Diamonds to Ophelia Love Mecadon who, at the tender age of 10 months, was dubbed the nation’s cutest baby. The Pittston Township tot out-cuted all comers in the “Live! with Kelly and Ryan” Oh Baby Contest. Ophelia may not remember being startled when the crowd around the television heard her declared winner, and odds are pretty high she won’t remember any of the trip to Fiji that came with the victory. And perhaps best of all, she won the contest at an age when she didn’t have to go through any stressful pageants. All she had to do was be cute, a talent she was clearly born with.
Coal to Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George and those in his administration for the bizarro world surrounding the Solomon Creek wall project. The details are almost irrelevant, though the fact that they are sadly lacking makes the coal a bigger chunk. The city terminated the contract with the lowest bidder, AR Popple, and moved to award it to the second lowest bidder, Don E. Bower Inc. of Berwick. City Administrator Ted Wampole said he can’t offer details because of a possible lawsuit from Popple, but that’s circular logic. There is a question the city must answer: How did the administration award a contract it cancelled so quickly? Two possibilities come to mind: Popple breached the contract or misrepresented something in it, or the city failed to conduct due diligence in the contracting process. The former is unfortunate, the latter is unsettling.
Diamonds to Luzerne County and Wilkes-Barre Area School District administrators — and to Luzerne County Judge Thomas F. Burke — for ending the drawn-out legal battle about the Highland Park Boulevard tax break program. The county, school district and Wilkes-Barre Township agreed in 1998 to a “Tax Incremental Financing” (TIF) plan designed to spur improvements to the boulevard, Mundy Street and Coal Street. All three parties declared the TIF complete and were poised to receive proportional shares of $3 million, but Wilkes-Barre City filed legal action trying to block that distribution, contending the project won’t be done until Coal Street is extended to Pennsylvania Avenue. The claim was balderdash, and Burke ruled against the city. The money was meted out this week, according to Pedri, providing a substantial fiscal shot in the arm for all three TIF parties.
Coal to the top one-percent, and to forces making this county and country increasingly concentrate wealth in the hands of a few. This isn’t about politics or policy. It’s not a call for any sort of government-mandated wealth redistribution. It’s about the common sense reality that made America such a success: We spent decades seeing the middle class grow because money got spread around more broadly through much of the 1900s. A new report by the Economic Policy Institute showed that trend has been reversing for years, including in Luzerne County. There are a lot of factors and proposed fixes, but the fact is undeniable: we are better off when we all see our incomes rise, rather than many watching a few get an ever-bigger share.