READING, Pa. - A Boy Scout troop came to the rescue of a hiker who had fallen and hit her head along the Appalachian Trail over the weekend.
Jane B. Scholl, 41, of Mohnton, was hiking on Blue Mountain in northern Berks County with a friend Saturday. The two reached the Pinnacle, a popular overlook, and Scholl was looking for a good spot to take pictures when she fell at about 1 p.m.
"I landed right on my eye," she said Sunday. "I was cut and bleeding and felt really woozy."
The two started down the mountain, but Scholl began to feel worse. That's when they met Boy Scout Troop 226 from Rockledge, Montgomery County.
"I had seen her up at the Pinnacle and she was having trouble walking," scoutmaster Christopher J. Gallagher said. "As we were hiking back down we caught up to her, and that's when we saw that she was bleeding."
The eight Scouts built a stretcher from tree branches and their sweat shirts.
"We took sticks, shoved them into each sleeve and made it long enough for her body to fit on. We carried her three miles," Eagle Scout Andrew Swartz Jr. said.
"All the kids knew what to do," Scholl said.
Gallagher had called for help on his cell phone, and the troop was met by medics who began treatment. She was then taken to a helicopter waiting to fly her to Reading Hospital, where she was treated for a concussion and cuts and bruises and released Sunday.
"I feel like I was hit by a truck, but I just fell down a mountain," she joked.
When Troop 226 returned Sunday, members were met by a crowd of cheering members of the community and a band featuring drummers and bagpipes.
"I feel really good. It's nice to know I helped someone out in their time of need," scout Bill Bowman said.The TrekMedic adds:Its a shame! All these good deeds and the City of Philadelphia has the gall to screw them like this:
The Boy Scouts of America's refusal to bend its rules to permit gay scouts will cost the organization's local chapter $200,000 a year if it wishes to keep its headquarters in a city-owned building on Logan Square.
Representatives of the Boy Scouts of America's Cradle of Liberty Council were notified that to remain in their 79-year-old landmark headquarters, they needed to pay the city a "fair market" rent, Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix said Wednesday. Currently, the rent is $1 a year.
The city decided on the rent proposal after it was unable to reach a compromise with the local scout council in talks that have gone on since May.
"Once we know what the Cradle of Liberty Boy Scouts want to do, we'll probably want to weigh in with the city about how to proceed," Nix told the park commission.
Barring a resolution, the Cradle of Liberty Council - about 64,000 scouts in Philadelphia and parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties - must vacate the property at 22d and Winter Streets after May 31.
"It's disappointing, and it's certainly a threat," said Jeff Jubelirer, a spokesman for Cradle of Liberty Council, referring to the rent's impact on the scouts' chances of staying on the site.
Jubelirer said that $200,000 a year in rent "would have to come from programs. That's 30 new Cub Scout packs, or 800 needy kids going to our summer camp."
Nevertheless, Jubelirer said, scouting officials will ask City Solicitor Romulo L. Diaz Jr. for details on the real estate appraisals that yielded the $200,000 rent figure.
Cradle of Liberty officials have said they could not renounce the scouts' long-established policy of not opening membership to atheists or openly gay people without running afoul of their charter with the scouts' National Council.
City officials have said they could not legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a dollar a year to a private organization that discriminates.
The land belongs to the City of Philadelphia but has been leased since 1928 for that token sum to the scouts, who built the landmark Beaux Arts building.
That lease came into question only after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2000 in a New Jersey case involving an openly gay scout who was barred from serving as troop leader.
The high court in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale ruled, 5-4, that the scouts, as a private organization, have a right of "expressive association" under the First Amendment to set their own membership rules.
The scouts have long required members to swear an oath of duty to God, and their rules prohibit membership by anyone who is openly homosexual. For that reason, scouting officials initially greeted the Supreme Court's ruling as a victory.
That mood quickly evaporated, however, as local government officials around the nation began reexamining long-standing preferential relationships with scouts.
Unlike the scouts, public officials are also bound by a line of Supreme Court opinions barring taxpayer support of any group that discriminates.
In Philadelphia, officials wrestled for months for a way to let the scouts remain at their longtime headquarters.
At one point in 2005, the city and scouts seemed poised to agree on a policy statement adopted by New York scouts. That statement, while not renouncing the bars against atheist or gay members, affirmed that "prejudice, intolerance and unlawful discrimination in any form are unacceptable."
But last year, Diaz wrote Cradle of Liberty Council officials to say the suggested policy statement could not be reconciled with the city's own anti-discriminatory fair-practices ordinance.
Again, both sides began trading proposals. That ended May 31, when City Council voted 16-1 to authorize ending the lease with Cradle of Liberty Council.
The resolution was introduced unexpectedly by Councilman Darrell L. Clarke and passed, 16-1, with no debate.
Both Clarke, a Center City Democrat whose district includes the scouts building, and Diaz, a prominent member of the city's gay community, said they hoped the resolution would spur talks to resolve the dispute.
Nix said Wednesday that those talks had apparently failed, leading to the lease proposal.