As we end another year, it's time to reflect on the news I've reported during 2010 - It's been about a year for my work as a correspondent for the newspaper, and it has been a first-ever experience for me. It's been very rewarding to write local news that thousands of residents and tourists have been reading on a weekly basis. Thankfully, you've all kept in touch providing me with a lot of news. Warrensburg and its organizations, town government, school, and churches have given me many topics to report on.
Museum continues its development
The first subject I'd like to reflect on is the Warrensburgh Museum of Local History.
Under the direction of Steve Parisi, the museum has developed into a vital venue and important asset in our town, and a place many like to visit again and again.
The museum's sports exhibit was a big hit over the spring and summer. The new veterans exhibit is another one that's well worth seeing. The school children really enjoy the displays on the town's fire department, the houses along Main Street and the shirt factory and various other industries.
Many are digging through closets and old picture albums to find memorabilia to help the museum build an exhibit on stock car racing that once took place in Warrensburg.
To see the museum dressed for the holidays was another visitor favorite.
Like many organizations, the museum needs volunteers, and the museum is seeking guides and others to help manage the collections. Those who have a few hours a month and would like to show others the history of our town, contact Parisi at 623-2207.
We look forward to 2011 and what themed exhibit is next on the horizon for the museum.
A town of helpers, generosity
Warrensburg is a town that definitely reaches out to help others. This year several fundraisers successfully raised money to help others in time of need, including John and Brenda Cleveland, Eric and Rita Lang and family, Brian Angell and family, and Richard Stewart, as they face cancer and other health issues that make holding a job or pursuing daily life difficult. Our heartfelt thanks to all who supported the fundraisers, barbecues and spaghetti dinners. As the common phrase goes, "It takes a village" to effectively reach out to others, and our townsfolk have come through again and again.
2010 a busy year for local schools
There was a lot going on during 2010 in the local public schools, and a lot had to do with the previous topic, the outstanding generosity of our citizens, which applies to our youth too.
Warrensburg Elementary School principal Amy Langworthy and a committee organized the school's first annual Burgher Dash footrace, and they raised substantial funds for the Warrensburg Elementary School playground equipment. This cause spurred fundraisers including basket raffles, a "Scrapathon" - or a marathon scrapbooking session - and a car show as well.
The Warrensburg school district public voted to lease busses instead of purchasing them, which is believed to yield a savings to taxpayers. In April, the school board voted on a budget reflecting no tax increase - the first such accomplishment in many, many years.
Later in the year, the Warrensburg and Thurman town boards held a joint meeting with the school district's Board of Education to discuss ways of keeping taxes under control, and they discussed shared services as a way to save money, as well as opening up school facilities for more community use.
Warrensburg's 2011 business scene
While there still are too many vacant storefronts in town and several businesses have closed their local enterprises, a good number of entrepreneurs have discovered market opportunities and launched new businesses in town, and they seem to be enjoying success.
Living here for 11 years and leading the local Chamber of Commerce for a while, I have witnessed many well established and new businesses flourish, and some flounder.
Since the economic situation could be better, I thought a good way to promote businesses would be a Business of the Month feature in my column - and it became a reality.
Some of businesses featured in Town Talk this year were Mario's Restaurant, Briggs Carpet Cleaning, Rebecca's Florist & Gifts, Plaza Hair Salon, Lizzie Keays, Spruce Mountain Farms, Griffin & Sons, Stephenson Lumber, Tax Express, and Hello Beautiful Hair Salon - all adding to the town's economic vitality. We wish all of our area businesses substantial success.
Efforts prosper to boost history, beauty
This year, a new garlic festival event was started at the ongoing weekly farmers market. Many farms provided fresh produce for sale as well as local, maple syrup, cheeses, eggs, wine and flowers. The Beautification Committee was also very active in planting native plants around town, with the help of local students and other volunteers. Beautification leader Teresa Whalen has accomplished so much over the last quarter century, and this goes for the annual Christmas in Warrensburgh event, which Whalen and her group launched and have annually organized over that time span.
In conjunction with the Beautification Committee, the town's Historical Society planted new Elm trees at the town Senior Center, the town hall and Richards Library. Leading this effort was Paul Gilchrist, who is a proponent of re-propagating the Elm species.
Good news and sad tidings
This past spring, we witnessed a brand-new Oscar's Meats headquarters rebuilt just months after the devastating fire that consumed the historic store.
Many of us had witnessed the devastating fire and hoped it would be rebuilt quickly, so none of its business would be lost.
The re-opening of this business with an international following commanded not only the attention of the regional media, but politicians from the area as well. Many public officials attended the grand opening of the enterprise that showcased its new attributes, including "green" geothermal heating, convenient, spacious layout, and efficient meat processing facilities.
The media attention it received more than compensated for the business lost while it was closed last winter.
The Quintal family is a cornerstone in Warrensburg and we are thankful that they are here - we wish them success.
On a sad note, several people known for their generosity and community service passed on this past year. First, there was George Nemec, whose business Nemec's Sporting Goods, is a vital element of the local economy. George Nemec's generosity, contagious wit and service to others will always be remembered.
Also, there's Ray Chandler of Lake George, who was renowned for his dedication to area youth. Then there was the young Benjamin Osborn - the affable, considerate and fun-loving Lake George High School graduate - who died in Afghanistan protecting his fellow soldiers from an enemy attack.
Just several weeks ago, former state Trooper John Lustyik of Lake George, known for his selfless service to others, also passed on. Many of you will remember him representing the Adirondack Journal as a photographer.
Also, there's Rusty Combs and Vern Baker and Bend Round all of whom had their lives cut short, but individually had remarkable attributes and will be sorely missed by friends and family.
Of course, there was Hugh Allen Wilson of Bolton, who was not only an internationally renowned harpsichordist, but he was conductor of the Glens Falls Symphony, and organist and choir director at First Presbyterian Church in Glens Falls, as well as president of the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum. Wilson, who died Dec. 18, will be remembered by so many not only in Warren County, but internationally.
We'll miss all of these wonderful people, and the many more that passed away in 2010.
I could go on and on and reflect on all the wonderful people we lost this year - be assured we miss them all, and they will endure in our collective memory.
Thank you everyone for your individual contributions to Town Talk this year that help keep people informed.
Please send me your news to firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 623-9744.
Happy New Year and a healthy, prosperous and fulfilling 2011 to all!