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Letters to the Editor

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Honor-A-Veteran is something special

On Sept. 22, my wife and I attended the Honor-A-Veteran program put on by the Schenectady County Council of Veterans Service and VFW 359 at St. Luke’s Church on State Street.

If you haven’t attended one of these, you are missing out on something good in Schenectady. It was attended by Rep. Paul Tonko, Sen. George Amedore and representatives from Sen. Jim Tedisco and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara’s offices, along with other officials from the city of Schenectady and Rotterdam and the mayor’s office.

It was very humbling to both my wife and me as they honored my uncle, Joseph P. Blesser, who was a World War II veteran, posthumously. If anyone wants to honor any veteran, either living or deceased, I suggest that they contact Bill Frank at the Schenectady County Veteran’s Office to obtain the proper forms. They’re always looking for candidates. Thank you to all.

James M. Bleser



New roundabout will make traffic worse

The proposed roundabout for the River and Rosendale road connection will only help the workers at KAPL and GE Global Research facilities by allowing them to continue to speed up and down both county roads without any abatement to slow the traffic down.

Currently, there’s only a stop sign at this intersection, which nobody ever acknowledges unless there’s a vehicle directly in front of them. This stop sign at least slows down some of the relentless traffic.

I live to the west, or “above,” this connection. We only receive about a tenth of the traffic that our less fortunate neighbors have to put up with “below” the River and Rosendale connection. 

Placing a circle or a roundabout at this intersection will only allow the majority volume traffic flow through and never slow it down, which in turn will make it almost impossible for our local residents to get out of their respective side streets or driveways. Couple this with the school traffic from Rosendale and Iroquois schools, and the increased/unauthorized tractor-trailers only exacerbate this proposed traffic hazard.

Two solutions. First, more bridges across the Mohawk. I think three, but one for sure between GE Global and KAPL. Second, change the speed limits on all roads to 25 mph. That should slow them down to 45 or 50. And finally, install more stop signs at various side road intersections to break up the traffic convoys.

Daniel Bradt



Essay contest could lead to endowment

The $1.4 million Holocaust Memorial proposed for Niskayuna has been divisive. I’m writing in response to Erwin Fried’s suggestion [Sept. 30 letter] to hold instead an annual Holocaust essay contest for local high school students, with winning essayists awarded a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. For over a decade, I have chaired the B’nai B’rith Capital Area Holocaust Essay Contest, which has been held for at least two decades and, I believe, closer to three.

The Holocaust Essay Contest (www.bbhec.org) has involved high school and middle school students in a 12-county area in conducting research into the Holocaust-related essay topic of the year, with cooperation of their teachers. The cost of our completely free and non-commercial contest has been borne by the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, the Sternlicht Holocaust Memorial Fund, the Schenectady Unit and Albany Lodge of B’nai B’rith, the Brotherhood of Congregation Gates of Heaven and many individual donors.

Essays are coded to preserve anonymity. A judging panel selects six winners, three each from high and middle schools. Prizes amounting to about $1,300 are awarded in early June at a ceremony at which winning essays are read aloud. The ceremony is videotaped for broadcast via public-access TV.

On our shoestring budget, we have involved thousands of students in Holocaust study beyond what their schools might offer.  These students are, or soon will be, today’s voters, community leaders and elected officials.  Erwin Fried’s proposal might unify our community around creating a Holocaust essay contest endowment.

Robert A. Michaels



Support Galway EMS referendum Oct. 17

The best bargain in health insurance for Galway residents is having EMS in our town.

Do you want to have emergency medical service available 24 hours  a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year within five minutes for you, your family and neighbors? Is it worth $5 a month to save a family member or community member’s life?

It’s worth it to me, as well as to my neighbors and community. My husband’s life was saved because within five minutes of calling EMS, he was on his way to the hospital and had already received life-saving support by the time he arrived at the emergency room.

Galway EMS has had numerous town meetings providing information to Galway’s citizens. At these sessions, we have heard story after story similar to mine. Residents are enjoying life because of prompt and efficient emergency medical attention.

We have the opportunity to maintain this valuable and immediate year-round “health insurance” for a few dollars a month. Are you willing during an emergency to wait 30 minutes or more for help, knowing it may have life-threatening consequences because of a delay in treatment? This is what we may be facing if our own local EMS is not supported.

Please, just vote “yes” on Oct. 17 at the Galway Town Hall anytime from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and you will ensure utmost safety for you, your family and your community. We are all worth it.

Lenore Lanka



World is laughing at Trump, all Americans

When members of the U.N. laughed at the president’s remark, they were also laughing at us, the U.S. electorate, which enabled his election. He has done a lot: weakened NATO, trade agreements, the Iran deal, Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations, free trade. In the United States, he has eroded health care, the EPA, consumer protection and trust in the Supreme Court. He has done a lot of the wrong things. No wonder the world is laughing.

Bruce Castka


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