CHEERS to Coldwell Banker Whitbeck Associates for the time, effort and expense of placing all those little American flags throughout the City of Plattsburgh last weekend. Residents awoke to find Old Glory waving from almost every yard in the city. About 30 Coldwell Banker Whitbeck Associates employees, family members and friends fanned out across the city about 5 a.m. on July 4 to decorate lawns with the flags. It took about two hours to set the 4,400 flags in place, giving residents a patriotic surprise on the nation's birthday. Broker/owner Peter Whitbeck said the firm decided to celebrate the holiday with area residents as part of the agency's 20th anniversary. They weren't looking for publicity; there was no advertisement included on the flags. In fact, it took a few phone calls for the Press-Republican to track down the donors. The Coldwell Banker crew deserves a salute for delighting so many on the holiday.

While we are on the subject of the Fourth of July, JEERS to people who hog space while watching parades. Here's a scenario related to us by one person who attended the City of Plattsburgh's parade: "While waiting for the parade to begin Monday, my family was sitting on the curb in front of Villari's on Margaret Street. Other families were packed in all around. About a half-hour before the parade began, a vehicle pulled in one of the parking spots in front of this area and parked. The family got out and sat along their vehicle, obstructing the view of those behind them. They refused to move, and everyone was forced to cram into an even smaller area so the many children could participate and view the parade (which was enjoyable). There are plenty of parking options, especially on a holiday weekend, and I hope this decision was based on ignorance and not an unwillingness to walk a few blocks." Parades always draw big crowds around here, and we like to think people are aware when they might be obstructing the view of others. Courtesy is needed in these situations.

CHEERS to Brent Stewart for eight years of leadership as mayor of the Village of Malone. He inherited many challenges from the previous administration when he took office. But rather than place blame, Stewart set to work correcting the problems. Generations of residents will have a clean, safe source for drinking water, thanks, in part, to his leadership. Downtown- and riverside-beautification projects were started, and taxes have either gone down or held steady over his two terms. Stewart is not seeking re-election this fall, but he will be leaving the village in better shape than he found it. And no higher compliment can be paid to an elected official.

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