Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To a real crowd pleaser. Everything came together for the recent annual Sunday on the Farm at Rogers Family Orchard in Johnstown. The weather was picture-perfect. The event included animals, education and food for the hundreds of people who took advantage of this special event. It was a great example of agri-tourism in action, and it was an over-the-top day for family fun. Thanks to all who were involved in making it happen.

JEERS – To not looking locally. We don’t quite get it. Several months ago, Montgomery County’s Business Development Center entered into a reported $80,000 contact with North Star Destination Strategies, a company based in Nashville, Tenn., for a 36-week project “to discover, define and design the county’s competitive differentiator, or what makes the county special so it can stand out in the marketplace.” One part of the project that concluded Monday was an online survey. Now, Fulton County officials are considering hiring the same company for brand marketing for $46,000. National Grid and the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth would contribute much of the cost. We support regional economic development, but we are wondering why more than $120,000 would go to an out-of-state consultant to help market two New York state counties? Montgomery County tourism receives money from the I Love New York program and taxpayers. It is hard to believe there were no professional companies in this region or in New York state that could have performed the marketing tasks. We suggest when there is a future need for consultants or professionals, the counties look at who’s available in New York, whose current advertising campaign slogan says New York is “Open for Business.”

CHEERS -?To the strong efforts of a few. In our region, the number of adults who struggle with basic reading and math is startling, and that should concern every one of us. A story published in this newspaper Sunday, “Literacy tutors in high demand locally,” revealed a significant percentage of adults are reading below the fifth-grade level. We applaud the handful of volunteers who are addressing the need to teach people to read, and we hope they know they are making a difference in the lives of those they help. When someone has the inability to read and write, he or she has limited opportunities in the work force. If you have some time, please consider volunteering.