Nisky rowing coach left positive legacy
I wish to express my strong disapproval and disappointment in Dr. Cosimo Tangorra and the Niskayuna Board of Education for the firing of Jonathan Markowicz.
I am a Niskayuna alum and I rowed with Jonathan as my coach from 2007-2011. During that time, he never failed to have at least one boat (sometimes two) finish in the top six in the state (out of about 30 programs).
More than just coaching winning boats, Jonathan established a culture of accountability and attention to detail, virtues that have continued to help me and my former teammates through college and into the workforce. It is embarrassing to see Niskayuna let go of a knowledgeable, passionate coach who not only stocked the trophy cabinet, but also taught his athletes tenacity, determination, responsibility and mental toughness — attributes that continue to serve us well today.
More disturbingly, it’s difficult to envision this scenario playing out on a different Niskayuna team. Would Dr. Tangorra and the board act so brazenly to fire a winning coach halfway through the season with no explanation and against the wishes of the majority of parents and athletes if it were the coach of the lacrosse team or the football team facing criticism? I doubt it.
Niskayuna has sent a message that they see rowing as a low-priority sport. Jonathan’s prospective replacement ought to consider this stance before accepting a job with the high school.
On Dr. Tangorra, it is disheartening to see that the defenses of the athletes and parents alike fell on deaf ears when arriving at this decision. A good leader knows how to compromise and communicate. Dr. Tangorra being “unapologetic” about his inability to do either is a sour testament to his leadership skills.
I worry about the future of Niskayuna rowing and Niskayuna athletics in general if coaches like Jonathan are rejected by our current leaders.
Canal system a vital part of infrastructure
In the April 24 edition of The Gazette, an editorial [“Is state canal system worth the expense?”] stated that “ … it might soon be time to consider a plan doing without [the Canal System].”
Loss of the canal would mean economic, historical and environmental loss — $6.2 billion of revenue is generated by the canal annually, according to a canal report.
Preserving and using the waterway means companies in Schenectady, Utica or Syracuse can build bigger machines that cannot fit on our roads and have them transported via waterway to ports both domestic and abroad, thus keeping vital jobs here in our community.
Historically, America was dependent on the Erie Canal for transportation and it still is. The canal system connects New York City, the Hudson River, Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain, and is a federally approved route between Waterford and Oswego.
It has connected the Atlantic with the U.S. interior for 192 years.
We are excited that the New York Power Authority now oversees the Canal Corp. They bring to the table new and renewed ideas of how to harness the renewable energy of the moving water and the sun that shines across the length of the waterway. This will aid in meeting the government-mandated carbon reduction goals.
Solar panels could generate clean energy for our state, and with the New York Power Authority now managing the canal, the future looks bright for clean energy development.
This is an opportunity for clean growth as well as a stable source of funding to maintain the canal system.
We can scrap the canal system and spend money pouring more concrete across New York state on multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects that are never finished and always over budget, or we can take advantage of this turnkey, underutilized asset that offers the opportunity for “stuff and people” to move across New York state in harmony with each other and with nature.
The writers are, respectively, president/CEO, the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County and Capital Region New York Solar Energy Chair.
Flag-raising honors all who fought
The controversy over who raised the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima in World War II should never have been brought to light [May 4 Gazette]. Does it really matter?
The monument at Arlington dedicated to the heroic events of the Marines on Iwo Jima was a dedication to all who participated in that glorious victory, not any one person.
Affirmative action deserves coverage
On March 7, the Schenectady City Council, during the committee meeting, heard a report from Miriam Cajuste, the affirmative action officer. Ms. Cajuste presented her quarterly report on activities related to affirmative action in the city of Schenectady.
On March 8, The Daily Gazette included an article outlining some of the discussions that took place at the committees meeting, including a summary of Ms. Cajuste’s quarterly report related to the low percentage of minorities and women in public-service jobs, as well as the overall lack of diversity in all areas of city employment and contracting.
On March 21, the City Council, during the committee meeting, heard a report from the city of Schenectady Affirmative Action Advisory Board. The report was the first from the recently revived board and outlined recommendations to improve the city’s affirmative action performance.
The board also reported that it would hold a public meeting to present the report to the community on April 19 at the Phyllis Bornt branch of the public Library.
On March 22, The Daily Gazette included an article outlining several aspects of the previous night’s city committees meeting, yet said nothing about the Affirmative Action Advisory Board report.
On April 19, the board held the public meeting with approximately 20 community members in attendance.
The discussion was lively and engaged with community members asking questions, relating exper
ences and offering suggestions. No one from The Daily Gazette covered the meeting. Fortunately, Joe Piazzo, local filmmaker, recorded the meeting and it can be seen on Open Stage Media.
The Affirmative Action Advisory Board members are deeply disappointed that The Daily Gazette, “the locally owned voice of the Capital Region,” didn’t find the information in our first annual report to be newsworthy.
We believe the needs of minorities, women, veterans and disabled citizens are exceedingly important and we will continue to strive toward diversity and inclusion at all levels of employment within the city of Schenectady.
Hector L. Ramirez
The writer is chair of the city of Schenectady Affirmative Action Advisory Board.
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