Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To historic Northville. A state board has nominated parts of the village of Northville to the state and national registers of historic places. This should be welcome news for the village, which has a rich history that deserves recognition. The Northville historic district would include properties on Main Street, Division Street and Bridge Street, among others. It’s the residential and commercial core of the village, dating from 1819 to 1933. This area began to grow in the 1830s as a result of the logging industry. The village grew rapidly after the completion of the railroad in 1875. The historic designations not only will draw attention to village history, but likely strengthen the village’s tourism industry.

JEERS – To building jumpers. Three New York-area men accused of jumping off One World Trade Center and parachuting to the ground may think they were being adventurous daredevils, but they’re nothing more than disrespectful nuisances. The three – plus an alleged accomplice – were charged this week for the stunt, which was carried out last September. They were charged with burglary, reckless endangerment and jumping from a structure. They put themselves and others in danger. We were happy to see police caught up with them. There was nothing cool about the stunt. We would hope the arrests would discourage others from trying the same thing at this landmark or others.

CHEERS – To a Global Village. Fulton-Montgomery Community College is wasting no time getting started on a project to build a residential and retail village next to the college. The project – to be named Global Village – will include retail and restaurant space, possibly offering a cafe, boutique-style shops and an art gallery. It also will include new housing for students and the public. FMCC just announced the plan late last year and already has hired a contractor to get started. It’s an ambitious plan, which will support the continued growth of the college, improve students’ experience at FM and help bring the public closer to its community college.

Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To celebrating history. The city of Johnstown, which has a rich history, will be the site of several history-themed events this year. The plans include the May 17 Johnson Jog, which involves a course that will take runners, joggers and walkers past Johnstown’s historic sites; a July 20 event downtown observing the 240th anniversary of the death of Sir William Johnson; and an encampment and Battle of Johnstown re-enactment Sep. 20 and 21. We hope local residents put these events on their calendars now. We’re sure they will be enjoyable and educational.

JEERS – To a deadly tax. New York is one of 15 states that still impose an estate tax. The tax is hitting a growing number of middle-class households, small-business owners and farmers, according to a report by the Empire Center for Public Policy. The federal government exempts the first $5.25 million of a person’s estate. New York, however, only exempts estates valued below $1 million. New York taxed more estates in 2012 – nearly 4,000 – than the federal government taxed nationally, according to the report. Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposes raising the state’s death tax threshold to match the federal level and lowering the top rate to 10 percent over four years. This change would exempt nearly 90 percent of all estates from the tax. The tax, as it stands, is hurting economic growth. The state Legislature should support Cuomo’s proposal.

CHEERS – To a good vision. We were pleased to see the new owners of Pine Brook Golf Course want to continue to operate the place as a golf course. The owners also have ambitious plans to possibly build condos and town homes around the course. One of the new operators, Jim Simek, also said they are considering putting in a lighting system and creating a par-three nine-hold “twilight” course on the property. He said the owners at some point may remodel the pro shop and use the clubhouse as a banquet hall. We hope the grand plans eventually come together. In the meantime, it will be nice to just see the golf course reopen in the spring.

Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To positive energy. Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort and others of his generation need to be listened to, not just heard, but listened to. There is a big difference. His recent State of the County address was one filled with positive optimism based on realism, and it came with suggestions and goals. Unfortunately, one of the first things that was heard was “well, he is young and naive, just wait till he finds out how things really are.” If this was said once, it was one time too many. Matt’s professionalism, energy and visionary optimism must not only be embraced, but it should become a widespread attitude that will move our region forward. If you are a person who believes our region cannot become more prosperous, you should move or mute your voice. The rest can work diligently with a leadership that sees our region as half-full, if not overflowing.

CHEERS – To a balk. The Tuesday headline read “Board balks at demolition plan.” The county board should continue to draw back from the request from Gloversville for the Fulton County demolition team to demolish a city building. The building is not owned by the city. Over the past decade the team has existed, it has helped Gloversville in many demolitions of foreclosed properties. Until the city legally owns this building, demolition is the responsibility of the private owner. Once again, we applaud the hard-working, fast-paced crew of the demolition team, which continues to save taxpayers money.

JEERS – To word banning. If this country is going to get into banning words – and it should not – there may be higher contenders than the word “bossy.” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is leading the campaign, with numerous well-known women joining her, to have the word banned. They claim it is another “B” word for a girl. They believe the word holds women back. They say it should be replaced with using the phrase “leadership skills” or “strong leadership.” Come on, ladies, if the word lady is still acceptable, being called bossy does not hold a woman or man back, and it’s absurd to think the word is gender-selective. There are, always have been and always will be bossy boys, girls, women and men. They all have the opportunities America offers to reach leadership roles.

Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To accountability. In quick action by the administration of Fulton-Montgomery Community College, students were told anyone smoking in their rooms would be dismissed from the college. While smoking has always been prohibited, smoking caused two recent fires. This prompted stronger consequences to anyone failing to obey the rules. Six students have been dismissed. We applaud the action taken by the college, for the sake of others.

JEERS – To a no-brainer. There have been headlines this week that asked the question, “Should lawmakers convicted of crimes still receive their pensions?” You may be among those who think this is a no- brainer, but think about the number of state lawmakers in the past 10 years convicted of crimes and no longer serving in office, but still having the right to collect pensions – paid by you. The state Legislature is considering a bill that would strip pensions from public officials convicted of felony corruption. You should contact your representative and let him or her know whether you support this bill. If you need help deciding, think of Pedro Espada, former state Senate majority leader, who was convicted of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money and received a five-year prison sentence, but is still entitled to a state pension.

CHEERS – To painting the town. How many times have you driven by a building or house and said, “You know all it would take is a coat of paint and that place could look great”? The efforts of a small but determined group of volunteers, who have taken that thought and turned it into action, should not go unrecognized. Johnstown’s Colonial Little Theatre is the first recipient of a face-lift by volunteers and local businesses. Volunteer Anita Hanaburgh said this initial community effort is a story of three groups – the volunteers, a group from the theater and the Benjamin Moore group – and they hope others will join them. To all involved and to everyone at Benjamin Moore, you are definitely making a difference. We encourage others to get involved. Those interested can send their information and ideas to paintthetownjohnstown@gmail.com.

CHEERS – To another form of painting. As part of Black History Month in February, local artist Cheryl Bielli took the time to visit third-graders at Gloversville’s Park Terrace Elementary School to do a live portrait drawing of Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. Not only was this a good history lesson, but the interaction that took place with the students with art was a real bonus. This type of scenario occurs in many of our local schools, and we cheer everyone involved who makes it happen.

Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To Garrett Boblowski. We needed to get this Glebe Street Elementary School third-grader’s name out there. Garrett, in conjunction with the 100th day of school, completed a 100-mile run. Equipped with a GPS, this amazing boy clocked the 100 miles to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. His legs and attitude raised more than $500. This wasn’t the first charitable effort by the 8-year-old philanthropist. At age 7, his 100-day project was to donate 100 craft bags to children at Albany Medical Center Hospital. Cheers to the adults in Garrett’s life who have instilled great character in him, but the loudest cheer goes directly to Garrett.

CHEERS – To regifting. Eight months ago, we jeered the conditions in and around Gloversville’s Darling Field and the lack of maintenance by the Gloversville Enlarged School District on portions of the parcels the district owns. The park has been co-owned by the city and the district for many years. The property was a gift to the Board of Education in 1923 by Hiram Darling to use as an athletic field and be accessible to the public for various purposes. Now the school district is gifting its share to the city, giving the city full responsibility for the entire complex. Let’s face it – no entity has done a good job in preserving this valuable property for years. Now the city has the chance to change this. A great deal of community help will be needed. We suggest the mayor, council, a committee or whoever takes the lead form a group of volunteers to work together with the city to improve Darling Field. The city should make this a goal – a positive, respectful goal.

JEERS – To few alternatives. If you received your recent Time Warner Cable bill and didn’t bother to read all the papers in it, dig it out and be prepared for your blood pressure to go up when you find the paper that says “IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR ACCOUNT.” Fully realizing this media giant has the “right” to raise rates, the increase is another whack at our pocketbooks – in this case, a minimum of a 6.4 percent wallop. A spokesman for TWC said “70 percent of customers won’t see any change right away, because they are currently in promotional packages.” Wow, that remaining 30 percent, loyal customers, must feel foolish for not canceling and then getting one of those promotional packages, or for not having the time to be placed on hold for days trying to negotiate a new rate. And just think, a merger with Comcast is looming in the shadows.


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