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March 10, 2014

Cheers and Jeers: March 10, 2014

CHEERS to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for her persistent efforts to achieve justice for sex-crime victims in the U.S. military.

The Democrat from Hudson had introduced and has been fighting for a law to take the decision to prosecute military sex crimes out of the hands of commanding officers and give the responsibility to the military’s legal system.

Unfortunately, it failed the Senate by just five votes last Thursday, but the frequent disclosures of abuse and unwarranted dropping of charges demonstrates that it deserves to be law.

Gillibrand is tenacious about this issue, so we know she will keep fighting for a fairer review of potential crimes.

CHEERS to Susan Schrader, director of the Franklin County Senior Volunteer Program, for her work overseeing the Joe-4-Oil program.

The service, created by former Congressman Joseph Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) in conjunction with Citizens Energy and CITGO Petroleum, provides eligible senior citizens and people who have disabilities with 100 gallons of free fuel above and beyond any state and federal heating-assistance benefits that they receive.

Schrader, her staff and other volunteers provided 300 seniors with extra fuel this heating season, saving about $120,000 total if the average price per gallon was $4.

Since she introduced the program in Franklin County around five years ago, about 25,000 gallons of free fuel have been provided to needy households.

The Franklin County Legislature recently gave her a special citation for her work with the program. In reading the resolution, Association of Senior Citizens Board member Terry Trudeau said Schrader received no pay or compensation for her efforts “except to know that many individuals have been kept warm during our long winters or that they were able to purchase food or needed medications they would not have otherwise been able to afford.

“This is much more than a random act of kindness,” he said. “It is a planned act of kindness to many hundreds of local people in need.”

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