Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To staying local for New Year’s Eve. Local residents won’t have to venture far to have a good time ringing in the new year. Several local public events are scheduled on New Year’s Eve. Among them are a 9 p.m. fireworks display in downtown Johnstown; a celebration with live entertainment at the Glove Performing Arts Center in Gloversville; and a Last Night festival in St. Johnsville, which will include music, fireworks and other activities. That’s just a sampling. People who are tempted to drive to Saratoga, Albany and other parts of the region for a New Year’s Eve celebration should remember to check to see what’s going on right in our local counties first.

JEERS – To ridiculous bureaucracy. In late October 2012, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc in New York and New Jersey, causing billions of dollars in damage. More than a year later, many coastal residents are still waiting for billions in federal dollars that are intended to help them rebuild their homes. Because of bureaucratic holdups, only a fraction of the grant money has been spent. We’ve seen these sorts of delays in the aftermath of other disasters as well. The programs were created for good reasons – to help people rebound from tragic events. Government needs to simplify and speed up the process.

CHEERS – To McJammin. An 18-year-old local musician, Vinnie Saj, has been organizing musical performances at the McDonald’s in Gloversville for several months. The biggest was last Sunday, when about 200 people showed up to sing Christmas carols with Saj. The event also included a visit from Santa Claus and gifts for children. It even raised some money for the Ronald McDonald House. We expect to see more from Saj and his contagious smile. He wants to put on more McJammin events, and he has the energy and enthusiasm to do it.

CHEERS – To animal portraits. Some of the students at Gloversville High School are putting their artistic talents to wonderful use. Art teacher Deborah Deming’s students have been making portaits of animals at the James A. Brennan Memorial Humane Society in Mayfield as well as of several people’s pets. The students plan to sell the portraits at an auction to raise money for the shelter. This is a great idea for a public-outreach project. The auction will take place at the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. We look forward to seeing the bids roll in.