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Occurrences in the Congressional Record

Entry Title Date
In Recognition Of Bobbie Steever, Recipient Of The Greater Wilkes-Barre Salvation Army Others Award May 21, 2015
Matt Cartwright, D-PA
"Since retiring from Bell of America in 1991, Mrs. Steever refused to let retirement slow her down. She has worked for several companies and organizations including Trade Eastern, Inc., Lewith & Freeman Real Estate, and Penn State Wilkes-Bane. Following her time at Penn State, she spent 15 years with TRR & Associates as a professional consultant in fundraising, events planning, and public relations. Today, she serves as the Executive Director of Community Services for TFP Limited, a real estate development and management company."
Highway And Transportation Funding Act Of 2015 May 19, 2015
Elizabeth Esty, D-CT
"Now, Mr. Speaker, last week’s derailment is not the first time NTSB has recommended implementing positive train control. This recommendation has been made since 1969, following an investigation of a head-on collision of two Penn Central commuter trains near Darien, Connecticut, in my home State. That collision killed 4 people and left 43 injured."
In Honor Of The 100Th Anniversary Of The Borough Of Magnolia May 13, 2015
Donald Norcross, D-NJ
"The land that makes up Magnolia was once inhabited by the Native American Tribe of Lenni-Lenape who lived peacefully alongside Quaker farmers. William Penn, the future founder of Pennsylvania, worked diligently with this dedicated group of Quakers to settle in the southern section of colonial New Jersey. These settlers practiced a modest way of living based on agriculture and timber production. Over the next three hundred years, the community in the Magnolia area thrived, and in the past century, the population of Magnolia has quadrupled to over 4,000 today."
Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 1735, National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2016; Providing For Consideration Of H.R. 36, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; Providing For… May 13, 2015
Louise Slaughter, D-NY
"The derailment in Philadelphia of an Amtrak passenger train headed north from Washington and through multiple stops in Maryland left dozens of people injured and killed six— including a midshipman from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. The academy notified its brigade of the death early Wednesday morning. “I speak for the brigade of midshipmen, the faculty and staff when I say we are all completely heartbroken by this,” said Cmdr. John Schofield, an academy spokesman. The midshipman, who was not identified, was headed home on leave, the academy said. It did not say where the midshipman boarded the train. An online timetable for Train 188, which was carrying a total of 238 passengers and five crew members, shows it had been scheduled to pass through Baltimore’s Penn Station and several other stops in Maryland prior to reaching Philadelphia on Tuesday night, though it remained unclear Wednesday morning how many passengers boarded the train at those stations. Officials said the train derailed at Frankford Junction in North Philadelphia shortly after 9 p.m. The online schedule had it departing Penn Station at 7:54 p.m. The timetable also includes an original scheduled departure from Washington’s Union Station at 7:10 p.m., and subsequent departures from New Carrollton at 7:22 p.m. and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport at 7:37 p.m. prior to the train’s reaching Penn Station. After Penn Station, the train was scheduled to depart Aberdeen at 8:16 p.m., Wilmington, Del., at 8:43 p.m. and Philadelphia at 9:10 p.m., according to the online schedule. Amtrak did not immediately respond to questions early Wednesday as to whether Train 188 made all of its locally scheduled stops and how many people boarded at each, or if it was on schedule. On Wednesday morning, Lisa Bonanno stood in Penn Station looking at an electronic train schedule above, trying to figure out how to get to work in Washington. Bonanno said she was aboard Train 188 Tuesday night, but got off in Baltimore before its derailment in Philadelphia. “I was on that train last night,” she said. Bonanno said she would probably end up taking a MARC train to work, given some delays, but that the derailment in Philadelphia would not deter her from riding Amtrak in the future. “This is very unusual,” she said. “Driving is so much worse.” The derailment happened in Port Richmond, one of five neighborhoods in what’s known as Philadelphia’s River Wards, dense rowhouse neighborhoods located off the Delaware River. Area resident David Hernandez, whose home is close to the tracks, heard the derailment. “It sounded like a bunch of shopping carts crashing into each other,” he said. The crashing sound lasted a few seconds, he said, and then there was chaos and screaming. The derailment was the deadliest incident involving an Amtrak train on the Northeast Corridor since the Maryland collision between an Amtrak train and a Conrail freight engine near Chase, in which 16 people were killed and another 175 were injured. Officials expect the death toll of Tuesday’s derailment could increase as investigators continue to move through the wreckage. The Naval Academy said grief counselors were on hand at its Annapolis campus for grieving midshipmen, faculty and staff. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus expressed his condolences to the brigade during previously scheduled morning remarks at the academy, which wrapped up its academic year on Tuesday. The Northeast Corridor, which runs from Washington to Boston, is the busiest stretch of passenger rail line in the country, serving 750,000 passengers and 2,000 commuter, intercity and freight trains per day, according to the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission. The commission has estimated that a loss of service on the corridor for a single day would cost $100 million in travel delays and lost productivity. Workers who ride trains on the corridor contribute $50 billion to the U.S. economy annually, the commission has found. Locally, the corridor is used for Amtrak and freight trains as well as the Maryland Transit Administration’s passenger MARC train service. Baltimore, a traditional railroad town, has some of the system’s oldest infrastructure. The Baltimore & Potomac Tunnel under West Baltimore, for instance, is 140 years old and a key choke point for Amtrak and other rail traffic, forcing trains to slow their speeds substantially. It has been slated to be replaced, though Amtrak officials have questioned whether funding will be provided to cover the estimated $1.5 billion price tag. In a statement on the derailment Tuesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said her “heart aches” for the passengers who were on the train. “Amtrak service is a way of life for so many of our city residents, as well as visitors from all across the Northeast who commute to, from and through our city every day,” Rawlings-Blake said. “My prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives in this tragedy. We will support the recovery efforts in every way possible as authorities work to identity the cause of the crash.” Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who called the scene of the derailment “an absolute disastrous mess” on Tuesday night, said Wednesday that the train’s black box had been recovered and was being analyzed. Amtrak said rail service on the busy Northeast Corridor between New York and Philadelphia had been stopped. Nutter, citing the mangled train tracks and downed wires, said there was “no circumstance under which there would be any Amtrak service this week through Philadelphia.” A rapid-response team from the National Transportation Safety Board was on the scene Wednesday, but the cause of the derailment remained unknown. The Federal Railroad Administration also said it was dispatching at least eight investigators to the scene. Amtrak canceled two local trains in Baltimore Wednesday, and trains on the Northeast Corridor between Philadelphia and New York were canceled. Those looking for information about family or friends on the train can call Amtrak’s incident hotline at 800-523-9101, Amtrak said. President Barack Obama expressed shock and sadness at the derailment in a statement in which he noted that Amtrak is “a way of life for many” who live and work along the Northeast Corridor. He also thanked police, fire fighters and medical personnel responding to the derailment. “Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly love—a city of neighborhoods and neighbors—and that spirit of loving-kindness was reaffirmed last night, as hundreds of first responders and passengers lent a hand to their fellow human beings in need,” Obama said. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who was in touch with Philadelphia’s mayor and other state and local officials about the derailment, thanked the first responders for “their brave and quick action.” “My thoughts and prayers are with all of those impacted by tonight’s train derailment,” he said in a statement. “For those who lost their lives, those who were injured, and the families of all involved, this situation is devastating.” The impact on the East Coast’s broader rail network was unclear. Rob Doolittle, a spokesman for railroad CSX Transportation, said the company had offered assistance to Amtrak but that its own mainline was unaffected and it was not experiencing any significant delays through Philadelphia. Richard Scher, a spokesman for the Maryland Port Administration, said the derailment had occurred north of the port’s main freight routings but that he was unsure if delays in Philadelphia were affected port cargo transports. A spokesman for railroad Norfolk Southern, which utilizes part of the Northeast Corridor for trains moving out of Maryland into Delaware, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Roel Bouduin, 35, arrived at Penn Station on time Wednesday morning for the beginning of a long day of travel. The resident of Belgium was scheduled to fly from New York to Toronto at 2:30 p.m. “My plan was to take Amtrak. That’s not going to work,” he said as he waited at a ticket counter to get a refund. Instead, his friend would take the day off from Johns Hopkins and drive to New York. “We take trains daily at home. Taking a train is safer then taking a car,” he said. That said, as he rolled his suitcase from the ticket counter, Bouduin said he would enjoy “a nice drive” up to New York. Many commuters prefer traveling from Baltimore to Washington or New York by train versus by car. Reginald Exum is one of those travelers. He said he regularly travels to Washington and New York for his banking job. On Wednesday, though, he was riding to Washington from Penn Station, so the derailment didn’t affect his commute. “It’s very unfortunate,” he said. “I feel bad for their families.” In 1996, 11 people were killed when a MARC commuter train rammed into an Amtrak train in Silver Spring. That crash was blamed on the MARC engineer forgetting about a signal warning him to slow down. In 1991, another incident occurred in nearly the same spot as the Chase accident in 1987, when an Amtrak train collided with a Conrail coal train—though no one was killed. The site of Tuesday night’s crash, near curving tracks at Frankford Junction, was also the scene of a previous crash. In 1943, 79 people were killed and at least 120 injured when a Pennsylvania Railroad train carrying 541 people— including military servicemen returning from weekend furloughs—derailed in the same location, also on its way from Washington to New York."
In Recognition Of Dr. Mark P. Thomas For 30 Years Of Service To The Schuylkill Choral Society May 1, 2015
Matt Cartwright, D-PA
"Dr. Thomas has been a guest artist and conductor for many organizations including the Prague Radio Symphony, the New York Pops, and the Schuylkill Symphony Orchestra. He has made multiple tours throughout Europe and North America which have included multiple performances at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center and the Riverside Cathedral in New York, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, the State Opera House and the Cathedral of St. Mary and Paul in Prague, and the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna. Thomas has served as a guest conductor with the Ocean Grove Choral Festival Choir, at Reading’s Music-fest, and for PMEA choral festivals throughout Pennsylvania. He has also toured and conducted in Russia, Finland, and Estonia with members of the State Orchestra of St. Petersburg and members of the Eastern Pennsylvania Choral Society. In 2016, he will be leading the Schuylkill Choral Society on a tour to Italy and France which will include performances in Rome, Florence, Paris, and Normandy. Dr. Thomas has appeared nationally on the NPR and PBS as well as local appearances on Comcast Tonight and Comcast Newsmakers. He has served as a music consultant for Maryland Educational Television and as an adjunct professor at Alvernia University, Penn State University, and Bucks County Community College. Thomas and his choirs are also featured performers of the National Anthem for the Philadelphia sports community, including regular performances for the Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers."

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