Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Saturday, May 15

PHOTOGRAPHER:

See Sch’dy candidate views on LWV site

I would like to make your readers aware that they can read detailed responses from the five candidates for school board in the city of Schenectady by going to the website of the Schenectady County League of Women Voters.
The link to the article is https://my.lwv.org/new-york/schenectady-county/voting.
Kay Ackerman
Schenectady

Schlossberg, Saeed best to lead in Nisky

The mental health of the students and staff within the Niskayuna schools is important to me, especially now with the recent suicide. That is why I am voting for Aliya Saeed. As a board-certified psychiatrist, her experience and perspective will be invaluable to the district.
I believe the employees of the district have no better friend than Howard Schlossberg, who has my other vote for school board.
I was very disappointed to see one union person post on social media to ‘bullet vote’ for a candidate (who I am not supporting). While I understand the logic of ‘bullet voting’ in multiple candidate elections, it seems silly when so many highly qualified people are willing to volunteer their time.
Given all the publicity stunts that the school unions have pulled over the years, you would have assumed that at the least they would publicly support Howard Schlossberg, given all he does for the district’s employees.
Yet they appear, to me at least, to have abandoned him at election time. I hope everybody on the school board and in the community are watching how the unions within the district fail to support those who supported them and their members.
Carlene Ireland
Niskayuna

Grier has earned another board term

On May 18, I invite you to join me in voting for Noney Grier to be re-elected to the Niskayuna Board of Education.
Not only do I get to see her blaze trails in her career, I have seen what she does daily to support our students, teachers and taxpayers. You will be hard pressed to find someone with her level of experience, compassion and work ethic. Noney Grier’s commitment to the mental health of our students has always been a priority, but continues to grow. Her greatest strength is her willingness to listen and learn from her constituents and work with ALL people.
In addition to the three years Noney has served on the board, she has also served on the board Finance and Audit Committee, as well as many other committees.
We need that knowledge and continuity for the Cap Project. Noney has proven to be fiscally responsible and keeps all parties in the forefront.
A few things stand out for me with this candidate. Noney Grier is about continuous growth, improvement, and how she will hit the ground running in this term.
Do your research and consider Noney Grier for Niskayuna Board of Education.
Meghan Bigos
Niskayuna

Yes to Ben O’Shea, no on Nisky budget

As a mother, longtime district resident and taxpayer, I have been astonished by what I have seen from this current Board of Education.
The district is reducing our crucial teacher assistant hours that help ensure student success and is eliminating course sections in art and music.
There’s also little investment in behavioral health though the community is begging for more support. This is while other districts are adding student support and we have $6 million in reserves.
We are also raising taxes, again.
Our superintendent keeps saying he doesn’t believe we will receive our promised increase in state aid.
Yet he’s the only person in the state who believes that. We don’t know what secret he knows that no other district in New York does. Nevertheless, he and the school board have budgeted raises for him, his assistant superintendent, the chief equity officer, and director of finance.
This must be a joke.
Vote NO on the Niskayuna school budget. Vote for a new voice. Vote educator Ben O’Shea for Niskayuna school board.
Jessica Brennan
Niskayuna

Collaboration can help stop injustice

The Gazette front page article on May 9 (“Justice for All?”) indicated certain law enforcement officials are aware of unintended consequences of their criminal statistical strategies at crime prevention, especially to non-White residents in their communities.
Awareness by these officials of the victimization of residents within statistical criminal “hotspots” is a significant “social and emotional learning” development.
Their understanding can assist other government personnel to enhance institutionalization mutual respect within county shared services’ programs.
Coordination of governments and local education agencies to utilize the state Board of Regents’ social and emotional learning goals can “develop self-awareness and self-management skills essential to success in school and in life” and protect democracy’s human rights.
County shared services’ collaboration among law enforcement officials, municipal social services counselors, local education guidance counselors, school resource officers, probation officers, police departments and faith-based organizations can institutionalize “social and emotional learning” goals within our communities.
I hope families’ faith in developing community non-violent “social and emotional learning” processes among children, youth and adults will protect our democracy’s human rights.
Mutually respectful mediation skills can develop sustainable solutions of community disparities, victimization of our neighbors, and prevention of political abuse of power.
Michael McGlynn
Watervliet

Honor environment with a healthy yard

Everyone wants a gorgeous outdoor space, but a healthy yard takes some planning.
First step is the lawn. Healthy grass provides food for birds, prevents erosion, and filters pollutants. Sustainable lawn care looks good while aiding the environment. One tip is to mow high, often, and with sharp blades. Avoid chemicals and use native grasses.
Next is the flower garden. Pollinators are key, so choose a wide variety of native plants and plan out continuous blooming for success. Then there’s vegetables. In just one weekend you can map out and plant an organic, healthy garden by using sunlight wisely. Enjoy pesticide-free soil to get your edible garden going.
Landscaping can create stunning yards. Warning: Avoid the popular Japanese barberry bush. Because it leafs out earlier than native bushes, it’s an ideal habitat for mice and ticks, acting as a super-spreader of Lyme disease through infested mice. Wisely choose native shrubs for everyone’s health.
Finally, why not harvest rainwater to care for your yard? It’s as easy as using your downspout and a container for a simple and eco-friendly solution. As you set up your perfect yard this year, honor the environment.
It’s good for the plants, animals, insects, and you.
Caroline Brooks
Scotia

Return accountability to Niskayuna schools

In simplest terms, Niskayuna needs Ben O’Shea. The fabric of Niskayuna is woven with threads of small town values, openness, integrity and a commitment to neighbors. Schools are supposed to reflect the values and beliefs of the communities they represent. Sadly, in Niskayuna that hasn’t been true lately. The school district has made questionable financial decisions, instituted unnecessary and harmful staffing cuts, and has been anything but transparent. Ben O’Shea will provide the leadership necessary in order to restore the Niskayuna Way to our school district. He is a man of integrity and open-mindedness. He is not afraid to make tough decisions and then explain them. His educational background provides him with an insight that many others lack. As a high school teacher, he has gone through this pandemic with high school students. He has first-hand knowledge of their struggles, stresses and successes. He has challenged and nurtured them while guiding them through this crisis. It’s time to return accountability and humanity to the Niskayuna school district. Our community needs someone on the BOE who will restore to our school district what we truly value. Our children need Ben O’Shea. I strongly endorse Ben O’Shea for the Niskayuna BOE.
Joseph Skumurski
Niskayuna

Templeton brings his expertise to Shen

I support Thomas Edward Templeton MSEd, LMHC, for a seat on the Shenendehowa School Board of Education. Tom is a counselor and owner of the Templeton Mental Health Counseling, PLLC in Latham.
Tom is a graduate of Shenendehowa central schools and father of two children. Tom was a student of mine, always very studious, with a great sense of responsibility and has a terrific sense of humor. Tom is very talented and active in many local theater productions. The teachers at Shenendehowa always knew that when Tom grew up, he would go on to accomplish great things.
Tom would like all decisions to be driven by evidence and sound judgment. For over a decade, his work has focused on the myriad issues that children, families and couples face which may impact their ability to lead healthy, functional and meaningful lives.
Tom, if elected, is looking forward to sharing his expertise to foster a student-centered vision of learning, in particular how we as a community might effectively respond to the massive socioemotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how we may better promote diversity and inclusivity at Shenendehowa.
Vote for Tom Templeton for the Shenendehowa Board of Education.
Terence Virga
Rexford
The writer is a retired teacher from Shenendehowa.

O’Shea’s experience will benefit district

Please give serious consideration to Ben O’Shea when voting for Niskayuna school board members on May 18. Ben is a high school music teacher in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake District. His experience and insight as an active educator “in the trenches” would lend an invaluable voice to our board. Ben is well-versed in the daily workings and challenges of the public school system.
He has seen firsthand the effects of the pandemic on students, teachers, administrators, support personnel, and parents. He has successfully adapted to unexpected changes and events — all for the good of the students and educational community.
He is a caring individual who wants to see all invested groups work together to move forward in providing the best climate and education possible for our students, and all other players in our school system. He listens with an open mind. He is dedicated and committed to our school community. Adding Ben to our school board will bring to the table something no other board member has — the wisdom that comes from direct, everyday contact within the public school system. Please vote for Ben O’Shea on May 18.
Sue Penny
Niskayuna

Woytowich will be advocate for students

Connie Woytowich is my candidate for school board in Saratoga Springs. I’m in unwavering support of Connie first and foremost because she is an advocate of all students.
She has a strong ability to connect with students, administrators, and community members. Her ears are open to the full range of opinions of her community.
Her eyes see multiple paths forward when faced with challenges, and her intuition is always backed by facts and data. She is accountable to herself, her family, her friends, and her community at large. Connie seems to encourage others to become actively involved when the need arises, and she champions her passion for excellence in teaching.
Connie is aware of the needs of the district and she is not seeking this board position with her own agenda. Connie has a 100% student-centered lens. She brings strong pragmatic skills, honesty, compassion and the ability to truly collaborate with current school board members. I look forward to casting my vote for Connie Woytowich on May 18.
Mieka LeClair
Greenfield Center

Bail reform law is endangering citizens

Anticipating spending 250 words sharing insights from the Tough as a Mother rally that gave mothers of victims a voice, plans changed due to the downright deceitful editorial (“Stop the lies about bail reform”) published by The Gazette on May 11 with regard to bail reform.
This is far more important, and I’ll be brief.
Want to know the truth about bail reform?  Look up the names Garrett Goble, Sandra Wilson, Amanda Farnum, Ayshawn Davis, Amayah  Hicks, Ayden Wolfe.
See for yourself the manner in which our communities are being endangered by these horrific policies that are a fraud and are not doing nearly enough to advocate for the inmate population, expedite court proceedings, or advocate for people who are committing crimes due to addiction issues and mental health crises (whom this reform treats as expendables.)
People of this state deserve far better than perverted reforms that treat the public as if you are imbeciles who can’t understand what’s being done.
Go ahead and look at the sexual crimes, domestic violence offenses and hate crimes (multiple counts), female genital mutilation, among other horrific crimes targeting women and children that this reform mandates treating with an appearance ticket for court dates that are months away.
If you want truth, it’s uncomfortable, but our communities, particularly communities of color who are disproportionately victimized by this reform as well as the covid jailbreak.
(While you’re at it, look up Pedro Vinent-Barcia) deserve so much better. Find a full list of crimes at https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/12/31/all-crimes-new-york-bail-reform/.
Abbey Ballard
Scotia

 

Consider welcoming a foster child in home

May is Foster Care Awareness month, and as the foster care home finder for Northern Rivers Family of Services in Schenectady County, I want to ask our community to consider opening their hearts and homes to children in foster care.
No matter who you are, there’s a child nearby who needs a supportive, loving foster home. My job is to help make sure those foster homes keep children in their own community, their own school, near family, friends, and other supports.
That’s the best way to make the healing process work.
I live here. I work here. I’m committed to making this an even better place to be and supporting our most vulnerable friends and neighbors is one of the best ways to do that.
Being a foster parent is a big responsibility, but I’m here to help show you how and why it will be one of the best things you’ll ever do.
There are a lot of ways that you can get involved with supporting youth and families in foster care. Our Northern Rivers Foster Care team is here to provide 24/7/365 support throughout your journey.
If you’ve ever thought about being a foster parent, why not give me a call?
I would be thrilled to introduce myself, listen to your questions and share information on the foster care community — no pressure!
Or check out some of the great, socially-distanced events we’re holding during Foster Care Awareness month by visiting our website, www.northernrivers.org/foster-care.
Jenny McMillen
Schenectady
The writer is a Foster Care Home Finder for Northern Rivers.

Saeed will work for Nisky community

We support Dr. Aliya Saeed for Niskayuna Board of Education. We have known her through community volunteer activities for over five years. Dr. Saeed is a parent of three children who have attended Niskayuna schools.
Her professional expertise as a clinical psychiatrist will be a valuable asset given the pandemic related stresses which our students, faculty, staff and families have experienced over the past year. She will be able to advocate for policies which will optimize the transition from social and educational isolation back to eventual full participation in school life for all students.
We are confident that Dr. Saeed will be sensitive to the needs of the entire school community for extra emotional support and flexibility during this process. New resources may be needed to deal with residual depression, anxiety and feelings of isolation post-pandemic.
The district is starting an extensive capital improvement project.
Dr. Saeed has valuable experience in this regard as past-president of a local community center during a major capital improvement. She has volunteered for and served on the boards of multiple charitable community organizations, and recently helped write the Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Report for Niskayuna.
She clearly deserves our votes on May 18.
Barbara C. Dworkin
Paul Dworkin, MD
Niskayuna

Saeed will be fighter for transparency

I am a 21-year Niskayuna resident who has spent many hours volunteering in the district from which my two children graduated. I am excited to be advocating and voting for Aliya Saeed for the Niskayuna school board. In addition to being a mother of three (the youngest now a ninth grader) and a regular volunteer in the community, she is a  physician/psychiatrist who recognizes the importance of mental health throughout a student’s K-12 journey.
Aliya understands that she is asking to be your representative on the BOE and has demonstrated this by walking door to door through Niskayuna neighborhoods listening to the perspective of others. What she heard was a desire to increase transparency in the annual budgeting process, which she turned into an eight-point plan (view on Aliya Saeed for Niskayuna School Board Facebook page).
Through my interactions with her, I witnessed that Aliya is independent, honest, insightful, and not afraid to put in the work.
Most importantly we need all Niskayuna residents to VOTE! Voting is our privilege and responsibility, and we need to be a community that values this civic duty for all our elections. Please join me and vote for Aliya Saeed on May 18.
Ellen Daviero
Niskayuna

Grateful for care from Ellis ER staff

I was transported to Ellis ER on May 7 for a memory-loss episode.
I was placed in Care Team 2. Despite the fact that all the ER rooms were occupied, my care was exemplary.
I was visited by the ER physician shortly after arrival and tests were ordered and executed promptly, including CT scan and MRI of the brain.
Fortunately all were negative, and I was discharged about 10:30 p.m.
Thank you to all the medical staff at the hospital for being pleasant, efficient, and communicative throughout my stay.
We all know it hasn’t always been this way at Ellis. They have come a long way and it is greatly appreciated.
Philip S. Arony
Charlton

 

 

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

5 Comments

FRED BARNEY

An unarmed White woman was shoot and killed by a Black cop. Since the murder was given a pass by the legal system now we know why some have a problem with BLM. The none racist view is that all lives matter!

LOUIS RESTIFO

I just couldn’t let this ride. ~~My one last response to anything you ever post on this blog.

Yes, Mr. Fred Barney, all lives do matter, and that’s exactly the point a racists doesn’t understand. He must be reminded that Black people are a part of ALL people.

The slogan BLACK LIVES MATTER came into being specificity because people like you and Derek Chauvin don’t believe that Black Lives do Matter. And that, Fred, is the stone cold fact that you are hard wired to never, ever come to grips with!

Gah.
I was secretly hoping he’d have the stage all to himself and his confused view of our world. But yeah, BLM doesn’t mean what he and so many others would like it to mean.

Are you at the lake? I passed through a couple weeks ago on my way to Potsdam. Thought I’d grab some lunch there but everything was closed, on a weekday afternoon!
How about a PSA for where to get lunch in Tupper Lake?

I wonder what BLM has done with the almost 90 million in donations that they have received. I know zero dollars has gone to any neighborhood to help the people there. I do see one of the co founders has spent millions on properties in California. The group according to the Los Angeles times said they have reinvested more than $20 million but doesn’t say where that money went, so how do we know it went anywhere other than the pockets of others. BLM organizations around the country are complaining that there’s no transparency and that they have seen little to none of the money raised.

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