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Last updated: October 14. 2013 11:39PM - 1090 Views

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GOP seems bent


on extortion


All three branches of government approved the Affordable Care Act. That’s our process. Civilized societies respect the process. What’s the point of all that if the opposing party can grab our traditional form of government by the throat, strangle it and then blow up the world economy if a law is not repealed? It’s chaos. It’s anarchy. Republicans have stopped respecting our process.


Democrats have been pressing House Speaker John Boehner to allow an up or down vote to end the partial government shutdown. A House head count indicates the vote would end the shutdown. There’s no need to fund only the parts of the shutdown that have been most embarrassing to Republicans. Speaker Boehner is the impediment to a resolution.


Speaker Boehner admitted publicly that he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had reached a budget agreement long ago at $70 billion below the Senate bill. Boehner then said that Republicans decided to “make a stand” and renege on the deal. This shutdown, then, is all on the Republicans.


Fifty House Republicans, led by Rep. Reid Ribble and Rep. Paul Ryan, both of Wisconsin, have demanded deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid before the debt ceiling is raised. Health care for veterans is on the table.


The Constitution requires that the debt limit be raised (14th Amendment, section 4). It is not negotiable.


So, here’s the Republican negotiating position: If the ACA is not defunded and Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are not cut, House Republicans will violate the Constitution seemingly in an effort to inflict heavy damage to the U.S. economy and cause a worldwide recession. That’s not a policy position; that’s an extortion demand.


What will it take for Republican voters to understand that the Republican Party does not represent them?


Wayne Warner


Clarks Green


Obama won’t take


responsibility


President Obama reminds me of my youth. When we couldn’t get our way, we gathered our alleys and miggles and left for home, leaving only a hole in the ground and the game of marbles in shambles.


He would be like another president, except that Abraham Lincoln was humble and right with God, whose righteousness guided him and the nation in its greatest turmoil, and insured his legacy and Biblical promise as a son of God, a peacemaker.


A leader does not blame the other party, the valid Tea Party movement, Congress or the world for his own failings, but accepts the blame he tends to shift to others. The code is responsibility.


He and bumbling politicians, blind to the darkness of abortion, seek our faith that this holocaust will somehow thrive, but need only a consensus among us to accept it as just another social issue. What madness! He wants spending without end from U.S. Rep. John Boehner, the other party and Congress, yet threatened to shut down the government for any attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.


E. Silvent


West Wyoming


Add recreation


funding to budget


Live Well Luzerne County is writing in support of the Luzerne County Recreational Facilities Advisory Board’s recent recommendations to restore recreation funding in the county’s annual budget, to re-establish a county Recreation Department and to begin planning, with input from local recreation professionals and organizations, for the future of our county owned parks: Moon Lake, the Tubs, Forty Fort recreation fields and the new River Common park and levee trail, which are part of the county’s Flood Protection system.


We know the county has received $540,779 from the Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund from 2011 and 2012. As long as the natural gas industry is active in Pennsylvania, the county can expect to receive these funds under Section 2315, which, according to the Pennsylvania Utility Commission, are to be used exclusively for “the planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, natural areas, community conservation and beautification projects, community and heritage parks and water resource management. Funds may be used to acquire lands for recreational or conservation purposes and land damaged or prone to drainage by storms or flooding.”


Act 13, passed on February 2012, places an impact fee on oil and gas drilling and specifies how fee revenues are to be disbursed and used.


Why is this important for Luzerne County? In 2008, the county zeroed out the approximately $350,000 recreation line item in the county budget and closed the county’s Recreation Department. Since then, Moon Lake County Park has suffered more than $5 million in damage, and the county has been challenged to maintain its other properties.


Live Well Luzerne is a healthy communities consortium aiming to make healthy activities — such as walking, bicycling and eating healthy — a daily occurrence in our lives. Parks, trails and other green spaces are central in encouraging daily physical activity:


1. A presentation at the recent Highmark “No Time to Weight” conference noted that with access to walking and jogging trails, people are 55 percent more likely to be active, and that access to places for physical activity increased activity and weight loss.


2. The state’s Comprehensive Recreation Plan for 2009-2013 notes that 59 percent of all respondents said they would be more active if there was a trail near them.


3. A 2011 Active Living Research summary to help practitioners and researchers decide which park features were most important to physical activity notes: “People who live near parks are more likely to be active, and this is especially true when parks have features such as trails, playgrounds and sport facilities. People are also more likely to visit and be active in parks that are safe and well-maintained. Making recreational facilities more accessible in all communities is a critical strategy for increasing physical activity and preventing obesity among children and families.”


This is especially important in Luzerne County, which consistently ranks in the bottom fifth of Pennsylvania counties in the County Health Rankings — with lack of physical activity one of the negative health behaviors that is a key contributor to our poor health status. For example, Moon Lake Park has persistent users — mountain bicyclists, fishing enthusiasts and others — who should be encouraged and held up as local examples, rather than being presented with the barrier of using a neglected park.


Today, when the Luzerne County manager presents county council with the 2014 budget, we hope to see recreation funding using the Marcellus Legacy Funds that have been received to date and in the future.


Michele Schasberger


Member, Steering Committee


Live Well Luzerne County


Wilkes-Barre


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