Coal to school districts that are befuddled by weather forecasts. While students’ safety has to come first, it seems like logic is suspended when it comes to making a call on whether to open, delay or close school. The latest example: On Tuesday, districts sent students home early — just in time for buses to be on the roads while they were at their slickest. Every weather model showed that snow would be out of the area by 1 p.m., giving crews plenty of time to treat roads and ensure a safe ride home for students. This in a school year when many districts have canceled classes because the forecast called for flurries.
Diamonds to volunteers who staffed homeless shelters. This week saw bitterly cold weather, with subzero temperatures and wind-chill temperatures well below -20 degrees. Volunteers across the Wyoming Valley ensured the area’s homeless had warm places to sleep. From the Catherine McAuley House in Plymouth to Mother Teresa’s Haven in Wilkes-Barre, volunteers gave up their time to help those who needed it the most.
Coal to Steamtown Mall’s policy of silence. The downtown Scranton shopping center captivated Northeastern Pennsylvania last month with news that it had already found a tenant to replace Bon-Ton that would be a destination store that the area lacks. It didn’t take long for the area’s wish list to include Cabela’s, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, an Apple store, Dave & Busters and Ikea. Instead of having our curiosity satisfied, we’ve seen only negative developments out of Steamtown: The mall’s owners let go of the spokesperson who told us about the new tenant. American Eagle Outfitters let its lease expire. And Bon-Ton’s space is vacant with no sign of life behind its closed doors.
Diamonds to the Freeland Police Department. Officers posted a photo on Facebook of a 35-year-old accused of aggravated assault. They noticed the suspect shared the department’s photo on his own Facebook page, apparently taunting police. An officer created a fake Facebook profile, posing as a woman to flirt with the suspect. It worked. The suspect agreed to meet the officer, who then arrested the man. Clever work.
Coal to tractor-trailer drivers along Interstate 81 who seemingly can’t read. As endless construction continues on I-81 between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, advisory signs tell truck drivers to remain in the left lane through a series of construction zones. Some truck drivers do. Some don’t. The result? As lanes narrow through construction, putting 18-wheelers very close to other 18-wheelers, truck drivers slow to a crawl that snarls traffic.
Diamonds to role model Linda Vasquez. The Fairview Township woman found time to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse while juggling a family life with its share of challenges. She’s one of 22 who recently graduated from Penn State Hazleton’s practical-nursing program. She and her husband, who works out of the state several days each week, have three children, one of whom is autistic. Her graduation is a means to provide a better future for her family, Vasquez told us earlier this week.