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BREAKING NEWS

Editorials

The Comey firing: Clumsy timing aside, it had to happen

It came as no surprise that after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, all sorts of theories about nefarious intent began making the rounds. Perhaps the most ridiculous is that Trump hoped to derail an FBI investigation into allegations people close to him — ...

Don’t be fooled; Voting has never been more vital

Democracy does not get more direct and precious than this Tuesday. To begin with, there's an election. And you should always vote, given the sacrifices that are at the root of our right to cast a ballot. But Tuesday's Primary Election represents the most local of elections. The offices up ...

VA housecleaning: The sooner, the better

It is a measure of how bad things are at the Department of Veterans Affairs that President Donald Trump is ordering creation of a special office to protect whistleblowers and find out why VA Secretary David Shulkin cannot just fire employees who are incompetent and/or dishonest. Trump signed ...

Eliminating school property tax comes with risky formula

For most people who own real estate in the region, the school property tax is the largest single bill they pay every year. So it is no surprise that elimination of that tax often comes up in state Legislature discussions, and there are several property tax-related bills in the House and ...

Tax hike not first answer to state budget shortfall

Seven weeks before the state budget deadline, Pennsylvania’s ledger sheet gets scarier looking by the day. The state Department of Revenue is reporting a budget shortfall of $1 billion through the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. That’s a 4-percent shortfall, the largest in a ...

Transparency with hotel tax revenues key to bureau trust

The Lycoming County Commissioners’ 2-1 vote last week to hike the local hotel tax from 3 to 5 percent drew understandable boos and jeers. Lost in the political backlash are some important realities. A 2016 state amendment to the county code gave the commissioners the opportunity to raise ...

Signs of comeback by natural gas industry welcome

When the natural gas industry was booming in Pennsylvania in 2010 and 2011, there were 111 gas rigs active in the state. In the fall of 2016, in the midst of an industry slump in Pennsylvania, there were just 13 active rigs. But the industry has started to come back in the state and, very ...

Senate holds key to better health care insurance

Think of the House vote last week for The American Health Care Act as Step One of the nation’s health care reform. Even as lawmakers representing our region helped push the repeal and replacement of Obamacare through the House by a 217-213 vote, questions about the bill’s details and ...

Downtown traffic pattern changes: Debate welcomed

Given the debate about traffic patterns in downtown Williamsport, the best answers may come via a traffic-impact study that is upcoming to determine the effects of changing traffic patterns downtown. But this much already is certain. The commercial business district of Williamsport is divided ...

Thwarting threats to the nation requires relentless attention

Former CIA and National Security Agency head Gen. Michael Hayden’s presentation last week in Steubenville, Ohio, may have been a sobering one for some of those in attendance. It was quite an education in threats facing both our security as a nation and our safety as individual ...

City engineer has been threading the needle for 35 years

A city engineer, given the nature of the job, is going to get all the complaints and none of the glory. For that reason, stoic John Grado was probably perfectly suited for 35 years of involvement in the city of Williamsport’s infrastructure. He has been a city engineer, a streets and ...

Awareness, action key to ending local child abuse cycle

Through late April, Children and Youth Services of Lycoming County received 180 child abuse reports. That is not a misprint. Of the reports, 18 have been verified as legitimate. The agency and Susquehanna Valley Court Appointed Special Advocates held ceremonies recently to raise awareness ...

Montoursville board makes correct call on old portion of school

One of the hardest things local school boards have to do is separate sentiment from practicality. That difficult decision often comes down to school buildings. The Montoursville Area School Board has been wrestling with just such a difficult decision for several years regarding the 1931 ...

War against heroin epidemic shifts to legislative front

The region and state’s heroin epidemic is being fought on many fronts. More and more, that includes a battery of state legislation geared toward arresting the impact of prescription opioids. That’s with good reason, as prescription opioids are the root cause for 80 percent of all heroin ...

Spend the money on clean-coal research to modernize the industry

It has been pointed out that many of the miners who lost jobs because of former President Barack Obama’s war on coal and affordable electricity will never go back to digging coal, regardless of how energetic new President Donald Trump is in reversing the assault. That is true enough. For ...

Given tourism’s value, hike in hotel tax logical

We are told by local officials representing a variety of diverse interests that tourism is a strength of our region with great economic value and potential. If that’s the case, then the Lycoming County Commissioners should approve an increase in the hotel tax from 3 percent to 5 ...

The VA’s questionable pace on suicide hotline is the latest shortcoming

Depression among military veterans too often leads to them commiting suicide, in numbers some view as a crisis. Apparently the Department of Veterans Affairs does not consider dealing with it a priority. A few weeks ago, the VA inspector general released a report highly critical of the ...

Commissioners bring sober budget view to local officials

Some would call it distressing. We would call it realistic. The Lycoming County Commissioners laid out the short- and long-term fiscal outlook for the Lycoming/Sullivan Counties Boroughs Association last week. It was not a pretty picture – a $9 million budget deficit, looming expenses of ...

Repasz Band’s state historical marker designation overdue

The Repasz Band, a Williamsport staple since 1831, is getting a state historical marker this year. The designation is one of only 18 in Pennsylvania this year and we can’t imagine any of them are more worthy. The band was one of this year’s survivors in an intense competition for the ...

Reentry Services Center rebidding can pay dividends

The Lycoming County Reentry Services Center, designed to rehabilitate people while reducing the county prison population, has had an interesting existence since opening in the summer of 2014. Backers believe the managers of the reentry center have been a key proponent to a successful prison ...