CHEER: Six “Canal Clean Sweep” events are planned this weekend in Lockport and Middleport, beginning this morning. The Clean Sweep initiative, launched by the state Canal Corp. and Parks and Trails New York, encourages volunteers to assist in the tidying of the Canalway Trail and canalside greenspaces ahead of the canal navigating season. Dozens of good citizens are getting together to pick up litter, rake away the last signs of fall and winter and in some cases landscape public areas along Canal, State and Market streets in Lockport and portions of the towpath between Hoffman Road and Peet Street in Middleport. Joining in a Clean Sweep event is a great way to give back to your community. For the full list of registered events, go to www.ptny.org/events. Pick one, grab your rake and gloves and go!

CHEER: Also going on today is a Rainbow of Help benefit for the family of Morgan Watts, from 1 to 7 p.m. at Newfane High School. Morgan’s parents could use a community assist to acquire a wheelchair van for their 7-year-old girl, who battles a seizure disorder and cerebral palsy. As it always does, Rainbow of Help secured the supplies to put on a hearty supper (pasta) and raffles with great prizes, meaning that all of the ticket receipts will go straight to Watts. For less than the cost of a “night on the town,” attendees can have it all — food, games, fellowship and fun — while helping out out a neighbor in need.

CHEER: After advancing at the “Destination Imagination” regional and state contests, the Lockport-based Green Geeks are off to the global finals in Knoxville, Tennessee, next month. The Green Geeks are a group of students from Emmet Belknap, DeSales Catholic and St. Mary’s (Swormsville) schools who get together and dream up solid answers to hypothetical questions like: how would the disappearance of a color affect the world? STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education guides Destination Imagination Inc., a non-profit organization that encourages kids to keep exercising their curiosity and creative thinking skills after school. The Green Geeks, only 3 years old, fielded their second invitation to the global finals and are engaged in fundraising now to be able to make the trip. To lend your support, go to www.gofundme.com/thegreengeeks.

JEER: Some people will never get the message, despite the fact it’s been shouted from the rooftops almost non-stop for the past 30 years: Don’t drink and drive. Or drug and drive. Lately, we’ve noticed a spike in the number of DWIs (and DWAIs, standing for driving while ability impaired) in the daily police reports, including two incidents within the past week that ended with property damage. Thankfully nobody was hurt, either passersby or the allegedly inebriated operators of two-ton machines. It never ceases to amaze, the fact that in the year 2017 DWI remains a regular feature in local police reports, rather than the exception that it ought to be after three decades of Mothers Against Drunk Driving-driven legislation, law enforcement and awareness campaigning. The persistence of such reckless behavior despite the possible consequences — publicity, prosecution, loss of driving privileges, fines, jail time, destruction, death — makes you wonder whether humans can ever earn their place at the top of the food chain.

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