Our Opinion: Environmental stewards in NEPA deserve moment in the sun


Diamonds to caretakers of our region’s environment. Nature advocates belonging to a coalition called The Northeast Environmental Partners this week held their annual awards dinner near Wilkes-Barre, recognizing several groups and individuals committed to safeguarding the area’s open spaces and protecting its air and water. Among those honored from Luzerne County were the Lehman Sanctuary, organic gardener Richard Mitchell Jr., and Greater Hazleton Rail Trail proponent Tom Ogorzalek. For more information on the event, the honorees, or opportunities for you to champion the local environment, visit pecpa.org.

Coal to voters who don’t critically examine political ads and bluster from the campaign trail. If you’re basing decisions on the commercials that air between your favorite TV sit-coms, shame on you. For a better appreciation of candidates and their positions on the issues, watch televised debates (when available for a given race). Read media accounts and analysis. Visit the candidates’ campaign websites. And try to separate fact from fallacy by consulting online sites such as FactCheck.org and PolitiFact.com. (We think you’ll enjoy the latter’s “Truth-O-Meter.”)

Diamonds to Luzerne County’s court. For the first time in more than a decade, it cleared judges’ dockets of stale civil court filings – more than 2,000 cases that had been settled out of court, become derailed or gone dormant. Two branches of county government collaborated for the purge, which included a review of 4,000 cases to determine which might be eligible to toss. Parties were notified and given a chance to argue for the continuation of their cases. In the future, officials said, purges will be performed yearly.

Coal to anyone who tampers with campaign signs. You might not care for a particular candidate, but that doesn’t give you the right to remove, destroy or deface a properly positioned political message. After all, a yard sign or billboard isn’t going to sway an election outcome. (And remember, there’s also that First Amendment thingy.) Likewise, partisans who post signs should do so only on their own properties or in spots where they receive permission. Kindly retrace your steps and remove the signs soon after Election Day.

Diamonds to retailers who – for merciful reasons or monetary ones – will give their workers a deserved break on Thanksgiving Day. Shopping giant Mall of America, in Minnesota, set the tone this season by saying its employees will get a holiday break from consumer mania. (Operators of individual stores within the mall, however, might choose to remain open.) Let’s hope store owners take the hint; there will be plenty of hours for holiday spending on Black Friday and beyond. Plus, there’s never a lull in online shopping.