CHEERS - To a new librarian. The Johnstown Public Library recently hired Erica Wing of Johnstown as the new library director. She replaces longtime Director Barbara Germain, who retired. Wing, 27, has a strong resume. The Johnstown High School graduate earned a bachelor's degree in American literature from Middlebury College in Vermont in 2006 and a master's degree in library and information science from Syracuse University in 2007. She was the teen/reference librarian from December 2007 to July 2009 at Gleason Public Library in Carlisle, Mass. She started her career working at the Johnstown library from 2001-02 as a page, shelving books and helping with the library's summer reading program. Wing seems like someone who could serve the Johnstown library well for many years to come.
JEERS - To another railroad crossing plan. The state Department of Transportation conducted a hearing in March on a proposal to close the railroad crossings at Center Street and Broadway in Fonda. It's a bad idea, and Fonda residents made that clear at the hearing. Now, the DOT has scheduled another hearing for May 23 to present another plan, which would allow traffic to cross the Broadway tracks in an emergency. At other times, the gate would be locked. This hardly would make the situation any better, and we suspect Fonda residents will complain at the hearing. The state should keep the crossings open, despite pressure from the CSX railroad company. Closing the gates would create significant traffic snarls.
JEERS - To an expensive state mandate. Fulton County supervisors had to deal with yet another unfunded state mandate this month. The county is responsible for paying for the state Education Department's specialized Preschool Education Program for special-needs children. If parents are unable to transport their children to school, the county must pay for transportation, even if the school is 40 miles away. The county Board of Supervisors voted to advertise for bids for a transportation run to the Herkimer County Board of Cooperative Educational Services pre-kindergarten program in Ilion. Three board members opposed the plan because of the burden it places on the county. Last year, the program cost $312 per day to transport one student by bus to Herkimer County. The state either should pick up the cost or reform the program to keep the cost down.
CHEERS - To a winning essay. Congratulations to Johnstown resident Rodney Schuyler, a student at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, for winning the Historical Society of the Courts of New York State's David A. Garfinkel Essay contest. The contest's theme this year was "The Blue and The Gray: New York During the Civil War." The applicants all were students from City University of New York and State University of New York community colleges. Schuyler's essay discussed how the Civil War created a revolution for women and the suffrage movement. This honor comes with a $1,500 first prize, which will help him as he continues his education. We're sure Rodney is taking great pride in being chosen among so many others. He will be honored at the Law Day ceremony at the Court of Appeals Hall in Albany.