Your Opinion: Letters From Readers

June 24th, 2015 11:30 am

First Posted: 7/3/2013

Sugar Notch councilman

reserves right to free speech

At the Sugar Notch council meeting in April, another candidate for council asked me not to deliver a free newsletter to his house. This request came after the last issue refuted his claim, that I did not have the road crew plowing on the night of a snowstorm in February. A few weeks later I forgot which house was his and I was charged with two counts of trespassing totaling $774. One count was for putting it on his porch, the other for taking it back 20 minutes later.

I have a BA in history and an MA in government from Georgetown University. I was born and raised in Sugar Notch and presently serve as a member of council. Since 1998 I have distributed about 50 issues of my free newsletter and other announcements. That comes to about three issues a year over the past 15 years. During that time, I have been treated very badly by public officials and their supporters.

This disdain multiplied exponentially after I was elected to council in 2010. I also had to withstand constant insults and threats during council meetings as I was belittled by other officials and their supporters. My only outlet was to continue writing my newsletters, to get the word out about what was really going on in town. That seems to have been enough to get me arrested for trespassing last year and again this year. A report on the latest charges appeared in the newspaper, the day before the primary, plus another article on the day of the election. But, even before that, rumors about my arrest had already buzzed through town. I lost my lid.

I do not enjoy becoming the news. When my trial and/or appeal have concluded, I will put out a story about it, too. Community news is protected speech, according to a ruling in 1946 (326 US 501). I will not be intimidated by people who do not respect my right to freedom of speech.

Mario J. Fiorucci

Sugar Notch

County council members

fail to fulfill their duties

After reading the comments about the “virtues” of hiring senior management almost exclusively from local talent from Luzerne County Council Members Urban, Urban, Morelli and Kelleher, I can only assume they took the blue pill and decided to stay plugged into the Matrix.

Had they taken the red pill, they would have been unplugged and their eyes opened to the corruption that was, and in some cases, still is the backbone of local government decision-making.

After more than several dozen arrests and convictions, they would have seen that the most important criterion for hiring is the qualification of the candidate and not the location.

Their arguments in favor of local candidates are specious at best, ludicrous at worst. I am saddened that this mentality still exists on a council whose formation can be firmly traced back to the demand for change from the citizens as a result of the corruption in the county.

I fully expected the elected council members to come into this new role with their eyes fully open and their hearts and minds fully engaged to never allow that level of corruption and nepotism to happen again.

But sadly that is not the case. This county is doomed to forever live in the backwash of history if these individuals are the best we can produce to represent us.

To help these yet-to-be-enlightened council members walk back their statements, I prepared the following for them to read: Dear fellow Luzerne County citizens, I (insert name here) want to apologize for recent statements I made regarding hiring practices in our county government.

I want to assure you and affirm that I believe the most important criterion for selection is the qualification of the candidate and I would only consider the location of the candidate if two equally qualified candidates are selected and one of them is local.

I will work to drive out corruption and nepotism in your government so that we never return to the dark ages that have haunted this county for some many decades.

Please feel free to use this at your next meeting and recite it morning, noon and night as a reminder why you were elected to your post.

David Pekala

Rice Township

Writer is in support of

no funding for abortions

Thank God that next year our tax dollars will not fund abortion in Pennsylvania. Our prayers are answered. Way to go.

Alex S. Partika


It takes a lot of hard work

to make that glass of milk

comes It’s always a good time to enjoy a few scoops of ice cream or a refreshing glass of milk. Along with that enjoyment, it is also important that we take time to reflect on where dairy farming stands today and what impact dairy farming has on your life.

Agriculture is the leading industry in Pennsylvania, and dairy is one of its fundamental economic drivers. In fact, the dairy industry produces more than 40 percent of the commonwealth’s agriculture receipts and supports more than 60,000 jobs throughout the state.

There is approximately one dairy cow for every 23 Pennsylvanians. Our state boasts 7,200 dairy farms. Producing roughly 10.7 million pounds of milk each year, ranking the commonwealth fifth nationally in milk production.

Additionally, studies show that the average dairy farm spends around 85 percent of its income locally, strengthening communities and surrounding areas. More than $6 million dollars annually are generated into the state’s economy from dairy production and associated businesses.

Several years ago, dairy farmers struggled through one of the worst periods of low milk prices ever. Terribly low milk prices in 2009 and early 2010 threatened the entire industry’s future throughout the state and nation. Some farmers who were facing debt before the economic downturn were forced out of business. But with hard work and determination many farms survived and are continuing to produce a safe and healthy product for all of us to enjoy.

But, keep in mind; many farmers who survived that downturn are still facing large debt. Even though milk prices have rebounded, they are still quite volatile and far beyond the control of the individual farmer. What’s more, input costs are rising, putting an even greater squeeze on the already thin margins of dairy farm families.

So, please take time to reflect on the hard work of dairy farmers and the supporting businesses that helped get that glass of milk from the farm to your table.

Keith Hilliard


Luzerne County Farm Bureau

Declare your independence

from a meat-filled Fourth

What ever happened to the good old days when the worst things we had to fear on the 4th of July were traffic jams and wayward fireworks?

According to the Department of Agriculture’s Meat & Poultry Hotline, this year’s top threat is food poisoning by nasty E. coli and Salmonella bugs lurking in hamburgers and hot dogs at millions of backyard barbecues. The hotline’s advice is to grill them longer and hotter. Of course, it doesn’t bother to mention that the high-temperature grilling that kills the bugs also forms lots of cancer-causing compounds.

Luckily, a bunch of enterprising U.S. food manufacturers and processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a great variety of healthful, delicious and convenient, veggie burgers and soy dogs.

These delicious plant-based foods don’t harbor nasty pathogens or cancer-causing compounds. They don’t even carry cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs or pesticides. And, they are waiting for us in the frozen food section of our supermarket.

This 4th of July offers a great opportunity to declare our independence from the meat industry and to share wholesome veggie burgers and soy dogs with our family and friends.

Wilbur Tillman