Cheers: The West Greene and Mount Pleasant softball teams won WPIAL championships last week. The Lady Pioneers defeated Union, 17-2, to win their fifth consecutive Class A title. The Lady Vikings beat Ellwood City, 15-0, for the Class AAA crown.

Cheers: All of the graduating seniors in Fayette, Greene and Washington counties overcame so much adversity to successfully finish this past school year. We particularly salute the seniors who dealt with great obstacles from the start of the 2020-21 school year through graduation, especially the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. We wish them all great success in their respective futures, and we hope to one day write about their many achievements, accomplishments and accolades in years to come. We sympathize with the students whose lives in and outside of school were greatly impacted by COVID, and we hope that the challenging year does not discourage them from following their future dreams. And, we stand up and applaud the teachers and administrations of the school districts in all three counties who worked diligently to provide their students an education while experiencing unprecedented challenges brought forth by the pandemic.

Cheers: Out Leadership, a national LGBTQ business network, has released its rankings of the states that have the best climate for LGBTQ business owners, and Pennsylvania finished 22nd out of the 50 states. Not spectacular, to be sure, but at least in the top half of states. Most of the top-ranking states were in the Northeast, with New York topping the lost. The factors that the organization looked at were health, safety, youth and family support, and whether the elected officials had put forward legislation protecting the rights of LGBTQ people. States that were considering or had approved laws marginalizing or discriminating against LGBTQ people were given lower scores. Pennsylvania has received a passing score, but let’s hope it does better next year.

Cheers: It’s estimated that about 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every year, enough to fill Heinz Field more than seven times over. There’s no cure, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a treatment this week that offers a sliver of hope to patients and their families. The drug aducanumab, manufactured by Biogen, is thought to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s by reducing the clumps of amyloid beta in the brain that are believed to be an indication of Alzheimer’s. This would allow those with Alzheimer’s to retain their cognitive function longer. The drug has its critics and the FDA has said it would withdraw approval if it’s shown to be ineffective. Nevertheless, Clay Jacobs, executive director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, told Greensburg’s Tribune-Review, “It’s not a cure, but it’s a significant advancement in the science.” And that’s something to be encouraged by.

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