Letters to the editor

Keep the memories coming

To the editor:

I just want to let Mr. James Sheridan know how much I am enjoying his weekly column.

Keep them coming. I love reading about your life in Amsterdam growing up, and becoming who you are today.

Penny Pollock,


Keep up the good work

To the editor:

I would like to sincerely thank The Recorder for affording my daughter, Tiffany, an opportunity to share her underwater ocean experiences in the Gulf of Mexico as a veteran teacher at sea with the Nautilus Exploration Program by interviewing her. This was her second expedition following her first exploration with Dr. Robert Ballard, founder of the Titanic, in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Turkey in 2011. I am so proud of my daughter and of her accomplishments and I am extremely grateful to The Recorder for giving her the opportunity to share her ocean exploration experiences with the residents of her hometown, Amsterdam. I have been a subscriber to The Recorder forever and I so enjoy the expanded coverage of all your news and events, especially after the new ownership took place.

Keep up the great work that you all do.

Linda Risch,


It takes a city

To the editor:

The 2013 outdoor track season was a special one for Amsterdam High School. We had indications going in it would be a nice season -- we had a positive indoor track season and our returning seniors were hard working, great kids. As the season started everything "popped." Both the boys and girls teams won the league title in the increasingly competitive Big 10 Conference. The boys garnered several invitational titles including the prestigious Eddy Meet. Multiple school records were smashed by boys and girls, by individuals and relays, by athletes as young as seventh grade and by our most experienced seniors. We even had our first ever outdoor state champ. But what made it truly special was the boys 4-by-400 meter relay team.

A reluctant sprinter, a quiet leader, a gritty 800-meter runner, and a state champion took our school and community on a great "ride" all the way to the nationals. Brett Stanavich, the school record-holding 10.7-second 100-meter sprinter, was thrust into the role of the lead runner. Anthony Stewart, an unassuming yet talented distance runner, ran the second leg. Gritty 800 meter John Hardies, also a school record holder, made sure the race stayed tight. Then the "hammer," 400-meter state champion Izaiah Brown. When he got the stick all that the entire Amsterdam running program would do is smile and wait. It was a sight to behold as he flew around the track ensuring victory after victory. He did this most famously as the 4-by-400 team won the Section II state qualifiers at Johnstown's Knox field in record-breaking fashion. This is where the "ride" began.

Within hours after the state qualifiers, boys head coach Kevin Wilary realized the relay had hit the qualifying standard for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. He figured as long as we are taking Izaiah, why not also the rest of the relay. Excitedly, he called me and informed me he had already talked to the boys and their families and they were on board and pumped up. All we had to do was raise the money to send them -- about $3,000 to $4,000 -- in 10 days. I replied fantastic, but thought ... how are we going to do this? That's where our community stepped in. We all know it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it took our city to send the boys to nationals.

Kevin arranged an impromptu meeting with our ever-ready booster club. That's when we decided to make the entire community our "booster club." Initially, we reached out to businesses, both big and small. They pitched in. Then a multitude of civic organizations and local running clubs -- the answer was yes. Every school in our district had "blue jean Friday" fundraisers that collectively raised hundreds of dollars. A local eatery pitched in a huge portion of a night's proceeds to help the cause. The city of Amsterdam used Facebook, while the Greater Amsterdam School District used their webpage to get our message out. Local and Capital District media outlets interviewed and publicized us and private donations began rolling in. Not only did we meet our goal, but now have a modest "nest egg" for future trips to the nationals.

Coaches Kevin Wilary and Jaime Julia accompanied the boys to Greensboro for the big events. A huge crowd of family, friends, teammates and coaches watched the team run on the big screens at the local Recovery Room Sports Grill who streamed the event live. The crowd wildly cheered as Izaiah placed ninth in the 400 meters and the relay 10th. Everyone was excited and proud.

As I reflect upon the outdoor season and our great finish I could not be more proud to be an Amsterdamian, born and raised. All of our kids were great, and the next generation of Amsterdam track stars is already excited. The families and friends of our athletes were awesome supporters. The booster club -- unbelievable. The teachers, administrators and board of education of the GASD were truly there for us, every step of the way. The entire program coaching staff: Kevin Wilary, Jaime Julia, Joe Hart, John Decker, Stu Palczak, Maura Dargush, Tony DeLuca, Mandy Davey, Nancy Spagnola, Lauren Tegnander -- all played a pivotal role in the success of our athletes. Finally, the community. They did what Amsterdam does best -- made it happen for our kids. We are really looking forward to next spring.

Greg Knack,


Benefit walk was a success

To the editor:

On behalf of the Sons of the American Legion Post 701 in Amsterdam, we would like to thank all the participants, sponsors and workers, who made our annual benefit walk and chicken bake which was held on Saturday, Sept. 17, a great success. This year the proceeds went to the national emergency fund and operation comfort warriors, just two of the many projects the American Legion is involved in and dedicated to support.

Thanks to Russo's, Bosco's, Irish American Club, PAV and Post 701. Every year they are always committed to sponsor this event for our veterans. The American Legion is a great organization dedicated to serving its veterans, community, children and youth sports. Next time you see a veteran, retired or active duty, just say thank you and they will know what you mean. God bless America and our veterans. And, as always, for God and our country.

Sons of American Legion Post 701:

Sons Commander Tom Fennhahn,

Vice Commander/Chairman Mark Lavigna,

Adjutant Mike Blankenbaker,


Festival of Trees looking for talent

To the editor:

The GFWC Century Club of Amsterdam will be hosting the 22nd annual Festival of Trees beginning Saturday, Nov. 30. This year's theme is "Home for the Holidays." We would like to have past decorators and sponsors join us in decorating our home and hosting this event. We are in need of artists, crafters, tree and wreath decorators.

We are looking for local talent for our tribute to our military personnel and honored veterans by creating our very own old fashioned "Century Club USO Tour." If you dance, sing, play an instrument, or are a comedian, etc., please contact me. Get in on the fun and support our troops. A portion of the proceeds from this special show will be sent to the USO for their many programs for our troops and their families. Let's show them how much we appreciate their service to us.

If, anyone is interested, please call Kim at 853-4733. We need your help.

Kim Rogers,