Cheers and jeers

CHEERS – To the Gloversville Neighborhood Improvement Corp. The nonprofit group was founded about a year and a half ago with the intention of helping people live in safe, affordable housing. Last month, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors gave the group five vacant Gloversville properties, which the group plans to turn into “land banks.” The corporation will grate and seed the lots, establish grassy areas, install fences and plant evergreen trees. The corporation also will try to work with neighbors to develop the land. The corporation previously turned a piece of land off Fremont Street into a community garden, and currently, the corporation is partnering with the Gloversville Public Library and the Micropolis Gallery in Gloversville to provide a four-week art and garden program for local youths. The group’s efforts are making a positive difference in the community.

JEERS – To poor parenting. The teen pregnancy rate has dropped significantly statewide, but it’s going up in Montgomery and Fulton counties. The rate per 1,000 females ages 15 to 17 was 24.7 in 2011 and 27.9 in 2012, and the rate in Fulton County was 21.4 in 2011 and 22.5 in 2012. There are many factors for the high rates of teen pregnancy in our area, but one of the problems is the lack of effort by parents and guardians to discourage teens from engaging in risky sexual behavior and getting involved in serious relationships at such a young age. Efforts by government and schools won’t solve the problem alone.

CHEERS – To a consolidation effort. The town of Northampton and the village of Northville are discussing possibly merging their planning and zoning boards. Currently, the village and the town have their own planning and zoning boards, with 20 people filling the boards’ volunteer positions. Earlier this year, the town and village approved sharing a treasurer, saving an estimated $25,000 for each municipality. These efforts save taxpayers money and can help neighboring municipalities run more efficiently. We support the efforts by these two localities and by others that share and consolidate services. This should happen more often.