---- — Cheers: To Marley Kinsey, who penned a winning essay about a stroll through Northumberland with Dr. Joseph Priestley.
In the essay, she writes of nodding off for a nap while looking at a print of the Joseph Priestley House. When she "wakes up," she is standing at the entrance of the house. When she goes inside, she sees, to her surprise, Joseph Priestley standing there.
The Middletown teen won $100, a plaque, a family membership to the museum, Hershey's chocolate and two HersheyPark tickets in the Hershey Story's History Contest.
Her literary efforts are a tangible lesson for the rest of us. Local history has a unique power to ignite young imaginations and keep them involved in local historic preservation. There can be no finer bridge between the past and the future.
Jeers: To those who think an actual rifle is an appropriate gift for a 4-year-old. That thinking -- or, more accurately, succumbing to marketing -- led to the death of a 2-year-old girl in Kentucky last week. The shooter, her 5-year-old brother, had received the weapon as a gift last year. A grasp of what a gun can do is beyond the brainpower of most children who have just learned to walk. It's heartbreaking to imagine how one little boy in Kentucky is going to remember his sister for the rest of his life. All because an adult wanted him to have his first rifle.
Cheers: To Montour County residents who want to see a 226-acre wetland area in Mayberry Township preserved. The residents are understandably on edge with the pending June 1 auction of the land. No one wants to deny a future owner the right to profit from the acquisition, but profit can take a number of forms, especially in a region that is just starting to hit its stride when it comes to recreational tourism.
Jeers: To those who don't show up May 23 when the public gets a chance to weigh in on a proposed extension of the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail. The existing rail trail had more than its share of birth pangs as critics feared everything from litter problems to crime. Making a project like this work will take lots of serious and creative planning. In the end, Lewisburg could be well on the way to being one of the few communities in Pennsylvania to have a rail trail running through the town.
Cheers: To all our Valley Relay for Life organizers and participants. Every year we read more about volunteers, many of whom have first-hand understanding of cancer's devastation, working to make the regional Relays so successful. While the subject is serious, the Relays themselves continue to pump plenty of "fun" into fundraising. This speaks highly of contributors -- seldom the "deep pockets" types -- who rack up impressive numbers despite an anemic economy.
Cheers: To Michael Hobbins, of New Berlin, for his willingness to talk about life without sight. Hobbins was blinded in a hunting accident three years ago. Recently, he spent time at SUN Technical Institute, explaining to health care professions students about life in the dark. The result, we hope will be more empathy in hospitals and doctors' offices.
Cheers: To Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley and his wife, Kristy, for helping their neighbors during a two-alarm fire Friday in Coal Township. The fire was just a few doors down from Kelleys' residence and funeral home. Assisting Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Malukas, James Kelley pounded on doors and got neighbors out of their adjacent homes and took them to his, while Kristy Kelley gave them water, cool towels, clean clothes and comfort. Families were able to connect with their loved ones at the Kelley home, away from the fire's danger.