Pennsylvania’s fiscal house is not in order. It’s now estimated that the state will end the fiscal year with a $700 million deficit.
Of course, this is not the first year that the state has found itself in this position. With a legislature adamantly opposed to raising taxes, and a rainy-day fund that is chronically underfunded, Pennsylvania is losing ground. From rising pension costs to Medicaid, Pennsylvania has acquired a seemingly intractable assortment of costly programs. Rebuffed repeatedly when he proposed tax increases on various services and on the state’s fracking industry, Governor Wolf has proposed a budget seeking to address the revenue challenges dogging Pennsylvania. It includes modest spending increases, a tax on fracking, and expense reductions that shocked many in the state’s agricultural sector.
Currently the state provides $30 million annually to help fund the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. That funding is eliminated in Wolf’s proposed budget.
Faugh a Ballagh is a 19th century Irish battle cry meaning "clear the way."
Even mild-mannered trainer Graham Motion must have been tempted to shout that command watching his 3-year old colt Irish War Cry storm down the stretch in the $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct racetrack on April 8. The New Jersey bred son of Curlin now has 110 qualifying points which punches his ticket to the seemingly wide open Kentucky Derby on May 6.
With new jockey Rajiv Maragh in the irons, Irish War Cry was content to sit patiently behind Battalion Runner down the backstretch. When Maragh asked the colt to go, he blew by his rival just inside the eighth pole and drew off to win by 3 1/2-lengths, striding out beautifully at the wire. Racing in the gold and maroon stripes of Isabelle de Tomaso, he recorded a big 101 Beyers Speed Figure in the 1 1/8-mile race.
The victory enabled the handsome chestnut to rebound from a head-scratching seventh place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes in early March.
The Brandywine Hills Point to Point in Chester County, PA, marked its 75th year of racing action on Sun. April 2, with a full day of nine races including a dramatic end to the Open Timber race.
A late winter snow storm in March forced the cancellation of the Cheshire Hunt Point to Point races, that had been scheduled a week earlier, but Brandywine’s race day had sunny skies and good footing.
The three mile, Open Timber Race for the Henry C. Baldwin Challenge Trophy drew four well known, experienced horses to the starting line. Last year’s winner, Grand Manan, owned by Donald Reuwer, finished first again in a time of 6:07, running well on the front under jockey Darren Nagle.
“I was sort of thinking it would go a little faster, but It’s all OK,” trainer William Meister said after the race. “Eighteen seconds faster than the next fastest race, so that was good enough. He got into what he needed to get into. It didn’t look like he was doing too much, but he’s that kind of horse.”
Major revisions to the historic Devon Horse Show grounds, which have been ongoing throughout the year, will be complete for the 2017 show, which runs May 25 to June 4 in Devon, PA.
Stall interiors have been renovated and supporters of the restoration program will be honored with a horseshoe plaque on the Wall of Honor. Lighting in the Dixon Oval and Gold Ring has been improved with additional lighting and backlit cupolas that will be lit from underneath. Two large LED sign boards, visible in the country fair section, have been added. The East 4 grandstand is now a double decker tent with 148 extra seats.
Additional facility improvements include the addition of tent roofs in the vendor area behind East 2 and 3 grandstands to make them more all-purpose and weather resistant. Handicap accessible bathrooms have been added on the east side of the grounds. Behind the east grandstands by the Clydesdale's Corner Pub, the picnic table area has been doubled to twice its previous capacity. A $25,000 landscaping project added many new trees and shrubs to the grounds.