CHEERS: To the pen pal program between Carlisle High School students and senior citizens from the Salvation Army Senior Action Center. Theresa Dixon, a certified family consumer science teacher at Carlisle High School, and Stephanie Tichenor, director of the Salvation Army Senior Action Center, helped drive the project. Twenty students in Dixon’s class were matched with 20 seniors from the center. It helps show young people that seniors have fulfilling lives, while seniors can learn that there are many good young people in the community.
JEERS: To measles cases. The Pennsylvania Department of Health warned residents last week of a possible measles exposure in Cumberland and Franklin counties. Those who have been vaccinated for measles are immune to the disease. There is no scientific evidence that vaccinations cause autism. There is no reason to avoid being vaccinated. The Pennsylvania Department of Health even offered free measles, mumps and rubella vaccines to individuals in Cumberland and Franklin counties over the weekend. It’s a shame we even have to talk about measles cases, because they can be prevented.
CHEERS: To the Morton family of Lower Allen Township. They recently won the $10,000 prize of the night as finalists on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” The family received a trip to Hollywood to boot. As winners, they now get another trip to Hollywood and a chance at the $100,000 grand prize. The $10,000 will help the Mortons build a pool that the two young daughters want, since they were the ones who were in the winning video. Brielle, age 3 in the video recorded in August, was helping her sister, Maura Morton, 8, with studying and naming the ships of Christopher Columbus. Although she initially got two of the ships right, she then insisted on “diarrhea” being the name of one of the ships. Have fun swimming!
JEERS: To cross-burners. Ashley Brooks of Elizabethville, in northern Dauphin County, had to deal with the racially charged symbol last week. State police are treating the incident as an act of ethnic intimidation. There aren’t any good explanations for such a horrific incident. Even if it turns out to be a prank more than a racially motivated act, this is a serious matter.
CHEERS: To the case against Eric Frein moving forward. The 31-year-old who spent more than a month on the run after authorities say he killed one Pennsylvania State Police trooper and wounded another in a late-night ambush pleaded not guilty Thursday. Prosecutors say they aren’t considering a plea bargain, and that the death penalty is “important in this case.” If ever there is a case in which the death penalty is warranted, it’s this one.
JEERS: To unfounded snow fears. We realize that forecasting the weather isn’t always going to be exact. However, large sections of Pennsylvania and the Northeast were preparing for the “white death” last week, and it never arrived. National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini told reporters in a conference call that the weather service needs to do a better job addressing uncertainty. He blamed the way meteorologists communicated. Whatever it was, it resulted in a lot of people being overly worried for no good reason.