Letters to the editor

Rec program great for the kids

To the editor:

I would like to take the time to thank the Wishful Thinking organization and recreation department for putting together the recreational basketball league. I went to my nephew's games and was impressed with what this league accomplished for the kids and young adults of Amsterdam.

I watched as they learned from the first game to the last game to interact with each other, work as a team, and take the time to give encouragement to their teammates. Respect was shown to all players, coaches and refs, and that comes from good positive coaching. I heard coaches gave rides to players so they would not miss a game (thank you).

I felt I needed to express the importance of programs like this for the young of Amsterdam, so I wanted to take the time to thank Wishful Thinking, recreation department, the coaches, the refs and all that were involved, for putting this program together.

I look forward to next year to watch the basketball games again.

Lynn Krutz,


Too much wasteful spending

To the editor:

Here we go again, with the city's financial status the mayor goes out and hires a private attorney.

The people of the city of Amsterdam are now going to have to pay additional money to support the mayor's fight against our own golf course. It is to my knowledge that we already pay a city attorney. What gives the mayor this right to spend taxpayers' money on her personal vendetta?

It is time that the people of Amsterdam start watching what going on in city hall. We have been mislead for the six years and if we don't start asking questions and getting involved it will be irreversible.

Mayor, you are paid by the people and you have an obligation to serve all of them, not just your political party.

You are making the city of Amsterdam the laughing stock of the Capital District.

But since you don't golf and probably know nothing about managing a golf course, you think that this fiasco can continue on forever.

The golf season starts on the last day of play after closing. I think we are a little late.

There are tournaments, leagues and outings that have to be booked, but because of you and only you this has not happened yet.

Mayor you need to stop the nonsense. We need to get down to work on the course. The season opens April 15.

I hope this sinks in. The golf ball is in your hand.

Don Zarecki,


Familiar names and tall tales

To the editor:

Do any of you folks remember Tinka Cody? She and her two brothers, Bill and John, lived in a large concrete structure on Division Street, just past the Pilgrim Holiness Church. How about John Whelan? Our sixth-grade teacher was Mrs. Conelly. She had a son named Eddie, who played basketball and baseball for Alex Isabel. If memory serves me, she had two brothers who were on the staff of SMI on Forbes Street, Bill Golden and Cy Golden. Cy was the basketball coach between Alex Isabel and Dutch Howlan. He was a very sharp dresser and was exceptionally good looking. He was no Jim Sheridan, but then, who was?

As I try to recall the really "classy" people, I remember Raymond Olbrych. He had a brother named Joey and he married a woman named Bernadine Pisano. As I recall, she had a beautiful voice and sang solos at many church functions. Eddie Conelley played in the same era as Bill Seward, the Fabozzi brothers, Tony and Richie, and my all-time favorite Ralph Fedullo. I can remember Ralph cutting my hair on Church Street, downstairs from Hayes and Wormuth Insurance Co. If you didn't like Ralph, there was something wrong with your body chemistry.

I haven't had time to verify the following: It seems that there was a man who lived off of upper Market Street. He was retired from GE and his wife had passed away. They had two children who had married and moved to another part of town. He was 67 years old and lived alone in a very nice house, but he was depressed, and had nothing to break up his day. On the advice of a neighbor, he went to the Schenectady SPCA in hopes of acquiring a pet. As luck would have it, a family who was relocating to a house where no pets were allowed, were forced to turn three beagle puppies over to the shelter. The man took a liking to the smallest of the three, filled out the adoption papers, paid the fee and took it home. He was surprised to see how quickly he bonded with the dog. They ate together, slept together and everywhere he went, on the front seat of the pick up was the beagle. This went on for eight months and then, sadly, the greatest tragedy that could befall a pet owner occurred. One Saturday morning they went grocery shopping. When they got home, as the man was bringing the groceries into the kitchen, he left the door open. The beagle ran out into the street, was hit by a vehicle, and killed.

The owner had a difficult time accepting this. He placed the beagle in the front seat of his pickup and took it to a vet, who shall remain nameless. At the vet's, the owner placed the beagle on the examination table, crying profusely. He said to the vet "Doctor, please tell me what's wrong with this animal. To me he is not an animal but an extended member of my family." The doctor examined the dog and said "I'm sorry, but for one thing, she's dead." The man said "I refuse to accept that. I would like a second opinion." The doctor went to a row of cages and released a black labrador retriever who jumped up on the table and bit the beagle's tail. No response, no movement. The doctor said, "OK?" The man replied, "I'd like something a little more conclusive. The doctor returned the labrador to his cage and released a cat from another cage. The cat smelled the beagle, up one side and down the other, and then jumped back into her cage. The doctor said, "all right?" The owner stopped crying and said, "I'm very sorry I bothered you but this dog was very important to me. What do I owe you, doctor?"

The doctor went to his calculator and he said "$640." The man's jaw dropped: "$640.00 -- for what?" The vet replied "I'm sorry sir but you're the one who wanted the lab work and the cat scan."

The lady at the SPCA told me that this dog had two sisters, and as soon as she found out what happened with the other adoptions, she would call me.

James Sheridan,


Seniors present the best solutions

To the editor:

The "can-do network" is a low-key totally volunteer information distribution initiative that has direct outreach links to senior citizen centers throughout most of the nation and is currently inviting New York state-based senior centers to join in.

There are absolutely no costs to an organization to obtain the pro-active information that's available which will help the seniors remain involved, like they always have been, over numerous past decades where they utilized their individual skills, common sense, values, experiences and steadfast determined willingness to keep intact the existing cities, towns, villages they successfully and collectively created.

Whether the issues at hand involve education, economic development, responsible elective governmental leadership, health crime, politics, etc., senior citizens most often can present the best solutions that are needed.

Also, despite their advanced years and whatever infirmities they may face, you will always find a respectful number of seniors first and foremost ready to do what they can in giving back to the community what is lacking.

In the upcoming election year cycles of 2014 and 2016, expect to hear, loud and clear, senior citizens' voices rising up from just about everywhere offering their views, opinions and votes, shaped by the flames generated from the forges of living long, productive, decent lives.

Anthony Biscotti,


Take the path to better health

To the editor:

Records indicate that in 1789 a New York daily paper had the first tobacco advertisement. Marketing has come a long way since then. Or has it?

Full-page color advertisements, slogans, celebrity endorsements, and of course, big money (estimated to be $1 million each day) have been added to the marketing campaigns through not years, but centuries.

Have you noticed the bright signs and packaging, cigarettes noted for their "flavor" or looking more like candy than the candy cigarettes of the '50s, the eye level of the ads that are so prominent? Your kids, grandkids, students have. After all, they are the ones the ads are geared to. How would New York state gain 22,500 smokers each year with 31.6 cigarette packs bought (is the carding being overlooked?) or smoked by the children of this state?

Perhaps, our youth (and adults) will give more attention to the decision that CVS has recently chosen, declared by Larry J. Merlo, CEO: "Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose." What an advertising point CVS has made in that one sentence followed by their direct action.

A path to better health sounds like a good road to take at any age.

MaryAnn Louison,


How to spot an addiction

To the editor:

Empirical studies report that the costs on society of one pathological gambler is about $9,000 per year as noted in "The Hidden Social Costs of Gambling" by Earl L. Grinols of Baylor University.

To those who play gambling games, please do it responsibly by following these suggestions:

Think of the money you lose as the cost of your entertainment. Consider any money you win a bonus.

Set a dollar limit and stick to it.

Set a time limit and stick to it. Leave when you reach your limit, whether you're winning or losing.

Understand that you'll probably lose, and accept the loss as part of the game.

Don't borrow money to gamble.

Don't let gambling interfere with or become a substitute for family, friends or work. It is not a way to earn money.

Don't chase losses. Chances are you'll lose even more trying to recoup your losses.

Don't use gambling as a way to cope with your problems.

Watch for warning signs of a gambling problem or addiction:

Increased time spent engaged in gambling activities;

Decrease in previously enjoyed activities;

Primary interest is in gambling related activities;

Increase in anxiety and depression;

Problems at home or with friends;

Financial difficulties despite regular income;

Selling possessions to finance gambling activities;

Exaggerated display of money or other material possessions;

Daily or weekly card game;

Bragging about winning at gambling;

Intense interest in gambling conversations;

Unaccountable explanation for new items of value in possession;

If playing the game isn't fun anymore, call for help.

National Problem Gambling HelpLine: (800) 522-4700, 24/7, free and confidential.

More information can be found at: www.knowtheodds.org and www.hfmpreventioncouncil.com.

Dorean Page,

Lake Pleasant