Justice not served in death at O.D. Heck

*Justice not served in death at O.D. Heck *County needs to rally against new pipelines *Grateful for
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Justice not served in death at O.D. Heck

Re April 15 article, “$2.25M settlement in O.D. Heck death”: I was greatly disturbed by the story of the resident of O.D. Heck who died in 2011.

It is our responsibility as a civilized society to make sure that those who suffer from mental or physical disability are not subject to abuse or ridicule. When I read that that poor man would get his shoes so he could leave with his mother, I wept.

Then I became angry. Those “caregivers” should be in prison. They are named, so when is the punishment going to be meted out? When is this poor soul going to get justice?

To his family, I offer, be it late, my sincerest condolences on the loss of your loved one.

Michele Lupe

Niskayuna

County needs to rally against new pipelines

Once again, the residents of Schoharie County are facing the possibility of another pipeline (Tennessee Gas) while the struggle continues to stop the Constitution Pipeline Co.

It is certainly time to recognize that not only are we being exploited, we are being abused as well. If big energy was to have its way, Schoharie County will become a corridor for pipelines and compressor stations. While there has been some resistance to any more pipelines running through our county by some of the members of the county Board of Supervisors, it is time for a united front by all members to send a clear message to our representatives at the next levels of government, as well as big energy, that we will resist all scheduled plans currently drafted to construct additional pipelines through our county.

The residents of Schoharie County are, and will continue to be, victimized by devaluation of properties, detrimental setback standards, scars on our landscape and eminent domain procedures placed against landowners not willing to sign easement agreements. Our residents will continue to suffer the environmental impacts as well, caused by the very presence of any given pipeline and compressor station emissions, all for the purpose of exporting natural gas.

While portions of our county continue to recover from flood devastation, the county continues to lose population, creating hardships not only for businesses, but an increased tax burden for those of us who remain. We must recognize that the loss of population is caused by the lack of economic development, flooding events, taxation and even the lack of additional skilled nursing facilities. All of this will be made much worse by one pipeline after another eating away at the beauty and safety of our rural environment and at the ability of landowners to truly own and control what’s on their property.

While major specific issues are causing an exodus, those same issues are serving as a deterrent for an influx of new residents. While many of our upstate communities are suffering lack of growth, Schoharie County has a unique set of circumstances that must be dealt with.

I believe that collectively we must resist any additional pipelines. Elected officials must stand up and be counted on this issue, for we are duty-bound to protect the health and safety of those we represent, as well as to stop the long arm of government that is all too willing to reach out and take what individual homeowners have worked for their entire lives.

Gene Milone

Schoharie

The writer is the town supervisor.

Grateful for honesty in return of lost wallet

On April 13, I stopped by The Costumer on Central Avenue on my way home from work.

When I got to work this morning [April 14], there was a message at the front desk from someone at The Costumer saying I had left my wallet at the counter. At this point, I was not even aware that my wallet was missing — but sure enough it was not in my purse. I immediately called and a very nice gentleman assured me that my wallet would be kept in their safe until I could stop by to retrieve it. When my husband picked my wallet up in the afternoon, everything was still in it: cash, credit and debit cards, corporate card, etc. I don’t know the name of the person at The Costumer who found my wallet, but I am very grateful for their honesty and would like others to know about their kind deed.

Alayna Bochenek

Johnstown

Columnist condoned bigotry against LGBT

I read the April 2 article [“Indiana backlash a bit over the top”] from Sara Foss with a mixture of both anger and fear. Let me explain.

My anger is rooted in the fact that its still acceptable within our society today to discriminate against the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender) community. Gay is the new black. This statement might make some angry, so let’s take a look at this. If any state put forth legislation that contained the language the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 has and was specifically focused on the African-American community, the Jewish community or even the Christian community, there would be an enormous fire storm. As an openly gay individual that moved my family from Dallas, Texas, to upstate New York so that my wife and I could enjoy all the freedoms and protections that every other American enjoys, I find Ms. Foss’ column infuriating.

The fearful part of me is her laughter over what she considers “piling on,” while those of us that are equality minded see this as the masses standing up for equality. It does not matter that New Yorkers employed by the state would not be travelling to Indiana. What does matter is the unity being shown by so many that discrimination will not stand.

She goes on to talk about how we can make the law more palatable; what is palatable about discrimination? Would Ms. Foss like her bigotry served well done or rare?

Yes, 13 states have similar laws; Indiana’s is singular in its specificity supporting discrimination of gays and lesbians. To this, I add, just because 13 other states have these archaic laws on the books, does it make it right? As my grandfather used to say, “If someone told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”

If you are a flower shop owner in Indiana, it’s your job to sell flowers. It’s not your job to police where the flowers go, who uses them or how they use them. That’s ridiculous.

Ms. Foss seems to use the word “liberal” as though it were something stuck to the bottom of her shoe. As one of those liberals, I would ask her to tell me specifically how her religious views are being infringed upon, belittled or disrespected by those that have an expectation that a Jewish customer will be treated the very same as a gay customer.

Finally, she wraps up her ill-informed, small-town vision with her personal observation that the discussions have been overheated and the next round will provide the public fodder with more grandstanding and piling on.

To this I say, on behalf of the more than 650,000 Americans that have died from AIDS, on behalf of our LGBT youth that commit suicide at the rate eight times higher than average and those of us that continue to seek an existence based on our character and not our sexuality, shame on you.

Your opinion wrapped in the argument of religious freedom is nothing more than bigotry, and is unacceptable by the majority of Americans today. Shame.

Dawn Meifert-Aceto

Schenectady

Get informed before acting on vital issues

I am not for or against the controversial testing, as I don’t have a horse in the race.

One observation I will offer about the high incidence of opt-outs that is the Achille’s Heel for any attempt at social change is this: Most people are not well informed about most things. They react, vote, opt-in or opt-out for the wrong reasons, or worse, for reasons they cannot adequately articulate.

The people who gather all the pertinent information and actually think for themselves are in the minority. Most people draw conclusions based on sound bites.

That’s the reality whether considering controversies such as this one or any political election.

Dave Christensen

Ballston

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