Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

Thumbs up for new hope for the former Salvation Army building in downtown Norwich. The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council announced that it would designate $200,000 in a low-interest loan to the Community Revitalization Program, designed with an objective for the vacant building. As a Norwich resident, itís great to see that one by one, the empty buildings and storefronts downtown are being taken up with a purpose in mind. Hats off to Development Chenango and all those involved. My hint to anyone interested in starting a business: Itís a good time to consider opening up a toy shop in the heart of the city. Ė SM

Thumbs up to Pet Street for creating an event for dog lovers (see the story on todayís front page). I think itís a fantastic opportunity to further expose a county full of pet owners to a sport that they can have fun with. It seems as though dog agility is something that really has legs. It may very will gain real traction and just keep on running. Even for those who do not have dogs, it will no doubt be entertaining to watch. And even when the dogs are not doing what they are told, it should be a whole lot of fun. Ė KJD



A well-earned thumbs up for the Chenango Blues Association following another successful Blues Fest (its 20th year, no less). I had a fantastic time at my favorite festival of the year (no surprise there) and I was impressed by the assembled talent, particularly the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars (guitarist Tab Benoit was downright slick) and J.J. Grey & Mofro (one of my favorites). This year, for the first time, I took advantage of the camping set-up down at the fairgrounds, which made for an absolutely unforgettable day (and evening) spent with my best buddy Tozer and his wife Renee, who made their way to Norwich for the festivities. Regardless, itís nice to know the blues are still alive and well here in Chenango County and hereís to next yearís fest ... I canít wait. Ė BDG

Thumbs down to presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for announcing this week that he believes America can have energy independence by 2020 under his leadership. Iím all for energy independence and usually, I would praise that kind of remark, but Iíve heard this song before. In fact, I donít think thereís been a candidate in the past three decades who didnít claim the nation could be free of foreign oil within ten years. Yet, here we are once again, watching the same dog and pony show of presidential candidates past. If only there was a way to bottle all the hot air of every candidate who said theyíre going to push for energy independence during their time in office, the topic of domestic energy wouldnít be considered a crisis. Ė SM

Thumbs up to the St. Bartholomewís Parish for providing Chenango with a place to gather and get great food this weekend with their annual Italian Feast celebration, starting today. The food sounds as though it is going to be fantastic, something that people will remember for a long time. The committee members all seemed like phenomenally nice people, and no doubt it will be a very hospitable environment. Ė KJD

Thumbs down, texting drivers. I simply canít understand why people continue to ignore the danger driving while texting poses, not only to themselves but we, the responsible drivers on the road. I had an opportunity earlier this week to witness your classic text-and-drive lunatic, who was veering dangerously close to a guardrail on County Road 33 ... in the opposite lane ... and I was not surprised to discover the driver was a young, oblivious teenage girl, texting even as she stopped at the Hale Street-County Road 32 intersection. Sooner or later, weíre going to have us a pretty serious accident as a result of this idiotic behavior, and itís sad to think of the lives that could potentially be lost. Ė BDG

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