The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 25, 2012

Cheers and jeers


Daily Item

---- — Cheers: To Dr. William Yingling and all the other advocates for the Susquehanna River who refuse to allow the issue of the ailing condition of smallmouth bass on the river to fade away. Yingling said that one-quarter of the bass he caught in October showed signs of black pigmentation that the state has been unable to explain. A Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said that while the agency has not been able to pinpoint the source of the problem, it is not from a lack of effort. Environmental regulators have been scouring the data but remain baffled because the problems seem to be focused exclusively on bass and that the pigmentation has appeared in bass living in a variety of water environments.

Jeers: To the Department of Education, which tried to massage its data to make it appear that charter schools in the state are performing better. By describing charter schools as districts rather than schools, the state said more than half of charter schools made adequate yearly progress benchmarks. A letter from federal officials released Wednesday orders Pennsylvania to re-evaluate charter schools' AYP status using the old standards. As schools, not districts, only 37 percent of charter schools made AYP.

Cheers: To the U.S. marshals who proved, once again, that much like Canadian Mounties in days of yore, they always get their man. U.S. marshals tracked down parole absconder Scott Binsack in Bath, N.Y., after Binsack, of Shamokin, spent three weeks on the run posting taunting videos claiming, among other things, that he was hiding in Narnia, the fantasy land imagined by C.S. Lewis.

Cheers: To the local church groups who have made charitable efforts a holiday tradition for Thanksgiving. A number of Valley churches hosted community meals on Thanksgiving. Early last week, First Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg packed up 20,000 shoeboxes filled with toys, candy and hygiene products for needy people around the globe. Then on Wednesday night and Thanksgiving morning, 20 members of the youth group at Wesley United Methodist Church in Selinsgrove spent the night outside in a campsite of cardboard boxes along Routes 11-15 in Hummels Wharf to raise awareness about homelessness. The youths said they hoped to raise $6,000 to help those struggling without permanent homes.