No desire for a big-box store in Ballston Spa
My family has resided on Chapman Street in Ballston Spa for 17 wonderful years. We love where we live. Our village is a place where children can walk and bike to school. We walk or bike to the bank, restaurants, the farmers market, the library, the park and the pool.
Ballston Spa has musical entertainment in Wiswall Park every Thursday. And on some Friday nights in the summer, children's movies are shown outside. Those who live in the village can walk or ride. We in Ballston Spa have what so many want -- a village to start off in, a village to raise a family in, a village to retire to. We love our village and do not want to see it become like "every strip in suburbia."
The town Planning Board is considering a proposal for "big-box development" that if allowed to go through will change life for the residents of Ballston Spa mostly for the negative. And one of the most frustrating things about this is that we do not have a say. For the majority of residents in the town of Ballston -- their children go to school in Burnt Hills schools -- the town of Ballston's big-box proposal puts big-box development less than a half-mile from Ballston Spa's middle and high school. And we all know that Wal-Mart will not come alone.
Once Wal-Mart is allowed, that will open up development of "Janet V. Corners" -- which would place the Ballston Spa middle and high schools in the "backyard" of a big-box store. In any case, one big-box or many, traffic (already very busy at drop-off, pickup, sports events and other school events) will surely increase, putting the safety and security of our children at risk.
Traffic is already very busy in Ballston Spa. Widening roads is not an answer. These roads were not meant to handle traffic like roads that were designed for this purpose in Clifton Park, Latham, Wilton or the town of Amsterdam. We are a small village (not located off a highway) with roads coming in from farmland. Traffic cannot be rerouted around our village. So more traffic will come through, making daily living much more frustrating.
Last week, schoolchildren arrived home late due to increased traffic in Ballston Spa. How will increased traffic of this magnitude affect the response times of our police/emergency and fire services?
Big-box development does not belong next to, across from, or in the front yard of schools. Big-box development does not belong piggy-backed onto a small, quaint, pedestrian-friendly, vibrant community.
Please know that we in Ballston Spa value our community. Big-box development does not belong here.
Hawkins would lead state on right path
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for governor, will get my vote this November. Unlike Andrew Cuomo, he is not relying on the 1 percent to fund his campaign. He takes no contributions from political action committees and is against giving tax cuts to the rich and corporations.
Cuomo, your typical politician, has made many promises since elected that he's gone back on. He promised to set up a nonpartisan commission to come up with a fair alternative to gerrymandering and then caved to legislative leaders, allowing them to redraw election districts to their advantage. He set up the Moreland Commission to deal with corruption in the Legislature, then quickly dissolved it without acting on any of its ideas.
Cuomo also abandoned the fight for campaign finance reform that would have helped level the political playing field. Andrew Cuomo's ideas are stale and lack vision, and, above all, are designed to serve his political ambitions.
Hawkins has been an organizer for peace, justice, labor and the environment since 1967 and was a co-founder of the U.S. Green Party in 1984. A former Marine, he helped organize opposition to the Vietnam War. He sees the direction this state is heading in with Cuomo's tax-free zones for big business, austerity budget, and attacks on public employees, teachers and unions.
When he ran for governor four years ago and won over 50,000 votes statewide, the Green Party was the only party calling for a total ban on hydrofracking for natural gas. Hawkins has a plan to revitalize New York and supports a carbon tax to reduce carbon emissions. Cuomo has a fraudulent energy plan that indirectly supports hydraulic fracturing.
Hawkins also supports raising the minimum wage to a living wage of $15 an hour in New York -- which leads all the other states in its income gap between rich and poor. If you believe this state needs to change direction and put the needs and aspirations of all the people, not just the rich and well-connected, at the top of the government's priority list, then you'll think seriously about voting for Howie Hawkins.
Education needed to push fruits, veggies
Re June 15 article, "Food for thought": This article discussed how several community-based organizations have introduced access to healthy fruits and vegetables within the city of Schenectady that target lower-income families. I found this article very insightful, having limited previous knowledge of the number of services available.
Access to healthy fruits and vegetables has increased within neighborhood convenience stores, farm stands and bodegas. Many of these locations accept food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants and Children) vouchers, making it seemingly easier to purchase fresh produce. However, I was surprised that they are being underutilized. Thus, begs the question: Why?
Is transportation a barrier to purchasing weekly produce? Is there unfamiliarity with preparing this produce in a way your family can enjoy it? Are fresh fruits and vegetables on your radar?
With all of these questions, there is clearly room for improvement. As seen in 2012-2013, food stamp sales at one farmers market tripled. So individuals are beginning to make some changes in their food purchases. But how can we continue to see an increase in utilization? As with any communal change, it will take time. Since progress has been made in the Capital Region, specifically Albany and Troy, we can be sure that Schenectady will continue to improve toward healthier food purchases.
Considering we live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it should be a basic human right to have access to healthy fruits and vegetables. Giving the opportunity and education about the importance of fresh produce doesn't necessarily break the existing societal barriers that many impoverished families face.
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