CHEERS - To lighting the way. Residents and visitors in the city of Johnstown will be able to watch the sky light up with fireworks on New Year's Eve. Thanks goes to the people at the Johnstown Area Community Center, which is organizing the fireworks show. The center found it had some extra money at the end of the year and decided to spend it on an event for the community. All city departments are on board with the show, working together to light the way to 2013.
JEERS - To more talk of higher tolls. The Thruway Authority continues to consider the possibility of increasing Thruway tolls for truckers by 45 percent. Executive Director Thomas Madison recently told the Buffalo News he won't even rule out a broader toll increase to include passenger cars. State Assemblyman James Tedisco had some colorful words for the authority:?"Not even the Grinch Who Stole Christmas could be this diabolical. A toll increase of any kind on cars or trucks is unacceptable, especially in this difficult economy and when report after report has outlined the rampant incompetence and mismanagement by the Thruway Authority." Tedisco is right. The Thruway Authority must find other ways to save money and dismiss the notion of toll increases.
CHEERS - To consolidation. Apparently, enough voters in the Oppenheim-Ephratah school district changed their minds on the need to consolidate with St. Johnsville. After rejecting the merger a year ago, residents this week approved the merger in a second vote. A total of 385 voted in favor of the merger and 366 said no. While the outcome shows many voters still don't think the merger will work out for the best, more think it will, and so do we. One disappointing observation regarding the vote is the turnout was lower than it was for the first vote in December 2011. In that vote, 458 opposed the merger and 400 supported it. Everyone will have to accept the fact the merger passed and work together to make the transition a smooth one for all involved, especially the students.
CHEERS - To another step. It has been eight months since the membership of the Fulton and Montgomery county chambers of commerce voted to merge. This week, chamber officials said they received word the state attorney general consented to the merger. We aren't sure why it took eight months to get the approval, but even with this step, the merger still isn't a done deal. The request now goes to a state Supreme Court justice for approval, and then it goes back to the state for approval by the secretary of state. In the meantime, Mark Kilmer has been overseeing the two chambers on an interim basis and working diligently on the challenges to successfully organize the two entities into one. We once again urge the chamber to conclude its search for a permanent CEO of this larger organization.