EDITORIAL: Early spring is a welcome thing

York Dispatch

Thumbs Up: To Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. The furry rodent failed to see his shadow just before 7:30 a.m. on Groundhog Day, Tuesday. German legend has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last another six long weeks.

Inner Circle President Bill Deeley shows Punxsutawney Phil to tourists a day before Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. Members of the Inner Circle planned to reveal their forecast at sunrise Tuesday. A German legend says that if a furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2, winter will last an additional six weeks. If not, spring comes early. In reality, Phil’s “prediction” is decided ahead of time by the group. (Mark Pynes/PennLive.com via AP)

If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring is on its way – and will come early.

Records as far back as 1887 show Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter 102 times, as opposed to forecasting an early spring just 18 times (there are no records for other years).

While this year’s prediction is rare, it’s more than welcome after the recent winter storm dumped more than 30 inches of snow on our region.

Thanks, Phil, for bringing thoughts of spring our way.

Thumbs Up: To York City resident Mandi Scott, aka the 2015 pastry chef of the year as designated by the Harrisburg chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

Scott, an adjunct professor at YTI Career Institute in Springettsbury Township started out studying art and went on to get a culinary degree from the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport. Scott managed the bakery for Brown’s Orchards and taught students at YTI how to manage a commercial kitchen and how to create pies, cakes, tarts and more advanced classical French pastries.

Now, in addition to teaching at YTI, Scott teaches culinary arts to high-schoolers in the hopes of igniting a spark that may be present in a young person who is trying to decide on a career path.

“I felt so much pressure as a high school student: had to go to school, had to get a good job, had to get a four-year degree,” she says. “That’s just not for everybody.”

We recognize Scott not only for being honored for her talent but for taking her award-winning skills and cultivating a new generation of chefs.

Thumbs Up: To the neighbor who interceded during a domestic incident which resulted in Northeastern School District Superintendent Shawn Minnich being charged with aggravated assault, burglary, making terroristic threats, simple assault, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and harassment.

Police: Northeastern superintendent broke into ex's home

According to courtroom testimony from last week, a neighbor of Minnich’s estranged wife, who lives in East Manchester Township, heard a commotion Dec. 4 and went to the wife’s home – where she lives with her two children – to assist.

Vada Fink — facilities management supervisor for the York County Judicial Center — interceded during an altercation, according to Christopher Leh, a Lancaster-area man who said in court that he feared for his life while being attacked by Minnich.

"(Minnich) was trying to punch me. ... He was attacking me," Leh said. "He had me up against the wall. ... He (was) squeezing my throat with his hand. ... At that point I thought, 'Oh my God, I'm going to die.'"

That’s when Fink interceded, according to Leh. "He just grabbed Shawn ... and dropped him to the ground," Leh testified.

Fink told The York Dispatch he saw someone at Kathy Minnich's place and went to investigate when he "heard a woman and a child screaming."

Fink said he simply reacted to the situation. But we all know that is not a simple decision. Many people choose not to get involved, particularly in domestic incidents.

The fact that Fink ran to the aid of a neighbor and her children is notable, and we commend him for helping his neighbor. While domestic disputes can be among the most dangerous calls for law enforcement, a safe way to get involved is by calling 911 as an alternative to physically intervening.

That doesn’t take away from the bravery Fink showed and we not only applaud him, we are grateful he wasn’t injured being a good Samaritan.