Jeers: When Richard Bower Jr., the son of Fayette County District Attorney Richard Bower Sr., was in a wrong-way crash in August and DUI charges were filed, the elder Bower appointed a special prosecutor to handle the case. But after DUI charges were withdrawn against the younger Bower last week – despite Pennsylvania State Police saying that his blood-alcohol level was twice the state’s legal limit to drive – questions have emerged about whether the elder Bower should have appointed a special prosecutor at all, and instead should have called the state Attorney General’s office. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Shapiro believes the elder Bower should have referred the case to them, and a 1996 Superior Court decision seems to back that up. Bower Sr. has since acquiesced and sent a letter to the Attorney General requesting they take over prosecution of the case. The district attorney needs to thoroughly explain his actions, and Fayette County citizens need reassurance that everyone there will be treated equally before the law.
Cheers: Belle Vernon High School football team reached Heinz Field for the second time in three years to play for a WPIAL title. The Leopards defeated Thomas Jefferson in the Class 4A semifinals, 21-7, last Friday, thanks to two touchdown runs by quarterback Devin Whitlock and one by running back Quinton Martin. Belle Vernon’s defense keep the Jaguars off the scoreboard until the final seconds, when the game was in hand. The Leopards defeated TJ, the defending state champion, in the regular season as well, 28-21. It was sweet revenge for Belle Vernon from 2019 when it beat the Jaguars in the regular season but lost to them in the WPIAL final. The top-seeded and unbeaten Leopards will face No. 2 Aliquippa in this year’s district championship game on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Cheers: Greene County commissioners should be lauded after recently agreeing to a new parcel lease agreement with United Mine Workers of America Career Centers Inc. to ensure area residents recycling opportunities for the next five years at a much lower cost for taxpayers. Officials announced that the expiring 10-year lease of that parcel from the UMWACC has cost Greene County taxpayers nearly $400,000, while the new agreement will reduce the annual cost of the lease to $1 per year. We commend our local officials for not only continuing the county’s recycling program but also working diligently to reduce or eliminate expenses, especially as the county continues to deal with budgetary issues and concerns.
Jeers: An Associated Press article that appeared in the Herald-Standard Monday detailed how some Republicans are trying to defy vaccine mandates by arguing that if you have already been ill with COVID-19, you have natural immunity that renders a vaccine unnecessary. It’s an easily refuted argument. While it is acknowledged that becoming ill with COVID-19 does offer some natural immunity, the durability of that immunity varies depending on when an individual was infected and how sick they became. And even then, there’s no guarantee that it would protect against mutations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found those who had previously been infected were five times more likely to be infected again compared to fully vaccinated individuals who had never been infected at all. Given the easy availability, safety and effectiveness of vaccines, why would anyone want to roll the dice on natural immunity?