Don’t let practices conflict with religion
Last Sunday [March 29], I called my son from Florida (my wife and I are snowbirds) and was surprised to find him on a sports field watching my grandson playing a scrimmage of lacrosse. It was Palm Sunday, if any of you have forgotten.
Now I am not a religious zealot by any stretch of the imagination, but I was angry that Shenendehowa felt it necessary to schedule this event on this religious holiday.
I taught at Shenendehowa for 34 years, retiring in 2002, during which I coached girls softball for a period of time. When I coached, we were not allowed to have practices or competition on Sundays, avoiding the need for parents and athletes to make the choice of the athletic event or church.
I guess the culture at Shenendehowa and in the district has changed considerably since when I was there, and I find that very sad.
Governor needs to do more for rail safety
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced more railway deficiencies. Maintenance is losing to the flood of oil tankers. If recent explosive derailments have taught us anything, it’s the fact that time is not an ally.
The governor has the authority to end this threat by invoking state Environmental Conservation law. Bringing this issue to court would show his commitment to the safety of New Yorkers. If the state wins, possible death and destruction could be prevented. Other states would follow New York’s lead, forcing big oil’s hand. Explosive derailments could end nationwide.
I’ve heard many presidential candidates talking of war and the economy already this year. None has discussed rail safety. Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, must not be forgotten. Big oil can be brought to heel.
There’s a reason New York has sent more presidents to the White House than any other state. They were men of action with a deep sense of justice. Being an old salt, I’m partial to our former governor and assistant secretary of the Navy, President Teddy Roosevelt. He beloved in Admiral David Farragut’s axiom: “Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.” Do you, governor?
Article didn’t reflect opposition to project
Regarding Ned Campbell’s March 26 article, “West Glenville high-ropes course finds support amid criticism,” I would suggest tweaking the headline to be more fitting to the climate of the room. Perhaps, “Amid strong community criticism, high-ropes course finds little local support.” The room was packed with people in protest of the proposed course. In fact, during the meeting, 16 additional signatures were added to the petition against it.
Most striking to me regarding Mr. Michael Cellini’s presentation was the not-so-subtle shift in his position during the 90-minute meeting. He began with an opening slide “Who are we?” designed to show his commitment to both community and environment paired with the comments including: “I spent my whole life striving to do what’s right” and that it would be a “community business — not a money-making business.”
However, when traffic concerns were voiced during the question-and-answer period, it became clear that Mr. Cellini’s target for sales is not our community at all. Rather, his studies indicate that business will be coming from Clifton Park and Saratoga, where demographics indicate incomes sufficient to afford such an activity.
Finally, the elephant in the room was addressed by a Waters Road resident, who asked him directly if it bothered him that all of his neighbors are against the idea, to which Mr. Cellini gave a rather nonresponsive shrug.
Had I hung around for the post-meeting interviews I guess I would have heard a more definitive answer, since Ned Campbell’s article ends with Mr. Cellini’s quoted threat to sue the town.
We must adapt our approach to warming
What’s missing from most of the global warming discussions is an understanding of the correlation between a society’s level of development and the energy it uses.
Considering that carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for 150 years or more, it flunks the logic test to think that we can continue to dump billions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and expect no change to occur.
On the other hand, I think our current ability to quantify and predict the impact is poor, and therefore the time we have before things could get really bad is unknown.
The first thing we must do is continue to develop more efficient machines and use them more efficiently. By some accounts, global energy use is expected to increase 30 percent by 2040. I suspect that as China, India and others require more energy, the increase in the amount they use will overwhelm any efficiency improvements. Hence the rate at which greenhouse gases are discharged into the atmosphere will increase, despite efficiency gains.
We also need to continue to develop clean renewable sources of energy, primarily solar and wind power to eventually turn global warming around. But relying on efficiency gains to buy us enough time to get solar and wind power providing a meaningful percentage of our energy needs is a risky strategy.
A more realistic strategy would be to expand on an interim basis existing energy sources that produce less greenhouse gases to provide more time to develop solar and wind power. These interim energy sources are nuclear and natural gas obtained primarily through hydrofracking.
The big question is: Should we avoid the risk associated with nuclear and hydro-fracking by restricting their use and, by doing so, take on the perhaps far bigger risk of cooking ourselves somewhere down the road due to global warming?
We make decisions every day to take risks (based hopefully on knowledge of the probability and consequences) because the benefits outweigh the risk. Nuclear power and hydrofracking are no different. The risks are well-known and the technology exists, along with appropriate government oversight and enforcement, to manage and minimize the risks and protect us.
The alternative is to hope that solar and wind power will arrive in time (like the cavalry) to save us. If that’s the choice we make, my advice to you is to think twice before buying that oceanfront condo.
Wrong image painted about Baptist Health
On March 26 the Gazette published a very one-sided article about Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the unionization of some of its workers.
I have worked with the management and staff of Baptist as a consultant for over five years. In the course of my work, I have visited hundreds of nursing homes. Baptist is one of the most caring places I know; the place I would put my own family member if they needed nursing home care.
Baptist has a stellar reputation because management has instilled an atmosphere of caring. The Gazette article made it appear as if Baptist is short-staffed. This is just not true. Baptist’s current staffing levels are comparable with other area nursing homes. Baptist faces the same challenges as all nursing homes in New York state. More than 75 percent of the residents are paid through government programs: Medicaid or Medicare.
As costs have increased, the rates paid by the state and federal government have not kept pace with the cost of care. Many nursing homes have been forced to close. Every nursing home has had to tighten its belt in order to keep operating. This has resulted in staff having less time to spend with residents to “listen to their stories and hang out with them.”
The employees are wrongly blaming management for these circumstances. They should direct their demands to their elected representatives and ask them to increase funding for more staff.
Elizabeth A Kormos
Postal Service costs could be cut in half
If we could deal with every-other-day mail service, there is a way to cut postal delivery cost in half. If your neighborhood delivery was on, say, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, mail delivery to an alternate neighborhood would be on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. There would remain a total of six delivery days as at present, but delivery would require only half as many postmen and delivery vehicles. By my math, that would cut delivery cost in half.
I have had conversations about limited three-day delivery, with favorable comment. Some would actually prefer it, especially if it drove down mailing costs. Leave the “hot” overnight and next-day mail to multiple competitive commercial services.
Even more savings can be made utilizing what is now-established automotive technology. My mid-sized Chevrolet Malibu with E-Assist is rated at 25 mpg city, 37 highway and 29 overall. It has far exceeded all Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
A rather small battery (compared to hybrids) stores the kinetic energy that would be wasted on both normal and engine braking. That energy is then utilized to supplement the engine during acceleration and hill climbing.
Mail delivery trucks require stop-and-go service, an ideal application of E-Assist technology. I would suggest that over 20 percent in fuel savings would result if phased in with replacement vehicles.
These savings obviously wouldn’t happen overnight. The transition to a smaller workforce and more efficient vehicles would take years, but would be a very worthwhile goal for the postal department and taxpayers.
Bottom line: Free the Postal Service from debilitating congressional bureaucrat control. It’s a business. Run it like one.
Wallace J. Hughes
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