The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 27, 2013

Cheers and jeers

Daily Item

---- — Cheers: To the Degenstein Foundation, and David and Kathaleen Persing, the executive director and administrative director of the Amateur Softball Association of Pennsylvania Hall of Fame, who worked to add 8,000 square feet to the 7-year-old Sunbury facility. The $450,000 addition, which opened Jan. 19, offers batting cages, pitching areas and strength-training machines. Kathaleen Persing said Lewisburg and Shamokin high schools want to use the facility for baseball training, and Shikellamy High and Susquehanna University, for softball practice.

Cheers: To the 20 volunteers who Monday served a meal to the public in Milton through a program called Community Harvest. Members of Americorps' C.O.R.E. Susquehanna cooked and served the food, while others helped to organize Community Harvest's pantry, the first step to becoming a Central Pennsylvania Food Bank member location, said Adryan Foresman, an Americorps service member working with the Bucknell University Office of Civic Engagement, which operates Community Harvest.

Jeers: To Bucknell University's former enrollment management leadership, which, over a seven-year period, inflated Scholastic Aptitude Test scores from incoming freshmen by an average of 16 points.

That group of former employees omitted SAT calculations of up to 47 students each year from 2006 to 2012, according to university President John C. Bravman. The university then provided erroneous figures to U.S. News & World Report, which used the calculations when compiling its 2013 best college rankings, in which Bucknell was ranked No. 32.

Cheers: To Danville borough and Geisinger Medical Center, which are considering vehicle fleets powered with natural gas, which would provide a 50 percent savings over using gasoline. The borough has reached out to Geisinger and the Danville School District to see whether they would like to collaborate on pursuing alternative energies.

Cheers: To the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way, whose focus -- on drug and alcohol addictions, poverty, early childhood, at-risk teens, diversity and transportation -- is intended to make a greater impact on the community. Stephen Mercaldo and his wife, Denise Bareiss, on Tuesday described to an audience of 100 how their daughters' drug and alcohol addictions have "torn what we thought was our family apart." "Our lives have been put on hold," Mercaldo said. Mercaldo and Bareiss, who spoke at the United Way's annual meeting, were providing a face to one of the United Way's six priorities, substance abuse and addiction. "We should be proactive," said Keri Albright, president and CEO of the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way. "I want the United Way to be a mechanism where you can methodically plot a course to success."