Diamonds to Luzerne County for providing community development money to the Sophia Coxe Memorial Foundation and Education Center ($65,000) and Greater Hazleton Historical Society and Museum ($21,750). Yes, it’s a drop in the canyon of this county’s historic preservation needs (see Wilkes-Barre’s Irem Temple, poster child for preservation demand), but it’s symbolic in a large context. Great and valuable historic sites have either been razed or are on the brink of demise for decades, and one way to avoid needing millions to save a doomed structure (Huber Breaker, Hotel Sterling) is to provide smaller grants sooner. The Coxe Mansion near Freeland is symbol of the area’s dual past: A coal baron paid for it, his wife donated most of her money to help miners and their families. The Hazleton Historical Museum preserves both an old firehouse and hundreds of items showing the area’s past in a way you won’t find anywhere else. They merit regular help in maintaining their history.
Coal to those responsible for animal cruelty discovered in Conyngham Township this week, as well as those responsible for it everywhere. All told 19 dogs were taken from a Cemetery Road house, some found left outside in the frigid cold embracing the area, others inside a building accessed with a butane torch to unfreeze a lock. These poor pets had nothing but themselves, empty food bowls and frozen water dishes. It’s bad enough that humans seem to have a boundless capacity for cruelty to their own species. Whether by malicious intent or benign neglect, it’s beyond comprehension how people can trap trusting animals in such conditions.
Diamonds to Navient for giving $1,000 bonuses to 98 percent of the loan-servicing company’s employees nationwide. Despite some serious reservations voiced in the ensuing coal, the gesture was more than welcome, particularly in the timing. Given right before the holidays, it was almost certainly a valuable boon to the people who received it. Certainly the report of local employees cheering, hollering and even crying upon hearing the news is proof enough. That said …
Coal, if a smaller chunk than the diamond, to Navient for two facets of this largesse. First, framing it as a result of the corporate tax cut approved by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump feels bluntly misleading. The cuts don’t take effect until this year wears on. If the company had an estimated $6.5 million to dole out, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t the result of substantial profits this year. Why not just give it to the employees as their fair share of that success? Second, the generous corporate tax cuts are a permanent gain for the company. The best way to share that with employees would have been through a pay increase that likewise boosts their income every year. The bonuses were generous and welcome; here’s hoping they are not one-time sharing of a yearly corporate boon bestowed by a business-friendly administration.