The LuLac Edition #794, Apr. 25th, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: WBRE TV'S KYLA CAMPBELL AND THE ORIGINAL SCRANTON SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF BUILDING, CIRCA 1885.
ON DEAF EARS
A few weeks ago, two very prominent political movers and shakers of Lackawanna County told me independent of each other that State Senator Robert Mellow was going to make a concerted effort to save the Scranton School For The Deaf. I was told that finally Senator Mellow was going to get the most positive press he has had in his career by the media in Northeastern Pennsylvania. In the two week interim, something changed radically. Thursday WBRE TV reported that Mellow was going to withdraw his amendment that would save the Scranton School For the Deaf. My question is what changed in the last two weeks? Or who got to Bob Mellow?
Friday, WBRE’s Kyla Campbell reported that on July 1st, the Scranton State School for the Deaf (SSSD) will be taken over by the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD). That's according to a confidential three-year transition plan obtained by WBRE TV. Governor Ed was in town handing out stimulus money like Santa. He shook his head saying, "We have to make cuts, it's a shame," But no other state in the union runs its own school for the deaf.” He made the statement in Pottsville where he just coughed up 15 million dollars for an intermodal transportation center. For freaking Pottsville? Governor Ed also said that Pennsylvania was the only state in the union that had a state school for the deaf. Wrong, countered Ruth Gerrity, the President of the Deaf School teacher’s association. 41 states have them. I guess if it were the stats on the Eagles, Governor Ed would be a tad more accurate. And what about the fact that the private school in Pittsburgh where the kids will be shipped to got 8 million bucks while a public school got 6 million last year in state funding? Isn’t that a little out of whack? That's like giving Wyoming Valley West 4 million bucks and Wyoming Seminary 10 million! If these students don’t go to Pittsburgh, they will have to be absorbed into the public school system in LuLac land. And despite the obvious commitment that needs to be made to these children, the school taxes will have to be raised to pay for this. It is also curious to me that the story on the street is that Marywood University had an interest in the property. But Marywood officials said they hadn’t been privy to any news about that. But as sure as Chuckie Castanzo watched porn in the office, you can bet that someone in town is interested in that land. And that is the reason why Mellow caved.
When I was growing up in the Junction section of Pittston there was a kid on my street named Ronnie. Urban legend and Pittston Science said that he cranked up the table radio too loud when he was a baby and went deaf. I later found out that he was born deaf. Ronnie went to that school and the first year he went, we regarded him as the deaf kid. But when Ronnie returned every summer, we began to notice he was a better, faster swimmer than all of us. So "Ronnie the deaf kid" became "Ronnie the swimmer." In high school, I got a job at the old Detato’s Supermarket in Pittston. So did Ronnie. When we were adults, I went to Ronnie’s mother’s wake. When I was introduced to some family members, someone signed to Ronnie that “you could take the boy out of the Junction but you couldn’t take the Junction out of the boy”. See, the Scranton School for the Deaf kept Ronnie, years after he attended school there, a Junction Boy. It is a tragedy that with the State Legislature having slush funds in excess of 50 million dollars for their own political use, that no one, not one official has the courage to get the money for this school. Kevin Murphy is keeping his word but the fix is in. Someone wants that land.
The Scranton School for the Deaf made people perceived as being weak powerhouses in their own right. That will end when they close the school in Scranton.
The late Hubert Humphrey, Vice President, to Lyndon Johnson, often said, that " The compassion of the government is measured, in how it treats --- those in society --- least able to take care of themselves ".
Poor Hubert, he was so naïve, and thankfully never a resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania with its political climate of duplicity and cowardly behavior. If you're looking for "Profles In Courage" here...move along.