On Friday, a spectacular event took place in Washington, D.C. Throughout the streets, thousands of people of all ages marched in protest of the laws that make abortion legal. For 40 years, this march has occurred for pro-life individuals to make their voices heard. More and more people arrive to participate with each passing year. The number of marchers in 1974 was 20,000 compared to 200,000 in 2007. It is truly awe-inspiring to see so many people who feel just as strongly about the same things you do.
At the March for Life, you not only take a stand, but you make many friends as well. Such an event unites everyone, for they are all united under one cause. Every person there believes in and respects the value and importance of human life.
The march travels up Constitution Avenue and stops at the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill. I implore anyone who is pro-life to consider attending this event in years to come. We can make a difference and this is the place to start. If you are interested, more details can be found on www.marchforlife.org.
What has been the most influential program in the United States? The answer is the space program.
The space program has inspired generations and accomplished some of mankind's greatest achievements.
For centuries humans have looked up to the stars wondering what's up there. We now know. We sit with our resources being depleted, our planet facing over-population and we stare at the solution. We are not only capable of colonizing other worlds, we know of worlds that we can colonize. We have even found planets beyond our solar system that may hold life of their own. There are even more places to mine resources from.
If we find large pockets of resources in other places in our solar system, we may not even need to mine some minerals from Earth without destroying an industry that employs so many people.
More jobs will open up in astrophysical and astronautical research, and if we do discover life on other worlds, realizing that we are not alone in the universe may help push humanity into unity rather than pointless conflict over usually trivial things and in turn form a new branch of science, xenobiology, which means the study of alien life.
I had the great honor of serving as the campaign chair for the 2012-2013 United Way of Wyoming Valley's Community Campaign. Over the past few months, I enjoyed meeting and talking with community members and sharing in their experiences.
This year, there were definitely some significant challenges. The economic conditions across the country continued to be unstable and the unemployment rate in our area still hovers above the national average.
Beginning the campaign, we understood that cutbacks in state and federal funding would not only lead to an increase in need from our local agencies, but a decline in support from our government sector employees.
In the last year, United Way also had important leadership changes, welcoming a new President/CEO, VP of Development, and a new Board Chair. With these changes in leadership came new strategies.
United Way increased its engagement with key corporate partners through a kick-off breakfast, planning meetings, and employee rallies. We increased our fluency and accuracy with data and statistics in order to give our partners and volunteers a more compelling picture of the campaign, and for the first time in many years, we also recruited a campaign cabinet. These volunteers along with others were crucial in connecting more effectively with the giving community.
Within organizations that attended our kick-off breakfast, we saw a 10 percent average increase in corporate giving and a 40 percent increase in employee dollars raised. We welcomed 1,934 new donors into our charitable community. After months of preparation, followed by a lot of hard work, last month, I was extremely proud to report that we raised a total of $4,100,083 -- $70,000 more than last year.
The generosity of the Wyoming Valley community continues to surmount the obstacles and defy the odds. Your support will enable us to further our mission of advancing the common good and creating a better life for all.
With a continued investment in programs that support education, income, and health, we are making tremendous strides in our local communities.
Simply put, we all win when a child succeeds in school, when families are financially stable, and when people are healthy.
Special thanks to the more than 5,749 donors who contributed to this year's campaign, to all of the Employee Campaign Managers who promoted the United Way mission at their job sites, to our hundreds of volunteers, to all of our partner agencies and their dedicated staffs, and to the unwavering commitment of the labor community.
I am writing this letter to inform the taxpayers of Luzerne County, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike, about an individual who has performed his duties without allegiance to the politically powerful or well-connected. He has worked in the interest of all taxpayers.
Walter Griffith has performed as a true public advocate as well as a watchdog for all the citizens of Luzerne County. I have personally observed Walter's conduct at county meetings and can attest to his grasp of the standards set for the Home Rule Charter and I believe he is one of the most professional controllers to have served Luzerne County.
Griffith's main objective has been to bring accountability, responsibility, fiscal integrity and transparency to Luzerne County Government. His actions have validated those objectives.
Since his election in 2010, Walter Griffith has completed several intensive audits for the county which had not been properly conducted for some time prior to his holding this office. As a result of these audits our county officials and employees are being held accountable to our taxpayers.
Walter Griffith is a catalyst for the changes needed in our county, which has suffered from the problems of corruption and malfeasance. He understands and will enforce the components of the Home Rule Charter and will enforce the tenets contained in the charter as requested by the county taxpayers.
Walter's tenacity and desire to improve Luzerne County government serve as an asset for all Luzerne County taxpayers to realize their vision of a progressive and responsible entity.
Walter Griffith possesses the character traits that have enabled him to perform successfully as a controller, not with any political motives, but with integrity and positive actions that contribute to the betterment of all Luzerne County residents.
Julia Stopper Mountain Top John McGowan Mountain Top Frank Joanlanne United Way of Wyoming Valley Community Campaign Chair John J. Charles Larksville