Area could do more to honor Steinmetz

*Area could do more to honor Steinmetz *Stop burying heads in sand over climate *Skeptical that nucl

Area could do more to honor Steinmetz

I attended the Charles Steinmetz 150th birthday celebration, and it was a joy to listen — once again — to how important Charles Steinmetz was to the city of Schenectady and to the country.

When I moved to Schenectady in 1980, I traveled around the city to become familiar with the Schenectady. While walking through Proctors, I came across the photo of Steinmetz and a description of who he was and his accomplishments. From there after, every time I went through Proctors, I was mesmerized by this little man with the powerful stare.

While reading about him, I realized that he came over to the United States the same year as my great-grandfather (Philip Hochheimer). This fact piqued my curiosity as to whether my great-grandfather came over on the same ship, and whether they knew each other, being as they both seemed to be running from Bismarck because of their political leanings.

I went to one of the buildings at General Electric and began researching. However, there was so much information that I was overwhelmed.

One day, I took a walk along Wendall Avenue to look for Steinmetz’s home where he did research in the botanical area. Sadly, all that was remaining was a pathway that led to a plaque.

I have often wondered why a “light bulb” didn’t go off in the heads of city officials in promoting Charles Prometheus Steinmetz and his vast contributions to the city of Schenectady. He was one of the greatest scientist/inventors — drawing some of the top scientists to Schenectady. Besides his inventions, Charles Steinmetz contributed so much to the education of children, his keen interest in botany and politics. The list goes on and on. He was in the forefront of so many positive ideas and laid the foundation for others to follow.

When I saw the beautiful Mohawk River, I thought what a pleasant place to be with your thoughts. Then I came across a picture of Steinmetz sitting in his boat on the Mohawk, figuring out more ideas. Also, I thought about the promotion of Vale Cemetery, where Steinmetz is buried along with his sister and other notables.

This should be the proud draw to Schenectady — Steinmetz as a role model and build-up of the Mohawk River with a promenade, etc. Students could be encouraged to go into electrical engineering.

It would be appropriate to have a huge statue erected in honor of this ‘small-in-stature’ but giant pioneer in electrical engineering who had a huge intellect, great compassion and gave enormous contributions to a city that he loved.

Happy 150th birthday to Charles Proteus Steinmetz, who may be here in spirit.

Flora L. Ramonowski


Stop burying heads in sand over climate

I’m cranky like everyone else that winter this year seemed endless. And now, although snow has given way to rain, the attic in my 112-year-old house is swamped, for the first time, by mold. I’m wondering, “Will things ever dry out?” As spring beckons and Earth Day approaches, it’s a good time to take stock.

Data shows that New York is, in fact, wetter than it used to be. There are more gray days and more intense rain and snow events. These bring flooding and dampness that promote unhealthy conditions such as the growth of mold, dust mites, and other pests, including mosquitoes and ticks.

Our roadways and infrastructure also suffer, as we know all too well. Need I go on? Scientists tell us this is due to climate change. It’s time for us to wake up and take action. This coming Earth Day is a good reminder.

There is a powerful solution that would help stabilize our climate, and it’s a non-partisan, market-based approach. Economists agree: The most effective way to reduce carbon pollution and greenhouse gases is to put a price on carbon. Then return the revenue that’s raised to households. That’s a win-win for both the economy and the environment.

We citizens need to pressure our elected leaders to take meaningful action on climate change. It doesn’t help to bury our heads in the sand (and besides, in our area, it’s getting pretty wet down there).

Julie Kabat

North Chatham

The writer is a volunteer for Citizens Climate Lobby.

Skeptical that nuclear agreement will hold

I find the April 5 headline, “Triumph of diplomacy,” and the Associated Press article, “Iran nuclear deal meets America’s goals,” to be scary. I have yet to hear from anyone in the media as to why Iran needs a uranium-enrichment program. Let me explain.

According to Iran, they need the uranium enrichment program for “peaceful purposes.” By this, I assume that they mean for producing fuel for power-generation nuclear plants. The only nuclear power plant in operating at present is the Bushehr No. 1 unit. The reactor in this plant is a Russian design, the fuel for which was supplied by the Russians. And the spent fuel is supposed to be returned to Russia for reprocessing.

Quoting from an excellent report by the World Nuclear Association (Nuclear Power in Iran) under the heading, Nuclear Power Developments: “The Russian agreement means that Iran’s nuclear fuel supply is secured for the foreseeable future, removing any justification for enrichment locally.”

In this same report under the heading, Uranium Enrichment, the following is quoted: “Iran has a major project development enrichment capability. This program is heavily censored by the United Nations since no commercial purpose is evident.”

It is quite evident to me that the Iranians wish to eventually develop nuclear weapons. I think this new agreement being negotiated by the Obama administration merely puts off the evil day, but does not really solve the problem of Iran developing nuclear weapons.

While I do not profess to having a solution to this problem, let me just say that I do not trust the Iranians to adhere to this agreement any more than with similar agreements made with North Korea.

I am old enough to remember Neville Chamberlain, the prime minister of Great Britain, returning from Munich in September 1938, quoting from the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler as follows: “Peace for our time.” Of course, one year later Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. The rest is history.

I only hope that for the sake of the younger generation, the Obama agreement can be made to stick. But I am afraid that I remain rather skeptical.

Sidney J. Woodcock



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