Laurels & lances: Compromise, volunteers, veterans, Fireball, and civil rights
Laurel: To the Penn-Trafford School Board and the Penn-Trafford Education Association for pushing through “adversarial” contract negotiations to reach a new, six-year contract that gives educators annual average raises of 3.26 percent.
The union planned to vote on a new contract two weeks ago, but that vote was canceled because of a concern that teachers already on the first level of the 17-step salary scale wouldn’t be able to advance to another level this school year. Union leadership threatened a possible strike but quickly decided to continue negotiations after the district removed the objectionable contract language.
After the agreement was reached, union president Shaun Rinier praised the board for what he termed a “groundbreaking contract,” while Director Toni Issig, a member of the board’s negotiating team, said compromise was the key to reaching the deal.
“I think, in the end, both sides had to compromise … and that’s what makes this a fair deal,” Issig said. “It’s good to come to a compromise.”
Lance: To the Irwin Borough Council’s consideration of cutting funding to the volunteer fire department. A reduction in cash means a reduction in services provided to the citizenry, and this is one service that seems pretty important.
Laurel: To the hundreds of motorcyclists who turned out Wednesday morning to help escort the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall replica through Murrysville, and to the folks who helped bring the exhibit to Westmoreland County.
Made up of veterans, veteran groups, members of the Murrysville Alliance Church’s Biker Ministry and others, the group made a big impression rolling down Route 22.
Murrysville Recreation Director Carly Greene, herself a Marine Corps veteran, said she hoped bringing the exhibit would allow veterans and others who can’t make the trip to Washington, D.C., to get a sense of the emotion that is invoked by visiting the real memorial.
Lance: To Tina Gongloff. The Trafford mom ought to be commended for taking the time to apply for jobs while out on a cigarette run this past Sunday, as she told police. However, she needs to be skewered for leaving her children home alone in order for police to later find her 13-year-old daughter with a pack of smokes tucked into her bra and her 11-year-old son stammering drunk along Fifth Avenue, as is alleged in criminal charges filed against Gongloff.
The boy reportedly drank nine mini bottles of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and had a blood-alcohol content of .41 — which experts say can be fatal for an adult, let alone a child. We get that you need to work, Ms. Gongloff. But you already have a job — and it’s to be a parent.
Laurel: To the Woodland Hills School District for settling a civil rights lawsuit filed by five students who were subjected to violence at the hands of police officers in the school and its administrators. The high school has a new principal in place; the school district has a new superintendent; and it’s time to turn the page on this ugly chapter.