Our view: Diamonds to those who preserve farmland

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Diamonds to the new Pinecrest Mennonite Church members purchasing land for a dairy farm. Diamonds, for that matter, to all those who take various steps to preserve our farmland. Mennonites may bring a different sensibility to the art and business of farming than others practice here, but the important thing is to keep the arable land arable, and preferably in use. It is not uncommon for second- and third-generation members of farm families to subdivide and sell off tracts to developers eager to create more rural housing developments or business tracts, but the old caveat is important: Once you make it something other than farmland, it’s almost impossible to ever go back.

Coal to the ongoing — and increasingly deadly — drug overdose epidemic in Luzerne County and nationally. As reported in Tuesday’s paper, the final tally of overdose deaths for 2017 was 155 lost souls. That’s the third consecutive year we hit a record — from 67 to 95 to 142 to 155. County Coroner William Lisman is absolutely right in voicing fear that we have become numb to such horror. Far from becoming, as he cautioned “old news” or “the same story with different numbers,” it is essential we use this incessant escalation of wasted lives to redouble efforts at the local, state and national levels to combat the growing crisis. We need to find ways to turn the trend back, and start seeing years when the number of such deaths decline.

Diamonds to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International airport management for a record year in passenger count, and for taking steps that seem to bode well for the future. Executive Director Carl Beardsley reported nearly 532,000 passengers last year, up from the old record of 491,416 set way back in 1990. Beardsley pointed out what even casual long-time airport observers surely noticed, that “Airports of our size are constantly confronted with the comings and goings of airlines’ business needs and market assessments.” He’s right. And the ability to keep up and adapt to those changes is the difference between a small regional airport being an economic albatross or an economic engine.

Coal to health care givers who give a bad name to an industry filled with hard-working, well-intentioned people. The latest case: Nurse supervisor Kelly Levandowski, charged with neglecting to properly care for a patient who died. Levandowski surrendered following the charges, and her guilt or innocence has yet to be determined, but that outcome does not change the fact that our news outlets are regularly peppered with accusations of negligence or downright inhumanity in the world of patient care. Make no mistake, as already noted, most people in these professions sacrifice a great deal of emotional energy helping others in serious need, and deserve nothing but praise. It is all the more tragic, then, when cases of failure — whether benign or cruel — come to light.

– Times Leader

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