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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
The Palatine Town Council, from left, Councilperson Richard Becker, Councilperson Betty Sanders, Deputy Supervisor Michele Whiteman, Supervisor Sara Niccoli, Town Clerk Linda Logan, Councilperson Shawn Cotton, and Highway Superintendent Arthur Logan.

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Supervisor questioned regarding lack of pledge recitation

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - Updated: 7:44 PM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

PALATINE BRIDGE -- During the first of two public comment sessions, held at the beginning and finale of last Wednesday's Palatine Town Board meeting, Stone Arabia resident Paul Daw expressed his opinion about the fact that Supervisor Sara Niccoli, as directed by her religious beliefs, refrained from saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the outset of the meeting.

He said, "As a veteran, Sara, I respect your religious beliefs as far as saluting the flag." He continued, "I feel -- this is my own personal belief, that we have a beautiful country. I respect the religious aspect of it. It's what this country is made of." 

He explained that he feels Niccoli should excuse herself from the room while the pledge is stated, as her lack of recitation, he said, "is a slap in the face to me as a veteran."

Niccoli responded, "I am the great great great great great granddaughter of Daniel Boone. My family came here in the 1600s as persecuted Quakers, from England, where they weren't allowed to practice their religion. In a very real way, our country was founded by folks like my family."

She continued, "I absolutely respect veterans. I absolutely want to be in this room with you when you salute the flag, and I feel it in my heart when you salute the flag -- what you feel -- but as my faith directs me to, I can't pledge allegiance to anything above my god."

She concluded, "I can only ask that I'm allowed to practice my faith and I promise you that I will allow you to practice yours."

Niccoli explained that she's already started building a website for the town of Palatine, as she has experience creating webpages. She sought approval from the board to move the current site, which is hosted by the county, and is more difficult to find than a direct website would be.

The website, Niccoli said, could easily be updated by anybody, and would be beneficial in getting information out instantly and accurately. The site, she said, could also contain a directory of local businesses with information about them.

Niccoli also sought approval to spend $107.40 a year to hold the domain name townofpalatine.org.

The board voted to table the issue until next month.

During the meeting, the board appointed Daw to the vacant Town of Palatine Planning Board seat. "I think he's highly qualified and he's interested," said Councilperson Betty Sanders before Daw's appointment was unanimously accepted.

The board voted during the town's January meeting to provide a two percent pay raise, retroactive to January 1, 2014, to town highway department employees. The highway department base rate, prior to the raise, was $17.32 per hour.

     

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