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EDITORIAL: Thumbs up for referees and a new diver, down for a water authority

York Dispatch Editorial Board

Thumbs up to the dwindling number of people willing to referee youth sports games.

It's no mystery why there are fewer referees available. Besides the time spent away from their families, homes and jobs and the training involved, referees have to put up with verbal and physical abuse from coaches, players and fans, according to Pat Gebhart, the PIAA assistant director and officials coordinator.

More:Whistling while you work: Video gives up-close look at official working a high school game

York County high school basketball official Kevin Lawrence wore a microphone during a game for a video created by sports reporter Rob Rose. And while it probably wasn't as bad as it normally is, there are some rough moments in there. 

Go to www.yorkdispatch.com to see what it's like to be one of the three people in the gym that neither team is a fan of for a night. 

Dover's Meagan Tuohy completes a one and one half backwards summersault with a half twist in the free position during the Eagles swim meet against New Oxford, Thursday, January 16, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Thumbs up to Dover Area High School senior Meagan Tuohy, who has turned a move to a new home into a fresh start.

Tuohy was a gymnast while her family lived in Virginia, but when they moved to Dover last March, she made a change. Last summer, she took up diving. And Dover is glad that she did. 

Tuohy, who finished first in several competitive diving events for the Eagles thus far this season, already has pre-qualified for the District 3 Class 2-A girls’ diving meet later this month. She's also committed to dive for NCAA Division I Liberty University in Virginia as a walk-on.

More:Dover High athlete makes splash in first season as diver after switching from gymnastics

The gymnastics background was a big help when she switched sports, Tuohy said.

“Diving has been great,” she said. “There’s definitely less wear on you, but you can still enjoy it. I can still incorporate a lot of the things that I’ve worked on in gymnastics for so many years of my life.”

Perhaps the biggest obstacle was the difference in landings. In gymnastics, sticking a landing required focus on the feet. The majority of competitive dives, however, require a head-first entry.

“I had to really get used to actually going in on my head,” she said. “I had been taught for so many years not to land on your head, so that definitely took a while.”

Thumbs down to the Shiloh Water Authority, which is continuing its push to remove fluoride from the water that serves about half of the customers in West Manchester Township.

Fluoride has been a common additive in American water systems for decades. 

"So do you think we were wrong for 50 years?" Steve Harlacher, the chairman for the West Manchester Board of Supervisors, asked during a meeting between the township and the water authority last week. "What's different now?"

Authority Chairman Jim Bentzel and other Shiloh Water members responded that an increase in education and awareness has contributed to more people questioning the benefits of fluoride. 

More:Shiloh Water Authority to reconsider fluoride removal plan

More:West Manchester water supplier aims to remove fluoride; township officials say they can't stop it

"You start looking, and you find all kinds of stuff," Bentzel said. "That's where a lot of the concerns are."

That's the kind of thing that bothers us. If you start looking, you can find plenty of crackpot theories about nearly anything, from fluoride to vaccines to coronavirus.

But the fact remains that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called fluoride one of the most successful public health initiatives in the country's history. Fluoride has been shown to prevent cavities and have an overall positive effect on dental health. 

The authority will meet again on Feb. 26 to vote on whether to continue to seek permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to stop adding fluoride to its water. A public hearing is supposed to be held before that, but it hasn't been scheduled.

Let's hope the authority listens to the elected officials here (even though they have no legal authority over the water supply) and continues to help its customers keep the dental bills down by keeping the fluoride.