Diamonds to the Larksville Borough Police Department. In response to a rising number of canine-related calls in the borough, the force intends to build a doggy database. Photographs of animals will be catalogued along with the owners’ names, addresses and contact information, allowing for lost pets to be swiftly recovered. Residents are encouraged to take their dogs to the police department on July 6 and 7; a $10 fee will be collected. Residents also can submit photos digitally or, if homebound, request that an officer visit their house. (Of course, if you own a dog older than 3 months, it should be licensed. Go to www.padoglicense.com.)
Coal to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and PPL. A public meeting regarding PPL’s planned spinoff of the Salem Township power plant – specifically, a license transfer to start-up Talen Energy Corp. – has been scheduled for two days before the Fourth of July holiday in Rockville, Maryland. Both the timing and location don’t seem conducive to the people living in the shadow of the Luzerne County nuclear plant, commissioned three decades ago. Let’s hope PPL plans to disseminate information more locally in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, people can participate in the NRC’s July 2 session via teleconference. To learn how, call John Lamb at 301-415-3100 or email John.Lamb@nrc.gov.
Diamonds to organizers of the Diversity Picnic/People’s Picnic. An estimated 1,000 or more area residents attended last weekend’s gathering in Kirby Park, Wilkes-Barre, partaking in grilled foods and, more important, participating in games and conversation with their Wyoming Valley neighbors. The casual event, a byproduct of the Wilkes-Barre NAACP’s racial summits, encourages barriers to be broken and new bonds formed. The picnic has been a summertime staple here for 16 years. Appreciation goes to all the people who power this annual, community-building event and to the many area grocers and retailers who support the effort with donations of food and material goods. Let’s hope the spirit behind this picnic spills over to our schools, workplaces and homes. For more information, visit wbnaacp2306.org.
Coal to delays in the legal system that impact people deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial. Between 10 and 20 Luzerne County inmates are caught in legal limbo because of a statewide backup. They’re supposed to go to Norristown State Hospital for specialized treatment, in hopes they can be helped and returned for adjudication. But the wait to gain admission to that facility currently extends some eight to 10 months. Meanwhile, taxpayers foot the bill, at a cost of $110 a day, to house them locally. Of even greater concern, the individuals’ troubles might be worsening while they wait for care.
Diamonds to Wico van Genderen, newly hired CEO of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry. He hit the ground running during his first days on the job this week, meeting with city Mayor Tom Leighton and Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton. He also sat in during a county council meeting. Even before he officially started Monday, van Genderen demonstrated he knows a good value when he sees it and wrote a commentary that appeared in area newspapers outlining his ambitions for the chamber; commentaries are printed in The Times Leader for free. We wish the heads of more nonprofit agencies put that sort of priority on communication.
Coal to “deer ticks” carrying Lyme disease. Calling the problem in Pennsylvania an “epidemic,” certain lawmakers advocated for a law signed by the governor Thursday to establish a surveillance program to monitor the problem and to educate the public. The state recorded more than 4,100 cases of the painful ailment in 2012, according to government statistics. If you’re traipsing through fields or forests this summer, learn more about Lyme disease – including prevention strategies for people and pets – at this website: www.cdc.gov/lyme.