The News-Item’s cheers and jeers for the past week of news:
• Cheers first and foremost to all those who have or are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces as this Veterans Day weekend concludes. Recognition of veterans has rightly become more widespread in the years since 2001, and it’s especially pleasing to see aging Vietnam War veterans who lived through literally begin spat on upon their return from war are now receiving the gratitude they deserve. They sound cliché, but the words are meaningful: We must not forget.
• Cheers to the local Girl Scouts who took the time to honor three fellow “sisters” in Scouting and an adult leader who were killed while picking up trash along a Wisconsin highway. This is a tragedy on so many levels as the girls were carrying out community service and their lives were cut short by an alleged drunk driver. Having Girl Scouts nationwide recognize this loss is not only appropriate, it could teach powerful lessons that will prevent tragedy in the years to come.
• Jeers to the ruling by a jury acquitting a woman of the most serious charges in the death of a 4-year-old girl who spent 6 ½ hours in a car on a day when temperatures reached the upper 90s. The stunning news out of Williamsport results in Brittany Borgess facing only a summary offense of leaving a child in an unattended car and a $25 fine — extremely light punishment, it seems, for the circumstances. With all due respect to the jury’s verdict, the arguments on Borgess’ behalf that she was “distracted by stress” are testament to a culture where excuses tend to work even when it comes to an unavoidable death.
• Cheers to another successful National Adoption Day celebration Friday in Northumberland County. Thirty children have been adopted throughout the year in the county, testament to a caring community and the good work of the Northumberland County Children and Youth staff. Adoption Day, which is celebrated nationally on Nov. 17, is a reminder that while more children now have “forever homes,” there are still some 117,000 foster children awaiting that same opportunity.
• Cheers to the Northumberland County Career and Technology Center’s annual open house, where it once again showcased to parents, prospective new students and the community the school’s vital role in local education and workforce development. NCCTC offers nine programs of study, from construction trades to health and protective services — all intended to get its students a jump-start on a career or on furthering their education. Approximately 200 students are enrolled this school year, and that’s a solid number, but we take this opportunity to remind more parents, teachers and administrators of the value of having this school as a viable option for local students.