CHEERS to Sister Debbie Blow, who has been honored as a New York State Senate Woman of Distinction for her leadership of North Country Mission of Hope.The Dominican Sister of Hope scarcely needs introduction here, for as co-founder and executive director of the Plattsburgh-based humanitarian-aid organization, she is well-known and respected for her constant dedication to her work. Mission of Hope centers its efforts in Nicaragua, where third-world conditions create desperate situations. State Sen. Betty Little nominated Blow for the honor, noting that since the group was formed in 1998, health care has been provided to more than 60,000 people, education to hundreds of students, meals that have fed thousands and construction of 500-plus home shelters. Mission of Hope makes its mark in the North Country, too, assisting families after fires and other crises. And it is often a conduit for financial donations after disasters elsewhere — in Haiti, to superstorm-torn New York City and, most recently, Moore, Okla. Blow says she accepts such honors for the sake of the organization and on behalf of the many dedicated volunteers and donors that have made it so successful. It is true, however, that Mission of Hope has grown and flourished and done much good work because she has shepherded it all this time. She very much deserves the accolades she receives.
CHEERS to Willsboro Supervisor Edward Hatch. Every now and then, a representative of local government demonstrates a natural penchant for involving his constituents in government. Former long-time Clinton County Legislator Donald Garrant comes to mind. He used to hold regular public sessions in his ward to invite questions and comments about the legislature and his performance in it. Sometimes, only a few people would show up; sometimes, none. Nevertheless, the meetings persisted. Hatch was formed from the same mold. He sends out regular reports to all who live under his umbrella to inform everyone of the state of the town. In the reports, he discusses the latest developments in the town. Hatch, himself, does the writing and mails the report out to every town citizen at his own expense. The latest newsletter discusses the town budget, public works, highway, water, the sewer district, senior programs, Essex County government and plans for the future. He includes phone numbers for emergency calls, town government and his own home. If you find fault with any element of his report, he affords you access to let him know. That makes dissent or involvement as easy as it can get. As strong proponents of open government, we appreciate all efforts to inform citizens about their communities.
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