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Commonwealth of North Pennsylvania
Noord Pennsilfaani (Pennsylvania Dutch)
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: Northwest Pennsylvania; Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, New York; Eastern Ohio
Flag Seal
Flag Seal
Location of North Pennsylvania
North Pennsylvania in Light Blue
Motto
Virtue, Liberty, and Independence
Anthem "God Bless America"
Capital Franklin
Largest city Meadville
Other cities Oil City, Franklin, Titusville, Tionesta, Warren, Bradford, Jamestown, Olean, Westfield, Edinboro, Hermitage
Language
  official
 
English, Pennsylvanian Dutch (German)
  others French, Italian
Ethnic Groups
  main
 
Anglo-American, Pennsylvania Dutch
  others African-American
Government Constitutional Democracy
Governor Kathy Dahlkemper
Lieutenant Governor Mark Longietti
Area 153,540 km²
Population 643,841 (2012 census) 
Currency Pennsylvanian Dollar
Organizations United Communities

The Commonwealth of North Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Dutch (German): Noord Pennsilfaani) is an American successor state. Aside from Pennsylvanian lands, it also controls Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, former New York, as well as Ashtabula County and most of Trumbull County, former Ohio. To the north, it borders London and Norfolk-Haldimand across Lake Erie, to the north-east it borders the Republic of New York, to the south-east State College. Close by are Virginia to the south, Toledo to the west, Kentucky to the south-west, and Reading, Susquehanna and Delmarva to the south-east.

History

See main article: History of North Pennsylvania

Government

The government of North Pennsylvania is very similar that of pre-Doomsday Pennsylvania state government. In fact, it only holds de facto independence, as it is yet to declare independence from the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is a presidential-type republic with its government divided into executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Executive

The governor, whose office is essentially a continuation of the pre-Doomsday governor of Pennsylvania, heads the executive branch and has considerable control over government budgeting, the power of appointment of officials, and government operations. The governor also is commander-in-chief of the Commonwealth of North Pennsylvania Armed Forces and  has absolute power to commute or pardon a criminal sentence. The governor is directly elected by all voters for a four-year term and can be re-elected once.


The governor can veto legislation passed by the General Assembly (the state legislature), but that veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority in each house of the General Assembly. The governor also gives an annual State of the State address in order to satisfy a constitutional stipulation that a governor must report annually on the condition of the state. The governor also performs ceremonial roles, such as greeting dignitaries, conferring state decorations, issuing symbolic proclamations or attending the state fair. The governor’s official office is the Venango House in Franklin. Although the governor and the rest of the state government were expected to move in 2011 to the proposed Federal District of Eriesburg constructed on the coast of Lake Erie near North East, disagreements over funding, the location of the capital and the safety of the chosen site have indefinitely postponed the move.


The current governor is Kathy Dahlkemper (Democrat – Erie), seventh Governor of the Commonwealth of North Pennsylvania and the 47th Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. North Pennsylvania treats its governors as successors to the governors of the defunct Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Lieutenant Governor presides over the state Senate. If the Governor dies or becomes unable to hold office he or she finishes the Governor's term. Should both the Lieutenant Governor and Governor die or be unable to serve, the Supreme Court appoints an interim government, which may include cabinet members,  members of the state legislature and/or experienced military leaders.

The current Lieutenant Governor is Mark Longietti (D – Mercer), seventh Lieutenant Governor of North Pennsylvania. Lieutenant Governors are elected on a single ticket with their party’s candidate for governor.  They are not treated as successors to the Pennsylvania lieutenant governors.  The lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and undertakes some ceremonial duties; recently under the Dahlkemper administration, Mr. Longietti acts as the governor’s special representative to the Ohio and New York counties. 

The attorney general, auditor general and treasurer are elected in even-numbered years in which the governor and lieutenant governor are not up for election.   Other cabinet members such as the secretary of education, the secretary of transportation, the secretary of labor and industry, and the secretary of environmental protection and energy are appointed by the governor with the consent of the Senate.  

Legislative

The legislature of North Pennsylvania is the General Assembly, whose two houses are the Senate and the House of Representatives. After the 2010 constitutional revision, the, the Senate has 30 members, elected from each county (or combination of counties) in proportion to its population for a four-year term, half of which are elected every two years. If a county or group of counties is entitled to three or more senators, a voter may only vote for not more than 2/3 of the open seats. This, following the pre- and post-Doomsday rule for electing county commissioners, is intended to assure some minority party representation.

The size of the House of Representatives is set by statute, provided that a district may not have fewer than 5,000 residents and there may not be more than 203 representatives (the size of the pre-Doomsday Pennsylvania House of Representatives).  The House of Representatives currently has 71 members, elected from single-member districts for a two-year term.   The General Assembly meets in the courtrooms of the Venango House.  

Apportionment of the houses

County                                                              Number of senators                       Number of representatives

Cattaraugus                                                                    2                                                         5

Chautauqua                                                                    3                                                          7

Clarion                                                                             1                                                          3

Crawford                                                                         9                                                          20

Erie (and Northeast dist.)                                            3                                                          8

Mercer                                                                             2                                                          5

Ohio                                                                                 3                                                          7

Venango and Forest                                                     5                                                          11

Warren-McKean                                                            2                                                          5

Total                                                                                 30                                                        71


The North Pennsylvania general elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in every even-numbered year. A vacancy for a seat must be filled by special election. The presiding officer of the respective house sets the date for such elections. Senators must be at least 25 years old and Representatives at least 21 years old. They must also be citizens and inhabitants of the state for a minimum of four years, living in their respective districts for at least one year. Individuals who have been convicted of various felonies, including embezzlement, bribery, rape, murder, and perjury, are ineligible for election.


Legislative districts are drawn every five years following the state census.  Districts are drawn by a five-member commission, of which four members are the majority and minority leaders of both houses. The fifth member is appointed by the other four and may not be an elected or appointed official. If the leadership cannot decide upon a fifth member, the State Supreme Court may appoint the chairperson.

Judicial

The North Pennsylvania Supreme Court is modeled after its pre-Doomsday counterpart. It consists of seven justices each elected to 10-year terms. The justice with the longest continuous service on the Supreme Court automatically becomes Chief Justice. Justices must step down from the Supreme Court when they reach the age of 70, although they may continue to serve part-time as "senior justices" on panels of the Commonwealth's lower courts until they reach the age of 78, the age of mandatory retirement.

Because of the low case load and shortage of lawyers and judges, North Pennsylvania has not yet organized its intermediate appellate courts.  In each county, the Court of Common Pleas is the trial court and cases are heard before a single judge and a jury in cases other than equity trials. Appeals are taken in traditional fashion by exception to an en banc Common Pleas Court comprised of judges of the judicial district who did not participate below, or if necessary, judges from other counties designated by the Chief Justice.   Appeals from the en banc court may be taken if the Supreme Court grants a writ of allocatur or if there is a mandatory right of appeal, as in capital crimes.  The Common Pleas Court has trial, family, orphans court (probate) and equity dockets.

Judicial districts are as follows:

Cattaraugus County                                       one Common Pleas Judge

Chautauqua County                                      two Common Pleas Judges

Clarion County                                                one Common Pleas Judge

Crawford County                                            four Common Pleas Judges

Erie County and Northeast district            two Common Pleas Judges

Mercer County                                               one Common Pleas Judge

Ohio County                                                    two Common Pleas Judges

Venango County                                             three Common Pleas Judges  (court also acts as “Commonwealth Court” with jurisdiction over administrative law cases)

Warren-McKean County and Forest County          one Common Pleas Judge

Minor crimes, arraignments, and minor civil cases (such as landlord-tenant) are tried by district justices (similar to justices of the peace).  There are one to seven district justices (who need not be lawyers) in each county.

Judicial candidates are prohibited from expressing their views on disputed legal or political issues. Elections for a new justice or judge occur when one resigns, dies, or is impeached and justice candidates may run as nominees of their political party. If they win their elections, they receive a ten-year initial term. After the ten year term expires, a statewide YES/NO vote for retention is conducted without competition or party identification. If the judge is retained, he or she serves for an additional 10-year term. If the judge is not retained, the governor, subject to the approval of the State Senate, appoints a temporary replacement until a special election can be held.


Political Parties

The Democratic Party has existed since the fight between Andrew Jackson and John Q. Adams over the results of the 1828 American Presidential Election, born from the Jacksonian Democrats. Until the 1860’s, it was the dominant party in all areas of North Pennsylvania, but the rise of the Republican Party over the slavery and Civil War issues made it the minority party in most counties other than Erie and Mercer.. The Democratic Party in North Pennsylvania has strong labor union backing and espouses economic equality and a limited amount of social change. Today, the Democratic Party's members are primarily in the northern  and western counties of North Penn.  Crawford County, the largest, is a swing district, while everything south and east of Crawford County has continued under solid Republican control (except during the 2012-2015 rule of the Amish Party, discussed below). The newly founded social-democratic Lake Party has attracted away some young Democratic voters.

The Republican Party has existed since Anti-Slavery and Abolitionist groups in the north, alienated by the Whig party’s failure to take a position on slavery, created it in 1854. Its platforms are economically and socially conservative, though  the minor Plain People’s Party has made inroads among social conservatives.

The Party of the Holy and Simple Life, also known as the Plain People’s Party, is a party that was formed following the 2012 destruction of the Kinzua Dam that left over half of the nation without electricity. The Amish and Mennonites in the region preached that in order to truly survive in such a harsh world, they must work the land and lead simpler lives. The party is based on Christian communalism and conservative social ideologies. The party briefly gained near-majorities in the General Assembly in 2012 and elected Eli Yoder as governor in that year. However, as described in the main article “History of North Pennsylvania,” its inability to deal with crises and its reactionary social policies resulted in a massive defeat in the 2014 legislative elections and the resignation of the governor and lieutenant governor shortly thereafter.

Minor Political Parties

The Socialist Party, which was almost non-existent in North Pennsylvania pre-Doomsday, has recently reformed and claims to be a successor to  earlier Socialist parties of the last century. With the social and economic disruptions caused by Doomsday and the flood of refugees to North Pennsylvania, and the precedent of the command economy in place before 1990, some former Democrats have promoted the party, especially among refugees from the Pittsburgh area and the industrial areas of Ohio, as the logical future for North Penn workers. Despite accusations from Republicans and Democrats that the Socialist Party is a fifth column for Socialist Siberia and totalitarianism, the Party is gaining strength in Erie County in sharp competition with the Lake Party as well as the Democrats.

The Lake Party is a relatively new creation loosely based off of pre-Doomsday ecological movements such as Greenpeace, the pro-choice movement and promoters of social democracy. Formed in 2007 by John Evans and other politicians in Crawford and Erie counties, the party has attracted intellectuals and younger voters concerned about the continuing ecological threats.  While it has drawn off some support from Democrats, it in turn is losing its more radical members to the Socialists.


Politics

See main article: Politics of North Pennsylvania.

Name Ideology Foundation Seats in the Senate (2016) Seats in the House of Representatives (2016)
Democratic Party American Liberalism, center-left 1828 13 28
Republican Party American Conservatism, center-right 1854 11 27
Party of The Holy and Simple Life Paleoconservatism with Communalist elements 2012 4 10
Lake Party Enviro-Liberalism, Keynesian Economics 2007 2 4
Socialist Party Socialism 2009 0 1


Regions

North Pennsylvania developed first in the relatively un-damaged counties of northwest Pennsylvania. Its relative success in agriculture, owing to the ability of the Amish and Mennonite farmers to grow food without reliance on powered machinery, electricity and chemicals, and its economic resilience has allowed it to peacefully annex  Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties, New York, and after Project Road to Ohio, two and a half counties of northeastern Ohio as well. The Commonwealth of North Pennsylvania is divided into several regions, which until the 2010 constitutional revision were designated as “states,” districts or counties.   After 2010, all the first-level subdivisions were designated “counties.”

County name County seat Date organized Pre-Doomsday territory covered Population (2012 census) Notes
Cattaraugus Little Valley 2011 Cattaraugus County, New York and adjacent Allegany County 50,238 Annexed 2004, erected as county 2011
Chautauqua Westfield 2011 Chautauqua County and adjacent Erie County, New York 71,198 Annexed beginning 2000; erected as county 2011
Clarion Clarion 1984 Clarion County and adjacent Jefferson County, Pa. 28,330 Founding member
Crawford Meadville 1984 Crawford County 195,411 Formerly “Pennstate”, its name before joining North Penn. Founding member
Erie Edinboro 2005 Erie County 74,226 Split from Pennstate
Forest Tionesta 1990 Forest County and adjacent Elk County 3,381 Unorganized prior to 1990, primitive economy.  Many functions handled by Venango County
Mercer Mercer 2007 Mercer and Lawrence Counties, Pa. 52,122
Northeast (provisional county, final name to be determined) Temporarily North East, pending decision on new capital 2011 Northern portion of North East Township, Erie County, Pa. 1,207 Most functions handled by Erie County.
Ohio Jefferson 2011 Ashtabula and Trumbull Counties, Ohio, including some areas of northern Mahoning County 62,485 Annexed 2008-2010 in Project “Road to Ohio.” County erected 2011.
Venango Franklin 1984 Venango County 108,573 Founding member
Warren-McKean Warren and Smethport 2011 Warren and McKean Counties plus adjacent Elk County (St. Mary’s area). 49,972 Separated from Pennstate 2011. Population rapidly growing, separation of McKean County expected by 2022.


Geography

Demographics

Due to the destruction of many records after Doomsday it is difficult to determine ethnic ancestry but surviving records and family accounts indicate that roughly 35% of the country is of German descent.  The original Scots-Irish population is about 20%; eastern Europeans (mostly Polish and South Slavic) are about 15%, English and other western Europeans are roughly 10% while most of the rest are other  European and Hispanic.  There is about a 2% Native American population, centered in the Seneca reservations in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties. African-Americans are approximately  4.5% with the largest populations in western Mercer County, Meadville and Franklin.  Most of the larger population located in Erie was hard-hit by the Erie strike.

North Pennsylvania has an hourglass-shaped age distribution.  Because of high desire for children, the numbers of persons ages 1-12 is higher than those 12-22, which in turn is somewhat higher than those for 22-32 and 32-42.  The 42-65 age group is larger than the 32-42 group, but then older cohorts become much smaller because of mortality caused by Doomsday.

Since Doomsday, Pennsylvania German, a dying language before Doomsday, has slowly been on the rise. This is because with less English influence the rural communities have taught more of the young to speak this Pennsylvanian dialect of the German language. A 2008 census showed that over 9% of the nation spoke Pennsylvania Dutch, leading it to become a co-official language the year after.  As the Amish tend to have large families and prosperous farms to feed them, they are rapidly becoming a larger and more influential portion of the North Penn population.

With the Amish being a major presence in the area, the surrounding rural communities benefited from their way of living, especially after Doomsday. The Old Order Amish, however, have recently been competing with the New Order, with many of those defecting to the more liberal New Order Amish.

Although cities such as Meadville, Oil City and Warren have seen drastic increases in population over the last 10 years, mostly from refugee relocation, the Commonwealth remains indisputably a rural nation pocketed with small towns. McKean County, Cattaraugus County and the Erie city area, which is in the process of restoration are preparing to take a larger amount of refugees and economic migrants..

Economy

Pre-Doomsday, approximately 50% of North Penn’s land was forest or wilderness, and much of that land was not suitable for efficient agriculture.  Dairy was by far the main agricultural product, with grain and vegetables almost a Plain People monopoly.  Almost 75% of the population relied on industry and related services.

Post-Doomsday, agriculture became one of North Penn's largest fields of employment as unemployed workers and refugees were assigned by the state to farms in order to eke out additional food. Local farmers and ranches grow and raise cows, corn, milk, laying chickens, and grapes. Welch Grapes grown in North East Township are considered the best of North America. That being said, most of North Pennsylvania is just emerging from a subsistence agricultural economy although they do provide much of Niagara's food.  The best large areas of arable land are in Crawford County, southern Erie County, northern and central Mercer County and northern Chautauqua County.  Although northeast Ohio was a very productive agricultural area, fallout from the Cleveland and Youngstown strikes and the ravages of desperate refugees have delayed large-scale farming there.  

North Penn has a relatively large industrial sector, especially compared to most successor states, thanks to many WWII-era factories left in near-pristine condition in the area. In the industrial sector, it produces plastic, mining equipment, oil and gas equipment , hardware and nails.  The Electralloy steel plant in Oil City is capable of melting down and re-using iron and steel scrap, and the Sharon steel works, shut down before Doomsday, has been refurbished as well.    Minor steel facilities are at Warren and Jamestown. As North Penn attempts to move further into Mahoning County, Ohio, plans are in progress to either restore the Youngstown/Warren, Ohio steel mills and iron foundries or relocate equipment into North Penn.

Much of the plastic produced in North America is made at Erie Plastics in Corry, supplemented by Conair in Franklin.  Core automobile parts, bicycles, and railways are produced in Warren and Jamestown. Tires, guns, textiles, explosives and clothes are produced in Meadville. Joy Mining Machinery in Franklin and Reno provides everything from iron-grade pickaxes to giant mining machines for the extensive mining operations that occur in the region, and exports equipment throughout eastern North America.

General Electric’s main locomotive manufacturing works was located on the east side of Erie, and the engine manufacturing plant was located in Grove City in eastern Mercer County.    While the Erie works was significantly damaged by the Erie strike, with help from Canada and Toledo after 2009 the plant has been substantially rebuilt and locomotive production began in 2017.  The Grove City engine plant was completely untouched by Doomsday and began production of diesel and diesel-electric engines in the 1990’s, which have supported Jeep production in North Penn and are also a major export product.


One of the largest factors of the economy is the abundance of natural gas and oil. While it is nowhere near the oil boom of old, hundreds of oil and gas fields still exist all over North Penn, making the Commonwealth energy sufficient and local companies such as Quaker State in Emlenton and Farmers Valley, North Penn Pennzoil and Wolf’s Head near Oil City, United in Warren and Kendall in Bradford, refine the largest amount of the Great Lakes and Eastern Seaboard's oil supply. Many small natural gas producers are headquartered in Oil City, Warren and Bradford. Oil and gas refined products include fuel oil, diesel, gasoline, naphtha, and kerosene, as well as asphalt and petroleum jelly. The North Penn Department of Environmental Protection and Energy enforces strict production and drilling limits to avoid over-exploitation and failure of fields.

Minerals are somewhat abundant as well, such as salt, coal, phosphate, sandstone, clay, and limestone. There are small amounts of iron but almost all iron and alloying materials are reclaimed from scrap metal.  Copper is scarce and must be imported from Superior or Canada.  Gravel and silt are found off the coast of Lake Erie and in the Allegheny River, as well, although due to radiation concerns fears the lakebed has not been mined yet. Most mining operations use Joy's mining equipment. Glass making is found all over North Penn, including large factories at Brockway, Oil City, New Castle, Lake City, and a large auto glass factory at Meadville. Several specialty glass blowers in Erie are being revived as well.

The economy was completely government controlled until 1990 when the first private enterprises, mainly light industry, reemerged. Until 2000, most other sectors were at least partially overseen by the government to control spending and to make sure the right industries had the right manpower. When the United Communities was founded in 2007, all but several farms, electricity, refined products distribution and ammunition and firearms manufacturing were privatized. Meadville, North Penn’s largest town, is the capital of commerce in the region as it is home to the largest number of specialty machine shops in the U.S. pre-Doomsday, and also has multiple producers of  textiles, munitions, paper, and most processed necessities. Oil City and Franklin contain heavy machinery producers untouched by Doomsday.  Warren, although less populated than the other cities, had not only heavy manufacturing but also a textile and clothing factory that supplied the entire area.  However, the Allegheny River flooding in the summer of 2012 caused many businesses to move to Jamestown in Chautauqua County. Bradford is famous for its Zippo lighter company as well as oil field equipment.

Media

The North Pennsylvania government runs two television stations, NPTV 2 in Warren and NPTV 4 in Franklin and Mercer. Both broadcast from 7 to midnight weekdays, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays and from 6 to 11 p.m. on Sundays.   There are repeater transmitters at Westfield, Jefferson, Hermitage, Bradford and Edinboro. The United Communities-sponsored Central Community Television also broadcasts daily using the same transmitters. Programming includes news, sports and locally produced public affairs, political and entertainment programming, as well as pre-Doomsday movies and television shows and post-DD programming from Superior, Canada, Vermont and the Celtic Alliance's RTE network. The government-controlled North Pennsylvania Radio (NPR) has affiliates in Warren, Oil City and Edinboro, with re-transmitters in Meadville, Tionesta, Hermitage, Cortland, Bradford and Westfield. Programming includes news, politics, public affairs, classical music, and entertainment produced by North Pennsylvania Radio as well as other networks throughout the United Communities; Vermont Radio; the CBC; Superior's NBN; and the RTE. NPR stations broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Amateur HAM radio has survived to large extent, and channels are a popular way for young people to communicate, called "chat rooms".

A privately-owned station in Franklin, WNPJ 99.3, broadcasts post-Doomsday pop and rock music began broadcasting in September 2010. Other privately owned stations in Warren, Edinboro, Ashtabula, Meadville and Oil City broadcast local news and pre-Doomsday pop, rock, urban and country music most notably WARC 90.3 FM, WMED 97.5 FM  and WOYL 98.5 FM. Recently a group of reverse engineers in Meadville successfully rediscovered how to make vinyl records so the music industry has begun to blossom. Among popular regional artists is Trent Reznor, who popularized the energetic-ambient rock genre and has sold over 5000 copies and also attended Allegheny College.

The Warren Times Observer newspaper publishes six days a week (excluding Mondays) and is the nation's de facto paper of record. The Franklin News-Herald publishes Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is considered a reliable source for United Communities-related news and Commonwealth government news. The Oil City Derrick; Meadville Tribune; Bradford Era and the Lake City (formerly Erie) Times publish once a week.

Transportation

Road and Rail

On Doomsday, most of the newer cars in North America were made obsolete by the EMP's. However, for those older cars that did not rely on electronics, gasoline is not a problem since North Penn is home to both abundant oil fields and five refineries with an expanded capacity of 60,000 bbl/day. In addition, there is an abundance of natural gas to be utilized as vehicles are converted to use that fuel. Since production of Jeeps began, the Pennsylvanian-native Quaker State company and the rehomed North Penn Pennzoil have seen a handsome increase in profits. Paved roads have also been repaired with gravel dredged from Lake Erie and limited amounts of asphalt from the refineries. The rail systems have been rebuilt with locomotives originally purchased from London, Ontario.  The restart of the GE locomotive factory in Harborcreek now allows North Penn to produce its own locomotives and export them.  

Jeeps

In 2004, one small vehicle helped revitalize an entire region's transportation. Obviously, not every single car was rendered useless on Doomsday. A handful survived, mostly were common cars and pickups with limited electronics. However, there was a man in Franklin who was in possession of multiple genuine, working WWII 1942 Jeeps* and had donated several of them to the local police following Doomsday. After the subject was brought up with two businessmen, one a Toledoan and the other a North Pennsylvanian, on manufacturing the vehicle again, it quickly gained steam. There actually was a Jeep FJ manufacturing plant in Toledo, and all they needed to do was put it back into production with assistance from North Penn’s existing automotive machine shop industry. By using parts from dead vehicles and from purchases in Toledo, they successfully created a better-than-original version of a Jeep. Soon, they began manufacturing around six vehicles a month, an astounding rate for custom made machines in a factory with such limited resources. These two businessmen re-started one of the most successful military vehicle manufacturers of all time, using its original name, Willys-Overland.  The company is a 50:50 joint venture between Franklin entrepreneurs and the Toledo government, with sharing of designs and technology.  North Penn production is located at Grove City at the GE engine plant with chassis and cab production and final assembly at Franklin, using Joy facilities at Reno for the transmission and power train production.  Toledo similarly produces its own Jeeps, and the two centers provide parts and labor backup for each other.

Today, the Jeep is the  main form of transportation for the North Penn and Toledo armies, and since they can be produced quickly and require only the simplest parts they are cheap and reliable. The average Jeep used by the military is a canvas-door three-seater with a canvas roof used for transport. This is known as the Raider, because this Jeep is most commonly used for field missions in raider territory. There is a combat version of this vehicle depicted below.  In recent years, the GM plant in Niagara Falls has joined the consortium and makes many Jeep components as well.  The Willys-Overland company has begun production of pickup trucks in Franklin, in cooperation with Niagara Falls, which are expected to be a major boost to the United Communities economy.

  • AUTHORS NOTE: There actually is a person in Franklin who possesses a collection of WWII-era old Jeeps.

Airports

Chess Lamberton Field at Franklin, which was a commercial airport pre-Doomsday, is the nation's main airport at this time, although flights mainly go in and out of United Communities member states mainly for governmental reasons or for the upper-class. Unfortunately, the missile strike on Erie was almost on top of Port Erie International Airport, which cannot be salvaged.  There are, however, multiple local airports in other counties as well. Although both oil and oil refineries are available, almost all of the Commonwealth's planes, and the world’s planes in general, are propeller-driven using gasoline, because of the need to devote kerosene production to lighting, heating and petrochemical uses.

Maritime

After Doomsday, stress on Lake Erie’s ecosystems was reduced because incoming pollution and sewage from human activity were greatly abated  and commercial fishing came almost to a halt. This was countered  initially by the massive amount of radiation that washed into the Great Lakes which contaminated the lakes  and injured the native ecosystem. All but the central parts of the Lakes were hostile to large fish for five to ten years.


As the water cycle continued after Doomsday much of the radiological contamination subsided over time, allowing the remaining lake life to rebuild the food chain. The critically-low fish population, both due to radiation and over-hunting by desperate individual fishermen, spurred the North Pennsylvania Fish Commission in 1987 to ban commercial fishing and impose strict catch and zone limits on individual fishers with the intent that   the aquatic population might rebound. By the early 2000s, sport and commercial fishing resumed on Lake Erie as the surviving fish adapted to the new environment. One blessing was that the lamprey eel population, which had eliminated many fish species from 1955 to 1975, was particularly susceptible to radiation and completely died out.  

Energy

Petroleum and Natural Gas

North Pennsylvania, which was the birthplace of the petroleum industry in 1859, continues to pump significant quantities of oil.  Even after 150 years of exploitation, it can produce 80,000 barrels per day, making the country largely energy sufficient. Unlike most of eastern North America, North Penn has not rationed gasoline for individual use since 1998.  As noted above, there are six oil refineries with a refining capacity of over 70,000 bbl/day, including the North Penn Pennzoil refineries, which were nationalized in 1984 after the Pennzoil headquarters in Houston was obliterated.  In 1987, gasoline distribution was consolidated by the North Penn government into the Quaker State company, a century-old local refiner, for maximum control. The UC has been urging its members to dismantle this type of monopoly and break-up of gasoline and fuel oil distribution is one of the hottest topics in the General Assembly.

In the early 2000’s a petroleum engineer managed to scrape up $200,000 for a wildcat gas well into the Marcellus Shale formation and managed to frack the well with his last $10,000, paid to the Otto Cupler Torpedo Company of Titusville, the world-wide inventor of explosive fracking in 1865.   The well was a success, spurring development of a major natural gas formation that can supply most of the northeast U.S.  North Penn’s oil and gas equipment manufacturers have been running three shifts (when raw materials are available) to support exploitation of the Marcellus Shale.  Otto Cupler, which was almost defunct because of its 120-year-old technology, has suddenly become a major force in oil field development.

Electricity

Until 2012, the sole, large operating power station in North Pennsylvania was the Kinzua Dam hydroelectric plant 10 miles east of Warren on the Allegheny River. The third largest dam east of the Mississippi, with a sustained generating capacity of 400 megawatts, it generated power for 75% of North Penn.

Following the dam being critically damaged in the 2012 floods, it was extensively repaired after aid contributions from the UC and Canada and private donations, after the Amish-led state government failed to appropriate the necessary funds to repair it. At the same time, Penelec, the local nationalized electric utility, finally was able to source new generators and turbines from Canada to replace items in the Tionesta Dam and Piney Creek hydroelectric stations, which had spun out of control in the Doomsday chaos and were unrepairable.  Nevertheless, North Penn’s electricity supply is inadequate, especially for heavy industry, and rationing and brownouts are common.  Penelec is trying to source equipment and engineering to add hydroelectric capacity to the Shenango dam near Sharon, the Pymatuming Dam near Greenville, the French Creek dam near Waterford and the Clarion River Dam in Elk County, but the generating capacity of those facilities would be limited because those dams are low.  

Efforts to use North  Penn’s ample coal reserves to generate electricity are hampered by inability to strip mine, environmental concerns and lack of equipment to build new power stations.  Instead, North Penn is considering whether to harvest equipment from the huge, coal-fired plants in Indiana County, just south of its current territory, or possibly to reopen one of them.  However, Indiana County borders State College also and is closer to Altoona and other State College industrial centers, and State College is using access to those plants as negotiating leverage in the ongoing discussions about Pennsylvania reunification. Access to more electricity supply is a major diplomatic objective of North Penn, and it continually presses Niagara Falls to commit to supply electricity and to facilitate construction of high-tension lines to North Penn.

Kinzua Dam

Culture

Oil City is a major cultural center in the area.  The resettlement of approximately 20,000 Ohio and Pennsylvania refugees in its vacant housing during 1984-1988 spurred creative activity in arts, crafts and theater as refugees and underemployed residents sought to eke out livings and alleviate the dreariness and precarity of post-Doomsday life.  There is an active club and cabaret scene in the downtown, as well as improvisational theater, comedy and creative writing. The Oil City Library, the largest in the area, has supported these.

Meadville, benefitting from the presence of Allegheny College, also has an active cultural scene, especially in both classical and rock music, and in conceptual art and design.   It hosts a burgeoning sculpture movement.

Warren has recently upped its cultural offerings, thanks to the arrival of residents from other areas, sometimes from State College or north-east Ohio.

Lifestyle

Since North Pennsylvania remains largely rural, over fifty-percent of Pennsylvanians do not have access to most modern amenities and continue living the life of their ancestors.


Many rural North Pennsylvanians live a simple life inspired by the growing Mennonite and Amish communities, which did not employ modern technology pre-Doomsday and thus were well prepared to survive and flourish afterwards. Excess material possessions are often shunned by the Mennonites. However, after the Amish Schism the New Order Amish faction has risen to prominence, shunning many aspects of the simple life and choosing newer technology.  


Education

Since the formation of the Community Convention one of the government's greatest concerns was providing even a basic education to the younger generation. Most public schools outside the immediate area of Franklin, Oil City,  Warren, and Meadville were run independently and as a result many became abandoned, lawless, or strict, locked-down schools in which the students often were separated from their parents during the school year. The college towns managed to survive differently, as many of the students, especially in Edinboro, had used their knowledge of their subjects to serve their community. If one was studying animal husbandry then they would be sent to try to salvage animals from abandoned farms. If one studied any form of medicine they would immediately become a makeshift doctor for the refugee masses outside Edinboro and other towns. With the creation of the 1990 Commonwealth of North Pennsylvania government, which designated education as a priority, the new government slowly took back control of the public schools, by which over half of which had been dissolved due to dropouts or students and families fleeing to the woods or farms in search of food. Those schools that remained were usually home to between one-half or one-fifth of normal pre-Doomsday classes. The government made education of everyone in the towns and cities mandatory from six to 14, with high school becoming optional but still paid by the state and college as was pre-Doomsday. With the 2000 Public Instruction Act, high schools became mandatory and anyone who had quit classes in the past decade was required to take night classes. Furthermore, the 2007 creation of the United Communities encouraged the Great Lakes region's schools to follow common principles and requirements and organized a common school accreditation authority.


Attendance in school is mandatory between the ages of six to eighteen, and from there students can obtain a higher education in North Penn at very low out-of-pocket cost. Still, a significant number of Amish and Mennonite children are home schooled (7%) as a reaction to the secular policies of the public schools, and there remains a network of Catholic parochial schools and high schools that teach 5%-10% of all students. The North Penn Department of Education sets minimum standards for basic education in reading, writing, mathematics and civics and periodically inspects private schools.   However, private schools are not accredited by the United Communities’ Great Lakes School Accreditation Authority.

In response to concerns that the private schools are not effectively preparing their students for the challenges of making a living in the competitive local economy, the General Assembly has established pilot programs to support secular education in those private schools willing to accept the support.  Although the Catholic parochial schools have been enthusiastic, many Amish and Mennonite schools have been indifferent to the proposals.  

Colleges

North Pennsylvania is home to a large number of both public and private colleges. Allegheny College is by far the most famous and has produced many famous musical, athletic, philosophical and legal individuals throughout the United States before 1983. Nowadays, it continues its liberal arts focus and sometimes is seen as  a "party school" for the well-off who can afford its tuition. Edinboro State University in Edinboro is a center of education, and is the de facto county seat in Erie County pending reconstruction began. Clarion University, another state institution, emphasizes education courses and is home to the Golden Eagles.  Its Venango Campus in Oil City stresses nursing and medical technology.

Slippery Rock State University in Mercer County continues its emphasis on health, physical training and psychology, while the nearby Grove City College continues its conservative-libertarian orientation and attracts like-minded students from the entire United Communities.  The University of Titusville (formerly the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville) is currently subsidized by the government to be brought up to academic standards of other colleges and has only recently been re-opened. Currently the University of Titusville's main academic focuses are "all things oil", reflecting the city of Titusville's history as the birthplace of the oil industry. The Bradford College, the former Bradford campus of the University of Pittsburgh, is functioning as a two-year institution.

Gannon University in Erie almost miraculously escaped destruction and is one of the few remaining Catholic universities left in North America. It is known for its medical and engineering program, and has relocated to Northwest Harborcreek. It was one of the original founding universities, and was crucial in the reconstruction of North Pennsylvania. With a majority of faculty living a fair distance from Erie, they were able to aid in relief efforts after the nuclear strike on Erie. It is one of the smallest universities because it is privately supported, but it has recently been supported by the Archdiocese of Altoona-Johnstown, and the Diocese of Meadville.  Penn State’s Behrend Campus southeast of Erie also escaped much of the destruction, but most of its programs and faculty have been transferred to Edinboro to achieve economies of scale.  

Crime and Law Enforcement

Crime in North Pennsylvania is taken very seriously. Since the creation of the Community Convention in 1984 all of the counties operated their own police forces and would often severely beat or even kill those for committing crimes such as stealing from a communities' food or wood supply or robbing others. Since the 1990 Commonwealth of North Pennsylvania was created, however, most of the police forces voluntarily united to form the Commonwealth Police Force which numbers over 6,000 people and was better equipped and trained than the local forces. However, despite years of peace, crime has increased due to recent economic downturns and the  Commonwealth’s policy to emphasize army expansion rather than expand police forces in step with population increases.

There is also a private protection force, the State Police of Crawford and Erie, which was chaotically organized in the  two years after Doomsday. The group was engaged by some local businesses and individuals in chaotic Erie County and northern Crawford County, who despaired of protection from the local police forces and the nascent and weak Community Convention Police Force.  The Community Convention slowly curbed the groups until they were suppressed in 1989. By 1990, when the Community Convention was abolished and the Commonwealth of North Pennsylvania was founded, there were only 90 members of the “State Police,”  and they relocated to  relocated to North East Township, where the Commonwealth’s writ was still weak. By 2000, the group's numbers had swelled to over 3,000 members throughout Erie and northern Crawford counties with some overlap into Ashtabula and Chautauqua counties. In 2005, the North Penn government decided that the better course of action was to co-opt the organization and chartered it as an autonomous, private entity ostensibly supervised by the North Penn Department of Justice and it was renamed the Erie and Crawford Special Police.  The question of whether to again suppress the Special Police, to integrate them in the Commonwealth Police Force or to continue tolerating them as a mercenary force is a major political issue.  

Military

See main article: Military of North Pennsylvania

The Commonwealth of North Pennsylvania Armed Forces rely heavily upon volunteers, who are often lured by programs which offer large incentives and benefits. Those who sign up are required to serve four years in the armed forces, after which they can be called at any time in the case that an emergency reserve must be formed. Women, however, are given exception from the draft, but are still allowed to voluntarily join at their behest. Unlike before Doomsday's American army, women are allowed full military rights, meaning they may fight on the front lines alongside men. The air force, however, had discouraged women from joining on the grounds that women pass out in fighter jets from too much pressure from the G-forces and crash.  (Oddly enough, the air force only had two fighter planes capable of high-G maneuvers.) After a 2015 judgment against the air force, women now have formal equal opportunities to serve and fly, but progress is slow.

Until 2008, the military was no more than a rump force armed with Jeeps, hunting rifles, and some sub-machine guns found in the National Guard armories.  North Penn’s decision to participate in the Saguenay War exposed the inadequacies of that force, even though improvisation succeeded in barely creating an effective force.  After the war, North Penn rapidly expanded the armed forces and acquired or manufactured equipment and munitions.   As mentioned above, North Penn’s perception that it must obtain resources from neighboring areas depopulated by Doomsday may result in conflict with Virginia and possibly other regional nations.  Further, its military success in supporting Remaining Canada and other United Communities states has brought it tangible rewards.  Accordingly, North Penn government policy, especially after the downfall of the Amish party, is to create the most effective armed forces possible, consistent with a democracy.

The military is split up into four different branches, the North Pennsylvanian Army, the North Pennsylvanian Air Force, the North Pennsylvanian Coast Guard and the North Pennsylvanian Navy. The Army and Air Force combine survivors from the US Army Reserves (there being no pre-Doomsday U.S. army or airforce bases at all within North Penn, which accounts for the nation’s survival) and the Pennsylvania National Guard as well as veterans of Vietnam, Korea and even World War II. The Navy is made up of small civilian vessels and basically can only carry out coastal reconnaissance.  It would be no match against the navies of Canada or other nearby nations. The Coast Guard, which may be more effective than the Navy, is made up of four small United States Coast Guard cutters found afloat at Westfield, Ashtabula and North East, as well as salvaged boats  from Erie and speedboat purchases from Canada. There are currently 31,000 people serving in the North Penn armed forces accounting for about 4.5% of the population, and another 25,000 in reserves.

Even after the post-2008 expansions in supply and equipment, equipment, most commonly automatic firearms and military attire, is very scarce, and North Penn has a policy of "Strip and Save", which requires that North Pennsylvanian soldiers after a battle must strip the dead enemies (and allies) of all of their battle attire, equipment and weapons, although allied casualties are left in their uniforms out of respect. Another problem is that most military facilities in North Penn have been built from scratch, other than a handful of  small National Guard armories in Corry, Oil City, Franklin and Meadville, and a few surviving U.S. Army reserve centers. With the growth of the Great Lakes Compact to include Canada, a powerful trade ally, North Penn hopes to strengthen their forces.


Sports

The university athletic teams compete mainly against other schools in the region, such as Penn State University in State College and the University of Toledo in the Toledo Confederation, as well as colleges from Superior, Vermont and Aroostook.


The state universities recruit mainly from the North Pennsylvania high school leagues, which are governed by the Lake Erie Interscholastic Athletic Association (LEIAA). Football and basketball games are especially well-attended and the various schools enjoy a high degree of popularity and loyalty from local residents.


Youth sports leagues are generally sparsely attended, parents having too many economic responsibilities, but have one of the highest participation rates of all nations in the Great Lakes Region and former northeastern United States. These leagues are considered important for player development by the high school leagues, and therefore are supported in numerous ways by the NPIAA. Youth coaches also attempt to instill positive ethics in their players.


The exception to the rule regarding youth sports attendance are the Little League regional playoff games held every other year in Warren, which draw good crowds from across the United Communities. (These Little League teams are not yet affiliated with the survivor Little League Baseball organization based in Mexico).


International Relations

North Pennsylvania was a founding member of the United Communities in 2007. It is not a member of the League of Nations at the moment, but is observing the League’s activities using an attache’ with the Canadian delegation. It is considering  joining soon, if international communications are improved and participation in the League’s activities becomes more practical.

The Commonwealth mainly maintains communications with local American and Canadian successor states. Presently they have formal relations (exchanging commissioners or ambassadors) with the United Communities members of State College, Reading, Susquehanna, Toledo, Superior, Niagara Falls, London-Ontario, Waterloo, Norfolk-Haldimand, Midland, New York, and Canada.  Commissioners have also been exchanged with Delmarva.  Informal relations exist with UC members Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Wisconsin, Pelee, Vermont, Plymouth, Keene, Aroostook and Quad Cities.  Because of developing tensions, unofficial envoys have been exchanged with Kentucky and Virginia. It occasionally deals with Blue Ridge, Piedmont, Gettysburg, the Outer Lands, the Celtic Alliance, and the North American Union.

Since 2008, they have had a friendly and quasi-allied relationship with Canada. North Pennsylvanian Coast Guard vessels and occasional heavily-guarded civilian vessels attempted to maintain contact with Canada via the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence River, and before the Saguenay War, the North Pennsylvanians had sent ambassadors to Canada. It had been hoped that via Canada, North Pennsylvania could establish diplomatic ties with the larger community of nations. However, the Lawrence Raiders and blockages on the river impaired any real ability to trade with or work with Canada diplomatically.  North Pennsylvania’s decision to support Canada in the Saguenay War (see the main article) resulted in a firm friendship with Canada and the substantial unblocking of the trade and communications routes between the two countries.

Since the years following further contact throughout Pennsylvanian survivor-states, North Pennsylvania has become increasingly vocal in further strengthening ties between the larger states in the region, perhaps in the form of either a united economic bloc or a unified, confederation-style government. The interim government has been discussing reunification with the adjacent State College government since 2011, but differing priorities have made it clear that reunification, as opposed to economic integration and military alliances is unlikely in the near future.  

Externals


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Renaultlouis (talk) 03:17, 24 July 2021 (UTC)Renaultlouis

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