For history, scenery and access, keep railroad in Adirondacks
I found your August 9 editorial on the future of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad to be very interesting. Having taken a ride on the railroad last fall and hearing about the controversy between the rail enthusiasts and hikers, I felt that the editorial didn’t adequately show both sides.
The group that is trying to shut down the railroad is very well organized and had spent considerable time and money to sway public opinion to their vision of a hiking and bicycling paradise in the Adirondacks. Hiking and biking over three seasons and then turning the trail over to snowmobiles in the winter sounds like an appealing idea.
It also sounds very elitist and selfish to me in that it prevents a large number of New Yorkers from enjoying the area.
For many elderly and handicapped people, the railroad is the only way for them to enjoy the year-round beauty of the Adirondack park. When my wife and I road the railroad last fall, many of passengers were there because of physical limitations. Many others were there because they loved the thrill of riding on a true link to the past by riding on a train that looked like it had rolled right out of the last century. For purely historic reasons alone, the railroad should continue to operate.
We really can’t afford to lose another piece of our state’s history. The most telling part of your editorial was the posturing of the two sides in the dispute. The pro-rail people seemed more than happy to expand the rail line and share it with the hikers and bicyclists.
The other side, however, seemed completely against any kind of compromise to let the railroad continue and apparently happy to keep an entire group of New Yorkers out of “their” area. I wonder what the organizers’ reactions would be if an accident or illness prevented them from walking or riding a bike through the mountains that they love so much? Would they just find another state or area to enjoy nature, where scenic historic railways were embraced rather than condemned?
I have been in love with the Adirondacks for my entire life, and I would love to continue to enjoy the area as long as I possibly can. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I say “long live the railroad.”
Don’t dare compare ‘dago’ issue to ‘Redskins’
Re Aug. 7 letter, “If ‘dago’ is offensive, then what about ‘Redskins?’”: Why a reader would bring up the name of the Washington Redskins is beyond me. The dago issue is a local one; however, the Redskins’ use has been reviewed extensively in the press, legislatures and courts. And, is hardly a local issue or meaningfully related.
There’s probably not a single term relating to any group that would not be offensive or unacceptable to someone. As a “Skins’ ” season ticket holder, I can assure Mr. Bubniak that, rather than “racist,”’ the name Redskins honors the brave attitude, strength and morality of Native Americans that this historic and well-regarded NFL team, last year’s NFC East champions, strives to emulate.
I, and millions of other fans, look forward to continued use and honor of the name “Redskins.” Hail to them!
If Nisky students fail, tests are clearly faulty
I have been a physician for almost four decades. We constantly use tests to make measurements in our care of patients. If a test is devised that fails to adequately measure or predict an outcome, we conclude that the test is faulty and cease the use of it.
The Aug. 8 article about the new state tests was shocking to me. The Niskayuna school district is considered one of the best in the country. There is a very high graduation rate and great success in college acceptances. A large majority of graduates go on to productive lives and careers. These factors should be the measurement of a school district — not a test that is failed by many of these otherwise stellar students.
We taxpayers should be outraged as to how many dollars are wasted in the development of these faulty tests. Not only do they not measure the true success of schooling, but they force our districts to prepare students for tests as opposed to providing an education.
Why such a negative spin on Saratoga story?
Reading the Aug. 5 article about Saratoga Springs by David Lombardo reminded me of a quote from Yogi Berra, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
David ended his otherwise negative story by saying that there were 30,000 people in downtown Saratoga Springs for the Floral Fete parade, “wildly exceeding expectations.” Wow — 30,000 people to watch horse-drawn carriages covered with flowers and young children on their bikes that they had decorated with flowers.
So why did the headline and the first 90 percent of the story make it seem that Saratoga Springs is doing badly this summer? Sure, the total attendance for the track is down a little, but the temperature some days was in the 90s, and he even mentioned at the end of the article that things are picking up. Total money spent on the races is up more than $2 million over last year so far.
My point is that there is more than one way to look at a situation, and to look at the negative instead of pointing out the positive in this situation just does a disservice to our community. Many people worked very hard on the parade and the ice cream social, and it was a great success.
All must keep working on Schoharie flood control
It has been almost five years since I first wrote about representatives at the next levels of government taking a long, hard look at flood mitigation with respect to our county.
I have talked about possible dredging, the creation of wetlands and holding ponds as well as stabilization of our existing waterways, an effort necessary to lessen the impacts of flooding currently affecting many of our towns, villages and hamlets. If we are to avoid future catastrophes from changing weather patterns, we must be willing to help redirect heavy rainfalls and spring thaws.
I am certain that many of you, at this point in time, realize the outreach for help on this issue has been answered by our Assemblyman Pete Lopez, our senator, James Seward, and our congressman, Chris Gibson, who has just recently appointed a watershed commission to deal with this issue.
Middleburgh Town Supervisor Jim Buzon and I have been appointed to this commission. A coalition has been formed consisting of all state and county agencies associated with this effort as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We have met three times beginning in February, and the coalition continues to grow with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand recently coming on board and Sen. Charles Schumer expected to join as well.
Our Sen. Seward has recommended that the coalition reach out to all representatives in the upstream and downstream counties to strengthen this effort, and that task has begun as well.
It is important for you to know that state leadership as well as federal leadership is right now extremely sympathetic to this effort and very willing to help, bearing in mind that the corrective measures necessary will need substantial financial support.
Please be advised that a letter of intent is currently being put together, with an RFP [request for proposal] to follow calling for a study to be performed with respect to flood and storm drainage, something that is necessary for us to move forward. All parties involved in this effort realize that if we are to protect our residents, we must address the problems that exist in our waterways by curing the problems and using methods that will lessen impacts.
This concerted effort has been a long time coming, and I wish to thank sincerely our representatives mentioned previously in this letter for their interest and diligence on the issue. The residents of Schoharie County could not ask for more.
Let us hope that all involved are capable of removing the fear of future high water events so that the residents of Schoharie County, as well as others, will never be faced with the type of disaster already experienced.
There is no doubt in my mind that this effort will attract many more partners who have the same concerns pertaining to flooding. Collectively we are capable. Please encourage your elected officials to keep moving forward on this issue.
The writer is town supervisor.
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