Mountains & Valleys

MOUNTAIN — Saranac Lake’s Chris Mazdzer finished a terrific run on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” Monday night. Sure, it would have been nice to advance once more to the dance competition’s final round of three pairs, but hey, he made it farther than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and he made it to Mother’s Day and was able to have his mother Marty Lawthers on the show with him. Overall, it looked like he had a whole lot of fun.

Our charismatic Olympic luge silver medalist lit up national network TV; he represented his sport and his hometown well on an enormous stage. For USA Luge, this is huge. It will help them get more sponsors and thus more money, and thus more coaches and equipment for the four years leading up to the next Winter Olympics in Beijing.

VALLEY — to gas prices shooting up well over $3 a gallon. Enough said.

VALLEY — to tire-eating potholes. At least some of the money we spend on gas is going to fix up our cratered roads and precarious bridges. The federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel hasn’t changed in 25 years. Much as we hate to say so, it needs to be raised. New York, meanwhile, has the fourth highest fuel taxes at 43.88 cents per gallon of gas and 42.68 cents per gallon of diesel. Hopefully some of that money is used this year on the state highways in our area, especially those running through our villages. The ones in Saranac Lake — Church Street, River Street, Broadway and Lake Flower Avenue, for example — are in horrendous shape.

MOUNTAIN — to Tupper Lake police and school officials for their quick and effective action in response to a school threat posted on Facebook, allegedly by a former Sunmount resident who also stands charged of setting multiple arson fires in malls in his home borough of Queens. They later determined that the suspect was in Queens and was not near enough to hurt anyone in Tupper, but he had not posted which school he would attack. For all we know, he planned to carry out the threat elsewhere, and Tupper Lake officials prevented that.

VALLEY — to Gov. Andrew Cuomo interviewing attorney general candidates even as the Legislature does the same. By meddling in lawmakers’ prescribed job to pick someone to serve until the next election, Cuomo is breaking down the necessary separation of powers and also hurting both himself and whomever he favors for the job. He’s making himself look even more corrupt than he already does, and anyone he endorses for the job will be tainted as the governor’s pet. The AG must be independent and ready to investigate and prosecute corruption in any aspect of state government — more independent than recently resigned AG Eric Schneiderman ever was. Cuomo and many legislators no doubt want someone who, like Schneiderman, will play the tiger with Washington and the toady with Albany. Voters, however, need someone to help clean up the capitol — someone like former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who thankfully is considering running independently of either major party.

VALLEY — to a shortage of school board candidates. In this year’s school election, Keene had the only contested race among the six public school districts the Enterprise covers. We understand that this is an unpaid position with heavy work and responsibility, but it’s always been that way. We are glad that our area was at least able to produce enough people to fill the seats — and the candidates are generally good, by our reckoning — but still, the lack of choices to offer voters speaks badly about out area’s sense of civic engagement.

MOUNTAIN — finally, to a beautiful spring currently underway. Violets pepper the grass, leaves are sprouting on trees, and birds are making all kinds of happy commotion. Village cleanup days and street cleanings produced major improvements, garden shops are bustling, and their products are getting ready to bloom in people’s yards. Here’s to our shortest and perhaps most lively season.

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