Courthouse clock tower quieter these days

The chimes inside the clock tower atop the Lawrence County Courthouse have been quieter.

A Lawrence County commissioner yesterday touted the goodness of humanity in Lawrence County during a time of strife and uncertainty.

“We’re seeing good conducted through all of this crisis,” Commissioner chairman Morgan Boyd said of the coronavirus outbreak. His comments were part of the board of commissioners meeting, which convened for its first virtual-only meeting Tuesday, broadcast through YouTube.

Boyd said the public meetings will continue to be aired that way during the courthouse shutdown because of the coronavirus outbreak. Taxpayers can tune in through the county’s web page at co.lawrence.pa.us.

“I think in situations like this, we tend to focus on the worst aspects of humanity,” Boyd commented. “If you go on Facebook right now, you can see people in stores fighting over the last roll of toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

“At least in Lawrence County, we’re actually seeing the best of humanity coming out,” he said. He noted that people are organizing food drives to feed children who otherwise won’t get to eat. The community is rallying around local restaurants that might be negatively impacted in an economic way, he said. The school districts are opening their doors to allow students to get food, “and we’re seeing people taking care of elderly neighbors and family members.

“I think that’s a testament to the people of Lawrence County, and I think it serves to prove ... there are good people here and we’re seeing good being conducted all throughout this crisis.”

Boyd emphasized the importance of citizens receiving confirmation of any rumors, through an official governing body or agency or official news source,  instead of believing misinformation on Facebook.

“People can get hurt if you don’t get information from official sources,” he said.

Commissioner Loretta Spielvogel said the commissioners have received a fraud advisory from the Social Security Administration that there’s an ongoing scam where people are getting emails and text messages telling them that their Social Security benefits are stopping.

“That is not true,” she said. She noted that the Social Security employees are working from home, “but they will never, in any way shape or form, stop the benefits from coming.

“They’ll never threaten to suspend your benefits,” she said, urging people to reach out to their elderly neighbors and relatives about, “because that’s who they will be going after.”

Spielvogel pointed out some good things going on in Lawrence County. The United Way is a resource for finding information on student and family feeding programs and a list of food pantries. The information is available through the United Way of Lawrence County Facebook page, and online, at uwlawctyu.org.

The county’s 211 system also provides a lot of information, she said, adding, “It’s a different type of life right now, but it’s temporary.”

Commissioner Dan Vogler commented the county officials for working together through the coronavirus crisis.

“What really got this ball rolling last week was the order the Supreme Court gave to the judge,” he commented. “We quickly met with the president judge and we felt it was prudent for all of us to be consistent with courthouse operations, overall.”

The three commissioners met with the elected row officers and department heads in the courthouse to identify a skeleton staff, Vogler said. “We have scaled back significantly in terms of people who are working here. So far it seems to be working pretty well.”

“I think we need to remind ourselves that this situation, as challenging as it is, is temporary,” he emphasized. “None of us knows how long it’s going to last, but it’s temporary. If we maintain our composure ... and patience and cooperation and civility with one another, we’ll get through this.”

 The commissioners’ next public meeting, which again will be livestreamed only, will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Public comments may be sent by email to Boyd at mboyd@co.lawrence.pa.us.

dwachter@ncnewsonline.com

Reporter

Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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