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 We generally do not publish more than one letter from a single person within a two-week period.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.

Signs have started to crop up around Washington County urging voters to reject “home rule” in next month’s general election. The only problem, though, is that voters are not being asked whether the county should adopt a home rule charter like the one in place in Allegheny County. Instead, th…

We noted a couple of weeks ago that school board meetings in this region and around the country have been turned into culture-war battlefields, as some parents and community members rail against mask mandates, critical race theory or rules surrounding transgender athletes. While free speech …

Sometimes we all just want to cut loose a little bit on the weekend, and that’s apparently what Kodiak, a Steller’s sea eagle, did last Saturday at the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. Aviary officials said Kodiak’s habitat had been “recently compromised,” allowing the 15-year re…

A challenge encouraging students to vandalize school property has gone viral on the TikTok social media platform, and some kids in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties are participating. The trend involves students vandalizing or destroying school property, most often in bathrooms, and th…

Alberto Vilar, a 1962 graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, was from all indications a man not wanting for ego or ambition. A financier and classical music enthusiast whose bank account inflated on the strength of the tech bubble 20 years ago, he made extravagant financial pledges …

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When Bentleyville resident Karen Tyler died last year at age 71, she was not widely hailed as a pathbreaking pioneer, but it turns out she was. When Tyler was in her mid-20s, she took on “a man’s job in a man’s world” by becoming Pennsylvania’s first female coal miner. She started working at…

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It’s hard to fathom after all the suffering and death many have seen as a result of COVID-19, but about 12% of nurses in the United States say they have not yet been vaccinated and don’t plan on getting their jabs. So far, only about 1 in 3 hospitals are mandating vaccines for their employee…

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For years, college costs have been rising about 7% per year, far outpacing inflation. To put this in perspective, the average cost of attending a four-year university or college has gone up by about 500% since 1985. Anything that can be done to lower the price tag of attending college is hel…

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We noted a couple of weeks ago that school board meetings in this region and around the country have been turned into culture-war battlefields, as some parents and community members rail against mask mandates, critical race theory or rules surrounding transgender athletes. While free speech …

Sometimes we all just want to cut loose a little bit on the weekend, and that’s apparently what Kodiak, a Steller’s sea eagle, did last Saturday at the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Shore. Aviary officials said Kodiak’s habitat had been “recently compromised,” allowing the 15-year re…

A challenge encouraging students to vandalize school property has gone viral on the TikTok social media platform, and some kids in Washington, Greene and Fayette counties are participating. The trend involves students vandalizing or destroying school property, most often in bathrooms, and th…

Alberto Vilar, a 1962 graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, was from all indications a man not wanting for ego or ambition. A financier and classical music enthusiast whose bank account inflated on the strength of the tech bubble 20 years ago, he made extravagant financial pledges …

  • Updated

When Bentleyville resident Karen Tyler died last year at age 71, she was not widely hailed as a pathbreaking pioneer, but it turns out she was. When Tyler was in her mid-20s, she took on “a man’s job in a man’s world” by becoming Pennsylvania’s first female coal miner. She started working at…

  • Updated

It’s hard to fathom after all the suffering and death many have seen as a result of COVID-19, but about 12% of nurses in the United States say they have not yet been vaccinated and don’t plan on getting their jabs. So far, only about 1 in 3 hospitals are mandating vaccines for their employee…

  • Updated

For years, college costs have been rising about 7% per year, far outpacing inflation. To put this in perspective, the average cost of attending a four-year university or college has gone up by about 500% since 1985. Anything that can be done to lower the price tag of attending college is hel…

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Volunteers from Fayette Outreach in Fayette County stood at Five Corners in Uniontown last Saturday, handing out candy, cards and other small gifts to passing motorists. The occasion? Kindness Day. The group’s been celebrating it for four years, showing random people that even a small gestur…

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A future of heat waves, wildfires and floods is pretty much baked in, according to a report released Monday by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The planet has warmed up by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century or so, and is likely to creep up another …

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It was perhaps inevitable that there would be setbacks in the battle to get COVID-19 under control, and one of those setbacks came this week when it was declared that there was substantial spread of the coronavirus in Washington County. As of Tuesday, there were 115 new COVID-19 cases in the…

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When the new name of Cleveland’s baseball team was unveiled last week, it didn’t receive universally positive reviews. A Cleveland sportswriter called the new name, the Guardians, “safe and rather boring,” while a Wall Street Journal columnist opined that “it’s a name that would look good on…

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A study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh and released earlier this week has found marijuana is almost certainly not a “gateway drug” and legalizing it could help stem opioid addiction. It looked at 2017 data from four states that legalized marijuana for recreational use, and found t…

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Officials in Monongahela have been draining water out of their fire and police departments in recent days, thanks to relentless downpours and a crushed, century-old drain. Those officials can at least take comfort in the knowledge that they are not alone when it comes to wrestling with aging…

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For the last several years, state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, has championed legislation that would include motorcycles under Pennsylvania’s lemon law. Right now, the 366,000 motorcycles registered in Pennsylvania are not covered, with lemon law coverage being extended only to personal tru…

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In a 5-2 vote, East Washington’s borough council recently approved the purchase of a Tesla electric vehicle for its police department. Supporters say electric vehicles are the wave of the future, and that’s probably the right call. They also say the borough will save money on gasoline by inv…

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COVID-19 made 2020 a rough year for everyone, and it was particularly tough for those who struggle with addiction. They lost some of the supports and routines that helped them stay clean, and that reality probably helped contribute to a spike in overdose deaths in Washington County last year…

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The last year has been profoundly stressful for health care workers. They’ve had to tend to COVID-19 patients while worrying about their own health and the health of their families. In the United States, more than 3,000 health care workers have died of the virus in the last 15 months. To hel…

MISS: The annual audit of Washington County’s Register of Wills office conducted by the county controller’s office showed a number of problems under the leadership of James Roman, who was elected to run the row office in November 2019. Some of them can, perhaps, be credited to staff turnover…

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Between declining enrollment and escalating tuition costs, officials at America’s colleges and universities have plenty to worry about. But the Penn State Faculty Senate recently decided to confront the pressing problem of calling freshmen, well, freshmen. The body approved a measure that wo…

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot chose to mark the second anniversary of her inauguration in a strange and counterproductive way – she told members of the Windy City’s media she would be giving interviews only to reporters of color. Lightfoot believes that the Chicago press corps is too white an…

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President Biden hopes to get a large-scale infrastructure plan through Congress, and if you need evidence why such a plan is necessary, look to the Hernando de Soto Bridge. The span goes over the Mississippi River, connecting Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark., and during a routine inspe…

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With the exception of online shows and classes, Little Lake Theatre had to sit on the sidelines last year due to COVID-19. It was hardly alone – theater companies and other performing arts groups around the world were also forced to shut down. The highly regarded North Strabane community the…

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As the pandemic has unfolded over the last year, many business owners have been surprised to find they were not going to receive any compensation from their insurance providers for business interruption, despite the fact that the policies for which they had paid hefty premiums allegedly cove…

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