The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:
• Cheers to the ingenuity of private citizens in carrying on what was once a county-operated — and funded — organization. We speak of the “Friendship Center” that has formed at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Elysburg in the wake of Northumberland County shuttering the former senior action center in that community. The county provided ample justification for its tough decision, but the reaction was a positive and productive one. The church opened its doors and the seniors took up the offer for a free place to gather. Leslie Fegley, church council president, said it best: “It serves the purpose of fulfilling our godly mission of reaching out and serving others in our community.”
• Cheers to Gov. Tom Wolf’s creation of a 15-member commission to look for ways to improve the redistricting process, which was the subject of a lengthy court battle and will continue to be a focus in upcoming elections. While state Republican leadership blasted the governor over the commission — and perhaps their claims of it lacking rural representation could be addressed (actually solve the problem and not just fuss about it) — it’s mission is not to decide how the state’s congressional maps are drawn, but merely to “hear from experts and citizens about what can be done to make this process more fair,” as Wolf’s statement read. Considering that Pennsylvania was known as the epitome of gerrymandering, creation of a commission shouldn’t seem so offensive.
• Jeers to anyone who would think of tormenting the deer that communities such as Kulpmont and Mount Carmel have on display for the holiday season. It’s surprising to think that warnings against such actions would be necessary, but it’s true. Parents might want to remind their children that while the deer are easy targets for neighborhood hell-raisers, they would face serious consequences should any harm be done. A pat on the back, meanwhile, to the volunteers who subject themselves to such aggravation for the benefit of the community.
• Cheers to 11-year-old Danny Worhach, of Ranshaw, on winning the championship for the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series 125cc junior class for four-wheeler riders ages 8 to 11. Cheers as well for his hometown giving due recognition upon Worhach’s return from the GNCC banquet in West Virginia with a reception Saturday night at the Brady Fire Co. hall.
• Cheers, on the sports theme, to the amazing Southern Columbia High School football team. The Tigers have again rolled through the regular season and playoffs unbeaten to earn another berth in the state championship game, which will take place Friday at Hersheypark Stadium against Wilmingon. Southern is to high school football what Alabama is to the college ranks these days — dominant year in and year out. We wish the Tigers good luck in earning what would be a record-extending ninth championship in their 17th appearance.