By Judy Tripp-Neu
The United States is 238 years old and all over the country this weekend people wore red, white and blue to show their patriotism. History books tell us that our forefathers celebrated the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with bonfires, bells ringing and fireworks, and after the War of 1812, towns both large and small across the country marked the event with processions, speeches, contests, games, military displays and fireworks. Springwater had none of that, but many families held picnics, gathered family members together and displayed flags on their homes and in their yards. Some even ventured out to other communities to attend their parades and fireworks displays.
As a child I remember sitting on the curb with my siblings, waving our small flags and watching as the soldiers representing every military branch marched and the Sherman tanks and other assorted military apparatus rolled past. Fire trucks followed and then floats from all of the fraternal organizations with bands from the military and local schools provided patriotic music. There would be picnics, swimming and fireworks at night.
Many people do not know that the actual resolution proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776 which contained the words: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States…” was actually approved by 12 of the 13 representatives on July 2, 1776. It required 18 revisions before Thomas Jefferson’s written work was finalized. That final copy was approved by a congressional committee on July 4, 1776 and printed for the first time on July 6, 1776. It was not actually signed until August 2, 1776. When the printer received the original copy it was dated July 4, 1776 and that is why Independence Day is celebrated on July 4.
Some other interesting facts about July 4 include: three presidents have died on July 4. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on that day in 1826 and James Monroe died in on the fourth in 1831. The representative from New York, Robert R. Livingston, abstained from voting on the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. In 1870, Congress approved a bill that made Independence Day and Christmas a federal holiday. The Revolutionary War had already begun (think Paul Revere and 1775) and the Constitution was not written for another 10 years following the Declaration of Independence. John Hancock is said to have signed the Declaration with large flourishes so “King George III can read that without spectacles.”
Monday, July 7, Springwater resumes its town board meetings and will hold a public hearing on the current fracking moratorium. Last week’s decision by the Court of Appeals allows towns to set their own legislation regarding hydro- fracking. This moratorium will allow the town enough time to actually get a law written and approved according to that ruling. Another item that Supervisor Babbitt-Henry said would be discussed is water and sewer rates for the next year. These decisions are made by the Town Board and do not require a public hearing so if you are interested, this is the time to show up and ask questions.
At the regular monthly meeting of the Livingston County Democratic Committee held last Wednesday, Laura Schoonover was unanimously and enthusiastically approved as our choice for Commissioner in the Board of Elections. The County Board of Supervisors will not confirm her for another cycle until December 2014, but all in attendance (and there was an overflow crowd) expressed their approval stating she is “conscientious, knowledgeable and accommodating.”
Election inspectors are still needed and training is scheduled for August 14, 2014. If you have ever considered being an election inspector, it is necessary to let the Board of Elections know you are interested. Call them at 243-7090. The Primary Election (if there is one) is scheduled for September 9 and regular election is November 4 this year. Inspectors are paid but must be trained and certified before working. Other classes are available and the Board of Elections is willing to work with interested candidates.
Anyone who follows the weekly statistics provided by the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office will note that Springwater is seldom, if ever, mentioned when it comes to vehicle and traffic enforcement or arrests. Last year, when we had no cases docketed for Springwater Town Court, I asked Senator Catharine Young to assist us and the previous administration made a concerted effort to answer our concerns. Even the State Police responded and for a brief time, we were seeing regular enforcement in Springwater. Supervisor Babbitt-Henry has offered to make space available for the Sheriff’s personnel to have a satellite office in this area because she feels we need enforcement and a regular presence to preserve the quality of life we deserve and pay for through our property taxes.
We need to let our elected officials know that we care about these issues and do not want a tragedy to occur on our roads. On my road, the serpentine curves are dangerous and many times the backdraft of a speeding vehicle has nearly knocked me over when I was out walking the puppy. Also, at 11:30 at night, youngsters should not be riding lawn mowers with no visible lights on the roads. It should not take a bombing or home invasion to get law enforcement into our town and, with regular patrols, some of these issues could be abated before they become serious problems. If you have concerns about speeders, unsafe driving or other legal issues, please telephone Sheriff Thomas Dougherty at 243-7100.
Have a great week and be kind to one another.