2017: Sewers, schools and snowfall by John Cole | Jan 1, 2018 | 0 comments The expected windfall from the sewer system sale won’t be enough to solve Scranton’s financial problems. Millions were siphoned off the sewer system sale in legal and brokerage fees. The Marketplace at Steamtown announced a new aquarium. It’s not every day a state official comes to town and tells a local governmental body to “get their heads out of their asses.” A broken water line resulted in a local boil advisory, not the only such warning the area received in 2017. No one mangles a saying quite so entertainingly as former School Board President Bob Sheridan. The SSD no-bid bus contract is a primary source of the district’s financial woes. The county prison’s history of sexual abuse came under state scrutiny. County voters faced an intentionally vague referendum about reassessment. Laureen Cummings was Laureen Cummings. Striking Abington Heights teachers received little in the way of sympathy from the district’s parents and taxpayers. The alcohol-related death of PSU fraternity brother had local implications. March brought record-breaking snowfall to NEPA. Erstwhile state senator and federal felon Bob Mellow fought for and ultimately received his absurdly large state pension. 10th Dist Rep. Tom Marino found himself the subject of a less-than-flattering Washington Post story about legislative efforts that hobbled the DEA’s ability to police opioid manufacturerers. Sen. Pat Toomey is a Man of the Very Rich People. Having secured re-election by the slimmest of margins in 2016, Toomey went deep underground, avoiding constituents at every turn. The perfect Pennsylvanian! Neither the GOP nor the Democrats in Harrisburg have the courage to reform the state’s debt-ridden pension system. The legislative GOP (sand primarily House Speaker Mike Turzai) ding the state’s credit rating by refusing to consider reliable new revenue sources, such as a severance tax on natural gas drillers. With apologies to Shel Silverstein.