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Our letters policy

We encourage letters to the editor. Due to their timely nature, they should be submitted electronically, though letters submitted by surface mail are accepted. The writer must include his or her address and phone number for verification. We do not accept open or third-party letters. Letters are subject to editing for length, clarity, grammar and taste, and ideally should be no more than 400 words. We generally do not publish more than one letter from a single person within a two-week period. To submit a letter, click below or send letters to Editorial Page Editor, Observer-Reporter, 122 S. Main St., Washington, PA 15301.

Late last year, the California Board of Parole caused a stir when it recommended that Sirhan Sirhan, the 77-year-old assassin of U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, be eligible for parole. This raised quite a few eyebrows, considering Sirhan’s notoriety and the cold-blooded nature of his crime. The fi…

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More than half of Americans have received at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the unvaccinated portion of the population is driving the staggering increase in hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus in recent days. You would think the promise of avoiding death or serious i…

One quarter of the 21st century will be over in just three years, but old-fashioned demagoguery never seems to fall out of fashion. For an example, look to Republican gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta. His campaign has sent out press releases warning about planeloads of “illegal immigrant…

As we mark the first anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, those who are in touch with reality – those who believe what they saw with their own eyes – recognize that we came close to losing our democracy and much more on that day as a band of incensed, enraged Donald Trump supporters egged on by their man savaged and desecrated our Capitol, engaged in violence against hapless and understaffed law enforcement officers, sought to murder members of Congress and their own party's vice president, and brought about the deaths of many people, including one of their own and four police officers who died by suicide in the days following the attack.

Finding empathy has been on my mind this holiday season. I often recall one of my favorite quotes from Atticus in “To Kill a Mockingbird”: “First of all, if you learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you …

Washington & Jefferson College made history 100 years ago this weekend when its football team went to the Rose Bowl. It capped off a season that saw the Presidents go undefeated. The team went into the game against the University of California Golden Bears as decided underdogs, but held …

Rising costs and declining enrollments, as well as the pandemic-accelerated rise of online learning, have created concerns about the future of traditional higher education. The number of students in college in the U.S. peaked in 2010, and the Pennsylvania state college system recently announ…

Peace on Earth and goodwill to men seem to be in painfully short supply right now, with anxieties about COVID-19 still pervasive, rising prices draining pocketbooks, American democracy under attack and plentiful uncertainty about the future. If there is a glimmer of hope to this year’s Chris…

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The last two pandemic-dominated years have shown that having a reliable and speedy internet connection in today’s economy is a necessity and not merely a luxury. Yet many communities in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have been sidelined because they don’t have high-speed internet access. Weeks b…

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The parents of Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley were charged with involuntary manslaughter last week for their alleged culpability in the rampage that left four students dead and seven others wounded at Oxford High School, located north of Detroit. Parents are charged infrequently afte…

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