Our view: Tomato Festival a chance for Pittston to shine

Day 1 of the Pittston Tomato Festival opened up to a large crowd on Thursday. The festival continues through Sunday evening. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader -

Diamonds to the Pittston Tomato Festival and all those who help stage the event. Sure, it’s just one of many area traditions that give a town a chance to show off, but this one always feels a bit more venerable, maybe because it is older than many, and a bit more ambitious simply because it stretches over four days. You can still enjoy the parade this morning if you’re reading this early enough (it begins at 10:30 a.m.) or catch the signature event, the tomato fight (yes, it sparks some controversy, no matter how many assurances they give that nothing good is wasted). And it continues Sunday. So consider visiting downtown Pittston to celebrate the fruit that really ought to be a vegetable.

Coal to all those who create the often small “quality of life” problems that add up to make a neighborhood look rundown and neglected. Residents attending an East End Crime Watch Meeting this week illustrated the problem with a litany of laments listed for Wilkes-Barre city officials. Overgrown bushes, tall grass, litter and trash, seemingly abandoned vehicles, poorly maintained rental properties. These are all familiar problems to many neighborhoods throughout Wyoming Valley and Luzerne County. They are not earth-shattering, but they are the sort problems that can be easily avoided by responsible property owners. A diamond within this coal to Mayor Tony George and the city officials who joined the meeting to listen to the complaints. Here’s hoping they follow through in promises to take action.

Diamonds to the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority for (finally) getting the levee trail re-paved. This may seem like a small thing, but it’s worth remembering how valuable the 12-mile stretch atop the levee is. It goes back to that “quality of life” thing the East End Crime Watch residents raised. Our region is blessed with many of these outdoor opportunities, natural and man-made, and if you take a stroll along any part of the levee trail most days you will see joggers, bikers, dog-walkers and folks just sauntering along enjoying the view. It is often taken for granted, but it does require maintenance and regular attention to have a levee that serves as both protection from the river when it rages and a place to enjoy it when the river flows peacefully.

Coal to former Tunkhannock Area School District elementary school principal Joseph Moffitt for setting such a poor example with not one but two DUI arrests. Moffitt’s first arrest, in 2010, was resolved with his admission to Wyoming County’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, and his successful completion of that program’s myriad requirements should have been the end of the saga as he rightly returned to work, afforded the second chance we all deserve when making one mistake. But his second arrest in 2014 was unforgivable in the eyes of the School Board and district administration, and he lost his job. He appealed, first to the Department of Education and then to Commonwealth Court, which was his right. Both rejected his appeal and upheld the school district’s actions, which was the right thing to do.

Day 1 of the Pittston Tomato Festival opened up to a large crowd on Thursday. The festival continues through Sunday evening. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_Tomato-Fest-Day-TL-3-1-1-4.jpgDay 1 of the Pittston Tomato Festival opened up to a large crowd on Thursday. The festival continues through Sunday evening. Tony Callaio | For Times Leader