Nursing Home Week is for family, life, love

*Nursing Home Week is for family, life, love *Research candidates before voicing views *Backus, Koes

Nursing Home Week is for family, life, love

Skilled nursing care centers across the nation are observing National Nursing Home Week (May 10-16) using the theme of “Bring on the Fiesta!”

It is a celebration of “Familia, Vida and Amor” — family, life, and love — because the human journey continues every day. These essential ingredients of everyone’s humanity allow an individual to live his or her life to its fullest potential, irrespective of age, infirmity or care setting.

National Nursing Home Week has become a time-honored tradition, first celebrated by the American Health Care Association in 1967. Care centers across the state are holding fiestas, open houses, VIP events, balloon launches, tours, and other events. This is a great time for families to visit and friends and neighbors to drop by. If a person can’t come by, I urge you to make a phone call, send a card, flowers or even an email.

This special attention will surely help a resident “Bring on the Fiesta.”

Richard J. Herrick


The writer is president and CEO New York State Health Facilities Association.

Research candidates before voicing views

Although I am not usually one to write an opinion in the newspaper, I am feeling compelled to write in response to Steve Benton’s May 6 letter giving us his opinion about Niskayuna School District Board members, and his perception of their accountability and relationships with other Board members and residents in our community.

I have continually seen over this past year a lot of “mud-slinging” at individuals who have served our District well, and others who have been brave enough to step forward and serve us going forward, and I have had enough of it.

Steve, it seems that you are a member of a faction of residents who feel it is your business to “inform” residents of your version of the facts, and to “advise” us on what you feel are the issues we need to be aware of in order to make an informed decision about the candidates running for Niskayuna School Board.

I know I am speaking for many of us when I say that the residents of the town of Niskayuna are intelligent enough to inform ourselves about the candidates and their platforms, and to decide for ourselves who are the best candidates for the job based on our own sets of facts.

As you stated in your letter, “We have elected two new board members …” and that “This, coupled with Interim Superintendent John Yagielski’s outstanding leadership, have created some positive momentum and have contributed to a greater level of transparency and accountability at the board level and a degree of healing throughout the community.”

However, you fail to mention that it has been because of the excellent service and sound decisions of so many of these past and present board members that Niskayuna has risen to the high level of academic status that you enjoy today. Nor do you acknowledge, or perhaps you are not aware, that there is a learning curve in becoming a board member that requires a level of time and skill to master outside of private sector management experience, despite the intellect and excellent credentials of our slate of candidates.

So, perhaps a whole new board of brand new people may not necessarily be prudent with a new superintendent coming into the district, even though our slate of candidates are very intelligent and contributing members of our community.

You have every right to promote your candidates based on sound credentials qualifying them for a position on the school board.

However, bashing board members who have been elected by residents for 18 years based on sound judgment and principles, and people from our community who are stepping up to the plate to run for Niskayuna School Board for the first time is nothing but a schmear campaign that is only taking us right back to the environment that caused division in our community last year, and which you claim we should be leaving behind.

I, for one, plan to research the candidates and their plans for our district on my own, thank you very much, and not on your “recommendations,” and I am encouraging residents to do the same.

If you think that board members are so incompetent, perhaps you should consider running for Niskayuna School Board yourself, so we can critique your decisions.

Kim Thurn


Backus, Koes most qualified for board

I was at the Niskayuna school board candidate presentation on May 5. The candidates who impressed me most were Brian Backus and David Koes. Mr. Backus impressed me with his military can-do attitude and BOCES experience. As a military officer, he is well aware of the need for continuing professional education that the officer corps does so well.

He will be a strong supporter of the professional development for teachers and staff for which Interim Superintendent John Yagielski advocated.

Mr. Koes impressed me with his deep knowledge of the Niskayuna school system and his commitment to use that knowledge to for the betterment of students.

I cannot vote for long-time board member Barbara Mauro for two reasons. She has a wealth of experience (18 years) on the board and in all types of government agencies, but is timid in using that experience.

She was a member of the board when the school closing chaos was on the table. She failed to use her experience to take the lead in directing board members and the superintendent toward productive discussions to resolve very difficult fiscal problems.

She participated in an important and barely advertised 8 a.m. meeting, which no one from the public attended, to discuss the work of the superintendent, knowing that that violated the spirit, if not the letter, of open meetings legislation.

Joseph J. Hehir


Skelos should have taken Clinton path

It’s a shame Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos doesn’t have a little more wisdom and foresight, as well as the political savvy of the pros. If he did, he might not be in such a pickle today.

It would seem that if he really wanted to help his son profit from his years of sacrifice and public service, there was a far better path to follow than the one he allegedly traveled.

All he needed to do was use his influence to get his son a powerful position in New York government, start a family foundation for the public good, retire at an age where he still enjoyed good health and vitality, hit the public speaking circuit, and rake in money from any number of important individuals, corporations and foreign governments. This would most certainly avoid the need for that whole messy bribery business.

I know it is already being done quite effectively by one family at the federal level, but the door seems wide open for such selfless and benevolent public service right here in New York.

Just imagine, if young Mr. Skelos stuck with the plan and accumulated the optimal amount of wealth and influence, he might one day be a front runner for governor of New York.

Jonathan Simms


Where is Al Sharpton when cops are killed?

The state of affairs being what they are, it was a shame that the Rev. Al Sharpton was not able, did not have the time, was busy or simply didn’t care to attend the recent memorial services for slain policemen killed in the line of duty.

It seems also a shame that he did not have any comments (or I may have missed them) about the most recent shooting of a New York city police officer, chasing a suspect the officer thought had a gun (obviously he did).

Must be there is only so much sympathy a person in his position can muster up in a small space of time.

Bob Nicolella


Categories: Letters to the Editor

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