Laurels & lances: Watchdogs, political agendas and world records
Laurel: To the office of Pennsylvania auditor general and Westmoreland County prosecutors for keeping tabs on expenditures of volunteer fire departments, which provide lifesaving services to residents in the county and our region.
It is difficult enough to attract and retain men and women who heed such an important calling. To have a select few misspend or steal often meager funds used to support these departments is unconscionable, such as what has been alleged to have occurred by former leaders within the Delmont Volunteer Fire Department. We’re glad someone is there to check the books and hold responsible anyone determined to have committed such acts.
Lance: To the Norwin School Board for failing on Nov. 19, once again, to elect a person to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Shawn Petrisko in August.
It is crystal clear that five members of the now eight-member board are unwilling to agree on one candidate for a term that expires in December 2019. A faction of the board will not favor appointing Becky Gediminskas, who got 3,100 votes in her failed bid for re-election in November 2017. One director, Tracey Czajkowski, said she could not vote for Gediminskas because she lost in an election. Yet, Czajkowski could nominate and vote for a person who never ran for office, so never got any votes, let alone 3,100. Another director, Darlene Ciocca, threatened to quit over having Gediminskas appointed.
The height of absurdity came when seven members of the board on Nov. 19 nominated seven people to serve. It featured board members nominating one person, then giving the required “second” to the nomination of a person who would compete against the candidate they wanted to win. Director Donald Rhodes, who abstained from voting for anyone in what had become a charade, may have captured it best when he said the process had been manipulated “to further someone’s personal political agenda.”
Laurel: To Stan Friedberg of Murrysville, who at 91 years old set the Guinness World Record for the world’s oldest heli-skier. The record was certified this fall.
For those who don’t know, heli-skiing is when you get dropped by a helicopter on top of mountains where the ski lifts don’t run. Friedberg, who began skiing in the mid-1950s and was a ski instructor for several decades, hadn’t been heli-skiing for quite some time, but he was able to jump right back on the bike and ride. He credited his exercise regimen, which includes walking, jogging or lifting weights six days a week.
“Most people my age have trouble walking, let alone heli-skiing,” he said.
Now there’s a fitness goal to strive for.