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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/23/2018

‘Kinship families’ tend to be more vulnerable than traditional ones

‘Kinship families’ tend to be more vulnerable than traditional ones

*‘Kinship families’ tend to be more vulnerable than traditional ones *Too much spent in some areas,

‘Kinship families’ tend to be more vulnerable than traditional ones

Re the Feb. 26 article, “Grandmother stands accused”: Catholic Charities Caregivers Kinship Program was heartbroken to hear of the death of 8-year-old, Sha’hiim. We offer our condolences to his family, friends and community.

Grandparents raising grandchildren is a growing trend in the Capital Region. The Annie Casey Foundation’s recent report estimates that 2.7 million children are being raised by grandparents or other relatives in the United States. The number has grown by 18 percent in the last 10 years.

I have seen how kinship families often incur multiple stresses not faced by birth families. Many kinship families are on fixed incomes with Social Security and/or temporary assistance as their primary source of income. Many of the children are coping with trauma or grief from a loss or unavailability of parents. Children may suffer developmental delays from the events leading up to placement in relatives’ care.

In Schenectady, and in neighboring counties, there is support for grandparents and other relatives raising children. Catholic Charities Caregivers Kinship Program has been serving the Capital Region for 15 years. We hold two professionally facilitated support groups in Schenectady County, while providing individual support and referrals to other community agencies.

Additionally, we have a respite program for children. Our Catholic Charities staff provides parenting education; assistance in applying for financial supports, and education about managing and coping with family stress.

As a Schenectady grandmother and program participant recently noted, “It’s just good to know I’m not alone.”

Vincent W. Colonno


The writer is Catholic Charities’ CEO.

Too much spent in some areas, too little in others

Can someone explain to me the necessity of having the Mohawk River water level rise in the spring to accommodate the million-dollar boats that use the waterways?

Our generous state, which also claims to be broke, shells out millions to keep the locks and dams. Why not leave the dams up and let the Mohawk return to its original condition? The canal workers could have full-time jobs restoring the banks to their former pristine condition. This would be a better tourist attraction than offering the rich the option to sail the waters, with taxpayers footing the bill.

Another thing that puzzles me is that the state is forcing school districts to lay off people, give our children less services than they should, and even threaten teachers’ jobs when the state told everyone that the answer to their problems was to have a lottery [so] the proceeds would pay for education. What happened to that idea? Do the words general fund mean anything?

This is the same state that is squeezing every nickel out of us in taxes and fees on our cable TV bills, phone bills, utility bills and sales taxes. Why don’t people speak up and get their assemblymen and senators off their duffs to correct some of these things?

Charles Harbour


GE bosses get paid, why not Stillwater?

The Jan. 9 Gazette ran a letter by Mark Markovitz referencing GE executive John Krenicki who, at age 50, eliminated his position as GE Energy CEO by reorganizing the business and became a senior operating partner of [the same Wall Street] hedge fund that former GE CEO Jack Welch [joined].

Why can’t GE, with all its millions to pass out to [its executives], pay the village of Stillwater the millions it owes for causing it to borrow $5 million to build a nine-mile water line to supply village residents and its customers? And approximately $8 million to $15 million to compensate it for the loss of its well field, water plant and the surrounding land around the plant. The village’s water plant site [is] lost forever because of GE’s PCB contaminationt. [It] will probably still cost the village of Stillwater another $3 million to $4 million in [legal] fees — for the village’s ongoing lawsuit against GE.

If General Electric can waste almost $1 billion on executives like Mr. Krenicki and Jack Welch, it certainly should do the right thing and pay the village of Stillwater $12 million to $13 million for its losses. Just a drop in the bucket compared to its executive payouts.

Ernest W. Martin


The writer is village mayor.

2nd Amendment still intact with AK-47 ban

The National Rifle Association is fond of saying, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” and they are correct. A gun obeys whose finger is on the trigger.

The country is awash with guns of all types. The vast majority of American gun owners are responsible, law-abiding citizens who use their guns in a safe and careful manner. But there are also some weird people out there who own weapons.

We are guaranteed the right to bear arms under the Second Amendment: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Assault rifles should be banned from the general public. The average hunter does not need an AK-47 rifle to keep Billy Bunny out of the garden or Sammy Squirrel away from the bird feeders.

I lost a relative in one of the early school shootings. A .22 rifle was used, and I am certain if an assault rifle had been used, the carnage would have been greater. We have to treat disturbed individuals who target schools as terrorists, because they are as much terrorists as those who attacked America on 9/11.

Every school needs security, prevention, stopping something before a tragedy happens. Homeland Security, as well as the federal and state, should be involved. We must recognize and identify such disturbed people before they get a chance to act.

Bill Wragg


Texas can have all of New York’s gun owners

My family and I were heartened to read in Ed Noonan’s [Feb. 28] “Outdoor Journal,” that many weapons manufacturers are considering cutting off sales of AR-style and other guns and ammunition to New Yorkers.

As the statistics from gun-harboring cultures demonstrate repeatedly throughout the world, as well as in all 50 American states, fewer guns equals fewer deaths.

While 31,000 people die annually from gunshot wounds in the United States, another two individuals ends up in hospitals from gunshot wounds. Another statistical fact: U.S. states with the most guns and the weakest gun laws consistently have the most gunshot deaths and wounds — by far.

Another positive “knee-jerk” reaction we experienced was when we learned that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot had invited New York gun owners to move to the Lone Star State. Excellent idea! That would mean even fewer guns in the Empire State and, therefore, even fewer deaths. New York, with its more sensible gun laws, is No. 46 in gun deaths by state.

Perhaps New Yorkers considering such a move south should also know that more Texans die from gunshot wounds than from traffic accidents.

Our hearty thanks go out to Ed and Greg for this encouraging news!

Tom Tolnay


Life won’t be the same without this dear friend

You’ve printed my letters for decades, but, alas, this will be my last! I am losing my eyesight.

I just wanted to say that I’m losing one of my best friends — one who’s been there for me whenever I needed a friend. We’ve been through birthdays, weddings, deaths, fashions — you name it, we’ve seen it all together. Even recipes for my family — and gardening.

You guessed it! One of my best friends that I have to give up is The Daily Gazette! Coffee and breakfast won’t taste as good without my friend.

Frances Payette


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