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Reporter's Notebook

May 17, 2014

Reporter's Notebook: Local kids give OPD officers a reason to smile

Members of the Oneonta Police Department were showered with fan mail this week, Lieutenant Douglas Brenner said.

Area second-graders sent letters and drawings to members of the department for National Police Week, which was May 11 to the 17th.

Mrs. Harlem’s and Mrs. Downie’s students from Greater Plains Elementary School wrote to tell the officers and staff how much they appreciate what they do and asked them questions about their job.

The officers and employees “really enjoyed” the letters, Brenner said.

“When I was passing out the letters, the officers clapped, cheered and showed their excitement to be getting to communicate with the younger members of our community,” Brenner said. “The questions are interesting, the pictures they draw us are beautiful and the entire experience is just plain fun for everyone.”

The letters and drawings are now hanging in the main hallway of the Oneonta Police Department’s station, Brenner said. Each year, the officers look forward to getting the letters and writing back to the children, he said.

“Of all the duties today’s law enforcement officials have to do,” Brenner said, “this task is one that makes us smile and lets the officers know how much they are appreciated.”

•••

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said this week that she is actively trying to help college students alleviate pressure from their loans.

Gillibrand held a conference call Tuesday to announce new legislation that she is pushing, which would allow millions of graduates to refinance their college loans and boost the nation’s economy.

The bill was introduced May 6 and already has 25 supporters who have signed it, Gillibrand said.

Now more than ever, graduates are “saddled” with student loan debt, Gillibrand said. National student loan debt is at approximately $1.2 trillion, more than auto loans or credit card debt. New York graduates, in particular, have more than $60 billion in student loan debt.

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