Your Niskayuna: Letters to the Editor for Feb. 1 to Feb. 7

Brooks Brennan, 10-years-old of Niskayuna, leaps off the diving board into the deep end of the town pool in 2015
Brooks Brennan, 10-years-old of Niskayuna, leaps off the diving board into the deep end of the town pool in 2015

Nisky pool raffle has done a lot of good

We read with interest Thomas Hodgkins’ Jan. 14 letter “Teach children about evils of gambling,” which criticizes the Niskayuna Town Pool’s annual raffle for introducing children to gambling.

Thirteen years ago, we helped to launch that raffle as part of the pool’s annual Swim-a-Thon fundraiser for the Donna M. Crandall Foundation, a local charity that supports cystic fibrosis patients.

While Mr. Hodgkins implies we should feel shame for introducing children to gambling, we feel nothing but pride for getting them excited about volunteering.

Today, the raffle and Swim-a-Thon are run by kids we taught to swim over a decade ago.

It’s become a fun annual tradition, supported by businesses in the community, children, teens, their parents and even grandparents, during the summer swim season.

At the event, in addition to the raffle, kids swim laps, play games, and enjoy pizza and ice cream.

We’re proud to have helped build something that makes young people excited about giving back to their community and to have kick-started a program that’s donated thousands to the Donna M. Crandall foundation over the years.

Mr. Hodgkins is concerned about a “game of chance,” but our raffle supports those who sadly play the “game of chance” every day as they bravely battle with cystic fibrosis.


The writers are former Niskayuna town pool lifeguards.

McGraw, fundraiser deserve much praise

I was surprised to read Thomas Hodgkins’ Jan. 14 letter criticizing the Niskayuna Town Pool’s Wild Turkeys Swim and Dive team’s annual efforts to raise funds for the Donna M. Crandall Foundation that serves those living with cystic fibrosis, a devastating and life-threatening disease.

Specifically, the letter attacked the team’s volunteer parent coordinator, Denise Murphy McGraw.

I have been a part of the Niskayuna Town Pool community as an athlete, coach, lifeguard and pool manager since I was in elementary school. I grew up at the pool, and it has contributed to my work ethic, spirit of cooperation, commitment to voluntarism and appreciation of community.

Mrs. McGraw’s volunteer work is largely responsible for the positive influence the pool has had on my life and lives of so many others.

Certainly, her guidance while organizing the swim-a-thon has made me realize the power in community-based action for effecting change.

Today, I’m a scientist working towards my Ph.D. in Neuroscience focusing on the biochemical mechanisms of psychiatric disorders with a particular interest in substance abuse disorders. I know my career path has been shaped by my experiences working for the benefit of others, experiences I may not have had were it not for the town pool, swim-a-thon and Mrs. McGraw’s guidance.

The swim-a-thon is the highlight of the summer for dozens of Niskayuna children, and it should not be misinterpreted and attacked.

Even more assuredly, the volunteer who makes it possible should not be attacked; she should be celebrated.


City must realize the benefits of its trees

So let’s see, the city of Schenectady will no longer replace trees it removes.

This is despite the fact ordinances require it and the fact that trees clean the air of pollution, calm aggressive drivers and can lower summer sizzling sidewalk temperatures by 10 degrees.

The city can stop the tearing down of affordable housing options and instead allow construction built of flammable particleboard far out of the reach of the average person. And it will not replace city sidewalks.

It’s time for city workers to move their desks out onto the summer sidewalks, where the heat can rise above 100 degrees, let their homes be demolished and replaced by new developments they can’t afford and which create more sidewalks that DPW can’t keep up with.

And let’s find out if city pensions are invested, as I suspect, in construction companies that can make campaign donations and fill the city to the brim with developments that few can afford to live in and overburden the city’s Public Works Department.

The people who work on your cars and stock the grocery stores for you cannot afford to live in these new developments. They are living in the inner cities, forced to ride the bus and deal with the relentless summer heat on the treeless streets.

They’re very likely to develop asthma from the filthy air and from trying to make their way down the broken sidewalks as they wait for the city bus to take care of them.

All the while, city officials sit in air-conditioned offices and think of new ways to tax them.

BETH R. JACOBS Niskayuna

Categories: Saratoga County

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