Items in the news included the court appearance of the school district's assistant superintendent and her possible dismissal, the sentencing of local icon Jayson Williams and another phase of the Muhlenberg saga.
While personnel issues in the school district are grabbing headlines, there is still no contract with the employees' union and the district is facing not just the state-mandated increases in the local school tax levy, but also budget constraints and possible tax burdens at an unprecedented level. Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III directs our attention to the expected March 16 announcement of Gov. Chris Christie's FY 2011 budget for details.
Jayson Williams promised years ago to develop North Avenue and later to build a senior center here. Neither promise was kept and meanwhile his personal life unraveled while awaiting justice in the shooting that took place at his mansion. Nonetheless, some local officials vaunt him as a hero and friend to the city. Why? It is hard to understand.
Every mention of Muhlenberg revives in some of us the jitters and downright fear of what may happen if we fall ill. Where will we be taken? Even if the decision to close Muhlenberg as an acute care facility is overturned, how long will it be before it reopens? Meanwhile, the absurdity of health care costs is played out in examples such as a recent set of bills from the satellite emergency department for an incident involving removal of a piece of cotton stuck in a person's ear. The gross cost was $596 from the hospital and $481 from the physician. The net cost was $34.50 and $20.21 respectively. Which is more bizarre?
City Hall was not in the news Tuesday, but it was on a lot of residents' minds. How are things going over there in the wake of layoffs and with a still-evolving cabinet? Do we have a finance director or chief finance officer yet?
Which kind of brings us back to that bench. Never mind that streets and sidewalks are littered with twigs and branches from the recent heavy snowstorm, can this mega-litter of wood and metal be cleaned up anytime soon?
When times are gray and grim, it is up to individuals to do what they can to make things better. Even sweeping a sidewalk or volunteering to read to a school child is a start. On Monday, it will be time to file for the school board. Early indications are that a lot of people will file for the three three-year terms and one unexpired term. Voters will have about seven weeks to discern which candidates will have the qualities to serve in the tough times ahead. The governing body will also resume its schedule Monday and the public will get a glimpse of how things are going in that sphere.
Spring is just weeks away and if nothing else, residents will be able to tidy up their yards and share the season's beauty Let us hope some of the city and school district disarray will also be cleared up soon as well.