It’s encouraging to learn that officials from Coal Township and Northumberland County are engaged, even if indirectly, about a possible settlement to the lawsuit filed by the county 11 months ago regarding the township’s construction permit fees for the new county jail.

The Trump administration has now served notice that, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put it, the United States will no longer “bury our head in the sand”about Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a 1987 pact that eliminated an entire class of nuclear-armed missiles.

Sometimes government does a useful thing for a bad reason. That’s a rough summary of the Dec. 4 report just issued by the Trump administration’s Task Force on the United States Postal System. The origins of the report lie in President Donald Trump’s Twitter attacks on Amazon last spring, for…

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I’ve been thinking about President Trump’s situation, and its parallels with what Richard Nixon did in the infamous Watergate scandal 45 years ago.

Crime and punishment have a complicated relationship, as many states have come to learn. From 2010 to 2015, 31 states experienced tandem declines in crime rates and incarceration rates. In the 10 states with the largest reductions in imprisonment, crime rates dropped by an average of 14.4 pe…

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom on Wednesday released a trove of Facebook documents that provide an intriguing glimpse inside the company — and obliterate any remaining notions of its chief executive officer as an innocent babe in the woods.

A devout believer reacting to the latest in a year of head-scratching and heart-wrenching moments from the Catholic Church said this: “It’s the most hypocritical hierarchy in the world.”

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

The tremors that continue to drive a seismic shift in Western civilization where one’s gender is now considered “fluid and changeable” continue unabated. Piggy backing off such a twisted and abnormal philosophy comes a 69-year-old Dutch businessman who claims that if you can change your gend…

Shamokin Area School District taxpayers seemed OK, though not thrilled, with the original arrangement of having now-former-Superintendent James Zack stay on as “transition administrator” for an extra seven months when his replacement, Chris Venna, began duties back on July 1.

To the editor: The yuletide season is once again upon us with all the hustle and bustle of the mad shoppers. I for one didn’t participate in the frenzy of Black Friday like millions did in America and I never will.

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

News about a summer holiday tradition put a damper on Thanksgiving this year: Shamokin’s annual fireworks display can no longer be shot off from the Glen Burn culm bank.

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual conference is held every November in Baltimore and is on no one’s radar.

Shamokin’s annual Downtown Christmas, created and organized by the Northumberland County Council for the Arts, is next Saturday. One week after that, Mount Carmel Downtown Inc. begins its new “Christmas on Oak” holiday celebration. In Trevorton, Kulpmont, Sunbury, Elysburg and other local co…

The world seems a bit more selfish and hateful with each passing year. We can probably blame that, at least lately, on politics.

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

As the old adage goes, women belong in the house … and the senate. That’s especially according to this past election, in which we not only broke the glass ceiling, we broke the record in the number of female candidates elected to state legislatures and Congress. And, nearly a century after t…

Democrats regained the House of Representatives, but Republicans were able to increase their seats in the Senate, suggesting that Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings resisted a second Democratic blue wave.

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

President Trump, his family, and more than a few of his appointees have used his presidency to enrich themselves, spending taxpayer dollars for their own benefit, accepting sweetheart deals from foreigners and harnessing the power of the federal government on behalf of their own businesses a…

For military veterans, the term “mustang” transcends the longstanding, traditional boundaries from chevrons and hash marks to bars, oak leaves, eagles and in some cases, stars.

H.L. Mencken, the late journalist and critic of American culture and politics, once noted: “For every complex problem, there’s a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”

The cost of prescription medication has been an increasing burden to many Americans, and despite the Affordable Care Act, its partial dismantling and constant static from both political parties, there has been little relief.

Just a few days ago in this space, we noted how recognizing the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in defense of our free country should serve as motivation for the right — the duty — to vote.

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

Among conservatives, Tom Wolf’s tenure as governor is filled with enough potholes to bury a half-dozen blind donkeys.

Valley residents may not realize how much our community benefits from federally funded health care services. In fact, so many lives are touched by these programs that cuts could severely impact the quality of care for those in need.

All 203 Pennsylvania House seats and half of the 50 Senate seats are on Tuesday’s ballot. Who will occupy the governor’s office is also at stake.

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” is one of Yogi Berra’s best-known quotes. It’s succinct, witty and captures a universal truth, universally ignored in an age of pollsters, pundits and other would be prognosticators willing to share their crystal balls with us.

Ronald P. McElwee had a powerhouse group of character witnesses at his sentencing Tuesday in Northumberland County Court, and it apparently paid off. Judge Hugh Jones did not sentence the former Shamokin Area School Board president to any jail time for an assault last year that involved a Taser.

Every October before an election, both Democrats and Republicans ramp up fear-based campaigns. The Halloween season isn’t only for telling supernatural stories and conjuring macabre imagery, it’s also for frightening voters as a strategy for getting out the vote. The phenomenon even has a na…

When I was younger and teaching at several American universities, I never put much stock in analogies to household checkbook balancing as a way to explain the federal budget.

At a campaign rally Thursday for Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte, President Donald Trump praised the Republican lawmaker for body-slamming a newspaper reporter in May 2017. ...

On election night, election analysts try to make sense of the results, put them in some sort of context, and describe whatever patterns and forces have produced electoral outcomes.

The excitement level is higher than usual for the annual Coal Bucket football game between Shamokin Area and Mount Carmel Area set for Friday at the Silver Bowl in Mount Carmel.

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

I write you from the year 2018 as we receive yet another dire warning of horrific events to come on our increasingly warming planet. Because of our failure to act, your very future is in jeopardy. I apologize for our generation’s lack of will to take responsibility and shield you from the pe…

The 2016 presidential election has been over for nearly two years, yet many Democrats, especially those in the party’s leadership, remain furious over Republican control of the presidency and Congress.