Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., thought reports of children being brutally separated from their parents at the United States’ southern border with Mexico were “greatly exaggerated.”

Lawmakers were uncharacteristically silent during the state budget process, with vague assurances that “things are chugging along.” But one thing was clear from the moment Gov. Wolf in February delivered the shortest budget address in recent years: The state’s Democratic governor and Republi…

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

One of the most underreported stories of 2018 is the national dilemma facing foster care. The lack of foster care parents has infected all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties and nearly every state in the union.

Newspaper staffs across the commonwealth work tirelessly, day in and day out, to deliver fact-based news and information. It is the pledge of dedicated journalists, who are also fellow members of the community, to report real, honest and credible news.

This past week, Republican leaders in the state Senate hijacked efforts to pass sensible redistricting reform in Pennsylvania. Instead of moving bipartisan legislation forward that would have empowered the people of Pennsylvania in the redrawing of our legislative and congressional districts…

Every year, on the third Saturday of February, my wife and I have a date. But this date has nothing to do with romance. This date has nothing to do with hearts or flowers or candy. This date is about our federal income tax. On this Saturday we camp out in the kitchen with stacks of receipts …

Our “Picture perfect day” headline on Friday’s story about opening day at the Lawton W. Shroyer Memorial Pool described more than just the weather.

Gerrymandering has become the buzzword du Jour in national politics — as well as a long smoldering policy issue about to convulse the Supreme Court in a possible constitutional crisis. Yet, few realize the ancient and arcane origins of the term — nor how we have gotten to this point.

One of President Donald Trump’s darkest talents is his ability to identify an opponent’s delicate spot and stab it remorselessly. From his knack for condescending nicknames (Low Energy Jeb, Little Rocket Man) to inviting Bill Clinton’s various accusers to the second presidential debate, ther…

Not everyone agrees with Northumberland County commissioners’ decision to abandon the plan to build a new prison at the former Celotex site in Sunbury and instead go big with the purchase of the former Northwestern Academy campus in Coal Township.

The surge in voter registration during the historic 2016 presidential race was certainly welcome. As it is, too few Americans, including in Northumberland County, are registered to vote.

The problem with the “fake news” meme is that such fabrications exist in two places — online at sites dedicated to creating falsehoods and mainstream news outlets.

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

On Tuesday afternoon I drove up the potholed driveway of the Shamokin Cemetery hoping I would find my missing cat (No, I didn’t find her). But what I did find was rather deplorable.

To the editor: A friend, in my opinion, is a person you have known for a long time; a person you trust and with which share many of the same interests; someone you can depend on in times of turmoil and danger; a person you feel comfortable being around. However, acquaintances are people you …

The odds are against it because of time and today’s political climate, but Pennsylvania has an opportunity to make a real statement about bipartisanship and political fairness that really matters to voters.

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

The vote was supposed to be much closer than what it was. It was anything but. It was a rout of epic proportions as Ireland overwhelmingly voted to overturn its ban on abortion.

On May 14, the United States officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a decision that was marked by a lavish ceremony in the latter city attended by American diplomats and politicians, including Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.

To the editor: May 30 was the traditional Memorial Day to honor our dead, military heroes and veterans. Kulpmont’s men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice include:

To the editor: When Trump says he will make America great again, he means what he says. He really does believe it can be great again. It has to start at home. It’s time people start believing in each other, like the old days.

To the editor: In my youth, people called each other names all the time. My mother’s words of comfort were, “sticks and stone can break your bones, but words can never hurt you.”

We agree with Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz that there is no evidence Shamokin officials acted with “intent and purpose” to violate the state Sunshine Act earlier this year.

To the editor: The question of Home Rule is going to be on the forefront very shortly. Local leaders see this as the only option. I believe there is potential, but it must be done right. The only way I can support Home Rule is if we overhaul everything about this city government. These are t…

A new report by independent public-health researchers estimates that at least 4,645 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Consider that number. Contrast it with those who died from Katrina (almost 2,000) and those killed in the 9/11 attacks (almost 3,000).