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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/18/2018

After dissolution, Middleburgh would still be Middleburgh

After dissolution, Middleburgh would still be Middleburgh

*After dissolution, Middleburgh would still be Middleburgh *Upper Union St. Trustco should shovel it

After dissolution, Middleburgh would still be Middleburgh

Re Jan. 29 article, “Plans detailed on dissolving village”: I would like to thank all those who attended the Jan. 28 public meeting dealing with the issue of dissolution of the village of Middleburgh. Many individuals had very strong opinions, but the meeting was very informative. This truly was the process of government at work at the local/community level.

Thank you, Chief Mike Devlin and members of the fire department, for taking time to address our community and reinforcing your message that the Middleburgh Fire Department is not going anywhere. The fire department will still be here if we vote to dissolve.

Some residents feel that the pride of our village will be lost. I disagree. Our pride is in our community, and that pride can and will still be seen. Middleburgh is our community. It is not going anywhere.

This is an economic issue for the village taxpayers/residents. As the representative from NYCOM [New York Conference of Mayors] stated, in every dissolution the taxes for village residents have decreased. He also stated that the village taxpayers have been subsidizing the town taxpayers for many years with the present system [of] a village inside a town.

Many people are concerned about districts. These are just taxing areas. For example: The water and sewer district collects rents from only those who use these services. If a residence were in a light district, they would see in their tax bill the amount needed to cover the expense of lights in an area. A sidewalk district would only tax people in the area/district where sidewalks would be installed. This is how districts work. They function this way in the present village government. Why would it not function this way in the town?

Prior to voting, every village resident needs to ask themselves what they get for their village taxes that will not be provided by town taxes? (They pay both village taxes and town taxes yearly.) Do we really need to continue to have two layers of government that provide duplicate services?

Either way, after the vote, Middleburgh will still be Middleburgh, one great community! Please remember to vote Feb. 19 at Town Hall.

Gary Hayes


The writer is the village’s former mayor.

Upper Union St. Trustco should shovel its snow

It seems that every time it snows we go through this: Roads are cleared within hours, but in many neighborhoods sidewalks are left untouched for days or even weeks.

In the Upper Union Street area, we’re lucky that most residential property owners and tenants act responsibly after a storm. They clean their walks within a day or two so that pedestrians don’t have to walk in the road. But some commercial property owners are far less considerate.

Almost all of the small businesses that line Union Street did a great job cleaning up after Saturday’s storm. But Trustco Bank, at Union and Dean streets, once again has left a massive snowbank on top of the new sidewalks the city installed last year.

All winter they have plowed snow from their parking lots directly onto the Union Street sidewalk. The city is also at fault, both for allowing this to go on and for careless maintenance of its own properties. Every year, snow from the city-owned lot that extends from Woodland Avenue to Dean Street is plowed onto the sidewalks, forcing pedestrians into busy Dean Street.

Leaving these walks impassable is a shortsighted business practice. Residents of nearby streets are a natural customer base for the shops and services in the area, but locals won’t shop there if they can’t safely walk from home or even from a nearby parking space.

The Upper Union Street Business Improvement District should realize the economic losses and ill will that this causes and find a way to get these walks cleaned. Meanwhile, the city should immediately enforce ordinances regarding snow removal in this area. Any business that still doesn’t have a clean sidewalk should be fined, and other appropriate penalties imposed.

Tom Carey


Wrestling needs to be part of the Olympics

Re Feb. 13 article, “Wrestling out in 2020”: Table Tennis still in, but wrestling is out?

News of the International Olympic Committee’s decision to remove wresting from the 2020 Olympics is heartbreaking! Tradition and honor are words that come to mind to describe the Olympics, and the same words accurately fit when I think wrestling.

The sport of wrestling has been part of the Olympics since the ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC. The tradition of skill and strength, individual competition as well as a team competitive spirit, all make the sport an entertaining, heart-racing, adrenaline-filled six minutes.

Right now the high schools are wrapping up their wrestling season with the state championships on Feb. 22-23, at the Times Union Arena. It is disturbing to think the dream of wrestling in the Olympics will not be an option for these kids.

We have a great local connection and pride with Olympic wrestling with our very own Jeff Blatnick winning gold in 1984.

This news is especially disappointing for our local community with the passing of Jeff last October. He would have stood up, taken pride and voiced how important it is for the IOC to reconsider its decision.

Heather Buckland


Canadian health care system the way to go

On Jan. 30, I attended a showing of the film, “The Health Care Movie,” sponsored by the Capital District Alliance for Universal Health Care, at Albany Law School. The film compared the Canadian and American health care systems. Almost every Canadian interviewed liked or loved the Canadian system.

Several individual case studies were examined of Canadians facing serious and potentially extremely costly heath care emergencies. In every case, the medical crisis was not compounded by a financial disaster because the government paid all the bills as part of the national health care system all Canadians have access to and nearly all pay taxes to support.

This film said 78 percent of the 922,000 Americans who declared bankruptcy in 2009 due to high medical bills had health insurance. What came through in the film is that Canadians have health care security, while Americans, or at least many of us — probably most of us — have health care insecurity.

This is a stupid way to live, and we should rectify it so that none of us, regardless of age, marriage, employment status or health condition, has to live in fear that we cannot pay our medical bills or obtain the medical care we need.

Tom Ellis


Columnist McLaughlin not making the grade

I am sorry to say that John McLaughlin’s column in your paper is a total waste of space.

He never says anything worth reading; what he does say appeals to the lowest common denominator among us, and he often misrepresents facts.

An example from the Feb. 8 edition is taking to task anyone who got upset about Sen. John McCain’s monkey joke regarding the Iranian president. One would certainly expect a senator and former presidential aspirant to be more discreet in his words and not succumb to juvenile name-calling.

Another example is admonishing the Monopoly folks for replacing the iron game piece with a cat instead of a helicopter. They ran a contest and the cat received the most votes. Period.

His snippets come across as crotchety and disparaging, adding nothing of value to the subject matter.

The column was titled, “Life is often filled with questions.” His attempt at answers was shallow.

Sandra Natale


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