Westinghouse long overdue for a statue
Trains were crashing. Brakemen on moving cars were losing life and limbs, until 22-year-old George Westinghouse, in 1868, invented an ingenious system.
It allowed the engineer with a lever to safely apply brakes to all cars. The Westinghouse Air Brake remains the global standard.
George Westinghouse grew up in Schenectady. He learned invention, manufacturing and marketing in the family Westinghouse Agricultural Works. He served as a shipboard engineer during the Civil War, attended Union College and launched a career with 300 patents and creation of 60 companies. He was scrupulously honest and fair with admiring employees.
After Thomas Edison invented the electric light in 1879, he provided DC electricity to nearby customers. George Westinghouse designed lighting for Chicago World’s Fair and an AC system.
It transferred high voltage electricity over long distances, starting with Niagara Falls to Buffalo. Westinghouse current continues to power the world.
Analyzing the Westinghouse transformer-based AC system required new mathematics, for which Charles Steinmetz gained fame as the Wizard of Schenectady. He also created the electrical engineering program at Union College.
Citizen Brian Merriam self-initiated nicely lighted statues of Thomas Edison and Charles Steinmetz on Erie Boulevard, with sponsorship by the Chamber of Commerce. Brian is now leading a team for a George Westinghouse statue for the empty adjacent plaza. A small portion of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding can make it an overdue reality.
Come together to help pensioners
In the normal stimulus and response of life, there is a generally held convention that one good deed deserves another. Those who give help in a time of need deserve help if the tables turn.
It is, therefore, time for the people of Schenectady to recognize and support the 1,100 retires of Saint Clare’s Hospital who served this community for decades and are now in need of help themselves.
Over one year ago, they were informed that their retirement fund had failed and that they would not be receiving their pensions.
As a result of the pension fund failure, the retires are now enduring severe financial hardships.
Many are experiencing limitations to medical care and even nutrition. Some have died waiting for a resolution to this pension tragedy. Unfortunately, the search for a solution to this terrible problem has no end in sight.
There are many and complex reasons for this catastrophic situation. However, one thing is certain: the retirees of St. Clare’s Hospital are not responsible for the failure of their pension fund.
Every individual citizen, service group, fraternal organization and church group should speak out and demand that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, our legislators, church leaders and former fund managers come together to find a solution to this unnecessary suffering.
Apathy in this situation is not an option. We, the citizens of Schenectady, are either part of the solution or we are part of the problem.
William M. Vacca, MD
The writer is former chief of medicine at St. Clare’s Hospital.
Inaction on climate will make it worse
I am a volunteer for Citizens Climate Lobby, a nonprofit organization devoted to addressing the issue of climate change.
With so many of the recent climate-related stories pointing to the worsening of climate change around the world (the brush fires in Australia, record heat in parts of Europe, the rapidly accelerating melting of large glaciers — just to name a few), it can be frightening to turn on the news nowadays. In fact, with some climate scientists saying that the worst effects of climate change cannot be avoided no matter what steps we take to address the problem, it can be tempting to ask the question, “Why bother if there is no hope?”
Even if the worst effects of catastrophic climate change seem likely, doing nothing is simply not an option.
Just about any step we take to mitigate the worsening of carbon dioxide levels or the rise of global temperatures would be beneficial for our children and grandchildren. The air would be cleaner, storms would be less severe, diseases would not spread as quickly, and world economies would not be crippled as quickly. If these seem only like holding actions, maybe so. But you never know when the political will to take effective corrective action will emerge or when new technologies might give us renewed hope. We simply cannot allow our planet to deteriorate unchecked. Doing nothing is not an option.
Use caution when visiting Montreal
Just a heads up to those traveling to Montreal, Canada.
My daughter and I traveled to Montreal recently and parked in an outside small parking site in Old Montreal.
Unfortunately, while seeing Notre Dame and having lunch in a very busy area with lots of people walking around and high rises all around us, her Jeep truck was broken into by the back-passenger window. An iPad, very expensive camera, insulin and other medicines were stolen.
City police came, and we have a number of the incident. We went to Home Depot and bought tape and plastic to fix the window.
Upon leaving Canada, talking with the officer at the New York border, we told him what took place in Old Montreal. He stated to us that it happens all the time and that Canadians are targeting trucks and New York State vehicles. Yes, we should have booked our hotel and dropped off everything first (lesson learned) and then proceeded to our venture in Old Montreal. It has been suggested that you rent a car if you are going to Canada, especially Montreal, by border patrols. Take heed all. It really spoiled our weekend and has left me feeling very angry.
Cuomo doesn’t care about New Yorkers
Gov. Andrew Cuomo should stay in Puerto Rico and take the Democrats with him (Assembly and Senate). They can have full control there. The laws that are being passed in New York are so far of the rail that they’re killing this state.
He should have never gotten a third term; you talk about obstruction and abuse of power. Instead of taking care of this state’s needs, our tax dollars are going elsewhere. New York was once a leader of industrial states, and our ports were doing well with imports and exports. Even the Port of Albany was doing well.
Our economy was high due to construction, factories like GE, Ford, Bendix, Barkley Home products, Alco products, Bear Manning, paper mills, CDTA, taxi companies, downtown stores, Sears, Woolworth, Rudnick’s, outlets, soda shops for kids, Ellis Hospital, St. Clare’s Hospital, Bellview Hospital, carpet mills, auto dealerships, etc.
What do we have today? Nothing. Cuomo doesn’t care if we have jobs or safety for our kids in school or for a safe state.
He lets criminals out of jail to repeat their crimes and wants to disarm the law-abiding citizen.
Would you say he has a mental capacity to be a leader? I don’t think so. All of the hunters in this state supported conservation when they bought a firearm, ammo for hunting, target- and competitive shooting. Without the hunters, who is going to take care of our wild animals and keep our woods safe?
Claude Rizzicone, Jr.
Albany Civic Theater deserves coverage
The Gazette proclaims itself to be “The Voice of the Capital Region.”
Albany has a major role in there being a Capital Region.
Albany Civic Theater is in Albany, but The Gazette is too busy, understaffed or whatever else their excuse is for not reviewing Albany Civic Theater’s performances.
Consider that Albany Civic Theater has already presented two terrific shows this season.
Another, “American Soldiers” coming up starting Jan. 31.
Will The Gazette find another excuse for passing on this Albany Civic Theater play, too?
Westinghouse long overdue for a statue