The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:
Cheers to state Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre) for introducing legislation that would separate playoffs for public and private high schools. The key difference in private schools’ dominance in athletics in recent years is that they have no geographic boundaries and, therefore, can draw the best players from, literally, anywhere. Conklin’s legislation would change a 1972 law, removing a mandate that these schools compete with public schools, and allow for separate playoffs. If the legislation passes, it all but removes any last excuse to make this change in the interest of fairness.
Jeers to the charges against a Locust Gap couple for not only allegedly producing methamphetamine in their home, but for doing so while caring for their 6-month-old and 2-year-old grandchildren. We commend the Northumberland County Children and Youth worker who asked for police assistance in her December visit, which initiated an investigation that led to charges. We know of the prevalence of people caring for their grandchildren because of their own children battling drug addiction; but to think that the addiction exists for the grandparents, too, is daunting.
Cheers, on a related but more positive angle to the pervasive drug addiction epidemic, to Northumberland County President Judge and Prison Board Chairman Charles Saylor’s order last week to implement a re-entry plan and earned good time program at the new county jail. A re-entry plan involves examining an inmate’s education, employment, housing, mental health treatment, addictions treatment, family reunification, spiritual connections and other support systems as part of their release. We can’t expect those who landed in jail because of a connection to illegal drugs — which represents the majority of county inmates — without addressing the root of the problem. A detailed re-entry plan is key to avoiding recidivism.
Cheers to the Mount Carmel Lions Club celebrating its 75th anniversary. The popularity of civic groups has been on the decline for decades, and yet this group has what it takes to continue: a core group of volunteers dedicated to community service. What is especially impressive is that the Mount Carmel Lions’ work is easily visible and quantifiable through its holiday meals on wheels program. In 2018, the club prepared and delivered 557 meals on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Next time someone says community service is a thing of the past, tell them about the Mount Carmel Lions Club — and suggest they get involved and help make a difference.
Cheers to Line Mountain Elementary School students and staff for raising $5,726.74 in their inaugural Mini-THON to benefit Four Diamonds, which provides comprehensive support to children and their families treated at Penn State Children’s Hospital. Students were rewarded for their efforts with things such as a Wii dance party and games, but they will also reap rewards in the long-term, having learned about the value and satisfaction of helping those in need.