Not to dismiss the stress dispatchers are under, but sitting during a critical situation — even sitting on the edge of one's seat — sounds a little less stressful than chasing down bad guys, plodding through a burning building or administering CPR. And, despite Ference's contention, we highly doubt a dispatcher would quit if he or she didn't have a state-of-the-art, thousand-dollar chair to sit in.
"Is there a massage feature in them?" one taxpayer asked during this week's commissioners meeting. Citizen Jean Bolger, 76, a telephone operator for 20 years, likewise questioned the need for the pricey chairs. And she knows a thing or two about sitting for long stretches at a time. "It's extravagant," she said.
Our thoughts exactly. Added Bolger, "There has to be cheaper options." Ditto.
Look, we have the utmost respect for 911 dispatchers. They are highly trained to do important work: handling delicate, life-threatening situations 24/7. No doubt they're stressed.
But so are taxpayers. Financial stress takes a toll, too.
And while we're happy to hear the dispatchers' new thrones, er, chairs, are made in America, we're sure the commissioners could come up with a more prudent American-made option. Our suggestion: Get cheaper chairs!
— The (Doylestown) Intelligencer
IT'S TIME TO FIX THOSE BRIDGES
Pennsylvania finally has its new transportation bill, now it's time to fix the bridges.
The bill approved last month raises at least an extra $2.3 billion annually over the next five years to build and repair roads and bridges and underwrite mass transit systems.
PennDOT executive deputy secretary Brad Mallory said last week his agency will provide guidance soon on how much of the funding will be available in various parts of the state. It's a tall order to sort out the funding, determine when it will be available and balance long-term projects. But bridges ruled structurally deficient need to top the list and be fixed as soon as possible.
For the Midstate, Longs Gap Road Bridge in North Middleton Township was closed from April through October. Wolf Bridge in Middlesex Township closed in September and is scheduled to stay that way until a replacement project can be funded in 2016. That project delay was announced before the state legislature passed the transportation funding package.
Now it's time to announce a new schedule for Wolf Bridge and to ensure inspections for all county bridges are up to date. Detours around the structures effect residents in the area, emergency vehicles and school buses. The worry can be if other bridges in the area are near the point of becoming unsafe.
We have our transportation funding — now it's time to start making use of the money.
— The (Carlisle) Sentinel
UNLIMITED CELLPHONE TALK ON PLANES? GIVE US A BREAK
Could airline travel be any more disquieting than it already is?
Yes ("hey, where are you now?"), it ("guess what they're serving for snacks on this flight?") could.
And it probably will be, now that the Federal Communications Commission plans to lift a ban on passengers' in-flight use of cellphones on commercial air carriers.
Pardon us for interfering with the inexorable progression of personal communications, but this is one nerve-rattling idea. In addition to subjecting ourselves to full-body scans and searches, seats designed for children, lotions in 4-ounce bottles and fees for everything from a snack to a suitcase, we can now look forward to monitoring the phone conversations of everyone in the forced earshot of a cramped, droning airliner.
The FCC's reasoning for the change is, like most social advances these days, driven by technology. Improvements in phone networks means that people yakking on their cells at 33,000 feet are no longer a threat to interfere with cell towers on the ground or the navigation systems of modern jets. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says allowing airlines to decide on cellphone use will free up "new mobile opportunities for consumers."
Certainly there's no reason to prohibit people from sending texts or accessing online data while in flight. But encouraging nonstop voice conversations is another matter. The confined seating of an airliner allows no respite, no escape.
Airlines should resist the urge to turn flights into cell-fests. Delta and Southwest say they have no intention of signing on anytime soon. Flight attendants are speaking up, too, saying that having to interrupt phone conversations will make their jobs more difficult.
The airlines can manage and restrict this activity because they control the equipment that connects passenger cellphones to ground networks. One possible compromise would be allowing text messages only. Airlines also might experiment with segregated seating, which would add another layer of ticketing.
It's hard to argue with the principle of eliminating government oversight where it isn't needed, yet airline deregulation, which sought to contain costs through competition, is inducing merger-mania and contributing to the demise of what was once a fairly comfortable experience. Not to mention the incessant gouging of customers with fees.
Ugh — sorry to have brought that up, but if there is the possibility of a new add-on charge in this industry, someone will think of it sooner or later.
"Coffee, tea, noise-canceling headphones? Would you like to put that on your air-miles credit card?"
—The (Easton) Express-Times
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