Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To an awarding winning “techie.” If you look up the term “techie” it may tell you it is a technician who is highly proficient and enthusiastic about some technical fields. We say it is Adam Cancio, Northville Central Schools’ technology instructor, the recipient of the NYS Technology and Engineering Educators’ Association’s Regional Technology Teacher of the Year for Northeastern NY award. This is a great honor for both a fine teacher and the district’s support in the field of technology education.

JEERS – To another entitlement. President Barack Obama has called for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. In addition, he also has proposed indexing the minimum wage to inflation. This is the part we are concerned with. Think about it. If passed, the minimum-wage earner would be entitled to whatever the inflation rate directs. This entitlement should not be ignored; this automatic annual increase should not be a part of the decision on increasing minimum wage. People in power need to look at the longterm effect and not just playing the role of the hero on the white horse. We realize the inflation rate does change, but let’s take the current inflation rate of 3.6 percent and build onto the purposed increase minimum wage at $9 an hour. In just 20 years, that $9 will have increased to $17.62 for minimum-wage level positions, a 143 percent increase over the state’s current rate. All businesses will face major challenges, but the small ones will suffer first and hardest. One cannot help but wonder how much more manufacturing business will see its way out of the United States. Gov. Andrew Cuomo seems to be stepping aside with his budget proposal on increasing the state minimum wage and waiting out what is done on the federal level. This is not a no-brainer decision at any level of government and it must not be passed quickly or in the dead of the night.

CHEERS – A lukewarm one. During the past 13 years, we have cheered and jeered the action and inactions for some 22 home homeowners on Union Mills Road in Broadalbin whose lives were affected by contamination in their wells that was traced to road salt stored at a town shed. At a recent Town Board meeting, an agreement was reviewed that could give these residents water as early as next week. Let’s hope there are no leaks in this agreement and water for the first time in 13 years can flow safely from their faucets.

Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To a deserving recipient. We published an article in March 2011 with a headline that read, “Positively famous.” The story was about Johnstown resident Bill Pollak, who at that time was one of the semifinalists as an inductee into the Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame. Bill has been in the limelight numerous times in the past 50 years. He’s been recognized for his strong belief in education and for his service in elected positions, including mayor of Johnstown. This time, we congratulate him on receiving the Fulton County Republicans’ 2013 Charles Hough Award. A side note: Apparently, the Pollak family tree holds a number of award winners. Bill and Winnie’s daughter, Susan Kowalski, a middle school librarian in East Syracuse, recently received the 2012 Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award.

JEERS – To an unsettling, familiar situation. Wheelerville Union Free School has settled a lawsuit filed by a parent, but all we get to know in this case – and others like it – is the insurance company settled the lawsuit. It has been resolved, but terms of the settlement are secret. We understand that officially, the insurance company is paying these unrevealed settlements, but don’t the taxpayers pay for the premiums? In addition, the incidents that factor into these lawsuits are a concern for taxpayers.

CHEERS – To you. From time to time, we need to extend gratitude to our readers and advertisers. You are the reason newspaper readership remains strong and vital in smaller communities. For more than 125 years, The Leader-Herald has delivered to your door local news, stories about your children, local government and all the issues important in your daily life, and our circulation remains steady. Add to that those who choose us as their source for local news and information through our website, which has more than 10,000 unique visitors a day, and our Facebook page, which has grown to more than 5,000 “likes.” Thank you for supporting strong local journalism and realizing the importance of it in your lives and community.

CHEERS – To a local office. U.S. Rep Bill Owens has opened a regional office in Gloversville’s City Hall. The congressman said, “The main purpose of it is so we can have interactions and visit with people.” He added, “Folks can have the opportunity to speak with me and I can learn and make sure we are hearing the concerns of those constituents.” You heard it straight from the congressman, so if you have concerns, take the time to visit his office.

Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To more expansion. Gloversville businessman Chad Taback appeared before the Planning Board recently. He wants to add a loading dock and improve a parking lot adjacent to the Gloversville True Value store. This isn’t the first time we have praised Chad for improving or renovating his commercial or residential buildings. With his latest efforts, coupled with the expansion taking place at the Fulton Street Deli (formerly Mendetta’s), that part of Fulton Street is taking on a fresh look of pride.

JEERS – To a lack of separation. Town of Johnstown Supervisor Nancy MacVean is on record opposing the Fulton County district attorney’s plan to use a federal grant in the manner that has been done in the past – to cover the salary of one of the assistant district attorneys. While MacVean failed to express reasons for her no vote for the record, after the meeting, she made some comments about the issue. Apparently, the supervisor has a wealth of knowledge about a district attorney’s office and its workload. Since MacVean has been forthright in expressing her frustrations regarding the local justice system, we are a bit concerned her vote may have been based on emotion. We hope that was not the case and that her votes always are based on the facts and what’s best for the town and county, not a personal agenda.

CHEERS – To record years. Fulton and Montgomery counties have reported record years in 2012 sales tax figures. The price of gasoline and fees included in that per- gallon cost at the pump played a major role in the growth in this revenue line, but the rest of the dollars generated came from other local sales, including local purchases made with Chamber Checks. The fact remains spending locally garners a substantial benefit to your community.

CHEERS – To three more Eagles. Three human “eagles” are coming out of the cultivating nest of Johnstown Boy Scout Troop 104. Three young men now stand among an esteemed group in scouting, the Eagle Scouts. Congratulations to Matthew Tambasco, Alex Lawrence and Zachary Simone for achieving the rank. We never tire of reminding readers what this honor represents. Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and living by the principles of the Scout oath in daily life. Eagle Scouts also must carry out an extensive service project. We salute the three new Eagles Scouts.

Cheers and jeers

JEERS – To no answers. We echo Gloversville City Attorney Anthony Casale’s comment, “I respectfully disagree with the court’s decision.” The decision he is referring to involves the court’s rejection of the city’s request to obtain records from the Fulton County Economic Development Corp. and the Crossroads Incubator Corp. The city is trying to recover $750,000 from the agencies. The money originally was allocated to Gloversville. More importantly, the funds came from taxpayers. Apparently, the city doesn’t have the right to request records, and the taxpayers and media can’t get them because the agency is designated as a private, nonprofit organization. It’s unfortunate the agencies will not disclose the information, which should be available via a simple phone call. The legal battle is costing the city money.

JEERS – To leaving a mess. The former owners of a North Market Street property in Johnstown deserve to be placed in the “Hall of Shame” of those who contribute to blight and abandon the responsibilities that come with property ownership. The city, now the owners, has begun to clean up the mess left behind. City workers started removing heaps of auto debris, other garbage and close to 8,000 tires. The cost already has exceeded $10,000. We applaud the city’s efforts in knowing the value of cleaning up the property and getting it ready for future use. The cleanup should have been someone else’s task, but the owners failed to pick up after themselves.

CHEERS – To supporting your local sheriff. We aren’t referring to the 1960s Western comedy film, but to the actions taken by the Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee. The committee unanimously voted to stand behind the New York State Sheriffs’ Association’s position that parts of the NY SAFE Act are too broad. The measure requires revisions. We support the association’s effort and the county committee’s support, but it’s possible the state will make no changes to the act. If it stands, law-enforcement officials must be prepared to enforce the law regardless of their opinions of it.

By -