The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:
• Cheers to an arrest regarding the robbery at Turkey Hill in Shamokin from last Tuesday. The suspect turned himself in two days later — on Thanksgiving — no doubt feeling the heat from police, who had plenty of video surveillance to work with in their investigation. The unfortunate reason given for this 26-year-old’s poor decision to rob a local convenience store is one we’ve heard too often: To support his heroin addiction. We trust that his journey through the judicial system will include addiction treatment.
• Jeers to the pay raise that goes into effect Saturday for Pennsylvania lawmakers — not just because it’s a pay raise, but because it’s automatic. Lawmakers decided in 1995 that the best way to avoid the controversy of an annual vote to raise their pay was to not have a vote. And since then, the nation’s second-highest paid Legislature gets an annual increase tied to the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers of Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. This year’s that’s 1.6 percent. The amount is modest, but for lawmakers making at least $88,610 come Dec. 1, and who know they can count on a raise every year, it’s still not fair that this increase in public spending comes minus a public vote.
• Cheers to Shamokin Area Elementary special education teacher Amanda Stine for her work in helping special needs student Anthony Dees realize his “Make-A-Wish” foundation dream to travel to Texas to meet characters from his favorite television show, “The Walking Dead.” Stine, who was presented a plaque by co-elementary school Principal Shannon Fetterman and recognized by the board of education last week for her efforts, also raised $500 in Anthony’s name through a Muscular Dystrophy Association walk. Stine is representative of thousands of her colleagues in education in that her concern for the children she teaches goes well beyond the classroom.
• Jeers to the person or persons who paid their entrance fee and concessions with counterfeit $20 bills at a father-daughter dance at Southern Columbia Area School District on Nov. 17. It’s obviously criminal and morally wrong to pay for anything with fake money, but it’s especially hurtful when those who are working to earn the money are children; the dance was held to benefit the senior class. We hope the young organizers aren’t discouraged by this unfortunate turn of events and know that, ultimately, hard work pays — and crime doesn’t.
• Jeers, finally, to Mother Nature. We should be used to her soggy 2018 temperament by now, but a major snowstorm, single-digit temperatures and an ice storm — all within 10 days, and all in the middle of November — has us wondering: What kind of winter lies ahead? At the same time, we recognize that things could be worse, considering what others have lived with this year in terms of hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and, of course, wildfires.