Diamonds to St. Nicholas Church in Wilkes-Barre for continuing one of it’s most popular traditions with the 53rd annual “German Night” this evening. It’s one of many local variations on the Roman Catholic tradition of feasting before the start of Lent, a solemn 40 days (excluding Sundays) before Easter. Despite the well-reported shrinking of the Catholic Church in this area, St. Nick’s packs the school gymnasium for a meal, dancing and a sing-along that includes some German lyrics. Such celebrations of our immigrant heritage and melting-pot nation are particularly valuable in this era of hyper-partisanship and divisive politics. Kudos to St. Nick’s and other ethnic churches that keep such traditions alive.
Coal to Wilkes-Barre for the dismal conditions on Public Square following Wednesday’s snow/rain/freeze cycle. There’s no denying this was a nasty bit of weather timed to make keeping sidewalks clear — fail to scrape as much snow as possible off before the freeze hit and you were stuck with uneven ice thick enough to defy chopping and scraping. But on Thursday the walks in Public Square were only nominally passable, with the safest route often being a walk in the fresher snow on the edge of the walkways. By Friday it was a treacherous frozen no-man’s land of slick, lumpy ice sheets. Today’s predicted temperatures should help melt the mess away, but this was one case where a little extra effort early could have made a big difference later.
Diamonds to Luzerne County residents for largely ignoring efforts to rewrite the county’s Home Rule Charter. Perennial discontent Walter Griffith dropped his effort to get a referendum on the May ballot asking to form a study commission. The reason: a pretty dismal response to his circulated petition. He needed 3,722 signatures, he got about 900. Griffith said the problem is that people asked extensive questions about home rule and the study commission process, and that answering those queries slowed down the effort to get signatures. It’s also possible people just don’t want to go through the extensive process again, or that — just imagine — people might be reasonably satisfied with the way the government is running these days.
Coal to Griffith for refusing to let this dumb idea go. In admitting failure to draw enough signatures for the May primary referendum, he vowed to revive the effort this summer in hopes of getting the study commission question on the November ballot. Lest we forget, the current form of county government was implemented in 2012 after a very lengthy study commission process. It replaced what had become a dinosaur form of three-commissioner rule that had provided decades of cronyism, favoritism, bloated waste and recurring corruption. There is no real reason to upturn the current system after a scant six years. It’s time for Griffith and his cohorts to put this effort to rest and work within the current structure to make what changes they think are needed.