The News-Item’s cheers and jeers from the past week of news:
• Cheers to the Southern Columbia girls soccer team for winning the district’s first state championship in any female sport. Southern’s improbable win against Freedom Academy in Friday’s PIAA Class 1A game Friday at Hersheypark Stadium was one for the ages, with a bang-bang play off a corner kick sealing the win in overtime. We’ll see in a few weeks if the football team will make it two state titles in one scholastic season as the Tigers moved on with a win over Mount Carmel Area in the district championship game Saturday night. Cheers, meanwhile, to the Red Tornadoes on a 10-3 season in which two of its losses came at the hands of their seemingly unbeatable neighbors.
• Jeers to the early season snow that caused not only headaches but a number of motor vehicle accidents, including one that took the life of a young Sunbury woman on Thursday. It’s a tragic reminder that we must take seriously the dangers ahead in the winter season.
• Cheers to the early holiday outpouring of cheer by two separate groups Saturday in Shamokin and Coal Township. In the city, Brookside Ministries visited for the second year to distribute blankets, clothing and toiletries free to the needy through its “He Covers You” program. And in the township, the Shamokin Wild Tigers youth football team gathered at the Lives Changed By Christ (LCBC) Church at The Plaza at Coal Township to fill each of 32 baskets with a turkey and trimmings for Thanksgiving meals for the needy identified by local organizations. What a great lesson to teach young athletes about the true meaning of “winning,” and both events speak to the fact that there remain plenty of caring people in what sometimes seems like a hopelessly divided world.
• Jeers to the federal proposal to weaken how colleges and universities handle complaints of sexual misconduct, as state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale noted in comments last week. “The draft rules proposed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos fly in the face of common sense,” he said. “We should be working to make it harder — not easier — for schools to shield rapists and harassers, and avoid accountability.” We agree that the proposed rules might also discourage victims from coming forward, which is obviously not the point.
• Cheers to the all-out effort to move the Cpl. David W. Witmer Memorial to its new location on Lincoln Street in Shamokin — and that the dedication at the new site was on the 35th anniversary of Witmer having paid the ultimate sacrifice. The Shamokin officer was on a mutual aid call in Trevorton on Nov. 13, 1983, when he was shot and killed. We trust it provides Witmer’s family some comfort in knowing that he is not forgotten by the community he served.