Letters to the Editor

All fired up in Fonda

To the editor:

I would like to enlighten the village residents and general public about several issues between the village of Fonda and the Fonda Fire Dept. I am a member of the fire department and am very disappointed with the village of Fonda for several reasons.

For starters, the village of Fonda owns a large property on Park Street that has been used by the fire department to park cars on Saturday night during Fonda Speedway season and fair week for decades. In the past year, the mayor, Bill Peeler, proposed a mandated increase in the amount "charged" by the fire department for each vehicle parked. The price has increased from $3 to $4. As a part of the increase, the village of Fonda is now taking $1 of every $4, or 25 percent of the money collected. It is very disheartening that money that is viewed as a donation to the local fire department but is instead going to pay bills at the village.

A second issue would be the village of Fonda's dated equipment and the village board's complete disregard for personal safety. The fire department has on several occasions requested to have the fire engine's pump serviced due to a significant water leak. Also requested was for all hoses and ladders to be safety tested and certified in compliance with state laws. On two separate occasions, the village has denied the approval of the work which is upsetting. This has now become a safety issue due to the fire engine's pump leaking several gallons of water a day onto the firehouse floor from its water tank, as well as a leak in the air brakes on the truck requiring it to run for several minutes before it is pressurized and able to move safely. These are major concerns being that it is the one and only fire engine the village has. New York requires all ladders and hoses safety tested and certified annually. In the history of the village, this has never been done. All repairs and testing cost had been estimated at well under $5,000. The village cries poverty and states that they do not have the money in the budget to maintain the fire equipment.

Instead of recognizing these issues that have been brought to them and taking it seriously, the village instead has decided to spend $30,000 on building renovations, and an unknown amount, most likely another $30,000, on a brand new DPW pickup truck and snowplow. The fire department's engine is a 1992 model year, as is the rescue truck. Both trucks could use updating and possible replacement, but are pushed aside year after year for other village projects.

Every year the fire department is given a very small budget, about $5,000 for 2012, for spending money. This year, the amount seems even less due to replacing tires on the fire engine which cost over $3,000. This couldn't have been put off any longer due to the tires on the fire engine being dry-rotted and starting to fall apart. While it was good to see that situation get addressed, there are still many remaining safety issues.

All I can say at this point is that morale around the fire house is at a record low. We volunteer hundreds of hours a year to help our community without the smallest thank you from the village of Fonda board. The village of Fonda has been taking advantage of the Fonda fire department for far too long. At some point in the future, this will have to change. Whether the department falls apart, or the state shuts it down for safety concerns, someone will still be paying for fire protection. I wish I could say that we will still be here by this time next year, but at this rate, I can't see this working out past the end of this year. Fonda fire department has existed as Snell Hose Co. No. 1 since 1895, and it would be a shame if it all falls apart under Mayor Peeler's reign.

John Maher,


Roll up your sleeves

To the editor:

Saturday, Sept. 22, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. Since this observance of America's outdoor sportsmen and women took place last year their images have been consistently beaten up by an intense, offensive public relations campaign anti-hunting, anti-gun ownership advocates conduct on a 24-7 schedule, year in and year out.

Are they achieving any successes? In many respects the answer has to be yes, because the anti- advocates' leadership realizes the support they must assemble lies throughout the nation's grass roots communities; voters and their respective governmental bodies at the municipal, county, state and federal levels.

While 2012 is indeed a highly important election year, the 2016 presidential election will eventually arrive and in the months preceding that event, Hillary Rodham Clinton will once again become the major attraction on the national political scene.

So as the truly dedicated American outdoor sportsmen and women deservedly enjoy their day of recognition, every one of them should also realize it's time for them to roll up their sleeves and get to work 24-7 over the next four years to protect the sport of hunting and fishing from becoming completely destroyed.

Anthony Biscotti,