The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 15, 2013

Cheers and Jeers


Daily Item

---- — Cheers: To the Bucknell University men's basketball team. A heart-stopping 64-56 victory against Lafayette in the Patriot League Championship before a sellout crowd of 3,500-plus at Sojka Pavilion on Wednesday night earned Bucknell an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament -- the so-called Big Dance -- which begins this week.

The Bison are 28-5 and their 28 wins set two single-season records -- most ever by a Bucknell team and most ever by a Patriot League squad in the 23-year history of the conference.

Valley fans -- and students who chose to stay on campus during break -- dressed in a virtual sea of orange shirts, sweat shirts and face paint, upholding the tradition of the Sojka Psychos.

Jeers: To Brandi Lynn Baumgardner, 39, the Beaver Springs mother who hooked her young daughter on drugs at the tender age of 12. Here is hoping her up to four years in prison is time enough to turn around a life that now carries memories and regrets weighing more than most people could stand.

Cheers: To the 17-year-old daughter of Brandi Lynn Baumgardner for admitting to counselors at Clear Vision in June 2011 that she began smoking marijuana with her mother when she was 12 and her drug abuse escalated, with her mother injecting her with narcotics about 200 times. It can't be easy for a child to speak up about illegal drug use in the home.

Cheers: To Michael Krancer, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, who vowed he would "eat anything that comes out of the river with anyone who would eat with me." The official maintains that a 98-mile stretch of the Susquehanna River, including the West Branch, cannot be declared impaired without proper testing. Agree with him or not, it was a gutsy stance. Here's hoping a local angler will take him up on it. Maybe toss in a baked potato and side of cole slaw.

Cheers: To League of Women Voters president Janice Bigelow, who invited Krancer to the forum to discuss the river, then refused to let the speaker hijack the evening's agenda when he began talking about the state budget.

Jeers: To the state's unwieldy standards for what constitutes child abuse. Seven times since 2008 children's deaths have not been considered abuse because someone was arrested for the slayings. It gets worse: Pennsylvania's definition of child abuse is so limiting that the crimes of Jerry Sandusky at Penn State were not considered child abuse. Let that sink in a moment. Disturbed?