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Vote on vet tax break should not be needed

Vote on vet tax break should not be needed

*Vote on vet tax break should not be needed *Learn proper weapon handling from death *Clean water es

Vote on vet tax break should not be needed

In response to the Feb. 18 letter to editor, “Give residents a voice on vets exemption”: We must remember and honor all those who served and sacrificed for our freedom.

I lost my father in WWII. I’m a disabled veteran, but I’m writing this for all veterans. To think that a public vote is necessary for a small reduction in taxes is a disgrace.

For some people to think a public vote is necessary, I suggest they spend some time walking the halls of Albany Veterans Hospital, and then you decide.

Joe Druzba


Learn proper weapon handling from death

Re Feb. 2 article, “Soldier, a Schenectady native, dies in Alaska from accidental gunshot”: Let’s take this tragic incident and turn it into a positive learning experience for everyone.

To the family of Nathan Michael Higginbotham, my sincerest condolences. This incident was not an accident. It was a careless act by one individual, that, unfortunately resulted in the loss of his life.

The article, as written by Steven Cook, points to a number of “safe gun handling rule” violations. Any, if followed, would have resulted in Mr. Higginbotham being with us today.

Let’s see if we can identify them.

First, we have a loaded firearm. First Rule: Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. A firearm is considered loaded, unless you check to verify that the magazine is removed, and the chamber is unloaded, and even then, treat it as if it were loaded.

The police report states, “While he (Higginbotham) was removing the magazine, however, a round was loaded into the chamber. Higginbotham did not clear the chamber.” It is the owner’s responsibility to know their firearm.

Second Rule: Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Pointing the muzzle of a firearm at your head in never a safe thing to do.

Third Rule: Alcohol and firearms don’t mix. As we all have been told, alcohol dulls our senses. Get the picture?

Firearm safety is the responsibility of each and every one of us, owner or not. Knowing the firearm’s function is ultimately the responsibility of the owner. If someone hands you a firearm, it is your responsibility to have that person prove to you that the firearm is indeed unloaded. Do not touch it until they do, and then, treat it as if it were loaded. Keep the muzzle always pointed in a safe direction. Your safety and their safety depends on it.

Unfortunately, it is too late for Mr. Higginsbotham. It is not too late for you. Let’s learn from this tragic incident. This was no accident.

Joseph Viva

Ballston Lake

Clean water essential to living a happy life

Help. Help. Help.

What a way to start a letter. To all the smart people who read this, enough is enough.

It all has to do with the water we all drink every day. You have all read enough in the papers about the water woes we have in our area. If your area isn’t affected now, it will be soon. Our population is getting sicker and sicker every year from bad water.

Let’s not argue about this and that. Let’s start to improve our water plants and start replacing our old ancient water pipes underground all over. Let’s start now; we have waited too long to do this.

You all know that better water will give you a better life. This includes our children and our pets. If you know the leaders in charge of our water systems, tell them now. It’s a must-do for all of us to livebetter lives. You all know this is true.

So please start the song now, loud and clear: We want good water. We want good water. We need it ASAP.

Sid Gordon

Saratoga Springs

Hospital project bad for neighborhood

I was disappointed to read the Feb. 15 letter to the editor in The Daily Gazette from former Saratoga Springs Mayor A.C. Riley, a person for whom I have great respect and admiration.

The letter criticized the present City Council for not approving Saratoga Hospital’s plan to expand its Planned Unit Development into property historically zoned as residential. Mrs. Riley stated that the council failed to make a decision based on the good of the entire community and instead acted based on the “whims of small vocal groups.”

There are five members of the Saratoga Springs City Council. Three affirmative votes would have been required for the hospital’s plans to put a 75,000-square-foot professional building on Morgan Street. Since two Council members recused themselves from the vote and two seemed to be leaning towards approval, it was my decision that ended up blocking this project.

I explained to the hospital administrators that although I fully appreciate the progress that our hospital has achieved over the many years that I have lived in our city, I could not support their proposal.

The idea of a professional building in close proximity to the hospital is a worthy goal and one that many other hospitals have achieved by building on their existing campuses with multi-story structures and parking garages. I suggested that they use a similar approach.

Morgan Street is a narrow thoroughfare with poor visibility. The anticipated doubling of vehicular traffic would not be well tolerated. The three parcels in question are historic and represent one of the few remaining bucolic settings within city limits. The proposed three-story professional building with its associated large-surface parking lot would represent a dramatic change in land use and would have had significant impacts on the area.

It is especially troubling that Mrs. Riley would characterize the reaction of those living in proximity to this project as a whim. Many of those living in the neighborhood came to the four City Council public hearings and expressed their support for the hospital in its efforts to improve the delivery of health care in our community.

However, they were disappointed that a change of future land use for property that would have a direct local effect was approved without their knowledge or input. They listed many valid reasons for their opposition to the project. Their reactions should not be so easily dismissed.

Mrs. Riley states that citizens run for office with the expectation by the electorate that they will use their judgment in decision-making. Mrs. Riley should know that I always take issues that are before the City Council very seriously and try to find the best solution for our community.

The hospital can find other solutions to its dilemma without adversely effecting neighboring residents.

Chris Mathiesen

Saratoga Springs

The writer is the Commissioner of Public Safety.

Honor Schenectady’s contributors on roads

Re Feb. 10 article, “McCarthy’s drive for ‘smart’ streetlights gains traction”: Talk about light pollution. I would have thought the City Council would have come to its senses by now regarding “The Pylon.”

Eighty feet high with a 32-foot digital display? People will be able to see it from Syracuse.

And as far as naming the street: why not after Charles Steinmetz or Nobel Prize winner Ivar Giaever?

Let’s name it after someone who has actually done something for Schenectady.

Mary Siegel


Alco workers deserve overdue recognition

I strongly agree with your Feb. 18 editorial, “Honor Alco’s history in Mohawk Harbor street names,” on appropriate names for the streets in the Mohawk Harbor/casino property.

However, rather than honor executives, designers, or an inanimate object, why not honor the Alco workers — both native and immigrant — who helped build the city? The city’s population swelled from 13,655 in 1880 to 31,682 in 1900 to 72,826 in 1910 due to Alco (formerly Schenectady Locomotive Works) — and, of course, General Electric.

So, I think names like “Welder’s Way,” “Blacksmith Lane,” and “Machinist’s Trace” would reflect the city’s history — and its greatness — far more than the names suggested in your editorial.

Constance J. Ostrowski


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