It's time for The News-Item's weekly allocation of "Cheers" and "Jeers."

- A big resounding cheer to the Southern Columbia Area School Board for giving the public the opportunity to meet and direct questions to the two finalists for district superintendent. All too often, school boards, to their everlasting discredit, maintain a veil of secrecy until they actually appoint a superintendent at a public meeting. Residents of the Southern district had the opportunity to see the next superintendent, whoever he turns out to be, up close and personal. Board members, for their part, can assess how well the two top candidates interact with the public; they should certainly take the finalists' performance into consideration in making their final choice.

- Jeers to attorney Greg Stuck whose insulting treatment of Vinny Clausi, both at Clausi's press conference Wednesday and then in a letter to the editor, shed a great deal of heat and absolutely no light on the ongoing troubles in the county administration. Stuck's question about whether Clausi can read and understand English does have some validity, of course, because it is vital that any officeholder be able to read, understand and assess any written documents related to the operation of government, but that is an issue that would have been better addressed, yet again, during the 2011 campaign, not in the midst of what has evolved into a blood feud between Clausi and Commissioner Rick Shoch. Since Stuck and Clausi are on opposite sides in a lawsuit involving the dismissal of sheriff's deputies, Stuck is hardly a disinterested party. In a week where it seemed like the walls of county government were burning down, credit Stuck with adding fuel to the raging fire.

- Jeers to those political pundits who declared the opening of the 2016 campaign the day after the 2012 campaign ended. The "perpetual campaign" mentality prevents officeholders from making decisions that best serve the American people. Granted, campaigns are a vibrant industry all their own, but it would be nice to have a break from political posturing, if only for a few months.

- Cheers to the Shamokin Rotary Club for its annual sponsorship of the Santa Sleigh. The sleigh, in its nightly visits throughout Shamokin, Coal Township and surrounding areas, delights people of all ages. When we see the lights on the Rotary sleigh, we think of the light that Rotarians, through their generosity and spirit, always shine on the communities they serve.

- Cheers to the clergy and lay people who have supported the efforts of LARC (a Lutheran-Anglican-Roman Catholic group) in promoting mutual understanding and friendship among people of all Christian denominations while working together to serve others. LARC's annual gift-giving service, held last weekend, truly captured the meaning of the Christmas season.