Remember heroes who gave for country
Memorial Day is one of respect, honor, gratitude and admiration. It has a special meaning for all of us. The old saying that freedom isn't free rings loud and clear.
It has been five years since 1st Lt. Jared W. Southworth was killed in action in Afghanistan. He left behind a wife, four young children and a loving extended family. Like so many others who have fallen, Jared laid down his life so we can enjoy ours.
What many see as a motto, "God, Family and Country," was a way of life to Jared and so many others like Pfc. David Taylor Miller, Capt. John J. McKenna IV and Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Denier. The courage and dedication to put oneself in harm's way is something only a few are willing to do. Let us never forget their selfless sacrifice. We owe them all a debt we can never repay.
Although it has broken our hearts to have lost a loved one, we can take comfort in the fact that Jared, like so many, wanted to defend our country. Like all who have fallen before them and will fall in the future, let us give thanks for those American heroes.
Not only on this day, but every day, let us honor and salute our fallen brothers and sisters who have truly given us the land of the free and home of the brave. As many hearts ache for their loss, as does ours, let their memories never fade.
Assemblyman backs free SUNY tuition
A college education is one of the best ways to prepare students for success in the 21st century economy. Unfortunately, the skyrocketing cost of higher education burdens students with unsustainable debt and is increasingly putting college out of reach for middle-class families.
That's why I supported the New York State STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Incentive Program, which the governor has recently touted, in this year's state budget. This program provides full SUNY scholarships to the top 10 percent of students in high schools throughout the state, provided they pursue a degree in STEM fields and agree to work in a STEM field within the state for five years after graduation. This program is an important step toward making college more affordable and preparing students for success in tomorrow's cutting-edge industries.
However, I believe we must build on this positive momentum and do even more. That's why I'm fighting for Tuition-Free NY, a program that would provide free SUNY tuition to all in-state students, while requiring them to complete 250 hours of community service each year. Students would also be required to work in-state for five years post-graduation, ensuring a skilled labor force for local businesses and industries.
Together, the New York State STEM Incentive Program and Tuition-Free NY would help every New York student get a great college education.
The writer is a state assemblyman.
More should be done to help homeless
Re: May 14 article, "House burns, and city pays:" I work with kids next door to the building that burned to the ground. I am both at the same time glad it is gone and saddened that with so many homeless, it could not have been turned into low-cost housing.
The entire idea that someone can, from behind bars, "maintain" a building is ludicrous. All over where I live in Niskayuna, there are abandoned or foreclosed homes that sit vacant, while "ghost towns" of new developments spring up. The county in general needs to hold banks to the same account as homeowners and stop new developments until at least 99 percent of homes are occupied or allow "build to suit only." The various localities could also "encourage" tax breaks for turning abandoned homes into livable places.
The new housing developments stretch all kind of county and town services -- from police to water -- all the while sitting on taxpayer-funded roads that are really only usable to those in the cul-de-sacs they occupy. (Unless you want to drive there and go around like a merry-go""round, they are not even on grid.) At the same time, lower-income and blue-collar folks are priced right into de facto homelessness.
So another wasted opportunity to rehab and "develop in the best way possible" is missed.
I am glad that building is gone and sad that those who "squatted" there have no place to go this next winter, too.
The Gazette wants your opinions on public issues.
There is no strict word limit, though letters under 200 words are preferred.
All letters are subject to editing for length, style and fairness, and we will run no more than one letter per month from the same writer.
Please include your signature, address and day phone for verification.
For information on how to send, see bottom of this page.
For more letters, visit our Web site: www.dailygazette.com.