December 17, 2012

Cheers and Jeers: Dec. 17, 2012


---- — CHEERS to the many organizations that host free holiday parties for children this time of year. Maggie Smith wrote to suggest that we give a Cheer to the Essex County Sheriff’s Office for its recent Milk & Cookies with Santa event at the Public Safety Building. There, children visited with Santa, had their picture taken, received a gift and enjoyed refreshments. Parents could have a child safety I.D. made and participate in a car-seat safety inspection. Sheriff Richard Cutting, the deputies, correction officers and civilians volunteered their time and money to put on this free event. “My children had a wonderful time and were thrilled to meet Santa,” Smith wrote. “I was surprised by everything that was offered. It was so nice to see such a wonderful showing of community support. In a time when money is short and time is precious, it is hard to believe that this wonderful group of people would work this hard to make my children smile. It almost makes me believe in Santa again.” Smith was right: The Sheriff’s Department deserves a Cheer, as do the many other local groups who arrange these free parties. Unlike the gift donations that charitable agencies arrange for low-income children from our region, these parties are open to all kids. Just over the weekend, parties were sponsored by American Legion Post 1619 in West Plattsburgh, American Legion Post 20 in Plattsburgh, the Adirondack Carousel in Saranac Lake and the Town of Elizabethtown. The parties add to the magic of the season and create family traditions that will be remembered for decades.

JEERS to scammers who target senior citizens. Tony Mastracchio of Rouses Point recently alerted the Press-Republican to one such plot after a woman called his home, identifying herself as a “Wal-Mart affiliate” and saying that he had won a $100 gift certificate. The certificate, the woman claimed, could be used anywhere or given to someone as a gift. Mastracchio, who said he and his wife shop at Wal-Mart frequently and had purchased several gift cards there the day before, asked the woman if there was a catch. She told Mastracchio there was no a catch but that she would just need his credit-card number to cover a $3.95 processing fee and the certificate was his. It didn’t take long for Mastracchio to see that this was a scam. He told the woman that his wife had all the credit cards so he couldn’t give her that information. He then called Wal-Mart to see if they had any such promotions going on, and they said they did not. The scammer had the nerve to call back a few days later. Mastracchio wanted the public to be warned about such deceptions, especially during the busy holiday season.

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