Local stories that inspire

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We published our annual Top 10 local news stories of the year in Monday and Tuesday's editions. As is often the case, they mostly involved breaking news, shocking events or ongoing controversies that impact our readership in some way. Moreover, nine out of 10 this year had, at least partly, a "negative" slant.

There are plenty of other stories, of course, that stick with us over a year's time that are more positive. Here's a few on my list.

- This one starts with a negative, too: The Flood of 2011. But what a pleasure it was to report one year later, in September 2012, the story of Russ Moroz, the Kulpmont man who turned the devastation of the flood into a new construction business.

- Eighty-one people participated in the local Tunnel to Towers Race on Sept. 8, with Denis Driscoll Jr., of Staten Island, New York City Fire Department Ladder 108, serving as grand marshal. A friend of the family of Stephen Siller, whose 9/11 heroism led to the creation of New York City's Tunnel to Towers Run, showed his gratitude for what Shamokin area firefighters have done in supporting the New York event by coming to the local race. "It is important for me to see outside of New York city fellow Americans honor that fateful day when thousands of lives were taken from us," he told us while cheering runners near the finish line. "Every footstep counts."

- Readers couldn't help but smile when they read the story of jovial Mount Carmel barber Roy Edmonds selling his business after 51 years to his apprentice, Jess Hadfield, - for $1. A lifetime of appreciation was summed up in this quote, "The town has given me a good life, and I want to do the same for Jess." Of course, Edmonds, known for his humor as well as his generosity, added about his continued work in retirement, "I work for him now ... under duress."

- Last year was one of renewed focus on the fight against blight, and the formation of a countywide task force is among the year's most important developments in that regard. But at the top of the list for inspiring tales related to removing blighted properties is that of Ranshaw's Robert Wagner, who, as we reported on Oct. 7, made his community pride and concern for safety quite clear through his own pocketbook by tearing down an abandoned, dilapidated, four-story apartment building next door.

"I decided enough was enough," Wagner told us at the time. Added a neighbor, "I'm proud of him; he takes pride in the community."

- Finally, and on a related topic, we can all be inspired by the efforts of Rosiland Kane. The 9-year-old, tired of seeing garbage on the streets of Shamokin and Coal Township, organized several cleanups in which she was joined by enthusiastic neighbors.

"She's one little person, and she has so many big ideas," said her mother, Marla. "She says if you can get everyone together, you can change things."

We agree with Rosiland, and hope her attitude is contagious in 2013.

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

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