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Charles Meredith: Celebrity status growing

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Dear Friends,
 
Good morning.
 
Michael Smerconish has become a national icon. A Doylestown native, the radio talk-show host and CNN commentator has been entertaining and informing audiences for 30 years. That’s a lifetime in this business. Michael is a real star, a colleague and a friend.
 
I read Ellen Gray’s interview with Michael in the July 9 edition of the Inquirer. She asked him “What’s one of the things you wish you’d known before you started talking on the radio?”
 
“The destructive influence of a polarized media that I’ve had a front row to witness,” Smerconish answered. “The 30 years that I have been involved in the business tracks, almost exactly, with the rise of a polarized media. At that time [when he started out] I was surrounded in Philadelphia by people that you’ll remember the names of: Irv Homer and Susan Bray and Dominic Quinn and Bernie Herman. The only thing that mattered then was conversation and making the phones ring. Ideology was no part of the process.”
 
My how things have changed … and not for the better. Today we have the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity ruling the airwaves. Their mission? Helping President Trump remain in office. He’s become the Fox News darling. To be fair, there’s WNBC (TV) which is very anti Donald Trump. So, I suppose that today’s TV is not much different from the old newspaper days when political bias was standard fare.
Take, for example, the Pottsville Republican or the Johnstown Tribune Democrat.
In any event, Bravo to Michael Smerconish! I hope he gets another 30 years.
 
Moving on, Doug Dolan, Delaware Canal 21’s executive director, reminded me that five years ago, I wrote that Bucks and Northampton counties plus the municipalities that front the canal have an obligation to insure the maintenance of the historic 60-mile waterway from Easton to Bristol.
When you look at the Bucks County map, you’ll see that 16 of the 54 municipalities are tied to the canal. The municipalities, starting from the north (just below Easton) to the south at Bristol are: Riegelsville, Durham, Nockamixon, Bridgeton, Tinicum, Plumstead, Solebury, New Hope, Upper and Lower Makefield, Yardley, Morrisville, Falls, Tullytown, Bristol Township and Bristol Borough.
 
Dolan is praising Bucks and Northampton Counties plus his own Delaware Canal 21 for signing an agreement to pursue the feasibility of a county-level fund raising partnership for the canal. I noted that there are pumps at six strategic locations to insure that the canal is fully watered.
 
One of them is at Point Pleasant … the site of the “famous” pump. Fifty years ago, who would have thought that the Neshaminy Water Resources Authority (NWRA) would help keep water in the canal? Originally, the Point Pleasant Pump was to occasionally move water from the Delaware River to the Schuylkill River. Its mission was to cool the nuclear power plant at Limerick.
 
At the time, many environmentalists argued that the Delaware River would dry up and a catastrophe lay ahead. It turned out that they were wrong. Fortunately that story is now ancient, debunked history.
 
Thanks to that project, paid through the sale of water to the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO), Bucks County has added thousands of acres to its parks, reduced flooding, and increased water supply to local municipalities. So, the bottom line is this: the 16 local municipalities that front the canal need to join the effort with their own tax support.
 
Finally, did you see that the Pennsylvania Society canceled its 2020 celebration, another COVID-19 casualty? It’s been held in New York City since 1899. Each year, politically connected Pennsylvanians have met to gossip and make promises of future political support.
 
I’ve always objected to this meeting … not because it offered a time for shenanigans … but because it was held in New York City, rather than Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie or Scranton … or even Harrisburg. It’s another case of our state’s inferiority complex.
 
We can thank the building of the Erie Canal in 1825 for this. Prior to the Erie Canal, Philadelphia was the commercial/industrial capital of America. With the building of the Erie Canal, it became cheaper to float goods from middle America to the East Coast rather than transportation via horse and wagon. Manhattan soon eclipsed Philadelphia … alas, it relegated Philadelphia to second place, permanently.
Thought you’d want to know.
 
Sincerely, Charles Meredith

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