Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To a collective effort. Two organizations – Historic Fort Plain and Canajoharie’s Historic West Hill School Committee – agreed to merge their operations under the name Mohawk Valley Collective. The group aims to preserve two historic buildings and promote the area’s tourism and development. Today, the group is celebrating the grand opening of its new Tourism Information Center at 89 Church St. in downtown Canajoharie. The grand opening is part of a community festival to raise money for flood victims in Fort Plain. The Mohawk Valley Collective is a new group worthy of support.

JEERS – To wasteful spending. According to the state comptroller, the New York Power Authority has a private plane for employee travel and has pilots and travel agents on staff. Meanwhile, the public utility pays a third of its 1,636 employees more than $100,000 a year and offers them access to the state retirement system. The authority disputes some of the comptroller’s findings, but this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about public authorities spending heavily and paying exorbitant salaries. The public should take notice.

CHEERS – To a helping hand. Sometimes, state government provides valuable assistance to localities. We were pleased to see the state offering a hand to Fulton County recently regarding the Rail Trail, a paved walking and biking trail over the former FJ &G Railroad bed. The state is offering to take over the county’s effort to acquire rights-of-way needed to help complete the Rail Trail. The state Department of Transportation says it could maneuver through federal and state acquisition procedures more quickly than the county. The Rail Trail adds to the quality of life in Fulton County. We’d like to see the incomplete sections finally get finished.

CHEERS – To setting the record straight. For many years, a state historical marker in front of the former Fulton County Jail on East Montgomery Street touted that George Washington came to the site. Problem is, he actually never did. On Tuesday, Fulton County and Johnstown officials dedicated a new marker that says the site was visited by another famous figure – French aristocrat and military officer Gen. Lafayette. It’s important to record history accurately.