Ray Wemple left a lasting impression
I was saddened to hear of the passing of Ray Wemple. He was a gentle giant of a man and devoted husband and father.
Ray’s public service with Schenectady Police Department and later as the communications coordinator for Schenectady County will never be duplicated. A dedicated public servant, he was the model of how to “do your job.”
I got to know Ray in the 90’s with our mutual passion for ice hockey. Our sons played youth hockey and we wanted to help the association with developing a new rink with the closing of Center City in Schenectady. We became president and vice president of the Schenectady Youth Hockey Association. Ray was the definition of a “right-hand” man and a tireless crusader.
Ray was instrumental in the negotiations with the city, getting one more season at Center City. He convinced county leaders about the benefits of the new rink at the county airport known as SCRF. The rink’s functions and management are still in place today, a true tribute to his contribution 20+ years ago.
This facility not only saved SYHA, but all the citizens and users of the county have benefitted from the facility.
Schenectady County should consider naming the rink “Wemple Rink.” It would have a nice ring to it. Schenectady County let’s “just do it!”
I was proud to call Ray a friend and he will always have a special place in my life. Schenectady was a much better place to have Ray Wemple in it.
The writer is past president of Schenectady Youth Hockey Association.
U.S. should lift its sanctions on Iran
Peace activists including me celebrated the multi-nation nuclear agreement with Iran as a model for diplomacy and cooperation, and we are celebrating the fact that President Biden is pursuing a return to the agreement by the United States after President Trump abandoned it.
In fact, Trump did worse; he increased sanctions on Iran instead of the relaxation of sanctions promised as incentive for Iran’s cooperation.
The United States should immediately offer to lift sanctions as a show of good faith and a good start to the negotiation of a revived agreement.
More important, the sanctions are deadly for the people of Iran, especially during the pandemic, and we have no right to impose collective punishment on them for what our government perceives as failures of their government.
Ask your U.S. Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand to insist that the State Department support the return to the nuclear agreement by lifting sanctions.
Sanctions kill and have been shown to fall short as means of persuasion.
Confident pension money will come in
I would like to let state Sen. Jim Tedisco know that I am very proud of him for standing up for my favorite people, the St. Clare’s Hospital pensioners. I wish Jim good luck in his efforts to raise the $54 million that the pensioners need. With the Capital Region not including the St. Clare’s Hospital pensioners along with money going to the teamsters and other pensions in the American Rescue Plan, I feel that with the help of U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as local Congressman Paul Tonko, they will be able to get the job done.
Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “ I’m Possible.”
Walter “Neal” Brazell
Could dam upgrades solve Stockade floods
My first impression of Sara Foss’s column (“Flood mitigation plan holds promise”) on April 1 was an April Fool’s Joke. It seems that relocating 21 homes on Ingersoll Avenue is solving a Stockade flooding problem the hard way.
James Duggan and Russell Wege have recommended installing release gates on the Lock 7 Dam, as reported in The Gazette March 5, 2018 article (“Retired architect: Lock 7 dam changes could mitigate ice jams and flooding.”) Has their viewpoint been refuted by a credible engineering evaluation?
I am unaware that such has been performed and made public. I am left wondering why the release gate solution is being ignored. It has the potential to protect all other properties that border on the Barge Canal pool between Locks 7 and 8.
Also, what has Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy done to enlist the influence of Brian Stratton to approve release gates for the Lock 7 Dam? As a former mayor of Schenectady, Stratton should be gung-ho for the concept and the flooding reduction it affords the Stockade.
Reprehensible GOP now the party of NO
I was finally able to attach faces to names of Trump’s base this January. We saw a mass of seditious insurrectionists, supremacists, conspiracy theorists, et al. Did that assault leave any Republicans appalled? If not, consider yourself complicit in the Republican’s Party of No. The No Party has the dubious distinction of voting NO often.
No to impeachment twice with the Liar-in-Chief. No to the stimulus. No to infrastructure efforts. No to CDC guidelines, masks. No to enhanced background checks. No to bipartisanship legislation.
Any GOP folks disturbed, annoyed with their obstructionist party? If not, your silent approval makes you an endorser, condoning of antidemocratic policies. Example: take the cantankerous, belligerent, bipartisanship-killer Mitch McConnell.
He disapproved of the ACA and Obama. He thought Trump should have been impeached, but voted against that by his hypocritical no vote. He promised Biden he would fight the infrastructure bill every step of the way. That looks pathetically inept for someone elected to pass laws. Convinced yet Republican leadership acts reprehensibly?
If not, examine the optics out of Atlanta. Georgia’s good ol’ boys passed laws to arrest people giving out food and water to voters waiting in line next time. Right out of a Jim Crow playbook. Perhaps these good ol’ closet racists will consider limiting access to bathrooms and lunch counters? Such repugnant legislation has the Jim Crow era rearing its ugly head … again.
The world and all voting Americans will condemn your reprehensible actions. Reprehensible IS as reprehensible DOES.
What’s wrong with being anti-fascist?
I tried to join Antifa; I really did.
I wanted to get a t-shirt or even a membership card. I tried Facebook and Google, but it’s nowhere to be found. I even asked the FBI but they, too, didn’t have any contact information.
The problem, I’ve learned, is that Antifa is not an organization or even a group. In fact, the term “antifa” is short for anti-fascist. It’s just an adjective used to define those who are against fascism.
I’m old enough to remember hearing about fascism. It’s what two of my uncles fought against during World War II. Benito Mussolini was a fascist, as was Adolph Hitler. It is generally accepted that these two individuals were indeed horrible people and many nations joined in the effort to rid the world of their influence.
Based on the universal acceptance that Mussolini and Hitler were terrible and killed millions in their thirst for ultimate power, those who fought to end their rule were the first anti-fascists. I’m proud of the role my family paid in ridding the world of such monsters.
Those who rail against the threat of “Antifa,” by deduction, must be supporters of fascist regimes, the Neo-Nazis of today. Just an easy conclusion.
So to your readers who throw this term around as if it’s some MAGA insult, please do your homework before ranting and raving about a problem that only exists in the fantasies of some of the more fact-less media. If Antifa was a real group, I’d join them.
Democrats intent on making lives worse
I have waited to see how long it would take for the Democratic states to raise taxes and blow all the money that was just handed to them by the government (taxpayers).
Instead of paying off/down their debt they decided NOT to in many cases.
They already are writing new tax laws that are going to crush the little guy, and force the rich to move to other states, or out of the country all together. Why? Do they hate America that much — yes, the left does, and that is why the Democratic party must be broken up, like NOW. Joe Biden is a puppet, and sadly he’s being used by the extreme left. Harris, the VP, is no better. You did a great job, media.
How do you like paying more for gasoline and being forced to buy junky electric cars? Wind turbines that half work, China’s solar panels, yeah let’s help the enemy. Do all of you who voted Democrat love socialism, communism? You must, because that is what you are getting, and you have no one to blame than yourselves. Oh, everyone should have some form of ID to vote, period. It is common sense, or don’t Dems have that – nope.
Protect yourself from immoral, corrupt cops
This brouhaha over police reforms ignores a basic fact: officers everywhere will ignore mandates, just as they traditionally violate laws, policies, ethics, morals and humanity. It seems to be in their DNA.
While my stint as a reporter was decades ago, my personal and professional experiences with several area police departments frustrate me to this day. It’s only gotten worse – and deadlier – nationwide.
Want proof? My five years of covering Schenectady city politics exposed me to the constant on- and off-duty transgressions of many officers in the traditionally corrupt, criminal department that is actually run by the all-powerful PBA union.
It got so bad, the department came under federal supervision and many officers served state and federal prison sentences.
These masters of intimidation despised public coverage so much they waited outside a city tavern for me, charged me with DWI and later warned drugs would be planted in my car unless the stories stopped.
The arresting officer two weeks earlier had called me a “(expletive)ing communist!”
Meanwhile, embarrassed politicians everywhere lament there’s “a rotten apple in every barrel” when excusing their officers’ criminal acts and paying out legal claims. Actually, the entire orchard is infested.
My best advice: When – not if – you encounter the police, be respectful, follow all directions, abandon any macho attitude and be truthful in your answers.
More importantly, be sure you or someone with you records audio and/or video of the entire episode.
Those may be the only “reforms” that will work.
Time to shut down Dunn Waste dump
In recent months, there has been increased discussion about tearing down the giant, long-abandoned, super-ugly, eleven-floor Central Warehouse, just north of downtown Albany.
Little is said about where the massive quantity of waste, much of it hazardous, would be disposed.
The warehouse has had fires in recent years; some took days to extinguish. Should it be demolished or deconstructed, the wastes should not be sent to the Dunn Waste Connections construction and demolition debris landfill (dump) in Rensselaer.
The Dunn dump borders the Rensselaer public school, where more than 1,000 children and adults study and work. The dump should never have been sited atop a hill, next to a cemetery, a then-brand new school campus, and between Rensselaer and East Greenbush residential neighborhoods.
Each weekday for six years, beginning at 6:30 a.m., dozens of noisy, diesel exhaust-spewing tractor-trailers travel along Broadway, a narrow downtown Rensselaer street, ruining quality of life and retarding business development, before turning east onto Partition Street, with its steep hill, the trucks — some overweight — crawl over.
The dump often stinks. It also leaks hazardous chemicals into the groundwater.
Several tankers of leachate are trucked daily to a wastewater treatment facility in Albany and, from there, discharged into the Hudson River.
Siting a dump next to a school was insane. Rep. Paul Tonko signed a petition in 2019 calling for the immediate closure of the dump. Politicians and regulators should force closure now.
Democrats don’t care about real Americans
You would think that there would be some Democrat that would understand what this country is going through.
The possibilities of becoming a socialist country are very real, with the current leadership that does not care about Americans. Oh yes Bazooka Joe is looking out for every American, unity coming together and all the other nonsense he presents.
Do you really think he cares about us? The only thing he cares about is pumping more undocumented immigrants into the United States so he can give them voting rights in the future so that there will be more government and less rights for citizens like you and me.
Has he or his vice president been down to the border to witness what is really going on? They care more about them than they do you.
I don’t think much about these so-called parents who send their children on these trips. They bring drugs, COVID-19 and gangs into this country. Yes, I will say it, let them stay in their own countries.
There have been many immigrants who have done it the legal way. I welcome them.
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