Our view: Welcome back, college students

Diamonds to all the students returning to our regional colleges and universities, showing yet again the value of having institutions of higher learning peppered through the county. Along with the spending they bring to area businesses, these bright and forward-looking students bring a liveliness and youth to the campuses and surrounding communities. Welcome back, and thanks for choosing one of our fine schools.

Coal to Wilkes-Barre Health Department employee James Hayward for announcing retirement less than halfway through the two years remaining on a grant that pays for his post. Hayward has every right to retire when he sees fit. But his hiring came with controversies to begin with, thanks to a checkered past both in city employ and outside of it. If he didn’t plan to stay on the health educator job or knew he wouldn’t be able to, he should never have taken in.

Diamonds to Greater Nanticoke Area School District for the new Kennedy Early Education Center about to be unveiled to the public with a ribbon cutting Sunday 2 p.m. Superintendent Ron Grevera was rightly proud of the $9 million renovation and expansion project as he showed it off Friday. It’s a solid example of blending what already existed with what is new, and should serve the young student — pre-kindergarten through second grade — well, and if the tip-top condition the classrooms were whipped into by teachers is any indication, the staff should be pretty happy with the new digs as well.

Coal to bizarro world that legalized gambling has become in Pennsylvania. As anyone with any power seems to try to expand gambling so the state can make more money off the human knack for spending money against odds, we’ve come to this: the state’s casinos asked a court Wednesday to shut down the state’s new iLottery program, arguing the internet-based games are too much like casino-style gambling. Yes, you read that right. Casino owners are saying “Stop! There’s too much gambling around here!” Now all we need is a state official shutting down gambling while echoing Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca. “I am shocked — shocked — to find that gambling is going on in here!” (A clerk hands him his winnings) “Oh, thank you very much. Everybody out at once!”

Diamonds to Don Williams and all the other veterans feted with a picnic by the Polish American Veterans Club Thursday. Diamonds to the club as well, of course. Like so many of those who serve, Williams offered self-effacing recollections of true everyman heroism during his stint as a medic in the Korean War. Blown back by enemy artillery, he got up and started treating his fellow soldiers, ignoring his own shrapnel. The humility so often heard in these tales only makes the heroics more compelling.

Coal to yet more dithering related to the former Hotel Sterling site. The latest dust up is related to parking, but details are secondary. This key piece of Wilkes-Barre property has been either idle or eyesore for well over a decade of missteps and mismanagement. Everyone wants to get it right, but that shouldn’t mean getting nothing done.