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 We generally do not publish more than one letter from a single person within a two-week period.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

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…

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 …

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…

  • Updated

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…

  • Updated

Being the clerk of courts involves administrative work. It involves filing cases and collecting fines and a host of other mundane duties designed to ensure the judicial system functions smoothly. It’s basically a clerical job. In Washington County, Brenda Davis has turned what should be a hu…

  • Updated

One of the first steps to solving a problem is recognizing that there is one, and Gov. Tom Wolf did so on Monday when he said, “Pennsylvania is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. It’s a beautiful state with stunning landscapes and bountiful natural resources. But we’ve got a li…

  • Updated

When inflation was raging in the 1970s, Paul McCartney had a hit with the song “Junior’s Farm,” which contains the line, “I took my bag into the grocery store/The price is higher than the time before ...” Almost 50 years later, many consumers might find that ditty bouncing around in their he…

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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…

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 …

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…

  • Updated

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…

  • Updated

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…

  • Updated

Being the clerk of courts involves administrative work. It involves filing cases and collecting fines and a host of other mundane duties designed to ensure the judicial system functions smoothly. It’s basically a clerical job. In Washington County, Brenda Davis has turned what should be a hu…

  • Updated

One of the first steps to solving a problem is recognizing that there is one, and Gov. Tom Wolf did so on Monday when he said, “Pennsylvania is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. It’s a beautiful state with stunning landscapes and bountiful natural resources. But we’ve got a li…

  • Updated

When inflation was raging in the 1970s, Paul McCartney had a hit with the song “Junior’s Farm,” which contains the line, “I took my bag into the grocery store/The price is higher than the time before ...” Almost 50 years later, many consumers might find that ditty bouncing around in their he…

  • Updated

When we think about archaeologists sifting through dirt, we usually picture them digging up antiquities in some distant locale that’s far removed from the tourist track. But there are plenty of artifacts waiting to be discovered under our own feet, a fact that was underscored last weekend in…

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Washington County voters made it abundantly clear Tuesday that they do not want a commission to study how county government operates. Seventy percent of voters turned a thumbs-down on forming such a commission, and it appears that it was defeated across the ideological spectrum. Many voters …

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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has been a ubiquitous presence in headlines recently due to his pivotal role in negotiations over the budget reconciliation bill being negotiated in Washington, D.C. Manchin scuttled some of the expenditures in the bill that would have helped combat cli…

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The White House this week detailed plans to get COVID-19 shots into the arms of youngsters ages 5 to 11, which will curb infections in children and reduce the spread of the virus to vulnerable adults. Doses of the Pfizer vaccine will begin shipping within hours of the Centers for Disease Con…

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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…

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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 …

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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…

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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…

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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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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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