Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To accountability. In quick action by the administration of Fulton-Montgomery Community College, students were told anyone smoking in their rooms would be dismissed from the college. While smoking has always been prohibited, smoking caused two recent fires. This prompted stronger consequences to anyone failing to obey the rules. Six students have been dismissed. We applaud the action taken by the college, for the sake of others.

JEERS – To a no-brainer. There have been headlines this week that asked the question, “Should lawmakers convicted of crimes still receive their pensions?” You may be among those who think this is a no- brainer, but think about the number of state lawmakers in the past 10 years convicted of crimes and no longer serving in office, but still having the right to collect pensions – paid by you. The state Legislature is considering a bill that would strip pensions from public officials convicted of felony corruption. You should contact your representative and let him or her know whether you support this bill. If you need help deciding, think of Pedro Espada, former state Senate majority leader, who was convicted of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money and received a five-year prison sentence, but is still entitled to a state pension.

CHEERS – To painting the town. How many times have you driven by a building or house and said, “You know all it would take is a coat of paint and that place could look great”? The efforts of a small but determined group of volunteers, who have taken that thought and turned it into action, should not go unrecognized. Johnstown’s Colonial Little Theatre is the first recipient of a face-lift by volunteers and local businesses. Volunteer Anita Hanaburgh said this initial community effort is a story of three groups – the volunteers, a group from the theater and the Benjamin Moore group – and they hope others will join them. To all involved and to everyone at Benjamin Moore, you are definitely making a difference. We encourage others to get involved. Those interested can send their information and ideas to

CHEERS – To another form of painting. As part of Black History Month in February, local artist Cheryl Bielli took the time to visit third-graders at Gloversville’s Park Terrace Elementary School to do a live portrait drawing of Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. Not only was this a good history lesson, but the interaction that took place with the students with art was a real bonus. This type of scenario occurs in many of our local schools, and we cheer everyone involved who makes it happen.