CHEERS: to Altona Historian L. Bridgette Coolidge, her sesquicentennial committee and all those people pitching in to make the town's 150th anniversary a memorable occasion. Numerous events are planned for June 30 and July 1, along with many more-lasting tributes, from a historical quilt to U.S. Postal Service cachet and pictorial stamp to new drapes for the Town Hall. But most impressive of all is the way so many residents of the town have come together in an almost-all-volunteer effort to make this birthday party happen. One can envision similar pulling together during Altona's early years, as first settlers struggled to build their community. Those early residents would be proud of those dedicated now to remembering them. We've seen such commemorations in communities throughout the North Country in recent years, as this cradle of America matures ahead of most of the nation. One trait all the communities have in common, besides their venerable age, is their pride and their selfless devotion to whence they came. Altona's robust effort is a reflection of all of them. It's one of the things that makes living in the North Country so interesting and so rewarding.

CHEERS: once again to local police agencies, in this case most notably the State Police and Border Patrol, for the quick, reassuring apprehension of a suspected killer. When Darcy Manor was killed in a remote section of Mooers May 10, the area was understandably jittery, each individual fearing for his or her own safety and the safety of their families. After all, this is an area where murder ought to be the last thing on anybody's mind. But within a week, a suspect was in jail in Texas, of all places, having been tracked down through a comforting network of police intelligence that spanned Halifax, Nova Scotia and Brownsville, Texas. Glen D. Race is at this point only a suspect. But thanks to the professionalism of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation efforts in Troop B and others, the people of Mooers and beyond are sleeping a little more easily.

CHEERS: To Jillian Duda, Melissa Miner and Paula Fish, three employees of the Clinton County Department of Motor Vehicles Office in Plattsburgh, who acted decisively to make up for one of their co-worker's mistakes. A local woman wanted to get license plates for a car, so she called ahead to see what she needed to bring. Proof of insurance and registration, she was told. She brought those to DMV, got in line and waited about 20 minutes to reach a clerk. He said he couldn't process the license, blaming it on the new state system, treated her rudely and told her she couldn't get plates without showing title to the car. She went home, came back the next day with the title and went to the end of the line, preparing to wait her turn again. But Duda, Miner and Fish called her over, opened a window and quickly took care of the license matter. They said she shouldn't have been treated the way she was or been told she needed the title. They apologized and told her they didn't want DMV to have an unfriendly reputation. With employers like them, the office's reputation can't help but improve.

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