Home › Tag Archives › Linda Thompson

Harrisburg Holiday Fun for All

It really is an event for Harrisburgians not to miss – the annual Harrisburg Holiday Parade.  And, just a few short weeks ago, due to major budgetary issues plaguing the city especially since its flooding – it really looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  But when it did, everyone in Harrisburg was sure glad about it.  People were lounging around in garden chairs, enjoying the music emanating from the marching bands and really having a jolly good time.

Harrisburg’s Budgetary Concerns

So it really is good that it took place.  But just a month ago, the city’s Mayor, Linda Thompson issued a written statement insisting that city events were not to use taxpayers money – if they were to go ahead, they needed to ensure their own funding.  Despite the obvious joy and frivolity in the air, it is a shame that sponsors are not coming forward as much as they should for such events.  At least, that was the case before Mayor Thompson issued her statement.  Following that, a bunch of sponsors provided funds amounting to $39,000 so that the parade could continue downtown.  Attendees were delighted and said it showed real “community spirit.”

Funny Times in Harrisburg?

Can Harrisburg Residents Laugh Again Following the City’s Recent Flooding?

The residents of Harrisburg haven’t had all that much to smile about recently.  The huge flooding the city encountered – along with its sad economic situation and possible takeover – hasn’t exactly led to giggling in the streets.  But perhaps even amidst all this doom and gloom, there has been a glimpse of a silver lining.  Or at least an opportunity has been created to give the people of Harrisburg something to smile about for a little while.

Last weekend, Michael Feldman hosted a public radio variety show, called “Whad’Ya Know?” that was broadcast again on Sunday on WITF 89.5 which – for those tuned in – definitely generated a lot of laughs.  Feldman attacked the city’s current Mayor, Linda Thompson, terming her the “mayor-not-for-life” as he had, on a previous comedy tour, named the other mayor, Stephen R. Reed, the “mayor-for-life.”  A huge rib-tickling chuckle was evident from the audience.

Indeed, the man attracts close to one million listeners every week with his comedy routine that seems to have been able to get a giggle even in tough times.  He has a section entitled, “Harrisburg news that isn’t,” and on his most recent show he discussed the city’s debt-ridden incinerator.  As recorded in Penn Live, Feldman said, “most towns build aquariums. That’s the big thing. Let’s build an incinerator … Great idea. … We can burn the garbage in it. It’s a money maker. Wish I could have been there for the pitch.”

And of course, it’s always great to be able to laugh at one’s problems which the comedian encouraged his listeners to do.  When Feldman pointed out that “Harrisburg was also No. 7 among recession-proof cities because what the heck else could go wrong, really?” how could listeners not laugh?

Feldman’s Critics

Although the show did receive some criticism for being too harsh on the city’s Mayor who is trying her best under extremely challenging circumstances, Thompson was defended by Corky Goldstein, former City Council member, and one of the show’s guests. So there was some kind of balance.

And, truth be told, if you can’t laugh at your problems, you’ll only cry, so surely Feldman really touched the spot when he took the recent misfortunes of Harrisburg and let people see them from a funny point of view instead.

Tropical Storm Lee Flooding

Finally it looks like Harrisburg residents will be able to go home.  Following the Tropical Storm Lee flooding, tens of thousands of the residents who were evacuated at the time were told it was safe for them to return home, last Saturday.   At the time it was such a tough flood, reports claimed that it was the worst in nearly 40 years, since Hurricane Agnes.

Evacuees Return Home

Before the notice came for these individuals to return home, the evacuation order was lifted in northeastern Pennsylvania for up to 60,000 (of the 70,000 residents) in and around Wilkes-Barre to return home.  The Susquehanna River’s level was receding during this time.  Thereafter, more were given the go-ahead on Saturday as well as Sunday.

Deaths from Flooding

According to Gov. Tom Corbett, there have been at least seven deaths resulting from the storm.  As well, around five deaths were said to be “storm-related.”  However, good news is finally in sight as Corbett said at a Harrisburg news conference, “it appears no that the worst of the flooding is over.”  He has requested President Obama declare a “major disaster in the flooded counties.”

Other Damage

Along with the deaths, there have been other issues that have arisen as a result of the flood.  Finally, things have taken their toll.  Indeed, Stephen Bekanich, Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency Director, estimated damage to be in the tens of millions.  Harrisburg is still experiencing problems due to the falling river.  Officials are still attempting to restore power while crews attempted to repair damage from the storm.

Impact on Harrisburg

Given that there are various roadways closed in the region, this will impact the people of Harrisburg as well.  The city’s mayor assured that power will be restored to city residents.  Still, around 2,300 residences “remained without power.”  But Harrisburg residents can be assured that water will be sent to them – 800,000 gallons of fresh water per day to American Water will be “distributed to metropolitan and suburban areas where fresh water was in short supply. City reservoir water levels remain high and were not affected by the flood.”

Slowly, things are returning to normal for Harrisburg residents.  It’s going to take time, but the city and its officials are taking care of things following Tropical Storm Lee and its repercussions.