CHEERS to the AuSable Forks Fast-Pitch Softball Tournament, held for the 50th time this year, for providing a half-century of excitement. If you haven’t ever attended, you are missing out on a fun, action-packed event. The tournament is a North Country tradition, taking place over three days every summer. Organizers bill it as the second-oldest such tournament in New York state. Record crowds of between 1,500 and 2,000 people attended this year’s golden anniversary event, with Friday night’s crowd of about 700 being the biggest in history, according to Tournament Director Tom O’Neill. It takes a massive commitment in time from a large group of volunteers to plan, coordinate and operate this tournament every year. Energetic community members serve as gatekeepers, grounds crews, construction workers and public-address announcers. Others sell food, beverages, souvenirs and advertising for the program. O’Neill said they receive invaluable help every year from the Town of Jay Public Works Department and the administration, correction officers and inmates from Moriah Shock Incarceration Facility. Right now, all of these helpers are basking in the glow of this year’s tournament. But they won’t have long to relax. Planning will begin before long for the 51st edition of the AuSable Forks Fast-Pitch Softball, which is scheduled for July 12, 13 and 14, 2013.
CHEERS to local stores that allow therapy dogs to accompany their owners, when necessary. Among those around Plattsburgh are Aldi’s, Wal-Mart, Hannaford, Tractor Supply, Lowe’s, Tails of the Adirondacks, Family Dollar and Petsmart. Owner Georgia Clark tells us those stores welcome her dog, Isaiah, when she does her shopping. Price Chopper said they allow service dogs but not therap dogs. “Therapy-dog owners are volunteers who pay all of their own expenses to bring a little happiness to patients and clients at the cancer center, nursing homes, assisted-living homes and local hospitals,” she said. The dog owners pay for all the training, as well as Therapy Dog International yearly membership dues and all medical costs, including required annual checkups and shots. But some stores have barred Isaiah, despite her explanation of why she hoped to take him along. “It was costing me a lot, on my fixed income, to bring my therapy-dog home after our visits, before doing my shopping,” Clark said. Now, we don’t advocate that stores, especially supermarkets, start letting dogs roam the aisles. But certainly there can be exceptions to the no-pets policy for special circumstances. If owners can provide proof that these are therapy dogs and not just regular pets and if the animal can be carefully controlled, it seems that a little understanding and accommodation is in order.
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