The Scoop

We recently received a press release from the Lackawanna County Commissioners office with some startling statistics about drunk driving in Pennsylvania: “Last year in Pennsylvania there were 12,426 alcohol related crashes, with the maximum number of deaths occurring between the Thanksgiving and New Year holidays.”

Before I lose you – trust me, this topic does pertain to an arts and entertainment publication like electric city and diamond city. We haven’t been eating too much fruit cake in here and suddenly mistaken ourselves for a daily newspaper that features hard news.

Hear me out …

We’re devoted to promoting all the fun events the 570 has to offer, but with all this holiday cheer, it’s important to not only make a plan to get to the festivities, but also make a plan to get home safely. A great way to accomplish this is through the Safe Ride Program for residents of Lackawanna County. If you’ve had too much to drink, all you need to do is request a ride home (within a 15 mile radius in Lackawanna County) from a beverage server in an establishment where Safe Ride posters are displayed. Last year, 151 businesses participated in the program and 492 rides were provided.

And don’t worry, your name doesn’t get entered into anyone’s database if you ask for a safe ride. All riders remain anonymous.

Business owners who would like to participate in the program are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. The program runs now through Jan. 1, and you can learn more by visiting www.lackawannacounty.org.

And for those of you who don’t live in Lackawanna County, remember, a safe ride for you is just a phone call away, too. If you haven’t designated a driver for the evening, and you’ve all had too much to drink, please, call a cab. You can always retrieve your cars the next day, because what your mom always told you really is true: it’s better to be safe than sorry.

When great stories come our way, we can’t wait to share them with you, and this one comes to us from our friends at the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre. It falls under the heading of “if you think one person can’t make a difference, think again.” Because of one man’s purchase at the library’s annual book sale in June, U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan now have their own little branch of the Osterhout.

Dave Gronkowski , who lives in Plymouth, bought three boxes of books at the sale and sent his literary finds to his son, Sgt. Michael Gronkowski, who is serving in Afghanistan. Sgt. Gronkowski didn’t just read what came in those care packages, he established the “Osterhout Library Far East Annex,” which loans books to his fellow soldiers. What a great idea!

And this library will live on long after the soldiers move to another area. When the unit moves, Sgt. Michael Gronkowski has decided to leave the makeshift library behind so the people of Afghanistan can enjoy the books, too.

All this cold weather had Rude Rube down this week, so it’s off to the Bahamas for the 570′s favorite gossip columnist. There is no Barbed Wire in this week’s edition, but don’t worry, Rube will be back next week.

We close this column on a sad note this week. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of local author Jennifer Diskin, who passed away this week at age 38 after battling cancer. Diskin was an active member of the local literary community who will be deeply missed.

That’s the scoop. Thanks for reading, and I’ll meet you here again next week.

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Send email to jimel@timesshamrock.com

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