Diamonds to all involved in the restoration of the Luzerne County Courthouse rotunda, one of the region’s — indeed, the state’s — finest architectural gems. And while the courthouse is technically open for public viewing every day, diamonds also to the decision to hold tours. For those who didn’t see, the entire central lobby was awash in scaffolding rising to a makeshift wooden floor near the rotunda itself during the work. The scaffolding may have been a work of industrial art in its own right. But now that it’s gone, the beauty it helped restore is on full display. Consider stopping by, or make a point to join one of the remaining tours April 19 and 23 beginning at 6 p.m.
Coal, albeit a small chunk, to Wilkes-Barre Councilwoman Beth Gilbert’s push to have Police Chief Marcella Lendacky resign immediately. It’s not a bad idea, and Lendacky should consider it simply for the sake of leaving behind a toxic situation. But she has announced a June retirement, and after nearly three decades on the force, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to let her leave in her own reasonable time.
Diamonds to Wilkes-Barre NAACP President Guerline Laurore for politely but firmly voicing concerns of racism, latent or overt, in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District and in the school board’s plans to largely leave GAR Memorial High School as is while building a new school for Coughlin and Meyers students. Laurore was particularly effective when board member Ned Evans made the expected claim that, in his mind, all district students are treated equally. “That you feel that way makes sense,” she said. ”You’re not a student of color.” It is not a good idea to assume racism, but it’s a worse idea to assume it doesn’t exist.
Coal to Wilkes-Barre for filing legal action designed to block distribution of about $3 million left over from a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) plan that the city itself wasn’t originally part of. The city’s goal of extending Coal Street to Union is admirable, but this costly legal battle is not the way forward.
Diamonds to the continuing national effort to get unused or forgotten prescription drugs out of medicine cabinets and into the hands of folks who can properly dispose of them. On April 28, the Luzerne County Medical Society will host a local collection as part of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. People can drop off medication from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Luzerne County Courthouse on North River Street, which is a much better option than it potentially winding up with the wrong person. (Unfortunately, as the opioid epidemic has proved, that has so often been the case.) The proper disposal of this medication has another benefit as well. Pills can end up harming the environment or water supply if they are simply thrown away.
Coal to the federal and state governments for failing to assure adequate funding for much needed change in election machines. Preserving the integrity of the election process is an absolute cornerstone of democracy, and new machines are justified. But it cannot fall to local counties to shoulder the burden.