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February 19. 2013 5:59PM
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Thanks for aiding animal shelter

Blue Chip Farm, a no-kill animal refuge in Dallas, recently held its fourth annual dance at the Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Hall with music provided by The Sperazza Band. The event is the largest fundraising opportunity of the year for the organization that provides refuge to helpless animals that end up in its care for various reasons: abandonment, death of the owner, the poor economy.

The attendance was very gratifying. The outpouring of support from the community allows the organization to continue its mission of saving lives.

There were a number of beautiful baskets donated for raffle as well as a variety of other items donated for games of chance.

We thank all of the businesses and individuals who donated to the event for their generosity in helping make this event a huge success.

Linda Antosh


Blue Chip Farm


Brilliant season for WVW golfers

The 2012 Spartan Golf season proved to be an exciting one. Wyoming Valley West won its third consecutive division title, capturing the inaugural Wyoming Valley Conference AAA II title with an outstanding 9-1 record. Eight Spartan golfers qualified for the pre-district tournament and four of those moved on to districts. One golfer, Chris McCue, became only the second Spartan golfer to capture a District II golf title. Four of our golfers were named to several all-star golf teams.

As coaches, we are proud of all of these accomplishments, as we are with all of our young men and young lady. These student athletes have worked extremely hard and developed their skills, work ethics, sportsmanship and competiveness at one of the finest golf clubs in the Northeast: Irem Country Club.

Golf Pros Paul Roman and Bill Mattioli always are available to help, and each goes out his way to treat our golf team in an exceptional manner, as does clubhouse Manager Al Larnard. These men are constantly juggling schedules to allow us the privilege of practicing and playing at Irem.

Extreme gratitude is in order to the golf course staff and superintendent Chris Pries for their efforts in keeping the course in outstanding shape. The staff at the range also was very helpful. Thanks to you also, Ed, Bob and Robert.

We also have received phenomenal cooperation from IGA President Joe Rubbico and the clubhouse staff. We would like to recognize and thank the Irem members who have allowed us to share the course and range as equals. This meant a lot to our team.

Outstanding high school golf teams are developed through the cooperative efforts of many. Thank you, Irem, for helping us in developing a love and passion for this great game. Our graduates – Chris, Colin, Chris, Evan, Dave and Nick – will cherish the memories of Irem.

Gary Mack


Nick Kuscavage

Spartan Golf coaches

Wyoming Valley West

High School

W. Pittston levee merits new review

Of paramount importance to the West Pittston Tomorrow Infrastructure Committee and the community of West Pittston at large are the past and future calculations of West Pittston's Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR). Simply put, do X amount of potential dollars lost as a result of a future flood justify Y amount of dollars spent on a levee today?

All the historical information indicates that West Pittston as early as 1981 was safely ensconced in a 1-to-1 BCR with the rest of the Wyoming Valley as the first of five segments of the original Wyoming Valley Levee System plan. When it was removed in the early 1990s, about the time the Luzerne County proposal for a Wyoming Valley Mitigation Plan was accepted, it was no longer considered a structural component. But West Pittston was now subject to the budgetary constraints of a non-structural mitigation reclassification that was intended to reduce adverse impacts.

All of the specific, documented plans for a West Pittston levee were designed in great detail by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, down to the placement of steps, to recreational jogging surfaces, new Victorian-type lighting, and even the rerouting of traffic on Susquehanna Avenue to create a park-like ambiance. But inexplicably the reclassified segment No. 1, West Pittston, was now required by the Army Corps to justify the structural raising of its portion of the levee with its own separate BCR, as if it were not part of the Wyoming Valley levee system. It failed, not surprisingly at that time, with a BCR of 0.3 to 1. Yet the other four segments of the levee system, segment No. 2 Forty Fort and Swoyersville, segment No. 3 Kingston-Edwardsville, segment No. 4 Wilkes-Barre and Hanover Township, and segment No. 5 Plymouth, were not required to individually justify their existences with separate BCRs.

What is particularly frustrating to the borough, and which was brought to light by Amy Guise of the Army Corps in a July 17 town meeting, is that not all structural projects require a BCR in the first place. For example, as part of the original $37 million Luzerne County Mitigation Plan in 1993, $17.3 million was budgeted for a recreational inflatable dam in Wilkes-Barre, championed at that time by then U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski. No BCR required. The recent $23 million renovation of the Wilkes-Barre levee for mainly recreational and aesthetic reasons, championed by Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority Director Jim Brozena, designed to bring people back to the river, required no BCR.

All the naysayers (at both the local and county level), point to this outdated early 1990s BCR ratio as a reason for West Pittston not to pursue a 2012 levee.

Much has changed since the now-antiquated study of the early 1990s. The unthinkable has happened. A major flooding event has occurred, eclipsing the devastation of Agnes and causing millions more in damages. As a result, much new raw data is available, which will certainly favorably change West Pittston's early 1990s BCR and increase the likelihood of a levee.

The Army Corps of Engineers indicated its willingness to partner with either the borough or Luzerne County, but first we have to ask for its help.

Guise outlined steps West Pittston should take to start the process. Number one on the list was to request a Section 205 Flood Damage Reduction Project by sending a letter of request (consisting of a three-paragraph, fill-in-the-blanks letter) to the Corps.

I realize that our local officials have been swamped with work regarding, in particular, the much publicized borough compliance issues with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But with this Section 205 feasibility study from the Corps already in place, ironically, not only would our levee concerns be addressed, but also the possibility of funding for flood-proofing, which of course would go a long way in solving the borough's present compliance mess.

Needless to say, we on the Infrastructure Committee of West Pittston Tomorrow are certain that a Section 205 feasibility study will ultimately reveal, post-Tropical Storm Lee, that the community of West Pittston has taken on most of the upstream-induced flooding.

While the rest of the Valley has experienced flood protection, West Pittston has experienced nothing but flood enhancement. It's time to right the flooded ship – BCR or no BCR.

Bob Russin

Chairman, Levee Committee

West Pittston Tomorrow

Stop outsourcing of state lottery

Our elected officials in Harrisburg are considering outsourcing the duties of the Pennsylvania Lottery to individuals from outside Pennsylvania and are accepting bids from companies. This must be stopped.

Please write, email or contact your elected officials and tell them this is unacceptable!

Our hunting licenses already are issued by a company not located in Pennsylvania.

These monies/funds/jobs need to be kept within the borders of our state.

Robert J. Boinski


Send us your opinion

Letters to the editor must include the writer's name, address and daytime phone number for verification. Letters should be no more than 250 words. We reserve the right to edit and limit writers to one published letter every 30 days.

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• Fax: 570-829-5537

• Mail: Mail Bag, The Times Leader, 15 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 1871 1

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