Make sure food is healthy and safe
Agriculture has become a global system that involves farmers, insurance companies, transportation systems, wholesale distributors, retail stores, and an agrochemical business valued at more than $200 billion.
This ingenious system feeds the world and gives us food choices that previous generations of humans would never have imagined.
Even 50 years ago, no one would have expected to eat fresh apples or tomatoes during winter months, let alone sushi in the middle of a continent thousands of miles away from the nearest ocean.
Not only has year-round fresh produce become expected, it has become so easily accessible that just a few taps on a smartphone will bring it to your doorstep.
We’ve all heard the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Increasingly we are learning that eating healthy means more than just buying fresh foods while also learning it is important to choose clean foods.
What’s a consumer to do? Buy organic. What if that is not possible or is too expensive or the only organic choice has to be transported thousands of miles to get to your table?
Every year the Environmental Working Group provides a list of the most popular non-organically produced items that rank the highest and lowest in pesticide contamination.
If you are concerned with pesticide use, for your own health, the health of the world’s farm workers, and the health of the planet, you should either buy the items on the “Dirty Dozen” list organically or avoid them as much as possible.
McGraw puts the community first
During the summer of 2021, I became the president of the Niskayuna Soccer Club (NSC), a nonprofit organization founded more than 30 years ago.
As I took on the role, I learned that the fields at Zenner Road, originally gifted to NSC by General Electric, were not going to be available to NSC’s youth soccer players throughout the fall season.
Therefore, because I have known Niskayuna Town Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw for nearly 20 years and she has such a reputation for getting things done, I contacted her right away.
Denise quickly brought together the key stakeholders to discuss and determine how best to move forward in a mutually beneficial manner, thus I would like to personally thank her for putting Niskayuna’s community and kids first.
Smith should stay on Charlton board
As the former supervisor for the town of Charlton I would like to endorse Jenna Smith to continue serving on the Town Board.
Jenna grew up on Smith Brothers Dairy Farm and Bake Shop and understands how important agriculture is to Saratoga County.
She is also fiscally conservative and will continue to support the no town tax policies that we have had the past 40 years.
Jenna is also a practicing attorney and brings a wealth of knowledge to deal with all the challenges we face.
I am a long-time registered Republican supporting a registered Democrat that is also running on the Moderate line.
Please support Jenna Smith on Election Day.
Alan R. Grattidge
The writer was the Charlton Town Supervisor from 2006-2020.
Hughes is a proven asset to Clifton Park
The value of a town justice to their community is hard to measure. Thousands of hours are spent answering phone calls, presiding over arraignments in court, reviewing search warrant applications (often in the middle of the night), issuing orders of protections.
For close to four decades, Justice James Hughes has provided accessibility day and night, when needed, to the town of Clifton Park community.
His many years as an instructor to town and village courts provided a wealth of knowledge to all justices in Saratoga County. One of the best skills a town justice can have is the ability to listen to all sides. Justice Hughes’ wide range of knowledge going from a state trooper to a respected trial attorney to serving as an advocate to children in Family Court covers a wide spectrum of fairness.
Justice Hughes has served Clifton Park with dedication, and I ask you to support him on Election Day.
The writer is a retired town justice who served the town of Halfmoon for 32 years.
Thanks to McGraw for dedication to pool
Now that the season is over and everyone has had their last splash, on behalf of all the members of the Niskayuna Wild Turkeys Swim and Dive Team and town pool members, I want to thank Niskayuna town Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw for another great and safe summer at the pool.
For the second covid-plagued summer and in the midst of a national lifeguard shortage, Denise ensured the team and the pool offered a safe bit of “normal” for the families of Niskayuna. There has not ever been a single covid-related incident at the pool, and she made sure it never had to be shut down due to staffing shortages, even if it meant she had to take time away from her business to volunteer there herself. Councilwoman McGraw even saw to it the pool added new offerings of morning lap swim and water aerobics. To me, that speaks volumes about her dedication to our community.
However, for my family it is all about the Wild Turkeys. This summer, more than 100 swimmers and divers were able to learn, grow, compete, make friends and have fun in a safe and nurturing environment thanks to Councilwoman McGraw.
State, public partner well on attractions
We recently hosted friends for a few days; they are world travelers. We wondered what could we show them that they haven’t already seen?
We settled on three venues. To the north was Grant Cottage, to the south was Olana, and right here was Thacher Park.
Grant Cottage is where the general-then-President Grant completed his memoirs in 1885. The building, a New York State historic site, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated a historic landmark by the National Park Service and has been operated by the Friends of the Ulysses S. Grant Cottage since 1989.
One of our friends enjoys painting and is an admirer of Fredrick Church, most famous of the Hudson Valley School of landscape artists. Church’s Olana is also a National Historic landmark. It is managed by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Olana Partnership, a private not-for-profit.
We all know about Thacher Park and the Indian Ladder Trail. Its local history goes back 400 years, and was possible through the Thacher family’s generosity, state government grants and land donations from the Nature Conservancy and others.
Each destination was a day well spent. What struck me later about our sightseeing is that these are all state/private partnerships. They are examples of successful efforts to preserve the legacy of our region — historical, artistic and geographic — as a shared goal, examples of what government can do right. We need more of that.
System is not taking crimes seriously
Regarding The Gazette Oct. 16 article (“Pair on parole charged in bank robbery”), this article failed to mention that after their arrest both parties were released, Mason on her own recognizance and Coates on $1 bail. Both were already out on parole for previous felonies. That is utterly incredible.
I spent 28 years working for KeyBank, most of them in branch locations like this one. During that time, I was subject to a robbery in one location and a hostage situation in another. A colleague in an Albany branch was held on the floor at the point of a shotgun during a robbery. The FBI and local police were involved. These situations were taken very seriously, as they should have been. By comparison, the robbery in question was treated like a jaywalking offense.
God help us all for what we are becoming.
Social Security hike is due to inflation
Hey, you retired folks on Social Security, are you excited about the 5.9% raise you’re going to get in December? Well, don’t be.
Your raise is not due to any generosity on the part of the Democrats now in control in Washington but, in fact, it is because of the lousy job they’ve done in managing the economy since taking office. It’s a reflection of rising inflation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics measures the rate of inflation with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and, by law, a corresponding COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment) is made to your Social Security benefit. The fact that you’re getting a seemingly big increase is only a reminder that it’s getting harder to make ends meet. And the prices of some of the pieces of the CPI are rising way more than your 5.9% COLA, e.g., gasoline (42%), fuel oil (42%), natural gas (21%).
It will be an expensive winter. You will spend every cent of your increase just getting around and staying warm.
And as President Biden and the socialist from Vermont push for a $3.5 trillion spending bill, it is only going to get worse. However, you could look at the bright side. If things continue as they are, your increase next year will be even bigger.
Writer distorted the impact of covid crisis
A response to Richard Lewis’ Oct. 13 letter (“Lies, propaganda keep covid war alive”), I agree and your letter is a perfect example of that. First, you referring to the medical response to the pandemic as a “war” is just another example of the left distorting the language to suit their agenda much like the Biden, Pelosi, Schumer $3.5 trillion plan to expand our bloated welfare state and calling it “infrastructure.”
You utilize past and present deaths from actual wars to show the severity of the virus, but the only logical comparison is with the 655,000 deaths from the 1918 flu. As I recall, at the start of the pandemic, the federal government under Trump decided to cover all hospital costs associated with the pandemic, giving hospitals a financial incentive to list patients at the end of their lives from any cause, but testing positive for covid, as a COVID-19 death. In time, the 703,000 covid deaths to date could be verified by comparing “deaths from all causes” from previous years to the last two. Based on population, the 1918 flu had a much higher death rate than COVID-19.
You inform us all that to win this war, we only have to “get vaccinated and wear a mask.” But as I understand it, even if you get the vaccine, you can still get covid and you can still spread it. So if I, vaccinated, stand next to two people, one vaccinated one not, what’s the difference?
‘Best’ county budget will be short-lived
Time again for a letter concerning the Schenectady County budget — the “best” one yet according to esteemed legislator, Gary Hughes.
Let’s explore the details: Expenditures increased by 4.6% from $327.55 million to $342.7 million, thanks to the policies of President Biden causing the highest inflation rate in 15 years. This increase, typical for the county, is consistent with inflation.
The largest expense, more than twice the cost of General Government Services, is the Economic Opportunity and Assistance Program. Let’s state that again — more than twice the cost of General Government Services, this program will spend $142.26 million, or 41 cents of each dollar the county spends in the coming year.
The additional fact is that much of the funding does not go to those in need as the bureaucratic cost of this program is enormous: $19.2 million for administrative costs including 112 case workers at a cost of $5.8 million; 60 welfare examiners at a cost of $2.8 million; and a departmental commissioner salary of $139,109. Oh, and on the politically appointed patronage job of the county manager, his salary increased (again) over 4% to $179,340. The paltry 1% tax cut is derived from using $6 million of budget surplus; $2.75 million in gaming revenues; and (this is the best one) a temporary 19% increase in federal revenue of $6.59 million.
Enjoy this temporary tax cut. Once the short-term, sugar high of federal revenue is gone, there will be a huge deficit to cover.
Hughes shows his dedication to town
I am honored to share my enthusiasm and support for re-electing Jim Hughes as town Justice of Clifton Park.
As a U.S. Navy veteran who served 20 years in the New York State Police, Jim has developed and demonstrated a lifelong commitment to our nation’s ideal of justice and equality for all in the eyes of the law.
Few endorsements are greater than those of your peers. Justice Hughes was selected and served many years as an instructor of newly elected magistrates, taking required initial and semi-annual training courses on the latest changes to our laws. He also served as president of the Saratoga County Magistrates and Court Clerks Association for two terms.
Justice Hughes’ volunteer services as Attorney For The Child representing minors in visitation and custody and matters for over twenty years is also remarkable. His legal expertise and help to families in need have benefited our community beyond measure.
A general sense of safety and justice in the way Clifton Park runs on a day-to-day basis is enjoyed by a clear majority of our residents. Justice Hughes’ tireless service as our town justice is a big reason why to re-elect Jim Hughes.
Christopher E. O’Hara
Library is not used enough to justify cost
Please Broadalbin, vote no on the library proposition on next month’s ballot.
Let me preface this letter with a personal statement. I love libraries; I love the idea of libraries in every community. But I, like so many others, do not use them.
I support them and did, in fact, serve as secretary and board member of the Broadalbin Book Station, our volunteer-maintained library, for years. Long enough to know that community support is great, but usage limited. Regular use isn’t even sufficient for the nominal support provided by both the village and town, which could put those funds into other projects to better serve the entire community.
There is no need in Broadalbin for a full-fledged professional library. It won’t be used by any more people than the handful who currently take out books and use the computers at the North Main Street facility on a regular basis.
The idea is wonderful; the reality is that it would, no matter how appealing, remain something that only a small number of residents would use.
So, please, think twice when voting Nov. 2. Make the practical decision. Turn down the proposition.
‘Do no harm’ to help stop spread of covid
We can all take part in “Do No Harm” in our community. “Do no harm”, or “Primum non nocere” is a foundation of medicine, attributed to Hippocrates about 2400 years ago. During our modern era, all major medical advances depend on science, and are still working to “Do no harm.”
In the early 1800s, childbirth infant- and maternal mortality was extremely high. Doctors would often deliver a baby without washing their hands, perhaps even after dissecting a cadaver. A Hungarian doctor discovered in 1847 that having a health care provider wash hands before delivery dramatically lowered deaths. Basically, this kept the disease out of a body. Since then, continuous advances mean we are all the beneficiaries today.
Measles, polio, smallpox, whooping cough, tetanus, the list can go on and on. Vaccines have become today’s protective barriers to protect our family, friends, and community from disease, with the most recent advances being mRNA-based vaccines using CRISPR technology.
The accepted way to prevent disease today is still to stop the pathogen from entering a body.
The insidious behavior of the COVID-19 virus has made it much more difficult to limit the pathogen from infecting you and all our community, because it can spread readily by aerosol drops from people who don’t even yet know they are spreaders.
Masks and social distancing help, but above all, vaccination allows each of us to help in controlling this epidemic when we “do no harm.”
McCraw responsive to Nisky community
Denise Murphy McGraw is a dedicated public servant. One of the reasons my wife and I bought our new home in Niskayuna is its proximity to beautiful Avon Crest park. We enjoy walking there with our dog and consider it a true hidden jewel.
Recently, I discovered some graffiti in one of the pavilions. I contacted Councilwoman McGraw. She was accessible, courteous and truly seemed to care about my concerns. Within days, the graffiti was gone.
I appreciate knowing we have such a dedicated and energetic elected official in our town, and I know if I ever have another concern about anything happening in Niskayuna, I can contact Denise Murphy McGraw to get results.
Upset about removal of Amsterdam trees
Is anyone but me upset about the cutting down of dozens of mature trees from downtown Amsterdam to East Main Street for a road project?
Those trees cooled in the summer and retained heat in the winter.
They brought back a little civilization to the city after the disaster of urban renewal wrecked downtown. Sure, they’ll plant a few scrawny trees to replace them, but we’re right back to “destroying the village to save it.” Again.
Why not just level downtown and put up a parking lot?
Commenters to online letters who fail to follow rules against name-calling, profanity, threats, libel or other inappropriate language will have their comments removed and their commenting privileges withdrawn.
To report inappropriate online comments, email Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney at [email protected]