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Online Letters to the Editor for March 12

Online Letters to the Editor for March 12

  • Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week — March 10-17
  • Military background shouldn’t be the only
  • Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week — March 10-17

    Join the movement to create a world free of multiple sclerosis (MS) — a daunting mission, but with hope and hard work, an achievable goal in our lifetime. MS is a nervous system disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It damages the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects your nerve cells. This damage slows down or blocks messages between your brain and your body, creating the symptoms of MS.

    Gov. Spitzer joined the movement against MS by proclaiming March 10-17 officially MS Awareness Week in New York. MS impacts and challenges the lives of over 400,000 Americans diagnosed with MS, as well as their friends, family and caregivers. The disease adds an estimated $35,000 in health care costs per year for the average person living with MS. These costs can exceed $2.2 million over a lifetime of a person living with MS. Even more reason to find a cure.

    Americans are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 40, making MS the No. 1 disabler of young adults. There are almost 11,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter serves over 12,000 people living with MS in New York. No one knows what causes MS. It’s an autoimmune disease, which is the result of your body attacking itself.

    The National MS Society is dedicated to addressing the challenges of each person with MS and achieving a world free of multiple sclerosis. During MS Awareness Week, the National MS Society [NMSS] will be offering programs to the public to learn more about MS and to identify sources of support for those who are currently in the process of being diagnosed or are currently living with the disease. MS Awareness Week’s main focus is to spread awareness of MS and to encourage people to join the movement against MS.

    As a person living with MS for eight years, I have had the opportunity to utilize the services and programs that the National MS Society has to offer. Knowing that there is an organization fighting against MS on my behalf gives me hope that no other family, including the next generation of my own family, will have to ensure the unpredictability of this disease. I know MS is an under-recognized disease, and it’s my hope that many of you who are touched by it will take the opportunity during MS Awareness Week to join the movement against MS. I have been volunteering with the NMSS for years and enjoy seeing the hope and positive energy created by people working together toward the same goal.

    There are several actions our community can do to help us create a world free of MS:

    u Tell 10 people you know that it is MS Awareness Week and share what MS is; ask them to tell 10 others.

    u Sponsor a Walk MS or Bike MS participant or make a general donation to the NMSS.

    u Contact your local, state or federal officials about an important issue facing those with MS.

    u Visit www.msupstateny.org or call 1-800-344-4867 and find out how you can become involved.

    Tracy Roth

    Guilderland

    Military background shouldn’t be the only reason to choose president

    There appears to be a popular misconception of a president’s role as commander in chief of the armed forces. John McCain’s supporters cite his military training and his aggressive military stance as a primary reason for electing him president.

    According to the founders of our country and the Constitution they adopted, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The founders purposely placed a civilian as head of the military to help guard against the country becoming a police state and engage the nation in warfare without the consent of the people. The last seven years have clearly shown what a democracy can become with a military mind set in command. Citizens’ civil rights have been violated and we have invaded a nation half-way around the world that posed absolutely no threat to us.

    The president’s role in foreign relations is first and foremost that of a negotiator: to protect the people and their rights without going to war. If there is failure with this primary task and war is forced upon us, the president should then call upon the professional military leaders to use our armed forces as effectively and efficiently as possible — to protect our shores and subdue the enemy.

    We have also seen the folly of non-professional military leaders trying to wage a war. (Insufficient training, lack of needed equipment and supplies, inhumane and unnecessary repeated combat duty for the relatively few, and violations of the Geneva Convention laws that all civilized nations have agreed to.)

    9/11 was a terrible crime that proper homeland defense could have avoided. A new administration celebrating their successful capture of the presidency without the popular vote of the people, blew off warnings of seasoned intelligence agents and diplomats, spending their precious hours rejoicing and speaking to elementary school classes. (Recall — It took the president seven minutes to wind up his classroom address to focus on the tragedy at hand and check with the mayor and the governor, who had already taken charge.) The resulting mismanagement, flawed by irresponsible incompetence — with further confusion resulting from the counsel of a frightened old man, perhaps more concerned about his wealth than the welfare of the nation — made the aftermath of this tragedy the mother “misunderestimation” of all time.

    Gene Whitney

    Niskayuna

    Loss of leaf pickup coincides with higher taxes

    I was a little surprised to read in John Sowa’s March 10 letter indicating the town of Glenville was abandoning the annual leaf pick up service for residents. Thinking I had missed some sort of an announcement, I started looking through my Glenville Weekly. I did find a small article stating that the town was canceling the annual bulk item pickup. In the same article it does state, “County Waste will continue to pick up bagged leaves from April to November.” I guess this is the announcement Mr. Sowa was referring to.

    Having lived in Glenville for the past 10 years, I am disappointed with the decision to cancel this service. The annual leaf pick up supplemented, but did not eliminate, the need for residents to bag leaves. I regularly bag in excess of 200 bags before the leaf pickup begins.

    I agree with Mr. Sowa that this decision needs to be reconsidered. Most Glenville residents have larger yards than those of our Scotia neighbors and rely on the leaf pickup. Having seen our taxes rise dramatically over the past several years, I can’t help but wonder what is going on here.

    Chris Stater

    Scotia

    Charter School should use Van Corlaer as a role model

    In response to the Feb. 28 opinion expressed by Tracy Peterson that the thought of sending her child to Van Corlaer Elementary School is frightening, I must say, that Ms. Peterson’s comment is her own opinion, and she speaks for herself, based on what, I don’t know. My opinion is mine; however, I speak for many, and it is based on nearly seven years of being a parent at Van Corlaer.

    Anyone there can tell you that I have spent many hours in the building since day one. I have attended concerts, assemblies and family events, volunteered at book fairs, bake sales and activity nights, and spent much time in my children’s classrooms and in others. I have regularly been in the building and on the grounds observing, interacting and soaking it all in. During this time, my children and I have never, ever for one moment been frightened by this school.

    The only time I’ve ever felt any amount of anxiety was (much like any other parent) when I sent my first child to school for the very first time. She was smaller than everyone else, not assertive at all, fearful of anything new and averse to any kind of change. She was placed in an urban public school with 30 kindergartners in her class. So I was a little concerned that she would get lost in the shuffle. And by the way, that first full week of school for her included the terrorist attacks on

    9/11.

    Any anxiety I may have had before entering that building was quickly dispelled. My daughter did not get lost in the shuffle, on the contrary she has grown and matured and she has always excelled. She’s become an intelligent, very assertive, very justice conscious, fair-minded young lady, who is eager and ready to take on the world when she leaves Van Corlaer in June.

    My younger child is only in second grade, but she’s been a welcome part of the Van Corlaer family since she was a baby. And with a very different personality, and different talents and abilities, she also does extremely well. Her strengths and gifts are fostered, built and encouraged. Any area of need is quickly addressed and managed with positive, lasting results.

    Neither one of my children has ever been bullied. They are never without opportunity to be themselves, and to grow and learn comfortably. They are never without challenge, never without praise for quality work, never without appreciation of hard work and best effort.

    They have developed wonderful, supportive relationships with teachers (even those whom they’ve never had) with para-professionals, clerical staff, custodial staff and the principal. They have come to value quality education and have never known anything less. My children are not alone in this, but are an example of many. And every positive aspect I describe was in place long before I ever entertained the thought of becoming a school board member.

    Van Corlaer is filled with wonderful, highly-dedicated staff, who volunteer countless hours, work closely together and closely with families and the community. Its retirees who, upon completion of more than 30 years teaching in the building, return to Van Corlaer as substitutes. It has teachers, who have received honors and awards given for excellence in teaching, in community involvement, and creativity; Among those, a Teacher of the Year and most recently a News Channel 13 Educator of the Week.

    Van Corlaer is filled with parents, who give of their time and of themselves to be a part of their children’s education, who enhance all the wonderful, positive programs in the school, and who even create their own programs and initiatives. There is one set of parents who are so absolutely philanthropic; These parents asked every child in the building what he or she wished for during the holiday season and fulfilled each and every wish, and did not want one bit of credit or attention for their efforts.

    Van Corlaer is filled with students who are role models of appropriate behavior, who want to learn new things, who care about and nurture their own classmates, who strive to do their best every day, who are polite and respectful even outside the walls of the school and far away from the grounds, and who are active in the community themselves.

    My husband and I moved here over 16 years ago only to invest in some rental property. We never had any intentions of raising a family here, sending our children to these schools, or remaining here at all.

    But we have never felt so welcome and so embraced by any person, group or organization as we were by Van Corlaer Elementary School. Our experience in this school was the primary reason why my husband and I had second thoughts about moving back closer to both of our families. Our experience at Van Corlaer prompted us to research this school district and its community, and ultimately make a commitment to remain in Schenectady.

    I’m very sorry that Ms. Peterson feels the way she feels. Van Corlaer Elementary School is at the forefront, and serves as a model of excellence to all schools in this city, county and region.

    Lisa M. Russo

    Schenectady

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