Letters to the Editor for April 29
Health insurance exchange just what New York needs
Re April 13 AP article, “Cuomo: Federal health system to start”: Thanks to the governor for acting to establish a health insurance exchange as described by the Affordable Care Act, so the state will benefit from federal establishment grants of $48.5 million.
This money is intended for the planning and [creation] of an exchange and the tailoring of it to meet New Yorkers’ unique needs.
u The exchanges will offer access to a basic set of health services, including doctor visits, hospitalization, maternity care, prescription drugs and rehabilitation services.
u The exchanges will also allow individuals and small businesses with employees of 100 or less to purchase better health insurance at more competitive prices.
u Subsidies will be available to those whose income falls at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
u Through this exchange, it is estimated that individual insurance premiums could go down as much as 66 percent and small business costs 22 percent.
It is also anticipated that more than 1 million currently uninsured New Yorkers will become eligible to purchase insurance through the exchanges and that 700,000 will be eligible for federal subsidies.
The exchanges will allow for a hotline, Internet site and personal assistance for individuals and small businesses to review an easily understood comparison of insurance products.
Who bears the current cost of not providing access to health care for the uninsured? The insured — through higher premiums, because the uninsured make use of emergency rooms, may require more expensive medical interventions and may need to take more time off from work.
We strongly support the increased access and affordability the health insurance exchange will bring New Yorkers!
The writer is chair of the Schenectady League of Women Voters’ health committee.
Local flood relief effort still far from finished
On behalf of the Flood Recovery Coalition for Schenectady County, I applaud the Daily Gazette for its ongoing coverage of the long-term flood recovery effort in our community. The Daily Gazette has brought to life the compelling stories of people and families affected by last summer’s storms and devastating floods.
Often when events of this kind strike, they receive immediate front-page placement but soon fade from public view. The Gazette’s coverage has helped maintain our attention on the continuing need to assist these families.
The Flood Recovery Coalition is a group of community organizations that includes Catholic Charities, the City Mission of Schenectady, Habitat for Humanity, Schenectady Community Action Program, St. Clare’s Church, St. Margaret’s Church and The Schenectady Foundation, among others. We’ve raised resources to fuel flood recovery work over the last seven months, including about $350,000 in cash and considerable volunteer and in-kind support.
While much of our funding has been spent on building materials, furnaces, boilers, installation of heating and electric systems, insulation, wallboard and home repairs for needy families, we have also provided financial assistance to families and case managers to help families manage their recovery. To date we’ve worked with more than 80 families, many of which are now back in their homes. Others are still very much in the recovery phase — more than 40 by our count.
The coalition currently has resources to continue for the next several months. Still, we estimate that another $200,000 will be required to complete our mission. We continue to accept donations, through our website at www.schenectadyfoundation.org, or by mail, to our office at 376 Broadway.
Robert A. Carreau
The writer is executive director of The Schenectady Foundation.
Moore’s article slanted against Alliance Party
Re Kathleen Moore’s April 14 article, “Party denies interest waning”: Anyone who has worked with Roger Hull knows that he does not begin anything frivolously. The Alliance Party was founded to address many important issues facing Schenectady, one being the impact of one-party rule. That the Alliance Party placed a candidate on the City Council and that Roger Hull came close to being mayor illustrate that he is a person who perseveres — and that the city was ready for change.
Mr. Hull has all intentions of keeping the Alliance Party going. However, he is also involved in other projects, not to mention family obligations. What was bothersome to me is that Ms. Moore’s article portrayed Mr. Hull as someone who has let the Alliance Party falter and no longer has interest in supporting its mission since he lost the mayoral race.
Stating that the Alliance Party website has not been updated and using a quote by [Councilman] Vince Riggi (in response to his lack of contact with Hull) to close the article leads readers to think that the Alliance Party is defunct.”
Really. Perhaps a more fitting headline for the article would have been, “The denigration of the Alliance Party,” by Kathleen Moore.
Sch’dy High’s bands recall success of yore
Recently, I was fortunate enough to travel with three Schenectady High School bands to a competition in Newport News, Va. This caused me to hearken back to my playing days some 40-plus years ago under the direction of a wise band instructor and educator at Schenectady schools named Al Hallenbeck.
He passed recently, but his memory lives on. Every time I click on my electronic gadgets and am asked the security question, who was my favorite teacher, Mr. Hallenbeck’s name is my response.
Most of his students have moved on to other endeavors but part of our success is due to valuable disciplines he taught us back them. If you have seen the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus” you will understand how his students felt.
Schenectady High’s musicians are blessed with a bright young band instructor, Joel Servant. While watching the marching band compete on a wonderful spring morning, local people looked on behind a chain link fence. Someone said, “man, that band sounds good,” asking if I knew where they were from. I proudly told him. The joy of this band’s music instantly uplifted the hearts of everyone listening and watching.
I wish more Schenectadians could have witnessed the dedication and drive of these young men and women, and the magic in their music. At the awards ceremony, trophies rained down on them.
It seems clear that Mr. Servant is working on an opus of his own. Best of luck to him and his present and future students.
Brian D. Koehler
It figures Mohawk GC is struggling to find its way
I was flabbergasted by Bob Weiner’s April 22 article [“New members are giving Mohawk GC a boost”] about Mohawk Golf Club cutting down trees to improve its course layout.
This is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard, for the beauty of Mohawk and the Northeast is the variety of their trees. It makes more sense to replant new trees as needed, as was the practice previously.
A fact Bob did not mention in his article, which undoubtedly increased house and social memberships, was the addition of the best chef in Schenectady County to its kitchen. Therefore, why not open dining to the public, especially during the non-golfing season? That would definitely improve the bottom line. Mohawk would not have to depend on the generosity of a few of its members to survive as a private club.
Nicholas D. Procino
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