Here are The News-Item's cheers and jeers for the past week of news. Happily, this week the cheers far outnumber the single jeer - not a bad thing this time of the year when we should all be counting our blessings.

- Cheers to the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities for its successful sponsorship of the fifth annual Downtown Christmas, a festive way indeed to usher in the holiday season. While we're at it, cheers to the Mount Carmel Lions Club for sponsorship of the annual Santa parade, those who are responsible for the beautiful community lighting display in Tharptown, and businesses (such as Brewser's Sports Grille) and volunteers at Shepherd's Table who made the Thanksgiving season a happier one for many residents.

- Jeers to the Northumberland County commissioners for their continuing inability to work together (or at least maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect) for the good of the taxpayers. Communication and cooperation, rather than name-calling, are the best ways to resolve county crises, the latest of which is the problem with administering a grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development and the possibility that the county may have to pay back $200,000 in state money.

- Cheers to the Lower Anthracite Model Railroad Club and the Clover Hose Company for their train displays. These displays delight people of all ages, and the holiday season around here wouldn't be the same without them.

- Cheers to Mount Carmel Borough Council for not raising taxes for next year. Council President Tony Matulewicz said no increase in the tax rates is expected for the 2013 budget. That's always good news for weary taxpayers.

- Cheers to Sam Bressi on his retirement after 58 years as a car salesman in the Shamokin-Coal Township area. No doubt he had many happy customers and made many, many friends over the past six decades.

- Cheers to Gov. Tom Corbett for suggesting that a state reduction in pension benefits should apply to lawmakers and judges, as well as teachers and state employees. That is the only fair way. The problem is, the reduction for judges could well result in a protracted court battle. It's time that common sense overcome greed.