The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:
• Cheers to the effort to recognize local and state police, firefighters and EMS for their efforts in handling the Feb. 23 and 24 homicide and subsequent standoff in Shamokin. Emergency responders aren’t looking for a pat on the back when they carry out their duties, but it was certainly appropriate in this case to gather them in one room and hand out some compliments and certificates. Beyond the homicide itself, the standoff had the potential for further tragedy as police came under fire. But the value of training showed through as they controlled the situation then professionally carried out apprehension of the suspect without further harm to anyone else. This was indeed a major tactical success for local authorities that instills confidence that we are well protected every day.
• Jeers to the thief who stole the generator at the site of the Shingara family cross on the mountain south of Trevorton. The property is sacred ground for a hard-working family that has made a living in the coal mining business, and the 40-foot-high cross is a tribute to those they have lost. We wish police and the family good luck in tracking down the culprits; and the guilty parties are going to need some luck, too, in dealing with the consequences of stealing from the Shingaras.
• Cheers to teams from Shamokin Area High School and Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School for their victories in the local high school and middle school levels in the Pennsylvania Council on Financial Literacy stock market competition, which concluded its 10-week run Friday. Those teams generated the most from their hypothetical $100,000 starting base to earn first place, but really all students who competed are winners when they learn financial literacy through hands-on activities. Cheers to behind-the-scenes organizer Carolyn Shirk and the council and certainly to Sunbury Motor Co. for its financial backing that exposes hundreds of local students to this valuable learning experience.
• Cheers to the never-ending efforts toward identification and proper burial of those who sacrificed their lives in defense of the nation. We reference the news this past week from the U.S. Defense Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Agency about the remains of Army Master Sgt. Finley Davis, of Pittsburgh, which were accounted for in August and will be buried Thursday in South Carolina. In late 1950, the 39-year-old Davis’s unit was fighting off persistent Chinese attacks in the Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River when it was attacked; Davis was reported missing in action as of Dec. 1, 1950. Several survivors reported that Davis died at a prisoner of war camp, and the agency exhumed the remains of 22 people from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu and identified Davis’s remains.
• Jeers to the closing of the Save-A-Lot discount grocery story in The Plaza at Coal Township on Saturday. It took employees and consumers by surprise considering the abrupt closure after just 20 months. It’s suggested Save-A-Lot was concerned about the fact that Aldi is set to open a store next door to the plaza, but that’s like forfeiting a game before it begins. On a related “jeer,” the owner of the plaza might want to address its awful parking lot conditions before it loses more tenants or customers. Also, though, a related “cheer” for the recent opening of Bottle Works at the plaza and the good news of that new Aldi store rising in the near future.