Cheers & Jeers: Drummer, uniform

Cheers & Jeers: Drummer, uniform

CHEERS: To the Warm the Children program. Operated locally by the Carlisle Kiwanis Club, it raised more than $60,000, exceeding all expectations and breaking previous donation records, it was announced last week. We are happy to hear of the success of the program, which aids about 450 children with winter clothes, such as boots, coats and hats. Kmart sponsors the shopping, in which each family is given $80. We agree with Carlisle Kiwanis Club Secretary Helen Milliron: “We are indeed blessed.”

JEERS: To Col. Marcus Brown, Gov. Tom Wolf’s nominee for state police commissioner. Brown says he will wear a state police uniform and carry a gun, even though he didn’t graduate from Pennsylvania State Police Academy. We think that’s a bad decision. “I think it’s so important for the leadership in any one of these organizations to wear one of the strongest symbols of that organization,” said Brown, a Camp Hill native. He can be a strong leader just as well without wearing the uniform. If he didn’t earn it, he shouldn’t wear it. We urge him to reconsider if he is confirmed to the post.

CHEERS: To a Carlisle native who had a big day in the spotlight. Master Sgt. Tom Rarick, a professional drummer and percussionist for the Ceremonial Brass, U.S. Air Force Band, was part of the Super Bowl on Sunday. He was clearly seen on stage as one of 10 people behind Idina Menzel as she sang the National Anthem prior to the New England Patriots’ 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks. The tentacles of Carlisle and its rich military history certainly do stretch to some unusual places.

JEERS: To problems with the Pennsylvania Child Line. Mandatory reporters such as coaches, teachers or doctors who suspect child abuse are supposed to call 800-932-0313. The first three weeks of January saw nearly 7,000 more calls than the first three weeks of January 2014, according to the state Department of Human Services, which oversees ChildLine. That’s leading to dropped calls and long waits. As we stated in a previous editorial: More aggressive steps to fight child abuse in light of the Jerry Sandusky scandal have consequences for those who respond to complaints. We tend to agree with Carlisle attorney Jason Kutulakis, who was a member of Gov. Tom Corbett’s Task Force on Child Abuse that recommended many of the new laws: “They need more (people to answer phones),” Kutulakis said. “You need 20-25. Whatever the need is, we need to hire to make sure kids are safe.”

CHEERS: To two Cumberland County schools among the top 50 in the state with the highest average SAT scores. Camp Hill Senior High School ranked 22nd in the state with an average SAT score of 1660. A perfect score is 2400 with 800 in each of the three categories: reading, math and writing. Cumberland Valley High School was close behind at No. 27, with an average composite score of 1647. Kudos to those districts.

JEERS: To mistakes in an air quality presentation made to Harrisburg school officials. Siemens account executive Kevin Bowes presented a six-month, 600-page report during a public school board meeting last week in which he referenced that he “would not send his own kids into the classroom” because of a mold problem. Later, a Siemens executive said the representative “overstated” the issues in school buildings and that “mold is not an issue” except for a small area in the basement of a building. Bowes also said 10 of 11 schools had poor air quality and “detrimental conditions,” which apparently is not the case. Fortunately, the findings were immediately disputed and the record set straight, but why such erroneous statements were made at all is troubling.

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