Applauds editor for brave column
Kudos and platitudes for Gazette Copy Editor Mark Robarge's revealing Aug. 17 Viewpoint ["Robin Williams' suicide puts needed focus on depression"] on Robin Williams' suicide and for putting needed focus on manic depression.
It took courage, bravery and pure guts for this writer to bare his soul publicly in a heart-rending confession of pain and sorrow, horror and despair.
I can empathize with him, since in my 93 years, I have observed various forms of depression in my own family -- from the early 1900s up to the present day, and the toll it takes on all of us. I, too, have had minor episodes of depression (as all of us have), but fortunately was able to rise above same and rarely needed medication or psychotherapy.
Unfortunately, it took Robin's final action to shine the light on cuts in mental health programs here locally, statewide and nationally. Are "guns" more important than "butter," therapy, lithium, Celexa, counseling or advice?
There is no cure yet for advanced suicidal depression, but there are treatments available, if only our sleepy "heads in the sand" legislators and a dysfunctional Washington, D.C., Congress would wake up and rise to overcome the threats and demons. If not now, when?
Task force moves to curb heroin abuses
Heroin is an incredibly dangerous, highly addictive drug that has ruined "" and claimed "" countless lives. As deputy commissioner of Rensselaer County's Department of Mental Health and a state-credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor, I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of this drug on families throughout our area.
This is a crisis that seems only to be growing, as a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services survey found that 467,000 Americans were addicted to heroin, a figure that has doubled over a decade. Our communities are not immune to this growing crisis and real solutions are needed now, more than ever.
Those solutions are exactly what state Sen. Kathy Marchione has focused on as member of the Senate's bi-partisan Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction. Sen. Marchione and her Task Force colleagues worked in a bi-partisan fashion toward developing pro-active solutions to stem the increase of heroin addiction and abuse that has spread across New York state.
In April, Sen. Marchione hosted a well-attended community meeting at Hudson Valley Community College focused on the escalating threat of heroin abuse and addiction right here in our Capital Region. This forum featured a first-rate panel of law enforcement, addiction treatment and recovery specialists, educators and health care experts who shared their insights and feedback with Task Force members and everyone who attended the forum.
Sen. Marchione and her fellow Task Force members recently approved 23 bi-partisan bills to develop a holistic approach to tackling the challenge of heroin abuse/addiction. The bills, each of which has passed the Senate, address critical areas such as prevention, treatment and law enforcement, all of which are necessary for long-term solutions. Sen. Marchione sponsored one of the bills which would assure important information is available to ensure the proper administration of Naloxone (also known as "Narcan") to help save a life in the event of an overdose.
We in Rensselaer County are very pleased that Sen. Marchione made such a serious issue a top priority and, most importantly, followed through with plans for real solutions. This sort of positive approach will no doubt help in the fight against heroin addiction.
Editorial on abuses insulting to the pope
I take umbrage at the July 13 editorial ["Pope, bishop must be sincere in rooting out sex abuse"], in which the sincerity of he Pope in respect to sex abuse in brought in questions.
The suggestion that His Holiness may not be sincere in his promise not to tolerate harm done to a minor by any individual, whether a cleric or not, is an insult to the Catholic church and individual Catholics.
It appears that society and this newspaper are placing the sex abuse issue to the forefront, disregarding the profound experience of the 2,000-year-old church community established by Christ. Yes, the scandal should be and has been addressed. But I think society and this paper should remember that the Catholic church is the largest faith community in the world of more than 1 billion people; has more than 230 colleges and universities in the United States with enrollments of 700,000; schools throughout the world; and a hospital system numbering 637 that treats one in five patients in the United States every day.
The local chapters of Catholic Charities serve meals to millions every year. In 2010, the needy of Chicago were fed 2.2 million meals. (The latest figures are not available.)
The Catholic church certainly is not unblemished. In its history, some shameful behavior has occurred. But because the religious foundation upon which it is built is so strong, it endures and will as long as humanity exists.
I did not voice my disgust with your editorial right away because I wanted to see the reaction of our local clergy. I am startled by the lack of outcry to the insult hurled at the supreme leader of my church. Can one imagine the anger that would erupt if the editorial was directed to a Muslim religious leader? Remember the cartoon that was published recently of a Muslim religious icon and which aroused world Muslims to extreme anger?
The pope has dedicated himself to eradicate the sex abuse problem, including cover-up of offenses. A zero-tolerance policy has been established. If one questions the pope's sincerity, then it is tantamount to questioning Jesus Christ, of whom he is the earthly servant and representative.
Your editorial I assume is without intentional disparagement, but it almost rises to the level of another attempt to diminish Christianity and Catholicity by creating doubt of the sincerity of His Holiness Pope Francis.
An apology is owed to the Catholics of the Albany Diocese.
Michael J. Palmiotto
Polk judge candidate with most experience
I am writing in response to your July 25 article on the candidates running for the Schenectady County Family Court judgeship. I would say experience is the main factor in choosing one of the four vying for the open seat.
If your child were to have heart surgery, which doctor would you choose: One with six years of experience, or one with 26? Would you choose a physician with no direct experience with children in the operating room or a specialist with 14 years working directly with children in the operating room and who also initiated programs to help families through its confusing and stressful realities? You would also choose one who prosecuted other surgeons for unethical conduct. Experience and insight wins every time. Is comparing the choice of Family Court judge to a heart surgeon far fetched? No. The decisions of a Family Court judge are ones that effect the very heart of our community: the strength of our families and the well-being of our children.
In my eyes, the only candidate who stands up to this challenge is Jill Polk. She will be my choice in the September primary, and again in the November election.
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