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Letters to the Editor
What you need to know for 01/20/2018

State should find a way to keep Sch’dy free clinic open

State should find a way to keep Sch’dy free clinic open

*State should find a way to keep Sch’dy free clinic open *No cause to attack Farley over aid stand *

State should find a way to keep Sch’dy free clinic open

The June 16 front page Gazette article about the closing of the Schenectady Free Clinic gave the clinic appropriate praise for its remarkable contributions to the well being of Schenectady’s uninsured poor population.

Plans to close the clinic seems a very sad development despite plans to have Ellis Hospital and Hometown Healthcare accept the patients previously served and more.

William Spolyar, a retired hospital chief administrator, has for many years done an outstanding and exhausting job organizing treatment arrangements while trying to raise external funding, which has been very hard to find.

Despite the fact that one supermarket chain has generously lowered prescription drug prices, the financial burden soon will close the clinic. New York state, which had expected the clinic to be a model for other such free clinics in the state, has now, at relatively short notice, withdrawn all future support.

The volunteer medical staff of the clinic consists of eminent retired doctors, re-trained to be family physicians (of which there is a great shortage in the United States), who have provided thousands of indigent Schenectadians with not only diagnoses, but also essential prescription medicines at no cost.

The paradox is that there is and will be a shortage of family physicians which will become more serious under Obamacare, and this well-organized source of family physicians will disappear if the clinic is closed.

Operating the present emergency rooms at hospitals is said to be very expensive. The question is whether closing the clinic and transferring the patients to new facilities will provide the same level of compassionate care and learning opportunities without greatly increasing the costs to state taxpayers.

Obamacare compensates private insurers, but seems unlikely to cover all the clinic’s clients in the near future. In addition, these doctors not only offer individuals free pre-employment examinations, but also supervise the training of Albany Medical Center Hospital residents (new MDs) as they examine clinic patients. Personal and professional relationships with outside specialists have provided surgery and imaging benefits to clinic patients.

On a given Monday or Thursday, a line of men and women stand in the hall outside the clinic, waiting to enter the large waiting room in order to join the patients waiting to be examined in one of several private cubicles. Along one wall of the waiting room, volunteer registrars and nurses record data on incoming patients.

I write this without clinic approval, but as a non-MD member of the Free Clinic board, who hopes this marvelous organization does not close. The actual figures of the free clinic’s debt and yearly expenses are really very small compared to the value of the services provided.

Raymond E. Benenson


The writer is a physics professor emeritus at UAlbany.

No cause to attack Farley over aid stand

I got a phone message July 1 from Sen. Hugh Farley in response to my letter published in the Gazette that day, “Farley’s priorities were misplaced with bullet aid.”

Sen. Farley was very polite, reasoned and informative. I understand his point of view, and his actions for the school districts in his senatorial district were commendable — not (as I had written) contemptible.

I owe Sen. Farley a public apology, and here it is: Senator, I apologize for the harshness of my tone and my accusation. They were uncalled for. I probably went off half-cocked (as my wife would point out, probably not for the first time). In any event, I do apologize.

I do not regret my underlying opinion that the Schenectady district needs more help than any of the surrounding districts (no matter how deserving the others may be).

I’ll now crawl back into my hole and try not to bother anyone for a while.

Dick Curtis


Haves have an interest in helping have-nots

Inequality is ridiculous and becoming insurmountable.

I pick up the paper or look at the news and hear of sports figures who have doped. We call them cheaters and look to take [away] all that they have done. But in financial America and the U.S. government, we are allowing less than 1 percent to control and take advantage of us all, while pitting us against each other. What American Dream?

CEOs and the filthy rich are not concerned with Schenectady, with our school district and how the minority districts are being cheated out of funds for them — while the districts and communities receiving their portion sit back and act as if they are better (Niskayuna as opposed to Schenectady, Latham as opposed to Albany, Troy and South Troy).

People believe they are socially and economically better. Sad part is, if they’re so smart and so well off, why do they not realize holding some down is wrong? How do they not see that by standing on some, they lessen their potential? And if they are so smart, why do they not realize they are not a part of the 1 percent?

Lastly, how can anyone consider themselves comfortable, law-abiding, and ethical while continually allowing this to happen, especially in their own communities?

If ever I get a chance, I will scream, “not in my house!” Let the government run this country — not big business.

Edward Overton


Kudos to city for helping restore Woodlawn Park

I would like to thank Mayor Gary McCarthy and the hard-working city crews for filling in [with sand] the pools at Woodlawn Park.

For those not familiar with what has been under way, the city and Woodlawn Park Redevelopment Committee have been working together to improve and upgrade this neighborhood treasure. As a city taxpayer, I know the city has limited funds for projects of this nature. I also realize that the resources to have the pools opened and maintained are not available.

Since the spring of 2011, a growing group of volunteers has been cleaning up the park, and in alliance with the mayor, city management and city engineering staff have fostered a plan to make what was a neglected and unwelcoming spot a place to be enjoyed by many.

Those of us involved have enjoyed the reward of seeing more and more families using and appreciating this site.

Too often we hear negatives about what is occurring in society, be it worldwide, or in our country, our state, or in our city. This ongoing positive needs to be noted.

Cathi Rapisarda


Carter goes off half-cocked criticizing Church over women

Once again, former President Jimmy Carter, in an interview for a magazine nobody reads, proved his ignorance of Catholic doctrine and thus made a fool of himself in trying to dictate to the Church.

Carter [June 28 Washington Times] said that the failure of the Catholic Church to ordain women is a human rights abuse. The last time I checked, there are no Eastern Orthodox priestesses, Islamic female imams, female Buddhist monks, or in some Jewish groups, women rabbis, so I wonder why he singled out the Catholic Church.

Simply put, Christ could have ordained any of his women disciples — including his own mother — but he did not, and the Catholic Church is following his example. Ordination to the priesthood is not a natural right, not even for a man. It is a divine gift and a spiritual calling.

By his remarks, Carter shows he doesn’t understand the sacramental nature or reality of the priesthood. As a Baptist, he rejects the identification of the ordained man with the high priesthood of Jesus Christ. Priests are not the same as ministers.

Women will never be priests. So just where are they in the Church? They can be found as pastoral associates, chancellors, office managers, directors of religious education and catechists, music directors, readers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, religious sisters, lay missionaries, principals and teachers, and the greatest vocation of all, as mothers.

Deborah Humphreys


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