Holiday cheer needed

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It's the holiday season, and that makes it even more difficult to cope with some of the depressing and disgusting breaking news we've had lately.

Our week began Sunday with coverage of young Shamokin fire victim Melissa Pangburn's funeral and ends today with reports from the preliminary hearings for Elyett and Miranda Barbour, the couple accused of homicide in Sunbury. The list of emotions tied to these two tragedies is a long one.

Fortunately, we've also had opportunity to present coverage of local holiday traditions - and some new expressions of goodwill and compassion - for which the coal region is so well known.

A highlight among them this year relates, in fact, to the deadly Shamokin fire, which occurred Tuesday, Dec. 10. Eight days later, we covered the touching gesture by employees of Superior Plus Energy Co. to present the products needed for a family Christmas dinner to Mary Krzykwa, who lost her home of 60 years in the fire. Krzykwa is a longtime customer of Superior, formerly Montour Oil, and workers decided she should be the recipient of one of three meals they chipped in to buy as part of an annual effort to "give back." We appreciated the opportunity to tag along as they made their "special delivery," as our headline read in Thursday's edition.

While we're on the subject of the fire, on behalf of The News-Item staff we extend our best to Mike and Joan Muskey, who also lost their home in the fire. The Muskeys, coordinators of the three Coal Cracker gatherings each year, have become good friends of the paper. Staying clear of any spotlight, they humbly and unselfishly go about organizing the lunches out of the simple desire to keep old friends and neighbors connected. We're certain their Coal Crackers family is remembering the Muskeys with thoughts and deeds in this holiday season.

"What is ... Hyno?"

While an early season injury to Henry Hynoski has kept the Southern Columbia alumnus and NFL fullback out of the headlines this football season, he did earn a unique distinction this week.

Hynoski tweeted on Thursday a picture of a TV screen showing an answer block from "Jeopardy." In seeking the answer "medial," it said, "In 2013, Giants FB Henry Hynoski, 'the Hynoceros,' injured his MCL, this collateral ligament, in his knee."

Hynoski said, "Well it wasn't the greatest answer, but still pretty awesome, if I was only watching."

We hope to all be watching Hyno back on the field next year, and reporting about his career in The News-Item.

(In a future "Week In News," we'll discuss the role of social media in big-time court cases, such as Friday's hearings for the Barbours.)

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

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