It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I believe that there is credence to that expression. But I must take exception to the photograph displayed on the front of the Tuesday edition of the Observer-Reporter....
Every Christmas season, we look back and reflect on Christmas memories, back to a time when our lives didn’t seem to be so hectic.
We didn’t have malls and we shopped in downtown Washington, which came alive during the holidays.
The stores were open until 9 p.m. every day, and they were even open on Sunday.
A special part of my memories includes school. Back then, we had grade schools in Washington.
We walked to school and went home for lunch.
I attended the First Ward Grade School. When I was in grades 5 through 7, I had a music teacher named Martha Ealy, who also taught history.
It was her music class I remember most.
In October, we would start rehearsing Christmas music. We sang some familiar carols and some that weren’t so familiar. We did a rendition of “The Night Before Christmas,” which was very outstanding. Ealy put a great deal of effort into this program every year, and made it fun for us.
When we were ready for the big day, which was called “hall assembly,” we invited our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. This was Ealy’s gift to us and, in turn, our gift to our parents and other relatives.
I write to offer a counterpoint to your Wednesday editorial supporting the confirmation of Vivek Murthy as surgeon general of the United States.
You purport that Murthy is “more than eminently qualified”, yet Murthy holds the lowest rank of instructor in the academic spectrum of instructor, assistant and associate professor and, finally, professor. As a 37 year-old instructor only eight years removed from training, he would not qualify to lead his own division within his current department, making his appointment as surgeon general confounding. When comparing Murthy to surgeons general of the last 50 years, they were each, on average, 57 years-old, with none holding an academic rank less than professor. They were all preeminent physicians with significant accomplishments prior to their appointments, such as presidents, deans and associate deans of medical schools, chairs of departments, directors of the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, and leaders of health care systems.
Contrast this to Murthy’s commendable but sparse experience – two years out of training, he co-founded Doctors for Obama, which eventually morphed into Doctors for America, a political group advocating and supporting the Affordable Care Act. Since then, he additionally founded a cloud-based start-up company to facilitate medical clinical trials, as well as a nonprofit AIDS education organization, and has been an advocate for improving public health.
Murthy is a bright young physician with laudable accomplishments thus far and enormous potential. He may have been a reasonable selection for surgeon general in the future. However, Murthy is not “eminently qualified” when compared to surgeons general of the past 50 years.
James G. Cain
Cain is a visiting associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh and serves on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Society of Anesthesiologists.
On Dec. 8, Brett Harvey, the executive director of Consol Energy, notified the company’s board of directors that he intends to voluntarily resign as an employee of Consol effective Jan. 31. Harvey will continue as chairman of the board.
The board has approved annual compensation for Harvey as a non-employee chairman of the board at $675,000, with an additional $150,000 in restricted stock units. One would think that being a non-employee with compensation of $825,000 is excessive.
In the meantime, on Dec. 31, 1,200 Consol retirees will see their health care and life insurance benefits terminated due to the sale of mines and other assets to Murray Energy. As one of those retirees and a stockholder, I want to personally thank the board for their judicious appropriation of capital. I would welcome the opportunity to hear their reasoning for such a generous compensation package for Harvey when 1,200 retirees cannot be given what they worked so hard for.
The figures are not yet in for 2014, but in 2013 Harvey received the staggering amount of $32 million in total compensation. I implore the board to meet its moral obligation and restore the health care benefits to those loyal employees who counted on them in their retirement.
Harvey, I’m sure, will survive.
Robert H. Long
I’m glad that North Franklin Township has a budget surplus. However, the current board of supervisors should take little or no credit for it.
The fact is that the township faced severe financial difficulties in the 1990s and in the early part of the last decade. Very difficult decisions were made by a number of North Franklin boards to maintain the financial security of the township.
Actions to build a ball park and develop the area around it were a major accomplishment of myself and fellow supervisors Mike Quinn and Carole Beck. Actions to preserve, maintain and build on Washington Crown Center mall were critical in preserving the business district of the township.
Quinn was absolutely essential in making sure that roads were paved and built, and several boards made smart financial decisions to refinance that is still being paid, but at a lower interest rate.
Dennis Dydiw, another supervisor, was critical in issues of budget and bonds and greatly helped in solidifying the financial situation of the township.
The current board is benefiting from the work of previous boards. It is disappointing that the current board or any resident of the township would take credit for what was achieved in the past.
The township now has a surplus, but it also has a huge, unpaid debt. Additionally, our roads are the worst they have been in 20 years. Our police department does not patrol the neighborhoods and is failing miserably in treating all township residents equally. The supervisors, while taking a victory lap, should begin to solve the other large issues that still confront the township.
North Franklin Township
Sabot was a supervisor in North Franklin Township from 1998 to 2004.
Once again another complaint about low voter turnout, this time in a Wednesday letter from Barry Andrews, disappointed that his candidates lost. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and I’ll posit that he did not support the Republican candidates. Would Andrews have written this letter......
This year’s 2000 Turkeys campaign exceeded it’s goal, raising more than $117,000 in order to put a Thanksgiving meal on the tables of people in need. The many folks who contributed to that cause might rightly have felt a sense of warmth and satisfaction from their generosity....
In your Nov. 23 editorial calling for physician-assisted suicide in Pennsylvania, you suggested that it was “self-important” of religious leaders to oppose this. To the contrary, opposing assisted suicide is a statement that every person is important, no matter how weak or......