Schenectady owes much to Merriams
In reading the obituary of Charles Merriam, Jr. in the Dec. 31 Gazette, I was struck by the really significant civic contribution Mr. Merriam gave to the city of Schenectady.
He was involved in so many organizations and charitable causes it makes you wonder how one person can find time to do all of that, run a successful insurance business and raise a family all at the same time.
On the other hand, I was not surprised. In doing research for my political history of Schenectady book, “Who Runs This Town,” I discovered his father, Charles W. Merriam, was equally involved.
The senior Mr. Merriam was elected to the Schenectady Board of Supervisors for five two-year terms and was chair of the Board of Supervisors for four of those.
He then went on to be elected and serve nine terms in the state Assembly for a total of 18 years.
Finally he was elected and served 12 years on the City Council, a grand total of 40 years serving his community in elective service.
Ironically Mr. Merriam’s only defeat came at the hands of another Schenectady legend, Sam Stratton, in 1949.
In addition, Mr. Merriam was a leader in numerous civic organizations as well during his lifetime.
Schenectady owes a great debt of gratitude to the Merriam family.
B. Donald Ackerman
Wearing masks is not too much to ask
A number of letters have voiced complaints about New York Gov. Hochul’s recent mandate requiring that masks must be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.
Her decision was based on the state’s weekly seven-day case rate, as well as increasing hospitalizations.
The complaints reflect two perspectives: (1) “the state is being dictatorial” and (2) “since I am fully vaccinated, why should I have to wear a mask?”
Regarding the first perspective, the state is responsible for public health and therefore does have the responsibility and the right to mandate actions which protect the health of the state’s population.
Regarding the second perspective, even if you are fully vaccinated, you still can be infected with COVID-19 or one of its variants. While the vaccines are highly effective, they are not 100% effective.
People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have a significantly reduced risk of severe illness.
However, hospitalizations and deaths have been reported among fully vaccinated people with “breakthrough” COVID-19 infections.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 15% of hospital admissions for COVID-19 between June and September involved people who were fully vaccinated against the disease.
Moreover, CDC data shows that, while the covid death rate for vaccinated Americans is small compared to the unvaccinated, it is still significant, about 17% of all covid deaths.
Wearing masks in indoor venues appears to be a minor inconvenience compared to the consequences of infection.
Taxpayers shouldn’t fund St. Clare’s deal
Not to be unsympathetic concerning an addition possible taxpayer bailout of the St. Clare’s pension, I have always felt that it should never be the responsibility of New York state’s government to make failed private sector retirement investments solvent again.
We already “contributed” around $29 million to that underfunded pension. It is St. Clare’s Hospital and the Catholic Church that neglected to maintain insurance premiums to protect the fund from such an occurrence.
The Church has money to pay off lawsuits brought by those who have been abused by pedophile priests, so they certainly should come up with the money for these pensioners with a legitimate claim to benefits. There should not be one more penny “donated” on taxpayers’ behalf.
Politicians love to spread tax dollars around to “causes” they think will get them votes in their districts, but this is not a precedent that should be set. If my retirement investments are lost in a down stock market, should New York taxpayers make me whole? Was New York solicited by GE pensioners when GE took away their health-care retirement benefits?
It is enough that taxpayers make New York’s public employee pension fund whole when the markets go south. Private sector and non-profit enterprises are not taxpayers’ responsibility.
Gov. Kathy Hochul should not respond to this.
Burning fossil fuels at root of climate issue
This is in response to the letter (“Reducing carbon could backfire on us”) in the Dec. 29 Gazette by Dr. Jane Slezak.
I would like to believe that Dr. Slezak knows the difference between carbon dioxide caused naturally by outgassing from the oceans, decomposing vegetation, forest fires etc. and the carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.
Carbon dioxide has been captured by the oceans and forests (carbon sinks) for millions of years, absorbed, processed and released back into the atmosphere through photosynthesis as oxygen.
The problem is the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels.
Dr. Slezak asks the question, “if we reduce or remove carbon, how will the solar panels, windmills and electric batteries supply us with oxygen?” My question is do you really believe the goal is to remove all carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or just bring us closer to this natural balance?
Use all tools to keep carbon out of the air
A Dec. 29 Letter to the Editor from Jane Slezak (“Reducing carbon could backfire on us”) wondered if controlling carbon emissions could endanger our supply of oxygen.
Luckily, the answer is an unequivocal “no.”
There are more than 500 molecules of oxygen in the atmosphere for every molecule of carbon dioxide. We are not in danger of running out of oxygen.
Rather, our concern should be the ever-growing number of CO2 molecules which, along with other greenhouse gases, continue to fuel climate change.
If we are to prevent a future with even worse climate extremes, we must use every tool — including the solar panel, windmills, and electric batteries the author worries about — to limit the carbon we pump into the atmosphere.
Dr. Jeffrey D. Corbin
The writer is a professor of biological sciences at Union College.
Support is strong for shared parenting
Is it too early to declare a tsunami of support for shared parenting?
In a word: No!
National Parents Organization, in collaboration with New York Families for Tomorrow and Americans for Equal Shared Parenting, as well as The Fathers Rights Movement, just received the results of an independently conducted poll of the attitudes of New Yorkers about shared parenting.
When viewed in context of the other recent polls conducted in many other states (Researchscape) — the results are clear. There is a tsunami of support for shared parenting.
Let’s focus on the poll from New York. Here are some highlights:
• 92% believe that “it is in a child’s best interest to have as much time as possible with each parent” when the parents are divorced or separated.
• 92% say they “would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports children spending significant, up to equal, amounts of time with each parent following separation or divorce.”
• 85% would support “a change in New York law that creates a rebuttable presumption that shared parenting is in the best interest of a child after parental separation.”
Despite this, legislators have stalled legislation that would create a rebuttable presumption that shared parenting is in children’s best interest.
It’s often said that “if the people lead, the leaders will follow.” And this is nowhere truer than in the area of divorce and custody reform. It is time for support for equal shared parenting to sweep the legislatures of New York and other states forward.
The writer is chair of the New York Affiliate National Parents Organization.
Grateful for chance to share opinions
Regarding Kenneth Truman’s letter (“Paper needs more balanced coverage”) published in the Dec. 30 Gazette about this newspaper’s biased reporting and commentary, I am in 95% agreement.
Newspaper reporters in general do include much of their own opinion in the articles they write (falsely claims, debunked claim, unsupported theories), rather than sticking to just the facts.
But because our local newspapers tend to lean toward liberal, it’s not surprising that the Op-Ed pages and letters published also lean that way.
For the most part, I have been pleased to read opposing opinions in the “Letters” section (Trump/Republican vs. Biden/Democrat).
And I have been pleased to see that letters have been published with no politics included whatsoever. It teaches me that our citizens are interesting and diverse.
One thing I would like to see are more subtitles in the articles, especially the long ones. I think The Gazette could do this on their own instead of just a copy/paste. Thank you for allowing our citizens to speak and give their opinions.
Get on right path or suffer God’s wrath
Are we living in the days of Noah again? Noah of the ark and world flood fame lived during a wicked and corrupt time according to God [Gen 6]. All humanity, except for Noah and his family, were maniacal, amoral and evil to the core.
Worship of self and the desires of the flesh replaced the worship of God. Idolatry was rampant. People were so wicked God said He was grieved He had made them, so He sent the flood.
Are we living in a time like Noah’s day? Have we become so evil that God is grieved with us as in Noah’s time? Is God about to destroy us as Biblical scholars predict?
In 2 Peter 3, it states, “the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”
D. Lee Chesnut, a retired GE scientist, in his book, “The Atom Speaks,” suggests that what the Apostle Peter is describing is a nuclear explosion where everything will melt. Nothing will be left. Like with the flood, humanity as we know will be gone. Your fate will be sealed for eternity.
If you are not right with God, get right while there is still time. The Apostle John in his first letter wrote, “…if we confess our sin, God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins…”
Humans must act now to save planet
Recently I watched another documentary on climate change. The Earth Is Warming The Earth. https://feedbackloopsclimate.com.
It is finally very clear to me that the environment that humans rely on is in serious trouble. No doubt, no question human release of carbon dioxide has created a climate catastrophe. We’re now in it. It’s obvious we are seeing the signs of destruction.
Governments, corporations and societies aren’t moving fast enough.
The Earth’s climate is changing much faster than the general public realizes. We are already starting to witness things like feedback loops and tipping points. Example: Permafrost thawing is releasing methane gas. Methane gas contains much greater heat-trapping capability than carbon dioxide. These types of events will speed the destruction of our environment. Humanity is in for a shock as it realizes it will not be spared.
Pay attention to what is happening all around us. The fog of our reality is lifting, and the scene is very frightening. Our generation took part in making this mess and it’s in our laps. It’s our responsibility to clean it up.
Be a doer or doubter the Earth’s change is happening regardless. Sit on the sidelines or get in the game. The fight to save human existence has started and we can change the outcome. It’s on us all now.
Focus should be on preventing new cases
I recently published the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 might enter organs, such as the brain, where immune surveillance is ineffective.
An NIH study soon confirmed this. The virus could persist, reactivating when we become weaker.
The weight of evidence now suggests that covid and long covid could become lifelong covid.
Opportunistic virus reactivation is common. Childhood chicken pox becomes adult shingles. ‘Cured’ Ebola re-emerges years later, without external reinfection. Yet, the FDA and CDC remain overly restrictive regarding vaccine boosters.
Our overriding priority should be prevention of as many COVID-19 cases as feasible, not tolerating them because they tend to be mild.
Even mild cases might impose future health and economic burdens. We must adopt the precautionary principle.
That is the lesson we should have learned from Michael Crichton’s infamous Jurassic Park. Lacking dinosaurs, our communities are microbial Jurassic Parks.
They must separate people from a vaccine-escaping virus, for example, via colleges conducting classes remotely.
Omicron is more vaccine-resistant than previous variants. All are evolving toward still greater infectivity, and the pace of this evolution seems to be accelerating. These challenges may overcome careful containment plans, as happened in the real (that is, fictional) Jurassic Park.
A new normal is around the corner. Pharmaceutical firms are developing vaccines tailored to emerging variants within 100 days, and this process already is under way for omicron. The U.S. Army soon will conduct clinical trials of an mRNA vaccine to protect against all coronaviruses, including future variants. To quote Pete Seeger: ”we shall overcome.”
Robert A. Michaels, PhD, CEP
Paper needs better balance of articles
In the Dec. 30 Daily Gazette, Kenneth Truman’s letter (“Paper needs more balanced coverage”) was right on target.
This paper is much too liberal; Truman could not have expressed it better.
How about some articles from Dr. Robert Malone, the inventor of the mRna vaccines? Or Mollie Hemingway, author of the very excellent books ‘Rigged’ and ‘Justice on Trial.’
Act now to prevent, treat cervical cancer
We have the power to get rid of cervical cancer. January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.
Did you know cervical cancer can be prevented with screening and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination? The Cancer Prevention in Action Program (CPiA) would like to share important facts about how to prevent cervical cancer and make it a thing of the past.
Cervical cancer screening tests can find the cells that lead to cancer so they can be removed before cancer grows. Regular screening is recommended from age 21 to 65.
The HPV vaccine prevents most cervical cancers and other cancers caused by HPV. The vaccine is given to boys and girls starting at age 11 or 12 but can be started as early as age 9.
CPiA works to increase cervical cancer screening and HPV vaccination rates in our community to get rid of cervical cancer. CPiA helps employers adopt paid time off policies for cancer screening and educates employees on the importance of getting screened.
CPiA educates health care providers, community organizations, parents, and young adults about the benefits of the HPV vaccine.
If you are an employer, health care provider or community-based organization, call CPiA.
Our program can provide education and strategies to help you put cancer prevention into action.
Regular screening and HPV vaccination can reduce, possibly end, cervical cancer. To learn more about how the CPiA Program can help you, call 518-770-6815 or visit www.takeactionagainstcancer.com.
The writer is health education promotions coordinator, Cancer Prevention in Action Program of Fulton, Montgomery & Schenectady Counties.
Fight misinformation whenever you can
The letter from Dr. Jane Slezak (“Reducing carbon could backfire on us”) in the Dec. 29 Gazette on the necessity of CO2 in plant growth gives us an outstanding example of a few ways to fight misinformation.
We fight misinformation when we spot it, diffusing its power to confuse us.
First, she isolates one element good for plants, ignoring that a regular water supply and comfortable temperature range are also necessary.
Climate change interrupts both of them.
Second, she uses the fallacy of oversimplification by focusing on one single factor.
In his article in a recent American Educator issue, John Cook (an actual expert in climate change), explains that focusing only on CO2 as important for plants to grow is like saying, “Our bodies need calcium, so all we need to eat is ice cream.”
We must all be wary of “fake experts” — those people who seem like that “should” know something but don’t actually work in the area they’re commenting on.
As alarmed as I am that a person with a PhD blithely writes such fact-based and logic-based misinformation, I’m grateful for the chance we all have to become inoculated against these types of messages.
Niskayuna needs to learn from the past
I, as many Niskayuna town residents, would like to remain hopeful that new representation on our town board will focus on what is best for our town leaving partisan politics in our past.
While it is not surprising that Supervisor Puccioni named a fellow Democrat to serve as our deputy supervisor, it is surprising she selected the only one with no town government experience.
A recent article noted that the selection of committee chairs was discussed by all board members and the decisions are non-partisan. This seems questionable.
Typically, all board members chair or co-chair at least one committee unless a town supervisor chooses to deny a board member.
Newly elected Town Board Member Jessica Brennan will be chair of two committees, in addition to her role as deputy supervisor, which likely will be overwhelming.
Newly elected Town Board Member Jason Moskowitz (a Republican), supported heavily by our community with demonstrated outstanding public safety service in Niskayuna, did not receive a chairperson assignment though two positions were available.
Let’s use all of the talents and experience of all our elected officials. Let’s have teamwork at the Niskayuna Town Hall. Haven’t we learned that shared responsibility and oversight is critical?
The writer served two terms on the Niskayuna Town Board.
Play important news prominently in paper
Getting the first paper of the year is always a pleasure, to be able to see what your neighbors are doing and seeing what important things are happening around the world that made news.
Obviously to The Gazette’s copy editor and possibly to other news media, the Jan. 6 insurrection is a secondary thing. It’s no wonder there is such a difference of opinion around this country as to “is it a threat to democracy,” or was it just a “sightseeing outing” at the Capitol when pages one and five in the Jan. 2 Gazette are about skiing, and the continuation of the blurb from page one winds up on page six.
It just shows where the priorities of some in the media place importance.
If we don’t give this the upper most important spot for our country for this time in history, then we may find ourselves living under a fascist regime, or worse, another civil war. Some in places of power are calling a “divorce” for our country. Please let the real important stuff be front and center and give it the urgency it deserves.
Richard C. Johnson
Misinformation on power line unhelpful
In his Dec. 25 letter (“Follow energy plan on Champlain pipeline”), Christopher Corbett draws unfounded conclusions regarding the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) clean energy transmission line and Hydro-Québec’s ties with First Nations, which demonstrate his misunderstanding of the reality in Quebec.
In 2002, the government of Québec and the Crees signed a historic 50-year agreement on the development of the James Bay region.
Almost 20 years later, Dr. Abel Bosum, former grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees, used these words to describe the spirit of this agreement called the Paix des Braves: “In this age of isolation and constant condemnation, it’s important that we never forget what happens when you make your neighbour your friend, a friend that you respect and empower.”
Over the past four decades, our mutual openness has resulted in more than 40 agreements relating to power generation and transmission projects with several Indigenous communities.
As part of its agreement with New York, Hydro-Québec will purchase electricity from the Apuiat wind farm, partially owned by Innu communities in Quebec, as well as enter into a partnership with the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke for joint ownership of the line in Quebec that will connect to the CHPE. These historical initiatives are examples of Hydro-Québec’s commitment to further develop its relationships with Indigenous communities.
Misinformation won’t help us move forward in the fight against the climate crisis. Taking bold collective action now to transition to clean renewable energy across borders with projects like the CHPE will.
The writer is Chief Operating Officer at Hydro-Québec.
Covid solutions more complex than shots
In his pro-vaccine piece on covid (“We’re (still) approaching this COVID thing all wrong”) in the Dec. 19 Gazette, Mr. Figliozzi states “The solutions are straightforward and simple. Vaccinate and cooperate.”
If only it were that simple. Many people are refusing them because everything available is still under Emergency Use Authorization (the inserts clearly state that you have the right to accept or refuse the jab); and more and more side effects are becoming known despite censorship. The U.S. covid policy is still a one-size-fits all approach which has been a disaster. Facts and statistics are being manipulated or ignored to promote that narrative.
Success stories in other parts of the world using early intervention with repurposed drugs and supplements have been ignored or censored. Many covid deaths in the United States had comorbidities, begging the question: Did they die OF covid, or WITH covid?
If the United States had led with early intervention combined with vaccines for the most at-risk individuals, hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved. To quote Mr. Figliozzi’s last statement: “You’ve totally missed the point.”
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