New York

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, April 18

Your Voice

Thanks to workers on the front lines

I would like to commend the heroic, unselfish actions of all those individuals who work in all of the essential service industries (nurses, doctors, hospital staff, EMTs, grocery store employees, teachers, supply chain personnel, utility workers, control room operators, police, town, city, county and state employees, etc.). Their commitment to their communities and to the greater good is in stark contrast to those who are compelled to over-buy, and thus are putting themselves ahead of others.
We have all learned something of ourselves and our communities during this ordeal. I am heartened by the numbers of people who continue to support their communities and to strive to provide normalcy in what is an abnormal time.
The next time we are faced with a test of strength, I hope we stop and think about these individuals and their examples of compassion and inspiring duty to their communities and act accordingly.
Dave Vonie
Ballston Lake

Response after fire was heartwarming

I am a senior citizen who lives in the Raymond Watkins apartments in Saratoga Springs.
During the second week of March, there was a fire here. But due to the speed and efficiency of the Saratoga Springs Fire Department and EMS, there was only one injury and the fire was contained to one apartment. All residents were evacuated safely and without incident.
The bowling alley across the street on Route 50 said anyone who wanted to come in and warm up was more than welcome to do so. Our apartment manager did an excellent job of keeping everyone calm and informed. Price Chopper showed up with carts of ready-to-eat meals from its deli, so everyone had a good, hot meal that evening.
I am very grateful to live in a city that looks out for its neighbors as well as Saratoga Springs does.
Pamela Hart
Saratoga Springs

Right-to-repair bill will hurt farmers

Agriculture is a major economic sector in New York, with an annual fiscal impact of over $42 billion. This could be slashed if New York’s legislature passes a so-called “right-to-repair” bill.
Farmers already have the right to repair their farming tools. Right-to-repair bills would allow illegal modifications that violate federal energy, emission and safety standards that protect the farmer and the environment.
These bills would be better called “right-to-modify.”
Manufacturers and dealers understand farmers’ frustration when it comes to repairing high-tech equipment. To address this, manufacturers already provide comprehensive maintenance and diagnostic guides and the information to repair modern tractors and combines.
Sophisticated software allows greater precision to make better use of precious land. The results are increased crop yield while reducing needed seed, water, fertilizer, insecticides and fuel, saving farmers money in the long run. This helps not only their bottom line, but also the environment, promoting sustainability and preservation.
Special interest groups pushing these bills don’t have farmers’ interests at heart. Instead, they are looking to exploit the right-to-repair legislation to gain unfettered access to the software code and proprietary information. They are utilizing farmers as pawns for their own nefarious purposes.
State lawmakers should be wary of special interest groups spending big money to impose unfair “right-to-modify” legislation on the agricultural community that benefits them and not farmers. There’s a good reason why these types of bills have never taken seed in other state legislatures when proposed.
Doug LaGrange
Feura Bush

Trump can’t rise to coronavirus challenge

Since Ronald Reagan, Republicans, and later Fox News, have worked to shrink government and disparage governmental expertise, science, fact-based decision-making and independent journalism.
With the election of Donald Trump, we have the incarnation of everything the Republican Party has been working towards: a small, barely functional administration that ignores facts, expertise and science.
Trump has attacked non-political career public servants, experts in their fields, replacing many with people whose only qualification is loyalty to him, while leaving many other positions unfilled. Trump has waged war on science and facts with constant lies and the invention of “alternate facts.” Any news he doesn’t like is “fake news.”
Trump defunded the U.S. pandemic response team and ignored warnings about the coronavirus for 10 weeks. As a result, we are more than two months behind other advanced countries with tests, ventilators and personal protective equipment for our heroic medical professionals. How is this keeping America first?
The threat we all face can only be beaten by the application of science, the dissemination of accurate information and honest, competent leadership. Even in the midst of this crisis, Donald Trump is unable to rise to the occasion and acts like a narcissistic child.
Victor Roberts
Burnt Hills

Real estate agents can put people at risk

Can anyone explain to me how it makes sense to consider real estate agents to be considered essential when their job is working with the public, going into people’s houses and showing people houses?
You have no idea where any of these people have been, who they have been in contact with or sometimes where they are from. To me, it seems like a risk that could be avoided.
By the way, they were considered non-essential up until the beginning of what was expected to be one of the worst weeks of the pandemic.
Robert Palmateer

Find alternative to alcohol during crisis

Spring is finally here. While spring is delightful, the stress and fear of the COVID-19 pandemic is aggressively making a negative impact on everyone.
Families are in panic mode as their income may have stopped, they now are responsible for teaching their children and finding healthy meals, and yet the alcohol rate continues to climb. In fact, it was reported in the news last week the sales of alcohol rose 55%.
In times of discomfort and isolation, many attempt to quickly fix unstable emotions by using substances such as alcohol. Alcohol, categorized as a depressant, affects multiple organs within the body, primarily the brain. The frontal lobe in the brain is first affected.
This part of the brain is responsible for motor functions, coordination and decision-making.
Being able to make rational decisions in a time such as COVID-19 pandemic is very important. Alcohol has been medically proven to lower the human immune system. This opens the chances of being susceptible to the deadly virus and more.
Today before you choose the use of alcohol, try an alternative way to cope with the stress and anxiety of isolation due to the virus. Some alternatives can be exercise, meditation and cooking. If you are struggling with alcohol or other drug use, please reach out for help.
As a community, pledge to be alcohol free to ensure we all stay healthy.
Chelsie Alderson
The writer is a Prevention Specialist at New Choices Recovery Program.

St. Clare’s workers challenged to help

I just received a response to my letter to NYServes requesting me to go to New York City to volunteer for at least five 8-hour shifts.
I am willing to go to New York City and work as a respiratory therapist, and I’m also an RN.
I am, however, one of the 1,100 St. Clare’s employees who have been cheated out of my earned pension and therefore must continue to work full-time as an RN to support my family.  
I cannot travel to New York City from Schenectady and not receive any compensation, as I am the breadwinner of my family — especially putting myself at higher risk of acquiring COVID-19 by being on the front line.
I am also caring for my 92-year-old father, who has Alzheimer’s and needs 24/7 care.  I would have to pay someone else to stay with him on the three days a week I care for him.
Please tell the governor to use some of this crisis money to restore the St. Clare’s pension and you may see many others be able to aid New York City’s hospitals at this time of crisis. But we are being forced to work to avoid losing our homes until our pensions are restored.
So, please help us so we can help our fellow New Yorkers. We are fighting our own battle here in Schenectady. But at the moment, I am not needed here as much as in New York City.  
Laura Huggett RN, RRT

People must pick up their discarded gloves

I agree with Patricia Harrington’s view in her April 7 letter (“Address problem of discarded gloves”), that we are being careless with the discarding of masks and gloves.
While biking past St. James Square that same day, I was shocked at the number of gloves and masks that were strewn about the sidewalk. As more and more people take to the streets to escape, this carelessness is counterproductive to what we all are trying to achieve.
David Orcutt

State employees deserve our respect

Your April 10 editorial (“Pay freeze beats the alternative”) was quite a departure from your usual well written pieces. I understand that you believe Gov. Cuomo should have the power to disregard contractual obligations negotiated by state employee unions. I don’t necessarily disagree with the result, but certainly, there could have been a better way to arrive at it. There’s also a better way for you to express your opinion than the derogatory, insulting path you chose.
Yes, the 2% pay raise is “modest” considering that Gov. Cuomo received raises of 11.7% in 2019, 12.5% in 2020 and will get another 11% in 2021.
You suggest state employees “should take their chances in the real world.” As a retired state employee, I’m well aware of the world many state employees live in.
On April 9, you reported on the successful search for two lost children in Schenectady County.
The search teams included volunteer firefighters and individuals with specialized training and resources from three state agencies that helped to ensure the success of this operation. These people worked in a real world of darkness and rough terrain.
Every day, state employees face the real-world hazards of working on our highways, supervising inmates in prisons, handling viruses in health laboratories, providing fire safety and enforcing the law in our communities.
Please remember that the stereotypes of state employees are just that. New York has thousands of dedicated employees that provide valuable services to the citizens of this state. They deserve to be recognized, not insulted.
Ronald Dunn
Ballston Lake
The writer is a retired chief of special operations for New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

Remember we’re all part of one state

I am saddened and disappointed by the angry letters to the editor about Gov. Cuomo’s decision to send COVID-19 patients upstate.
May I remind everybody that he is the governor of the whole state, not just selected parts of it. It is his responsibility to care for all the unlucky people who have the virus.
I wonder who in upstate would complain if a loved one developed the virus and there were no beds or personal protections and ventilators available.
Wouldn’t they want their loved ones to be sent anywhere they could get professional assistance?
Harriet Severenko

Grateful to Ellis for care of husband

I want to send a warm “thank you” to the staff at Ellis Hospital for taking compassionate care of my husband during his final days.
I want to especially thank the nurses and staff on 4A who cared for him and stayed with him at the end when I couldn’t be there because of quarantine. One of them held a phone to his ear so I could at least speak with him. I also want to thank Chaplain Dwight Moore, who spent time and prayed with him. I am most grateful.
Mildred Gittinger

Government abuse has taken our rights

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Thomas Jefferson said this or words there about. Before I go on, no one should attempt an armed uprising. Violence is a short-term solution.
Due to the coronavirus, Americans have been stripped of constitutional rights. Men and women  you elected to protect your interest stepped outside of the Constitution to ‘protect you.’
What will they protect you from next? Deceiving, self-serving, opposing media events crafted ‘imperial’ mandates. What we are doing may be the correct thing to do. But how we got here was counter to long-term interest. Who in their right mind expects a politician who uses deception to gain power to relinquish power?
In 1776, patriots paid for liberty with their lives and fortunes. “God is not on the side of the heavy battalions, but (on the side of) those who shoot best.” Shooting best in the current struggle is with the truth, not a weapon of destruction. “The truth shall make you free.”
You gave your liberty up for the promise of good health. Was it worth it? A promise based on deceptions. A man does not pay for what he owns. Politicians know they own you, so don’t expect a giveback. Two steps back, one forward to placate you. Maybe.
A world of constant surveillance and programmed disasters is your future. Enjoy.
Edmond Day

Virus shows need for full health coverage

Re: Rondez-vous with Debt: Aside from a few insurance executives, I wonder if there is anyone at all who today still believes that America does not need universal health coverage.
Ken Bress

Why buy masks if you can make them?

One East Coast governor, countless hospital workers and federal government officials have complained about the shortage of the N-95 face masks manufactured by 3M and other companies. Really? Why?
One enterprising person recently repositioned a pair of Calvin Kleins or a Walmart brand undergarment over her face and discovered that not only was her adaptation more effective, it was washable. Just by using a pair of pantie-like undershorts, our face-mask shortage could be solved.
My advice would be that you would want to check the area where you keep your clean underwear instead of using one that has been discarded.
Allen R. Remaley
Scottsdale, Ariz. and Saratoga Springs

Kids can learn from more than computers

I can just hear the words: “I don’t know how to do online” and “I don’t know how to home-school.” If the kids are not in school, they don’t need to be not learning. Whatever happens, they will learn.
And to all the friends who never read books – read. It will take place of people you don’t meet.
Ellie Peters

Divided by essential vs. non-essential

Well, here we are. The governor has divided us into two groups — the essentials and non-essentials.
The essentials are saviors and the non-essentials are murderers. Which one are you? Why do I feel like a non-essential?
George T. Farnum
Ballston Spa

Trump incompetence made crisis worse

Making decisions based on gut instinct continues to fail, as our current president stumbles in leading the nation through this pandemic.
Additionally, he refuses to accept any responsibility for the lack of tests and the depleted national stockpile of medical equipment. By late March, he started to act seriously; but he persisted in bragging about progress being made and the wonderful TV ratings during “Trump Show” briefings held with the task force as a backdrop.
Meaningful actions started two months too late despite several warnings since November.
In spite of warnings from Doctors Fauci and Birx, the president is anxious to get the economy on track by early May. When asked what metric he would use to do so, he pointed to his head, indicating the metrics are there. How’s that for scary?
The nation will get through this. People who think that the administration has performed well during this crisis had better take off their rose-colored glasses. All will suffer economic loss, and due to the incompetence of this administration, the death toll will be greater than it would have been. Keep this in mind on Nov. 3.
Carl Ingalls

New water chief has a tough job ahead

I see we have a new water commissioner. I sure hope he’s a “Superman.” Our brooks and streams are badly polluted here in Johnstown. Where are our frogs, crabs, crawfish, etc.? I grew up where the brook came down out of the Adirondacks. Boy, it was really cold.
I walked down in back of the senior center a year or two ago and saw one small frog jump in. That tells me we have pollution in that brook.
Where I live, the bridge is out. There is pollution in that creek. It’s all sad to me, but it doesn’t have to be. My father had a pond and trout. After work and school, we would go to the pond and feed them. There are only weeds there now.
It’s really sad that our new water commissioner got fired before he even got hired. Our water is the most important thing we have and need.
The roof is so bad at the senior center I tell them soon they will have to bring umbrellas. Where is our money going? I see a new truck, but there is a lot more. We don’t need a bridge on Miller Street. There is pollution running in there. Get on it.
Eunice Kilmer

Still missing Joe Gallagher on WGY

I so agree with Vicki Peek in her March 21 letter (“Disappointed at loss of weekend hosts”) about missing the Joe Gallagher Show on WGY.
Several people Joe talked with feel the same way. Listening to his show was a great way to start the weekend. I’ve stopped listening to WGY on weekends because there’s no Joe and crew. Missing Joe and the weekend show.
Thelma Kingsley

Seniors need help dealing with crisis

With all this talk about coronavirus, some of the seniors are helpless. Lots of them don’t have fancy phones with the ability to check out ordering food, medicine or services. Lots of them don’t have computers or laptops. We need the television and daily newspapers to give some phone numbers to call for help. It’s bad enough to be shut in, but with no way out, we need help.
Martha Juhren

Let’s remember the greatness of America

President Trump and those of us who believe he was and continues to do a great job of leadership have been maligned for our “MAGA” sentiment. “MAGA” stands for the greatness of America, not the talk about going back to slavery, women being treated like second-class citizens and other forms of identity politics, as falsely touted.
Anyone who has flown heard the safety instructions. We’re told to put ours on first, then help others. Similarly, “America First” puts us on a solid foundation so we can continue to help Americans and the rest of the world. We don’t think we’re better, just blessed to live in America.
The beauty and generosity of our country is showing up at the local level, state level and “back-stopped” at the federal level, the way our Constitution intended our government to operate. We’re offering help to other countries as well. This “experiment” called America is at work.
It’s a shame that our younger generations have been fed lies about what America stands for, our uniqueness and generous spirit here at home and around the world. At least for the foreseeable future, let’s become “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Susan Hover

Want to see Clinton and Cuomo on ticket

I can’t decide which I like better: Cuomo/Clinton 2020 or Clinton/Cuomo 2020 – really.
Woody Herman
Middle Grove

Grateful for help in receiving benefits

I would like to give people in this area a little hope on their unemployment claims. Keep calling.
I work for a high-end caterer in this area. Because of the virus, we have lost a lot of our business and I was laid off. I called to file for unemployment. I got through to answer the first part of the filing in two days. You must speak with a representative to finish the claim. It took another five days to get through. On March 23 at 6 p.m., I got a representative named Christine. She had been put on claims to help with the high volume.
She was fantastic. She was thorough to a fault because she doesn’t usually do this. At the end of our call, she was so kind and compassionate she brought me to tears. So please keep calling and just know people care and want to help you. Christine, I hope you read this – thank you.
Linda Fitzpatrick

Thanks to Queen Diner for free lunches

On March 21 from noon to 3 p.m. the Glenville Queen Diner on Route 50 gave out bag lunches to any senior citizens who came by. I want to publicly thank them for their kindness and generosity.
Alice Hokenson

Governor should help with census staffing

Not having a computer and with the libraries closed, I could not fill in the 2020 census form.
When I got a card saying I should call a certain number and give my name, etc. for a paper form, I called several times and was told I should call back because there were too few operators.
My advice to the governor: Send in the National Guard or enlist volunteers to man those census call center phones or we will lose many counted citizens and federal funds for a decade.
David Childs

Find ways to help, honor health workers

We hear and see through the media so much heroism about our health care workers, including to the point of death, in their service to others to save lives, costing them their very own. In fact, some are saying “superheroes,” which I agree with totally.
So I suggest a “National Day of Recognition” or maybe an “International Day.” I thought about even a national holiday, but that wouldn’t work because the rest of us would have the day off (maybe even get paid) and they would still be working as they do, on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and any holiday you could think of, 24/7, 365 days a year.
In my own personal family, I have three health care workers — daughter, husband and granddaughter. The former is in nursing and rehab centers and the latter is a physician in a local, very busy hospital. As one doctor on TV said, “Going to work is like a sheep going to slaughter.”
As an alternative, my son suggested a paid day off or two funded by the federal government.
They need the off-time more than the money. Staggered days would be according to the hospital workload.
Edward P. Kenitz, Sr.

Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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