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FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Single-payer would limit private options, cost taxpayers

Since the passage of Obamacare, polling consistently has shown people do not view the program favorably. Indeed, as has recently been reported, Dr. Gruber, one of the so-called architects of Obamacare, was recorded as saying that the only reasons the law passed Congress was because of the stupidity of the American voters and that there was a lack of transparency as to how the law was going to be financed. Gruber’s comments notwithstanding, this past election confirmed for many federal legislators who voted for Obamacare that the “stupid” American voter was going to hold them accountable for the passage of this flawed law. This is a sentiment that isn’t just coming from a Republican. Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer in a post-election speech also said as much.

LETTER: Attend meetings, form your own opinion

To the editor: Over the last few weeks, we have read various views on the Lysander Town Board meetings and some of the councilors’ wishes to change the way meeting minutes are kept. I have attended a vast majority of the work sessions and board meetings since January 2011, ran for town office on two occasions and have recently become a member of the Lysander Republican Committee after petitioning this past summer for the position. I feel that a more neutral position and summation needs to be written.

Jury rules in favor of former dog warden

Town has not yet decided whether to appeal

An Onondaga County Supreme Court jury awarded Lysander’s former dog warden more than $27,000 in his lawsuit against the town. The trial took place Dec. 15 through 17.

LETTER: Town clerk responds to minutes issue

To the editor: As the elected town clerk of the town of Lysander, I find it extremely important to respond to a recent article in the Baldwinsville Messenger entitled “Lysander town officials squabble over meeting minutes.” I want to assure the people of Lysander that the minutes that I prepare of any and all town board meetings accurately reflect what transpired at those meetings.

LETTER: Diamond responds to minutes article

To the editor: Many of you, I’m sure, have read the recent article that appeared in the Baldwinsville Messenger entitled “Lysander town officials squabble over meeting minutes.” As one of your elected town councilors I felt compelled to respond.

FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Federal lunch changes cost schools

School lunch purchases are on the decline. According to the New York School Nutrition Association, more than 19 million fewer meals were sold across the state during the 2012-13 school year than the year before. In the 2011-12 school year, 94 million meals were sold, but in 2012-13, only 75 million were sold.

Tease photo

Five for fighting

Public comments turn ugly at Lysander town board

The public comment period at the Dec. 15 Lysander Town Board meeting turned into a shouting match over the Lysander Community Ice Arena and Councilor Melinda Shimer’s idea to remove board and public discussion from the minutes.

Communication breakdown

Plainville Fire District vote sparks discussion about improving communication

While the highlight of the Plainville Fire District’s annual election last week was the approval of Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) benefits for volunteer firefighters, the vote has sparked a discussion among fire district officials about improving communication with the public.

FROM THE ASSEMBLY: Is weather detection system necessary? Spend budget surplus on Upstate infrastructure, too

Here in central New York, our municipal budgets are often stretched during time of high snowfall because of snow removal costs. If anything, $18 million would be better used to provide our municipalities assistance with these costs as opposed to using the $18 million on a duplicative weather detection system.

Lysander town officials squabble over meeting minutes

Members of the Lysander Town Board are at odds over a proposal to alter the makeup of its minutes, the official record of what happened at board meetings. At the town board’s work session preceding its Dec. 1 meeting, Councilor Melinda Shimer suggested the minutes be simplified and only include resolutions and formal votes. Shimer’s suggestion would eliminate board member discussion and public comments from the minutes.

From the state senate: Support Cell Phones for Soldiers

I have kicked off my seventh-annual Cell Phones For Soldiers collection drive to help our soldiers serving overseas stay connected with their loved ones back home, especially during the holidays. You can support this important cause by donating your gently-used mobile phones to any of my designated collection sites throughout Onondaga County and the city of Auburn. 

Volunteers make holiday efforts possible

This time of year, there are a number of foot soldiers out there working to make someone’s holiday special. Whether it’s adopting a family to make sure they have presents under the tree or working at a local community dinner to ensure that people have a warm holiday meal in good company, many volunteer their time to give back to their community.

Mr. Katko goes to Washington

Congressman-elect shares his thoughts about his coming term

On Nov. 4, voters in the 24th Congressional District sent a resounding message: they no longer wanted Dan Maffei to represent them. Maffei, a Democrat, lost to Republican challenger John Katko, a former U.S. Attorney, by a margin of 73,317 votes to 55,268. Katko said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the victory. “We were going door-to-door for the last couple of weeks of the campaign … and we were getting a pretty good response,” he said. “I just felt the momentum, so I wasn’t surprised that we won.”

State offers scholarships, assistance with higher ed

Fall is the time of year when many graduating high school seniors start to look toward the future. According to the New York State Education Department, in 2010, 82 percent of high school graduates in New York entered postsecondary education which includes either two- or four-year institutions.

Thanking our veterans

This column is dedicated to our veterans. I am pleased to host the CNY Veterans Parade and Expo held at the New York State Fairgrounds. Each year, this event gets bigger and better and this year was no exception. Fair officials estimated that more than 8,000 spectators and participants came through the gates to salute and honor the extraordinary service that our Central New York men and women in uniform have contributed to defending America’s freedoms.