... To the Cato Freedom Project, which aims to identify and record the burial sites of black Revolutionary War soldiers.

The effort is a project of the U.S. Colored Troops Institute for Local History and Family Research, based at Hartwick College. Led by Associate Dean of U.S. Pluralism Programs Harry Bradshaw Matthews, the institute has undertaken numerous projects in the local area and across the country. Much of the institute's work has been focused on the Civil War, and Matthews said the scarcity of Revolutionary War records makes the Cato Freedom Project even more of a challenge.

Named after a black Revolutionary War veteran who settled in the town of Butternuts, the project is an ambitious effort to enrich not only the history of black Americans, but also the history of our local area. We look forward to learning more about the contributions black soldiers made in our country's bid for independence.

o ... To the pilot program at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, which will bring high-tech patient care and record-keeping to Cooperstown.

The program, a collaboration between GE Healthcare and the Healthcare Association of New York State, is making its debut at Bassett. More hospitals are expected to join the program within its first year, but Bassett is the first site in the nation to implement "Smart Patient Rooms" and a "Patient Safety Forecaster."

In Bassett's new "smart" rooms, the actions and movements of caregivers will be tracked, including a system that will monitor hand-washing. The forecaster technology will offer cost-benefit analysis of the care patients receive.

With health care reform as a hot-button issue on the national stage, it's exciting to see steps being taken on the local level to improve the standards of care. We hope this program yields benefits, not only for Bassett's patients, but for the GE Global Research Center and its partners.

o ... To the variety of summer programs offered by local libraries.

Many libraries, including those in Oneonta, Otego, Cherry Valley, Roxbury and Sidney, are participating in the New York state 2009 Summer Reading Program, "Be Creative @ Your Library." The program encourages creative, hands-on activities and, of course, reading.

Given how tight their budgets are, it's amazing how much these libraries can offer at little or no charge to the folks who participate. In Oneonta, children and teens can paint, take photos, read and write; in Sidney, activities will include basket-weaving, color theory, dramatics and crafts.

To find out what's happening in your community, visit http://www.nysl.nysed.gov and click the link for "Find Your Public Library." You may be surprised at what you find.

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