Local pilots forced into back seat at Spa County airport
Re May 2 article, “Glider pilots unhappy with new airport rules”: The Saratoga County Building and Grounds Committee should be ashamed of its actions.
Over the past year, tension has been increasing between the county, North American Flight Service, the glider community and other tenants at the airport.
Saratoga Soaring Association and Adirondack Soaring Group both lease hangars at the airport and fly regularly there eight months a year. The county is trying to restrict the local pilot community to accommodate the few jet pilots who fly in during track season. Our groups are made up of county residents — we pay taxes and keep the airport alive.
The Saratoga County Airport is a wonderful resource for the county. Deep down it would appear that county officials prefer not to operate the airport. The county accepts federal funding based on the amount of aircraft activity; as a result the airport is here to stay.
On April 30, the Building and Grounds Committee and their hired consultants (McFarland Johnson) passed 18 pages of rules that severely restrict glider operations, as well as limit the use of the airport’s facilities by tenants. One of these restrictions will create a waiting line for jet traffic and general aviation traffic as they taxi to the active runway for departure. This bottleneck will affect safety on the ground and in the air.
The consultants and Buildings and Grounds Committee were not willing to take recommendations from those with experience at the airport.
Granted, there are things that can and should be done to improve safety at the airport, but the glider clubs and tenants have been willing to work with the county. Instead the county and its consultants are doing things their way.
Our county airport is just that — a county airport that has been in service since WWII. It services small aircraft, gliders and the occasional jet. It will never become Saratoga International Airport; it is limited by land, services and proximity to Albany.
It is frustrating to see that the Buildings and Grounds Committee is not willing to utilize local resources to address their issues. Pilots who call Saratoga County Airport their home field have studied and worked hard to obtain their pilot certificates.
We want to share the joy of flying with others and can’t understand the county’s desire to turn 18 pages of rules into laws. Pilots already live by a set of rules written by the FAA. Keeping our pilot certificates is enough to keep us following FAA rules and regulations.
The writer is a certified flight instructor and commercial glider pilot.
Borrowing for college an option, not a must
Re the April 28 editorial cartoon about students getting “screwed” by student loan rates: What you pay for higher education is a choice, and how much debt you wish to accumulate is a choice.
Obviously, there are scholarships and grants that ameliorate the expenses of some students. But overall, it is a personal choice to attend a more cost-effective, two-year community college for the first two years, to work before and during the remaining years and choose wisely the subject to major in so that there is cost-effectiveness in the education obtained. Those who pursue something hardly marketable may find that work in that field is difficult to find upon graduation.
Going on to graduate school simply because there are few job opportunities with a four-year degree only increases debt and may not provide meaningful payback. Some who go to work after a two- or four-year degree may have employer assistance in taking part-time courses to further their education.
Having government support chronic and dramatic increased cost only allows the colleges and universities the luxury of hiking prices. The more you subsidize something, the more of it you get. Maybe if the cash flow from government was less, there would be more competition to get students in the door and higher education would not be so expensive.
I suggest that students not come looking for cheap, government-subsidized loans but exercise discretion in their higher education choices. It is doable to be educated without creating a lifelong burden of debt.
Theater critic too harsh in panning Cap Rep play
Carol King’s May 3 review of Capital Repertory Theatre’s current production, “God Of Carnage,” brings to mind the old cliche: “Did she see the same play I saw?”
“God Of Carnage” may in fact be a flawed play, and an interesting conversation about its structure can be had. However, it appears Ms. King was so offended by the physical comedy (a character vomits on stage, in a most convincing bit of business) that she throws the baby out with the bath water.
I was in the audience May 1. Whereas Ms. King heard a “few forced laughs,” I heard a lot of laughing — and did a lot of laughing. I also saw a lot of audience members laughing, and spoke afterwards to a number of happy theatergoers.
Ms. King makes a rather standard reviewer’s gibe about looking at her watch, implying a slow, boring show. The show I saw was paced beautifully by Cap Rep’s artistic director, Maggie Mancinelli Cahill; in fact, the debate in the car I went home in was about a moment or two that were perhaps a tad too quick. The direction, combat choreography and ensemble acting were all top-notch.
As a 40-year veteran of theater, I consider myself a knowledgeable theatergoer. As soon as I got home Tuesday, I hit Facebook, urging friends to go see this show. If vomit on stage (certainly no news, since, oh, ancient Rome) offends Ms. King that much, I can understand; but to completely pan an excellently crafted production as a result of that aversion is a big mistake.
Don’t let any circus exploit wild animals
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is in town, bringing with it a menagerie of wild animals and the growing controversy about how they are kept. Ringling recently paid out an unprecedented $270,000 penalty to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a landmark settlement related to violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Undercover investigators and whistleblowers reveal that the training tools of the circus trade include bullhooks (a heavy bar with a sharpened point and hook), electric prods, metal bars, whips, deprivation of food and water, and intimidation. Keeping elephants in chains, confining wild animals like lions and tigers in small cages, and forcing them to perform unnatural tricks for the sole purpose of human amusement is increasingly difficult to justify.
Animal Defenders International has introduced federal legislation through Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) called the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 3359), which aims to end this abuse by banning wild animals from traveling circuses. Please contact your member of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor this important legislation.
Dress uniform make military look right
I was extremely pleased to see our Air National Guard’s 105th Airlift Wing in dress uniform for the change of command ceremony at the Stewart Air National Guard base [March 7 Gazette]. I believe this is an excellent example of what the appropriate dress should be for such an occasion.
The military dress code should be the same for all branches of service. However, in my opinion, wearing fatigues, camouflage or work dress at non-combat ceremonies is like wearing pajamas at church.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of our men and women in the military — regardless of the uniform they’re allowed to wear.
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