One of the great things about being a reporter for The Daily Star is the travel.
Although I'm still waiting to be sent to cover the Mint 400 motorcycle race in Las Vegas or at least the Kentucky Derby, I do get to visit great little communities such as Davenport, Delhi, Laurens, Milford, Morris, Schenevus and Stamford.
And, of course, Franklin.
It wasn't long ago that I spent time in Franklin on a story about the town's alcohol sales law. Arriving about a half-hour early for my interview, I had some time to walk the streets.
With its old homes, churches and cemetery, it's not hard to imagine Franklin the way it looked 100 years ago. The people are pretty nice, too.
But my last few visits to Franklin were under some sad circumstances.
I was there because Cpl. Nick Uzenski would never get to walk those streets again.
A recon Marine and Franklin Central School graduate, Uzenski was killed in southern Afghanistan fighting insurgents.
In talking with Uzenski's friends and family and Franklin community members, a vivid portrait of the 21-year-old emerged.
The one thing that struck me was the consistency of their accounts. Whether it was the Marines who commanded him, his classmates, his varsity basketball teammates and coach, a former boss or his family, all used many of the same words to describe the Marine.
It always seems the best and brightest among us get killed in war while fighting for American ideals and principles. It may be that, in our remembrances, we elevate some of the dead beyond what they were in life. But I am sure that didn't happen with Uzenski.
Sometimes government really does listen to the people.
Three years ago, the state Department of Environmental Conservation enacted emergency regulations on the use of baitfish to deal with an emerging fish disease known as viral hemorrhagic septicemia.
The rules mandated that all commercially sold baitfish be certified as disease-free. Fish sold by bait shops are to be accompanied by a receipt good for seven days.
What that meant for fishermen was that their baitfish could only be used for a week. They could no longer buy a batch of bait and use it for successive weekends.
That changed earlier this month.
The DEC has now authorized a 10-day period for which a baitfish receipt is valid.
Many fishermen questioned why the bait could only be kept for a week and did not agree with having to dispose of disease-free, unused bait. There aren't very many bait shops in the state, and the shops that do exist don't always keep the same hours as fishermen.
The DEC noted in a Jan. 6 media release the change was made after it receiving requests and input from anglers.
VHS has been found in Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, Lake Erie, Conesus Lake, Skaneateles Lake, the Seneca-Cayuga canal and a private pond in Ramsonville, according to the DEC.
There have been no reports since 2007 of VHS spreading to other New York waters.
Jake Palmateer can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 221, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.