Holiday tree article prompts special gift
Re Nov. 13 article, “A glowing reminder”: We are writing to say a heartfelt thank you to The Schenectady Gazette for coming to our house and writing the story about our tree being cut down to go to the Empire State Plaza for their holiday tree this year.
It was a beautiful story about how we were donating the tree in honor of our daughter Phylis Elaine Parks Hirakami, who passed away in 2005 at the age of 52, in Hawaii where she lived.
Because of your article, we just got the best Christmas present ever. When our grandchildren, who still live in Hawaii and are in their early 30’s, read the article on the Internet; they decided that they had to be here when they lit the tree on Dec. 6.
They loved their mother so much and when they saw the story, that was it.
Thank you again for telling the story of our tree.
Less chatting, more praying during church
Ever wonder with all the evil prowling around the world what could be done about it? Has anyone thought of praying? Prayer changes things. Try it.
You could start by praying in church rather than talking and socializing. This is a distraction and shows disrespect. I’m not mentioning any church, but we all know of it with the pointed steeple and location near the college.
Need I say anymore but — Zip it.
GE has been major economic contributor
Sara Foss’s Nov. 17 column [“Battery plant brought no jolt”] said that the GE battery plant failed to provide a jolt to the local economy. GE’s investment of $170 million and the creation of 450 new jobs certainly qualify as a major economic boost.
GE is a global company. While GE developed some of the battery technology at the Global Research Center in Niskayuna, pilot production took place in England. The battery business, when it first started, was part of GE Transportation based in Chicago. Originally there were no plans to build the battery in Schenectady, but fortunately that all changed.
A concerted effort by state and local leaders, in a strong partnership with IUE/CWA Local 301, brought this new business to Schenectady. When the project was first announced, GE pledged to invest $100 million and create 350 jobs by transforming a mostly vacant building at the Schenectady campus — Building 66 — into a 270,000 square foot modern, well equipped manufacturing facility and office complex.
The project did, in fact, provide a positive boost to the local economy. First, GE invested $170 million in Schenectady. Second, the renovation of Building 66 created hundreds of construction jobs. Third, GE created 450, not 350 new jobs in Schenectady as a result of the project. The facts are clear — GE exceeded both its investment and job commitments for this project. And these are good-paying jobs.
When orders for the battery plant slackened, GE transferred manufacturing employees to jobs making steam turbines and generators in Schenectady so the track record is clear — 450 new jobs were created.
Building 66 continues to host GE’s battery business now called GE Energy Storage with approximately 100 employees focused on GE’s strategy to be a full energy storage solutions provider, rather than simply a battery manufacturer. In August of this year, GE won its largest energy storage order ever to produce a 30 megawatt system. GE remains committed to the Energy Storage business and the team is designing, integrating and servicing systems with both GE made batteries and batteries made by other companies to create cost effective energy solutions for its customers.
As far as government incentives are concerned, the state invested over $12 million and Metroplex invested $5 million to help pay for renovations to Building 66, creating construction jobs and helping to build a modern manufacturing and office facility. The incentives equaled less than 10 percent of project costs, GE paid the rest.
GE invested $170 million to fix up an antiquated building that is now a cutting-edge complex and both the state and Metroplex helped with this effort. The company created 450 good-paying jobs. The Energy Storage business is based here in Schenectady and continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of a large global market.
Any community would be pleased to get 450 new jobs. When you add this to recent GE investments in Schenectady and in the Capital Region, forget jolt — you might even be shocked.
In the past decade, GE has invested more than $800 million in the Capital Region with over $635 million of that new investment right here in Schenectady County. All told, GE in recent years has created more than 1,600 new jobs in the Capital Region, with the vast majority of these new jobs based in Schenectady.
Schenectady County is very proud to call GE Power and GE Global Research home. Every day, GE technology helps to power the world using products made right here in Schenectady.
The writer is chair of the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority.
Direct criticism where it rightly belongs
If one were to truly believe the partisan rhetoric from Schenectady County Attorney Christopher Gardner in the Nov. 29 opinion piece, you must not live near one of the city’s beleaguered neighborhood business districts, where there are no trumpets blaring, ribbon cuttings or back patting going on — only the sour smell of blight and the feeling of hopelessness.
While Metroplex under Ray Gillen and the Democratic-controlled county and city government have done some wonderful things in a two-block area of downtown, along with some landmark failures such as The Big House, Quirky and the GE Battery Plant, the business districts of Crane Street, Van Vranken Avenue, Albany Street and Sheridan Plaza — to name a few — have continued to steadily decline under this regime.
Please let’s get all the facts out there, Mr. Gardner. Not just your skewed view as Schenectady County attorney, but more importantly the view behind the scenes of the “Wizard of Oz” of the Schenectady County Democratic machine. To name myself as one who consistently attacks Mr. Gillen from the Republican side is another stretch of the imagination to say the least, but not a surprise to this non-Democrat council member.
I will continue to act in the best interests of all of Schenectady, as I was elected and re-elected to do to, and I will embrace any criticism with a huge grain of “political” salt to wear as a badge of honor.
The writer is a Schenectady City Councilman.