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Letters to the Editor for Saturday, May 18

Letters to the Editor for Saturday, May 18

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Check Alzheimer’s patients for Lyme

Lyme disease is increasing in the area.
I have had two friends ho were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. But after four years of treatment, they were found to have Lyme disease. They were then treated for Lyme and recovered and lived a normal life.
Actor Kris Kristofferson was told he had Alzheimer’s and was treated. He later was found to have Lyme disease. He recovered in three months.
If you have a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, have them tested for Lyme disease. It can’t hurt, but you could save them.
A study in Toronto, Canada, involving 1,000 diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients using PET, found only 50 percent had Alzheimer’s the rest had vascular problems.
Bob Wilson
Burnt Hills

 

Lanotte has the right experience for board

Niskayuna is blessed to have four wonderful candidates running for its school board. I’m sure each would have a positive effect on our schools. One candidate sets herself apart from the others. Pat Lanotte was elected to the school board during Niskayuna’s darkest hour. When she was elected, Niskayuna was facing a tax revolt, dealing with a superintendent crisis and a great deal of community distrust. She spearheaded the Niskayuna school district’s revival. She was instrumental in bringing John Yagielski to Niskayuna. She analyzed their financial records and helped restore fiscal soundness to their budgeting practices and an overall confidence in the district. No one is more dedicated, determined and open-minded than Pat. She isn’t interested in winning popularity contests. She’s interested in establishing and interpreting the facts through her mind and her heart. She isn’t interested in being right. She wants to do the right thing. She’s demonstrated that she’s willing to make difficult decisions to benefit children. I’ve spent most of my 62 years in education and I’ve never met someone so detail-oriented and driven, and yet has such a big heart. She’s level-headed and will listen to your concerns. Pat Lanotte has proven that she can lead and navigate difficult times. When I think of Pat Lanotte I think of integrity and compassion. She represents the core values and beliefs that make up the very fabric of our community. That’s why I’m urging you to support Pat Lanotte for the Niskayuna school board. 
Joseph Skumurski
Niskayuna

 

Tully cares about Niskayuna schools

I support Kimberly Tully in her candidacy for the Niskayuna Board of Education. I worked closely with Kim as a fellow officer of the Rosendale Elementary PTO for three years. That experience taught me that Kim possesses many fine qualities that make her an excellent candidate for the board.
If Kim is elected to the board, her collaborative nature will enable her to work well with her fellow board members. Furthermore, she is a careful listener who seeks out varied viewpoints in order to fully understand an issue. All stakeholders can be confident that they will be heard by Kim. Additionally, Kim is conscientious and responsible when making budgetary decisions.
Kim’s background as an educator makes her a uniquely qualified candidate in this election. She cares deeply about children and our Niskayuna community, and will ensure that students, teachers and community members all feel valued and supported, while remembering her duty to be fiscally responsible.
I hope you’ll join me in giving Kimberly Tully one of your three votes for the Niskayuna Board of Education on May 21.
Anne Heller
Niskayuna

 

 

Support sale of old Elmer Avenue School 

Voters in the Schenectady City School District should vote yes on Proposition 2 to authorize the school board to sell the vacant Elmer Avenue School to a developer, who will convert the building into market-rate apartments for middle-income residents.
The school district will receive a $450,000 payment from the developer, the full appraised value of the building. The sale will put the unused school building back on the city tax rolls and relieve the district of the cost of maintaining a building it can no longer use.  
The conversion to apartments will be overseen by Sunrise Management and Consulting, the same group that recently completed the successful conversion to apartments of the former Draper School in Rotterdam.  
The project will maintain the historic character of the building and be a complement to the other revitalization efforts underway in the Eastern Avenue corridor.
Gary Hughes
Schenectady
The writer is majority leader of the Schenectady County Legislature and chairman of the Economic Development Committee.

 

Respect the president and let him do his job

Paul Tonko is at it again. He knocks U.S. Attorney General Barr. People who live in glasshouses should not throw stones. Good Americans should respect an elected president. I didn’t like President Bush, but I respected him as the president. All you stupid liberals are hurting this country. We are laughed at by other countries because of the way you liberals treat the president. Don’t be surprised if we have December 1941 again. Support him. Let him do what he said he would do if elected. You liberals will not give him a chance to do well for this country. The Democratic party liberals are not for this country or the people, but for the party. Why did they want Hillary in office when she had our men killed? She also made millions selling our uranium to Russia. Wake up. I am a good Democrat, not a liberal. I voted for Trump. I also went and registered Republican so that I could vote for him in the primary. We needed a strong president in office to protect us and our country. We have been a weak country for the past eight years, before he became president. I pray that our young don’t have to protect this country, like we had to in 1941. God bless America and President Trump.
Vincent Belardo
Albany

 

Lanotte has ability, experience to serve

I write in support of Pat Lanotte for Niskayuna Board of Education. I have known Pat for three decades. She is a person of unwavering integrity and principle. 
Our district faces challenges that have not been provided adequate resources. Anxiety and stress level are at an all-time high, with not enough social workers and school psychologists in our buildings. Morale among district staff is at a record low. Financially, the district seems to be doing well, but there are surplus funds that have not been allocated for student services/curriculum nor to offset the future tax levy. The funds are being allocated for future, unidentified uses. Why?
Pat’s goal has been to provide every student with the best environment in which to succeed. With her financial background and her proven ability to build a budget from bottom up, she will ensure that the district’s budget reflects that goal, and that funds are appropriated according to needs of our students. All of them.
Pat explained that the personal matters that caused her to resign her prior tenure on the board have resolved. Unanticipated matters can result in unexpected decisions. I understand and take her at her word.
As a 27-year Niskayuna resident, taxpayer and parent of two Niskayuna graduates, the only question for me is this: Who has the best experience and ability to address issues affecting all of our students, faculty and district? Pat Lanotte. That’s why I will be casting a vote for Pat Lanotte for Niskayuna School Board on May 21.
Sunny Lee
Niskayuna

 

Bring back Lanotte to help district again 

Niskayuna is fortunate to have five candidates for the Board of Education, and I thank them for their willingness to run. I endorse Patricia Lanotte as my top choice. She has an outstanding and proven record previously serving on the board, including saving the district and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars with her unmatched fiscal know-how. During her two-year tenure as board president, the levy increased only once, by 0.41 percent. As a Birchwood parent during the “close Birchwood years,” I’m grateful for her support not to close one of the five elementary schools.
What’s unfortunate, however, is that there are people bashing Ms. Lanotte’s record and erroneously blaming her for special election costs held in 2017 to fill her seat when she stepped down for personal reasons. Holding a special election, as opposed to appointing a person to finish her term, was entirely up to the remaining board members. Some people are also “demanding” that she tell them what those personal reasons were. 
That’s none of anyone’s business. But what is our business is that she has indicated those reasons are resolved and she’s ready to commit again. The Niskayuna school district needs Patricia Lanotte. I say that as a parent of two high school students. Her finger is on the pulse of our community, students and teachers. Pat’s vast knowledge of key issues facing our district and, again, her unmatched fiscal experience makes for an ideal board member. We are fortunate to have her running again for the Board of Education.
Paulette Doudoukjian
Niskayuna

 

Be fair and positive in Niskayuna schools

Having been a resident in Niskayuna since 2006 and heavily involved in our schools and community on a volunteer basis, some of you know me and know that I don’t shy back from voicing my opinion. Unfortunately, I’m again dismayed by the politically charged atmosphere that I see rising up in our Niskayuna community in regards to the upcoming board election. It shouldn’t be who you know, but who the better candidate is. It should be a positive, not negative experience.
We should be supportive of the candidates, not bashing them or actively working to undermine them.
Those of you that remember 2013 like I do, it wasn’t a pretty picture. The community was divided and it took the patient and steady leadership of John Yagielski to bring us back together. I urge everyone to play fair and be positive, even in a politically divided county, let’s be a supportive and united district. 
Sonya Ward
Niskayuna

 

Get involved to get better government

On May 13, it was my privilege to attend the annual meet the candidates for school board night put on by the League of Women Voters.
Thank you to them not just for putting on the event, but also giving the first question to my son, who is a second grader at Paige Elementary. His question on bullying received varying answers, some that I found disappointing and others encouraging.
However, what distressed me the most is the fact that only about 30 people attended, or less than 1 tenth of 1 percent of our community. Of those 30, only three were minorities. All politics are local. If We the People wish to effect change, then we must be willing to put in the time not just to go to the polls, but to also attend events such as this. To do otherwise results in an ill-informed electorate and frequently results in the status quo being maintained, thereby stalling growth in programs that directly affect We the People. It also results in candidates who are ill-informed in what the electorate desires, making them unable to properly represent their constituents.
I implore that the people of Schenectady begin not to just comment, but act, become educated on candidate positions and show up to the polls and vote. For if you don’t, then nothing will ever change.
Ed Smith Jr.
Schenectady

 

Check AAA coverage before leaving area

I am 87 years old, live in the Tri-City area and winter in Florida. I am a Plus Member of AAA; good service when needed in your immediate area. I had a nightmare experience in Florida with AAA. I had a flat tire and called the 800 number on my membership card. The reply was “You have a one-hour wait to speak to an agent of AAA.” I was on a main road, so I called local police in Greenacres, Fla. When they arrived, they also tried calling AAA using my membership card. They got the same response. The police officer was great. He called the local AAA in Greenacres and they said they would offer service for cash only. They would not honor AAA. The officer called a second garage and they were there in 15 minutes and towed me to a local tire repair garage. My total time as an AAA Plus Member was three hours to get service.
The summary of this story is if you intend to travel out of your area, I would test the AAA 800 number first to be sure they respond.
I use AAA garage repair in my area; the service is good, prompt, and like most garages, not cheap.
James P. Stevens
Mechanicville

 

Lanotte not a backer of open meetings

Patricia Lanotte voted to oust the superintendent at an early Friday morning school board meeting in 2014. The meeting was supposed to be an open meeting, but nobody showed up, including a reporter from The Gazette. Open meetings are supposed to be open, except when the notification process is not followed. That’s what happened here. The school board president did not apologize, but said it “was an oversight and it will not happen in the future.” She was voted out at the next election, as were other school board members who chose to run. It’s time to send Ms. Lanotte the same message. Open school board meetings are supposed to be open to all, and notifications should be made in a timely manner. Don’t vote for Patricia Lanotte. 
Joseph J. Hehir
Schenectady

 

Writer was wrong in criticism of Lanotte

I found Stephen Benton’s May 10 the letter about not bringing Pat Lanotte back to the school board offensive. Mr. Benton thinks all is well in the school district. Really? He’s living in a fool’s paradise. Employees at the last school board meeting stated morale is very low. Morale is low in a district that has the highest school taxes in the county and one of the highest in the state. Well, this news doesn’t do much for my morale as a taxpayer. 
Lanotte’s resignation has nothing to do with her running for the board. Lanotte is an independent person and stands up for values. If asking financial questions, if being concerned about the fund balance, if wanting a budget without a lot waste is being divisive, then I applaud divisiveness. Her voting for the current superintendent doesn’t mean whatever he does, she has to support. Anyone involved in hiring knows that how a person interviews and how the person performs isn’t always the same.
Her background is extensive. She served in the military and has a strong financial background. She knows more about finances than the whole board together. She’s not a political pawn. By the way, we have a current board member running for town council. In my opinion, this speaks volumes. It’s about time that this school district has a Board of Education that is not from the political arena and shows concern for the overtaxed and overburdened taxpayer. Maybe I’m the one living in a fool’s paradise.
Linda Rizzo
Niskayuna

 

Pigeon’s extinction shows lack of caring

One estimated to number in the billions, the passenger pigeon ended up extinct. As far as I know, this is the worst tragedy wildlife have ever suffered at the hands of humanity, and it happened in the United States.
We use words like “empathy” and “character” a lot. Those who care about animals are more likely to care about humans. If our leaders past, present and future want me to think these positive terms apply to them, they should focus on the suffering we’ve caused, and they can start with the passenger pigeon.
Colin Yunick
Charlton

 

Nisky school board must listen to staff

At the last meeting of the Niskayuna Board of Education, a number of representatives from the five bargaining units in the district made known their concerns about lack of morale within the district’s workforce. And the superintendent, Dr. Tangorra, has responded to the community in a letter on the school district’s website.
I have been a close observer of two school districts in the Capital District. One is Niskayuna by virtue of having sent our three children through its schools. The other employed a family member. Morale issues are occurring in both districts.
My son serves in the Navy as a submariner. He and the roughly 100 other sailors on a boat almost never see the light of day. They only know what goes on outside when it flows from the captain, down through the officer ranks, to the enlisted sailors. The sailors are stuck there. They cannot even jump ship.
But my son tells me the morale on the boat (a “good” boat versus a “bad” boat) is directly in the captain’s hands. And the reputation of a boat travels with it. So while the sailors may be largely powerless to change the morale, the captain’s superiors are not. They hear the scuttlebutt and they can act.
The parallel to a school district is not perfect. So while my son legally cannot decide, “Tomorrow I’m out of here,” school district employees can and do “jump ship” anytime the aggravation becomes too great. But superintendents and their direct staff indeed have superiors. They are the school boards and they need to pay attention to what their “sailors” are reporting.
Jim Fogarty
Niskayuna

 

Board should show support for taxpayers

I was surprised to learn Pat Lanotte was seeking to return to the Niskayuna school board after her unexpected and costly resignation two years ago.
I will never vote for Pat because as reported in The Daily Gazette on February 23, 2016, she was the sole vote on the school board to prevent the parents of service members killed in combat (these parents are called “Gold Star Parents”) and disabled veterans from obtaining a school property tax exemption. I believe that shows a lack of empathy and compassion to these members of our community.
Pat often speaks about her fiscal skills. However, when it comes to Gold Star parents and disabled veterans, she appears to me at least to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. I plan to vote for Brian Backus, a retired military officer, Kim Tully, the wife of a Purple Heart recipient, and Greta Janson, who is willing to listen to the needs of our veterans and senior citizens on fixed incomes like myself. Being on the school board isn’t all about the kids. As elected officials, they should consider people like me when they vote on financial matters and show some empathy and compassion for those who don’t have kids in the school system. 
Carlene Ireland
Niskayuna

 

Farm Act will speed up demise of farms

Farmworker Fair Labor Practices (FFLP) Act (S2837/A2750) will add significant labor costs to small family farms.
The increase in minimum wage has already started to impact profitability of small family farms. Twenty percent of New York dairy farms have already gone out of business in the last five years. This decline will continue, especially if the FFLP is adopted.
Labor-intensive farms and greenhouses are also continuing to go out of business due to minimum wage increases, the cost of doing business in New York and the impact of regulatory oversight. If FFLP goes into effect, this will cause closures to increase significantly.
Farmers face the same costs as other businesses. However, weather, short growing seasons and shelf life of produce have severe negative effects.
The loss of a number of farms and the lack of profitability have been substantiated in exhaustive studies by Farm Credit East. This information is available to the public. The small family farm as we know it today could be facing extinction. FFLP will speed up the loss of farms. If FFLP is implemented, knowing our political system, it would be impossible to change or eliminate.
I don’t want to sound like an extremist, but I feel small family farms are in dire trouble and will be forced to close the barn and greenhouse doors and walk away. Please contact Albany and advise them of your concerns and the need to keep the backbone of rural upstate intact.
Bill Giniecki
Scotia
The writer is retired from a four-generation farm established in 1885.

 

Tully has experience, dedication for Nisky

I’ve known Kim Tully for years and I’ve observed what a valued member of the Niskayuna community she is. Kim is a concerned, conscientious and dedicated person. My children go to school with her children, and I’ve seen her significant input and involvement at all school activities. She has served as secretary and co-president of Rosendale Elementary School and is currently serving as secretary for Iroquois Middle School and co-president of PTO Council. Kim also holds three teaching certificates from the state Department of Education in Childhood Education, Students with Disabilities and Literacy. This background enhances her deep commitment to education in our school district and her ability to serve our community well. Kim has the perfect qualities for being a board member. She is extremely bright and friendly, open-minded, creative and devoted to furthering the education of our children in the best possible manner. I believe Kim Tully will be an asset to our education system and support her for election to the Niskayuna Board of Education.
Alyssa Kahn Ehrlich
Niskayuna

 

Slate will keep Nisky schools moving ahead

As former members of the Niskayuna School Board, we implore you to pay attention to this school board election. Between us, we have 18 years of service. Our years of experience give us a great deal of perspective, especially about some of the difficult days of our board service. Days when school board members did not work well together. Days when school board members spent too much time choosing sides of an argument rather than working to build consensus. Too many times votes came down to the same four voting one way, and the other three voting another. And too much focus on who was “right” and who was “wrong.” Fortunately, the current board is working well together for the benefit of our students and the community. Our community needs to keep the momentum progressing in a positive fashion.
Please thoroughly research each candidate before you vote. We did and are supporting Brian Backus, Greta Jansson and Kim Tully. Brian is the current board vice president and has 40 years of military service. He has a proven record of building consensus and making decisions focused on kids. Greta is a local business owner with a diverse academic, professional and cultural background. Her message is positive and collaborative. Kim brings an educator’s perspective and years of service to our schools. Her message likewise is focused on keeping the board moving forward, not backward.
Make sure your vote keeps our kids and our community moving in the right direction.
Debbie Gordon and Bob Winchester
Niskayuna

 

Tully will bring best to the school district

As a mom of three children currently attending Niskayuna schools, it’s of the utmost importance to me that they receive the very best the district can offer. In line with that, I believe we must have strong leadership and school board members that are focused on preserving the things that have already made Niskayuna schools great and are also passionate about ensuring the future for our students and the district is even brighter.
I can say without a doubt that Kimberly Tully would make an excellent school board member. I’ve known Kim for about 10 years, and during that time I have gotten to know her personally as friends and neighbors, and professionally through several PTO initiatives we worked on together. Kim is a tremendous asset to our district. She is smart and dedicated, organized and hard-working, and most importantly she is truly passionate about making our schools and the projects she works on the very best they can be. She is also one of the most genuine and nicest people you will ever meet. I have full confidence in Kim’s ability to take her background, experience and passion for our schools and put it to work to benefit our children as a member of the Niskayuna school board. She has my vote, 100 percent.
Lori Birmingham
Niskayuna

 

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