Cheers and jeers

JEERS – To voices not heard. A Planning Board public hearing is held, not just because it is a law, but because it is the right time for the public to come and express their concerns or support about a project or issue. Support seems to be easily accepted, but when people show opposition, it can appear walls suddenly go up between the board and the people. This appears to be the case in the village of Northville. The national retail store Family Dollar wants to demolish a building and build a new store. The residents of Northville continue to work together to maintain the ambience of the village, which is a quaint, unique reflection of the Adirondacks for those who choose to live and visit there. This certainly does not mean they do not welcome or encourage new business; they just have an image they would like to preserve. And the village is home to a “5- and 10-cent” store that has served the area for 99 years. It seems to us if we were talking about places like Manchester, Vt., people would agree the village should keep its uniqueness. So should Northville, N.Y. The concern now remains with a statement made by the county planner: “The Planning Board cannot deny retail-use projects in a commercial zone based upon its use.” There has to be a way for the people who live and pay taxes in a community – and who truly care about the place – to have more of a say about the landscape of their community.

CHEERS – To giving back. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo was warmly welcomed to the Fulton-Montgomery Community College campus when he recently engaged a large audience and reflected on what inspired him as an author. Few people that day probably gave any thought to the speaker’s fee. Many may have thought a hometown boy simply was coming back to chat with the community. But this hometown man is as deserving of a speaker’s fee as any famous author, with or without a Pulitzer Prize. What Richard did with his speaker’s fee of $6,000 could have an effect beyond imagination. He gave the fee to the Gloversville Public Library, the place where he discovered the treasure of a book. Richard’s gesture is worthy of a cheer of gratitude on behalf of young people today who continue to have the opportunity to find their treasures at a public library.

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