Your vote is a valuable commodity. It’s the difference between being a victim or a volunteer. It is participation. It is involvement.

Vaping among high school students has risen 135% in just two years, and the government deserves more than a little blame. The Food and Drug Administration has dragged its feet on regulation, and lawmakers have resisted reforms to make e-cigarettes less appealing to children. Government inact…

Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law the most significant revision to Pennsylvania election laws in about 80 years. With one important exception, the new law truly constitutes reform.

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

Pennsylvania’s nearly century and a half ban on most forms of hunting on Sundays will probably end soon thanks to a Harrisburg compromise on the issue.

If it seems as though the kids are watching a lot more videos online than they were just a few years ago, appearances are reality. New research shows the typical American youth is spending an hour every day viewing online videos.

Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, two Soviet-born associates of Rudy Giuliani, are charged with funneling $325,000 in foreign money into a super-PAC supporting President Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Their indictment should serve as a warning about the threat of foreign manipulation of …

To some, it is a resource that drove development for decades, before environmental protections and economic difficulties conspired to close it off. To many others, it is an ecological treasure that may not be the country’s best-known wild expanse — but probably should be. The fate of the wor…

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

Facebook has said it does not want to play umpire to political advertising. Now, another platform has suggested a solution: Get out of the game.

Volunteer fire and rescue companies are indispensable to public safety statewide. Of nearly 2,500 fire companies statewide, about 90% are volunteer companies, according to state statistics. Without them, the cost of some of the most important public services would increase exponentially.

It was not supposed to be this bad. After years of punishing drought and wildfires, California had received more rain and snow, so this year’s wildfire season was supposed to be milder than the devastation of the previous two. Yet there is a massive fire raging in Northern California and ano…

“I have a plan” is the battle cry of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, as she campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination. She has laid out a series of detailed policies that challenge what she sees as powerful interests standing in the way of better lives for Americans. But w…

The companies that gather information on U.S. consumers’ creditworthiness haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory of late. After losing the personal data of millions of Americans who never chose to do business with them, committing innumerable life-complicating errors and exploiting cons…

More young people would increase their earnings if they were able to complete a four-year college degree, and American society as a whole would benefit from this enhancement of human capital. But while 69% of high school graduates at least start postsecondary education, only about half of th…

Amid all the attention being paid to Medicare for All and other proposals for health-care reform, you might not have noticed that the current system is once again under legal assault. It’s for the courts to decide the merits of this new challenge and to say in due course whether the Affordab…

It should not be a hassle to vote, but in so many states, it is. Why, for example, should people have to register to vote when state agencies — the DMV, notably — have all the information they need to add people to the voter rolls? Several states have recently tried to remove this unnecessar…

Justice is not just a result but a process, so it is no small thing to dramatically change the rules that regulate that process. Yet mounting evidence demonstrates that it is necessary to do so regarding old but more recently revealed evidence of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests and others.

Mark Zuckerberg says he is worried about an erosion of truth. He doesn’t believe pulling back on expression in times of tension is the right road for a democracy to take. And he thinks people should not have to live in a world where they can say only things that technology companies judge to…

The combination of guns and alcohol is especially dangerous, and far too little has been done to address it. Federal law doesn’t restrict access to guns by people with a history of alcohol abuse, and fewer than half of U.S. states impose prohibitions of this kind. The risks to public safety …

Even many Democrats are criticizing Sen. Elizabeth Warren for refusing to admit, in plain words, that her Medicare for All plan will require taxes to increase. They’re right to complain. The point could hardly be simpler: All presidential candidates owe voters an honest accounting of what th…

Most Pennsylvania motorists, at least the owners or leasers of many newer models, probably are unaware that their personal vehicles might be equipped with a data-collection “black box.”

The horror stories of young adults leaving college with debts in excess of $100,000 have become all-too commonplace.

Jeers to the person responsible for beating a 3-year-old girl nearly to death during an assault on Thursday in Trevorton. Hearing the tone of voice from some of our elected officials while they explained the circumstances of the attack conveyed the brutality much more than words ever could. …

The attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields by Iran not only spooked the Saudi’s and temporarily spiked oil prices, but its ramifications will extend well into the future. How so? The drones and missiles used in the attack escaped radar detection because they were flying so low to the ground. Le…

I mentioned in a recent column that Donald Trump is forcing the corrupt culture of his lies onto the people who touch him in any way and deep, deep into the federal government. The accelerating events of the past week have underscored and inscribed a trenchant emphasis upon those words.

The American calendar is filled with days, weeks and months set aside to draw attention to a wide variety of worthy causes and issues. Often there are several such observances going on at once. A great many of these are worthy of respect and deserve note, but the sheer number of them can mak…

For too long, the power of the executive branch has long exceeded the narrow set of powers and expectations set out by the U.S. Constitution.

The case against “Stand Your Ground” gun laws is ever more compelling. Applied in one form or another in some three dozen states, these provisions allow ordinary citizens to use deadly force in self-defense even when violence could have been avoided simply by retreating. In effect, they exte…

As The News-Item begins the process of interviewing candidates running in the Nov. 5 general election, it is imperative we take special precautions to preserve the integrity of the electoral process.

Cheers to SEDA-COG for bringing an office to Shamokin to aid the city’s revitalization movement. There is no single solution to the issues that we as a community face, but those involved in revitalizing the area have once again taken another step towards success. The icing on the cake of the…

The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species that has emerged as a destructive pest in Pennsylvania since its arrival in the southeastern part of the state about five years ago. The insect, described as “a large, colorful planthopper,” is a threat to $18 billion in state agriculture — tree …

Disasters have been with us even before the unsettled days of Chicken Little, who was so convinced that the sky was falling, she refused to believe any other explanation was even possible. Unable to locate the portion of “sky” that wacked Little upside the head, she continued chirping her ow…

The Coal Township commissioners took last night’s monthly meeting as an opportunity to read a letter bashing The News-Item for reporting that the hiring of Richard “Bo” Scandle as assistant code enforcement officer in September should have required a vote.

The health of bird populations always has been a key indicator of broader environmental health, so a study demonstrating vast declines in those populations in the United States and Canada is a major concern beyond just the Audubon Society.

Every year, the number has gone up- from 11% in 2017 to 21% in 2018 to 25% this year. That is the share of high school seniors who admit to having used e-cigarettes in the past month. And it’s not just almost-18-year-olds who are vaping: A fifth of 10th-graders report doing so in the past month.

While most of Washington was on vacation in August, lobbyists for doctors were busy placing ads attacking the recent effort in Congress to end “surprise medical bills” — the practice of slapping unsuspecting patients with huge out-of-pocket charges they couldn’t see coming. The blitz might b…

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

At least since the invention of the blackboard two centuries ago, educators have used technology to enhance classroom instruction. The digital revolution has accelerated that trend, with the market for educational tech in the U.S. and Europe exceeding $100 billion. What’s less clear is wheth…

Polls, surveys and studies have their purpose and can, at times, be misleading, revealing and disclose certain anomalies within society. One recent WSJ/NBC poll illuminated a cultural divide hidden in plain sight that has been percolating for more than a generation.

The Trump administration is sitting on tens of billions of dollars in unspent money meant to help Americans recover from disasters. It has spent less than one-third of the $107 billion that Congress provided after the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 and 2018. The Department of Housing and U…

Every member of Congress takes an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” which has been under assault by President Donald Trump for nearly three years.

We argued the other day that President Donald Trump needed to find a way to de-escalate the conflict in the Persian Gulf, while noting that Iran, which appears to have been behind a devastating attackagainst Saudi oil infrastructure, has ruled out negotiation and might be planning further st…

The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate Wednesday by another quarter of a percentage point, to a range of 1.75% to 2%. That much was expected — but little else is going according to plan. A spell of turbulence in the money markets is complicating matters. And the Fed is still wre…