Thumbs up: Courts can order offenders to pay fines, and the debts can be forwarded to collection agencies if they fail to pay up. But if defendant doesn't really care about his or her credit, there's not much more the courts can do.
Victims end up being victimized again.
But not for much longer.
A bill awaiting Gov. Tom Corbett's signature will allow the Department of Transportation to suspend the driver's licenses of people who fail to pay court-ordered restitution for vehicle-related offenses.
State Rep. Keith Gillespie, who introduced the bill, said the legislation was inspired by testimony from York County Clerk of Courts Don O'Shell.
O'Shell complained that the county has no means of forcing collection beyond sending notices and forwarding the debt to a collection agency, which can affect the defendant's credit.
Some of the defendants really don't care about their credit, O'Shell said. But people rely heavily on their ability to drive, so suspending driving privileges will be a better way of ensuring collections.
Gillespie, R-Springettsbury Twp., said the bill will give counties "some teeth" to force payment "from people who walk away from that responsibility."
Thumbs up: High-schoolers are getting some real life experience in West York, and the borough is getting help revitalizing a neglected park.
Students from the York County School of Technology's landscape and design class last week worked with the borough's highway department to make changes to the Highland Avenue park, where vandalism has kept families away in recent years.
"We want to revitalize the park and bring families back to the park," said borough Councilman Brian Wilson, who's also chairman of the parks and recreation committee.
Eventually he would like to install security cameras in the area, but in the meantime the borough is using the limited funds available to make changes to things in the park that were discovered to be out of compliance with state regulations and the American Disability Act when a sliding board needed to be replaced a few years ago.
The 10 students worked throughout the week installing new landscape lumber around the perimeter of the playground area to meet state regulations. The improvement also will help retain new mulch. Two years ago a flood washed most of the mulch at the playground away into the fairgrounds, Wilson said.
"It's a good learning experience for them," Melissa Trocheck said of her students. "They haven't done this before. Plus the rain is teaching them how to deal with construction sites that aren't the best."