Our view: CASA volunteers deserve some high praise


Diamonds to all those who volunteer in Luzerne County as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and to program Executive Director John Aciukewicz for a push to get more people to sign on. CASA serves children in foster care, providing consistency in what is by its nature a disruptive event in a young life. The county CASA is looking for 90 more volunteers by 2020 to undergo the roughly 40 hours of training and courtroom observation. The downside? Even with that influx, there would only be CASA volunteers for about half the county’s foster care youth. Here’s hoping the recruitment effort exceeds the goal before the set date. Interested? Go online to luzernecasa.org or call 570-855-2247.

Coal to the drug pushers — already a vile lot by any measure — lacing their heroin with potentially lethal doses of fentanyl or similar high-potency opioids. Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale has called attention to the problem following five overdoses, including two resulting in deaths, in a 12-hour period. Yes this is partly a matter of users making bad choices first by buying drugs and then by failing to watch for signs of such risky, often unmarked bags of the stuff — indeed, the hard core addicts may be hunting for the extra-strength heroin. But concocting such drugs and putting them out for sale shows a special disdain for human life.

Diamonds to the Crestwood School Board and the district teachers union for coming together to find savings of about $500,000, thus avoiding unpopular program cuts and the planned furlough of four teachers. Solicitor Jack Dean called the talks between the two sides “cordial” and board President Bill Jones praised the union representatives for working with the board to find a way out of a fiscal hole. The two sides seemed at odds recently as the union and residents questioned district spending priorities, and details have yet to be released because the board hasn’t voted on it, but the deal seems to be a demonstration of how much more can be done with cooperation than with confrontation.

Coal to people who do not adequately control pet dogs. The danger was made evident this week when a canine in the Wilkes-Barre dog park bit into the arm of a 2-year-old. Details remain incomplete, and the incident occurred with a fence between the boy and the dog, but it is a tragedy that could have been readily avoided with a little owner oversight.

Diamonds to the Luzerne Foundation’s ongoing fulfillment of the slogan “here for good,” put on full display at the foundation’s annual meeting Thursday when 19 grants were awarded to local worthy causes. The foundation also gave its annual Mary Bevevino Community Service Award to Gus and Val Genetti, a couple who certainly have earned the honor through decades of giving back to the community that helped them create a successful hotel and restaurant business in downtown Wilkes-Barre. The foundation, and the Genettis remain invaluable assets to the region.