Diamonds to Bob Ciaruffoli and Melissa Steininger. The former Wyoming Valley residents, one the president of the World Meeting of Families, the other an aspiring broadcast journalist, will be front and center during Pope Francis’ stopover in Philadelphia. Ciaruffoli’s organization is responsible for planning the papal visit to the United States. Meanwhile, Steininger, a Temple University student, is expected to cover this weekend’s action for the university’s television station. Bless ‘em for their efforts.
Coal to Luzerne County government. It dropped the ball earlier this year on adopting a “hazard mitigation plan,” meaning that if a flood or other disaster had struck, local communities might have been ineligible for state and federal recovery funds to fix the damage. Yikes! The issue has been resolved, this time, but since these plans must be updated every five years, action should be taken so that no one forgets in the future. One possible reminder: Leave a shoeprint on the responsible employee’s butt.
Diamonds to Wilkes University’s Air Force ROTC detachment. Its new Canine Cadet initiative, riding on the paws of a wirehaired pointing griffon pup named Libby, aims to boost spirits of students and others on the Wilkes-Barre campus. Called a psychological service dog, Libby will help to soothe people coping with stress, depression and trauma. The role mostly calls for Libby to be cute and lovable, and occassionally lick a face.
Coal to the blockhead whose bomb threat disrupted Marywood University. The Scranton institution scrubbed classes for the day Thursday and evacuated its residence hall students to an off-campus site. It’s lousy to inconvenience people in this way. Worse, the perpetrator needlessly put police on high alert and risked causing a real panic. The timing of the incident – which coincided with Pope Francis’ visit to Washington, D.C., – also spoiled what should have been a joyous day on campus; people at the Catholic liberal arts school no doubt would have preferred to be together to hear the pontiff’s address to Congress.
Diamonds to King’s College. It’ll allow 340 solar panels to be placed atop its Scandlon Gymnasium annex in Wilkes-Barre. The project, which is expected to trim 20 percent of the college’s power costs for the gym complex, will be handled by Endless Mountains Solar Services. Beyond a money-saving tactic, the move falls in line with the pope’s recent calls for action on climate change and, as he told world leaders Friday, recognizing the “right of the environment.”
Coal to Volkswagen’s shysters. Employees at the world’s largest automaker rigged software to cheat on emissions tests for diesel-powered engines, impacting an estimated 11 million vehicles. For its deception, the German firm faces up to $18 billion in fines. But, uh, shouldn’t someone go to jail? Former CEO Martin Winterkorn, who says he had no knowledge of the scam, reportedly is scooting out the door with a severance package of nearly $67 million. Customers are left to wonder what became of accountability and their stolen Fahrvergnugen (driving enjoyment).