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Mailbag: Letters From Readers

May 15. 2013 11:20PM
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Many volunteers help grow community garden

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the King’s College Humanitarian Club, and the ROTC cadets for their contribution in the Wilkes-Barre Community Garden.

The volunteers from King’s College came down to the garden on Saturday, April 6 to help clean the entire area to get it ready for community members to plant fruits and vegetables. The cadets from the ROTC led by Lt. Col. Ryan Remley and Capt. Chad Hyman arrived on Saturday, April 27 to fill the beds with soil to ensure that the participants can plant their seeds and guarantee a plentiful garden bloom.

If it were not for the student volunteers, the garden project would not be as successful as it can be.

Mary Mc Hale-Parrs

Be Smart Eat Right Nutrition Education Coordinator


Candidate seeks support for WBA school board

My name is Leonard F. Cornish, and I am a candidate seeking election to serve as School Director in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District. I am a registered Democrat and have crossed filed as a candidate on both the Republican and Democratic ticket for the May 21, 2013 primary election.

I currently reside in the Rolling Mill Hill section of the city of Wilkes-Barre. I am a 1968 graduate of James M. Coughlin High school and have earned both a B.S. and M.S. degree from Penn State University. I am a Vietnam era veteran of the United States Coast Guard. In 2004, I retired from the PA Department of Environmental Protection. Currently, I am the president and principle soil scientist of Pocono Soil and Environmental Consulting, Inc.

Throughout my life, I have demonstrated a willingness to serve. As a U.S. Coast Guard Hospital Corpsman, I participated in numerous air-sea rescues. As a state soil scientist, I have worked to protect our environment. As a high school wrestling coach, wrestling official and youth basketball coach, I have worked to better the lives of our area youth. As a community activist, I have worked to better the lives of all people. I now wish to serve all residents of the Wilkes-Barre Area School District as one of their elected school d.

So, what has prompted me to seek election?

For several years, I have been a frequent attendee at Wilkes-Barre School Board meetings, and have followed with astonishment the numerous reported incidents that have inflicted a severe wound to dignity, honor and trust in the system. I truly believe that “We Can and Must do better.”

Our schools from the classrooms, to our buildings, to even our stadium, no longer resemble the schools many of us attended. We can no longer continue the status quo. We can no longer continue to operate our school system under the guise of “That’s the way it’s always been” or “We’ve never done it that way.”

A proactive, calculated approach to responsible, efficient, and transparent school governance is essential to the maintenance of an effective school system.

As an elected school director I will diligently work to:

• Be a prudent fiscal manager as the district struggles with the loss of school funding. I intend to work in partnership with our State Legislators to seek a fair and stable system of school finance. I will strive to lessen the burden of school taxation on the average citizen.

•Adopt or strengthen a comprehensive strategic plan and vision for the Wilkes-Barre Area School District based on goals and objectives that clearly define how the district shall attain the tenants of its mission statement.

•Ensure that key administrative and professional staff are equipped, and engaged, in the vision of the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, and entrust in them the responsibilities of implementation of district strategies based on policies and practices established by the board.

•Request the creation of a robust hiring policy that prohibits the caustic influence of nepotism and cronyism. I will propose that with the exception of the position of superintendent, and possibly key administrative personnel, that the current system of school board members being engaged in hiring be abolished. Hiring decision shall be the responsibility and duties of the Superintendent together with administrative staff and department heads, etc. The school board shall adopt policies and practice to be utilized during the hiring process and approve request for hire.

•Advance a collaborative effort involving district staff, families, and community, social, economic, business, and other entities, working together, to define and seek strategies to address impediments to attainment of mandated proficiency standards.

It’s time for voters to send a clear message that the past and current policies, politics and practices of the Wilkes-Barre Area School District must end. A new day has risen in the district and with that day comes a breath of fresh air.

I would greatly appreciate your support on May 21, 2013. Together, “We Can Do Better”.

Leonard F. Cornish


House Bill 440 dodges meaningful tax reform

This month many school boards are deciding which programs to cut and how many staffers to lay off. In Harrisburg, lawmakers may make matters worse with sweeping new tax cuts for profitable corporations.

The House adopted a bill that supporters say closes loopholes. House Bill 440 takes the easy way out. It does little to close tax loopholes, leaving the rest of us paying more – including businesses that focus on their customers rather than tax avoidance schemes.

The bill is now before the Senate. If passed, it will give away $7 in new tax cuts for every $1 it brings in, once it is fully implemented. That means less for our children’s education, roads and bridges, and health care.

We all want a stronger economy, but after 10 years of cutting corporate taxes, our unemployment rate is above the national average and has been since last fall. State funding cuts over the past two years have cost 20,000 teachers, language specialists, counselors and other jobs in public schools.

Pennsylvania needs real tax reform that levels the playing field for all businesses without undermining our future or shifting more costs onto property taxpayers.

Sharon Ward

Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center


The right to bear arms is not without its limits

I love our great Constitution and have full respect for the Second Amendment. As a gun owner we must stand together for common sense, responsible gun ownership.

Nowhere in our constitution does it say without regulation or that sales before safety. There was a time when the NRA used to support responsible gun ownership. In the name Jim Brady let’s talk common sense gun reform. Please stop the crazy talk!

James White


Brookside, the map and how it got there

Dukey’s Restaurant on North Pennsylvania Avenue in the Brookside section of Wilkes-Barre is an excellent place.

It has good food and friendly waitresses. It puts Brookside on the map.

Alex Partika


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