Letters

Writer asks DA for info on Darlene Sitler’s murder

Following is a letter I have sent to Potter County District Attorney Andy Watson.

Dear DA Watson,

Unsettling news seems to be a daily occurrence in our world. In recent months reports of teachers arrested on charges of possession of child pornography came to light. And at the same time, people worshipping in New Zealand, Sri Lanka and most recently California, have become victims of crazed individuals wielding bombs or guns.

These reports trigger a personal and gut-wrenching reaction for me. I am immediately transported back to the Sunday morning in December 2012 when a hooded figure brought a gun into my church and shot his ex-wife no more than three feet in front of me. The nightmare continued as this man, Gregory Eldred, terrorized our congregation, holding worshippers hostage, waving his handgun and threatening those trying to protect the wounded organist.

It was afterward that news of FBI raid of that man’s home and confiscation of his computers and cell phones became common knowledge. It was afterward that whispers began that this man, a teacher at the Coudersport Elementary School, was being investigated by the FBI for child pornography.

Gregory Eldred is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Darlene Sitler. But, both you and I know that this is not the end of the story. I believe it was 2016 when you finally took custody of what you have characterized as boxes and boxes of FBI records. Here are your words “I promised the public that I would pursue this to its conclusion and I still intend to. I’m glad to finally have the opportunity to show what Eldred’s motivation was for this heinous crime.” That’s how you are quoted in an article in Endeavor News in November 2018 as the newspaper made yet another attempt to report on how you have handled the evidence provided to you by the FBI.

In a telephone conversation with me in February 2018, you offered me assurances that you intended to wade into the boxes of documents the FBI had turned over to you in the coming weeks. It’s now nearly two years later and still no statement, no communication — nothing but your silence.

As we turn the calendar to another December and mark the seventh anniversary of Darlene’s brutal murder, isn’t it time for you to finally offer some information to this community that has been victimized by Eldred’s depraved behavior?

Jane Metzger,

Coudersport

Cancer ring warrants governor intervention

During his address at the Shale Conference in Pittsburgh, President Trump said that he didn’t know why New York State banned fracking and was resolutely opposed to the Northern Access Pipeline going through their state. Our medical community faces a similar conundrum, they can’t explain the cause of Ewing sarcoma. And while Trump is chastising New York State officials for putting what he claimed was an unnecessary financial burden on their residents by denying growth of the gas and oil industry in their state, Pennsylvanians blocked Governor Wolf from entering his office on Monday until he heard what they had to say.

If President Trump hadn’t answered himself by degrading New York State officials but instead met with them, he’d be privy to information generated in a state where fracking is banned and subsequently its scientific and medical professionals are able to generate and release evidence to support their position.

Fracking is banned in Pittsburgh so the president could have just asked the mayor of the city where he was speaking.

Pittsburgh was among the first in the world to enact Rights of Nature because its residents wanted a better place for themselves and their children than the toxic infested wasteland that their city had become. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was a councilman in 2010 and was among those who spearheaded the movement to enact Rights of Nature and ban fracking. He is currently serving his second term as mayor.

If President Trump wants answers he could support that Governor Wolf take action outlined in a petition that calls for a complete and unbiased investigation mainly into the high incidences of cancer in a four-county region of southwestern Pennsylvania. Ewing sarcoma, a bone cancer, occurs annually in about 200 children throughout the nation. In this pocket of Pennsylvania, where more than 3,500 gas and oil wells have been drilled since 2008, there have been dozens of cases including six in one school district. It’s numbers like that that caught the attention of a school nurse in Tamaqua, PA – the very first municipality to adopt Rights of Nature in the world — to protect its community.

The mother and sister of a teenage boy who died in that area from Ewing sarcoma were among those in the group who confronted Gov. Wolf on Monday.

Need grieving family members show up at the doorsteps of officials before the harm is believable and action is taken?

I realize that it’s difficult, especially in Pennsylvania where the president lauds financial boon of the industry and here in Potter County where many people are either financially invested or employed by it — to acknowledge that information that they’ve relied on isn’t accurate and that yes, it is causing harm to people, to wildlife, to the environment.

Originally reported on by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, news of the group confronting Gov. Wolf at his office doorstep was picked up by the AP, subsequently hundreds of news sources and on television. We can expect closer scrutiny into what’s prompted this appeal to the governor.

Is it really an outrageous request that a governor halt gas and oil production and call for an independent scientific investigation into its impact?

Day after this group confronted Gov. Wolf with this request, the governor of California did exactly that.

In a monumental move, Governor Gavin Newsom cited safety concerns to stop approval of new hydraulic fracturing and steam-injected oil drilling permits until permits were reviewed by an independent panel of scientists.

Regardless of your position on gas and oil expansion, why not concede that a full-fledged unbiased investigation is warranted and take action to support it?

You can add your signature to the petition at: bit.ly/WolfLetter3 or contact Governor Wolf’s office.

Political pressures being what they are, it’s more important than ever for people to investigate independently to make their own decisions and be heard.

Georgeanna DeCarlo,

Coudersport