The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:
• Cheers to the amazing effort by the Mount Carmel Area ThinkBIG Committee in raising $50,021 at Saturday’s dance marathon and related events throughout the year. That pushes the organization’s six-year total past $186,000, an astonishing number for a school-based event promoted and operated almost solely by volunteers. Most importantly, the Mount Carmel-based effort is helping the ThinkBIG Pediatric Cancer Fund, a nonprofit headquartered at the Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville; however, it is also getting local youth involved in helping their community and it’s setting a motivating example of what can be accomplished when people work toward a common goal.
• Jeers to the abrupt resignation of former magisterial district judge Benjamin Apfelbaum as a county public defender. Apfelbaum landed on his feet with the public defender role after losing his bid last year for re-election to another six years on the bench in the Sunbury district court. But he resigned Oct. 25, effective immediately, and with no apparent warning, leaving multiple defendants with no representation when they appeared in court the following Monday. If nothing else, it’s evidence that the public defender’s role in a county where the number of crime cases climbs every year is a demanding one.
• Cheers to the success of the Shamokin Area football team. What a fun and refreshing season it’s been under first-year head coach Henry Hynoski, who led the Indians to an impressive 39-7 playoff win over Loyalsock on Saturday night. Shamokin Area, now 6-5 and with two more wins than the past three seasons combined, advances to the District 4 3A semifinals, where it meets top seed Danville. The Ironmen handled the Indians easily earlier this season, but even if this week marks the end of the road for the 2018 Indians, we’re happy that the seniors can go out with some hard-earned success, and we look forward to what lies ahead as Hynoski continues his goal of “changing the culture.”
• Speaking of football, cheers to Shamokin Mayor John Brown and Mount Carmel Mayor Philip “Bing” Cimino on their gentlemen’s bet regarding the Coal Bucket game, in which the loser, Brown, had to contribute $100 to the Mount Carmel Area Public Library. Proving his worth as a true gentleman, cheers to Cimino for donating the same to the Shamokin-Coal Township Public Library. Indeed, this bet was a win-win, but the libraries can always use more help from the rest of us.
• Jeers to the frightening circumstances surrounding a suspected prowler who police arrested after he was caught on video surveillance trying to break into three Coal Township homes last Sunday. The disturbing videos were viewed more than 22,000 times, and helped lead police to their arrest. It’s a reminder that crime can strike anywhere, including in what we believe to be the security of our homes; and it’s a reminder of the value of local police.