Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Saturday, June 13, 2015

For the better part of a century, the droning buzz heard over the rooftops of Forks Township has come from a recognizable source small planes coming and going from Braden's Airport, now known as Braden Airpark.

Today, however, there's another concern, raised by township supervisors last week the recreational use of small drones by hobbyists, and the extent to which they should (or shouldn't) be regulated.

"I don't want a neighbor flying one over my house," Supervisor Dan Martyak said. "When does it become harassment?"

Friday, June 12, 2015

The June 2 special meeting held by Coaldale Borough Council was special in more ways than one.

The original advertising request, sent via email, to announce the meeting in a public notice in the Times News stated it would be held June 3.

When that error was discovered, the Coaldale secretary apparently sent a correction.

According to the Times News advertising department, the first email was received but not the second.

The ad ran with the incorrect date.

The secretary furnished copies of her emails to prove both had been sent.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

In the 2002 movie "Hart's War," the commandant of a German POW camp mocks American prisoners for saluting a group of Russians who were hung for trying to escape the camp during the late stages of World War II.

"Those are dogs you're saluting, Colonel. Untermenschen (subhuman), animals," the Luftwaffe officer tells Army Col. William McNamara, played by Bruce Willis.

"My country doesn't make those kinds of distinctions, colonel," Willis replies. "They're our Allies."

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The results of an emergency dispatch Sunday in West Penn Township are chilling.

Local police were first to arrive at the scene after responding to a Schuylkill Communications Center call for a barn fire with possible entrapment.

What they found, instead, was more than a fire.

There was an erratic man hiding after allegedly setting a blaze at his house and barn.

Police had to subdue the man and get the situation under control.

The man, suffering from burns and deep wounds, admitted to police he was high on bath salts.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

It's been said suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

But that's an unfair statement.

For one, it's judgmental. For another, it's condescending and tends to pigeonhole or marginalize victims.

Suicide has been shrouded in unfair stigma and taboo for so many years we're only now starting to get a grasp of its seriousness.

It's the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Pennsylvania ranks 29th among the 50 states.

But suicide is never about statistics.

It's about people and family.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The officials we elect, or those who are appointed by those elected, are the people's business.

The media is in the business of reporting news about them.

That's why the records of publicly elected employees should be open for all to see.

A bill scheduled for a vote today in the state Legislature (House Bill 824) would prohibit release of information related to "public safety officials," including home addresses, personal telephone numbers or email addresses upon request of the official, without standards or a right to appeal.

Friday, June 5, 2015

There's an old American fable about a little Dutch boy who saved his country by sticking his finger into the hole of a leaking dike.

He remained there all night until adults in the village found him and made necessary repairs to the hole in the dam.

That mythical story isn't unlike the help being offered by education foundations, a fairly recent innovation.

Education foundations seem to have sprouted in recent years to help plug a major leak in school funding.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Basic lessons in life, such as unconditional love, forgiveness and compassion, are formed at an early age.

According to studies, early childhood, which spans the period from birth up to 8 years of age, is critical for a child's social, emotional and physical development. About 90 percent of a child's brain develops in that time, including most of their intellect, personality and social skills.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The destruction of the old St. Nicholas Coal Breaker 13 miles west of Tamaqua is the end of an era.

The industrial complex, built in 1931 and opened 1932, was the largest and most productive coal breaker in the world.

It was so large that half of the village of Suffolk, just west of Mahanoy City, was relocated to free up space for construction.

When you examine the Old St. Nick, you find its numbers staggering.

The Schuylkill County breaker soars seven stories high. Construction required 3,800 tons of steel and more than 10,000 cubic yards of concrete.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Many families in central and eastern Pennsylvania are descendants of European immigrants whose family roots are tied to the coal mining industry.

When coal was king during the 1800s, English, Welsh, Irish and German immigrants formed the bulk of the workforce. They were followed by Polish, Slovak, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Italian, Russian and Lithuanian immigrants.

After finding employment in the anthracite fields, mining families influenced the ethnic character of towns throughout Luzerne and Schuylkill counties.