Cannabis stores will add to traffic woes
The letter to the editor in the Nov. 19-25 Your Niskayuna (“Consider cannabis stores in Niskayuna”) appeared to praise the changes the town is desperately in need of.
Ironically, in the same paper, the adjacent article (“Niskayuna man killed in head-on Colonie crash”) describes a head-on crash that killed another Niskayuna resident.
Marijuana, whether legally obtained or not, negatively affects a number of skills required for safe driving.
To minimize unnecessary deaths to promote retail cannabis stores that allow on-site consumption lounges seems rather distasteful. Money and profits are not always the ultimate goal regarding human life and conscientiousness.
Our “mythical traffic problems” are quite annoying to me as a taxpayer. Cars hit my road off of Consaul and drive past my house with the pedal to the floor. They constantly ride my bumper when I am doing the speed limit and cannot seem to get around me quick enough when I am trying to turn into my own driveway. They drive across our lawns because they cannot always maneuver the winding road. So we are left with paying to have that damage repaired to our lawns and mailboxes.
I do not agree with inviting more people to our town, who by the agenda, will add to the already overwhelming recklessness on our roads.
Maybe our incumbent Councilman John Della Ratta can turn his attention to issues that affect the town as a whole. Issues such as why Spectrum’s contract prevents us from having more competitive cable pricing, or why our lawn and leaf service has become such a nightmare.
No need to revisit solitary confinement
The evidence is clear: Solitary confinement causes sickness and death and worsens safety for incarcerated people and staff.
New York state has been locking people, disproportionately Black and Brown people, in solitary for up to 24 hours a day, without meaningful human contact or programming, for months, years and decades.
Solitary confinement causes psychosis, anxiety, depression, heart disease, self-mutilation and death. It took the lives of Kalief Browder, Layleen Polanco, and countless others, including our son, Benjamin Van Zandt.
Ben’s mental health deteriorated in solitary and he died by suicide at age 21.
We are offended by any dismissal of solitary confinement as movie fiction; our son’s passing was anything but a Hollywood ending.
Meanwhile, alternative forms of separation involving meaningful out-of-cell programming and engagement are proven to enhance well-being and safety for everyone, such as the Merle Cooper program, CAPS, and the RSVP program.
For eight legislative sessions, the state Legislature considered all evidence and perspectives on solitary, including from correction officers’ unions.
There was massive public support for HALT’s passage, including from Albany Bishop Scharfenberger, the Mental Health Association of New York State, the Labor-Religion Coalition, and Citizen Action.
Earlier this year, the Daily Gazette itself, for a second time, enthusiastically urged HALT’s enactment.
Ultimately, HALT was enacted by a super-majority of both the state Senate and Assembly and the governor. Now is not the time to rehash this settled decision; instead, let’s work towards effective implementation of HALT, to stop the torture, improve safety, and save lives.
(formerly of Albany)
Biden’s optimism not based on reality
Joe Biden has done more damage to our country than our enemies could even imagine. Yet he stands before us and tells us things are fine? This is like someone peeing on your foot then trying to convince you that it’s just raining out.
Too easy to blame Biden for gas prices
In response to Theresa Nowicki’s Nov. 20 letter (“Put blame for rising fuel prices on Biden,”), Ms. Nowicki should keep in mind that we were and still are dealing with a pandemic.
People now are traveling more, and the supply has been lowered because of lower U.S. production and OPEC decisions.
Hurricane Ida shut down U.S. oil drilling and oil refining in the Gulf of Mexico in August. Crude oil inventories are low.
The lower oil supply and stockpiles, along with everyone being able to travel, leads to the higher gas prices.
It is unfair to say that the president, any president, is the cause of something he or she had no control over. The Energy Department, not the president, has the authority to send oil from the reserve to the stockpiles. This may lower gas prices.
Also, gas prices are coming down, slowly I realize, but coming down. It seems to be way too easy to put blame on someone without having all the facts.
Help available to provide good food
As our community works to recover from the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must remember that many families — even those who are working — still struggle to put food on the table.
For low-wage workers, part-time workers, and those looking for a job, having enough to feed a family can be hard.
If you know a working family struggling to make ends meet, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may be able to help.
SNAP helps many families in New York stretch their food budget by providing monthly benefits on an EBT card that can be used at most grocery stores, many farmers markets, and approved online retailers.
For millions of New Yorkers, SNAP can be the difference between having food and going hungry. The Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP) can tell if you may be eligible for SNAP and can help you complete and submit an application. These services are free and confidential.
For more information, contact your local NOEP Coordinator at 518-842-9466 Ext.227.
The writer is the Nutritional Education Outreach Program coordinator for Fulton County in the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York.
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