If snowmobilers groom Canalway, they should be allowed to use it
Re Feb. 4 editorial, “Wrong way on Canalway”: I read with interest the opinion expressed by the [Gazette] editorial board concerning the use of Canalway trails by snowmobiles.
I am president of the Charlton Snowmobile Club Inc. We maintain trails roughly from Round Lake to the east to the Sacandaga Reservoir to the north and west; in all, more 50 miles of trails. All these trails are maintained by volunteers.
All registered snowmobiles in New York state pay a fee at the state Department of Motor Vehicles each year to register their sleds. Part of that registration fee goes back to the snowmobile clubs, which use the money to purchase equipment, fuel, etc., to maintain the trails.
The Charlton Snowmobile Club trail system includes the Zim Smith Trail, which is very much like the Canalway trails. As snowmobile owners we paid our state and federal taxes, which helped create the Zim Smith as well as the Canalway trails. However, in the winter season it is solely our snowmobile registration money that is spent through our clubs to maintain and groom the Zim Smith Trail.
Due to our extensive maintenance of the Zim Smith Trail this winter, anyone can use this trail. Without our efforts, the public would be knee deep in snow and would struggle to enjoy a walk with their pets, children and friends. The trail is enjoyed by cross-country skiers, snowshoers and hikers, as well as snowmobilers. There is room for everyone on the trail. The same holds true for the Canalway trails.
The intent of the trails is to encourage public use and enjoy the outdoors. The editors need to realize that the success of these trails in tough economic times relies upon inclusive partnerships of all who wish to use the trails.
William B. Cook
Strock went too far in dissing Skidmore diversity
Re Feb. 6 Carol Strock column, “Skidmore profs provide top lawyers”: I can’t disagree more with the columns that Carl Strock has written about the Skidmore students arrested for assault not long ago. I guess it would have been too obvious for a columnist of his stature to just deplore the assault and its racial overtones. I wish that he had limited his column to pointing out that racism is a disease that is not only contracted by whites but can infect all of us.
However, Carl saw this as an opportunity to criticize Skidmore College, its professors and its diversity program. It’s too bad the columnist, who often expresses his fondness for hieing, had not done more of it in preparation for these columns. It would have been informative knowing how long the diversity program had been at Skidmore. How many students have participated in it? Have there been other problems with the program or was this an isolated incident? Answers to these questions might have made his column more credible.
Mr. Strock was upset that the college did not issue an apology for the incident. Did the Gazette’s investigative columnist uncover information in the background of the arrested students that should have alerted the college that they were likely to engage in criminal activity? Or is it enough to be wary of anyone who comes from Brooklyn or the Bronx.
I read that Mr. Strock was able to ascertain that some Skidmore professors had raised money for the students’ defense. Does he believe that lawyers of this caliber should be limited to those who can afford them?
I suspect that Carl would like to have lived in an earlier time when colleges such as Skidmore were the bastions of the privileged and members of the lower classes knew their place.
Conservatives hypocrites on government regulation
Re Feb. 18 article, “Wis. anti-labor bill inflames capital; Dems flee in protest”: The assault on unions in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey and New York by the GOP strikes me as exceptionally ironic.
For years conservatives have advocated for less government intervention in the lives of citizens. During the financial meltdown of the last four years, they battled any initiatives that may cut the billion-dollar profits of executives on Wall Street while arguing that we should leave the markets alone to self-correct.
Now that states are reaping the painful legacy of allowing unregulated greed and speculative growth to take place, they choose to assault the middle class, while simultaneously advocating for lower tax rates for the rich. So the message is that government intervention in collective bargaining is OK, but intervention in big business or health insurance is not?
Conservatives want small government except when it suits them politically, like in 2000 (Bush vs. Gore) and today. Shame on you!
Keep national anthem but make sure it’s sung right
Re Feb. 11 letter, “Can anyone sing the national anthem?”: Edmond Day’s suggestion to “get rid of” the Star-Spangled Banner, in my opinion, would be like saying that we should disband speed limits because people speed.
It is a difficult song to sing, granted, but it can be sung, and sung beautifully. He goes on to say; “In a nation destroying its history ...” — and what does he want to do? Do away with [what has been] our national anthem, since 1814!
I suggest that when a person is invited to sing the national anthem, they be required to submit a tape; if they can’t sing it, tell them thanks but no thanks. And it should be sung as the notes were written, not with a lot of fluctuations.
Do it right or don’t do it at all, but keep the national anthem.
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