Our view: Diamonds for those who volunteer to serve US

Diamonds to all those young adults volunteering for military service. The most recent example was a bit striking because it involved Plymouth twin sons graduating from Wyoming Valley West. Jacob Kobusky is headed for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, while Zachary Kobusky will go to Virginia Tech as a member of the Corps of Cadets, participating in the Marine ROTC, planning to apply to the U.S. Naval Academy in the future. The U.S. Military has relied on an all-volunteer force since 1973, which reshaped our national connection to the sacrifice such service requires. Less than one-half of one-percent of Americans now serve. It is both inspiring to see and important to acknowledge the decisions by men and women who opt to commit to our national safety. Their reasons almost are always as simple as they are profound. “I knew I wanted to give my service to my country and help protect the country,” Jacob told reporter Bill O’Boyle. There can never be enough thanks offered for such sentiment.

Coal to to those responsible for the plight of $11,000 collected through donations more than three decades ago in Plains Township. How such a sizable contribution can get stuck in a bank account limbo for so long is question in serious need of an answer. As reporter Jennifer Learn-Andes wrote, the money had been intended for a gazebo in memory of veterans at the intersection of Main and Carey Streets, but the township didn’t like the idea, and spent a whopping $250,000 from state gambling money on a wall, clock and lighting. That kind of spending goes to the heart of a stance frequently taken in this space: That the million from legalized gambling revenue might have bigger area impact if collectively spent on bigger projects, regional projects rather than little community ones but ignore that debate for now. Surely the two sides can come to an agreement on how to respect the intent by using the $11,000 while honoring veterans. The donors deserve to live to see what their money buys.

Diamonds to the Iron Triangle neighborhood residents who spoke out — and to the city officials who listened — during a Thursday “Community Conversation” on the plight of the neighborhood. It’s important that such dialogue and attention to festering neighborhood problems throughout the city be sustained. There are no easy answers, but ignoring the problems — or attacking them only when they get too big to ignore — is not one of the solutions.

Coal to the bizarre tale of the former Academy Market building in Wilkes-Barre outlined by reporter Jerry Lynott Thursday. The lack of information on the owner, the inability to contact anyone, and the unclear connection with a former city employee to a building set for demolition by the city all sit poorly when it comes to the proverbial “smell test.” Every scrap of this mess cries out for city transparency as the drama unfolds.