railroad,” which was to construct a 249-mile extension of the existing Philadelphia-Harrisburg track, consequently competing with the Main Line Canal and Allegheny Portage Railroad interchange system.

First movement of the indigenous, intra-state line, no further than an inch, was the one imprinted on paper in the form of Governor Francis R. Skunk’s signature on April 13, 1846, changing vision into law, and such overwhelming support had been received for the new railroad, that the Baltimore and Ohio charter was revoked the following year.

Following election of the first board of directors, comprised of President Samuel Vaughn Merrick and Chief Engineer John Edgar Thomson, on March 30, 1847, surveys revealed three potential routes, the most feasible of which was the westerly one from Harrisburg through Logan’s Narrows to Sugar Gap Run and then to Robinson’s Summit (which would later be named “Altoona”), following the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers before gaining 800 feet of elevation over the Allegheny Mountains and terminating in Pittsburgh.

But the Allegheny Portage Railroad could only surmount the imposing peaks by means of its ten inclined planes. How, then, could the Pennsylvania Railroad do so without them? And, while both were seen as competitors, in reality, they initially complemented one another.

The Pennsylvania Railroad’s eastern section, consisting of 173 miles of track from Lancaster to Duncansville, opened in September of 1850, connecting the following month with the Allegheny Portage system, while the western section, from Pittsburgh to Johnstown, was completed on December 10, 1852.

The Allegheny Portage, having already walked in the Pennsylvania’s shoes with its intermediate, and laboriously-slow, mountain vaulting water-and-rail interchange, only temporarily served as its link, since it attempted to design an all-track route.

The problem lay, literally, in laying track, which would have to climb the mountain’s rock face to surmount its 1,216-foot summit through a tunnel with existing locomotive capability, yet avoid the stationary engine-inclined plane system. The required grade would have been prohibitive.

The solution was a long, double loop of track, which assumed a more gradual, locomotive-capable elevation gain, reducing a ten-percent grade (or a rise of ten feet for every 100 feet of distance) to a more docile 1.8 percent.

Touted along the north side of the valley, the line arced to the left, over a manmade embankment, to Kittanning Point, where it formed, after necessary rock wall chiseling, the now-famous, half-mile-long Horseshoe Curve, its gradual rise indicated by its west side elevation, which is 122 feet higher than its east.

Declared operational on February 15, 1854, it reduced the four-day journey between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh by the Allegheny Portage Railroad to only 15 hours by its Pennsylvania counterpart, and caused a rapid passenger and freight loss to it, forcing the dual-mode interchange system to concede defeat.

Although it had employed hybrid technology of infantile development, it nevertheless succeeded in surmounting the topographical obstacle and served as one of the necessary steps in man’s technological climb.

More importantly, the Horseshoe Curve, symbolic of the triumph of the state’s very Allegheny Mountains to east-west travel, sparked a secondary rise-from the virgin land-of the city needed to maintain it and the railroad which had given birth to it. That city was Altoona.

Altoona Shop Complex:

Located at the foot of the Alleghenies, Altoona sprouted from the 224-acre David Robinson farm whose strategic location, 235 miles west of Philadelphia and 116 miles east of Pittsburgh, was optimal from which to dispatch additional locomotive power to aid the climb over the increasing grade. In conjunction with these train reconfigurations was the need for both engine and unpowered rolling stock maintenance and repair.

The deed of transfer, signed on April 24, 1849 after the $10,000 purchase price had been paid, provided the necessary land for the first railroad shops. As the heart of the Allegheny Mountains, nourished by the area’s coal, iron, lumber, and water resources, the town pumped life into the area.

Based upon the original plans devised in 1849, the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Altoona Complex included a machine shop, an engine house, and an erecting shop, to which were added an eight-stall and -track roundhouse and a long structure housing a locomotive repair shop, a foundry, a blacksmith, a machine shop, a woodwork shop, and a painting shop, enabling it to maintain its first, single-track connection with Pittsburgh by means of sections of the New Portage Railroad in 1850. Progressive capability enabled it to perform the three primary functions of car production, locomotive part manufacture, and repair.

But insatiable demand required ever-increasing capacity. By 1855, its existing facilities had been expanded and a 26-stall engine house had been built.

The city’s own growth paralleled that of the railroad complex’s, increasing from 2,000 in 1854 to 3,591 in 860 and eclipsing the 10,000-level a decade later, at which time a full ten percent of its population had been employed by the railroad shops. They had intermittently burgeoned into a mini-metropolis of their own, with a car shop, a tin shop, a carpenter shop, a car repair shop, a boiler shop, a roundhouse, an engine repair shop, a paint shop, and an iron and brass foundry. Administrative offices were located throughout the city.

Acquisition of the Main Line of Public Works in 1857 and the closure of the New Portage Railroad only served to increase rail transport demand, requiring commensurate capacity increases in the Altoona Complex.

Civil War-necessitated demand of rail cars to transport Union Force munitions and soldiers further rendered the Pennsylvania Railroad’s facilities integral to the effort, sparking yet another series of expansions in 1862.

But the unending demand, exerting its effects against the boundaries of its original, 1850 Altoona Machine Shops Complex, coupled with the increasing size of locomotives, prompted it to consider a secondary engine production and repair location. The engines themselves, hitherto weighing under 30 tons and built up of smaller sections, could be manually moved and assembled with the aid of basic blocks, jacks, and swing cranes, but their increasing capability, reflected by their sheer size, required greater clearances and power cranes to move, neither of which could be accommodated within the original compound.

The Consolidation engine, for instance, weighed 48 tons, but was succeeded by the 57.3-ton Class R type of 1885.

The new site, in the eastern section of the city, was reflected by the facility’s very name-the Juniata Shops-which were constructed between September of 1888 and 1890, and offered a full array of functions: a blacksmith shop; a paint shop; a boiler shop; electric, hydraulic, and gas houses; a paint structure; storerooms; a hydraulic transfer table, and an office. A longitudinal assembly line, in a boiler-blacksmith-machine-erecting shop configuration, facilitated increased locomotive production, which standardly began with the flanging, punching, construction, and riveting of its boiler in its appropriate shop before being moved, in completed form, to the erecting location. Frames and forgings, having been transferred from the blacksmith to the machine shop, were now united with the cylinders and castings, positioned at the center of the building, while the boiler was joined with its matching parts in the erecting shop.

Final assembly, progressing from individual parts at the building’s west end to a completed unit at its east, usually required a week.

Like its Altoona counterpart, the Juniata Complex expanded in response to the demand exerted on it. Enlarged erecting, blacksmith, machine, and boiler shops, for example, were built between 1902 and 1903, and a second blacksmith shop and altogether new storehouse were subsequently added.

At the end of World War I, a second machine shop took its place within the sprawling facility and it was initially used for locomotive tender construction and repair.

By 1926, the Juniata Locomotive Shop consisted of two blacksmith shops, a boiler shop, two machine shops, a tank shop, and an erecting and machine shop, enabling it to repair four locomotives per day and produce 12 altogether new ones per month. A fire, occurring on December 27, 1931 and incapacitating the original Altoona Complex, resulted in the transfer of all locomotive work to Juniata seven years later.

Two historical events increased activity to a fever pitch: during World War I, tanks let out an unceasing plea for armor plat strengthening, while the complex’s transition from the traditional steam engine to the more advanced diesel-electric type necessitated internal reconfigurations. Because of its increased reliability, however, it also signaled the reduction of personnel by 1957, since it required fewer repairs and overhauls.

The Altoona Works, peeking with 122 buildings and 218 acres of yards spanning three miles, employed 20,000-4,000 of whom worked in the yards and 16,000 of whom were in the shops-and produced 6,873 locomotives, becoming the world’s largest such railroad shop complex. Altoona’s population hovered at the 90,000-mark.

Once subdivided into five locations, it performed locomotive repair and production in the Altoona Machine Shops, themselves comprised of 36 departments and running from 12th to 16th streets. The Altoona Car Shops, located in the southern portion of the city, both built and repaired passenger, parlor, sleeping, and mail coaches. The Juniata Shops fielded the full range of current locomotive propulsion types: steam, electric, gas electric, and diesel electric.

At 395 feet in diameter, with a 75-foot turntable, the East Altoona Engine House, its fourth location, was the world’s largest, featuring 50 stalls. The hub of locomotive servicing, it handled between 325 and 350 per day, including the T-1 Class, the last and largest steam engine built in Altoona after a 110-foot turntable had been installed in 1942. The nearby East Altoona Coal Dock, a 135-foot-high concrete structure based by a steel-frame and replenished by 35 daily hopper cars, supplied steam engines employed on the Pittsburgh and Middle divisions with its 1,250-ton capacity.

The South Altoona Foundries, the fifth of the complex’s facilities, produced wheels for both locomotives and cars.

The post-World War II decline in train travel, sparked by an increase in automobile popularity, saw the progressive replacement of the railways with highways, beginning a period of Altoona Shop facility and employee retrenchment.

The short-lived merger between the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central, which formed Penn Central on February 1, 1968 and initiated a $6.5 million modernization program, just as quickly plunged into the tunnel of bankruptcy two years later, on June 21, emerging as Conrail after Congress passed the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 to study the precarious Penn Central situation. The recommended, and adopted, solution was the formation of the privately-owned Consolidated Rail Corporation, or “Conrail,” from similarly-blighted companies, including the Penn Central, the Erie Lackawanna, the Central of New Jersey, the LeHigh Valley, the Lehigh and Hudson River, and the Reading railroads, and, in the event, it selected the Juniata Locomotive Shops as its principle repair facility, of which it assumed managerial control.

After a 1983 modernization program, it was able to offer a full menu of production, repair, overhaul, and maintenance services of engine governors, alternators, power assemblies, fans, generators, and blower motors, as well as manufacture of state-of-the-art EMD and General Electric locomotives for BNSF, CSX, and Norfolk Southern, the latter of which ultimately acquired Conrail’s Pennsylvania route system and, indirectly, its Juniata Shop Complex.

Still fielding some 60 to 80 daily trains, including the easterly and westerly “Pennsylvania” runs to New York and Pittsburgh operated by Amtrak, Altoona, located at the foot of the Allegheny front and in close proximity to the Horseshoe Curve, capitalized on its topographical obstacles, making an invaluable contribution to both the country’s transportation infrastructure and the Industrial Revolution, through the Pennsylvania Railroad and its shop complex, in an ultimate obstacle-into-opportunity transformation.

An Allegheny Mountain tourist hub, the “Railroad City” of Altoona shares its past with present visitors through its Railroaders Memorial Museum and Horseshoe Curve sights.

Railroaders Memorial Museum:

Located in the 1882 Master Mechanics Building, formerly used by the Pennsylvania Railroad as a testing lab, “the Railroaders Memorial Museum,” according to its self-proclaimed purpose, “is dedicated to revealing, interpreting, commemorating, and celebrating the significant contributions of railroaders and their families to American life and industry,” chronicling the history of the railroad without which Altoona would not have existed.

Sprouting form a seed first planted in 1967, when the Altoona Railway Museum Club was formed, it was officially incorporated as the “Railroaders Memorial Museum” five years later. Its eventual five-acre parcel of land, once occupied by the Penn Central Railroad Shop Complex and sold by the Altoona Redevelopment Authority to Center Associates, was acquired in 1993, along with the former Masters Mechanics facility, and the museum, having already had its grand opening on September 21, 1980, celebrated a second such event 18 years later, on April 25, 1998, with these additions.

Entering the interactive museum’s time portal, which transports the visitor back to the Pennsylvania Railroad’s 1950s pinnacle-of-operations period by means of recreated scenes, store fronts, interiors, voices, and sounds, he finds himself at a railroad station alive with hissing steam and ear-piercing train whistles, about to board a full-sized replica of a K-4 locomotive displaying number 1361.

The reason for the town’s very existence is explained in the “Why in the World Altoona?” exhibit. Pittsburgh needed a rail connection with the eastern part of the state, it explains, and the fledgling Pennsylvania Railroad fiercely competed with the already-established Baltimore and Ohio for the right to build it. Eventually winning, it linked Pittsburgh in the west with its mirror-image metropolis in the east, Philadelphia. But mounting the Alleghenies was an almost impossible climb. A spot of wilderness, chosen by Chief Engineer Thomson, developed into the base camp, which supported the feat and was designated “Altoona,” ultimately evolving into the railroad capital of the world. Trains were designed, constructed, tested, and repaired here. Its people would change the face of America and prove indispensable in its protection, from the Civil War to World War II.

Like so many chapters of technological development, Altoona, its people, and the Pennsylvania Railroad played an important role in America’s rise as a nation.

Additional insight about the area’s railroad roots can be gleaned from two films, “Altoona at Work: An Era of Steam” and “Birth of a Curve,” shown in the first floor Norfolk Southern Theater.

The second floor “Railroad Work” and “A City of Railroaders” exhibits bring early-Altoona back to life by means of its storefront and neighborhood recreations, such as Dutch Hill and Little Italy, and even features an extensive Pennsylvania Railroad model train layout.

“The Pennsy was the ‘engine’ of Altoona’s growth,” it explains. “But the company did not build the city that made up ‘the rest of the train.'” Although it founded, laid out, and aided it, it elected not to own and construct the city beyond the actual shops. Nevertheless, the company’s power and influence coursed through its arteries. Its many neighborhoods were the result of railroaders reinvesting their savings to build houses, which, in turn, provided income-supplementing rents.

The visitor can temporarily step into their shoes. At the Newstand, which was formerly located at the 12th Street Bridge, a boy, “standing” behind it in holograph form and bordered by magazines for sale, relates tales about old Altoona. In Kelly’s Bar, which was once located at the threshold to one of the many railroad shops, you can also eavesdrop on the talk of the town.

Several residents shared insights through the philosophies they left behind. Sally Price, for example-a Pennsylvania Railroad clerk-proclaimed, “A dirty city was good because it meant that people had work. We always considered it gold dust, not coal dust. That’s what made America run.”

In May of 1936, Fortune magazine reported, “Think of the Pennsylvania Railroad as a nation at war. The men who move these trains are soldiers on duty, day and night.”

And the far-reaching value of the railroad’s track network, which ultimately spread throughout the northeast like a spider’s web, was captured by this compact gem: “Travel is the nation’s university.”

There was no more appropriate name for a railroad than that which reflected the very state it conquered and connected with the rest of the country.

The museum’s third floor exhibits, which offer a children’s focus, include “Railroaders as American Heroes,” “The World’s Fair,” “How to Run a Railroad,” “A Report to the Shareholders,” “The Test Labs,” and “The End of an Era.”

Outside, the museum invites the visitor to “stand at the center of what was once the greatest railroad shop complex in the world-the Altoona Works of the Pennsylvania Railroad.” Established in 1850, along with the town, the shops eventually sprouted across 218 acres and occupied 122 buildings. Containing 88 acres under roof, they held 4,500 machine tools and 94 overhead cranes. Four distinct groups of buildings emerged.

The shops met the Pennsylvania Railroad’s ever-growing need to build, test, repair, and rebuild a vast fleet. In the eight-decade period from 1866 to 1946, some 6,873 steam, diesel-electric, and electric locomotives were produced here, along with thousands of standard–and the world’s first all-steel–cars, of which 16,415 for freight alone emerged from its doors between 1921 and 1940.

Today, you can inspect several types of Pennsylvania Railroad cars, inclusive of a Class N5 cabin car/caboose (number 477577), a Class X29L steel boxcar (number 2136), an express refrigerator car (number 2561), and a Class D78F dining car (number 4468). At 81 feet in length, this “Altoona-built restaurant on wheels” accommodated 36 at formally set tables, but a later reconfiguration reduced this number to 32, along with another ten seated in a lounge section. In 1941, the Pennsylvania Railroad served 3.9 million meals.

Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark:

An innovative engineering approach to conquering the Allegheny Mountains and thus provide a trans-Pennsylvania, continuous-track, east-west rail link between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the Horseshoe Curve replaced the inclined-plane hurdle employed by the Allegheny Portage Railroad. Located 5.9 miles from the Railroaders Memorial Museum, it is included in its admission price.

With its increasing popularity as a train-viewing area, Kattanning Point, site of the curve, was developed into a telegraph and sightseeing station in 1855, while a reservoir, built in the middle of it, provided water to the ever-growing city of Altoona.

Demand for rail transport, generated by the equally growing country’s need for factory-produced commodities, soon necessitated increased train frequencies, which, in tun, required additional track to accommodate. The Horseshoe Curve, opening with a single line, was quadrupled by the very end of the 19th century, receiving a second track in 1898, a third in 1899, and a fourth in 1900, the latter two of which could only be laid after additional clearance was provided with removal of part of the rock face–all the while accomplished while trains continued to ply the inside of the curve.

Accessed for the first time by a macadam road in 1932, Kattanning Point sprouted a small stone guest lodge at its base eight years later, but it was relegated to a gift shop and visitor center, since that very road was symbolic of what had gradually gnawed away at the track’s original purpose. This actual station was subsequently demolished.

By 1957, operation of the park was transferred from the Pennsylvania Railroad to the city of Altoona, and a decade later, Horseshoe Curve was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The semi-circular curve-an industrial link to the west, a topographical triumph, and a catalyst to growth-represents, in essence, an act of perfection, designed by and for the railroad which gave birth to the very town where its locomotives and rail cars were manufactured so that its Horseshoe Curve could connect it with the rest of the country-a single need, sparking multiple byproducts, to serve each other, none of which could have been possible without the other, in an ultimate earthly expression of “creation.”

Two plaques attest to these facts. The first, reflecting its status as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, states, “Horseshoe Curve was designed and built under the direction of Pennsylvania Railroad Chief Engineer, and later company president, J. Edgar Thomson. When it opened, (it) was 366 meters across, 1,310 meters long, and had a 1.8-percent grade.”

The second states, “Horseshoe Curve has been placed on the National Register of Historic Railroad Landmarks-1854-2004. First railroad to cross the Allegheny Mountains between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh with a maximum grade of 1.87 percent, was engineered by J. Edgar Thomson 150 years ago.”

The museum, across from the gift shop, features exhibits entitled “Building the Curve,” “Maintenance,” and the “Changing Face of the Curve,” as well as an area relief map and a small video room where the film “Birth of the Curve” can be viewed, if it was missed at the Railroaders Memorial Museum. It is also the departure point of the 12-passenger funicular, which ascends to the summit of the ridge and the Horseshoe Curve viewing area. Alternatively, the area can be reached by climbing the 194 steps.

A picnic table-dotted park, whose centerpiece is Pennsylvania Railroad diesel locomotive number 7048, enables the visitor to view the frequent trains rounding the three tracks which currently comprise the Horseshoe Curve in front of him or the Kattanning Reservoir behind, which appears like a blue gem shimmering amidst the verdant hills. A train-viewing schedule, available in the Visitor Center’s gift shop, lists frequencies, approximate passing times, and passenger- or freight-comprised operations, and is augmented by the loud speaker-broadcast transmissions from the actual trains. Dual-locomotive-pulled Norfolk Southern freight trains, emitting protesting screeches as they round the massive curve on the furthest, shale rock-hugging track from the viewer, are common sights.

A plaque lists the curve as being 2,375 feet long and having a nine-degree, 15-minute curve, a 220-degree central angle, a 1,594-foot east end elevation, and a 91-foot-per-mile grade.

A board, positioned in front of the track and entitled “Over the Hill,” describes “how railroads surmounted the spine of the Alleghenies between Altoona and Johnstown.”

The state-owned Allegheny Portage Railroad, of course, was the first to do so, its eastern terminus located just west of Hollidaysburg and its “first of ten,” so designated because it was the first of its ten inclined planes. Duncansville served as the original connecting point between it and the Pennsylvania Railroad, whose initial mainline had been routed through Altoona until the Horseshoe Curve opened in 1854.

Concurrent with its design had been the building of the continuous-track New Portage Railroad, which eliminated the awkward inclined-plane method of travel. Purchasing it in 1857, the Pennsylvania Railroad failed to use it until 1904, when increased freight transport demand necessitated a reliever route, but abandoned it a second time in 1981.

Area tracks had also been used by the S. E. Baker Railroad and, later, by the Glen White Coal and Lumber Company.

Today, the Pennsylvania Railroad’s mainline, originating in New York and routed through Philadelphia and Harrisburg, arcs through the Horseshoe Curve before negotiating numerous, but lesser ones, including the McGinleys, McCanns, AG, Greenough, Brandimarte, Allegrippus, Cold, Bennington, and Salpino curves. Continuing through the Allegheny and New Portage tunnels, it proceeds to Pittsburgh and the west-the goal envisioned more than a century and a half ago.

Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Coverage – "First Party Benefits"

Pennsylvania auto insurance requirements are very unique when it comes to the first party benefits portion of the policy. Unlike many other states, Pennsylvania's first party benefits are the only "no fault" portion of the coverage that is required by the state's laws. These coverages apply to you and you household family members, so the "first party" design. I will try to explain these coverages in a way that I hope will help guide you towards making a better informed decision on what limits will best cover your family.

Medical expense coverage is required in the amount of $ 5000 for each vehicle you insure on your policy. This coverage is considered primary in Pennsylvania and will pay before any other insurance when you are injured in an automobile accident. You and any of your family members will be covered for up to $ 5000 in medical expenses each. Pennsylvania auto insurance law requires each company to offer up to $ 100,000 in medical expense coverage. For clients who do not currently carry major medical insurance I would advise carrying a higher limit of medical expense coverage.

Income loss coverage is not mandatory in Pennsylvania but it is a very affordable coverage. Consider adding this coverage to protect your potential lost wages in the event that you are injured in an automobile accident. I'd like to remind you that this is also a "no fault" coverage which means that irregardless of who is at fault your lost wages will be paid by your insurance policy. Limits up to $ 100,000 and as low as $ 5,000 can be added to your policy for very minimal cost.

Funeral benefit and accidental death benefit coverage are both available as add-ons. Neither of these coverage are mandatory but are reliably inexpensive to add. If you think a dollar or two is worth covering yourself and family for these unforeseen expenses, you'll want to add this coverage.

Extraordinary Medical Expenses is a coverage that was assigned to the insurance companies when the state of Pennsylvania decided its CAT fund could no longer afford to exist. This coverage covers the medical expenses beginning at 100,000 and up to 1,000,000. If you are adding this coverage to your policy you need to be sure that you are carrying $ 100,000 on the medical expense portion or you will have a huge gap in coverage.

Review these covers with your agent and be sure to get price comparisons between the covers that you have now and the coverage you really should have. You'll be surprised at how affordable the right coverage can be.

How to Increase Your Maternity Leave Pay

Pennsylvania does not have state mandated maternity leave pay – except for those who live near the border, or those who plan ahead and act at the right time. PA residents who cross the state border to work in New Jersey or New York have coverage, while the rest must plan ahead and purchase short term disability before getting pregnant.

Pennsylvania has long borders with both NJ and NY states. Both states have mandated short term disability insurance coverage that pays benefits for pregnancy and maternity leave. The key to these programs is that they cover people who work in the state, rather than those who live in the state. Pennsylvania residents who commute to either state are automatically enrolled in the programs – but there are limits.

The New Jersey plan replaces up to 2/3 of your income, capping out at $ 561 in 2010. So if you live in PA and commute to NJ you are covered! Too bad the Delaware River runs between the two states, limiting commuters to those near only a competent of bridges.

While the entire eastern and northern PA border meets NY and there are few natural commuting barriers, Pennsylvania residents who commute to New York do not get much of a benefit. The New York disability plan replays up to 50% of income, but caps out at only $ 170 per week. This is more than 2/3 less than the New Jersey benefit. While better than no benefit at all, it still leaves many with a huge hole to fill during maternity leave.

Pennsylvania residents looking to increase their maternity leave income can purchase short term disability insurance before getting pregnant. When coverage begins prior to conception, short term disability covers your maternity leave. Your benefit for normal delivery may greatly exceed the premium you pay. Plus, you are covered in case of complications, accidents, and illnesses that cause you to miss work.

William Penn Colonizer Influences Pennsylvania and Delaware

It took all kinds of people to make up America. Most of them were humble folk led by such sturdy members of the middle class as Captain John Smith and John Rolfe of Virginia, Miles Standish and William Bradford of Plymouth.

No individual founder of a colony contributed more fruitfully towards assisting English men and women in the attainment of their goal of a better life in America than William Penn

William Penn Quaker

William Penn was a well-educated aristocrat, schooled at Oxford, the son of a British Admiral, Sir William Penn. He read won friendships and lasting influence in high places. William Penn was born into the Church of England, but was converted to the Quakers by Thomas Loe, a Quaker preacher.

As a Quaker, Penn quickly became a powerful advocate of freedom of conscience, preaching and writing to advance the teachings of the Quakers, and promoting acceptance of the doctrines of political liberty, being an opponent of economic oppression of the many by the few.

By virtue of his legal training at Lincoln's Inn, he was a successful defender of the security and property of Englishmen. William Penn was a man of no compromise. While in prison for his religious convictions, he wrote, No Cross, No Crown, setting forth many of the principles that Americans call, the American way of life.

Penn's Interest In America

At the age of thirty-three, Penn first became interested in America, having his great convictions formed and developed. He was given the opportunity to put them to practice when he was made one of the trustees to manage the property of West New Jersey, which the Society of Friends had acquired as a refugee for its members.

In 1677 Burlington was founded under a charter of "Laws, Concessions, and Agreements" large drawn up by William Penn, guaranteeing religious freedom with the statement that 'no Men, or number of Men upon Earth, hath Power or Authority to rule over Men's Consciences in religious Matters. "At first opportunity Penn had written his liberalism into fundamental law and put it into practice in a new society.

William Penn Influences Pennsylvania and Delaware

In 1681 Charles II, King of England, paid a long-standing debt to Admiral Pen by granting the son, William, a huge tract of land north of Maryland. Penn named it Pennsylvania in honor of his father. The following year, Duke of York, transferred the territory known as Delaware to him.

Now Penn could work out all of his social and political ideas, people of any faith could dwell and worship there in peace, a place where large land owners, as himself, and small farms could lie with the same rights, under the same frame of government, which he issued in 1682, "that any government is free to the People under it where the laws rule and the People are a Party to those Laws". History tells us that it worked. Pennsylvania and Delaware are the results.

William Penn did not spend much time America, less than four years in the colonies, but great things he accomplished for them. In 1682 he crossed over to the colonies and began to construct a great estate on the Delaware above Bristol, which he named Pennbury. Although He remained in the colonies for only twenty-two months, he saw to the laying out of Philadelphia, the sound and permanent establishment of the government, the attracting, by skillful advertising, of thousands of colonists from Holland, Ireland and England, and the concluding the last peace with the Indians.

Penn returned again to the colonies in 1699 to 1701 and keep them a more liberal charter. This act completed his career as a constructive colonizer.

William Penn's influence on America was paramount. He shared prominently in establishing Pennsylvania and Delaware. He saw that humble folks got a chance to start their lives anew under favorable conditions; he preached and practiced religious freedom; he was a great humanitarian in an inhumane age and his ideals helped form the democracy we have today in America.

DUI Law in Pennsylvania – An Overview

Driving Under the Influence ("DUI") is a unique crime in American society because, quite literally, it is the one crime that almost any adult citizen can find himself or herself charged with. Alcohol is served at virtually every restaurant or evening social event. Every day thousands of otherwise-law-abiding citizens leave such events and drive away even though they are technically "under the influence" of alcohol.

The fact is that most adult Americans drink alcohol on at least occasional situations. And, most adult Americans live in non-urban areas where taxicabs and public transportation are not easy options, particularly in the evening hours. Everyone knows that it is better to have a "designated driver" who is not drinking and can drive you home. Everyone also knows that driving under the influence is illegal and can have severe ramifications. The reality, however, is that every day good and honest people find themselves charged with DUI.

It is important for all drivers to have a basic understanding of DUI law, how police officers conduct DUI investigations and the rights and options available to DUI defenders.

I. DUI Law – The Basics

For many people charged with DUI, the arrest process is really terrifying and dehumanizing. Many (or most) DUI defenders pride themselves on being productive and positive citizens, so being handcuffed and treated like a criminal can be a life-altering experience. A DUI arrest is less overwhelming and intimidating, however, when people have a basic understanding of DUI law.

A person may be charged with DUI if he or she drives a motor vehicle on a roadway under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police may stop a car for suspicion of DUI only if they have a "probable cause" to believe that the driver has committed a crime or violation. Police may not randomly stop a car for no reason (although in the case of properly established "sobriety checkpoints, the police are allowed to stop every car that passes the checkpoint).

The type of "crime" which can justify a police vehicle stop includes potential violations of the vehicle code (traffic violations) such as speeding, straddling a lane, turning with a wide radius, following another car too closely, braking erratically or driving at night with the headlights off. The police may also stop a vehicle if the registration or inspection is out-of-date (based on dated stickers on the car) or if they input the license plate into their computer system (and they are allowed to do) and there is some problem with the vehicle registration.

Pennsylvania DUI law has a three-tiered punishment system hanging on a person's blood-alcohol level. Penalties for DUI convictions increase with each tier. The least severe penalty applications for those who drive with a blood alcohol content of.08 to.099 percent. More severe penalies apply for those who drive with a blood alcohol content from.10 to.159 percent, and the harshest punishment applies to those with a alcohol alcohol content of.16 percent or greater. A person's blood alcohol level must be determined from blood drawn within two hours after the individual was in actual control of the vehicle (although exceptions exist for this two-hour "requirement").

People who "refuse" or decline to take a blood-alcohol test upon request of the police are deemed to be in the highest blood-alcohol content tier.

Pennsylvania is one of the few states that has a "per se" law with respect to driving under the influence of various drugs. This means that if a person charged with DUI has any measurable amount of drugs in their system (even if the drug was ingested days or weeks prior to the arrest), they are punished as if they were in the highest alcohol level. After this "per se" law, some District Attorneys offices do have minimum levels for certain controlled substances and will not prosecute someone who drives with an amount in their system below these levels.

II. DUI Investigations After Police Are On The Scene

Police officers are taught that once they encounter a person who they suspect has been driving under the influence (which is typically after a traffic stop or arriving at the scene of an accident), they should conduct an appropriate investigation to confirm whether the person was driving under the influence. District Attorney's offices would like such investigations to be thorough and legally appropriate so that they can prove the case if it proceeds to trial.

The first stop in conducting such an investigation is typically to engage the driver in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Standardized Field Sobriety Tests were developed as the result of research conducted in the mid 1970s for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA"). The purpose of this research was to develop standardized tests which would provide a reliable method of determining whether a person is intoxicated based on field sobriety tests.

The NHTSA has concluded that three tests, if systematically conducted according to strict guidelines, can predict whether a person may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The only three field sobriety tests approved by the NHTSA are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus ("HGN") test, the Walk-and-Turn test the One-Leg Stand test.

Police officers should be trained to look for established "scoring factors" or "clues" which must be evaluated in determining whether or not toxication exists. A finding of toxication should only arise once a certain number of clues are identified. If less then the certain level of clues are identified, the officer should conclude that there is a high degree of probability of non-intoxication.

For cases that proceed to trial, it is important for defense counsel to carefully question police officers with respect to their field sobriety test training and adherence to NHTSA protocols. If a police officer is unaware of these protocols and / or the NHTSA-approved indicator system, his or her conclusions can lose credibility with a judge or jury.

These three standardized field sobriety tests are detailed below:

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus ("HGN") Test

Horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball which occurs naturally as the eyes rotate in the socket. In theory, a sober person can visibly follow a moving object smoothly and without nystagmus ("stopping and starting" of the eyeball). Nystagmus is typically exaggerated when a person is under the influence of alcohol, resulting in a jerking motion as the eyes rotate. In the HGN test, the officer slowly moves an object such as a pen or small flashlight back and forth in front of a person's eyes and observes the actual eye movement. The examiner looks for three indicators of impairment with respect to each eye: (1) if the eye can not follow a moving object smoothly, (2) if jerking is distinct when the eye is at maximum deviation, and (3) if the angle of sunset of jerking is within 45 degrees of center. The NHTSA has concluded that if, between the two eyes, four or more indicators are present, the subject likely has a BAC of 0.10 or greater.

It is important to note that even the NHTSA acknowledges that the HGN testing correctly classifies approximately 77 percent of suspicions. Accordingly, the HGN test will result in many false positives and can not be considered a reliable indicator of inoxication. Indeed, the HGN is not admissible in Pennsylvania courts although police are permitted to use the test to establish probable cause to arrest. People taking certain prescribed medication may also "fail" the HGN test even though they are not intoxicated.

Walk-and-Turn Test

In the walk-and-turn test, the subject is directed to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line and then turn on one foot before returning in the same manner in the opposite direction. The examiner is taught to look for seven possible indicators, or "clues", of impairment. If two or more clues are identified, a person is considered to be reasonably intoxicated.

Significantly, the NHTSA admits that only 68 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.10 or greater. Additionally, a person may have some reason unrelated to inoxication – such as a physical disability, high-heeled shoes, typically poor balance – that makes it more difficult to complete the test. It is very important to point out these issues to a judge or jury when a case goes to trial.

One-Leg Stand Test

In the one-leg stand test, a person is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands (one thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to put the foot down. The NHTSA protocols call for the examiner to observe the subject for 30 seconds. The officer looks for indicators of impairment including walking while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance, and putting the foot down.

The NHTSA itself admits that only 65 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more such indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.10 of greater. And, like the walk-and-turn test, there are many factors other then introxication that can make it difficult for a person to stand on one foot for 30 seconds. Certainly there are many people who can not stand on one leg for 30 seconds under any circumstances.

In analyzing the strength of a DUI case, it is important to carefully examine field sobriety test evidence. In many cases, police officers do not administer the test in full compliance with NHTSA guidelines. Cross-examining police officers with NHTSA protocols or even the police department's own training manuals may expose a lack of knowledge and understanding in conducting these tests. At trial, all of these factors must be fully explored so that a judge or jury understands the fallibility of field sobriety testing.

III: Blood Alcohol Testing

Pennsylvania state law provides that the police may not perform a chemical test of a driver's blood alcohol content (ie, a breath test or a blood test) unless there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that the driver was operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As described above, the police use field sobriety tests to help develop "reasonable grounds" to submit motorists to chemical testing.

By law, people who drive a vehicle in Pennsylvania are deemed to have given their consent (agreed) to provide a breath, blood or urine sample when requested to do so by the police if (and only if) the police have reasonable grounds and have arrested the person for DUI. Motorists who refuse chemical testing (assuming reasonable grounds to arrest exist) will have their license suspended for at least one year by PennDOT, and the fact that they "refused" the test may be used against them at trial.

From a defense standpoint, it is important to carefully examine whether the police appropriately assessed "reasonable grounds" to believe a driver may have committed a DUI. Where "reasonable grounds" are found not to exist, all residual chemical testing may be suppressed.

Alcohol is absorbed into the body through the stomach and small intestine over time. Alcohol has no physiological effect on the body or brain until it is absorbed into the blood stream. The rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream depends on many factors including the type of alcohol and whether the person has a full or empty stomach. Food in the stomach significantly delays the absorption of alcohol and reduces the peak level of blood-alcohol content. Regarding the type of alcohol, the ingredients in beer act almost like a food and delay the absorption of the alcohol as opposed to liquor or wine. Alcohol is eliminated from the body at approximately 0.015% per hour.

The two most common chemical blood tests are blood testing and breath testing.

Blood Testing

Pennsylvania law requires employees at to withdrawal blood samples on DUI suspects unless there are emergency situations at the time the request is made. Pennsylvania law also requires that blood (and urine) tests be performed at licensed and approved clinical laboratories using approved testing methods and equipment.

It is important to carefully examine blood test results to determine if the variance or margin of error may include the possibility that the true blood-alcohol content was in a lower tier or below 0.08 percent altogether. If a person's blood-alcohol content is tested to be, say, 0.10 percent, no toxicologist (or prosecutor) can say with any certainty that the person's actual blood alcohol concentration was above or below this level. Virtually every toxicologist will concede that there is a variance of 3 to 10 percent within which the actual blood alcohol content would likely fall.

Importantly, the Department of Health requires laboratories conducting blood-alcohol testing to test within 9 percent of a "known sample" in order to maintain their accreditation. Accordingly, many toxicologists contend that the margin of error of blood testing at such accredited labs should be presumed to be no less that 9 percent.

Even if someone elects to seek admission into the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) program or plead guilty to DUI it is important to evaluate whether the documented blood-alcohol content can be reduced using a margin-of-error analysis. Anyone charged with DUI should carefully review all of these issues with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Breath Testing

Police frequently test blood-alcohol content by subjecting the motorist to a "breathalyzer" machine. These machines are different from – and much more sophisticated than the "portable breath test" units police use to test blood-alcohol content at the scene of the stop. To be admissible at trial, breath tests must be connected in conformity with regulations set forth by PennDOT. These regulations require the machine to be regularly calibrated and the person operating the test to be appropriately certified. Additionally, the regulations require that two breath test samples be taken which must be within 0.02 percent of each other. A failure of the police to comply with any of these regulations can result in the results being suppressed (rule inadmissible) at trial.

As with blood testing, breath test results have a margin of error that should be considered in determining a person's actual blood-alcohol content.

IV: Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition Program (ARD)

People charged with a first offense DUI in Pennsylvania may be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) program. ARD is a pre-trial intervention program that is designed to divert first-time, non-violent offenders from the criminal justice system.

Admission into the ARD program results in no jail time and a greatly reduced license suspension. District Attorneys' offices are permitted to have their own unique criteria and conditions for admission into an ARD program. It is important to understand that cases that may qualify for ARD in one county might not for another. It is also important to understand the procedures defenders must follow in each county to be eligible for ARD.

While some ARD terms and conditions are negotiable, there are certain terms and conditions that are imposed by statute and are non-negotiable. A person admitted into ARD must serve six to 24 months of non-reporting probation and will have to attend and successfully complete Alcohol Highway Safety School, under a Court Reporting Network (CRN) drug and alcohol evaluation and pay certain fines and costs.

Once a person has successfully completed the ARD program, the criminal charges are legally dismissed. The person may then file a petition with the court to have all records of the arrest expunged from his or her criminal background history report.

It is important to note that when a person is charged with DUI following an accident with injuries or property damage, or if a person has an extremely high blood alcohol level, he or she may not be entitled to admission into the ARD program.

V: Typical Defenses to DUI Charges

Naturally, it is impossible to list all the potential defenses to a DUI case because every DUI case is different. Many defenses to DUI cases, however, involve one or more of the following theories:

Was the person actually driving? To prove a DUI case, the prosecution must prove that the defender was physically in control of a motor vehicle on a roadway. If the police can not prove the person was actually driving (such as in the case of an accident where no one witnessed who was driving or if someone is sleeping in a parked car) or that the person was driving on a roadway (such as when a person is stopped in certain parking areas or driveways), the person may have a legitimate immunity to the charge of DUI.

Did the police have probable cause to stop the vehicle and question the defender? The police need to have probable cause to stop a person's vehicle, question that person and conduct a consequent investigation without a Constitutional-recognized exception applications. Generally speaking, evidence will be suppressed in a DUI case if the officer did not have probable cause to (a) stop the vehicle, (b) determine the person, and (c) arrest that person. Sobriety roadblocks can present an exception to the "probably cause" standard and present a different set of legal and factual issues.

Was the person read his rights / Miranda warnings? Incriminating statements may be suppressed if the proper Miranda warnings were not given at the appropriate time if a person was subjected to custodial interrogation. Miranda warns are usually not an issue in DUI prosecutions because attorneys rarely seek to use a person's words against them at a DUI trial. However, if the prosecutor does seek to use the person's words at trial, the Miranda warns can become an issue.

Was a person appropriately informed of the Implied Consent warnings? If the officer did not advise a person of the consequences of refusing to take a chemical test as part of a DUI investigation, or provides evidence or incorrect information, then any PennDOT suspension for failing to take such a test can be avoided.

Did the person really appear to be "under the influence"? At a DUI trial, a police officer is generally allowed to offer his or her opinion regarding whether a driver was inxicated. Naturally, an officer's observations and opinions in this regard can be cross-examined. Appropriate question can include (1) the nature and circumstances surrounding any field sobriety tests (was the weather a factor? Did the defensive have any pre-existing medical issues? Was the defensive wearing shoes or clothing that affected field sobriety testing) (2) the subjective (and possibly predisposed) nature of what an officer considers as "failing" a field sobriety test, (3) whether the officer complied with standardized field sobriety guidelines, and (4) whether the field sobriety tests were witnessed by any third party or videotaped by the police.

Was the person's blood-alcohol concentration tested accurately and appropriately? There are a wide range of potential issues with blood, breath and urine testing for blood-alcohol content. Blood testing involves a recognized margin of error and variance which must be considered in evaluating test results. Many toxicologists contend that the margin of error of blood testing at state-accredited labs should be presumed to be no less than 9 percent. With respect to breath tests, some toxicologists maintain that the margin of errorought to be considered at 10 percent. Most toxicologists agree that it is also important to understand the physiological makeup of the person charged (male or female, height and weight) before offering a final opinion on the appropriate margin of error or variance with respect to blood alcohol testing.

VI: Conclusion

Driving Under the Influence is a charge that can affect almost anyone. Most people drink alcohol at least occasionally and live in areas where taxicabs and public transportation are not always a realistic option. The result is that many people find themselves, at some point in their lives, driving an automobile after consuming alcohol.

A DUI charge is almost always a traumatic and upsetting experience to the person charged. Many DUI defenders are good and law-abiding persons who are not used to being charged with a crime or being required to appear in court.

Fortunately, our law recognizes that people charged with a first-offense DUI frequently deserve a second chance at a clean criminal record. With the availability of first-time offender's programs such as ARD, many people in our society have been charged with DUI, navigated through the system, and emerged from the process to live productive and fulfilling lives.

It is important for anyone charged with a DUI to have a basic understanding of the law and the available rights and options. Armed with this information, and appropriate legal representation, persons charged with DUI can address the charges in a responsible way and quite put the entire experience behind them.

Brookmere Winery – A Pennsylvania Treat – Part I

From the moment we saw the old 1866 barn, Brenda and I knew we were in for a treat at Brookmere Winery in Belleville, PA. Owners Cheryl and Ed Glick were happy to share some of the winery's history and other interesting facts with us. The prior owners, Susan and Donald Chapman planed the first three acres of grape vines on the 138 acre farm in 1981. The winery first opened in 1984 and has been a fixture on route 655 ever since.

In 1995, Cheryl Glick went to work for the Chapmans at the winery. In 1999, Ed joined the winery staff and began learning the wine making process. When the Chapmans decided to sell the winery, the Glicks were there to buy it and continue Brookmere's fine tradition. Today the Glicks grow 10 acres of grapes that include such French hybrid varieties as Chellois, Vidal, Seyval and Chambourcin. These represent between 35% and 40% of the grapes that make up the 13,000 gallons of wine that Brookmere produces each year. The remaining grapes come from other Pennsylvania growers. Most of Brookmere's wine is fermented in steel tanks though some are aged in oak barrels. The bottling line can handle between 150 and 200 bottles per hour and the entire bottling process takes about three months per year.

The Glicks have the capacity and desire to expand the vineyard and winery to 20,000 gallons per year. When I asked them about the impact of the current economic crisis on sales, they replied that there was no impact whatsoever. People consider wine to be a reliably inexpensive luxury and will not give it up. It also makes a great gift that will not break the budget. In fact, the Glicks told me that 2008 holiday sales were actually up over 2007. There are things that Cheryl and Ed would like to see change in the Pennsylvania laws governing wine sales. Under the current law, Brookmere can only sell their wine at five state operated liquor stores within a small radius of the winery. They would like that number and radius to expand. In addition, they wish they could ship their wine to more states. They would have no problem at all is the arrangements were reciprocal and wineries in other states were able to ship into Pennsylvania. According to Ed, "we're not big enough to hurt them and they're not big enough to hurt us."