Things not always the way they appear

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A few items of local interest, all of them reported in yesterday’s newspaper, reinforce the notion that things are not always as they appear.


There’s no clearer example of false assumption than the saga of Zane Ryan “Z Breez” Zebrasky.


The former Washington School District student first made front-page news a few weeks ago when some district residents took exception to a rap video, in which Zebrasky starred, being filmed inside Washington High School, even though Zebrasky and filmmaker Wiley Abbas had received permission to do so.


Then last week, Washington police charged Zebrasky after viewing a surveillance tape that presumably showed him dropping a bag of cocaine in a stairwell at the school, where he had been working with special needs students. School administrators and the police may be guilty of jumping to conclusions, however.


Turns out, viewing more of the tape that the district provided to police told a much different story of what happened in the stairwell that day. Police originally thought Zebrasky dropped the bag of cocaine valued at $3,000 while walking down the stairs.


But 25 minutes before Zebrasky appeared on the tape, police saw what they think is the bag being thrown down the stairwell by an unidentified person and being caught and then immediately dropped out of view of the camera by another unidentified individual.


When Zebrasky later descended the stairs, he apparently kicked the bag into view, leading police to think he had dropped it.


As a result of viewing the longer tape, police dropped all charges against Zebrasky.


Perhaps lost in all the controversy over whom police charged and the quality of their evidence is the fact that bags of cocaine are being thrown around the high school.


That should be the subject of public outrage.


Also making the front page yesterday was the account of Washington County’s first same-sex marriage.


Judge Katherine Emery concluded the ceremony stating, “By the authority invested in me by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I pronounce you partners for life.”


Meanwhile, in another room of the courthouse lay the very first petition for divorce of a same-sex couple, filed last Friday.


It seems that things don’t always turn out as planned, that marriage is often, regrettably, not until death parts couples, regardless of who marries whom.


And on another page of the paper, we learned that the massive coal-fired power plant at Homer City – considered the dirtiest electric facility in the country, pumping millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere since it opened in 1969 – will soon be one of the cleanest. Despite the coal industry’s claims that new Environmental Protection Agency regulations will mean an end to all coal-fired plants, Homer City will be able to keep burning the fuel after installing $750 million worth of pollution controls.


And the plant’s majority owner says it can do it without raising electric bills for its 2 million customers.


Meanwhile, the coal industry, which could be spending its money finding ways to burn coal more cleanly, continues to pour millions of dollars into the pockets of politicians and into its public relations campaign decrying the “War on Coal” being waged by the Obama administration and the EPA. But Homer City proves that the political and economic rhetoric doesn’t match reality.


Things are not always as they appear.


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