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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Bunny Trail

I lived closer to college than I did to my high school.  I started working weekends and overnights at a radio station when I was a sophomore.  I'm not complaining, but I did miss a lot of the "college experience."

I got to re-live a little of that yesterday.  A college friend was in town to pick up her daughter from the University of Scranton, prior to the Easter break, and I was invited to stop by to say hello.

Wow!  It was get away day, as students finished up their work prior to high tailing it, or bunny hopping it, out of town.  Cars and mini vans were all over the place as students packed up their stuff.   Plenty of relatives were there to help.  There seemed to be some urgency in the air, as this is the last big break before finals and the end of the semester.

Everyone was in a hurry.  Traffic moved slowly, but it appeared to be an organized chaos.  While most were getting out of town yesterday, there were still some with things that needed to be completed before the University shuts down at noon Thursday.  A handful of students appeared to be sticking around for the extra day.

May the bunny bestow loads of treats upon you and yours.  Travel safely.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PS

I'm not sure how long it will stay up on the CBS News web site, but there's an outstanding piece on how the network covered the Boston Marathon bombing last year.  It takes you through 100 hours of coverage in about ten minutes, with some great behind the scenes stuff.

I can't believe how Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly are so upset over Stephen Colbert getting Letterman's job.  Colbert has to be loving the publicity.  If Limbaugh and O'Reilly really want to do some damage, ignore it.

I also can't believe that we still can't find that Malaysian jet.

Even though it happened on a vacation day, I enjoyed yesterday's rain.  A warm springtime rain usually encourages things to green up and leaves to pop.

Gabriel Brothers, a discount clothing chain, is moving in to the mostly vacant East End Center in Wilkes-Barre.  Never been in one.  I'm interested in seeing what it's all about.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Not Fair

I was at a vet's office, picking up some medication yesterday morning, when a man was bringing in a big, old, black dog.  Most of it was under a blanket.  I couldn't tell if the dog was male or female.  The breed looked to be border collie or something similar.  The dog appeared to be in great distress.  The owner was very upset.  I hope I was wrong, but I got the feeling that only one of them was going home.

It was clear that dog had a good home for a long time.  Even though it appeared the border collie story didn't end well, I was happy someone cared.

I've said it here before, but crimes against the defenseless bother me most.  Kids, elderly, animals.

Today's entry is clearly about animals.

We've seen a lot of disgusting things in this area-- hoarders, pierced kittens, puppy mills, violators of court orders, abuse, neglect...  It's a long list, and getting longer.

A friend who worked in the animal welfare business once told me a big part of the problem is some people view animals as disposable.

Animal abuse penalties in this state are a little more than a slap on the wrist.

Maybe people would wise up if animal abuse was more than a misdemeanor.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bumpy Road

Potholes are bad.

That's an inside joke.  I'm sorry.

However, today's topic is potholes-- something I've refrained writing about, in depth (pardon the pun) here.  But, the weather's been nice for a few weeks.  Potholes are almost as bad as ever.  There's no excuse, and it's time we talk about it.

I do most of my traveling in Lackawanna County, so I'll focus on the problems there.  Penn Avenue, Davis Street, Woodlawn Street, North Washington Avenue, the area around the old Scranton Lace, the Olyphant side of the "anchor" in Blakely...  all hideous.  I'm sure there are more, throughout our area, and I'm not picking on the people in those places-- just pointing out examples.

For weeks, I've been willing to cut the people in charge some slack.  This is the worst winter in a while.  Above normal snow.  Below normal cold.  Plenty of freeze/thaw cycles.  Check the calendar.  It's mid April and these problems should be fixed by now.

As I drove on awful roads the other morning, one of the possible reasons for the pothole issue jumped out at me.  It's embarrassment.  Once public sector employees, starting at the very bottom, and going to the very top, lose their capability of being embarrassed, it's all over.  Unfortunately, we have a lot of people, in important positions, who cannot be embarrassed.  It makes no difference whether it's the municipality level, or the county, or the state. If they were embarrassed by the condition of the roads, they'd be fixed.

Now that we've identified the problem, what about a solution?  It's simple.  Demand better.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Andy's Angles: Bloomsburg

As I noted yesterday, Bloomsburg is one of my favorite places.

I'm not a "fair" guy, and people should know there's more to Bloomsburg than that yearly September fair.

There's the university, a busy little downtown, restaurants, historic buildings, statues, a fountain...

My last visit was on a chilly, snow, slushy morning.  I hope to get back when the weather improves.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Andy's Angles: Caldwell Consistory

The Caldwell Consistory, located in the Central Susquehanna Valley town of Bloomsburg, is one of the grandest landmark buildings in the area. Built in 1906, this Victorian, Modified Colonial Revival style is a central destination for parties, proms, receptions, promotional events, concerts and theater. It is home also home to the Free Masons and the Children’s Dyslexia Learning Center.

The paragraph above is from the Caldwell Consistory's web site.  I took the photo below, a few weeks ago, on a snowy spring morning.

Bloomsburg is one of my favorite places.  It has that college town vibrancy and energy.  Plus, it has more than its share of signature buildings and history.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Media Notes

Just a few things today...

Colbert for Letterman?  A safe choice, but a good choice.  Once Colbert drops the character thing, he can be a solid host and comedian in the Carson/Letterman mold.  I hope CBS can reach a deal to keep Craig Ferguson at 12:35 AM.  He's out there, but occasionally outrageously funny.

Jane Pauley is leaving NBC News after 40 years to become a contributor for the CBS News "Sunday Morning" broadcast.  It seems like a perfect fit.  Plus, when 81 year old Charles Osgood chooses to hang up his bow tie, the 63 year old Pauley will be a perfect replacement.

What will CNN exploit once they find the Malaysian jet?

Mickey Rooney appeared in dozens of movies and tv shows.  He appeared on stage countless times, and died with an estate valued at $18,000.

It's nice to see baseball back on TV, and the MLB Network's daily highlights package show is outstanding.

"The Price is Right" celebrated its 8,000th show this week.  Jeez O'Pete, I remember the first of the "new" series in 1972.

I'm off this weekend.  Bill Wadell will handle the weekend morning broadcasts.

I'll see you soon.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lessons Learned

We've had another case of violence in schools.  The latest is a series of stabbing yesterday near Pittsburgh.

In spite of it all, the vast, vast majority of American schools are safe.  That's easy for me to say.  I'm not a parent.  There are no school aged children in the family.

Schools should be fun and happy places.  The thought of an armed police or security officer in every hallway troubles me.  Doors are locked.  At times, security resembles that of a prison, without the bars.  I'm not sure I'd be comfortable in that atmosphere.  I'm sure it does give parents a more secure feeling.

These days, security is as big as a concern as the books and computers.

Think of the kindergartener entering school this fall.  The only school they will ever know is one where the security officer with the gun strapped to his her waist is as familiar as their teacher.  What seems abnormal and frightening to those of us long gone from the classroom will be just another day at school, a heavily armed school.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

And So It Begins...

Wilkes-Barre had its first homicide of 2014 Monday night-- a stabbing on South Hancock Street.  Charles Edmonds dead.  Al-Tariq Peterkin charged.

Wilkes-Barre had a dozen homicides last year and in half the cases, the killers still walk the streets.

You could see it on the faces of law enforcement.  Even though an arrest was quickly made, many had that "Here we go again" look.  Another violent year ahead.  More media scrutiny.  More angry citizens.  More faith in government and the powers that be lost.  I also detected some of that "if we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist" attitude.

There are two ways to do this-- confront the issue, head on...  or do more of the same, a tactic that's failed in the past.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bank On It



I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was.

I had to do a little banking Friday morning.  Nothing major.  Just cashing an income tax refund check and splitting the money between a couple accounts.

I visited two bank branches, next door to each other.  At one time, visiting a bank on a Friday was an exercise in wasted time and frustration.  You had to battle a crowded parking lot outside and long lines inside.

Times have changed.  Both branches were just about empty.  I zipped in and out.

When I sat down and thought about it, it made perfect sense.  I still write a few checks every month, but most bills are paid directly from an account, or I do it manually, on-line.  I don't remember what newspaper I saw it in, but a recent story noted how banks are building smaller branches.  The need for multiple teller stations isn't there.

You have a bank at your fingertips, in the form of the computer or smart phone, in your home.  Brick and mortar bank branches are on the way out.

Pardon a geezer moment, but I do miss those big old banks, with the marble and the stone, and the enormous steel vaults, and the high ceilings.  Those old banks were cool places.  Now, even the smaller buildings are endangered.