Capital Region

Letters to the Editor Saturday, Aug. 14


Right-to-repair saves time, money

Carl Zeilman, in your Aug. 7 letter (“Right-to-repair law harmful to farmers,”) your take on right-to-repair laws is off base.
If you actually looked at what the right-to-repair movement is about, you would find nothing as you described.
Right-to-repair would require that manufacturers provide independent repair shops and owners with the information and access to parts at a reasonable price to repair their equipment, just like the auto industry.
John Deere and Apple are two of the most prolific violators of right-to-repair. Ask John Deere why you can’t take the GPS unit from an identical tractor and have it work on another. It is because they tie it to a serial number.
It has to be programmed by guess who? Let me help: John Deere.
Ask a farmer that has a limited window to plant or harvest if they would rather pay trucking fees in excess of $1,000 each way and then wait for repair, or have an independent shop come to them to repair their machine. I’ll guess the latter.
Same scenario for an iPhone battery, serialized. A $10 charge chip for MacBooks — Apple says you can’t buy them.
I’ll use an independent at half the price of a dealer and at my convenience. I remember schematics being taped to the inside of that shiny new radio I just bought. To educate yourself further, check out Louis Rossmann on YouTube. He has a wealth of information on this subject. He can be crass, but is spot on.
Kim Lake
Saratoga Springs

Anti-vaxxers are all about themselves

I can remember a time when Americans pulled together for the common good. Thankfully, a great percentage still do.
Unfortunately, this era finds many who are following a “me only” agenda. Not a “me first” or “America first” but a “me only.”
An example would be those folks who believe that they have a right to not wear a mask or get vaccinated (they do), but also believe that business owners do not have the right to insist that staff and customers must be vaccinated and/or wear a mask to enter their business (guess what they do too).
Don’t get the vaccine. You have that right. But understand you are contributing to the continuing spread of the virus and the potential for even stronger more resistant strains of the virus.
You are contributing for the continued need for business to choose between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. You are contributing to the continued consideration of mask mandates.
And don’t complain when a business you want to go to has decided it is in their best interests to require masks and/or that only the vaccinated can enter their premises. It is their right and they have made a business decision that they need to do that to ensure they can remain open, protect their employees, their customers and their livelihood.
While we honor your choices, it is only fair to expect you will honor other’s choices.
Wes More

Make lottery tax-free, anonymous

When lottery tickets are purchased, only about 60% of the revenue goes to the winners.
The balance of the revenue is distributed as follows: 5% to the seller of the ticket; 10% to meet administrative costs; and 25% to the government.
Since the government takes 25% right off the top, why must the lottery winner have to pay taxes? Does this amount to double taxation?
And why should winners have to disclose their identities? Many states make this optional. Winners can become targets of scammers and find themselves on every mailing list in existence.
In New York state, the Legislature once proposed the anonymity of winners, but the governor vetoed it.
I propose that the lottery be free of state taxes and that the winners be given the option of remaining anonymous.
Write to your state legislators and send them a copy of this letter.
Lewis M. Elia



Frank Wicks is a Schenectady treasure

This past July 7, The Gazette graciously published my letter (“Simpkins earned place in local history”) regarding the recent well-deserved honor bestowed upon community activist and educator Walter Simpkins.
There is another such individual in our community who merits appreciation for his contributions to the city of Schenectady and beyond.
Union College Emeritus Professor Frank Wicks has been accurately described as an engineer, inventor, writer, educator and activist for peace and social justice.
Those fortunate enough to know him are often simultaneously amazed and delighted by the breadth and depth of his knowledge on topics including, but not limited to, history, politics, the development of the bar code, the manufacture of Indian motorcycles and the music of Bob Dylan and Hank Williams.
He is indeed a Renaissance man and resident public intellectual in the mold of Bertrand Russell, Margaret Mead, Albert Schweitzer and others — though he would undoubtedly bristle at such comparisons.
More importantly for the city of Schenectady, Frank was largely responsible for arranging and funding the William Seward-Harriet Tubman statue that has graced the entrance of the Schenectady County Public Library since its dedication on May 17, 2019.
This striking monument stands as a permanent reminder of Schenectady’s role in the history of abolitionism, the Underground Railroad and the early struggle for civil rights.
Schenectady’s citizens benefit immensely from Frank Wicks’ enduring wisdom, humanity and dedication to this city’s cultural and intellectual life.
Neil Yetwin
The writer retired from the Schenectady High School Social Studies Department.

Bail reform bill puts public safety at risk

Some may recall the downright deceptive display from The Gazette editorial board as they smeared a Mother’s Day gathering in Albany that brought together mothers of crime victims from around our great state; seeing as it’s August, I’ll assume The Gazette has no intention of correcting this issue or honoring journalistic integrity, so allow me to breathe some truth and light into the situation. Dear ones, you are being lied to, played and endangered by rogue and reckless policies that are crafted by elitist politicians possessing no moral compass. Every single day there is blood in the streets caused by these horrible reforms that took a broken justice system and shattered it into a million pieces, shattering communities, families and dreams of promising youth.
We will not stop demanding meaningful justice reform, therapeutic interventions to help people build their lives back, meaningful protections around our communities, the cessation of normalization of rape culture, and advances to make our court systems efficient. The current bail reform disaster and impending parole reforms are absolute disasters.
Want to remain comfortably numb? Just open wide and continue to be spoon-fed from the pudding cup of journalistic malfeasance that The Gazette has become. If you know in your heart of hearts that we can do better than this, I welcome you to join the community at where you’ll find an unedited version of this letter and join a host of others who will not stand for these racist, despicable, cowardly and cruel policies.
Abbey Ballard
Editor’s note: This letter is the full and unedited version of what was submitted.

Don’t forget the St. Clare’s pensioners

I don’t plan on giving up as far as the fight for the St. Clare’s pensioners is concerned.
There are many issues in the public eye right now but the one that stands out the most for me is the plight of the 1,100+ pensioners who lost everything.
It wasn’t simply their pension that they lost whether it was partial or full, it was their whole lifestyle.
The St. Clare’s pensioners have endured the pandemic harsher than many others did because it was compounded by the loss of their pension.
We all pray every day that our amazing legal team will succeed in restoring the pension that we worked so very hard for as healthcare workers. The staff of this wonderful hospital took care of the St. Clare’s community as if they were members of our own families.
Please don’t forget them. This battle has been going on for what seems to be an eternity to these good and kind people.
I bumped into two physicians recently who used to work with us at St. Clare’s. The first thing they mentioned was the wonderful memories they had of working in such a positive environment with people who loved doing what they did.
That said so much to me because we (the St. Clare’s staff) always prided ourselves on being at the hospital that took care of patients as if they were our family. I am hoping that no one forgets the St. Clare’s pensioners. I certainly won’t.
Mary Hartshorne
Ballston Lake
The writer is chairman of the St. Clare’s Pension Recovery Alliance (SCPRA).

Grateful for help with Johnstown’s prom

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many individuals and organizations who helped make the Johnstown prom such a success. This year’s prom was held on June 12 outside at Sherman’s Amusement Park in Caroga Lake.
With the help of so many, we were able to recreate the old magic of Sherman’s, complete with all the carnival games and food, for the students to enjoy.
A heartfelt thanks to: the Caroga Arts Collective for the donation of the beautiful venue at Sherman’s, the anonymous donor who covered the security deposit for Shermans, CAC’s Torrance Fish, the Johnstown Class of 2020, the Taylor Family Foundation, the Fulton County Traffic Safety Board and STOP DWI program, Brown Coach, Sarchioto Concessions, Complete Weddings & Events, Scotty Nut Nut Entertainment, Supply Wagon, Adirondack Beverage, the Johnstown Class of 2021, the Johnstown PTSA, JEPTA, JTA, Johnstown High School Student Council, Main Motorcar, Brown’s Ford, Harvey’s Pet, Royal Mountain, Dr. DiSanto-Rose, Walmart Distribution, Holy Trinity Parish, the women of FOE Lodge 1575, Dr. Bresonis, the Swatt family, Glove City Rotary, Keymark, SWANY, Grace Lutheran Church, Johnstown Moose, Johnstown Lions, Ephrata Rod and Gun Club, Udderly Delicious, Peking In, Winner’s Circle, and the many parents, teachers and staff who donated prizes for our students.
Your tremendous generosity went a long way toward helping our juniors and seniors have the memorable prom they deserved after a long, hard year for so many of them. We truly appreciate your commitment to the children in our community.
Tracey Hildebrandt
Christine Krempa
The writers are advisers for the Class of 2022.

Aug. 19 hearing to address batteries

Two 5-megawatt solar arrays sited on 65 acres at the western edge of Schenectady County isn’t enough for Amp Energy.
Two years after a controversial Special Use Permit approval, they want to add four 53-foot containers of lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) to their project.
Batteries can be sited anywhere. They don’t have to be co-located with solar or wind power plants.
Developers can buy cheap electricity from the grid and store it in the batteries.
They sell it back to the grid at night increasing the developers’ profits. The energy stored can be generated from fossil fuels.
BESS can, and does, explode. The resulting fires release toxic fumes causing nearby homes to be evacuated for days. These electrical fires are nearly impossible to extinguish.
Hot spots can flare up at any time and the best solution has been to encase the smoldering batteries in cement.
Due to brush fires, the town of Duanesburg has a burn ban for at least four months out of the year. The project site is in the middle of a hay field more than 1,500 feet from Duanesburg Road. The nearest home is 650 feet away. Our volunteer fire departments have limited manpower.
You can make a difference and keep our community safe. Submit written comments today to the town clerk: [email protected]
Attend the public hearing on Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. at Duanesburg Town Hall, 5853 Western Turnpike. Zoom and dial in features are available.
Susan Biggs
Quaker Street


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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion



Long ago, “resistance” meant putting your life in danger for the freedom of others.

These days, “resistance” means putting the lives of others in danger for your own freedom.

If you want to infect other people (and possibly kill some of them), AND make it a lot easier for COVID-19 to keep mutating into more and more dangerous variants, AND prolong this pandemic, so we all keep suffering — don’t get vaccinated.

Thanks for nothing, anti-vaxxers.


You do not get a shoot and you infect someone who has made the same choice as you. Where is the problem?

Answer: The risk adverse have to pick up the costs of others losing with their vaccine gamble


Fred, You could infect and kill a child that cannot be vaccinated yet, or an immuno-compromised person who cannot be vaccinated at all, so there’s two major problems.

William Marincic

Ornamental, with your comment I’m assuming you are vaccinated, I am as well, so if we are vaccinated and the vaccine works how are we in any danger from the unvaccinated. The only ones in danger are unvaccinated people and they are the ones risking their own lives. The CDC says this delta variant is more contagious but less deadly and those vaccinated may not even know they have it which means that vaccinated people can be passing it on as well. Finally, the two major states with the variance are Texas and Florida, coincidentally Texas is allowing hundreds of thousands of illegals in with a 20% covid positive rate and DHS is sending thousands of these people to Florida and the southern states. Did you know that 60% of democrats believe that Trump was not responsible for fast-tracking the vaccine. WOW.

How do you find your way to the bathroom each morning and not maim or kill yourself with your toothbrush?

A. The CDC absolutely does NOT say it is “less deadly”.

The second part of your fake facts says exactly why we need heightened vigilance now: “those vaccinated may not even know they have it which means that vaccinated people can be passing it on as well”

B. Keep trying to blame the non-whites for your own sins. Funny how “the two major states with the variance” are the two states with Governors actively resisting commonsense strategies to thwart this pandemic. Republicans, in a continuance of Trump’s corrupt leadership. Funny that the other states being ravaged by this are also Republican run.
Funny, huh?

If you people had one iota of shame you’d see how utterly foolish you look, now and for history. What in god’s name has caused you to drop one of Christianity’s tennets of humility and love your neighbor? I guess it’s a religion of convenience.

And those states railing against the Federal government have no problem asking them for assistance with ventilators and other help…with a situation that they created and made worse.


The feds should provide the needed equipment and then reduce the state aid to offset the cost to the rest of us. Same goes for reimbursing educators in Florida if their salaries are withheld by Gov. DeathSantis.


To deal with a problem effectively requires understanding of the behavior of others. Grossing about the behavior of others is not helpful. The important question to confront is why so many people have chosen a mutually harmful path.


You might be surprised that that this frustrated citizen agrees with you Mr. Barney. The “why” is a question for today and the eons. Humans.


Some people don’t get vaccinated because they think they are ‘too tough’ and ‘too manly’ to ever get covid, others are convinced they already had covid so are immune, both of which are utterly incorrect, but there it is. Others, I believe, are so distrustful, and rightfully so, of government that they refuse to have a vaccine on the grounds the government says they should. I personally do not trust anything the government says or does, if they are speaking they are lying. All of them, every time. However, my doctor, whom I do trust, recommend I get vaccinated and I did. A long time ago. The assumption that covid will never go away unless everyone, or nearly everyone, is vaccinated is completely valid. The anti-vaccination people are putting us all at risk, along with themselves. Their action is very, very stupid – not ignorant – it is stupid, stupid cannot be fixed. Our fine president is not helping by inviting un-vaccinated and infected people over the border by the tens of thousands and they are spreading it all over the country, with government’s tacit approval, maybe that’s part of the reason people mistrust everything they say. Anyway, anti vaxers, get vaccinated, stop being stupid.

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