March 11, 2013

Cheers and Jeers: March 11, 2013

CHEERS to State Police traffic enforcement for reminding people they’re not supposed to be parking in fire lanes. Fire lanes need to be left unencumbered by vehicles in case a fire, medical emergency or other situation crops up and lives are suddenly put at risk. One day last week, a trooper was seen strolling the fire lane outside Price Chopper in Plattsburgh, telling drivers in cars standing there to move into a legitimate parking spot. Some cars had actually been parked there and left vacant while the drivers went in to do their shopping. We trust they were greeted upon their return by a parking ticket. A few of the drivers who were behind the wheel of the standing cars rolled down their windows as the trooper approached, apparently failing to sense what the impending conversation was going to be about. Did they think that “No parking, fire lane” meant everybody else was barred from clogging that space but it was all right for them? Imagine if a fire broke out in the store, and firefighting equipment was unable to get close because thoughtless shoppers had been presumptuous enough to usurp those critical spaces. We applaud the State Police for a seemingly small but potentially crucial gesture in reminding drivers of their responsibility. It’s only everyone’s good fortune that selfish motorists haven’t caused chaos in those circumstances lately.

CHEERS to the majority of workers in the local Department of Motor Vehicle offices. We know that it’s a common complaint that DMV workers are surly and unaccommodating, but we also know — both from personal experience and from hearing so from readers over the years — that it is far more common to find the clerks to be helpful and friendly. After a recent Speakout complaining about a DMV office visit, we received this online comment: “I have recently dealt with the DMV on three separate occasions in the past month. I did deal with the same staff member each time. I found her to be most informative, knowledgeable, polite, patient and kind. These employees get a bum rap, when, in fact, some of the patrons are themselves at fault. I find if you demonstrate kindness and patience, you get it in return.” We suspect there may be more truth to this than some DMV patrons would acknowledge. As with any profession that requires you to deal with customers all day, one after another, it is possible to get a little frayed or impatient at times. We know most workers at the DMV offices in Plattsburgh, Malone and Elizabethtown are considerate and professional.

— If you have a Cheers and Jeers suggestion that you want the Editorial Board to consider, email it to Editor Lois Clermont at

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