Steel salutes go to the thousands of people who participated in Phoenixville's third annual Relay for Life, the marathon that raises money for cancer research. This year the relay raised more than $1 million. All those who gave of their time and money and who shared their stories of tragedy and triumph deserve appreciation for their good works.
Steel congratulations go to Phoenixville PAL boxing alumnus Harry Yorgey, who remains undefeated after his biggest match yet last weekend.
Steel congratulations also go to the Phoenixville Phantoms boys and girls track teams. Both teams had perfect seasons, and now their consistently outstanding efforts have resulted in Pioneer Athletic Conference championship titles.
Steel praise goes to the voters of Pennsylvania - the ones who actually made it to the polls on Tuesday, that is. Despite a special non-primary election determining a state senate seat and despite the scandalous legislative pay grab and unvouchered expenses, turnout stayed pretty typical of a primary: light (about 19 percent in Chester County). However, those who did vote did make a difference. The total of statehouse incumbents ousted in the primary is now up to 15, including the Senate's top two Republican leaders; there were even more pay-jackers who already retired rather than try for re-election, and there will be additional chances to vote out bad incumbents in the general election in November. With all the turnover in the Legislature, there is now a real chance for real reform in Harrisburg, and that is due to the citizens who refused to accept outrageous business as usual and refused to let the issue die.
Slag goes to all those responsible for problems with the new electronic voting machines:
Legislators set timelines to rush to purchase electronic voting machines, in response to Florida ballot confusion in the 2000 presidential election. But the legislation does not require verifiable paper trails, meaning that voters can't be sure their votes were registered properly, and leaving no reliable way to check results when tampering is suspected. The possibility of massive computer fraud is much more dangerous to democracy than any number of hanging chads.
Many people, deservedly dubious of the electronic ballots, chose paper instead, but the reliable punch-card machines had been replaced with paper fill-in-the-oval ballots. Chester County election officials were hand-counting ballots until about 6 a.m., but they weren't as bad off as some officials in Philadelphia, where 200 out of about 3,500 electronic machines failed. There are six months until the general election in November. How many of the problems will be solved by then?
Steel congratulations go to longtime Chester County Commissioner Andy Dinniman, newly elected state senator in the 19th District. Whether you voted for him or rival Commissioner Carol Aichele, you have to admit that he ran a good campaign, becoming the first Democrat to gain a statewide seat from Chester County (two-thirds Republican) since the 19th century.
Steel congratulations also go to the Phoenixville girls lacrosse team, which made it to league semifinals for the first time ever this year. They have shown a great deal of improvement.
This may be redundant given his sentence, but Slag goes to former Phoenixvillian Melvin "Ug" Clark, convicted of a revenge killing and sent to jail for 20-44 years. He gunned down a man on the street in Norristown, directly endangering people and also contributing to the drug-derived climate of fear there.
Finally, Steel congratulations go to newly crowned Dogwood Prince Austin Woods and Princess Rylie Hijosh, who will ride in the 55th annual Dogwood Parade today. Steel praise also goes to the Phoenixville Jaycees, perennial organizers of the Dogwood Festival, for another successful year.