Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Primary Day, ID-Up

If you are voting today, unlike Northumberland County Commissioner Steve Bridy who is a registered independent, please bring valid photo ID. 

This little ditty was in the Daily-Item Letters to the Editor:

No one who has followed Gov. Tom Corbett's decisions regarding public education funding would be surprised that he would ignore the civil protest at Indian Hills Golf Course on Friday, April 20, two days before Earth Day. He has continued on his path to lift up fracking and deter education, and what better place to do it than a few miles north of Shamokin?

If the governor had left the rolling countryside of Paxinos for a short ride along Route 61, he would have passed the massive slag heaps and culm banks left by the coal barons of yesteryear. He would have witnessed the empty factories, the condemned homes, and the chemically endangered Shamokin Creek. People may be easier to ignore.

The governor believes there will be enough jobs driving trucks to compensate for potential environmental damage. Presumably truck drivers don't need to be educated in the arts or foreign languages or whatever else the schools have to cut to make their budgets work. But those of us who grew up and were schooled in Shamokin look at the burgeoning fracking industry through eyes educated by our own experience and remain doubtful.

Many of us had a mixed connection to our surroundings. We understood our anthracite heritage, celebrated by parades and fireworks. Without mining, there would not have been an opera house, beautiful churches, and mills of all sorts to keep people employed. There would not have a been a rich cultural mix of social clubs with ethnic foods and festivities.

There also would not have been black lung, mine cave-ins, underground fires, dangerous child labor, and the resulting economic depression of a large demographic when the mines closed down. Due to competitors' outsourcing, long before outsourcing was a word, the successful factories like the ones my family owned and operated were unable to stay afloat. Those of us who took our education to other locales did so with the sad realization that it would be harder to advance in the town we called home. Others brought their professional skills, including teaching, back home to help succeeding generations.

I wish Gov. Corbett had been invited to dinner in Shamokin. It may have been less expensive than $1,000 a plate, but more valuable. Maybe.

Kay Hooper, Selinsgrove

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