Cheers to LATS, Our Boys Band; jeers to Turnpike Commission
The News-Item's cheers and jeers from the past week of news:
Cheers to the Lower Anthracite Transportation System (LATS) for adding a third daily run, this one taking visitors and workers to and from Knoebels Amusement Resort. Certainly there is a demand from both categories of riders. Many elderly Shamokin-Mount Carmel residents or others who no longer drive or don't have a license now have a safe and affordable alternative to get to the park. It cost $2 each way for the LATS bus, and admission at Knoebels is free. Spending just $4 to get to the park, get in the park and back home is a great deal. As for park employees, many are young and don't yet have driver's licenses, let alone their own vehicles, to get to and from the park. For them, LATS may also provide a cheap alternative. Seeing a need and acting on it has become regular practice for LATS under its new leadership, and the public is reaping the benefits.
Jeers to the minimal changes proposed in a new bill that seeks to reform the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. A few blocks from the state Capitol last week, a preliminary hearing in the Dauphin County Courthouse detailed conduct by people connected to the commission that is rotten, even if it is found not to be criminal. Inside the Capitol, the bill calls for the turnpike's chief financial officer - for an enterprise with revenue of more than $800 million in the 2012 fiscal year - to have financial management experience (really?) and calls for more frequent audits and legislative testimony from commission members. But they are partial measures, while a bill to bring about the only true reform, rolling the turnpike into PennDOT, languishes.
Cheers to the revival of the Our Boys Band, which will help bolster the San Marziale Parade, which itself was revived in 2011. The band will join the parade this coming Sunday in Kulpmont as they pay tribute to the patron saint of Isca sullo Ionio, in Calabria, Italy - the birthplace of many immigrants who settled in the coal region; the parade coincides with his feast day on July 10. Striking up the band will certainly add to the parade, and any parade signals fun and activity in a community.
Jeers to property owners who continue to flaunt the law and disrespect their neighbors and communities by allowing their properties to deteriorate to dangerous conditions. The collapse of a mobile home in Kulpmont last week is just the latest example of such neglect negatively impacting others. We again encourage municipalities to make the most of the tools -including a strengthened law - to combat blight, and seek help from Northumberland County's Blight Task Force in remedying long-standing problem properties.