Diamonds to an artistic bunch of sixth-graders at Lehman-Jackson Elementary School. Asked if they would add color and levity to Lehman Township’s snowplows, these art club students leapt in with both feet – and plenty of paint brushes. The result: plows sporting likenesses of pop culture icons such as Captain America’s shield, the Abominable Snowman and even Minions. Credit Alvin Cragle, township treasurer, for adopting the idea locally. Kudos also to members of the road department crew for being good sports. Some acrylic paints and inspiration have turned winter’s utilitarian objects into machines capable of compelling a second look – and a smile.
Coal to the off-again, on-again state budget negotiations in Harrisburg. Legislators, many of whom are at home for a long holiday weekend, haven’t yet been able to seal a deal, causing hardship for public school districts, social service agencies and county governments. When lawmakers finally do vote, expect them to ram through a budget before state residents have a chance to fully understand what’s in it, much less to respond.
Diamonds to King’s College sophomore Caroline Marie Jones. Online magazine “Her Campus” recently named the Dorrance Township native as one of its “22 Under 22 Most Inspiring College Women.” Beyond serving in many roles, including president of the college’s Oxfam America Social Justice Club, Jones, 19, penned and illustrated a children’s book titled “One More Book, Please!” We get the impression her own life story has many interesting chapters yet to be written.
Coal to distracted, drowsy and drugged drivers. Over the first half of this year, traffic deaths in the United States increased by 8 percent, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned this week. Its estimate of crash fatalities, released prior to the Thanksgiving holiday travel rush, shows a reversal in what had been a decade of generally improving safety statistics. Lower gas prices translate into more motorists on the road. However, officials also suspect the uptick in deadly incidents can be linked to texting while driving, drunken driving and inexperienced teen drivers.
Diamonds to Holy Redeemer High School swimming coach Mara Campbell Pawlenok. She plans to retire next month after nearly four decades poolside, imploring and inspiring girls to achieve their potentials. Pawlenok, who will continue to teach health and physical education at Redeemer, enjoyed remarkable success at three schools, including Abington Heights and Bishop Hoban. Her teams consistently won, claiming conference titles and occassionally producing state champions. Assistant girls swim coach Beth Mangan, of Redeemer, also has decided to call it quits. The duo collaborated through the years to fill many trophy cases; more important, however, they nurtured girls to become confident women.