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Knights of the Round Ball


 Congrats to St. John Neumann and a spectacular basketball season. A Heartland Conference Championship, District IV Title and a Final Four appearance in the PIAA State Tournament. The boys won their first 30 games before losing in the Eastern Final.
  I know the hurt the team and fans felt after that tough loss, but they should all hold their heads up high with great pride. The energy and excitement created by that small school in the east end was amazing. The sense of community and togetherness of years gone by. What a great job by all representing our area.
  A tip of the cap to Head Coach Paul Petcavage and his staff, Joe Clark and Leroy Baer, what a fine job of leadership, knowledge and understanding the big picture for their Golden Knights. The focus on raising fine young men more than winning games was obvious. Over the past couple of years I have watched as the group developed on and off the court. I coached several of the players in Little League at Brandon and coached against them while coaching hoops at Loyalsock, so I had some inside knowledge. The staff at Neumann managed to develop not only the best players on the squad, but also the last player on the squad. That creates a great ‘team’ and belief in the system.
  I must also give a ‘good job’ to Athletic Director Frank Lupacchino, junior high coaches Dylan Casale and Doug Zehner for their molding of future Knights and Brian Haas for his scouting and love of his alma mater. I see a great future for the program and many sell outs at the Catholic Community Center for decades to come.
  This year’s team will be remembered for years to come by the Neumann faithful. The Alize Johnson legend will continue to grow. Who knows, he may someday be referred to as the Michael Jordan of Penn Street.
  Philly Math, Civics and Science, Neumann’s lone loss, will probably be long gone by then. Sorry, I tried to avoid that ‘charter school’ issue but just couldn’t do it. How about this for a PIAA rule: If you are a charter school, you must compete at the 4A, largest enrollment level. This allows the charter schools to continue with their current practices of recruiting whomever they want, but allows the small town teams and public schools to compete on an equal playing field. Or should I say hardwood. The Giant Center at Hershey would have been packed with folks from across Lycoming County rooting for the Golden Knights to win a State Championship this past weekend, if it wasn’t for the charter school issue.

Trouble Abroad
  I never thought Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter would be displaced as our nations worst leader, but Mr. Obama has done it. His overall lack of leadership, inability to see reality and use common sense and his appointment of unqualified individuals to positions of national importance and security is frightening.
  Yes, he did use the executive order a few more times this past week. This helps him avoid going through Congress, He is just trying to speed things up and save the taxpayer’s money. Believe this and you probably think he is doing a good job.
  Mr. President, allow Russia and the Ukraine to work out their problems. We can’t manage the world. Heck, we can’t even manage our own nation. They don’t want our help. All you can accomplish is to create further animosity between our country and Russia.
  Follow the money trail. This is true in every aspect of government, business and politics. If Ukraine and Crimea had enjoyed the economic condition of Russia, this wouldn’t be happening. I know Putin is a ‘Cold War’ leader and wants to unite the former Soviet Union. What has enabled him to have a voice in Ukraine and Crimea is their lack of financial independence and their ethnicity being Russian.
  If Ukraine were attacked by a foreign power, Russia would have to defend them. If their economy is failing, Russia has to support them. Do not believe everything the folks in Washington are telling you.
  Furthermore, Mr. Obama is not operating from a position of power or leverage. His use of economic sanctions and penalties to individuals within Russian leadership is a joke. Mr. Putin knows this. In the name of Ronald Reagan, stop embarrassing our great nation. You are not feared or respected. You must consult and involve former foreign policy advisors of President Clinton, Presidents Bush and yes – President Reagan. Come up with a committee of advisors and a plan for diplomacy with Russia. This is not a new problem. It is a point in history where the conditions of that region, coupled with Mr. Putin’s lack of fear and respect for the U.S. have intersected.
  Where is Flight 370? I am hoping by the time you read this, it has been found. How in this day and age – when they can tell if you have cream in your coffee while sitting on the front porch – can you lose a jet liner? Sort of frightening after 9/11 that this is the case. If the pilots had wanted to crash 370 into a target within their fuel range that would have been done before anyone knew what happened.
  I don’t want to play the blame game with Malaysia and the countries in that part of the world, but at some point we are going to have to realize folks just don’t value life and the future like Americans do. If it wasn’t for the world community, I wonder what effort would have been made by Malaysia to find the aircraft? You have seen the pain on the faces of family members and how the Malaysian government has dealt with them, alarming to say the least.
  I am not going to offer any theory on where the plane is, but one thought I will share is that no matter how many are searching the area in question it’s like looking for a needle in ten haystacks. It will take some luck to find it. It is just a massive amount of land and sea.
  Alarming facts that have come to light in the wake of the flight MH370 disappearance are the ability for a disgruntled pilot or hijacker to turn off the transponders, which provide tracking of the plane. The access to fuses in the cockpit, which may allow an individual to turn off or possibly erase the information on the flight data recorders. In today’s world these fail safes need to be protected and shouldn’t be accessible to anyone other than a high ranking airline administrator or government official.