Phone-using ‘blockers’ should get traffic fines
We responsible drivers are simply fed up with Cellphone Inattentional Blindness. After experiencing another all too typical dense, clueless, inattentive, obtuse driver with cellphone glued to the ear while blocking everyone around her this morning, I decided to submit a win-win proposal to all.
In New York City, drivers “blocking the box” (an intersection) are subject to a moving violation that includes a $90 fine. With so many towns experiencing budget shortfalls these days what a blessing a similar fine for cellphone distractive driving would be for all.
Curbside trash container wasn’t free for the taking
On Saturday, March 30, my family and I were cleaning out our attic. We put a television with a “free” sign on it out on the curb on Ninth Street in Wyoming. We also put out other things including a like-new green tall trash container with two wheels and a lid for our weekly trash collection. By mistake, someone took the trash container thinking it was free. We would like the trash container returned to the location from where it was taken.
New Shale organization is far from regulatory
There has been much hype about the newly formed Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD). If anyone is wondering why you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, take a look at CSSD – it’s toothless.
Despite the news articles referring to CSSD as a “new regulatory” organization, CSSD is not a regulatory anything. According to Jared Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University and a member of CSSD’s Board of Directors, CSSD is a complement to strong regulatory frameworks. “Complements” are not regulations.
CSSD has no regulatory authority, nor does it have the power to enforce anything. The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) also has a set of “guidelines” and “recommendations” for their Natural Gas corporate members, but no power or authority to enforce them.
Participation in CSSD or MSC is voluntary – not mandatory, nor is participation required in Pennsylvania. The CSSD or MSC can not impose penalties, prevent natural gas corporations from drilling, shut down a drill site or suspend permits.
As the 2014 election season heats up, we will hear many candidates talking about “responsible drilling.”
It is a nice short sound bite, easy to remember and easily rolls off the tongue. How can we have “responsible” drilling if no one is held “responsible” or takes “responsibility”?
Dorina Hippauf Lehman Township
Geisinger lauds doctors for compassionate care
In the year 1750, a doctor named Peter Shaw said the best physicians are those in whom patients have the greatest confidence. That is still true today as physicians partner with patients in the provision of quality care and enhancement of their health and wellness.
On the occasion of National Doctor’s Day on March 30, we publicly recognized and thankd all area physicians for their unparalleled skills and compassion in caring for their patients.
Doctors choose the noble profession of medicine because of their desire to keep patients healthy, care for them when they are ill or injured and ultimately affect their lives in a positive and personal way. Their expertise and compassion are evident every day in the service they provide to people in need.
In this climate of rapidly changing health reform, the dedication and commitment of physicians remains constant. As healthcare evolves, we are confident our region’s doctors will continue to meet the needs of the people in this community.
Wherever you receive your medical care, please join with us in recognizing and saluting all area physicians for the tremendous work they do on behalf of the people of the northeastern Pennsylvania region.
John J. Buckley, FACHE Steven B. Pierdon, MD, MMM
Chief Administrative Officer Chief Medical Officer
Geisinger Northeast Geisinger Northeast
Lissa Bryan-Smith Kim Zikowski
Chief Administrative Officer Administrative Director Geisinger Regional Ambulatory Campus Geisinger Regional Ambulatory Campus
John C. Gardner, MD, FAAFP Michael A. Kovalick, DO, FAAFP
Department Medical Director Department Medical Director
Geisinger CPSL Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Geisinger CPSL Luzerne County
Defined pension plan a relic state can’t afford
The defined benefit pension plan is a relic of the past. Most companies that offer retirement plans long-ago shifted to more cost-effective offerings, such as the 401(k).
The time has come to eliminate the overly expensive, taxpayer-funded defined benefits systems before they bankrupt Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) joins with Gov. Tom Corbett and other stakeholders in urging the members of the General Assembly to take action before the cost of funding Pennsylvania’s two pensions systems — the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) and the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) — overwhelm our state budget.
The two systems have a combined unfunded liability of more than $41 billion. Over the course of the next three budget cycles (2013-2014, 2014-2015, 2015-2016), Pennsylvania’s contributions to fund PSERS and SERS are expected to increase by more the $2 billion. The budgetary impact will be a significant crowding-out of funding on the rest of the Commonwealth’s vital programs and services over the next several years. These systems are simply no longer sustainable.
The PICPA Fiscal Responsibility Task Force has offered a number of policy options to address the crisis.
The PICPA believes pension reform in Pennsylvania must include addressing the nature of the benefit type as well as funding the obligations already promised to current employees and retirees. The report of the task force can be found at www.picpa.org/fiscal.
The time to play the blame game is over and, at this crisis point, irrelevant. Kicking the can down the road is no longer an option. Real, measurable public pension reform is needed now.
Robert C. Jazwinski
President, Pennsylvania Institute of CPA
St. Mary’s Byzantine marking 125th birthday
This year, St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Wilkes-Barre is having its 125th anniversary. There is no church like it in the United States. It has a lot of adult altar servers and lectors. St. Mary’s has Knights of Columbus, which is the only Byzantine Catholic Church in the county that has it.
Alex S. Partika