No mountain of litter this year in Sch’dy, but plenty of mounds
As I sit down to write this letter at the Better Neighborhoods Inc. office where I volunteer, a staffer is just heading out the door wearing rubber gloves for the daily litter pickup that has become part of his job at the agency. He tells me that he snags about half a garbage bag a day of trash deposited by pedestrians and motorists passing by the office.
Last spring Schenectady’s littering problem was reflected in the mountain of trash that was deposited in Central Park along with the snow from that winter’s frequent storms. Volunteers cleaned up the park. This year we had no mountain only because we had no snow. As the situation at Better Neighborhood’s office demonstrates, we still have the litter.
The city of Schenectady, like most jurisdictions, has a littering ordinance on the books; an offender can get a fine of $250 for the first littering offense and $500 for the second. This ordinance is not enforced. After hearing about “Trash Mountain” in Central Park last year, I presented some ideas to the City Council for enforcing the ordinance. My ideas went nowhere.
At the May meeting of the Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association, Police Chief Mark Chaires committed to a littering sweep. That has yet to happen.
Interestingly, at the July 9 City Council meeting, local gadfly Mary McClaine, in addition to admitting to being a trash picker, testified that she had a seven-point plan for addressing the littering problem. Because she had been passed over for the City Council seat currently filled by Marion Porterfield, she did not want the City Council “picking her brain”; she told the council they could “figure it out.”
As Ms. McClaine well knows, the children of Schenectady who have to play on trash-strewn streets and the marine animals who choke on Schenectady’s litter when it eventually works its way to the ocean did not deny her that City Council seat. Ms. McClaine would do well to think back to the words of President Kennedy, “ask not what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country.” Put the word city in there, Ms. McClaine, and share your ideas!
Great education aboard Onrust in Waterford
In response to the July 13, article written by Kathleen Moore on the Onrust Dutch replica ship, I was one of the visitors on the Onrust at the Waterford Steamboat Festival [July 7].
I stayed and toured the ship for over an hour-and-a-half, took about 100 pictures, and got an amazing education from one of the ship’s volunteers, Tim Rice. He was very knowledgeable, and spent a great deal of time with me and other visitors giving us a tour of the ship, telling us about the history of the original Onrust, and telling us about how the Dutch replica ship was built and what the purpose was for everything that is currently on the ship.
I watched the Onrust being built at the Mabee Farm for three years, and I bought a wooden dowel at one of the Canal Festivals with my name and my pets’ names on it that was driven into the ship, so I feel a real connection to it.
I was there when the Onrust launched, and I drive or paddle to see it whereever it’s docked. I was absolutely thrilled that I was allowed to step foot on it and experience the cannon firing, get a tour of it, and a wonderful historical education from the volunteers.
The Onrust is an amazing piece of work and history, but only as amazing as all of the volunteers that built it, maintain it, and continue to run it.
Thank you [president of The Onrust Project], Don Rittner and all of the volunteers for that experience, and if you ever take paying passengers I will be the first one in line. Keep up the good work!
Saratoga County should not sell nursing home
I often wonder if the citizens of Saratoga County are aware of what a great disservice will be done to them if Maplewood Manor is sold to a private company.
A member of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors stated to me, “The residents will not lose their home if the facility is sold.” This is true, they will not lose their home and they will not be out on the street. If a private company bought Maplewood Manor, they would not evict current residents.
As a public nursing home, Maplewood Manor is a vital safety net to Saratoga County residents. While someone may not need the services of a nursing home today, the day may come when a citizen or their family member needs nursing home services.
Your county-operated nursing home accepts residents regardless of their ability to pay and the complexity of their health care needs. Private nursing homes often pick and choose patients, accepting only those with large bank accounts and minimal health issues.
I am 50 years old, and have been a resident and taxpayer of Saratoga County my entire life. I am a working-class individual and have no great wealth. If I live another 30 years and become infirm, what do I do?
Reverse mortgage a nice option to have
In response to Eileen Ambrose’s July 16 [Associated Press] article on reverse mortgages being baffling: The only baffling part about them is that they are too good and absolutely true, legal and guaranteed by the federal government — only after they fully explain, to you the borrower, if this is a good financial option for you.
The writer points out that lump-sum reverse mortgages at an early age can drain assets on down the line, but good counseling and broker knowledge will advise which option is best for you. The line-of-credit option allows you to use only what is needed of your low-interest money supply, and allows the unused portion to grow annually sheltered from capital gains taxes — which appears truly baffling and refreshing in this age of high taxes and inflation.
Another major concern is, will I be able to leave anything with regard to my home’s value to my children after I die? The reverse mortgage does not include all the equity value on a home, only a portion. After you pass, the children can choose to sell the home and pay back only the used portion of the reverse mortgage. The unused equity and any house appreciation goes directly to the children, who remain the owner of the house throughout any process they choose to pursue.
Tim Simonton, with Consumer Credit Counseling Service, says it quite realistically: “A reverse mortgage isn’t for everyone, but, the loan can be a fantastic financial tool.” Amen.
Concern about illegal aliens is misplaced
I am responding to Lois and Don Porter’s July 1 letter regarding detained illegal aliens in Arizona.
In their letter they complain about the conditions these people are being held under — and the fact that they are being held at all — as they feel illegal aliens who have been in this country for generations should just be allowed to stay.
I wholeheartedly disagree. I agree we need to detain them in livable conditions, but only until we can determine in a timely manner whether they can legally obtain citizenship. If not, they should be deported to their country immediately.
I really do not care if they have been evading capture for decades and generations and have families here, as it was all done illegally. What part of their being in our country — illegally — makes it OK for them to remain, to obtain social services and procreate?
I say send them back as soon as possible, or make them citizens so they can start paying their fair share like the rest of us who have been supporting them to this point. I can guarantee you that if we did the same in their country — if we were still alive when they were through with us — we would be sent right back.
We have to stop being the world’s bleeding hearts and start taking care of our own country and its legal citizens.
David W. Gallup
Indians treated too generously in Obamacare
Re July 13 letter, “Mandate essential component of health care law”: Marcia Sykes [has] no problems with Obamacare covering Indians.
I see no reason why a group that so vigorously protects its treaty rights should get foreign aid, let alone aid hidden in a health care law for Americans. Nor do I see a reason why the cost of their unhealthy lifestyles should be off-loaded to those who chose to live in a life-enhancing way.
I also have a problem with Sykes’ rationale for the individual mandate. Millions more are going to be covered by the new program. This will result in increased health care costs. These costs will be in terms of dollars and increased wait times for medical services. (The wait-time assertion stems from the laws of arithmetic — the same number of providers and more demanders implies longer wait times and the associated health costs of delayed treatment.)
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