MOUNTAIN - to Saranac Lake photographer Mark Kurtz, whose beautiful photograph of the Winter Carnival Ice Palace - accompanied by fireworks, royalty and a wild snowstorm - was selected for National Geographic's online "Daily Dozen" photo gallery on March 24. What a great opportunity to spread the good word about this wonderful annual event.
VALLEY - to local school administrators for not giving themselves any cuts: downsizing district staffs, sharing these staffs between districts or taking reductions in pay and/or benefits. These are extraordinarily trying times for school districts, and administrators are proposing to reduce teacher numbers for the second year in a row. True, that's partly due to continued declines in student enrollment - even in places like Saranac Lake that gained population between 2000 and 2010 - but as faculties shrink, administrations should shrink proportionally.
MOUNTAIN - to the state Legislature and governor for passing a budget on time, a rare feat that helps school districts and villages plan their budgets accurately.
MOUNTAIN - to those same powers in Albany for restoring a big chunk of aid to schools, one of the most important of all state services and one increasingly endangered these days.
VALLEY - It is worrisome to see the state budget cut funds for county services without a plan to relieve expensive requirements. When times are tough, municipalities can't afford many of the unreasonably high expectations the state sets for them. A mandate-relief task force started by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is still working on this, but at the same time, the governor and many lawmakers are pushing a property tax cap that, without mandate relief, would break the backs of local governments. In some ways, the Enterprise supports a top-down, starve-local governments-into-consolidating approach, but not in this. A tax cap wouldn't work without major mandate relief.