The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 15, 2013

Cheers and jeers

Daily Item

---- — CHEERS: To three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart, who decided to compete April 6 in the 358/360 Challenge on the half-mile dirt track of Selinsgrove Speedway.

About 2,000 fans watched Stewart break the speedway's nearly two-year-old track record in the 360 Sprint Car division for a victory. Selinsgrove Speedway promoter Charlie Paige had less than a day's notice that Stewart was coming and had to scramble to get the word out. Stewart followed his Selinsgrove appearance by racing Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, where he placed 17th.

Longtime Selinsgrove Speedway fan Gary Fry, of Selinsgrove, summed up Stewart's visit to the Valley this way: "He definitely knows his way around a dirt track. It is very cool that he is here -- he knows where his roots are. This is very good for our area to be visited by a driver like Tony."

JEERS: To the Corbett administration for stiffing the Mifflinburg Area School District and 159 other districts on promised construction reimbursements.

For three years, the state has failed to pay the Mifflinburg district about $900,000 for its high school building project, business manager Thomas Caruso told the school board last week. "We're a small school district," Caruso said. "That's big money for us. The state is breaking its end of the deal."

Caruso said this is the first administration he can recall having a payment problem. "The state claims they'll only fund reimbursements when they have the money," he said. "We still have to make our bond payments."

CHEERS: To Knoebels Amusement Resort, which grows bigger and better with each passing season. The park's latest addition is the Stratos-Fear, a 148-foot-tall tower that carries a dozen people to the top, then gives them a hair-raising ride to the ground. If that wasn't enough, park officials are optimistic that the long-anticipated Flying Turns, a trackless roller coaster, will be ready this season. We hope so, but even if it's not, there's always fun at Knoebels. The park opens April 27.

CHEERS: To the Midd-West School District, which is spending $220,000 to provide about 800 students in grades 8-12 with laptop computers during the next school year. District officials note that about 20 percent of students don't have access to computers at home and say this will level the academic playing field for them. School officials think the program will raise achievement scores and boost computer skills. If they are right, and we think they are, the program will be well worth its price.