1-6-2007 GET ON THE GROUND!!!

As of late thereís been a ton of reporting, both by the local media and local internet outlets, as far as who has, or will be throwing their hats into the political ring when we next vote for county commissioners.

Iíve got one thought and one thought only on all of that. Barring something unforeseen, I cannot see anyone knocking off the Skrep/Petrilla team. I just cannot. And by no means am I endorsing that dynamic Democrat duo. The spending and funding practices during Skrepís first term in office should be setting off alarm bells all over the county. But, commissioner races usually turn out to be popularity contests, so Iím not expecting the electorate to rise up against him. That is, unless an opponent runs a very slick campaign pounding the reckless spending issue home. We shall see.

Personally, I did not vote for Skrep in 2003 and I will not be voting for him in 2007. And, at least at this point, I am ready and willing to be dazzled by a newcomer, provided they can dazzle anyone.

This has been bugging me for quite a while now, but I kept it to myself rather than busting on well-meaning people just trying to earn a buck.

The Interactive News @ WYOU was an interesting experiment. It really was. But, it simply doesnít work for me. The anchors are certainly adequate, if not engaging. Candace is eye candy. The sets look perfectly fine. But all too often, the folks who call in during the interactive newscasts sound as if they are displaced Times Leader SAYSO regulars. And all too often the ďexpertĒ guests are lackluster at best.

Sorry, but I donít like it.

And then thereís this wall of meteorologists at WBRE. What is the scoop with all of that?

If a storm front is sweeping through the viewing area, what are the chances that the weather, or the forecast for that matter, will be significantly different when reported from either Wilkes-Barre, or Scranton. Conversely, if the skies above Pennsylvania are devoid of any meaningful weather patterns, why do I need two, maybe three different people to tell me as much?

Josh says itís warm and sunny in Wilkes-Barre. Then we jump to East Stroudsburg and Brian sounds as if heís reading from the same teleprompter script. And as an added bonus, we make the jump to Williamsport where Jeff tells us itís pretty much warm and sunny from where heís standing. But what about the Scranton area? Dave, what have you got for us? Let me take a shot at it. Warm and sunny?

Is it just me being me, or is one weather guy enough on any given forecast?

All Points Accu Weather

And what of the payroll? Whoís running that outfit? Andy and Lyndall look as if they are afraid to move their arms even a discernable iota. The female reporters look as if their faces and necks were spray painted before going on the air. And what happened to those lap tops that Andy and Lyndall never once glanced in the general direction of? The WBRE Web site is updated about as often as worlds collide. And when it is, itís loaded with enough typos to get your average blogger to feeling better about his, or her typically anemic efforts.

Now, WNEP has ruled in the ratings for so long, weíd probably all drop over dead if they ever slipped in the ratings. The anchors are much more relaxed and goof off just enough to make things fun. The sets and graphics are easily better than those of their competitors. The chopper provides for some great video often enough.

But why do we have to keep cutting to the backyard over and over again? How many times do we need to hear a half a forecast during the same news broadcast? Or does WNEP know something that no one, including itís competitors knows? Namely, that all we in NEPA care about is the freaking weather?

A family of ten was burned to death? Oh, címon. Put Tom on, will you? Mass murder? Jesus, can we switch to the backyard, or what? Famine? Castration? Child rape? C,mon! I gotta hear that same nondescript mini forecast again! Mayor Barletta has proposed using illegal immigrants as chicken croquette filler? Boring! Whereís Tom and those ear muffs he stole from some vulnerable old lady?

The video zoo? Never mind. This will do nicely.


Anyway, maybe I should have kept it to myself indefinitely.


How much is being spent on that riverfront project? I forget and I donít feel like searching it up? Wasnít it $23 million? Or was it $31 million? No matter.

An exciting, previously unimaginable amenity is being added to Wilkes-Barreís western flank. Paved walkways, lighting, benches, dike portals, an amphitheater and a marina are well on their way, as construction has already commenced. The boat launch in Nesbitt Park is headed for a makeover. And, if Paul Kanjorski can find a way to ignore the wishes of his constituents and get the permits necessary to dam the river, we might even have a biological nightmare of a lake to frolic on. Oh, joy.

Anyway, with such a great addition to the city on itís way, why is it Iím being treated to the constant media barrage of nincompoops whining about the necessary removal of some dying trees? They are going to remove 100 trees, many of which are diseased and dying. And they are going to replace them with 250 trees, and with a much wider selection, no less. Some are healthy, mind you. But weíre not exactly talking about tearing down some icon like the Planterís Peanuts building. Weíre removing a few trees. A few trees that nobody gave a flying fu>k about three short weeks ago. And, thatís a problem? Thatís worth getting all riled up about?

Is that acid mine drainage making itís way into the water table? Is the populace in these parts inherently dimwitted? Or is the local media really adept at stirring up trouble where none need exist?

The trees? Weíre bitching about the trees? Iím thinking that maybe we donít even deserve progress, since we canĎt even dare to see the positive through the dying trees.

I am amazed.

Blasts from the distant past:

Macyís in Wilkes-Barre?

Wilkes-Barre Experiment?

Scanner Land is usually fairly easy to follow on most days. Try this scenario. A cop pulls a car over, he runs the driverís OLN (think license), and lo-and-behold itís been suspended since 2002 for a half dozen or so DUI arrests. Guess what happens next.

How Ďbout this one. Ex-boyfriend beats up on ex-girlfriend real vicious like. Ex-girlfriend manages to dial 911 and rather than hightail it out of there like super quick, ex-boyfriend delivers a few more blows while the responding police officers set up a containment perimeter. When ex-boyfriend finally decides he should make like a doped-up track star, guess whatís about to transpire.

Thereís a shooting at the local nuisance bar. Witnesses on the scene point to four black males as having been mixed-up in the violent goings-on. When questioned by the police, not a one of them has identification and not a one of them can remember their correct names. To detain, or not to detain?

My point is, if you manage to get yourself addicted to monitoring police frequencies, rarely are you not abreast of the latest, and very rarely are you confused by what you are hearing. But, last night, I was not only confused, I was actually startled by my scanner. The thing is, sudden and unbelievably loud bursts of adrenaline on steroids will do that to you.

Ah, adrenaline. Flaring bursts of adrenaline coming from police officers suggests only one thing: That the mundane and routine that can be policing has suddenly been replaced by unwanted life-threatening situations. If you become the focus of a police officer obviously spiking on adrenaline, you may want to consider your next move very, very wisely.

Anywho, I was sitting here watching the video advertising box with Wifey last night when, from out of nowhere, came this heretofore unheard of roar from the scanner: ďGET ON THE GROUND!!! GET ON THE GROUND!!! The glass-shattering volume of the straight-up command took me by complete surprise. Holy jumpiní orangutan farts! I popped up and turned on the portable scanner only to hear a cascade of police officersí voices asking for an exact location, the original adrenaline-engorged officer screaming something about surrounding a house and the interjecting 911 folks being yelled at to clear the channel. And at that precise and chaotic moment, you instantly know that one wrong flinch coming from anyone involved can easily result in gunplay. You know that those charged to keep the peace are feeling vulnerable. And since all that they really want to do is to go home at the end of their shifts, they dread these moments and work to avoid them whenever possible.


Translation: Do as I say and we all walk away from this incident intact.

Therein lies the true motivation of the police officers I have come to know and respect. To ensure that no matter what inexplicably deranged incident may suddenly present itself , everyone involved is treated to the happiest possible ending. They are social workers, amateur psychologists, impromptu interviewers in the field, carriers of Teddy Bears and, if need be, nose wipers. They are probably overly respectful in too many circumstances, ultimately professional and are always subjected to the most intense scrutiny coming from those they vow to protect and serve. But, when an explosive situation clearly calls for it, they do not hesitate to put their lives on the line whilst we sleep.

Itís been said many times over that theirs is a mostly thankless job, but, for the life of me, I canít understand why.

Support your local police department.

Themís my thoughts.