Diamonds to all those involved in the parade of St. Patrick’s Day parades now unfolding in our region. Granted, the green can get a little grating, the partiers can get too rowdy in public and the silliness of so much excess over one day a year can wear on you. But the parades can be fun, the camaraderie refreshing and the grin on children’s faces particularly rewarding. No, there really isn’t a little Irish in everyone, and yes, green beer and shamrock shakes are marketing gimmicks, not marvels of culinary expertise. But the fact that so many people from so many different backgrounds can get together in so many different places to relax, have fun and celebrate the same thing is a good thing.
Coal to Wilkes-Barre officials and Mayor Tony George for hiring former city employee James Hayward Jr. as the city’s new health educator. The grant-funded position pays $33,750 per year plus benefits, but there are ample problems with this choice: First, Hayward is an attorney suspended by the state for misconduct; second, he was a supporter of George’s mayoral run. Third, at age 66 with a history of working with the city, it seems legitimate to question how this fits into any future pension. But most egregiously, even if Hayward for some reason was the most qualified applicant, hirings like this are exactly the kind of thing that makes the region look bad and holds us back. If those outside perceive this as a place where who you know matters more than what you know, we remain an unappealing place to live.
Diamonds to Earth Conservancy for donating three miles of former railroad bed that will be used ultimately to extend the Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Trail to Wilkes-Barre. The goal is to connect Wilkes-Barre to the Philadelphia suburbs, and this particular stretch will help connect the Seven Tubs Natural Area to the Wilkes-Barre’s River Common Park, which is one planned end of the 165-mile trail. There is still a short, unimproved stretch connecting the Tubs to the Black Diamond Section that starts near Glen Summit, but after that it’s smooth cycling with little traffic interaction all the way to Jim Thorpe, with only small unfinished stretches beyond. The project offers scenery, history and that often-elusive “quality of life” factor, and is well worth the time has taken to get this far.
Coal to anyone who grumbled excessively about errors by weather forecasters regarding Wednesday’s storm. The prognosticators deserve a few digs, but they are only human, they depend on complex computer models that do much of the forecasting, and many warned it could be less severe depending on location. There may be a real question about whether schools should have been closed and a state of emergency declared in advance, but the real trick to weather is to be prepared regardless of the forecast. It’s more understandable to hear complaints about a bad storm that forecasters didn’t warn about. It’s seems odd, in this case, to hear grousing about a storm that didn’t come .