Donate to help save Belmont football program
I was in the third grade at Martin Luther King Elementary School the first time I saw a Belmont Pop Warner jersey. It was being held by a tall, thin man with a large smile. This man, George Rose, proceeded to tell the kids gathering around about the fun and benefits of pee-wee football with such passion and joy that I, like many others, was sold.
I spent the next five years of hot summer afternoons, crisp autumn nights and freezing winter weekends playing youth football for Belmont. I even elected to forego a year of JV football in favor of winning a championship with my Belmont brothers and sister. The discipline and self-respect we learned was absolutely immeasurable. Furthermore, many of the bonds we had formed are lasting today, nearly 20 years later.
Sadly, stories like mine may no longer be like those of future Schenectady children as Belmont Pop Warner is facing severe financial troubles. The costs to maintain equipment, purchase liability insurance and rent facilities have all risen exponentially. The children served by Belmont's programs can no longer support further price increases.
This venerable institution needs the help of its alumni and community so it can continue creating a better world for the children of Schenectady. To donate, visit http://www.gofundme.com/95sa2o.
Energy plan fails to consider economy
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Chairman John B. Rhodes' May 13 letter asserted that the draft state energy plan is an "integrated effort by the state" that "will drive economic growth." This is similar to what we have heard from energy planners for decades.
Where is the economic growth? Poverty rates remain high in New York cities, and upstate has long been widely recognized as economically depressed. The formerly large middle- and working classes are gradually drifting into poverty. Millions struggle along with low wages. Youth flee the state for job opportunities elsewhere.
Political and corporate elites control the energy planning process, and state policies reflect their narrow interests to keep most residents and businesses tethered to the electric and natural gas grids by blocking and retarding initiatives that free or reduce dependence on them. Despite Mr. Rhodes' assertion that the state is making progress in reducing fossil-fuel emissions, the plan envisions a considerable increase in natural gas use in coming decades.
NYSERDA has created numerous impediments to effective public participation, including making the draft report difficult to print, refusing to provide paper copies even to elected officials (Albany County Legislator Doug Bullock was denied a paper copy and told none are available), not posting the transcripts of public hearings held months ago on NYSERDA's website and refusing to post incoming comments as they arrive.
Thus, those who wish to comment on the draft are unable to see what has already been submitted and possibly learn from it.
Nanotechnology, chip manufacturing, casinos, tax-free college zones and other corporate welfare have not and will not bring prosperity to the masses.
New Yorkers would benefit from an energy policy that targets teaching and training the chronically unemployed and underemployed to repair, restore and eventually purchase the aging housing stock that many reside in. They can get on career tracks with promising futures while transforming houses into energy-efficient and energy-self-sufficient structures. A great energy plan would be a great green jobs program. If government, private industry, building owners and labor unions made a commitment to equip 25,000 buildings per year with rooftop solar, many tens of thousands of permanent jobs could be created for building trades workers by the construction, maintenance, repair and upgrade of this equipment.
The energy plan contains no urgency about predictions that temperatures in New York state may rise by 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit within 100 years, with an accompanying severe dislocation to health, environment and farming. The Interim Climate Action Plan issued by departing Gov. David Paterson late in 2010 has not been followed up on by Cuomo.
Weigh long-term impact of decisions
There is a myopic sensibility to bureaucratic planning these days. Like ants, the focus is on one aspect, forgetting that the world is organized around systems. Ants are amazing and can be very effective, but they do not see the whole picture.
There is a gestalt to all things, natural and man-made, that must be taken into account. If you change one thing, there are consequences beyond the initial impact area.
Case in point: Bridges and roads are not bridges and roads, but part of transportation systems. In Schenectady County, the highway department recently added a roundabout and widened a bridge to allow for two-way traffic and improve traffic flow, which in turn made it more desirable to truck traffic in Glenville.
They didn't, however, foresee that they needed to lower the road grade or raise the bridge to accommodate the trucks, which now are getting stuck under the new bridge.
Unfortunately, the same approach is being used as they plan improvements to the Rexford Bridge without considering it as a part of a transportation corridor that will impact traffic between Routes 5 and 50, north and south, and the Northway to Route 50, east to west.
In education, concentrating on testing students instead of addressing children's social, hunger, health and learning needs shows the same myopic sensibility.
Natural systems are infinitely more complex and interconnected. Yet as a society, we exhibit the same myopic approach through our governance and corporate actions.
We must evolve into a more holistic approach. A good place to start is to employ the Native American adage, "Take no action without considering the impact seven generations into the future."
Melinda Morris Perrin
Casino will spoil new housing development
Since I first heard of the plan to develop the former Alco site along residential, commercial and recreational lines, I have thought of moving into a future condo or apartment there.
I love the idea of living near the Mohawk River.
I support mixed use where shopping, living and recreation exist in close proximity. I would be pleased to live within walking distance of our thriving downtown.
However, if a casino and resort are coming to the Alco site, I'm out. That would spoil for me the location's livability in many ways. So if the casino comes, I don't. I will take my housing dollars and spend them somewhere else.
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