One of the great things about being a reporter for The Daily Star is the travel.
Although I'm still waiting to be sent to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas or at least the Kentucky Derby, I do get to visit great little communities such as Davenport, Delhi, Laurens, Milford, Morris, Schenevus and Stamford.
And, of course, Franklin.
It wasn't long ago that I spent time in Franklin on a story about the town's alcohol sales law. Arriving about a half-hour early for my interview, I had some time to walk the streets.
With its old homes, churches and cemetery, it's not hard to imagine Franklin the way it looked 100 years ago. The people are pretty nice, too.
But my last few visits to Franklin were under some sad circumstances.
I was there because Cpl. Nick Uzenski would never get to walk those streets again.
A recon Marine and Franklin Central School graduate, Uzenski was killed in southern Afghanistan fighting insurgents.
In talking with Uzenski's friends and family and Franklin community members, a vivid portrait of the 21-year-old emerged.
The one thing that struck me was the consistency of their accounts. Whether it was the Marines who commanded him, his classmates, his varsity basketball teammates and coach, a former boss or his family, all used many of the same words to describe the Marine.
It always seems the best and brightest among us get killed in war while fighting for American ideals and principles. It may be that, in our remembrances, we elevate some of the dead beyond what they were in life. But I am sure that didn't happen with Uzenski.
Sometimes government really does listen to the people.
Three years ago, the state Department of Environmental Conservation enacted emergency regulations on the use of baitfish to deal with an emerging fish disease known as viral hemorrhagic septicemia.