Letters to the Editor

Toys for Tots a success

To the editor:

Now that another Christmas has come and gone, we begin a new year and I want to say thanks to all for helping to make the 2012 U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Campaign a success. During a time when many of us were experiencing a difficult financial time, you dug down deep and gave to the children. And whether it was a single toy dropped in one of our collection boxes, a toy or fund-raiser you may have conducted or the monetary donation you gave, you enabled us to accomplish our mission. The people of Fulton and Montgomery counties came through again to help and provide some happiness to the children in need.

At the beginning of the season I wasn't sure how we would do in supplying the toys we needed. We had the demand but not all the toys we needed. As the season progressed we ended up collecting more than 1,600 toys and over $5,000 in cash donations. We had over 60 areas where our Toys for Tots collection boxes were located. Along with what we had left over from last year, we were able to complete our mission. This year we distributed more than 3,700 toys to over 1,580 local children. The number of children was a combination from 10 non-profit service organizations and 376 families. The toys were distributed over a two-day period at the former Jansen Avenue School in Johnstown and through the service organizations. It was a busy time but a fulfilling time. And as a reminder, all donations received in our two county areas stayed in our area.

In giving thanks, I have to make sure that I acknowledge the following: first and foremost all the local businesses, organizations and private citizens of Fulton and Montgomery counties; the Johnstown School Board for allowing us to use the Jansen Avenue School to run our program, and its custodial staff who couldn't do enough for me; the businesses that conducted the "Buy a Choo Choo" fund-raisers; the local media outlets that supported us; and my volunteers. They are the ones who picked up the toys, signed up the families, packed and distributed the toys. I couldn't have done anything without them. These volunteers consisted of members of Adirondack Detachment 787 Marine Corps League, who sponsor the campaign, the league's ladies auxiliary, family members and some very good friends. And last but not least, my wife Mary. She's my shopper and volunteer getter and the one who reminds me when things get crazy that it's "all for the kids."

Plans are already getting under way for the 2013 campaign. We plan on doing some additional fund raising events and will need your help. So if you would like to know more about our program, please visit the Toys for Tots website at www.toysfortots.org. Under the "Request a Toy" banner, select "State" then "Fulton or Montgomery." This will bring you to our personal page which will give you more information and also show you who supported us in better detail. Again, a tip of my Marine Corps cover to all. Job well done. Semper Fi.

John Pradelski,

Toys for Tots coordinator,

Fulton/Montgomery counties

The best care anywhere

To the editor:

Very often a truly beneficial service is made available to us all on a daily basis and its obvious value is unintentionally overlooked even though it's actually quite visible.

St. Mary's Hospital healthcare outpatient sector is an outstanding example of a carefully regimented program that's been meticulously geared to fully meet the needs of the entire community, from the time an initial appointment is made, through processing of paperwork, to obtaining the specific medical needs required, skillful, courteous compassionate staff members see to it that a visitor, at all times, is comfortable, at ease and is fully aware of exactly what has to be done medically.

It's very difficult to believe that anyone in attendance could not sense the truly warm, caring, family-type environment that has been created within the facility.

To simply say a job well done is not enough. Exceptionally excellent outstanding performances by every participating staff member and medical adviser is definitely a more accurate assessment to make.

Anthony Biscotti,


For the health of it

To the editor:

Project ACTION Tobacco-Free Coalition in Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties educates community leaders and the community about the benefits of tobacco-free recreational areas. Project ACTION educates about the environmental impact of tobacco litter and the dangers of secondhand smoke.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified secondhand smoke as a Class A carcinogen, placing it in the same category as radon, benzene, and asbestos. Cigarette litter is poisonous, putting children, pets and wildlife at risk, and secondhand smoke exposure is hazardous to your health. Discarded cigarette butts are the most common form of litter and studies show they are toxic, slow to decompose, and costly to remove. Children or animals routinely pick up cigarette butts and try to place them in their mouths, thus exposing them to many diseases.

The American Poison Control reports that over 5,400 children were poisoned by the ingestion of cigarette butts in 2008. Project ACTION provides samples policies, signage and assistance in creating outdoor tobacco use policies. Tobacco-free policies help prevent youth tobacco use by showing adults as tobacco-free role models throughout the community.

Currently in our area, some municipalities and business have taken the initiative to make their parks, playgrounds, entryways or their grounds tobacco-free for the health of their employees and visitors. If you are interested or would like more information please visit www.TobaccoFreeNYS.org or www.projectactionhfm.org.

Sue Arminio,