New York

Letters to the Editor for Sunday, April 12

Your Voice

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Are we seeing repeat of the Ides of March?

“Beware the Ides of March.” Sound familiar? It should. It’s the day that Julius Caesar was killed.
This year, the days surrounding the Ides were marred by grave medical news. Just a coincidence or what? Something to ponder.
Ron Dobies

Help end crisis earlier by staying home

Why are some people pretending life is as normal as ever?
Schools are closed until at least April 29. Many businesses and jobs have been declared nonessential so that people are not together.
The COVID-19 epidemic is very dangerous to public health, because it spreads by droplets from sneezing, coughing, breathing, and talking. Current estimates are 100,000 to 240,000 Americans will lose their lives to COVID-19.
I work for an essential retail business. If you didn’t get the memo, New York state is part of 90% of the country that is under a Stay-At-Home order. Therefore, you may go to the grocery store, pharmacy or gas station or to get restaurant takeout if it is essential, and you can walk and exercise outdoors by yourself. Otherwise, stay home.
The Centers for Disease Control offers very helpful guidelines on the website, especially “Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.”
Tired of staying at home and being isolated? You are isolated because you or I may carry and spread the virus without becoming infected or showing symptoms.
Grow up, watch the news and listen to state and local authorities’ recommendations on what to do.
Please stop exposing retail workers and other customers to COVID-19 by not making the 70% of trips that are frivolous nonsense, and don’t come in unmasked. Plan shopping trips better, cook from scratch and drink water. Help end this pandemic by staying home unless you really need something.
Michele Stater

Education Dept. fails to meet its mission

I find it unbelievable that the state Department of Education cancelled Regents exams.
Their position that students can graduate without taking the Regents exams brings up the question as to why do we bother having Regents exams. Students interested in going to college should take advanced placement courses/tests, and everyone else would take local exams. This doesn’t preclude a student taking just local courses deciding to go to college at a later date.
The state Department of Education is more than happy to claim our distance learning program is achieving its objective. If so, why not distance Regents exams? Perhaps it’s because it would take some work on their part.
If we are looking for New York state budget savings this coming year, I would recommend eliminating the state Department of Education. As the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN keep pointing out, we had months to prepare for this. Obviously, the state Department of Education has failed to meet its mission, so why bother keeping them?
Andy Beiniks

Not the time to scale back emissions regs

In a viral pandemic, President Trump and his EPA had even more reason not to scale back auto fuel efficiency standards now.
Nitrogen oxides from car and truck exhaust combine with low level ozone and sunlight to create toxic smog for thousands with sensitive lungs while spewing out more heat-trapping gas to warm the planet.
The less efficient our cars and trucks, the longer that toxic brew pollutes the Northeast, warms the planet and worsens life for those suffering from asthma and other lung conditions. But no.
Trump says money will be saved on the manufacturing end, but ignores more spending on the operating end.
We’ll all be buying an additional billion gallons of gas and oil to travel the same distance and add more damage to our heart and lungs needlessly.
His scaling back auto efficiency rules now makes sense to the oil and gas lobby, and that’s what matters to him. Time for a change.
David Gibson
Ballston Lake

Suspend lottery to protect those in need

Gov. Cuomo, regarding COVID-19, I am calling on you to immediately suspend all New York State Lottery sales until further notice.
People who can’t afford to play “your games” have more important things to spend their money on right now. You brag about your budget on national television. It’s time to bring this rip-off revenue source to an end and balance the budget without it. Or, you can wait for another governor to do it and then follow his lead.
It won’t be the first time you were late to the game. If you decide against it, at your next press conference, you can tell the country the idea was suggested, you considered it, and you choose to keep taking money from New Yorkers when they need it the most.
Daniel J. Becker

Encourage people to take early retirement

If the state wants to cut down on payroll, it could consider an early retirement package. For example, I have two years to go. If they would add those two years to my pension, I would retire. Good for them, good for me.
My pension will be way less than my salary, even if you include my replacement. And it comes from the pension fund instead of tax-funded operations.
Bill Denison
Burnt Hills

Cuomo is just what America needs now

I would like to take this time to tell Gov. Cuomo that he is doing a wonderful job fighting this coronavirus.

He had the foresight to see what was happening and jump in quickly organizing our doctors and hospitals. His quick action saved many lives. He is to be commended for using the knowledge of the experts and putting a plan into action. His briefings are intelligent and bold and give us hope for the future.

Our president was totally blindsided. It has been up to Gov. Cuomo to play catch-up and get this state back on track to good health. I wish Gov. Cuomo was running for president. He is just what this country needs.

Marty Shanty


Widespread testing needed to fight virus

Once the coronavirus curve has flattened, there will be pressure to relax distancing mandates. We should resist this pressure. In the absence of reliable treatments and a vaccine, relaxing these mandates should only be considered following extensive testing.

We will have to test significant portions of the population in order to understand the epidemiology of the virus.

Currently, testing is being limited to people with symptoms and people who have come in contact with known coronavirus carriers. These tests may require days for results.

To deal with the population at large, we will need tests which can be conducted in minutes and at high rates.

Several laboratories have been working on rapid turn-around tests.

For example, Abbot has developed a test which it says can give results in about 15 minutes and can be administered in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices.

Abbott plans to begin shipping about 50,000 tests per day this month, which would result in about 1.5 million tests each month if totally successful. We need to be able to test at 10 times this rate to provide timely data. Until we can rapidly test a statistically meaningful portion of the population, region by region, any attempt to ease distancing mandates will pose significant risk.

Don Steiner


Time to rethink bike path in Spa City

How important is a bicycle path and a new third lane in these critical times? Originally it was just an ill-advised idea. Now considering the pandemic outbreak, it becomes much worse. Couldn’t the 3.2M project cost be put towards a more worthy endeavor?

This project should have been cancelled. Gov. Cuomo has, in fact, suspended all unnecessary construction. Unfortunately, about one week after this project, work started.

My wife and I own the only home on Geyser Road affected by the new third lane. The paved road shoulder will be 2 feet from our existing front steps. The only proposal the city of Saratoga Springs has made is to cut down a fir tree on our property.

Presently it is the only protection we have between our home and the road.

On April 2. I found out that they have cut down this fir tree illegally without our written permission. We are now forced to take legal action.

Interestingly, I was told by a reliable source that considerable restitution was given to at least one of the parties opposed to the bicycle path for property improvements.

And yet, up to this point, the city of Saratoga Springs has been unwilling to pay for anything to protect our home from the dangerous situation that they are creating.

James Lawrence

Saratoga Springs

Look at World War II effort for response

What our country needs now in the face of this crisis is national mobilization as we had during World War II. Everyone was called to do his part. Those who have the know-how, skills, materials and equipment, whether large or small, need to get to work to create the supplies that are so sorely lacking.

Government leaders need to coordinate the efforts and provide guidance as to what is needed and what individuals can do to help.

We see individuals making usable face masks and sanitizers. People are avoiding contact with others, wearing masks and gloves, cleaning surfaces, supporting each other by phone and other media. But how else can they help?

During World War II, women came together to roll bandages, work in blood drives, sell bonds for the war effort, entertain troops, provide coffee and doughnuts, and work in factories. Kids collected old newspapers and flattened steel cans. What activities can willing hands do now? Who is telling us?

This is serious. People are dying and more people will be dying — many due to incompetence, willful ignorance or a lackadaisical attitude.

We do not need panic. We don’t need wishful thinking and hollow happy talk. We don’t need finger pointing and whining about fair criticism. We need to focus on facts, not fear. We need constructive, positive effort and the will to win this war.

Paul Zawistowski


Some good advice for coping with isolation

While many words have been written about the ongoing pandemic, there are a few messages that I believe need more emphasis:

1. Keep your body strong to resist the virus: good nutrition supports a strong immune system and cardiovascular fitness helps resist a temporary decrease in lung function.

2. Set goals: exercise, take online courses, fix something, cook, plant a garden, paint, whatever. Don’t sink into lethargy sitting home drinking, smoking, watching TV, etc.

3. Consider that our nation’s economic output is plummeting. If we keep living large, we will bankrupt the country. Our economy has been propped up with money borrowed from the United States of the future: the stimulus makes this worse. If you get a stimulus check (or you still have income), save as much as possible and spend or give in your community first and in your country second.

4. Boycott Chinese goods. This won’t be convenient, but whether you are motivated by respect for animals, respect for the environment, respect for intellectual property, respect for Tibet, respect for democracy, respect for our future or respect for the victims of the COVID-19 outbreak, you should not use our children’s money to bolster the Chinese Communist economy.

We are in a crisis, but we are on the precipice of a much greater disaster. Our citizens will need to act with the interest of the country in mind if they want the United States to continue to provide anything like the standard of living that we have enjoyed.

Norman Perazzo


Grateful for reprint of 1998 dePaola article

Thank you ever so much for reprinting and updating Karen Bjornland’s 1998 story about Tomie dePaola and his Dominican Retreat House mural in the April 1 Gazette.

It was wonderful to be transported to the retreat house and see the mural. Whenever I saw the Blessed Mother and the other saints in chapel, it always made prayer and meditation so much easier. It was as if they were friends with whom I was communicating.

This was the perfect antidote to the coronavirus cloud enveloping us all.

Paula J. Kelly


Tired of isolation; Let’s get back to work

I desperately want to attend church in person instead of over YouTube. I don’t like shopping at 6 a.m. I want to meet with my book club. I enjoyed meeting people and shaking their hands. I want to see my grandchildren on Long Island (all five of them). Much more importantly, there is massive financial pain and emotional suffering from forced furloughs, layoffs and closing of many thousands of businesses.

Government decided that our overall health as a nation was more important than our well-being. Government forced this country to shut down. In America, government has no power to force such disruption and dislocation except for public health or martial law. Both situations are temporary.

It is high time to keep the promise made of only 15 days (now until April 30). Start the reboot of this country.  This situation is not sustainable. We are voluntarily trashing the greatest engine of prosperity in the history of the world. Do not let this happen. All the world is a series of trade-offs, and Americans accept the risks of taking care of ourselves.

We will stop shaking hands, we will stay home when sick, we will pay special attention to and take special precautions with at-risk groups (such as my 74-year-old self), we will act wisely. But let us get back to work.

Rob Dickson

Clifton Park

Thanks to teachers for ray of sunshine

I am a nurse retired for 10 years, currently living in Rotterdam and a caregiver in my own home. I can feel the stress, strain and exhaustion of our health care workers, first responders and police. My heart goes out to them. I pray for them every day. They are all superheroes.

This morning I was cleaning up my sink when I spotted a fire truck, ambulance and police car going down my street with their lights flashing and siren sounding. I went out my front door to see what was going on to find the Teacher Train going down my street with their lights flashing, horns blowing and displaying posters with rainbows and sentiments that told how much they missed their students.

I waved my arms and began to tear up. Yes, Virginia, Rotterdam is a nice place to live. Thank you, teachers, for shining a ray of sunshine at this most difficult of times. Goodness abounds. God bless all of you.

Judy Farrell


Coronavirus outbreak is work of the Devil

I am a Vietnam veteran, and this coronavirus is like being back in a war zone. You never know what is going to happen each day. I do not have an answer, but perhaps our church leadership should once again be involved, as this problem might have been started by the Devil. It is time to unite.

Jim Hartman


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