o ... To former Oneonta Mayor Kim Muller and Anthony Casale, a former assemblyman, for representing the Heartland of New York at the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

Muller, an alternate Democratic delegate, and Casale, a McCain delegate, shared their perspectives on the conventions with the local area, reporting back to The Daily Star through convention diaries. Through them, we heard firsthand accounts of a protesters' riot at Muller's hotel, Casale's defense of Palin's experience and New York's great cheese, and, most of all, got a behind-the-scenes look at the combined pageantry and chaos of the political conventions.

Muller and Casale were not the only ones representing the local area in Denver and St. Paul, Minn. Muller was joined by Ashok Malhotra, a philosophy professor at the State University College at Oneonta who went into the convention pledged to Sen. Hillary Clinton but voted for Sen. Barack Obama with Clinton's blessing.

Casale was joined by Dave Rees of Oneonta, an alternate McCain delegate and first-time convention attendee.

It's exciting to know that some of our neighbors were a part of these pivotal, historic events.

o ... To Sam Nader, Sid Levine and the Oneonta Tigers, for delivering another season of baseball in Oneonta.

Nader and Levine said goodbye to an appreciative crowd last week during the Tigers' last home game of the season in preparation for the Oneonta Athletic Corp.'s sale of the franchise to a group led by New York City lawyer E. Miles Prentice III.

Although the Tigers didn't finish their season with a winning record, the team did go out on something of a high note as manager Ryan Newman had hoped. The Tigers won back-to-back games against the Vermont Lake Monsters to finish out their season, pushing them into second place in the Stedler Division and avoiding finishing with the worst record in the history of the franchise.

We offer our utmost thanks to Nader, Levine and everyone at OAC for the decades of good, family-friendly entertainment they've offered the community, as well as our best wishes for the future of the franchise under its new ownership.

o ... To the inaugural Susquehanna Balloon Festival, which succeeded despite unfavorable weather conditions.

The homegrown event was part of the city's centennial celebration, but organizers, including Michael Ranieri of Catskill Mountain Balloon, say they hope it can continue as its own annual event.

Offering food, music and other attractions in addition to the spectacular balloons, the festival was a welcome addition to Oneonta's calendar of activities. We look forward to the festival becoming a regular fixture for the local area.

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