Letters to the Editor

City budget season has arrived

To the editor:

Well, you can tell it's Spring because the city of Amsterdam budget hearings have begun and once again it appears the disabled retirees from the police and fire departments may lose their health insurance benefits unless the Common Council does the right thing.

How can this happen when employees at city hall are getting pay raises of 100 to 110 percent? As many of you know, I was injured in the line of duty while working as a police sergeant with the police department and as a result I am totally disabled. I did not ask to be disabled.

For the Common Council to approve astronomical pay raises while leaving disabled retirees without health insurance is sending a message to all current city employees: If you have health insurance now and become disabled while on the job, you can count on the city of Amsterdam at some time in the future to forget about your sacrifice of your health through no fault of your own and drop your health benefits.

As a police officer I protected the safety of the very same people who now would take away my health benefits when I need them the most. Surely, this is wrong.

I urge everyone to call their alderperson and tell them to protect the disabled retirees who gave not just years of service but their health as well.

Joseph M. Isabel, 1st Ward alderperson, 684-6260; Valerie Beekman, 2nd Ward alderwoman, 842-1430; Gina DeRossi, 3rd Ward alderwoman, 842-5697; David J. Dybas, 4th Ward alderman, 842-5865; Richard Leggiero, 5th Ward alderman, city hall 843-0808.

Rich Iwanski, Amsterdam

Avoid the dangers of alcohol

To the editor:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration declares April as Alcohol Awareness Month every year.

Alcohol Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of alcohol abuse and to encourage people to make healthy and safe choices. Alcohol is the number-one drug problem in the United States.

Locally, we are saddened every year by deaths in crashes of cars, snowmobiles, ATVs, motorcycles, and boats caused by drunk drivers. We are so fortunate to live in a beautiful area where outdoor sports are so easy to enjoy. How unfortunate it is to have these exciting sports tarnished by unnecessary, totally preventable tragedies due to drinking and driving.

The solution is so simple: If you are going to drink, don't drive your car, your motorcycle, your snowmobile, your boat, or your ATV.

Please remember that alcohol and the safe operation of any motorized vehicle don't mix. Let's enjoy a happy and tragedy-free summer sporting season and a tragedy-free snowmobiling season next year.

If you or a loved one would like more information or help for a problem with alcohol, please call the H-F-M Prevention Council at 736-8188 or the New York state 24 hour hopeline at (877) 8-HOPENY.

Ann Brennan Rhodes,