On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

The Crestwood School Board is seeking community input for their search for a new superintendent. Acting Superintendent Brian Waite sent out a press release last week announcing a new Crestwood survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CrestwoodSearch.

According to the release “The survey affords school community members the opportunity to provide input regarding the qualifications and experience they believe would be important in a new superintendent. The survey also allows respondents to provide their assessment of challenges, issues and needs in the district.”

I went straight to the survey to see what it was about and to take the survey. It is not too long, but seemed somewhat repetitious in its questions and multiple-choice answers. My main concerns for a superintendent are financial management skills, curriculum development, and contact with the community. I took the survey a week ago and wanted to go back and review the questions, but it is one shot per customer.

I think this is the first time Crestwood has tried to reach out to the general public about how they want their school district run. I have dealt with a number of superintendents in the past 35 years of covering the Mountaintop news. Some were forthcoming, some had negligent knowledge about what I was inquiring about and all were somewhat detached from talking to a reporter.

So good for the new Crestwood Board at reaching out to the public. Be sure you go and take the survey before February 12.

Rice Township Spray Survey

Over in Rice Township a very abbreviated Survey Monkey survey asks residents to show their interest in pursuing a Gypsy Moth Spraying Program this spring. All that is asked is property owner identification and location of the property with a street address.

A Luzerne County administrated Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) spray program initiated last summer and completed in the fall of 2015 was poorly organized and resulted in thousands of property owners left out in the cold, many from technicalities on the application that were poorly explained. Participants were billed hundreds of dollars for their future spraying. Some paid, some paid half of what they were billed and others refused. My own neighborhood had an objector to spraying at all. Anybody who sent in his or her money had it returned. The Gypsy Moths will reign in Wilderness Estates this spring without spraying.

Rice Township is ground zero for the highest concentration of egg masses in Luzerne County. Luzerne County the most infested county in the state.

The Rice Board was scheduled to meet Tuesday February 2 for their regular monthly public meeting. I hope the spraying program was on the agenda. Residents without access to a computer can mail an application or come to the municipal building during regular business hours to sign up.

So Long January So Mountaintop got through

January with only one plowable snowstorm and some wintery cold nights and now we are on to the half waypoint of the winter. With daytime highs in the 40’s or high 30’s and a rainy day now and then, it appears that the nightmare of the past two winters is becoming a distant memory. Storm cleanup in Mountaintop was fast. No school was missed and activities were held as scheduled.

The gridlock in Washington D. C. in getting back to business after their 17 to 26 inch snowfall named “Snowzilla” took several days. Government was shut down. The gridlock that news commentators always talk about was a physical one this time. The biggest snowstorm in D. C. was the Knickerbocker Storm January 27-28 leaving 26 inches in 1922. So every 94 years there is a record-threatening event. I hope that is all the east coast gets in 2016.

Ski resorts got a dose of nice new powder for their customers. Winter recreation has been revived after the warm December.

Iowa, Super Bowl and New Hampshire

By the time you read this column the Iowa Caucuses will be history. The media coverage of this first event in the presidential nomination process has been ongoing for six months. The candidates are racing around Iowa, some touting they have visited all 99 counties. Voters had their choice of caucusing with the Republicans or the Democrats in choosing their support for one candidate. Participation was expected to be from 132,000 to 160,000. Out of a US Population of 322,762,018 estimated by the US Census Bureau at the beginning of the year, the Iowa Caucus numbers are minimal. But they were the first indication of how the competition stacked up and the politicos are watching.

This weekend we have the Super Bowl on Sunday and the New Hampshire primary on Monday. In Mountaintop we can watch both on TV and join the party.