EDITORIAL: Summer events are harbingers of brighter days

York Dispatch editorial board
The Part Time Managers, back, perform at Cherry Lane Park during the first Lunch Box Revue event of the season in York City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Thumbs up to the wave of summer events being planned in and around York County —harbingers not only of summer but of the diminishing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Local residents, no doubt starved for public entertainment after a year under COVID-induced restrictions, have learned in recent days that they can begin circling dates on their calendars for outdoor fun and amusement.

Some events are already underway, such as Springettsbury Township’s annual Food Truck Fridays and the free Box Lunch Review concert series in downtown York. Other biggies are on the horizon, including the York State Fair and YorkFest.

All of this is welcome news after the pandemic shuttered businesses, disrupted public education, decimated bars and restaurants and, worst of all, infected more than 1.75 million Pennsylvanians — some 26,500 of them fatally.

The return of special events, coupled with growing numbers of vaccinated residents and Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement that most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted at the end of this month, demonstrate that, at long last, the worst of the pandemic may be coming to an end and a return to something resembling normalcy is now ahead.

Thumbs down to North York officials, who continue to fight efforts to let the public in on the public’s business.

At issue: an audit of the now-disbanded Liberty Fire Co. The York Dispatch, along with The York Daily Record, has filed several Right-to-Know requests seeking access to the records. Borough officials denied the requests, claiming the audit was related to criminal and noncriminal investigations.

The state Office of Open Records wasn’t buying that argument, and neither are we. But North York officials are appealing the office’s determination that the audit be released, continuing to waste time and money.

With its former chief accused of embezzling more than $16,000 from the fire company, there’s more than idle curiosity compelling release of the audit. The public has a right to learn the details of what were, at best, questionable operating procedures and, at worst, illegal practices.

Thumbs up to the power of GoFundMe pages -- and those who contribute to them.

Two recent examples demonstrate the power of online communities opening their hearts — and their wallets — in time of need.

In Biglerville, the community has rallied in support of the Slaybaugh family after 17-year-old Ethan Slaybaugh succumbed to injuries sustained in a weekend car crash. Ethan, a junior, was a popular varsity wrestler. “He will be forever missed and always loved by our Canner Nation community,” reads a message on the wrestling program’s Facebook page.

That love has been evident. A GoFundMe page established to assist the Slaybaugh family has generated more than $31,000 in just days.

Meanwhile, a national group of car enthusiasts has come through big time for a York County resident.

Gary Rider of New Salem is battling liver disease and in need of a transplant. A GoFundMe page launched by his daughter to finance the expensive procedure was languishing at just a few hundred dollars.

That’s when Rider’s story came to the attention of a Facebook group called “a car club where everyone acts like boomers.” When the group’s 30,000 members learned that Rider had resorted to selling an air compressor to fund the transplant, they hit the fundraising gas, generating more than $57,000 toward the medical procedure.

It’s not news that social media can spread vitriol and misinformation. But at its best, it can also be a welcome source of solace and support -- as has been evident this month in York County.