Public hearing to be held at URS tonight
As the community continues to speculate on the future of United Rehabilitation Services in Tunkhannock and other locations, people directly involved in the program are scrambling for alternate options.
An annual public hearing tonight could serve as a forum for people to voice support and concerns about the closings, but a lot is still unclear about the circumstances surrounding URS.
Wayne Weaver, 74, of Centermoreland, said his daughter Megan counts on the job in a big way - she doesn’t have the ability to work in any other capacity.
“My daughter’s birthday was the second of April. I was amazed, just sitting back, there were probably 30-some people celebrating her birthday, and a couple of them were talking about work. I thought, boy, these people really take this seriously - it’s a big part of their lives,” Weaver said.
In Wyoming County, work options for developmentally disabled adults are virtually nonexistent.
For some, the last hope comes in the form of public hearings for public mental health and developmental services in Wyoming and Luzerne counties.
The goal of these hearings is to encourage people in the community to voice their input on the needs of these services in Wyoming County.
The hearing is being held at the URS in Tunkhannock at 6:30 p.m. today.
Wyoming County Commissioner Tom Henry said the decision to close URS and the subsequent consequences are essentially out of commissioners’ hands.
“We feel awful about it - we definitely care what happens, but we don’t have anything on the plate with that,” Henry said. “We’re here if they need us. We don’t want to see them close.”
Weaver, on the other hand, has been more proactive.
He started a petition in the Centermoreland and Beaumont area to see what support in the community was like for URS.
In a matter of days, a half dozen pages of signatures were filled out.
Next, he called Rep. Lisa Baker, who continues to voice support for the program and is attempting to find funding through 2014.
According to Weaver, Baker informed him that the state government is looking into another agency taking it over. But, he’s not terribly convinced.
“There’s two sides to everything - I’m not blaming anybody,” Weaver said. “I hate to see anyone, no matter who they are, not have a place to go.”
As for the workers at URS, the very little they demand as employees is hovering in limbo.
“These people don’t expect what a ‘normal’ person would - they’re happy as could be with whatever they get,” Weaver said. “If they lose this, I don’t know what they’ll do.”