To the Editor:
One of the reasons why I take pride in living in upstate New York is the way neighbors look out for each other. When tragedy or tough times strike a family, folks reach out to lend a helping hand.
Sometimes groups of neighbors will get together to hold a dinner or an event to help a family who has no where else to turn. Across Central and Northern New York, our residents have a strong tradition of banding together by forming civic groups and not for profit organizations to help make life better for their neighbors.
Recently, I got a call on Sunday morning from the organizers of the Morristown Chamber of Commerce’s annual chili cook off. They were worried that the arrival of two New York State Health inspectors would jeopardize their annual event that raises more than $1,000 for this community of less than 500 people.
Just a few days before, I had met with representatives from the Health Department’s regional office and almost 30 people from local chambers of commerce, summer festivals and civic organizations to talk about how the state could improve its relationship with not for profit organizations.
With New York State and the nation facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis, government at all levels is being forced to cut back. Not for profit organizations are being asked to step up and help out even though many of them are also facing severe funding reductions.
That’s why I made sure those chili chefs were able to compete that day. That’s why I am working closely with not for profit groups from across the region. I realize the importance of what they do each day for all of us and why it’s important for our state to be a partner and not an adversary to their efforts.
You can help me in my effort to help our state as it faces its challenges. Visit my website at www.ritchie.nysenate.gov <http://www.ritchie.nysenate.gov/> . Click on "Let Your Voice Be Heard!" and follow the link to my survey so I’ll know what you think about the issues facing New York.
And remember if you turn 65 or older this year, the deadline to apply for the STAR tax break is March 1st.
Senator, 48th District