Too much security? No such thing

It's a shame that education today must include so much security. On the other hand, it's a good thing that community officials are paying attention.

We can't keep our kids too safe.

This week, it was announced that five Oneida County school districts - Camden, New York Mills, Sauquoit Valley, Waterville and Westmoreland - have agreements with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office for part-time special patrol officers to provide additional security at their schools. These officers now are in six countywide districts; Whitesboro has had them since 2015.

With the agreements, the school districts have agreed to split the costs with Oneida County, which has committed $500,000 toward the creation of the new part-time special patrol officer positions. The county sheriff’s office now has 28 part-time special patrol officers assigned among the six districts.

County officials are in discussions with other districts about the program, said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. He said the program is in response to perceived inaction by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as well as state and federal legislators to address school safety.

Good for local leaders. Too often important issues become politicized and then get talked to death by grandstanding politicians. School security isn't a political issue. Fortunately our local officials realize that.



Too much of a good thing

The especially warm summer comes with a price. While it certainly provides motivation to go jump in the lake, it also creates issues that might make that a bad idea.

Like cyanobacteria HAB.

The toxic blue-green algae has turned up in Otter Lake, Lake Delta and Turtle Pond within Delta Lake State Park, according to the Oneida County Health Department, although it is currently outside of the public bathing beach at Delta, the health department said.

Exposure to blooms and toxins can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties, the health department said. People and pets should avoid contact with blooms and should rinse off with clean water if contact occurs.

The algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams but usually present in low numbers. Blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scums on the surface of the water. Bathing beaches regulated by local health departments are periodically closed due to the occurrence of blue-green algae blooms.

The health department recommends contacting your health care provider if symptoms following exposure to blue-green algae occur.

For more information go to Any questions or comments may be sent to



Heroes had a ball - and used it

An attacker wielding a knife was no match for three heroes who lobbed hefty metal balls at him and put him out of commission last Sunday in Paris.

The attacker stabbed seven people - four were hospitalized - before being knocked senseless by three men who were only looking to have a quiet game of petanque. That's a bocce-like game played by some 20 million French in which a ball is slowly rolled along the gravelly ground, popular in Parisian courtyards in summer months. It’s not usually associated with danger, action or speed, although, as it turns out the heavy metal balls used in the game can become unlikely weapons.

As the knifeman began his rampage, the three petanque plauyers began lobbing the balls by the dozens at the attacker while one clobbered him over the head with a wooden plank. The attacker was taken into custody.

French officials said that without the bravery of the three friends, it could have been a lot worse. The trio chased the attacker, who is believed to be Afghan, down the street and showered him with their normally-peaceful steel spheres that can weigh almost a kilogram. Some 30 were thrown at the attacker as he was trying to stab people with a 40-centimeter (15-inch) kitchen knife. At least one struck his head.

One rescuer wrested the knife from the attacker while his pals took him down and held him until police arrived.

The Parisian petanque players were lauded for their bravery.