Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Saturday, April 3


Reporters must try NY regional cuisine

I enjoyed your twin articles in the March 26 Gazette (“Newbies experience Jumpin’ Jack’s”) about opening day at the iconic local eatery.
Both of your new reporters write very well and demonstrate their own unique styles.
I must comment on Shenandoah Briere’s statement that she is from central New York and has never gone to a burger stand.
This is really terrible! She has missed the best burgers and hots in the world!
Central and western New Yorkers take their regional favorites very seriously.
My husband and I are from that region and still drive back to buy hot dogs and revisit our favorite “Charbroil Burger” joints.
This area has a wide selection of fabulous hot dog brands and types including the “white hot” or porker.
I prefer Zweigle’s but folks from Syracuse often prefer Hoffman’s.
Charbroiling is an artform in preparing big juicy burgers with a rich meaty flavor, and this is a staple of Central and Western New York fast food.
The real disappointment was Shenandoah’s failure to mention frozen custard.
How can someone from this region not rave about the rich creamy and lush taste of frozen custard over the pale, insipid air-whipped substitute served in the Capital Region?
Please Shenandoah, take Brian and go back to Syracuse or better yet Rochester, for frozen custard from Abbott’s and burgers and hots from Don & Bob’s.
Jean Taylor

Grateful for support of Greek heritage

March 25 was a momentous day for Greek Americans and Greeks around the world.
It marked 200 years since the Greek uprising against the Ottoman Empire after 400 years of enslavement and tyranny.
Cities across the globe commemorated this milestone by lighting their iconic landmarks in blue and white as a nod to Greece’s innumerable contributions to Western civilization.
We are proud to share that the Capital Region joined in this celebration with local landmarks such as the Alfred E. Smith building in Albany, State Education Building, the Hedley Building in Troy, and City Hall, Amtrak and other buildings in Schenectady all being lit up in blue.
As Americans of Greek heritage and alumni of Union College, we are beyond grateful for the support and enthusiasm we received from local officials and private businesses. Thank you to Sen. Daphne Jordan, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden and Deputy Mayor Monica Kurzejeski, First Columbia President Kevin Bette, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, Metroplex Chair Ray Gillen and Galesi Group CEO David Buicko, who graciously worked with us with very short notice.
In this time of strife and political divisiveness, we are struck by how a celebration of our unique cultural heritage, rather than divide us, instead, underscored the interconnection and solidarity of the citizens of our area.
Thank you, Capital District, for putting your best foot forward and proving that cultural diversity is a strength that can transcend civil discord.
We are honored to call this area home.
Nia C. Cholakis ‘84
North Greenbush
Despina Nicholas Brosnihan ‘86




Infrastructure plan invests in the future

The Biden Administration wisely is promoting a farsighted infrastructure bill, costing trillions of dollars.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg described it as “generational.” The bill deserves bipartisan and unanimous support, in the context of the adage “penny-wise, dollar-foolish.”
Many examples illustrate that inaction may cost (a lot) more than action. In 2018 Trump shortsightedly disbanded pandemic response teams in the National Security Council’s Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense in 36 countries including China.
That money-saving measure was not cost-effective, to say the least.
Likewise, Japan protected its Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant from a devastating 2011 tsunami, but bean counters blocked protection of the reactor’s emergency diesel electricity generators.
New Orleans took shortcuts in protecting its levees, but Hurricane Katrina in 2005 breached over 50 of them, flooding the city. Boeing took shortcuts in designing the 737 Max, but in 2019 and 2020 catastrophic crashes produced ruinous groundings.
Now the world is suffering from shortcuts at the Suez Canal, failing to deepen its full channel width since opening in 1869.
Deepening would have prevented grounding of the Evergreen Marine container ship in a windstorm.
About 400 ships  were forced to wait to cross the blocked canal, freezing $10 billion of daily commerce until the ship was freed.
Some might excuse inaction in Egypt by asking who could have anticipated such winds? Some might deny that climate change might amplify hurricanes in New Orleans.
Some might deny that governments should regulate airline manufacture stringently. I support passage of the infrastructure initiative, and prevention of the I-wish-I-could-take-back-that-decision pandemic.
Robert A. Michaels, PhD, CEP

Glenville bridge plan must address flow

The Gazette front page story on March 26 (“Crash bars at bridge planned by summer”) describes a method to protect the railroad bridge from frequent truck hits at the low clearance underpass on Glenridge Road.
However, it will not solve traffic flow problems. Suggestions have included high fines and prison for the often-overworked and underpaid drivers, alarms based on laser sensors, rerouting and turnarounds.
The existing problem is an unintended consequence of recent improvements by the state Department of Transportation.
The underpass had been a single lane with red and green lights alternating traffic flow. The clearance of 10 feet and 11 inches was sometimes not enough. I recall driving a U-Haul truck while my coworker got out to observe. We got through, but not with much margin.
The single lane underpass was expanded for two-way traffic, but the road was not lowered to increase the clearance. The result has been more and bigger trucks traveling at highway speeds and the resulting epidemic of high impact hits and road closures.
If we have it, a truck brought it.
The goal should be to make Glenville Road truck safe and efficient.
This can be done by grading on the west side of the tunnel. The east side approach is an 80 feet long steel bridge over Alplaus Creek.
Road lowering can be achieved by shortening the bridge pier next to the tunnel.
Frank Wicks

No need to rehash old owner’s legal issues

It’s nice that you have so much coverage of the new ice cream and bakery shop (“Ice cream stand has new owners, name”) as printed in the March 29 Gazette.
However, is there really a need to rehash the legal issues of the former owner in most of the article? It accomplishes nothing and takes away from the good news about the new business.
Joanne Marhafer

Long-term effects  of vaccines unknown

I take issue with the March 28 editorial (“For all our sakes, get vaccinated against coronavirus”) and I agree, in part, with Sara Foss’s column (“Are vaccine passports a good idea?”) in the same paper.
Your vaccine editorial suggests everyone should get the experimental vaccines because they’re safe and effective.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
There’s barely three months of safety data collected as part of a 2-to-3-year Phase 3 safety trial. N
Normally that full trial would be completed before the vaccines were released to the public.
That’s in addition to a normal 5-to-15 year vaccine development phase. There’s also zero data on possible side-effects years down the road. The animal-testing phase was completely skipped.
As far as effectiveness, no trial data is collected on reduced virus transmission at all. Only data on the slight improvement of one symptom, either cough or fever. No vaccine immunity has been proven whatsoever in any trial so far. Nor can it be proven from the collected data.
All of these facts are easily verifiable. The people are entitled to these facts.
Sara Foss’s column made the admirable point that vaccine passports haven’t been shown to be legal. Before we give up our rights, the legality of these passports must be tried in court. They will be struck down.
Lastly, Cuomo should resign for his decision to put sick people back in nursing homes, for his cover-up of the 15,000 deaths caused by his decision, and for his endless fear-mongering for the past year-plus about a virus that has a 99.79% survivability rate, like yearly flu.
Robert McMorris

Cartoon showed a biased point of view

I am very offended by the political cartoon on The Gazette’s March 29 Opinion page. This cartoon implies that anyone who is for the Second Amendment, or who thinks that identification should be presented to vote, is a mass murderer and approves of shooting kids.
What’s up with that? Ignorance is ruining our country.
Helen Martin


Don’t legalize pot, just decriminalize it

Perhaps it would have been better to decriminalize rather than legalize marijuana.
Decriminalization would eliminate obstacles to researching legitimate medical applications for marijuana.
There are several instances in which marijuana may be an effective therapeutic agent. It has been shown to relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy.
It may also be a muscle relaxant and help patients with muscle spasticity. Medical applications of marijuana are valid fields for further research.
However, legalization of marijuana and promoting it as a recreational option is not wise.
Marijuana impairs cognitive function. If marijuana is smoked, then there is the issue of lung damage. Do we really want to encourage more smoking?
Marijuana legalization brings with it the risk of abuse/addiction. Ask yourself if you would want your dentist to have “relaxed with a joint” before taking care of you or your plumber to have “unwound from a nasty job”  before tackling your backed up toilet?
As a society, are we creating a new problem by legalizing marijuana?
Eleanor Aronstein


Online letters

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion



In regards to Robert McMorris’ anti-vaccine letter, denouncing the need for us all to get vaccinated:
After blurting out a litany of of misinformation, inaccurate statements as well as contradicting science, the reality of the situation and the circumstances surrounding it, two things he said stand out to me.

First, “All of these facts are easily verifiable. The people are entitled to these facts.”
They’re not facts. It’s misinformation spread on social media and bogus news outlets.

Second, “Before we give up our rights…”
It is not your right, Mr. McMorris, to spread a potentially lethal virus around America and the rest of the world. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, stay home.


Let me guess that McMorris has no health or scientific qualifications to make his commentary. He is likely an anti-vaxer who is just repeating right-wing BS. Enough said.

“a 99.79% survivability rate, like yearly flu.”
Good grief, if I hear this blather again…

This is the sure sign of someone who gets their “news” from Faceplant so they can ignore the data they need to to make their foolish point, like ignoring the scores who did survive and the long-term health effects they bear.

Anyway, for the sake of clarity, I did the deep dive McMorris and so many others refuse to do. Took about 45 seconds this time:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified to Congress in March (2020) that the mortality rate may be as low as 1% when accounting for people who are infected but don’t develop symptoms severe enough to be tested. To Fauci, given how infectious the new coronavirus has proven to be, that is a very dire figure.

A 1% mortality rate “means it is 10-times more lethal than the seasonal flu,” Fauci said. “I think that’s something people can get their arms around and understand.”

A 99% survival rate might sound promising. But when it’s scaled out to the rest of the country – all 329 million residents – a 1% survival rate takes on a different meaning.

There’s a large number in this country who have latched on to the anti-intelligent wagon so they too can sound like some kind of hero, like they are now the smart ones. They are the rebels without a clue.


Helen Martin’s today’s letter in its entirety:

“I am very offended by the political cartoon on The Gazette’s March 29 Opinion page. This cartoon implies that anyone who is for the Second Amendment, or who thinks that identification should be presented to vote, is a mass murderer and approves of shooting kids.
What’s up with that? Ignorance is ruining our country.”
Helen Martin

Yes, I totally agree Ms. Martin that “ignorance is ruining our country.”

Ignorance of the fact that extremely lax gun laws, as in Florida and Texas, are easily putting AR-15 killing weapons in the hands of angry white males, who are repeatedly mass murdering children in schools and innocent people going about their daily business.

Additionally, another example of “ignorance is ruining our country.” Is the lack of understanding that the recently passed laws in Georgia were implemented strictly to suppress the vote of the poor and minorities in that state.

Ms. Martin. Another who’s applied their Facebook echo chamber template to an opinion to keep herself outraged at the libs, while missing the point entirely.
Ms. Martin you missed the point!

Here’s a little help: Republicans, while being opposed to any restrictions on what they see as their God-given right to arm yourself for war, and march around the local Walmart scaring the hell out of people, seem to mostly fixate on controlling those mechanisms that might keep them in power. So they’re all about making it harder to vote and making it easier to arm the public. They apparently have no other issues to stand for.

That’s definitely not moving toward a better Democracy, Ms. Martin.


For anyone wondering whether you should wear a mask and social distance AFTER you have been fully vaccinated, this was reported on WebMD:

Minnesota has reported 89 “breakthrough” cases in people who contracted the coronavirus after being fully vaccinated, according to the Star Tribune.

A small number of breakthrough cases can be expected because vaccines aren’t 100% effective, health officials said.

“We should not be fooled into seeing such a case as a reason to doubt the vaccine effectiveness,” Kris Ehresmann, MD, the director of infectious diseases for Minnesota, told the newspaper.

“Remember, a 95% effective vaccine still means we could expect to see infections in around 5 of every 100 people who get the vaccine,” she said.

As of Wednesday, more than 1.4 million people in Minnesota have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. About 800,000 are considered fully vaccinated, which means it has been 14 days since their final dose and the vaccine has had time to spark an immune response. The 89 breakthrough cases represent less than a tenth of 1% of those who have been fully vaccinated.

Minnesota health officials are reviewing the breakthrough cases to determine if there are any similarities, Ehresmann said. If a cluster of cases stem from the same vaccine site, for instance, that could indicate whether a specific lot of vaccines had an issue or the site itself handled the doses incorrectly.

So far, state health officials have interviewed 72 of the 89 patients and found that 30 had COVID-19 symptoms. None of the breakthrough cases have led to death, and the patients tended to have mild illnesses.

“Yes, people get COVID, but people in general do overall better,” Andrew Olson, MD, the medical director of COVID-19 hospital medicine for M Health Fairview, told the newspaper. “We have seen that both in patients in our system who are hospitalized and patients who are not hospitalized.”


Here’s the link to the whole article:
Minnesota Reports 89 COVID-19 Cases in Vaccinated People (

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