Thursday, December 04, 2014

The LuLac Edition #2787, December 4th, 2014

County Councilman Edd Brominski. (Photo: LuLac archives).
When Edd Brominski ran for Luzerne County Council four years ago one of the reasons he won was because the man made sense. His reaction to the recent payroll debacle under the dome solidifies the fact that Mr. Brominski asks the right questions and demands the right answers at the right time.
Let’s recap. Policy analyst Jason Parrish goes on vacation. He’s the guy that is supposed to handle all the transfers to the banks for the county payroll. Over the four day weekend County workers find out that the money they thought was going to be in their account was not. Some have automatic bill paying set up. With no money, they are in arrears through no fault of their own.
On Friday Brian Swetz, the 150th Budget and Finance Director (well not really but it feels like it) since Tom Pribula restores most of the money to the County employee' banks.
On Monday Swtez and Bob Lawton fired Jason Parrish. Now Parish was the only guy who had access to this which begs the question what if he wasn’t on vacation but got hit by a bus?
At Tuesday’s Council meeting Brominski asked the questions we all were asking like:
Why didn’t Swezt step in and take control over his own department? If Parrish was the only guy who was supposed to do the transfer, why was he allowed to go on vacation? And why was Parrish allowed to work off Kronos from home?
The last few years Brominski has taken some hits. But damn the man is asking the right questions on this matter. The County now has a back up plan with four people now having access to transfer payroll. Jason Parrish loses his job but the guy that was supposed to oversee it skates.
Like all things big and small in Luzerne County this will soon pass. But in my opinion I’m glad Edd Brominski is on this County Council asking questions of common sense that seem to escape others actually employed in leadership positions.  


Anyone who saw the video of New York police officers putting Eric Garner in a choke hold this past year witnessed force in that apprehension. Unlike the Michael Brown incident this was filmed, there was no resistance and there was a plea for help from the person being arrested. While there was room for debate with Michael Brown’s case, unless I am missing something this seemed to be a case of police over reach.
I’m a big supporter of police but I am wondering just what this grand jury saw that the rest of the world didn't. If Civil Rights activists want to plant their flag on a case, because there is a history of black men being treated different than whites when being apprehended for an alleged crime, this is the one you need to peacefully protest. In both cases a life was lost. But let’s put this in perspective. Knocking over a cigar store is way bigger than selling cigarettes. Plus, “no intent to harm” is nebulous at best. You have a perp in a choke hold outlawed by your own department and you have the guy you’re holding gasping for breath and asking for help. Intent not to harm? You decide. That said, I wasn’t there. I never had to fight for my life like police officers do every day. But it is ironic that fifty years after the Civil Rights struggles, hard fought by both whites and blacks, both races who died in that fight, we just can’t seem to get this right. The onus is on both parties though. The alleged criminals as well as those charged to protect the public good. To serve and protect means to serve all, not overreact in some cases.


Meanwhile in Lackawanna County, the sentencing of 16 year old was held up. Aazis Richardson was set to plead guilty but then changed his mind and asked for a hearing in two weeks. The family of the cab driver (the late Vincent Darbenzio) he allegedly killed in cold blood was in the Court room but tough guy wanted his mommy to come in from Jersey. According to a Lackawanna County legal source, if he pleads guilty or is found guilty he would not necessarily be getting life in prison. Maybe he and mom can swap stories about good times while a hard working Scranton cabbie lies stone cold dead in the ground.


To donate:
Donations may be dropped off at any Citizens Bank branch or mailed to :
Valley Santa Inc.
P.O. Box 5276
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18710
To donate using PayPal:
To volunteer:
Help Line is coordinating volunteers, who are needed to shop for gifts on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays beginning at 7 a.m. at Boscov’s, to wrap gifts Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Boscov’s and to read letters from families in need Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. at the Greenhouse in Wilkes-Barre. For information about volunteering, call Help Line at 829-1341.
Valley Santa is sponsored by The Citizens’ Voice, the City of Wilkes-Barre, Boscov’s and Citizens Bank.

Congressman Matt Cartwright. (LuLac archives)

U.S. Congressmen Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Reid Ribble (WI-08) introduced the bipartisanChildren’s Savings Accounts Offer Parents Plenty of Reasons to Understand aNd Invest in Tuition Yearly (CSA OPPORTUNITY) Act with the support of six House colleagues.
One well known type of Children’s Savings Account (CSA) is the 529 plan. Created in 1996, 529 Plans allow parents to save money for college while offering both federal and state tax benefits. Unfortunately, money set aside in a 529 Plan counts against the asset limitations set forth in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Low Income High Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
This in turn forces families to choose between putting aside money for college and keeping essential benefits.
“College savings accounts alter the aspirations of children by sending a message that they should expect more from their own futures. Yet, when we force parents to choose between saving for college and keeping the lights on, we essentially punish financial responsibly,”Rep. Cartwright said. “We should end this difficult decision for families and provide the opportunity for all families to save for their children’s education.”
“When government makes it difficult for families to save money, they tend not to save money, and the cycle of poverty continues. This legislation would help remove barriers that prevent parents from providing opportunities for their children’s future. We need to help break the cycle of poverty that passes from one generation to the next and by removing this arbitrary cap on savings we can help in that transition. Every parent wants to provide a better future for their children, government policy shouldn't work against that,” Rep. Ribble stated.
Andrea Levere, President of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), endorsed the legislation. “Parents shouldn’t have to choose between affording basic necessities and saving for their children’s education. Rep. Cartwright and Rep. Ribble have demonstrated exemplary leadership in coming together to introduce a bipartisan bill that will expand opportunity for families throughout the country.”
The CSA OPPORTUNITY Act would exempt 529 Plans from TANF, SSI, and LIHEAP asset limitations. The bill would also exempt non-529 CSAs from TANF, SSI, LIHEAP, and Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) asset limitations.
Over 1.3 million American children born each year – and more than half of minority children – are born into families with negligible savings to invest in their futures. Yet research and practice have shown that even a small amount of savings increases the likelihood that a child will attend college. One study showed that children from low or moderate income families who saved between $1 and $500 were three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate than those without savings.
Rep. Matt Cartwright represents Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District, which includes Schuylkill County and portions of Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, and Northampton Counties. Cartwright serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.



The famous story about “A Wonderful Life” , that iconic Christmas movie is that when it was released it was not regarded as a Holiday classic at all. But through the years the film grew on people and today it is now a Holiday staple in some families.
I predict the same thing may happen to a movie released in 2003. Called “Love Actually,” the movie chronicles a whole lot of little love stories centered around Christmas in London. I’m not sure it was regarded as a Holiday movie when it came out but if you watch the thing you’ll see that this can easily become a Holiday classic in time. It is my humble opinion that this might be this century’s “It’s A Wonderful Life”.


Host David DeCosmo (right) welcomes Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright and city Recreation Specialist Tom Lynch. (Photo: ECTV)
Christmas Lighting is on the agenda for ECTV Live during the week of December 8th with two special shows that will alternate with each other. Host David DeCosmo welcomes Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright and city Recreation Specialist Tom Lynch to talk about the holiday display set up in Nay Aug Park. The second program will feature Joe Spenelli of Newfoundland who has turned an old department store Christms lighting collection into an area attraction right in his own backyard! ECTV Live can be seen several times daily on Comcast Ch19 (61 in some areas).


 Duke Barrett and Scott Cannon on Sunday Magazine this week.

Brian Hughes speaks with Scott Cannon & Duke Barrett from the Gas Drillers Awareness Coalition about proposed new pipelines they may criss cross our region.
An encore of Brian's interview with Sharon Roginski from Lackawanna County Youth & Family Services about their "Adopt An Angel" program.
And an encore of Brian's interview with home improvement expert Danny Lipford about preparing your home before, during & after a winter storm.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morNing at 5am on NASH-FM, 93-7, 5:30am on 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X & 6:25am on Magic 93.


This week on Community Forum Mike Remish profiles former University of Scranton Women's Basketball Coach Mike Strong. You'll hear the program Sunday morning at 6 on 94.3 The Talker; 6:30 on NEPA's Sports Radio-The Game 1340/1400/1440 and 100.7 and 106.7 fm; and at 7:30 on 105 The River


Tune in to Sue Henry's "Special Edition" this week as Sue recaps the week's news. Special Edition is heard Saturdays and Sunday on these Entercom stations, WILK FM Saturday at 2pm Sunday at 6 am on Froggy 101 Sunday at 7 am on The Sports Hub 102.3 Sunday at 7 am on K R Z 98.5 Sunday at noon on WILK FM 103.1.


Want to hear some great parodies on the news? Tune in to WILK Radio at 6:40 and 8:40 AM on Mondays. As Ralph Cramden used to say, “It’s a laugh riot!”


Tune in Wednesdays on WILK Radio for Karel on the Street. Hear some of the funniest and heartwarming comments on the issues of the day on Webster and Nancy with Karel Zubris.


Every Wednesday at 5PM, Steve Corbett shines the light on a Public official with his “Somebody’s Watching Me” segment. Corbett picks an alleged public servant to eye ball and observe. Batten down the lawn furniture in the driveway and that e mail machine. There is nowhere to hide when “somebody’s Watching”. Wednesdays at 5 on WILK’s Corbett program.

Our 1974 logo


Cowhide, rather than just horsehide, can be used to make baseballs………. Jean-Paul Sartre visits Red Army Faction leader Andreas Baader in prison………….. Monty Python's Flying Circus final episode airs on BBC- NFL's Seattle Seahawks forms…..Birmingham Americans defeat the Florida Blazers 22-21 in the WFL's World Bowl………… Pennsylvania Pirates Manager Danny Murtaugh said he would return for another season in 1975. Murtaugh replaced Bill Virdon in September of 1973. Murtaugh becomes the only manager in baseball to manage the same team 4 times. The other was Billy Martin…in Luzerne County speculation runs rampant that Senator Martin L. Murray, recently reelected to the Pa. Senate from the 14th District might be named President Pro Tem of the State Senate………and forty years ago this week the number one song in LuLac land and America was “Cat's In the Cradle” - Harry Chapin.


At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave- Going unnoticed in these two high profile police victim deaths is the fact that if both individuals had simply cooperated/obeyed the law enforcement officers there would have been no problem. Its not a black white issue its a respect the law and those paid to enforce it at great and constant risk to themselves. they made choices and those choices caused the horrible situations which followed. Kieth T

At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the correct decision was made in Ferguson. The kid was a thug as evidenced by his treatment
of the man in the store who had the nerve to confront him. The hands up thing has gone too far and is not a proven fact. Civil unrest that turns violent is not acceptable behavior. The New York situation begs the question, how do you subdue an enormous man? In both cases neither individual obeyed the police or the law. However as more info comes out and after following the case closely in the Plain Dealer, the
Cleveland incident clearly indicates an individual who was too quick on the draw and not suited to be a Police
Officer which was the determination of the Independence Ohio PD after a very short period. The situation was not a black or white issue. It was bad police work and a terrible tragedy. Following the Bonnie and Clyde style shoot out a couple years ago where an unarmed couple were shot at 137 times and executed, the Cleveland Police Force has some major questions and no good answers.


At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keith T and JP both make good sense.
The fact is as it begins to come out, both police officers were questionable as a result of past concerns. The Cleveland Cop just shouldnt have had the job. I support the Police, but not when they cross the line. Todays Cop has got to exercise moderation and good sense. Hopefully most do, but there are exceptions maybe too many lately. Its a damn tough job. I know I wouldnt want to answer a call to Sherman Hills in the middle of the night!

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This payless payday in the county is an absolute joke but it isn't funny. People could not shop "Black Friday" and were inconvenienced in other ways such as food shopping. It is absolutely unbelievable that the employee was fired for not working while on approved vacation yet the guy who should have stepped up, the boss Wentz get to fire Parrish but it is Wentz who should have been fired if indeed firing is appropriate. Lawton continues to prove he is the wrong manager for Luzerne county and shame on the members of council who protect him. If he is immune from action by the council then there is absolutely no control over how he performs his duties. I also think the council is unrealistic when they refuse to raise taxes while they seem to ignore their responsibility toward the debt. It has become obvious that they cut staff too deeply and now it shows up in the quality of work produced.... one really can't do the work of 2. Now Lawton says firing another 120 will be needed and only because the council does not have the ballz to do what is necessary. I don't want to pay more taxes but where were we when the commissioners were borrowing to pay current bills and at the same time, cut taxes via Homestead Act. You can't cut income, increase sending and balance the budget, Reagan tried that and ;proved it cannot be done. Eliminate the Homestead Act, take responsibility for having no oversight of government and move on.

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chapin was the forerunner artist with a social conscience who did much more than talk. He was also a very talented man and his death was a great loss in many ways. His songs were like movies in an era before MTV and extensive video. This tune is but one of many and I know there was much more to come.
Rest in peace, Sir you are remembered and respected.


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