Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To title winners. Two local high school baseball teams, the Fonda-Fultonville Braves and the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Wolves, have won the titles in their divisions. The Wolves won the Class D title Thursday, defeating top-seeded Fort Ann. The Wolves will advance to the state regionals Friday in Amsterdam. Fonda-Fultonville, meanwhile, defeated Voorheesville on Wednesday to capture the Class B crown. It was the team’s first sectional title since 1982. Fonda-Fultonville will play Schalmont in a regional game today in Albany. We wish both teams continued success.

JEERS – To an attack on free speech. New York state allows people to bring a frivolous libel lawsuit against someone who says something publicly that people may not like. Journalists aren’t the only people who can face these frivolous lawsuits. Most of the suits are brought against citizens who speak out against matters of concern. Real-estate developers, big businesses or other interests that can afford to hire a lawyer can file the lawsuits as a bullying tactic. However, proposed legislation in the state Legislature would change this. The proposed law would provide protection to citizens who speak out publicly. The state Assembly has passed the bill twice. Recently, a companion to the Assembly bill was introduced in the state Senate, but it stalled there. No one should be able to use abusive litigation to attack free speech. New York should join the ranks of other states that have laws to protect speech regarding matters of public concern.

CHEERS – To an impressive speller. Knox Junior High School student Katie Ammann had a strong finish at the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C., this week. She made it to the third round of the bee. Ammann earned her appearance at the bee after winning the Fulton County Spelling Bee. The Leader-Herald organized the county bee and sent Ammann and her family to Washington to compete in the national event. Ammann and the other national competitors are amazing in their ability to spell words that many of us never even heard of. Ultimately, the winners of the national bee were a 13-year-old boy from Fort Worth, Texas, and a 14-year-old boy from Steuben County in New York state. It was the first time since 1962 the national bee ended in a tie.