November 12, 2012

Cheers and Jeers: Nov. 12, 2012


---- — CHEERS to the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce for offering a seminar to help businesspeople better understand French. The chamber said it is “taking steps to help foster and promote the financial impact the local economy enjoys from our neighbors to the north.” So it partnered with Anne Sterling, the bilingual owner of the Left Bank Café in that community. The seminar, to be held 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the café, is free to chamber members and $25 for others — and that includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres and reduced-price wine. The chamber describes the session this way: “Participants will be given printed material which will include common French words and phrases, with proper pronunciation, and ample time will be allotted for practicing French pronunciation in a social setting. While the focus will be on common words and phrases used in a hospitality setting, the seminar is appropriate for any business.” After that, the chamber will have available written French services for menus, signage and promotional materials. Retail clerks at area businesses sometimes tell us they are frustrated when trying to communicate with Canadian customers who speak limited English. How wonderful it would be if more area customer-service people could speak even a little French, so they could make these exchanges more pleasant. We hope more seminars like this will be planned around the North Country. The idea is tres bien!

CHEERS to organizations and individuals who, when they put on fundraisers for one cause, invite attendees to bring items for local food pantries, as well. It’s no secret that food pantries around the region have been handing out far more nonperishables over the past few years to needy folks. It’s harder to keep the cupboard from going bare, and every effort to help replenish it is more than welcome. That unfortunate trend has spawned more awareness of the need, as evidenced by more events specifically held to collect food and money for organizations that distribute assistance, by the sharing that took place during the harvest season as people with gardens contributed fresh produce and by the increasing number of stores that have boxes set up for customers to toss in a few items of food. At Kinney Drugs in Champlain, for example, there’s a display of Campbell’s Soup near the checkout area — and a big box that invites contributions for the food shelf. More and more people planning fundraisers have tacked on opportunities for a little extra — and pretty painless — giving. The main thrust of the Brandon Sorrell Memorial Scholarship Foundation Benefit Dinner last Saturday was to raise money for scholarships and a pedestrian-safety program; but that group collected food items, as well. At the Zumba fundraiser at Peru Intermediate School recently, held to help develop a fitness center, nonperishables were accepted also. Any time a crowd is going to be present is a great time to collect much-needed food items. That way, a lot of people will have fuller bellies. 

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