Cheers to park project; jeers to overreaction in science lab incident
The News-Item's cheers and jeers from the past week of news:
- Cheers to those behind plans for a handicap-accessible community garden proposed for Claude Kehler Community Park in Shamokin, which could be completed in September. The Degenstein Foundation has pledged $20,000 for the project and the city will use $25,000 in reallocated Community Development Block Grant funds to fund the rest. The project was proposed in March by members of the Self Advocates for Northumberland County, and the idea is to provide a site where people with and without disabilities can interact together and produce fruits and vegetables to be shared at no cost. Of the many projects large and small planned or under way in the city, this one seems certain to be a "win-win."
- Jeers to the school and police officials in Bartow, Fla., who had felony charges leveled against a 16-year-old girl who mixed together some toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil in a high school science lab. The reaction caused a firecracker-like pop, blowing the top off the container and creating some smoke. There were no injuries and no damage. She was acting out of curiosity rather than malice, and a friend said she was working on a science fair project. But the school expelled the girl and she's been charged with possession and discharge of a weapon on school grounds and with discharging a destructive device. Such overkill won't deter any terrorist - and would she have even been charged had it not been for the recent Boston bombings? Punishment may indeed have been warranted, but felonies and an expulsion?
- Cheers to the effort by those at Leck Kill Elementary to carry the school's decades-old May Day tradition to a fitting conclusion on Thursday despite the bittersweet notion that it will be the final one. Line Mountain School District's elementary schools are headed toward a merger for the next school year, but no doubt children and staff at Leck Kill won't soon forget the value of a true community school and the traditions it nurtured for years on end.
- Finally, jeers to the woman who, presumed dead for 11 years, turned herself into Florida police on April 26. Brenda Heist disappeared without a trace after dropping off her children in Lititz back in 2002, and she was later declared legally dead. Imagine the pain and now shock that her family is enduring. Suffice it to say that, as Mother's Day approaches, she shouldn't expect any cards or gifts.