The News-Item's cheers and jeers from the past week of news:

- Cheers to the local state government delegation - Sen. John Gordner, R-27, Reps. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108, and Kurt Masser, R-107, among others - for helping convince the governor to target $558 million toward the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway (CSVT) project. Funding for the much needed local highway project, which will alleviate congestion that is wasting time, fuel and money and is jeopardizing business success and public safety, represents the largest chunk the state will spend from a $1.8 billion "Decade of Investment" program. As such, it also represents an important political moment for the local Republican lawmakers who helped make it happen.

- Cheers to the news that the Shamokin Creek Flood Control project will finally get under way this week. For folks who live near the creek channel in Mount Carmel, this news is almost as long in coming as the CSVT, and just as welcomed. We can only hope that the work will get done ahead of the next flood and spare those homeowners from further cost, frustration and risk to life and property.

- Jeers to the three accused local dealers, recently indicted, who are tied to the Almighty Renegade Gangsta Bloods. As Todd Owens, Mount Carmel police chief and a member of the Northumberland-Montour Drug Task Force, told us, it's a matter of money: Gangs sell drugs locally because the demand exists and the markup is significant, $5 or $6 in New York City for a bag of heroin that sells here for as much as $25 or $30. We can help police by educating our youth as to the wider impact of illegal drug use beyond its obvious health risks. Supporting the sale of illegal drugs and gang activity is also tantamount to terrorism, and it continues to inflict notable suffering on our communities.

- And before Easter is a memory for 2013, cheers to those involved in two of the most unique Easter traditions in this region and beyond: the annual Service at the Cross in Paxinos and the Trek of the Cross in Gordon. In an era where participation in religious activities takes a back seat to many other choices, and where religion is too often couched in politics, it's a pleasure to see these events survive, thanks to the dedication of volunteers. These folks are acting, not only on behalf of religion, but for the greater community good, and as much-needed role models for our youth.