2-21-2007 1 down, 3,699 to go

At the rate roofs are collapsing in this area as of late, it might behoove all of us to pitch a tent out back and wait for spring. You know the tiresome spiel: If it saves but one life it was worth it. Yawn. Yesterday we had a porch roof surrender to gravity on Horton Street. And as I知 typing this the fire department is investigating a partial roof collapse at the former Murray property on Penn Avenue.

Very many of the folks complaining about snow removal and such have cited previous snowstorms as having been much worse than this most recent hail storm reluctantly turned snowstorm. But if you took a shovel to this sleet/snow mix we received last week, you already know it was heavy enough to get even the most stout lower backs to complaining. And the growing list of structural collapses proves as much.

What I want to know is, when is the city going to remove the snow from our roofs? It痴 been a week now and I am yet to see a city-owned Bobcat on any roof throughout this city. Seriously, have any front-end loaders been clearing your roof, or your neighbor痴 roof? I was enjoying a walkabout the Nord End yesterday morning when an aluminum awning at 594 N. Washington Street let loose with a half-ton of hardened snow and ice and damn near killed me. As a result, I have instructed wifey to sue the city, city council, the mayor and all of his distant relatives in the event that I am killed or maimed by any structural collapses resulting from the piled snow up on any rooftops. I知 not mucking about.

Hold the presses! This just in: A roof collapse at 366 S. River Street. The fire department is on scene.

Plus, I want to know when the city is going to de-ice the electrical masthead on the side of my modest adobe. When? I mean, what are we paying taxes for, man? Why should I have to do it and risk a nasty bit of electrocution?

I知 irate. I知 pissed. I知 gonna put a new dent in the front of the refrigerator. And if that doesn稚 do the trick, I知 thinking two dozen beers or so and some vigorously applied domestic violence ought to make me feel a bit better.

I知 really mad.

Um, how should we describe the following? How 礎out, genuflecting for the people, by the people and

I dunno. Something like that.

W-B councilman sorry about snow woes

的 know there were a lot of people upset in the city of Wilkes-Barre and we understand that, Councilman Michael McGinley said. 展e do apologize, well, I do apologize for any inconvenience because I know there痴 a lot of hourly people out there and it痴 hard to miss two or three days of work.

McGinley, speaking at a council work session on Tuesday, said the city is looking at last week痴 response and will see 努hat we could do better.

的 know we池e probably going to make this a lot better the next time around, he said.

People missed work? Quite frankly, this is utter hogwash. As someone who was once paid to hire and fire people, listen to me tell it!

If people truly want to get to work when the overcast skies open up and wreak all sorts of unimaginable havoc, they will get to work. It痴 really that simple. And I like simplicity.

Once upon a time, a lived in the Back Mountain right at the edge of Pennsylvania痴 largest natural lake. And if Wilkes-Barre had 6 inches of snow, you can bet your ugly step-sister痴 life that we had more than that piling about around the lake. And since plowing the streets seemed to be some sort of advanced technique still undiscovered in those parts in those days, traveling from there to 400 Kidder Street could be quite the adventure all too often.

And when the worst of the snowstorms got to flying, our routine was always the same. We壇 bundle our then-only child, sit her in her government-mandated child seat on the covered porch where we could see her and dig the AMC Hornet out of the growing snow pile. And after wifey helped push that car up the slight upgrade, I was off and sliding my way to Wilkes-Barre. And I壇 slip and slide and steer and counter-steer and lo-and-behold, I壇 arrive at work early, but just in time to take the countless telephone calls from my employees in Wilkes-Barre, Kingston and where have you who claimed the conditions were making it virtually impossible for them to get to work. That was bullsh*t. I knew it, they knew it, but slackers are slackers. What can you do?

When I was working at Bevaco up Pittston way, there came this time when my used car decided to pack it in and meet his maker in automobile heaven. And before I managed to snag a newer used car, I had two options for making my way back and forth to work each day. I could take an LCTA bus. Or I could pedal a bicycle from Wilkes-Barre to Pittston. And being the complete idiot that I am, I chose the bicycle. And I remember what one of my amazed coworkers had to say about that.

How old are you? How many miles? Whew! One tough fu>ker.

Now, I realize that by the time most people arrive in their thirties, they are no longer a member of that 鍍ough fu>ker demographic. In fact, most are more than likely looking in the mirror and wondering just what happened to that 鍍ough fu>ker they mistakenly thought they used to be. My point is, if earning money appeals to you much more than sitting home on your duff enjoying an extra, unanticipated day off, you will find a way to get to work no matter what happens.

So, we have a city councilman apologizing to those too lazy to find an alterative way to work. We have an elected official apologizing for what happened when one weather pattern decided to merge with another weather pattern just to see what their engorged offspring could perpetrate upon mankind. And if that痴 a career-enhancing move, I fail to see how.

Such is the stuff of an upcoming contested election. Put simply, electioneering is not necessarily synonymous with having smarts.

Another direct byproduct of my walkabout was a phone call I made to a city official yesterday. Based on my observations, with the enormous piles of snow covering the catch basins and the higher temperatures making flowing water of the frozen water, the lower-lying streets of Nord End looked to be in for some flooding if those catch basins weren稚 cleared and cleared soon. With everything else weather-related that is currently going on in this city, I was told that this potential problem was being attended to, albeit, as fast as available manpower would allow for.

Fair enough.

Municipalities are being urged to clear storm drains

Wilkes-Barre road workers are already on top of the storm drain clearing, said city Planning and Development Director Butch Frati.

Amid plowing, city road workers have been honing in on the more than 3,500 storm drains since Sunday, he said.

展e kind of have an idea where they are, and we池e opening them up and getting water flowing to them, he said. 鄭 lot are already open.

Getting at them has been a chore because many are located at intersections where plowed snow has been dumped, he said. Tuesday痴 slow thaw helped loosen up plates of ice covering the drains, he said.

的t痴 a large task, but we do need to find them because if more cold comes in, it would be a problem, he said.

Listing facts such as these about to follow and expecting the general public to understand and appreciate the enormity that can be the cleanup in the aftermath of a major winter storm is probably akin to asking the general public to speak fluent Martian after but one brief lesson.

And the only guy I know who speaks fluent Martian is unavailable for tutoring, so there you have it.


The City of Wilkes-Barre has within it痴 borders 632 streets, alleys, avenues and what have you.

The City of Wilkes-Barre also has within it痴 borders 3,700 catch basins.

Now, if somebody wants to be upset about snow-covered side streets or leaf-covered catch basins, they are well within their rights to do so.

It痴 just that they need to recognize that when the snow gets to flying in previously unseen amounts, their tiny trail of a side street to nowhere ranks right near the bottom of the list of priorities. Nope, Titmouse Lane isn稚 on the minds of the plowing masterminds as long as the city痴 busiest thoroughfares remain under siege. Sorry, but Incest Street isn稚 near as important as Coal Street.

And while no one wants to listen to any elected officials telling them they need to be patient on those rarest of occasions, that痴 exactly what is called for every now and again.

We致e got 3,700 catch basins scattered throughout this city, and I have adopted the two closest to the modest adobe. If they get covered over by anything, I知 out there with a broom, shovel or whatever it takes to stave off any flooding problems down at the intersection. Nobody told me to do it, I don稚 have to do it, but I do it just the same.

What have you done for your neighborhood lately?

Did you bitch? Or did you get involved? Did you make even the slightest difference? Or are you your own self-deterrent to making any noticeable difference?

You know, if we all adopted something or other in this city, the DPW guys wouldn稚 have to work 18-hour shifts when near calamities present themselves. Overtime costs would be lessened. The wear and tear on city-owned equipment could be diminished. And some dangerous situations could be pre-empted in some isolated locations. But, we pay taxes and bitching is a helluva easier than making even the slightest effort for the betterment of all involved.

I know, I know, it痴 not your problem, it痴 the city government痴 problem. The only problem with that scatterbrained illogic isyou live here.

Give it some thought.

I deleted the links to the candidates that were seeking Kevin Blaum痴 seat on my front page and replaced them with links to city council hopeful痴 Web sites.

I am in no way endorsing any of those candidates at this time, I am merely offering those links for your inspection. If a candidate in your voting district has a site up and running, by all means visit every page and get to know the candidates. If they bothered to create it, get on over there and give it much more than a precursory look.

We need the best and brightest available serving on our newly-configured council, not the loose cannons, the persistently clueless, the obstructionists or the political chums. And the only way we値l get the best and brightest is by paying close attention to all things city business, and close attention to the candidates themselves.

Are you paying close attention? Really?

Okay, so which former city official痴 son-in-law is seeking a council seat?

Which well-connected political player痴 cousin is seeking a council seat?

Which council hopeful said he痴 running because he could use the money?

Which candidate was once arrested as part of a 笛ohn Sting, a prostitution sweep?

Which candidate was on probation as little as two years ago?

Interested now?

You owe it to yourself and your city to better educate yourself as a voter. If there痴 info out there, find it and read it. People ultimately deserve what they vote for. So let痴 vote smart, shall we?

The Hillary bashing can wait. Put the ethno-religious insanity aside for a while. Yeah, I know, George W. Bush sent your pet newts off to Gitmo for no good reason. Minorities hate whites, yet accuse them of being the racists. Dwugs done has no long-lastin affects. I know, life can be confusing, if not downright troubling.

It痴 just that we値l never have capable leaders on the national stage if we can稚 elect capable leaders at the local level. If we elect total losers here, then there will be nothing but losers looking to gravitate upwards. Your vote does matter, but it needs to be as educated as humanly possible.

I値l leave you with this: Kevin Lynn is the Bert Convy of local talk radio.

Sez me.