Christopher Columbus had been in the New World only a few days when he watched from the deck of his flagship as a native paddled toward him in a canoe laden with “some dried leaves, which must be a thing highly valued by them.” His note of this curious sight in his diary for Oct. 15, 1492, i…

The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:

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Move-in day for the collegiate Class of 2023 is now a memory, but lingering like a rash that just won’t quit is the constant inflammation of the student-loan debacle that, for many in this freshman class, will cast a long and dubious shadow upon their finances — perhaps for decades.

Just to be sure I heard it correctly, I replayed former Vice President Joe Biden’s eye-popping gaffe from Thursday night’s debate instructing poor parents to put the record player on to help their children learn. “#Record player” was trending on Twitter by the time I took to the airwaves at …

It’s official: The Trump administration has a plan to deal with mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — by returning them to the same quasi-governmental form that set them up for failure in the 2008 financial crisis. If executed, it’s likely to be a win for a small coterie of hedge fund…

Thursday night’s debate among Democratic presidential candidates touched on the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, appropriately, since America had spent the previous day observing the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, mourning victims and pondering lessons learned. A few d…

Advocates of Pennsylvania’s two backdoor voucher programs, which provide public tax credits for private contributions to private schools, say that they help poor kids who are trapped in poorly performing public schools.

Much like facial recognition technology, automated license plate readers are becoming a popular new tool of law enforcement.

Democrats know they have a winning issue. When the entire country is convulsed by back-to-back massacres in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, and 90 percent or so of Americans favor an array of gun measures, they have every reason to push as hard as they can.

To the editor: I would like to address the issue of all these shootings over the recent years and the spin the media has taken to misinform the public. Case in point is (yesterday’s) Sound Off caller entitled “Gun legalities.”

This week marks the 80th anniversary of the 1939 German invasion of Poland, the event that marked the beginning of World War II. It’s an occasion that must remain strong in the world’s collective memory, even as we slowly lose the people who can speak of it from firsthand experience.

Just over a year ago, the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings got underway. They dropped a bomb on American social psychology and created a tectonic divide. And, as a book published this week suggests, their controversies were the result of a politically motivated hit campaign.

The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:

On Sept. 20, young people all over the world will be marching to raise awareness of the climate crisis. Many adults are skeptical of their motives, asking whether this is just a social media trend or an excuse to skip school. Unfortunately, not.

Ronald Reagan said we are never more than one generation away from losing our freedom. Now it seems we are never more than one election away. If you are unconvinced, then watching the astonishing six-minute testimony of Harvard researcher Dr. Robert Epstein is an absolute must (www.c-span.or…

The spark for Walmart’s action is terrible: deadly shootings at two of its stores this summer, with 24 people slaughtered. Nonetheless, the giant retailer’s realization that “the status quo is unacceptable” should be applauded. Walmart will change its gun policies, ending the sale of ammunit…

Attempts to throttle journalists and frighten social media platforms have come to light recently, and while worthy of note — and criticism — none is likely to do serious harm to the First Amendment’s protections for our rights to free speech and a free press.

Among scientists and educators, there’s widespread agreement that early-childhood development is essential for youngsters’ long-term well-being. In the U.S., politicians have taken notice. More than half of the candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination are advocating univer…

In August, the College Board announced a new website designed to complement Advanced Placement courses. “AP Classroom” offers standardized year-long curricular sequences, divided into nine units. These sequences create cookie-cutter course structures to prepare students for the paid exams ta…

A cynic, says a character in one of Oscar Wilde’s novels, is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. If that’s true, then the debate over the state of labor in the United States these days is awash in cynicism — or maybe it could just be called plain old hypocrisy…

A tide of “vaccine hesitancy,” reluctance to get inoculated because of unfounded fears and misinformation, is rising in the United States and throughout the world. The World Health Organization has identifiedvaccine hesitancy as one of the 10 most urgent public health challenges of this year.

MARINA, Calif. – Lawmakers in California have littered their desks with measures designed to eliminate plastic products, such as bags and even straws. But in failing to provide an adequate system for recycling these items – along with glass, metal and paper – they have created an environment…

Out of all the talking points, disputes and debates that color the political spectrum, the argument for not just increasing, but doubling the minimum wage has become the bellwether in a cross-section of partisan circles.