Warren County Sheriff Bud York was among a group that asked state legislators this week to allocate funding for a rating system for pre-kindergarten programs.

York is a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a group that has lobbied for state funding for a rating system called the QUALITYstarsNY program.

York told legislators Monday that half of the inmates in Warren County Jail don't have a high school education, and any program that helps education can prevent crime.

"When I have a $7 million budget in my jail system and have to pay for the education, for the health and welfare, for the dental of all of the people that are incarcerated by judges, I want less people incarcerated. So, if there's any programs out there that might help do that, I want it done," York was quoted as saying by news service New York Connection.

-- Don Lehman

Weighing in on Stec

Queensbury Town Board member Ron Montesi, a board member of the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District, couldn't believe on Monday how quiet Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec was.

Stec, who's lost more than 100 pounds over the last year, sat through more than an hour of the Conservation District's monthly meeting without once interjecting.

"With all of the weight Stec has lost, he must have lost his voice too," Montesi said. "I've never been at a meeting before where he didn't say anything."

-- Jon Alexander

School merger derailed

The boards of education in four school districts in Herkimer County endorsed the idea of a mega-merger earlier this year. They put the idea to the voters in a non-binding straw vote last week and three of the four districts were in favor of the merger.

The Frankfort-Schuyler School District voters were not in favor, as they resoundingly voted down the merger 1,123 to 623. That was enough to kill the merger for now, despite the fact that Herkimer (1,020 to 896), Ilion (1,221 to 755) and Mohawk (980 to 570) all voted for the merger.

The plan may be brought up again in the future by the remaining school districts.

-- Ken Tingley

Sweet but serious

Helping a good cause never tasted so good.

The Nuns of New Skete in Cambridge have a new cheesecake and, for the first time, have selected a charity to donate some of the proceeds from sales of the dessert.

The Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern New York will get $6 from the sale of each new family-size raspberry chocolate cheesecake -- the newest flavor -- and $8 from the sale of each party-size New York-style cheesecake.

The five nuns who live in the women's monastery in Cambridge, along with a similar number of part-time helpers, now make 12 flavors of cheesecake and fruitcake, some of them seasonal like eggnog. The cheesecakes are for sale in the New Skete Kitchens gift shop in Cambridge, as well at a few area businesses (Bean's Country Store in Queensbury sells them and King Bros. Dairy in Saratoga County will deliver them).

The suggested retail price for the cheesecakes range ifrom $27.50 to $42.75.

Proceeds from the sales will help in the fight against arthritis, which can take any of 100 different forms in the body. A focus of the campaign is on juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which is said to affect as many as 300,000 children in the U.S.

Several worthy charities were considered before the Arthritis Foundation was chosen to benefit from the sales, said Ida Williams, a New Skete Kitchens spokeswoman.

The goal of the fundraising campaign, which runs through May, is to raise $25,000.

Dig in.

-- Bob Condon

Garden taking root

A meeting regarding the proposed community garden at Harry J. Betar Jr. Recreational Park in Moreau will occur this spring.

The meeting will provide an overview of the town's proposed setup and some tips on planning and planting for new gardeners. Refreshments and a chance to meet fellow gardeners will follow.

The meeting will occur from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Moreau Community Center on March 7.

The town has been seeking to create a community garden, and is using the meeting to help gauge interest.

The town expects to give South Glens Falls and Moreau residents a priority in obtaining plots.

A flyer about the event includes an application.

A 4-foot by 6-foot plot will be $12 and a 4-foot by 12-foot plot will be $20. Beds must be reserved by April 10.

-- David Taube

In the city

Violence was everywhere in those days, recalled Will Hermes, who grew up in New York City in the 1970s.

Despite the everyday dangers of city life, there was a cultural revolution under way, noted the author in a recent interview regarding his book, "Love Goes to Buildings On Fire: Five Years in New York City That Changed Music Forever."

Hermes wrote portions of the book at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs and references important musical connections that were made during the era.

The author, who regularly visits the upstate region, grew up a few miles west of Manhattan, in the borough of Queens, during the volatile ‘70s.

The way he and his friends saw it, there were two choices.

Some got their driver's licenses and headed east to Long Island and Jones Beach, he said during a recent interview with this reporter.

"Another group of people were oriented to getting on the subway and going west," he said.

For Hermes, Manhattan was the only option.

"Go west, young man," he said.

-- Thomas Dimopoulos

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