Your Niskayuna: Letters to the Editor for Jan. 11 to Jan. 17

Your Voice
One of today's letters refers to Jessica Brennan (pictured) and her Nisky NOW program
One of today's letters refers to Jessica Brennan (pictured) and her Nisky NOW program

Enjoyed the holiday display in Niskayuna

I just wanted to thank the families on Lexington Parkway in Niskayuna for creating a scene that seemed straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. 

Your luminaries cast a tranquil glow and looked so beautiful on Christmas Eve.
Rosemary Podbielski


Many helped with Girl Scout project

Recently, I was one of 10 girls in the country named National Gold Award Girl Scout for my efforts to combat food insecurity by increasing pollinator populations through planting gardens at solar arrays; securing state funding for research; and successfully advocating for long stalled legislation.

Since no accomplishment this big could be achieved alone, I did not want the year to end without publicly thanking everyone who supported me.

From my troop leader since kindergarten, Liz Yanoff, and council mentor Allison Marinucci, to the middle school girls who planted seeds with me, I am very grateful for the Niskayuna Scouting community. Former Supervisor Joe Landry cultivated the idea for the solar gardens, much the same way he always helped Boy Scouts exploring Eagle Scout projects. Assemblyman Phil Steck guided me through the legislative process.

Whenever I talk about my project, I am always proud to say a fellow Niskayuna resident first presented information about the solar pollinator garden legislation to my town government.

Building off my troop’s previous pollinator garden project completed with Highway Department leaders two years earlier at the request of another resident, Niskayuna master gardener Kathy Harter provided the spark I needed to undertake this endeavor.

Finally, I want to thank my hometown newspaper. The Gazette’s coverage of my efforts — and the new Gold Award Girl Scout scholarship I am launching — helps further my goal of increasing awareness of Girl Scouting at the highest levels.




Students need more help fighting hunger

A recent Gazette article highlighted the efforts of Jessica Brennan, a social worker at Rosendale Elementary School, to reach out to meet the food needs of students who need a little extra help. Niskayuna is a relatively affluent community, but still has 13 percent of its students living under the poverty level.

Jessica runs “Nisky NOW,” which is a backpack program that provides backpacks full of food to kids in need each weekend. Deliveries by volunteer drivers are made to the kids’ homes on Thursdays or Fridays. 

She recently organized “Hoops for Hunger,” which was a successful food drive that helped stock the program’s pantry.

Earlier this year, when my husband and I visited the school board meeting to inquire as to why our district had not become involved in the Backpack Program, we were told by district Superintendent Dr. Casimo Tangorra that there was not a need here. Hopefully, now all recognize that such a need exists. 

Only through efforts of people like Jessica has the district implemented the Backpack Program.” This season has again seen many teachers and school staff reaching out to provide assistance to families in their schools. We should be proud of these teachers who are contributing in spite of the fact that they are working currently without a contract. 

Thank God for people who care for those less fortunate.
Dorothy Horstkotte

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Saratoga County

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