Letters To The Editor 10/7/2018
fire safety impact
Editor: As our community gathered Saturday to honor the life of Jeanne Bovard, the former CEO of the Scranton Area Foundation, I recalled an important and lasting contribution the foundation made through Jeanne’s determination.
In 2000 the Scranton Fire Department had a goal to obtain a “fire safe house,” an educational tool to teach elementary school children the importance of fire prevention/safety in their homes and to plan a home escape route in case of fire. We knew that such a purchase was all but impossible due to Scranton’s finances. We approached Jeanne and the foundation for financial support.
Jeanne quickly moved the project along with a grant. It became Jeanne’s mission that the department would have this educational tool to make Scranton more fire-safe by educating children. Upon delivery of the house, Scranton’s firefighters targeted elementary schools for the fire education program.
Shortly after the program began, the department responded to a structure fire in South Scranton. Upon arrival, firefighters were told of how the occupants, the Mangan family, were instructed by their young son, Jimmy, to close a bedroom door to shield them from fire and evacuate the house until firefighters arrived. Jimmy said firefighters had recently been at his school and taught students what to do in a fire. Jimmy’s awareness may have saved his family.
That day, the department and the Mangans recognized the great impact that Jeanne Bovard, through the Scranton Area Foundation, had then and will have for many years on public safety in our area.
In 2001 a plaque honoring Jeanne was hung in the fire safe house, which Jeanne found unnecessary. I visited the house recently, read the plaque and thought of Jeanne and her incredible legacy, continuing to provide fire safety education for elementary students and making our communities more fire-safe.
FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF,
SCRANTON FIRE DEPARTMENT
Editor: Teachers are the lifeblood of our schools and are underpaid compared to other professionals in our society. In an ideal world, they would be rewarded with salaries and bonuses commensurate to their contributions.
I wish we could do this. But we cannot create money out of nothing.
The Scranton School District faces a massive financial deficit. There is no money. To make things worse, we have a slim chance of recouping funds siphoned off by criminal conspiracy. We are past the point where we can go back and forth on the teachers contract for months or years. Both sides must make concessions. If we do not, we risk getting taken over by the state. That is not what is best for our students, teachers or the community.
A takeover would likely lead to charters rushing into Scranton, possibly underserving our kids and certainly taking away union jobs. We could end up like Philadelphia, Newark or Cleveland, with more than 30 percent of students enrolled in charters, at direct cost to neighborhood public schools our city holds dear.
We don’t want to open those floodgates. We need a strong union to keep employment protections in place for teachers. Scranton’s students need qualified, motivated, well-paid teachers to guide them through their education. We need a strong school board committed to remedying past flaws and rebuilding public trust. We need to work together, acknowledge the financial realities and compromise.
The real enemies of our public school system are legislators in Harrisburg who don’t prioritize education and Betsy DeVos’ federal Department of Education laser-focused on privatizing.
Let’s please reset, be professional and work through this negotiation in good faith. Then let’s go to Harrisburg as a united front to push for full and equitable funding for all school districts across Pennsylvania.
PAIGE GEBHARDT COGNETTI
Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the Scranton School Board.
Profits come first;
remember at pump
Editor: In a recent address to the General Assembly of the United Nations, President Trump criticized OPEC for high oil prices.
But according to the federal Energy Information Administration, the United States will produce almost 12 million barrels of oil per day in 2019. So, why don’t the producers vow to keep most or all of that oil in the United States? Wouldn’t that offset the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ high prices or even force the oil cartel to lower its prices to be competitive in the energy markets?
The answer may be simple. U.S. oil companies make huge profits here, but even more money by exporting oil outside the United States. Crude oil exports in late September totaled 2.6 million barrels a day, according to government data.
So the next time you pay $3 or more for a gallon of gasoline, keep the greed of those oil companies in mind and lament the idea of how good it could be if this nation would be truly energy independent and kept its oil here.
ridicule at U.N.
Editor: For a while, it has been claimed that citizens in other countries are smarter than Americans.
It was proved last month when President Trump stepped on the podium at the United Nations and said, “In less than two years my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”
I am sure that the people who make up Trump’s base jumped off their seats, applauded and shouted, “Lock her up.” The people at the United Nations laughed.
So, are they really smarter than Americans, or are they just not as easily fooled by a clown with a big tie?
DAVID G. WATKINS