In a news conference earlier today, Mayor Gustavuz C. Petykiewicz and other Kittatinny officials responded to questions pertaining the proposed budget for 2016.
The particulars of the budget have already begun to generate a great deal of controversy. Greeting the crowd, Petykiewicz acknowledged with a “heavy heart” that aspects of the budget would be upsetting but also spoke of the need to “balance the books” and “make hard choices.”
Among the budget’s many proposed changes is change in law enforcement; the budget proposes the reduction in police force from 10 officers to eight, and that the early police shift (4 a.m. to noon) will no longer be staffed by Kittatinny officers, leaving emergency calls to be addressed on a contract basis by Schuylkill County sheriff’s deputies. Chief of police, Roman Hruska, expressed his concerns at the conference:
“I cannot stand idly by and watch a city deprived regular police protection for a third of each day,” Hruska said, going on to add that crime between 4 a.m. and noon is less frequent but the “most dangerous crime,” such as domestic crime. “I’m worried about response times, particularly in emergencies.”
In addition to this, Petykiewicz spoke of a need for more parking tickets as a revenue generating measure. “We need more parking tickets,” Petykiewicz said.
Hruska made a proposition of his own:
“If the mayor takes a 10 percent pay cut, I will do the same thing,” Hruska said; Hruska extended this invitation to all department heads and city council. “If others are willing to make the sacrifice, I will too.”
Denaelda Penoyer, president of Kittatinny City Council, said this in response:
“Yes. We are public servants first and foremost,” Penoyer said. “I speak for them [the council members] when I say that,” she said, explaining that the matter would have to be put to vote first.
Penoyer went on to call the proposed changes to police “not doable” and called for a slightly larger tax increase, arguing that the city doesn’t have the means tackle all the problems. Rather than an increase from four to 4.3 mills, Penoyer suggests an increase to 5 mills; the current $400 on $100,000 mill to $430 on $100,000.
Mortha Mittengrabben, President of AFSCME Local 644, when asked if workers would be willing to take pay cuts to avoid layoffs said she would be willing to talk to the members about the possibility.
Bjarne Westhoff, President of Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34, also finds it critical to save the early shift and expressed support of the tax increase, but stated “it’s not a perfect budget.” Westhoff spoke of the spirit of shared sacrifice, but also hinted that the strained relationship between the police chief and the mayor may be harmful to the city:
“The police chief and the mayor do not get along,” said Westhoff, who went on to call their behavior a “poor way of trying to solve a personal dispute.
Mayor Petykiewicz reported to have been talking with the state and federal government about T.R.A. (trade readjustment allowance), which allows laid-off workers money for job retraining. Petykiewicz said the “chances are good” that this will come to Kittatinny, where the largest employer has recently laid off 600 workers.
UW-Whitewater students received sexual education at a non-profit event organized by Greek Life, “Sex in the Dark.” The event broached a wide range of sexual topics including the prevalence and prevention of STDs and STIs.
“The most critical point in a defense against disease is simply an adequate understanding of the spread of disease and the various methods of prevention,” Jonathon Pierson, a Greek member and a speaker of the event professed. “None of this demands a medical understanding beyond elementary biology.”
Speakers stressed the importance of precautions in sexual activity, such as prophylactics, birth control and an open and honest discourse between partners:
“It’s up to you and your partner to safely navigate sexual situations, and you alone are responsible for educating yourself about the various forms of birth control,” Pierson stated. “If you are adequately educated on the advantages of the different tools of birth control and are confident with the sexual history of yourself and your lover, you can enjoy a safe love life.”
Recognizing that myths and misinformation about impregnation and disease still exist, a Q&A segment was included at the end of the event. This segment was conducted in the dark to protect the privacy of students who wished to participate.
“You really have to be critical about your sexual education, there are too many bogus out there,” Pierson urged. “Yes, you can still get pregnant having sex in water. Yes, you can still impregnate someone, even if you pull put.”
Stanley Davis, a sophomore, spoke highly of the event:
“I was a bit worried it would be a waste of time, but I did learn something new,” he told our reporter. “I had no idea the numbers were so high for students with STDs.”
“Sex in the Dark” is an ongoing Greek event, and the aim is to disseminate accurate medical information, which Pierson calls the “strongest weapon against STDs.”
“This is a continuing event, much like the struggle against any disease is,” Pierson told our reporter. “We’re going to keep doing this because every batch of new students needs information from a source that is credible and a source that understands that abstinence only education is absurd.”
A report from the Schuylkill County Sheriff’s Department confirms Mayor Petykiewicz was involved in an automobile collision that occurred at the intersection of State Highway 117 and Fonebone Road in Frontenac, Pennsylvania, last Saturday around 1 p.m. The mayor was arrested on the scene after a breath test indicated a blood alcohol content of .14 and he failed a field sobriety test.
Details of the report include a partially empty bottle of Fleischmann’s vodka found on the floor of the mayor’s 2006 Ford Explorer. The mayor was also reported to have said to the responding officer: “You’d be drinking, too, if you were me,” going on to ask, “do you think we could just keep this quiet? I’m the mayor of Kittatinny.”
The owner of the other vehicle in the crash has been confirmed as Kittatinny resident Robert H. Doane, 42. Doane was transported by a Flight for Life helicopter to the Northeast Pennsylvania Hospital and Trauma Center in Wilkes-Barre, Around 2 p.m.
A source employed by the hospital states that Doane is in “satisfactory condition,” but reports he has sustained injuries such as several broken ribs, a broken jaw, and various abrasions and contusions to the head, chest and abdominal area. The source specified that Doane did not sustain spinal injury, an initial concern of paramedics who were on the scene.
Witness Alice Q. Magarian, 31, said she had driven “several car lengths” behind Doane on State Highway 117 before the incident; “Just enough for me to stop safely and pull over.” Magarian alleges that the Ford, owned by Mayor Petykiewicz, showed slight hesitation before a stopsign, yet proceeded into the intersection, striking the 1997 Buick Le Sabre of Robert Doane.
Mayor Petykiewicz was held at Schuylkill County Jail in downtown Kittatinny, where he practiced the right to remain silent but did not call an attorney. Gloria Petykiewicz, the mayor’s wife, posted the cash bail of $500, and the mayor was released the same evening.
Attempts to contact Mayor Petykiewicz were made by Kittatinny Daily News. Only the mayor’s wife, Gloria Petykiewicz, could be reached, and no comment was provided.
Schuylkill County District Attorney, Robert J. Morgenthau, confirms that a preliminary hearing will be held in Schuylkill County District Court, this Tuesday at 9 a.m. According to Morgenthau, Mayor Petykiewicz will face a charge of causing great bodily harm throught intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.
Entrepreneurial icon Steve Jobs gave Stanford University graduates a masterclass on creative vision and living during his commencement address, last Sunday. Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, shared three stories about life, death and love, imparting insights he gained from pivotal moments in his life upon the new graduates.
These critical moments were not all pleasant. Steve Jobs told graduates of his high profile firing from the company he helped create.
“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me,” said Jobs. “It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
Jobs was forced to leave Apple Computer in 1985 after a falling out with John Sculley, former president of PepsiCo, who was selected to help run the company. The board of directors sided with Sculley and Jobs was subsequently “very publicly out,” as he put it in the commencement speech.
During this transitional period, Jobs started NeXT and Pixar. Jobs returned to Apple Computer in 1997, Pixar created the first computer-animated feature film, “Toy Story,” and the technology of NeXT is now central to what Jobs has called Apple’s current renaissance.
Jobs urged students to find what they love, that while life will sometimes be difficult, they should never lose their faith.
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers,” Jobs told the graduates. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
“I never graduated from college,” Jobs said, prefacing a story about dropping out. “Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.”
Jobs dropped out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. During this period, Jobs was free to “drop-in” on classes that interested him such as calligraphy, giving him an understanding of design which has informed the aesthetic of Apple Computer technology:
“If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts,” Jobs said. “And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”
The story was about connecting the dots, which is only possible looking back, Jobs said:
“You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future,” he said. “You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Jobs also spoke of mortality, a topic imbued with his personal experience of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Through accepting the inevitability of death one is freed to acknowledge that he or she has nothing to lose and that there is no reason not to follow your heart.
Jobs called death life’s “change agent” and “very likely the single best invention of life,” adding that while the fresh batch of graduates are the “new” now, in the future they will be cleared away. The point of this was not to be dramatic, Jobs said, but to compel the graduates not to be trapped by dogma and convention, not to live someone else’s life, because their time is limited.
The pancreatic cancer Steve Jobs was diagnosed with nearly a year ago was originally thought to be incurable, but upon further inspection doctors discovered that it is a rare form of the cancer that is curable with surgery. Jobs has had the surgery and reports that he is now fine.
Steve Jobs ended the commencement speech with one piece of advice, a phrase which was coined by The Whole Earth Catalog in its farewell issue in 1974. The phrase left an impression on the young Steve Jobs, who now at the age 50 has passed it down to the current generation of graduates:
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.