By Jake Palmateer
The Oneonta Community Christian School has a good thing going with its annual Veterans Day program.
The River Street school, which includes children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, invites veterans each year to speak about their experiences.
One of the great things about it is the speakers are typically relatives of the students or staff at the school.
"Our veterans, men and women, have laid down their lives for us," Principal Jane Cook said as she opened the presentation. "They sacrificed while we were comfortable in our homes."
In many larger schools, the students are separated by age. But pre-kindergartners and high schoolers share the hallways at OCCS. They all seemed to get something out of the program, which was tinged with emotion from the veterans, who served from World War II to the present.
The city of Oneonta's budget for 2011 is all but adopted.
During a budget workshop meeting Tuesday, the Common Council and several department heads made no adjustments and instead spent most of the 17-minute meeting reflecting on the process.
"This budget is indeed owned by everybody," Mayor Dick Miller said.
But City Hall Deputy Chamberlain Virginia "Ginny" Lee and Chamberlain Meg Hungerford were singled out by Finance/Administration Committee Chairman Paul Robinson, alderman for the Second Ward.
"I think Meg and Ginny deserve a huge pat on the back," Robinson said.
Personnel Director Kathy Wolverton was also lauded by several aldermen and the mayor for her role in the budget process, particularly on labor management issues, including a reduction in the overall size of the city workforce, as well as an early retirement incentive.
Several aldermen and Miller said the proposed $17.95 million budget was a good result for tough fiscal times.
But Miller said the city remains in a deficit spending situation and needs to continue to examine its finances.
"We need to start sweating 2012 right now," Miller said.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, and aldermen are expected to vote on the fiscal plan later that evening.
So far, it's been a pretty dark November and not just in terms of weather.
The past few weeks have had more than their share of tragedy in our area.
The first widespread snowfall of the year on Nov. 8 caused poor road conditions that contributed to a two-car collision on state Route 23 on the Southside. A couple from Worcester died in the wreck.
Less than two days later, on the same highway but in the town of Morris, a 5-year-old boy from South New Berlin was killed when the car he was riding in smashed into a tree.
A logging accident Nov. 12 claimed the life of a 41-year-old Mount Vision man. A day later, a 26-year-old Oneonta woman died under mysterious circumstances after a night out with friends. Final autopsy results are still pending, but a source close to the case said her death was from a ruptured brain aneurysm.
A toddler was killed when he was struck by a car in the town of Greene on Nov. 18. Two days later, a 65-year-old Montgomery County man died on the opening day of the regular deer season after falling from a tree stand in Schoharie County.
Any one of these deaths is enough reason to give your loved ones an extra hug.