Roses to Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Ashley Pike. He recently sentenced a Salem woman accused of cooking methamphetamines in a home with small children and elderly people living there to six years in prison. That will give the 25 year old time to mend her ways. It also removes another player in the active drug circle that has a choke hold on our entire area. She faced a mandatory term of at least four years but got more. She showed some repentance but forgiveness has its limits. Especially so when you are manufacturing drugs with two children, 3 and under, nearby. That’s pathetic. Nice role model. Not to mention the dangers for all around involved in cooking meth. Drug abusers are great persuaders with sheer BS when trying to cover their tracks, needle and otherwise. They can talk you into believing the sky is green and grass is blue. Judges hear it all the time. Actual prison sentencing needs to be used more to combat the drug freaks and not slaps on their hands. Get as many of them out of our community as possible. Best way to do it is stiff sentencing.

Roses to spring finally arriving, we think, this Thursday. Perhaps another good snow is in the offing but we made it through the wrath of one of the worst winters on record. Weather geeks will tell you to take faith though. Something called an El Nino is expected to develop this year. That means a much milder winter next year.

Thorns to some of the sights and sounds of spring we don’t care for. Like idiots with windows down driving around with gangsta (c)rap blaring out of their stereos at about 110 decibels. Granted, the choice in music is yours. But the volume down. Like motorcyclists enthusiasts – not all but some – who feel compelled to rev their machines, hitting about, well, 110 decibels, while sitting at traffic lights in the downtown. There is not a more abrasive sound to be heard than a motorcycle being cranked up enough to vibrate glass not to mention eardrums. Like people who walk their pets in the city parks and let them dump everywhere. Let them do it your own yard and not at areas where people walk and children play. Then there’s the litter that melting snow reveals. Take a walk around our city and see the sheer debris that was hidden by the snow. For example, all you really need to do is take a three-minute walk around the parking lot at the Second Street plaza. Disgusting.

Roses to an anonymous young man. While on the topic of litter, here’s something positive. As related to us by a reader, he collected 17 large trash bags of roadside debris around Cunningham and Franklin roads, which were picked up by Salem Township. Boy, his parents should be proud.

Thorns to idiots not heeding the signs clearly posted on North Lincoln Avenue at Second Street regarding the cross walk and no left turn. Would you be surprised at how many people do not stop for the students crossing the street to attend classes at the Kent State University City Center? Probably not. We’ve seen two, three and even four cars zip right through the crossing while someone stood wanting to cross. And even with the bitter cold, icy winter season those inconsiderate drivers didn’t give the “walkers” a second thought standing there in the elements waiting to cross the street. There are two signs warning drivers about the approaching crosswalk. But maybe that’s not enough. Must be blind as well as stupid.

Roses and thanks for the memories to Chief Wahoo. Cleveland Indian fans of all ages are familiar with the goofy but lovable buck-toothed, high-leg kickin’ mascot of the Tribe. The apparent victim of overboard political correctness is blatantly being phased out by team management. In its stead being used is a really bland, boring and non-unique block “C.” The marketing department outdone itself this time in earning its keep. Yawn.


Roses to Marie and Joseph Smaltz. This is another example of an act of kindness we like to pass along. While recently planning a surprise 50th birthday party for her husband, Marie decided she wanted to do something different. Knowing that Joe was a dog lover – his precious mixed breed “Sammy” had to be put down – she encouraged party guests to bring donations and dog toys instead of gift cards and the like. Collected was $370 along with a bunch of donated dog treats and toys. The money and items were given to Angels for Animals. What a great gesture by the couple from Berlin Center. Marie said the recent harsh mistreatment of animals like that of the exposed puppy mill that was operating in Deerfield prompted a chord to help dogs in need. Perhaps this will be a good lead for others to follow when planning their own surprise parties.

Roses for conscientious and proactive teachers. As reported Thursday, Sarah Burtnett, a fourth-grade teacher at Reilly Elementary School, brought in a group of freshmen engineering students from the University of Mount Union. A hands-on project involved robots and encouraged the youngsters to use their imaginations while having fun at the same time. We’ve heard complaints about different teachers who show up in the morning and engage the auto-pilot – going through rote motions, interspersed with yawns, while students sit there listless, bored and unmotivated. Let’s be frank too. Most of us can provide examples of unfulfilled teaching. On the flip side, there are many wonderful teachers in Salem and across our readership community who are into aggressive teaching: working with students through interactive means that require imagination and creativity. Sarah Burtnett is such a teacher.

Thorns to another suspected meth lab uncovered in Salem. For those keeping score at home, that’s six in a year. Now think of the meth being cooked that the cops don’t know about. “We plan on knocking down a lot of doors,” said Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott who has led a vigorous campaign since taking office. Roses to the ongoing efforts of all area police, the sheriff’s office personnel and the Columbiana County Drug Task Force. It must seem like an uphill battle, and, frankly it is. But keep pushing. Let’s hope one of those idiot meth cooks doesn’t blow up part of a neighborhood.

Roses for the start of spring training. Roses for big league ballplayers who still run out ground balls to first base. Even in spring training. Like Derek Jeter, who represents all that is good about baseball as he enters the final season of a Hall of Fame career. Even devout Yankee haters can appreciate a class act like Jeter. Roses for Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers being named All Star game MVP. Too bad – think LeBron’s departure – that he will someday be an ex-Cavalier.

Roses to Amy Scullion. The Salem High School grad is concluding her career as a red-shirt junior guard on The Ohio State University women’s basketball team. Because she was sidelined with a serious knee injury as a freshman, she would have a year of eligibility remaining. She is forsaking that for medical school and we hear she has been accepted into OSU’s med school. During her time at Salem High, she proved to be one of the finest athletes in Quaker history and without challenge the top SHS female. Ever. She has always carried herself well and Salem residents should be proud of that. She comes from a bright and supportive family. We wish her the best of good fortunes with her advanced studies and life.