Drug busts take top billing

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Stories involving drug busts are always among the most read in The News-Item and at newsitem.com, so the order of "most read" stories as of mid-day Friday at our website was not surprising. It included "12 nabbed in international heroin, coke bust;" "Charges filed in international bust include possession and criminal conspiracy" (a sidebar to the main story); and "Coal Township man charged on drug, gun charges," also published Friday but unrelated to the "international" bust.

Readership is always a concern in our world, but we certainly would rather have fewer of these stories on which to report. Local residents weren't oblivious to the problem, but the international connection to Thursday's arrest did raise some eyebrows - and the level of concern.

Cute, but ...

The photo at the top of Thursday's front page of two raccoons clinging to the top of a utility pole generated a lot of comments. These wayward creatures certainly were cute, and the fact that they got down without injury and without any harm to potential rescuers made this a win-win. As alluded to in Dave Tamkus' cartoon published Friday, however, the bad news is that these raccoons are likely among those living in abandoned buildings in this Shamokin neighborhood. The story, therefore, could have been even better had they been safely trapped and transported to the wild.

Chimes go silent

Our story from Wednesday's edition about the removal of the chime tower at St. John's UCC in Shamokin resonated with many who will miss the beautiful music it once broadcast across the city. The News-Item was within earshot of the large chimes, and we, too, will miss their reassuring sound.

Voter turnout

The poll placed daily at newsitem.com typically generates about 100 responses, depending, it seems, on the level of controversy in the question asked.

Thursday's poll certainly skewed that average, with 494 replies to, "Do you agree with MCA teachers who picketed this week?" Eighty-two percent agreed, suggesting a concerted effort to vote among those who support the teachers. As our disclaimer says, the poll is merely for entertainment purposes, so no harm done.

Of course, we welcome your participation in the poll, which is updated each evening and the results published in the next day's print edition. Vote at newsitem.com.

(Andy Heintzelman, editor of The News-Item, writes "The Week In News" for each Saturday edition.)

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