We’d all like to see J.C. Penney or an equivalent retailer move back into our downtowns, but, considering many of these former giants are more apt to be closing than opening a store these days, it’s nothing we should count on.

Some years ago, the worldwide McDonald’s conglomerate persuaded schools in the Deep South — especially in Mississippi, if memory serves — to cook up hamburgers and french fries as school lunches.

As the 116th Congress settles in, if you believe we are entering a new era of legislative headway, think again.

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Tom Marino may have very good personal reasons for abandoning his job as a congressman, but his abrupt resignation just weeks into his fifth term is a slap in the face to his constituents.

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” I thought of John Kerry’s words from 1971, when I heard the terrible news Wednesday about the death of four U.S. soldiers and the wounding of three others in a suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria. In the present instance, however, …

America is in the midst of a worsening security crisis at our southern border. Along with people seeking a better life, every day, drugs, criminals and gang elements illegally enter our country.

We tend to think of “federal workers” as those in Washington, D.C., making big money, having too many paid holidays and otherwise living the good life off our tax dollars.

Workers are simply not valued in this country. As a society, we place the corporate CEO on a pedestal while overlooking the contributions of those who work to ensure that company succeeds. It is workers who have executed the industrial and technology revolutions, built our infrastructure, te…

When it comes to abortion, leftists refuse to confront and address the ugly and brutal truth of their sordid convictions. In their callousness, they dismiss the innocent unborn American lives that are aborted as predestined.

Last month, President Trump signed into the law the First Step Act, federal prison reform legislation that was hailed on both sides of the political aisle as the most significant in a generation.

Free access to naloxone has drawn the lion’s share of attention recently in the fight against heroin and opioid abuse in Pennsylvania, but there are many other developments that are having a positive influence in reversing this epidemic.

Now that he’s entering the US Senate as part of the majority party, Mitt Romney has real power. He also has some real problems with Donald Trump, which the former Massachusetts governor laid out in a buzzy op-ed in The Washington Post on Wednesday that trashed Trump’s handling of the preside…

James “Mad Dog” Mattis was a distinguished U.S. Marine Corps general, who was an exceptional choice by President Trump as Secretary of Defense. When it was announced that Mattis would be resigning in January, the news was met with initial consternation by many conservatives, and understandably so.

I like football and this is the week I get my fill of it. I like the long pass and the big plunge. I like the tactics and the coaching strategies. I like the diversions: the quarterback’s eye to the left before he passes to the right, “flooding the zone,” the double shift.

On the first day of the new year, incoming Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, threw down the gauntlet to President Trump. His very first words in a Post commentary were: “The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December.” He went on to promise: “I will speak out against significant statements or …

Are you still looking for a resolution to keep in the new year, something more meaningful than visiting the gym regularly or avoiding saturated fats? Here’s a suggestion. Take a trip down to the Lincoln Memorial, if you’re in the Washington area. At last report it was still open to the publi…

The debate triggered by the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was exceptional in part because, by some measures, his case was not unusual. The Washington Post contributing columnist, who was assaulted, suffocated and dismembered by a hit squad in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on …

As the book closes on 2018, there were some particulars along the way that deserved a second look and even perhaps an accolade.

The News-Item will present its annual top 10 news stories of the year in Monday and Tuesday’s editions. You might guess that many are of a tragic or controversial nature.

“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” — Then-candidate for president Donald Trump.

Marty Reigel, Coal Township Fire Department chaplain, was addressing the “big boots to fill” for his fallen volunteer firefighter colleague, Scott W. Dannheimer, at his funeral on Thursday when he said, “We ask that somewhere along the line someone will stand up and say, ‘I am willing to do …

As 2018 comes to a close, it is natural to reflect on the past year. Our church, our diocese and each of us have been challenged this year. As we face the shameful record of the past and work toward healing, know that your continued prayers, steadfast commitment to your faith and support is …

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

‘Tis the season in December 2018, where Satanists have erected a diabolic display alongside a Nativity set in the Illinois Statehouse. At a middle school in Midlothian, Virginia, some members of the school choir refused to sing a Christmas song that mentioned Jesus, so now any Christmas song…

The medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania is still very new, so not everyone is comfortable with its progression, especially as it makes its way into our communities as has been the case for the greater Shamokin area.

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

In Northumberland County, much ink has been spilled and a plethora of words debated, questioned and deliberated over the fate of a Catholic school teacher who, unmarried, is now pregnant. This apparently was a violation of the morality clause in her teacher’s contract and she was dismissed.

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…

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.