The [var SITENAME] [var SITEURL]/ [var SITENAME] en-us Copyright 2016 McClary Media, Inc. (Dave Warner) Letters to the Editor Removed but not replaced To the editor: A couple of weeks ago I was sitting on the bench near the exit at Hannaford when my agent T. McDermott stopped by to visit. Yes, it was the same guy who was with me 76 years ago when I sustained a fractured scull after being struck by a truck driven by a relative of Florence Allen. More on Florence Allen later. T. explained to me that there were a group of people from SMI when it was located on Forbes Street who met once a month for a luncheon at different local restaurants. The previous month they met at CP's in Hagaman. This month they were going to Shorty Persico's. I didn't want to go for two reasons. I have been cooking at Mount Snow and Pork Beach and all over New Hampshire for 40 odd years. When I eat out I project a negative image. I always look for flaws. The other reason I don't eat out is because I married the greatest cook on this planet. I have had 61 years of perfect meals. I retired several years ago and my wife, who is 83 years old, will not let me near the kitchen. She claims I would mess up a one car funeral. She makes pie crust to die for. My pie crust, well, you can have your driveway done with my pie crust. She makes doughnuts that are light and fluffy. My doughnuts, on the other hand, are not Dunkin Donuts. You have to soak them overnight to get them soft. In 40 years of being a head cook, the only thing I have acquired is a cemetery of satisfied customers. Against my better judgment, I decided to go to Shorty's. I use a walker to get around and when we got there I took two steps inside the door and I thought I was in an ICU unit at St. Mary's Hospital. The place was spotless. You could smell how hygienically clean it was. It was noon and the sun shined through the windows. When it fell on anything metallic it sparkled. So much for bad mouthing the ambiance of the place. I was seated at a table with five women; two of them, I knew. Mrs. Bryant, Jeff's mother, and Mary Ann Riley. We were given menus and they were a thing of beauty. They were laminated, very clear print, and enough items on there to satisfy anyone. It seems like everyone ordered reubens. I spotted a pulled pork sandwich on a bulky roll with french fries and an ice tea. I looked at the price -- it was under $10. I've been doing this work all my life. I wondered how the people could extract a nominal profit at such a moderate price. Surely, something must be going on in the kitchen. Let me tell you about this sandwich. The french fries were perfect. The sandwich was even better. There was not a nickel's worth of fat. It was all lean. What upset me most of all, it was served in a marinade I knew I could not duplicate. You just smell this and it tickles the roof of your mouth. It made me want to eat the plate and all. So much for bad mouthing the product. The only thing for me to attack now are the waitresses. Like most old timers, or hard-headed people, they have tunnel vision. I think the only really good waitresses are the ones between the ages of 35 and 50. They are the ones who make sure salt and pepper shakers and sugar bowls are full, the napkin dispensers are full and there is a bottle of ketchup and a container of Parmesan cheese on the table. Now I learned why they put erasers on pencils. People make mistakes. These girls were not only drop-dead gorgeous but they were no where near 35. They were courteous, polite and knowledgeable in every phase of this meal. There's nothing wrong with being a jerk if you know you're a jerk. The bad part is being a jerk and thinking you know it all. If I had to rate this restaurant in its entirety on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, I would give them a 7. I have never been there before but this warrants a repeat. I had two emotions when I left. One was on the inside of the building and one on the outside when I left. The one on the inside came when I asked for the check and I found that T. McDermott had picked it up. That was a very philanthropic move. But this guy had an angle. I knew when we got in the car to come home he would turn around and say very quietly to me "Don't go looking for anything on the 25th of December, this is it." I got warm all over. And the outside I found that he had parked the car in front of what used to be Pepe's Bakery. I shed a couple of tears when I thought about Sunday mornings. Warm Italian bread and a dozen dinner rolls and 105 years of being. I said a quiet prayer and I looked up at Heaven and I said very quietly, "Ralph, you broke a lot of hearts when you put that last key into the door. You have been removed, but you will never be replaced. Your pal, Gym." James Sheridan, Amsterdam Thank you, thank you, thank you To the editor: This is a public thank you to the town of Florida youth commission for the beautiful ceremony that was held at the Sajdak ballfield in Minaville Saturday, June 29. In 2006 the field was named after my late husband Ed. It was a great tribute to a man who was very involved for 32 years as a councilman in the town, and served many years on the youth commission. He loved working with the young people in the town. With regret he finally had to give up what he loved doing, due to health problems. They rededicated the field to him on Saturday. Now that he has gone with the angels, with no more pain, we are sure he is playing his beloved softball in Heaven. His children, grandchildren and I would like to sincerely thank the members of the youth commission and anyone else involved for taking time out of their lives and families to plan such a special day for Ed and us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are sure he was looking down on us all at his field saying with a smile, "What's all the fuss about? Just play ball." Joan Sajdak and family, Town of Florida Flag table was a special gift To the editor: It was brought to our attention that a letter was written to the Leader-Herald in regards to an American flag picnic table. We will personally be receiving that picnic table, custom made in honor of our son Bobby Bower who died suddenly June 10 while home on leave from the U.S. Navy. This was a special one-time-only gift made for our son by a Vietnam vet. We are a very patriotic family and we're proud to display this beautiful table at our lake home. Everyone is welcome to stop in and view this gorgeous patriotic gift from our great friends. Desecrate? No way. Appreciate? Absolutely. Proud to be Americans. Patty and Mike Bower, Amsterdam The salt of the earth pitching in To the editor: While the politicians fly in for their photo-ops and talks with the locals in Fort Plain, it is the Amish, who left their work and fields, to come, with their straw hats and blue shirts, to help their neighbors in need. Hats off to this wonderful group of people, who are truly the salt of the earth. Jane Slezak, Amsterdam Saturday, July 06, 2013 Letter to the Editor Learning to tickle the ivories To the editor: This past Sunday, June 30, at 3:30 p.m. I attended a vocal and piano recital at the Inman Center as a participant and spectator under the direction of Marigay Nelson Harkins. Last year, as a spectator only, I was greatly and pleasantly surprised by the musical abilities of these great young people. Their progress, one year later, was far greater than could be expected. And, the afternoon was greatly enhanced when said director herself rendered several vocal numbers, magnificently. My effort at the piano was received politely. My reason for writing is to make us all aware of the great asset and treasure we have in this finest of teachers and her very talented students. As a student, victim, beneficiary and friend of the above, I am, Louis A. Dybas Sr., Amsterdam Friday, July 05, 2013 Letters to the Editor Thank you, Amsterdam To the editor: On behalf of the Historic Amsterdam League (HAL) I would like to thank everyone that supported our recent "West End Story" tours. The public response, despite the early June heat and humidity, was most gratifying, and HAL is pleased and honored to have had the opportunity to relate a portion of Amsterdam's story to you. In 2011, the Historic Amsterdam League instituted a program of free annual tours as a gift and public service to the residents and guests of the city. These tours were conceived as a means of highlighting specific areas of Amsterdam and aspects of its history and culture in order to promote a better understanding of and appreciation for what our city once was, the path which led it to today, and what this city can become tomorrow with the commitment and support of her people. That first tour, the "Heart of Amsterdam," covered the Church Street corridor. "Amsterdam's South Side" was the subject of the 2012 tours, and the city's West End was addressed this year. Planning for and selection of the subject of the 2014 tour has already begun, so mark June 7 on your calendar now and plan to join us for next year's tour. The presentation of the Historic Amsterdam League tours is only made possible by the hard work, dedication and support of very special people and groups that deserve everyone's recognition and thanks: * Our HAL members and friends that plan the tours, provide the work force, and handle the hundreds of details required to keep things running smoothly. * Our sponsors who remain quietly in the background but are always there whenever we call upon them. Special thanks for making this year's tour possible go out to Liberty Enterprises, St. Mary's Healthcare, Tailwind Associates, West End Wine & Liquor, Stewart's, SEFCU, Hannaford, Price Chopper, and the Century Club. * You, the HAL supporters who buy our booklets and postcards and calendars, and attend our events -- thereby supporting HAL's efforts to provide a voice on behalf of the history and heritage, and future, of our city. Thank you. Gerald R. (Jerry) Snyder, Amsterdam The writer is president of the Historic Amsterdam League. Pay attention to bicyclists To the editor: As a cyclist, I am outraged at the death of Ed Lakata; it was a senseless accident and could have been avoided. In Article 25 of the NY Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1122-a -- overtaking a bicycle -- it states: "The operator of a vehicle overtaking from behind a bicycle proceeding on the same side of a roadway shall pass to the left of such bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear thereof." According to the Gazette, Sheriff Lorey says they investigated the crash and claimed "the accident happened very near the white line," which begs me to ask -- did the driver give Ed a safe distance and move over? Did anyone check the driver's cell phone to see if he was using it, or was he tested for any drug use? I can't begin to count the cars, trucks and even police vehicles that don't move over at all when I'm out riding, even when there is no traffic coming from the opposite direction. As cyclists, we do our best to stay to the right of the fog line but many shoulders are dangerous to ride and we are forced to ride on or inside the fog line. In a traffic safety guide produced by the NYS Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, it says, "The motorist must always remember that bicyclists and in-line skaters have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles, and motorists are required to exercise "due care" to avoid colliding with bicyclists and in-line skaters. As a safety measure, motorists should make scanning for bicyclists and in-line skaters second nature, and give them plenty of clearance when passing them and the right-of-way when appropriate." There are too many unanswered questions regarding this accident and I hope they will reopen the investigation. In the meantime, please people, pay better attention to the "other" users of our roadways. Jeri Lynn Bursese, Tribes Hill Friday, October 24, 2014 Letters to the Editor The roles of men and women To the editor: Once again, former President Jimmy Carter, in an interview for a magazine nobody reads, proved his ignorance of Catholic doctrine and thus made a fool of himself in trying to dictate to the church. Carter said that the failure of the Catholic church to ordain women is a human rights abuse. The last time I checked, there are no Eastern Orthodox priestesses, Islamic female imams, female Buddhist monks, and in some Jewish groups, no women rabbis, so I wonder why he singled out the Catholic church? Simply put, Christ could have ordained any of his women disciples -- including his own mother -- but He did not, and the Catholic church is following His example. Ordination to the priesthood is not a natural right, not even for a man. It is a divine gift and a spiritual calling. By his remarks, Carter shows he doesn't understand the sacramental nature or reality of the priesthood. As a Baptist, he rejects the identification of the ordained man with the high priesthood of Jesus Christ. Priests are not the same as ministers. Women will never be priests. So just where are they in the church? They can be found as pastoral associates, chancellors, office managers, directors of religious education and catechists, music directors, readers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, religious sisters, lay missionaries, principals and teachers, and the greatest vocation of all, as mothers. The Catholic church teaches that men and women are coheirs in grace and equal in dignity. But men and women are not the same. The church's affirmation that God has a meaning and purpose in the way He created us is a voice of reason and of sanity. His plan for the roles of men in women in marriage, as well as the priesthood, offer us confused people a compass point of truth. Deborah Humphreys, Amsterdam Acoustic party was a hoot To the editor: Let me start by saying thank you for all your support in the acoustic coffee house. In these times when everybody is looking for some good clean fun at a good price, the acoustic coffee house was able to provide that fun with many thanks to you and your newspaper. I send this letter to thank everybody involved with the acoustic coffee house's fifth annual all free Party in the Perk Summer Special Open Mic. Thank you again for tremendous support over the last four years and for all your help bringing communities together on June 22, 2013, for an incredible day of fun, free live music and free food and beverages, the ACH could not of done any of this without your support. On a beautiful, sunny Saturday, June 22, 2013, temps in the low 80s with a slight breeze, from 4 to 9 p.m. and for absolutely no charge to the audience, the acoustic coffee house held its fifth annual all free Party in the Perk Summer Special Open Mic at the George P. Snyder Park in Fultonville, sponsored by the Fultonville United Methodist Church. With over 200 people in attendance for over three hours, and 300 different people in total for the five hours, who stopped in at the Fultonville Park enjoying the 25 performances by 30 performers (with two new first-timers to the ACH stage), that were just absolutely magnificent. The audience enjoyed hot dogs, salads, fresh fruit, chips, beverages, ice cream cones, a port-a-john and chairs to sit on thanks to Gloversville Wal-Mart, Hannaford, Price Choppers, Stewart's, McDonald's, NBT Bank, Fultonville Reformed Church, the Fonda Lion's Club, Wemple & Edicks, the Fonda Library, local radio as well as daily and weekly newspapers for helping publicize the show. Special thanks to the Fultonville United Methodist Church for all their support helping it be a perfect day. Thanks to the village of Fultonville for the park, basketball and floaters was played throughout the day as well as the park equipment and swings being used along with the fenced in area for the real little kids to play, remaining safe while being watched by their parents who still could enjoy the live music. Pip Squeaks the Clown entertained children and adults alike with his antics, party games and juggling along with artistic face painter Cathy Carpenter were busy almost the whole event. The day was blessed by God with only a two-minute span of very few rain drops, giving us some perfect weather for a free outdoor picnic with live music, and plenty of shade by 10 canapes provided by the Fultonville United Methodist Church and friends alike, the 8-by-18-foot covered stage provided by Howard and Wenda Bellinger and the County Line Rebels band, and the row of trees that were more than enough to keep anybody out of the sun and in a shady cool area (if that's what they wanted), while still being able to enjoy the show. I love you all and I wouldn't know where we would be without you. Thank you and God bless all of you. Tom Staudle, Fultonville Big Brother is watching To the editor: I give Congressman Chris Gibson a lot of credit for standing up against these late-term abortions (murder). I only wish the Catholic clergy would start getting more vocal. As far as equal rights are concerned, I am all for them, but don't make murder a part of them. Big brother is already telling you Mr. Swartz, that you can't smoke, must have insurance, but now you want them to condone murder? Tessie Haberek, Amsterdam Tuesday, July 02, 2013 Letters to the Editor Sign Pulse Ox bill into law To the editor: The state Legislature passed an excellent bill this session that will save the lives of newborns: The Pulse Ox Bill. This bill only needs Gov. Cuomo's signature to put it into law. Such a law would make sure that every newborn receives a pulse oximetry test -- a simple, non-invasive test which measures the level of oxygen in a baby's bloodstream. A low oxygen level could be an indication of a congenital heart defect, the No. 1 birth defect. One in 100 children is born with a congenital heart defect. Our son Colton is one of those children. We brought him home from the hospital thinking he was perfectly healthy. At his one-week well-baby checkup, he began to turn blue and was rushed to the emergency room. Today, he's a happy and healthy 23-month old -- who has had two out of three open heart surgeries to repair his congenital heart defect -- but what if he had turned blue in the night? What if we had been far from an emergency room? Our son might not have survived. Pulse oximetry will help to detect these defects before such traumatic events can happen. I am glad to have joined the American Heart Association and other families at the New York Capitol recently to urge the New York Senate to pass the bill. Our children wore their red "Heart Hero" capes while petitioning for the passage of this law, and I can only hope that soon we are putting those capes back on our children to join Gov. Cuomo as he signs the Pulse Ox bill into law. Every day without this law enacted means another life lost. Melissa Berlin, Gloversville Fond memories of Mount Loretto To the editor: When it became apparent that I could not make ends meet on social security, I applied for and was accepted as a dietary aide at Mount Loretto. The head honcho at Mount Loretto was Sister Patricia Ann Corbett. She set the bar so high you could not attain it, but in attempting to, you exceeded your highest goals. There was no odor of urine or feces in the old building where we had 80 residents. It was here that I heard my favorite two-word sentence at least 40 times a day. Those words were "thank you." At last I had an identity. I was functional and I started to get a very large ego. You not only bring the trays up, but you watched the Certified Nursing Aides (CNAs) change diapers and rearrange bedding. When these people (the residents) were having a bad day, you could share a Bible verse, along with compassion and give as much love as you could. These folks are not residents and they are not patients. They are extended members of your own family. Before you go to bed at night, you wonder what you can do to make life a little more pleasant for them. That is the up side. The down side is that you become so attached that with their passing you wind up with a wet pillow. Certain people you count on seeing every day and when they are gone it creates a vacuum. The help all seems to harbor the same ambition. We had people with a work ethic you wouldn't believe. They gave us 60 minutes to the hour. The dietary staff was headed by Kathy Williams whose husband Bob ran maintenance, Sally Kreczunas, Shirley Semeyone, Kevin Hitchcock, Daila Sandford, Marcy Korona, Stanley Kwiatkowski, Lynn Kubas, Flo Hartman and Sammy Semeyone. Flo was the night supervisor, and at the age of 85, was either swinging a mop or running a dish machine. Sammy was a "go to" guy if you wanted anything done. Sammy and Flo left us far too early. My two all-time favorites were Joanne Biggi and her son Joey Angelo. You had people in the laundry like Paula Hassfurter and in housekeeping Phyllis Mose and Rose LaGrange, who had a daughter who should have been in Hollywood. You will notice that I am a name dropper. You may do all the digging that you care to, but, there isn't a lemon in the lot. I was very pleased to acquire recognition, and while we didn't make a lot of money, I think back and you know -- money isn't everything. After all, a man with $4 million is just as happy as a man with $8 million. You just have to have a positive outlook and love what you're doing. Your attitude must be above reproach. There was a man connected of treason in Cuba and sentenced to death by a firing squad. The captain of the firing squad dispensed the bullets to the men who were going to execute the prisoner. The captain then walked up to the man, who was chained to a pillar, and asked him if he would like to drop off a cigarette. The man replied "no thanks, I'm trying to quit." Sally and Shirley had more than 25 years of service at Mount Loretto, as did Paula Hassfurter. Judy Newland had more than 30 years of service. You want to talk about dedication? These people wrote the book. More to come. See you next week. James Sheridan, Amsterdam MS sufferers are not alone To the editor: I just want people with multiple sclerosis to know that they are not alone. I too was diagnosed with (primary progressive) MS in August 2005. It is a terrible disease to have to deal with. People with this disease feel like they are alone and there is no one to talk to. When I was diagnosed I felt like there was no one else I could talk to about multiple sclerosis. I felt like no one believed me, not even my trustworthy doctors. At times I felt like I was losing my mind. I was sent to an orthopedic doctor here in Amsterdam and I was told that the electrical shock I was feeling from the lower part of my next to the base of my lower spine was a "normal" feeling. I was sent to a cardiologist here again in Amsterdam and was made to run on a treadmill. I was in tears before he turned off the machine -- maybe a whole eight seconds later. After the test was done he looked at me and said I was a healthy 43-year-old woman and I should have aced the test. How could I run on a treadmill when I could hardly walk? Finally, another visit to my primary care doctor, I had asked him why he hadn't referred me to a neurologist. He said that someone in his office messed up and sent me to a cardiologist instead. Well, I finally was sent to a neurologist, and he listened to all my symptoms. And after a long list of tests, I finally got some answers. After being diagnosed I started seeing a neurologist in Upstate Neurology in Albany. My new doctor's name is Dr. James Storrey. He's made my life a little easier. I see him every three months. Every visit he sits and listens not only to me but also my husband's concerns. He never rushes through my exams. I think of him as such a great man. I was just wondering if there are any other people dealing with MS and feel like no one is listening. If there is, I will listen, and share similar stories. My e-mail is Feel free to write me. A friendly person willing to listen can sometimes be better than listening to a doctor. Thank you Amsterdam Recorder for allowing my story to be told. And, if I can help just one person with Multiple Sclerosis, that makes it all worth it. Thank you. Robin Batease, Amsterdam There are bumps along the way To the editor: Are high schools in general becoming "athletic factories" of sorts, producing future talented participants for colleges and universities, to utilize in their own national competitive events and obtaining an essential education is considered less important? Don't misjudge the parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, who asked the question as anti-sports. Actually, most of them as students were active in grade, middle and high school programs. What concerns them is the perception that their offspring are already too consumed at succeeding in one or more athletic endeavors and ignoring all other aspects of growing up. When The Recorder published the details for the April 6 football combine at HVCC open to players in classes from 2013 to 2016, as well as prep school players, these opinions began to surface. Also, media coverage of high-school sports and brain injuries escalated the worries. The fact is, all of the adult supervision overseeing athletic sports from grade to high school have done an outstanding job in maintaining a level playing field enabling the youth to keep a proper balance between sports activities and acceptable classroom grade levels. Yes, there have been bumps along the way, but the majority of final results clearly indicate that securing an education still remains the top priority above all other achievements. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Big Brother's watching To the editor: Last week, the Republican controlled House of Representatives took another step back to the 1940s as they passed a bill limiting abortions. Their continuing attempts to control women's bodies seems to know no bounds. And in lock step with his fellow dinosaurs, even thought he's out of step with the rest of the country, was our own congressman, Chris Gibson. He voted to limit women's right to control their own bodies. Congressman Gibson keeps picking away at abortion rights until he, and his fellow Republicans, have managed to eliminate the right to an abortion altogether. Is this the kind of representation we want in Washington? As a male, I'm against any government interfering in what we can or cannot do with our own bodies. Who knows. Maybe they'll start making vasectomies illegal. Ladies, let's hear your opinion. Write to the editor, or Mr. Gibson's office. What's next, telling us how many children we can have? I guess big brother is watching. John H. Swartz, St. Johnsville Gambling with addiction To the editor: For most adults who gamble, gambling is a harmless recreational activity. Did you know that for some people gambling can become a destructive addiction with resultant problems similar to those experienced by people with alcohol and other drug abuse issues? Problem gamblers sometimes resort to criminal behavior in order to cover gambling losses. No one wants their children or grandchildren to develop such serious problems, and yet studies show that less than half of all parents talk to their children about the potential problems involved with gambling. Gambling is similar to alcohol and other drug addictions in that the younger a child is when they begin gambling, the more likely they will be to develop a problem with gambling as an adult. This is why it is illegal in New York state to sell lottery products to youths under age 18. The New York Council on Problem Gambling reports that in New York state alone approximately 140,000 adolescents report already having had problems due to their gambling, and an additional 10 percent of our youths are at risk of developing a gambling problem. Youth gambling is closely tied to other high-risk behaviors. Underage students who report gambling are also 50 percent more likely to drink alcohol, more than twice as likely to binge drink, more than three times as likely to use marijuana, and three times as likely to use other illegal drugs. Youths today are bombarded with messages which depict gambling as exciting and glamorous. They are exposed to messages about the benefits of gambling and the message that gambling is an easy way to make a great amount of money in a short time. Little is ever said about the potential negative consequences or the real odds of winning. Parents play a crucial role in protecting their children from problems with gambling. Please educate your children about the real odds of winning at gambling and about the risks and ugly realities of addiction. If you would like more information, please call the HFM Prevention Council at 736-8188, consult the New York Council on Problem Gambling website, or call the New York help line at 877-8-HOPENY (877-846-7369). Margaret B. Clark, Johnstown Saturday, June 29, 2013 Letters to the Editor Amsterdam steps up yet again To the editor: Since June 9 we have been delayed inside Lock 11. Many concerned citizens have stopped by to offer assistance and take us wherever we asked to go. The people at Riverlink Park have been very generous. The canal authority are doing their best to keep us comfortable by providing water and electricity. They check on us daily. We have been especially impressed by the friendliness and helpfulness of the citizens of Amsterdam. Galen and Rebecca Dunmire, Inwood, W.Va. Aboard the Mooring Dove Continuing the museum's mission To the editor: On behalf of the trustees of the Walter Elwood Museum Board of Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Key Bank for their assistance on this year's Neighbors Make the Difference Day on May 22. Two teams of volunteers from both the Amsterdam and Glenville branches came and helped the museum move hundreds of boxes of artifacts for four hours from our temporary site on Division Street to our new home at 100 Church St. in the former Noteworthy complex and historic Bigelow Sanford Carpet Mills. The teams arrived at noon ready to work and do whatever they could. They loaded a trailer up with boxes and then they unloaded it at our new location. Their great attitudes impressed me the most as we worked through a few rain showers with fun and laughter. We would like to personally thank each team leader: Patrick Ragucci of Glenville branch and Marcia Russo of the Amsterdam branch as well as their teams of volunteers, including Brent Pollack, Eric Etkin, Hamayun J. Faizy, Julia Schoonbeck, Lisa Krackow and Nicole Aurelia. These Key Bank employee volunteers demonstrated to us that "community is Key" by contributing their time and talents and muscles to the museum during our time of transition and need. Key Bank absolutely made a difference for our organization on this day. Generous donation of time such as Key's on this day allows us to continue our mission and allows the community to connect to the heritage and culture of our region and the world around us. By taking the time to touch the past one can gain a clear and compelling value of our community's shared historical past, present and future in meaningful ways. Ann M. Peconie, Amsterdam The writer is executive director of the Walter Elwood Museum. A tribute to Coach White To the editor: It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of Gene White on June 7, 2013. He died at the age of 77 and was described in the Saratoga newspaper's obituary as "peacefully." For those of you who did not know Gene White, I feel compelled to describe what Coach White meant to the city of Amsterdam in general, and me in particular. Gene White came to Amsterdam in 1967-68 and inherited a football team that was called the Hilltoppers and had not been terribly successful in Capital District high school football. With much early resistance, he introduced his method of off-season weight training and in-season accountability. His enthusiasm was infectious and soon was embraced by his teams and the Amsterdam community. Before Gene White, Amsterdam football was an after thought. With Gene White and his coaching staff he assembled, Amsterdam football became relevant in the community -- a relevance which persists today and is embraced by the city. I would consider Coach White to be the re-founder of the Amsterdam football program and entirely responsible for the respect that our Rugged Rams have enjoyed over the years. Many of his ex-players and coaches went on to keep the Amsterdam "pride and spirit" alive as coaches after Gene left Amsterdam. Coach White was probably the most influential person in my life other than my parents. I was a weak 150-pound player who Gene White transformed into a strong confident young adult. His lessons on the football field translated directly to my life and encouraged me to never back down and persist even when I was down or tired. I credit Gene White with molding my young life into the adult I have become. I am proud of my personal accomplishments, but, am actually prouder to have been an original Amsterdam High School Rugged Ram. Please reflect on Gene White's impact on the city of Amsterdam and on the perennially successful Amsterdam Rugged Ram high school football program. Rest in peace Coach White. I will miss you and will always appreciate what you did for me. Peter F. Diamond, Amsterdam Mending fences; coming clean To the editor: Several weeks ago, I submitted a writing entailing the virtues of St. Mary's Hospital, both staff and management. I received a very warm letter from management thanking me. In my letter, I gave my wife's age and mine, the medication that we were receiving and the surgeries which we had undergone. I thought that would have covered everything. Four days ago, the four of us were having supper -- my wife, myself, the cat and the dog, when I started to have chest pains. I'm 86 years old, but, I'm not ready to go. So I called my agent, T. McDermott, as to what I should do. He advised me that if I had anything I wasn't too proud of, I should let the world know -- sort of like mending fences, because when judgment day comes, I would like to have more plusses than minuses. So, I present to you this crime I have avoided talking about for many years. I have always had this thing about the Rialto Theater when it was in existence. But, due to budgetary constraints at a young age, I could never factor in the 50 cents required to gain admission. I had to figure out a method whereby I could gain admission free of charge. Friday night was my answer. There were two shows. One at 7 p.m. and one at 9:05 p.m. If you went to the 7 p.m. show, you saw previews of coming attractions, then a cartoon followed by the feature film. It was customary that once the feature film had been shown for about 10 minutes they shut the doors. No one wanted to see half of anything. The public was aware of this. So, if you were going to the 9 p.m. show, you arrived about 8:55 p.m., purchased your ticket and went into the vestibule for popcorn and candy. There was a line of 30 to 40 people waiting to get into the theater. I was in the middle of that line. No ticket and no money. The man who was collecting the tickets was named Sailor Baron. He was dressed sartorially resplendent. Mr. Schine had all his ushers dressed appropriately. Sailor used his income from the theater to augment his outside wages. He was a professional prize fighter. Now you don't want to give this guy too much grief. He had a short fuse and if you weren't careful you might end up gumming your pork chops. All of a sudden, at 9:01 p.m., the lights went on and both doors opened. Sailor was taking tickets, and from the other door, there was a mass exodus of 70 to 80 people. I was in the middle of the line going in. I simply took two steps to my left and immersed myself in the line going out. I then turned around and walked backward until I was inside the theater where I claimed a seat. Sailor was busy taking tickets. He saw the movement, but thought that it was everybody leaving. I was successful four weeks in a row. I think someone blew the whistle on me, because on the fifth week, I took my two steps to the left, turned around, walked backward, and when I had reached a space that I thought was safe, I turned around again only to be confronted by Mr. Kelly, the manager. He escorted me, rather forcefully, with a small deal of profanity in which he questioned my birthright. He put me out on Market Street. He advised me that if I liked movies to please try the Strand or the Regent. I then called my agent, T. McDermott, for his advice. This was just recently he advised me that the statute of limitations had expired and I could not be prosecuted. He also said being catholic, this sin would be delegated as a venial sin, rather than a mortal one. He also said that the monetary value of four 50-cent tickets would not have had an adverse effect on Schine Enterprises. Further, should they seek litigation in civil court, he would advise them of my net worth. At the time, I had a third party from an out-of-state bank for $26, and a drawer full of Japanese war bonds. Just chalk it up to experience. The chest pains bothered me to the extent that I drew up blueprints for my tombstone. In the upper left hand corner would be the year that I was born. In the upper right hand corner would be the year I passed away. Next would come my full name, James J. Sheridan, and then would come my epitaph as follows, in carved old English print: "I told you I wasn't feeling too good!" No matter what your status in life, you must have a certain degree of levity. If you're going to walk around with a long face barking at everybody, it's not worth the trip. Next week, we'll visit a home that no longer exists -- Mount Loretto. I'm sorry. I can't sing, I can't dance, I play no musical instrument, but this is all I've got. I know that I left out a few names, but I'm 86 years old -- give me a break. James Sheridan, Amsterdam Bypassing the bypass study To the editor: It's hard to believe that Montgomery County won't contribute to the Fultonville-Johnstown bypass-connection study. Why should Fulton County be concerned about Fultonville and Fonda" After all, these two villages are located in Montgomery County. The concern for Montgomery County is about trucks not going to the truck stops in Fultonville is a lot of hog wash. The reason lots of trucks get off the Thruway is to stop at the truck stops. Properly placed signs would let others know about these truck stops and other businesses. Fulton County should be trying to alleviate the traffic problems on Route 30A near Route 29. It seems the way to fix this situation is to terminate the bypass-connection at Route 29 near Harrison Avenue with a tap to the Industrial Park. Also why isn't the state of New York, the principle governmental body, behind this project? Thomas Farnan, Johnstown Thanks for Memorial Day support To the editor: On behalf of Morris J. Edwards American Legion Post 168 I would like to thank parade chair Tim Rice, Charlie Weaver, Dan Matis, Donnie Schoff, John Tennis, Walt Brown, Dawn Lamphere and Ken Conklin Jr. for their support and participation with the Memorial Day parade and attendant service. We are also profoundly grateful to everyone who lined the parade route and gathered in Soldiers and Sailors Park for the ceremonies. Every year it is gratifying to see generations of families showing their respect, care and commitment for our members while sharing in our memories of those we have lost. Finally, it would be remiss of me not to comment on the outstanding turnout by my brother and sister veterans. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf once said, "It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle." Each and every one of you exemplifies that. Truly, I am humbled by and proud of your service to our community, our post and our nation. God bless you all as He continues to bless these United States. Anthony Susi, St. Johnsville The writer is commander of Morris J. Edwards American Legion Post 168. Saturday, June 22, 2013 Letter to the Editor Welcome to the demolition derby To the editor: Dear Citizens, From what I have heard the new traffic patterns in Amsterdam are to go into effect by the end of June. There were six or seven traffic accidents at the corner of Route 30 south and Route 5 the other night. Two cop cars were there continually to observe traffic. One had his bubble gum machine lights on for the duration of their observation. Tow truck operators were having a field day. The west lane heading north on Route 30 from the intersection of East Main Street to Routs 5 will become southbound. That is the lane where parking used to exist for business at the post office. The traffic for the Fourth of July holiday should be backed up to the Thruway and beyond (possibly Pennsylvania) from East Main Street after exiting the mighty Mohawk River bridge. Jockeying for position at the exit of the Mohawk River bridge to Route 30 north will give new meaning to the word "clustermuck." Especially if they are towing a, RV or boat. All post office business will now be accessed from the parking lot between the Amsterdam library and the post office. (Those handicapped people walking through the parking lot or in wheelchairs: no special walkways or protective bollards for them.) New post office boxes for drivers will be stationed on Federal Street. The parking area between the library and the post office is reminiscent of the surface of the moon. They have recently rough patched some of the craters. The auto repair businesses in Amsterdam have been given a godsend in new business for the last few years under the "management" of public works manager Ray Hal-gasser and Mayor Ann Thane (feel free to take a jaunt down Clizbe Avenue, just above Al's garage, for a ride that beats the Coney Island Cyclone.). If a percentage of the cost of new ball joints, shock absorbers, and front end alignments was returned to the city treasury, the city of Amsterdam would be flush for years to come. The post office employees are particularly amused by the conundrum that is being created by "engineers" for the redirection of traffic in the downtown Amsterdam area. Too bad the money for the future "Bridge to Nowhere" across the river wasn't used for paving and filling hugemungus and largenormas potholes years ago. Proof that politicians are nitwits. Furthermore, traffic will be able to meet head-on along the Route 5 corridor from near the telephone company building all the way to the ALC (American Lithuanian Club). These traffic patterns have been in effect since the 1960s. GAVAC and the Amsterdam fire and police departments should be kept quite busy (not to mention city towing services) with extricating people from head-on crashes. Maybe there will be mutual aid from the surrounding fire departments once things really get going. And JAVAC and Mohawk Ambulance should make above and beyond their quota as well. All in all it will make the Fonda Fair demolition derby look quite tame. Somewhere down the line the "engineers" might set up Jersey barriers where fatalities are highest. The situation will probably correct itself once President Obama and New York state Gov. Andy intervene and eliminate all driver's licenses after the enactment of their proposed legislation to be called SAFE Act II. All with Mayor Thane's signing off and blessing of course. Hopefully she will be required to have the air in her head changed along with the implementation of SAFE Act II. It will be a Fourth of July parade of windbags and airbags at the end of this month. So buckle up, citizens. You have heard it here, and you have been forewarned. John H. Newell Jr., Amsterdam Tuesday, June 18, 2013 Letters to the editor Protect what we have To the editor: "Protect what we already have" is a project designed to present to the general public an additional close-up view of why it's so important to protect, preserve and respect the overall value trees actually possess. Trees are a source of shade. They cool our homes, attract songbirds and mark the changing seasons. Additionally, trees conserve energy, reduce soil erosion, clean the air we breathe, as well as protect rivers and streams. In order for them to benefit us, we must care for those already standing and regularly plant even more. By doing so, we can improve our community and environment. Bringing such reminders as this to the attention of the general public is the mission/goal of "Protect what we already have." Hopefully, these efforts will underscore the necessity of every one to recognize the tremendous worth of what has been initially gifted to us all. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam More of the tour from another pretty face To the editor: As promised, the rest of the East End. Leaving Schuyler Street, the bus depot was run by Mr. and Mrs. Gabe Izzo. Later it was run by Mr. and Mrs. Mancini. Gabe also had a fruit and vegetable market next to the Alpha Lunch on Church Street and next to the Regent Theater on Market Street. Across the street was the Weissman family home and next to them were two morticians, Louie Perillo and Peter Sargalis. Across the street was Sulem's Market. It was a "ma and pa" operation that flourished for two basic reasons: They would deliver your groceries and they extended credit. The only competition they had was the A&P. Next to them was Johnny's Seafood where you had to go if you wanted to know what rice pudding should taste like. Next was Kemp Lunch, the Strand Theater and Spediacci's drug store. Across the street was another mortician, John McNamara. Further down the street was Kansas Restaurant. Jimmy Halvey Sr. and I used to have half a grapefruit and a cup of coffee in there at 6 a.m. Tommy Kansas was Greek and he used to put out what he called "blue plate specials." Jimmy Halvey called them Greek tragedies. In those days, there were three people who put out hand-dipped chocolates. Next to Luries was Svolo's, a Greek-run drug store, the Piccolos on Market Street also ran a chocolate shop and Tom and Bill Green on East Main Street, next to McClumpha's, also ran one. They are all gone. The hallmark of chocolate in that time frame was Lady Godiva imported from Italy. If you bought a pound of these you would have needed a co-signer. That's the bad news. The good news today is that if you go up to Lincoln Avenue to Fariello's, there is a lady there who will give you exactly the same taste and the same consistency for one quarter of the price. Sammy Fariello was known as the Christmas Tree King. Bobby was loved by everyone who knew him and he left us far too soon. The lady who runs the shop now is not only as good as it gets but has the best ice cream sodas in town. On East Main Street there were a bunch of shoe stores: Miles, Things, Endicott Johnson, Bostonian and Pingitores. There were also several markets, all of which had sawdust on the floor: Mohigan, Castlers and Tom Gregg's. Tom went on to become mayor. The 5 and 10s all had lunch counters: WT Grant, Woolworth's, Newberry's and Kresges. When you walked into Kresges you found to your left a large barrel of Richardson's root beer and steamed hot dogs with steamed buns. One of each set you back only 35 cents. To your right was a lunch counter where you could get a turkey dinner and an iced tea for $1.10. There was a candy counter behind in which two girls wearing gloves worked. Depending on your bank roll they would weigh out what you required. A few years later they got smart and started packaging candy, thereby eliminating, the labor factor. In my Mother's Day piece I forgot to mention how she always had my back. One time, on Armistice Day, I was marching with the Boy Scouts. She was standing with a group of women outside Holzheimers and Shauls when we passed. As I passed, I heard her say loud enough to be heard in Fort Johnson, "Look: They're all out of step -- not my Jimmy." The man my sister Pat married, Frank Luba, my mother liked. He used to upset me. When I was working at Harvey's Diner, he and my sister would come in and there he was with a full head of hair, his own teeth, built like a Greek god -- a very handsome man. But, he was no Jim Sheridan -- but who is? One of the reasons I learned to cook was that I had to have more to offer the world than just another pretty face. Next week, let's try Reid Hill. James Sheridan, Amsterdam For the health of us all To the editor: Project ACTION Tobacco-Free Coalition in Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties educates community leaders and the community about tobacco-free recreational areas. Currently over 350 municipalities in New York state have passed regulation restricting tobacco use in outdoor recreational areas. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 30 percent of U.S. cancer deaths annually and contributes substantially to deaths from heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science in a conference statement for tobacco use, prevention, cessation and control. In Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties, some municipalities and businesses have taken the initiative to make their parks, entryways or their grounds tobacco-free for the health of their employees and visitors. Project ACTION partners with the Four Rivers Alliance of Hamilton County to educate about the environmental impact of tobacco litter and the dangers of second-hand smoke. If you are interested or would like more information please visit or Joseph Carey, Amsterdam Saturday, June 08, 2013 Letter to the Editor City needs an outlet village To the editor: With the recent news around what to do with the downtown hotel, and the annual clogging of Market Street all the way across the bridge with campers and boats, I feel compelled to once again plead for our city leaders to bring an outlet village to Amsterdam. This is a repeat of the letter I submitted on the subject two years ago: This is an open letter to our city, state and congressional leaders and Mr. John Tesiero. Everyone knows our once-great downtown is in desperate need of revitalization. Let's be honest, in today's modern era it is simply dreaming to expect that any major manufacturing is going to locate inside the city limits. The types of products and new methods of manufacturing and distribution will always be better suited for any of the various industrial parks located in the surrounding towns. Like it or not, it's reality we need to face. What Amsterdam does possess, however, is a jewel that no one else can claim, it's gateway to the Adirondacks, via the Route 30 corridor. I am calling on our leaders and Mr. Tesiero to consider the following proposal: Let's make Amsterdam a home to a high-end outlet village, and let's locate it downtown. Imagine this scene: As you are driving on the Thruway you see the signs for "Outlet Village -- Next Exit." As you exit the Thruway, you immediately see the sign atop the former Key Bank building, lit up and rotating with "Dutch Valley Outlets" or something catchy. Similar signs are on the old mall. As you cross the bridge you see that each floor of the former bank is now the home of the anchor stores: Hugo Boss, top floor; Banana Republic, fifth floor; Ann Taylor, third floor; you get the idea. Each store has their logo on the outside of the building. Next, you notice the new exit off the bridge: "Outlet Village parking keep right." At the base of the bridge you now have a new choice: turning right into the center of the old mall, which has become Main Street again, one way, with an open-air atrium roof over it, so cars can drop off passengers, and drive past the new outlet stores which now line both sides of the street. (The state took Main Street away; let's take it back.) And for the doubters, take a drive down the new State Street in Schenectady and try to find a parking space or an empty storefront. Left side of the mall is the revitalized block of Main Street, full of outlet stores, restaurants, bars, coffee houses, just like Broadway in Saratoga, with the jewel being the old bank, full of high-end stores, complete with an elevator operator to give shoppers that old-time feeling that will bring them coming back again and again. Apartments fill the upper floors. We have the demographics to make this a reality. We are blessed with the seasonal traffic from the mountains, lakes and the annual racing meet at Saratoga. The area is home to major skiing and fishing events, which are getting national TV coverage. Every weekend Route 30 is filled with New Jersey plates, hauling boats, trailers and ski racks. Think of all the hunters', fishermen (ice and boat), and snowmobilers' wives who would gladly tag along with their friends to spend a weekend shopping, dining and going to the spa while the guys are off in the woods, or on the ice and lakes. Pretty safe to say that a Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's or Dick's Sporting Goods would do pretty well in this location. We also have the infrastructure to support this. We have a large hotel within feet. The Tepee is blocks away. We have a huge parking garage. The backside of Main Street by the post office is perfect for shipping and receiving to the stores on that block. We have the Riverlink Park. I doubt it would take long for someone ambitious to dock a party boat there for dinner cruises for all those hungry shoppers. I'll also bet that booking more tournaments at the golf course would be a lot easier with the draw of the outlet. We're also soon to have a pedestrian bridge in place, which could actually have a purpose: walking shoppers and diners to the South Side. Please consider this idea and give it your full support. Mr. Tesiero, you are a smart businessman. You own these properties. This is your opportunity to leave your legacy as the man who brought Amsterdam back. Lawmakers, pool your powers and get us some government funding to make this a reality. Use eminent domain if required to push this through. Thank you for your time. Mark Kowalczyk, Amsterdam Wednesday, June 05, 2013 Letters to the Editor On today's city election To the editor: In respect to June 4 (today's) election. You are asked if you want to have elected controller or controller appointed by mayor AND approved by council. This did not happen with corporation council last year, as the council never approved the appointment. The mayor now controls corporation council (without alderman approval), now to give the mayor the power to control controller (all city finances) we might have put in a dictator. Where will be the checks and balances? The problem only is there are no qualifications for controller. That is the issue here. Please VOTE NO (even though you have to go to city hall with two voting machines for 12,000 potential voters) on this resolution. Again vote NO. Sandy Roginski, Amsterdam A beautiful tribute To the editor: What a beautiful tribute to a loyal old friend appeared in your Friday, May 31, edition of your paper. Marianne Friers' "Farm Side" column is always both folksy and informative, but she outdid herself in saying goodbye to her old dog and faithful companion. "Goodbye, Nick" is more than a lament to a passing partner, it is a tribute to all the good old farm dogs who have served their rural keepers with love and devotion helping with the livestock, guarding the home and protecting the children. Marianne's eulogy was a sad but moving epitaph. As a dog lover I was truly touched by her sensitive tribute to her old dog describing how she tearfully dug a grave for her friend in the rain. A moving sentiment to a passing friend, and a requiem that also brought a tear to my eye. It is journalists and columnists like those at the Amsterdam Recorder who will preserve the sanctity of hometown news that will never be able to be duplicated by electronic presentation. The day is never complete without an after-dinner read of your fine newspaper. James T. Hammond, Hagaman Monday, September 23, 2013 Tuesday's charter change vote tackles the position of city controller To the editor: Voters living in the city of Amsterdam will have an opportunity for exercising one of their greatest rights, a privilege and an obligation on June 4, 2013, by voting to change, or not change, the method by which the city conducts its business. It will be the voter's choice to either enact a city charter change which will allow city government to have an appointed city controller, or to choose to keep the voter-elected city controller of past decades. First, some facts about what shall change in the city of Amsterdam charter, if the majority of voters mark "yes" on their ballot thereby opting to change the city charter: Revise charter Paragraph C-38 department established would be changed to include the following, "...the controller, who shall be appointed by the mayor subject to the majority approval by the Common Council. The controller shall be under direction of the mayor." Revise charter Paragraph C-39 controller would be changed to include, "The controller shall possess the following minimum qualifications: 1. Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university, with a bachelor of business administration degree with a major in accounting, or a bachelor of science degree with a major in accounting, and; 2. Four years accounting work experience." The above two changes shall remove the controller position from one that is an elected position where only two qualifications were ever needed to be eligible to run in an election: get elected as Controller and attempt to perform the duties of said office. The two existing qualifications being: 1. A person 18 years of age, and, 2. A resident of the city of Amsterdam. Moving forward into the 21st century now requires the person in the controller position to have both academic credentials and work experience in much the same way that it is required for the engineer, police, firefighter and counsel positions. Other changes, such as in the term of appointment for the controller for a six-year span, will bring much needed stability to the Department of Finance. Eliminated will be the every-four-year election cycle of possibly having yet another new city controller. With the six-year appointment of a skilled professional, the chance for "politicization" of the position, though not totally eliminated, could be greatly diminished, and, just maybe, financial reporting done in a timely fashion. The final "set of changes" will revert back to the way the budgeting process was intended originally to be accomplished by removing the controller position from the process where it should never have been placed. In essence the controller will assist the mayor in preparation of the city budget if asked by the mayor to help, but, will not get to vote on the budget. Only the elected mayor and the five elected aldermen shall be charged with enacting the spending plan for the city of Amsterdam. There are specific controls put in place with the process to ensure that a fair review, in a timely fashion, by the Common Council will occur with adequate measures put in place to vote for, object to, and/or, override voting by either the mayor or Common Council. In the final analysis it is "we" the voters who need to make a choice in how "we" progress. "We" can choose to change and progress or "we" can choose not to change and not progress. No matter how you vote -- yes to approve the charter change or no not to approve the charter change -- please, please vote. David J. Dybas, Amsterdam The writer is the city's 4th Ward alderman. Saturday, June 01, 2013 Letter to the Editor A moving Memorial Day To the editor: I was gratified with the Memorial Day commemoration at Locust Avenue Veterans Park. It was well organized and very moving, with appropriate presentations from the mayor, Representative Paul Tonko and State Sen. Ceclia Tkaczyk. The inclusion of of the Requiem by Maria Riccio Bryce and the singing of the national anthem by Alderwoman Beekman was inspiring. Many thanks to the veterans commission for a job well done. My only regret is that more of the public did not participate, especially the young. Michael J. Orapello, Amsterdam Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Letters to the Editor The battle within To the editor: With the continuous efforts from individual people and support groups, legalization of marijuana is becoming more and more a reality. From the colonial times to present day, marijuana has been used for producing paper and fabric. Medicinal use of marijuana has been under public scrutiny for many years. The legalization of marijuana would help the United States government by helping eliminate the national debt by taxing it. The actual battle within is among the politicians. The colonial American economy was based on farming. Marijuana was among the many crops that were harvested by the farmers of that era. Made into paper and fabric, marijuana was bartered, bought and sold as a commodity. Rudolph J. Gerber wrote, "America's first law on marijuana, dating from 1619 in Virginia, required farmers to grow hemp" (2). So according to today's standards, every farmer of that time would be incarcerated for illegally growing what they were told to do by the government. If it wasn't for marijuana, the United States would not have sustained financial life during and after the Revolutionary War. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights all on paper made of hemp. The very first United States flag was woven by Betsy Ross using hemp. Hemp was used as legal tender in a few of the colonies also. During World War II, the federal government encouraged the public to grow hemp. Hemp was used to make rope and paper just to name a few products for the war effort. If marijuana was used today for the 5,000 known industrial uses, deforestation in South America, oil spills in the oceans, greenhouse effect, and global consumption of fossil fuels would have never happened. Hence, since all the aforementioned happened, the United States being the "leader" of the consumption, should legalize marijuana, to help stop the deforestation, oil spills, help alleviate the greenhouse gases and the consumption of fossil fuels. With enough hemp growing and being cultivated, the greenhouse effect would be able to reverse itself; hemp would replace the use of wood pulp in paper; the stalks of the plant can be made into a variety of products using hydropower inducing a new industrial age eliminating the use of fossil fuels to run factories because hemp is easier to process. Even more of a controversial issue is the medicinal use of marijuana. It was said that marijuana has no medicinal use, but throughout time, marijuana has been used for various types of illnesses. As stated by Rudolph J. Gerber, "every legitimate study of marijuana's physical and mental effects on humans has shown that it is the drug of choice ... especially the treatment of pain and nausea" (ix). He describes the very first president smoking marijuana to alleviate the pains of arthritis and the queen of England smoking marijuana to subdue the pains of menstrual cramps. Mary Lynn Mathre wrote, "Doctors who do learn of the drug's therapeutic value are often intimidated by its illegal status. Thus millions of patients afflicted with such illnesses ... are denied access to information about the drug's benefits and, in many cases, suffer needlessly." With marijuana being illegal, today's patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, Crohn's disease, glaucoma, just to name a few, all suffer moderate to severe side effects from the "man-made" synthetic treatments of those diseases. The side effects range from nausea to severe pain with every movement and breath. People go to great lengths to alleviate these symptoms, even to the point of relocating where marijuana is available for medicinal use to try and live a "normal" life. Every legal citizen pays taxes, but why make the people who suffer from these devastating illnesses suffer with these side effects? With the legalization of marijuana, the patients won't have to up and move out of their home state or even the country, and then taxes won't have to go up due the lessened population ratio. People scream, cry and hate paying high taxes. There is a solution to this, if the United States federal government legalized and taxed marijuana. Marijuana can be taxed and regulated like alcohol and tobacco through the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency (ATF). Only when the government does this, the crime rate here in the United States would drop and the national debt will be paid off. There's an average of 700,000 arrests every year related to marijuana; these crimes are victimless unless you're the person being arrested. There are more deaths related to or caused by alcohol and/or tobacco than marijuana. It's a proven fact that more Columbians die from U.S. tobacco products in Columbia, than U.S. citizens die from Columbian cocaine. From 1977 to 2004, the federal budget has risen 976 percent to help battle against marijuana and other drugs. The United States, since the inception of the DEA, had spent more on the war on drugs than on the hunts for Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden combined ("The Union: The Business Behind Getting High," 2007). The market for marijuana is a multi-billion dollar industry. Just imagine if the government put an 8 percent tax on the sales of marijuana. The federal government would be debt free in a matter of a few years. But in order to rescind previous laws passed, lawmakers would have to commit political suicide. The battle within is whether or not to make marijuana legal and for what purposes. Marijuana should be legalized. Queen Victoria, George Washington used marijuana for medicinal use from menstrual cramping to pain relief. William Jefferson Clinton and Al Gore both publicly admitted to smoking marijuana for casual use. The judicial system would be less burdened with the legalization, saving taxpayers millions of dollars wasted on agencies losing the crusade against marijuana, reducing the number of prisons, reducing the prison population expenses of the food, shelter and laundry. Hence, the saving of the tax dollars could be put back into the federal budget to help; alleviate the national debt, Medicare, national infrastructure, and Social Security just to name a few areas that are in need of financial help. Patients wouldn't look into relocating out of fear of being arrested and again having the extra population means extra tax dollars to put into the financial needy federal programs. With the extra tax money, the federal government could institute new innovative ideas on how to become more of a "green country" with endorsing the growth and cultivation of marijuana to rid the dependency on wood products, fossil fuels and help the planet with the "greenhouse effect," thus creating jobs, dropping the unemployment rate and receiving more money from the people working the new jobs. All that's been mentioned has been on the federal level, nothings been said about the states' financial gains from the legalization of marijuana. The gains by the states would mirror the federal to an extent. Having the people stay within their home state would cause the states' congressional representative seats to remain the same or increase per population quota; state aid to schools could increase thus causing an increase of attendance in junior colleges because of lower tuition rates. Teachers' jobs, children's sports, liberal arts, and museum budgets wouldn't get cut due to state budgets not being sufficient. Busch Brock, Amsterdam A big help at the library To the editor: A large group of Amsterdam High School students volunteered to help last weekend at the Amsterdam Free Library work day. These students were well behaved, polite and diligent workers. They cheerfully worked shoveling, raking, planting, painting, wheel barelling and other tasks. The "oldsters," like myself, who worked with them were very impressed by the students. It renews our hope in the future. Their efforts helped make our community library a better place. Thanks to these students, their teachers and all those who helped with the spring work day at the Amsterdam Free Library last weekend. John Naple, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Not seeking re-election To the editor: It is with a heavy heart that I announce I will not seek a third term as 3rd Ward alderwoman at this time. It has been a true honor and privilege for me to serve the members of my ward and the city as a whole, and I will continue to do so to the best of my ability through the end of this year. I do plan to stay active in the political arena and in the Republican party, but from a more behind-the-scenes standpoint. I also will continue to be an active member of the community. I definitely would be interested in running for office again sometime in the future, but at this time in my life, I have some personal things that require my attention. I would not want my job as alderwoman to suffer because of personal commitments. It truly has been a blessing to be able to meet my neighbors in the 3rd Ward and to be welcomed as their alderwoman for these two terms. I have met many wonderful people throughout the city as well that I might not have had the chance to meet if I had not been in this position. I feel very lucky indeed. I thank everyone who voted for me the last two terms. I appreciate those who have supported me through thick and thin and who believe in me. I thank those constituents who came out for the first time ever to vote for me and show support for the work I had done for them. I appreciate each and every one of you. I promise to continue to serve you to the best of my ability through the end of my term in December. Finally, I would like to thank my family. You provide me daily with the strength and courage to believe in myself, to stand against the crowd if I feel that is what is in the best interest of the majority and to face myself in the mirror every day with respect and conviction. You truly are my sounding board and my rock of support and love. I would not be who I am today without you. Gina DeRossi, Amsterdam The writer is Amsterdam's 3rd Ward alderwoman. Where corruption flourishes To the editor: I read the editorial in the Recorder Monday, May 20, regarding campaign finance law and political corruption with little amusement and quite a bit of disdain. The points the editorial makes are sound: Campaign finance laws are routinely broken and condoning small violations creates an environment in which more serious corruption flourishes. My issue with this expressed opinion is two-fold. The missive seems to only target state politicians; and it indicates that it is the sole responsibility of the state to audit and call attention to abuse. There is no doubt that state politicians should be held to the highest standards of conduct, especially when handling contributed money because of the influence, either perceived or real, that it may have. The same must be held for all elected or appointed officials at any level of government. This topic is particularly relevant to my experience during the last campaign. In August of 2011, my team brought irregularities in the reporting practices of the Emanuele camp to the attention of the Recorder and other media outlets. Mr. Emanuele was interviewed about a donation that had exceeded the legal campaign finance limit and, because of the article, the contribution was returned. Mr. Emanuele said the transaction was the result of a strong supporter's misunderstanding of the contribution limits, all of the while touting accountability as one of his first priorities. At the same time, he had not reported in-kind donations and costs associated with fundraising. It seemed to me then and still holds true today, that someone that had been an alderman, mayor and chairperson of the Montgomery County Republican Committee should be well versed in campaign finance laws and procedures and should definitely play by the rules. Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be the case. As the campaign progressed, I became increasingly distressed by Mr. Emanuele's reluctance to make full disclosure of all contributions and expenditures. I wrote about this in my blog,, in a posting entitled "Slight of Hand." The following is that observation, dated Nov. 4, 2011: "I am baffled by the claim that Joe Emanuele is paying for his materials, when his NYS Board of Elections Campaign Finance Reports do not show this activity or the resources to produce them. His campaign manager tells us the committee to elect Joe paid for them and they only used the NYRSC return address for a better postal rate. There is no claim to support this activity on the NYRSC report, though they show contributions to races around the state. How can this be so? What gives? or who? and why? Before the primary, I mailed out an 8.5" x 11", full-color card much like those now being delivered to households in Amsterdam every other day. The mailer cost me $3,234.77 for design, printing and postage. We sent this card to Democratic voters in the city. The Emanuele pieces are evidently being mailed to Republican voters, but the numbers of cards being sent must be relatively close in number, so that I'd wager the cost is as well. To date, we've received four mailings at my house and I figure they must run around $3,000 a pop. Since August, the Emanuele coffers have hovered between $4,200 and $5,200, with small expenditures listed for literature: postcards, magnets, stamps ... nothing over $210.00. My question becomes, how was the approximate $12,000 disbursement for mailed campaign material (and I dare say, there will be more) paid for? As well, I notice when driving around our city a plethora of Emanuele signs of all sizes and materials. I purchased 250 signs for $1,438 and, once 70 or 80 of them went missing, reordered another 100 for $672. Mr. Emanuele shows no expenditure for signs, though he does show an expenditure of $108 for stakes. Research shows the Montgomery County Republican Committee paid $486 for Emanuele signs. To my mind, this just doesn't add up, even without a math degree ... Where's all of this money coming from? How come it is not being reported, even as in-kind donations? Why isn't the lack of reporting being reported? Doesn't this matter when my opponent has made integrity an issue in this campaign?" The issues of honest fundraising and campaign reporting matter most on the local level. Your alderman, mayor or county official have much more of an effect on your day-to-day life than your assemblyman or senator. And, most importantly, it's the law. Unfortunately, this apparent lack of respect for the law wasn't sufficiently reported during my last election. Now that the issue has drawn attention on a statewide level, I trust that the media and our constituency will apply the same level of scrutiny to the upcoming local elections. Ann M. Thane, Amsterdam The writer is mayor of Amsterdam. Farming is under attack To the editor: Farming in New York is under attack once again by people who have never set foot on a farm, but think they know best how a farm should operate. The New York Assembly, led by New York City lawmakers, passed the unnecessary Farm Workers Fair Labor Practices Act. There is already a long list of state and federal protections that oversee everything from workplace housing to health and safety standards to wages. The Farm Labor Bill is also pushing for mandatory overtime on an individual eight-hour work day and collective bargaining. These may work for a factory, not a family farm. If employees should choose to strike during a critical week of harvest, a year's livelihood could be lost. Our dairy cows in need of milking would also be in put in harm's way. Mother Nature dictates the work schedule, not the farmer. Overtime will force many farmers to limit workers to eight-hour shifts and seek other employees to fill in the gap. The migrant farm workers who choose to come to this country to work hard for a given-season would be shortchanged. Other farmers may simply choose to grow less labor intensive row crops, giving up on planting fresh fruits and vegetables. The legacy and landscape of agriculture in New York will undoubtedly change. In the end, farmers treat their employees well because it is not only the right thing to do, but because the farmers depend on their workers for important jobs. If an employee was treated unfairly, they would simply find work elsewhere or not return the following year. I encourage you to write or call Gov. Cuomo and your state senator and explain that if this bill should pass, farmers and farm employees will be hurt. Martin P. Kelly, Fort Plain The writer is president of Montgomery County Farm Bureau. The right man for the job To the editor: I read the announcement of St. Johnsville Town Supervisor Dominick Stagliano's intention to seek the recently created county executive seat. I have worked with Mr. Stagliano both in his current position as town supervisor and during his tenure as village mayor. Without question Dominick Stagliano is extremely capable and well qualified for this position. Come Jan. 1, 2014, Montgomery County will be chartering a new course. It would behoove us all to have an individual who is well versed in the mechanics of local government, has an excellent grasp of municipal finance, and possesses an incomparable depth of knowledge about Montgomery County as a whole. In my opinion, Supervisor Stagliano is just such an individual. Dawn Lamphere, St. Johnsville Thanks for the kindness To the editor: My wife and I would like to express many thanks to Post 701, Amsterdam, for their help in giving us a flag holder for my wife's father's headstone. They wouldn't accept a cash donation. This our way of saying thank you. Elliott and Sherry Van Antwerp, Fonda The walking tour continues ... To the editor: As promised, we will give you a take, on the East End of the city. Heading west from the outskirts to Schuyler Street will be the area I cover. It is a diversified population which at one time was heavily Lithuanian until 1945, when the war ended, and many displaced persons filtered into the population. First of all, we have to leave town to gain our initial target. Quandt's Food Service -- they generate a large part of our economy. They pay a large part of our taxes. They employ a large part of our population. I don't see any "kudos" being attributed to them, and I don't know why, because they are a philanthropic group. Now, let me take you back to 1937, when Quandt's was located across the street from St. Joseph's Church on Guy Park Avenue. The store was so small that if you had four people in there, you had a crowd. Joe Quandt Sr. was this kind of guy. If you called him up on a Friday afternoon and you wanted two pounds of haddock at a total cost of $1.50, he would weigh it, take off his apron, shut the doors, and bring it to you, then come back and reopen the store. He instilled the same work ethic in Joe Jr., Tommy, Bobby and Theresa. That was the beginning of this dynasty. These children were all very good looking. Theresa was in my sister Pat's class. Joe Jr. was in my room and married the one woman everyone considered a "catch" -- Mary Persons. Moving along to Lou's Market. I give you three names: Lou Petrosino, Danny the butcher and Marion the cashier. In all the years that my family shopped there, you would never hear anything negative about these people. St. Casimir's had a grade school whose students would transfer to St. Mary's on Forbes Street. On their arrival, they would be so well schooled in basics and discipline that the transition would pose no problems. All of the Sargalis, Maldutis and Stokna children went there. Moving along, we pass, Stokna's Liquor Store. It was run by a very thin, very pleasant lady who had a chihuahua. If you stood in front of the door for eight hours, you would observe her taking the dog for a walk about 24 times. I believe he had a kidney problem. Directly across the street was Maldutis Bakery. They made a rye bread to die for. Next door, was the place you go to fall in love, DiCaprio's Diner. They stayed open primarily days. Jiggers and Murph served a First Prize sausage on a hard roll and a cup of coffee for 60 cents. It was a meal. But you have to know what kind of people they were. If you didn't have the 60 cents, that was OK with them. They had a heart as big as the Grand Canyon. Next door to them was Carmel's Diner, open 24/7. Carmel was getting on in years and the people who kept the business afloat were Pete and Nancy Greco, and a displaced person named Stanley, who was one of the best short-order cooks that I knew. On his "off" hours he repaired watches, irons and TVs. He was a mechanical giant. When my wife and I were going together we ate breakfast there. We ordered four pancakes with (2) plates and (2) cups of coffee. Total cost 90 cents. But, if all we had was 90 cents, we had toast and coffee at home, as my wife insisted that we have 25 cents to give the waitress for a total of $1.15. In later years my wife worked there before she started teaching school. Across the street from there, where the car wash is now, was Schell's Pharmacy, featuring Joe, Peter and Greta -- and an 8-cent ice cream cone. Sorry, I can't go any further this week, but we have yet to cover SMI on Forbes Street, Reid Hill and the rest of East Main Street ... and Mount Loretta. So, unless I hear from the Pulitzer people, I'll see you next week. More to follow ... James Sheridan, Amsterdam National Drug Court Month To the editor: National Drug Court Month is an opportunity to spotlight the drug court philosophy that addicted people belong in treatment, not in prison. Drug court is a cost-effective way of holding those who commit crimes related to addiction accountable while learning through treatment about the benefits of a sober life. Drug court is a voluntary program offered to some offenders whose crime is a result of drug addiction. Violent offenders and sex offenders are excluded from drug court. In lieu of incarceration, the participant is provided with treatment services for them to get and stay clean and sober. Random drug testing is conducted to ensure that the participant remains drug-free. Drug courts represent a criminal justice approach that takes into account the need to ensure public safety through close supervision. They are among the most effective ways to address the problem of substance abuse and crime. The participants are held accountable by the drug court judge for meeting their obligations to the court, to society, to themselves, and to their families. The participants are required to appear in court frequently so the judge can review their progress. Fulton and Montgomery counties both have very successful drug court programs. Approximately 90 percent of both county drug court graduates do not have further arrests. The revolving door of arrest, release and arrest again has been dramatically reduced. Fulton County taxpayers are saved approximately $600,000 per year because the drug court participants are not incarcerated, the cost of which would be $89 per day per participant. Montgomery County drug court participants have developed a Lifeworks group which sponsors sober social and fundraising events. The proceeds are given back to the community in the form of toys at Christmas and scholarships. Through participation in Lifeworks, addicts learn to have fun while sober and to give back to their community. One of the most important effects of drug courts is the positive impact it has on families who have been negatively affected by their loved one's addiction. The positive healing and restorative effects of drug courts on families are dramatic. A sincere thank you to our Montgomery and Fulton County drug courts for the wonderful, lifesaving work they do every day. I encourage everyone to attend a drug court graduation so you can personally learn about the lives that are positively impacted through this innovative and cost effective system. Margaret B. Clark, Johnstown Every opinion should be heard To the editor: Hopefully, this written revelation will clearly illustrate that when an absentee ballot needs to be completed, full attention should be directed on that task alone. Unfortunately, that was not the case recently. While attempting to do three things at once, four candidates for the board of education was foolishly selected, instead of the required two which obviously will render the vote eventually useless. Being careless is never a legitimate excuse no matter what the circumstances are. This rule especially applies when voting, whether it's a school board election or other local contests, as well as elections at the county, state and federal levels. Every citizen's opinions need to be recognized and duly honored. By failing to ignore the importance of voting, a mistake was made, that never should have happened. Over the centuries, too big a price has been paid, so that the freedom to vote remains intact for all citizens. And, it's a privilege, that should never be considered unimportant. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Take a stand for a change To the editor: Do you ever think about your future? Wonder about where you will be in your life, 10 to 20 years from now? The beautiful aspect of being young is that you are given so many opportunities. These are the days that you begin to shape the individual that you will become. Being young only lasts for so long. With saying that, have you come to the realization that the actions you take today will determine your future life? Consequences won't appear just today. They will exist every single day for the rest of your life. Your surroundings in this day and age portray intoxicated information that will make your dreams fade away. No matter where you are, what you are doing, or what the time of day it is, every single individual of all ages is exposed to publicity about tobacco. Advertisements on radios, magazines, newspapers and motion pictures are only a few ways that tobacco companies have exposed their products. Let's take a little trip back in history. In the early 1900s, only 1 percent of the U.S. population smoked. Cancer and heart disease were health issues that were extremely rare. By the 1950s almost 50 percent of the U.S. population smoked. The increase in smoking had a lot to do with the different ways tobacco companies advertised their products. Today, heart disease and cancer caused by smoking are ranked as two of the top diseases that cause death in America. Now, what does that tell you? I'll tell you what it tells me. America has to make a change. We are one as a nation. Killing off what makes us whole is not what we want to be marked down in history for. These tobacco companies are damaging our future nation. Tobacco companies spend over $6,000,000,000 a year on advertisements targeted toward our younger generation. You were all young once. And while you say "teens" actions are foolish and they should know better," do you say, "it is our fault for exposing their molding minds to products that lead to failure?" More than likely, you don't. Not a lot of individuals contain the characteristic of self-reflection. Although, it is never too late to self-reflect and take a stand for a change. Caroline Biltucci, Canajoharie The writer is in the 11th grade at Canajoharie High School. The whole community benefits To the editor: When my wife and I visited this fair city for the first time to interview with the committee that would later call me to become the pastor of United Presbyterian Church in downtown Amsterdam, one of the first locations to which we were taken was Riverlink Park. It was a Saturday evening in the waning days of summer but the heat was still palpable while we sat and had dinner together overlooking the Mohawk River. To one side was a local concert at which several townspeople were attending, to the other a dock area in which several boats had tied up and were enjoying the opportunity to sit on the water and take in the music and the weather. Following dinner, we walked the length of Riverlink Park and listened to the musicians play on the outdoor stage while the sun set over us. That evening, as we discussed the events of the day, my wife and I knew it was at that moment that we had decided, if offered the position, to move our family to this town. This decision came, in large measure, because we agreed that it seemed this community understood the value of using its precious resources to create spaces that both beautified and benefitted the whole community. I wanted to share that story as a way of supporting the proposed $16.5 million bridge restoration project that the city council is considering at this time. While I realize this is a great deal to spend as a community, the potential benefits of the project are incalculable. With each step the council takes to improve and revitalize the downtown, the whole of the community benefits. From the jobs created and local money supporting local establishments to the display of care and concern for an area of the community that desperately needs to feel cared for. In addition, it will help us continue to use the of natural beauty of the area and especially the river as a central focal point for citizens and visitors alike. I urge the city council to approve this measure without delay so that the city might continue the work that it has done to revitalize the downtown as we all seek to continue to display the pride we feel in our town. Warm regards, The Rev. James D. McLeod Jr., Amsterdam The writer is pastor of United Presbyterian Church, Amsterdam. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Balance and perspective To the editor: My name is Kathy Hans and I am a candidate for the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education. I am a life-long resident of Amsterdam, a mother of two children in the district and a taxpayer. As a mother, I am concerned that five of our six schools are "in need of improvement," and that the high school graduation rate is only 61 percent. As a taxpayer, I am concerned about the financial burden of rising taxes on our community. We need to find a balance between spending in the district, class sizes and the programs that will improve these standards. Like you, I want this community to be a good place for our children in the future. That includes a school district that meets high performance benchmarks without breaking the bank. I am running for the board of education because I think I can bring balance and perspective to the issues of both taxpayers and parents. This won't be easy, but I am up for the challenge. Kathy Hans, Amsterdam Results speak for themselves To the editor: As we move closer to this year's budget vote and school board election I want to take this opportunity to review the GASD accomplishments over the last three years since I have been on the board. I became a member of the Amsterdam school board just as portions of the state's fiscal problems were passed on to us. All school districts were left to scramble as the state balanced part of its budget on the backs of school districts dependent on the income historically provided by the state. As we worked through an unprecedented funding crisis we continued to look for ways to balance the needs of our children with the inequities being placed on our school taxpayers. I think the results speak for themselves: * High school graduation rate projected to increase to 65 percent from 60 percent; * Voted to move alternative education and out of school suspension to the Clara S. Bacon Elementary School building, providing an improved educational environment at no additional cost to our taxpayers; * Voted to provide space at the Bacon school for the youth in our district to participate in organized sports and non-sports programs developed by Wishful Thinking and the city of Amsterdam; * Voted to renew the lease with Whispering Pines that provides income to offset the cost of maintaining the Clara S. Bacon facility; * Voted to move our retiree health insurance plan to the Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plan, saving the district $1.2 million; * Voted to accept a new contract with the ATA that will increase classroom time by our teachers without additional costs to the district and save the school district $800,000 in the first year; * Voted to propose a budget with a zero tax levy increase for the second year in a row. In developing this year's budget we used approximately $523,000 of our fund balance to bring the tax levy to a zero increase. In 2010 we were forced to use $2.5 million of the balance. This is an example of just how much work has been put into stabilizing our school district's finances. Stepping beyond finances, we have a very caring group of teachers that are second to none in their ability to educate and advocate for our children. Many go "above and beyond" when it comes to the well-being and education of our students. Our administrators, hall monitors, teachers' aides, clerical and maintenance/custodial staff are wonderful, dedicated people that work hard every day to maintain exceptional facilities for our children. I, along with six other school board members, have worked hard to provide a high level of education while being fiscally responsible in a poor economic environment. I believe we have succeeded. If you agree, I am asking for your vote on Tuesday, May 21, for a second term on the Greater Amsterdam school board. John Bottisti, Amsterdam Escaping Taxpayers' Hell To the editor: Common core standardized testing predictably hit a nerve in the teachers' unions. Whether it's a fair assessment of classroom productivity or not is above this farmer's pay scale to tell. To hint at weeding out under-performers and boosting efficiency and output invariably triggers negative reactions among unions. If schools were doing their jobs, remedial courses in college wouldn't be doing such big business. If a significant portion of college freshmen need help with the basics, one can only imagine what the high-school dropouts and those that only eked out a low-grade high school diploma are deficient in. Again, if schools were fulfilling their responsibilities, there would be no need for literacy volunteers to donate their time to do the job entrusted to well-paid pros. The Greater Amsterdam School District, "Where students succeed and community cares," (according to the byline on the recently mailed budget report) is on track to spend over $63.4 million in the upcoming school year even if the proposed budget is voted down. The contingency budget is essentially the same amount. With a spending increase of 8.71 percent, it's obvious, the fiscal bulimia continues. $63.4 million is a rather large amount to comprehend. To make it more easily digested, I'll convert that number to per-pupil yearly spending. Recent enrollment figures show a total of 3,731 students in GASD schools. Simple arithmetic shows we're spending an average $17,000 per kid per year. Even if spending increases slow down a bit, by the 2014-15 school year, we'll likely be spending $18,000 per kid yearly. That equates to $100 per kid per each day of the school year. It's hard to imagine a majority of sane school budget voters comfortable with that level of fiscal recklessness, but it matters not -- the voters have no say over spending. It would behoove us to scrutinize each school board candidate. There are way too many board members with a conflict of interest. (I'm sure you know what I mean). The ideal candidate is the one whose livelihood depends not one whit on the public purse. Admittedly that's rare, but it's the gold standard. The unions working in concert with other public sector entities got us into this mess. Don't look to them to get us out. The private sector, on the other hand, has a proven track record of achievement and efficiency. The business model adhered to by successful businesses is our only hope of escaping this "taxpayers' hell." More on that to follow, but get out and vote. Gordon F. Schaufelberg, Amsterdam Spreading the sunshine To the editor: Sunshine Gardens would like to thank our customers and friends who made our Mother's Day celebration on Mother's Day weekend such a nice event. Everyone enjoyed delightful refreshments and good company. The raffles and donations raised $200 for the Montgomery County SPCA. Congratulations to the winners of the raffles: Laurie Lape, Tona Mattie and Paula Sumigray. Donna Jane Evans, Amsterdam Our walking tour continues ... To the editor: As promised, I just crossed the bridge. I'm on West Main Street. I cross to the north side, and I pass Olender's, Matty's lunch and two cement stairways, leading to below ground, one barber shop and the 41 Taxi Office. We then pass the Griffin Hotel and the Wilton Bowling Alley. Next is a Mobil gas station. We cross Pearl Street to a large park, which is very well kept, and has plenty of benches. Next, is a large fire station with a large fire chief named Matt Cavanaugh, who everybody loved. Next was Dr. Seward's house. In back of this house was a garage where Fado Farrell, Jimmy Botch, myself and Bill Seward shot baskets. Now, we have to get up to West Main Street. The smell is starting to reach me. First is Pepe's Restaurant run by Sammy Pepe Sr. Most of his time is allocated to amateur boxers. A small footnote: There was a machine into which you feed all personal information about each fighter's religion, training discipline and manners. In the 1940s and 1950s, the best boxer in the United States pound for pound was Sugar Ray Robinson. That wasn't his real name. Sammy Pepe Sr. could tell you his real name. He came to Amsterdam as an amateur and he fought in back of Lanzi's, a local boy named Dominick Perfetti, and promptly had his "clock cleaned." Sammy Pepe Jr. could flat out cook. He was as good as you get around here. In later years, he and a partner Carm Russo opened up the Topaz, formerly Brownies. Sam could do it all -- bartend, cook, purchasing, menus, scheduling and training. He was the glue that held the place together. Things were OK for a while until the powers that be chose to lobotomize Main Street in the name of "progress." A few people made some money. The rest were tossed under the bus. Up the street, Guy and Ida Isabel also made decent sauce. They had the best waiter in town, Pup Isabel, while Joey, who was about 8 years old at the time, wreaked havoc with a go-kart in front of the restaurant. Before I learned how to cook, I washed dishes there for a while. The smell is getting closer. There is a family down there named Minnitti. They had a bar, a bakery and they also made a good sauce. In 86 years I have yet to meet any man who was more of a gentleman than "Ace" Minnitti. On this tour you have just one more place worth mentioning. In regard to this place, I know people who got a roast beef sandwich on Italian bread there 40 years ago ... and they're still talking about it. There was no gristle, no fat -- you were not overcharged, you didn't leave there hungry, and there was enough meat in the sandwich for two people. They also had a dynamite pizza. They have been in business over 100 years. And, if you want to know the key to Russo's success, no matter what day you go in, it is repetition -- same cars, same people -- no bad taste in your mouth. They've got to be doing something right. It is tradition. Now, these people and the South Side people have no equals, food wise. As an accommodation I will list one more place on the same street. It was called Harvey's Diner and open 24 hours per day. This is before the Thruway came into play. They had several electric outlets and a huge parking lot. Truckers would pull in there at night. If they had perishable goods they could "plug in," go in the restaurant, eat, come out, sleep in their trucks, get up in the morning, have breakfast, get back on Route 5 in daylight and go west. But I have to tell you something -- you've already passed by the best Italian food on this planet. Next week, let's talk about the East End. More to follow. James Sheridan, Amsterdam Upstate is a dumping ground To the editor: Friday May 10, the Mohonasen High School, Rotterdam, held its 19th annual senior citizens prom. The prom is always fun for us old folks. At least in Rotterdam the school district knows how to say thank you for all the money we pump into it. The prom draws politicians like flies are drawn to dog poop. If you called a politicians up you would never get the person you are looking for, always a political flunky. These same politicians have the time to cruise the highways & byways of school district, looking for votes. I tried to be on good behavior at the prom but I could not resist a political conversation wit State Sen. Tkaczyk. Sen. Tkaczyk has a Ukrainian name but she does not speak Ukrainian. She does not speak "upstate" either. In an article the senator says "New York should not be Pennsylvania's dumping ground." I agree. Nor should we accept oil from Texas or Arabia, ditto cheap energy from Pennsylvania for New York City. We should not dump our dredging chemicals in other people's states. Being PC has its downsides. The senator and I had a heated conversation about her accepting "dirty money" to run her campaign. Mr Amedore did also. Any money coming from outside your geographic region is dirty. The good senator gave me a convoluted example of how the AKC gave her money. The home office being elsewhere (New York City, where else?) but having a local chapter. She rationalized that one to herself. We got into the ethics of what takes place in campaigns, the dirt and half truth. Anyone in the political world understands when you take money you must take the instructions that come along with the money. Good, bad and indifferent. "You take the king's coin you do what the king says." In the senator's frustration with me she blurted out that a political campaign is a "business." How interesting. Her chosen field is a business, not public service. She recognizes the business aspect of politics but not fracking, cheap energy. I caught the senator off guard, she was tired of talking to people in the flesh. The ignorance of the electorate can be frustrating and profitable at the same time. Upstate New York is a dumping ground for New York City money and the influence it buys. Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk is a prime example. Edmond Day, Rotterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor The town has a lot to offer To the editor: I am writing to say that I have been a very proud citizen of the town of Amsterdam my whole life. Our Supervisor Thomas DiMezza has been an integral part of making our community a great place to live, work and shop. This is all possible with hard work and help of our community leaders. In addition, Dave Thibodeau and the employees of the highway department do a magnificent job maintaining our highways and keeping us safe. The former Mount Loretto Nursing Home which is now called Capstone has always been a priority by the road crew during winter months plowing the roads so that the staff and emergency vehicles can get up and down Swart Hill Road during storms. All of our roads are maintained for safety no matter what season. As a child growing up in this community, I always remember being proud of all community leaders past and present who participated in taking care of our community. I would like to thank everyone at the town for the perpetual upkeep of the Memorial Park at the town hall. With Memorial Day coming upon us, please take a moment to stop by and pay a visit to the memorial. One of our own town residents and a state trooper while serving proudly died in the line of duty and is on the memorial at the park. In closing, please take a look at your own neighborhood and recognize how your neighbors keep you safe. The town of Amsterdam has a lot to offer. Marilyn Sawyer, Amsterdam Debating the points system To the editor: I am writing this letter as a concerned parent that has three children in the GASD: two in AHS and one in R.J. McNulty Academy for International Studies and Literacy Magnet School who is in fifth grade and should be graduating into his middle school years. The reason I'm so concerned is that I received a letter home on Friday the 10th of May letting his mother and I his stepfather know for the first time that the school administration has been keeping track of some sort of points system. This system would allow the teachers and other folks in the administration team take a point at a time that could stop the child of being able to attend special trips/activities that all the students have worked so hard to earn. From studying for state testing and all the practice for those higher standard tests this year. From what I understand taking away points for missing homework and behavior and not getting a chance to earn them back once they are gone they are gone. As one can see from the letter, depending of the amount of points lost throughout the year determines what they will be able to participate in. This is supposed to be a happy milestone in their lives by moving out of the elementary setting (growing up). My child has lost a total of 23 points which now excludes him from every activity there is but one that may not even happen from my understanding. His mother and I fought all school year to get him on a 504 plan he has been diagnosed with ADHD and has been on medication for five years and this was all put into his file. I understand that just that this diagnosis doesn't automatically qualify for this extra help. Seeing him doing homework some days until bed time isn't fair to him this means he is doing school work for more hours in a day than most people work as an adult per week. After finally getting ahold of the right people, getting the process started, the 504 plan has been enacted in February 2013. Part of the plan was allowing for a less work load in the classroom along with frequent breaks of five minutes during tests longer than a specified period. This finally got put into place in February 2013 with little showing of improvement. Every day he checks in with the social worker Mrs. Amanda Genzer. He has been doing this and it has show improvement in his behavior. I feel like his expectations in the beginning of year were too high and did not match the education level he had. Behavior is where he lost the majority of these points. I just want him to be able participate in what he has worked so hard all year towards. I don't know if there are others that feel the same but on another note the fifth-grade teacher of my child told him that if he skips that day that he can't go on the trip she would send the truancy officer to our home to pick him up and take him to school. These special activities that they have planned are as follows: Environmental Day May 22, McNulty Field Day June 7, Fifth grade field day 3 June, Mohawks game 11 June, Fifth Grade Social 5 June, Lake George trip 10th June (and from what I understand is still up in the air yet too). These things that are scheduled are all memories of elementary school that I still hold dear to me from 30 years ago. Taking these away could hurt more than help. I do understand as a parent the reward system, we all use it often, from my experiences there are usually positives as well as negatives. If the children were able to earn back points as have them taken away this could be a considered a positive system but only taking away points as only negative what is that teaching our children? The letter states: "Our hope with the students who have lost points is that they will learn from their mistakes, and realize that they cannot lose any more points. Good behavior and completed work is expected at all times of the year." Matthew D. Butts, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 The GASD's four goals By NELLIE A. BUSH For the Recorder Thank you for the opportunity to use the Amsterdam Recorder as a means to communicate with the citizens of the Amsterdam community as we approach the school district budget vote, which will take place on Tuesday, May 21, from noon until 9 p.m. at the various polling places. The board of education of the Greater Amsterdam School District developed four goals for the 2012-13 school year. We are very aware that educating children is a community effort supported by those who serve on the board of education. We live in a school district, "Where Students Succeed and the Community Cares." The four goals that the BOE developed include the following: Goal 1 -- To foster open communication between the BOE, the superintendent and the GASD staff, students, parents and the community where we can recognize and remediate problems regarding needs, challenges and student achievement in a respectful manner. To do this, each BOE member has adopted a school where we attend various functions, make periodic visits, and celebrate the accomplishments of students and staff. We have reached out to the community by periodically going on the local radio station to communicate with our listening public citizens who may not be able to attend school board meetings. We have shared our BOE goals, celebrated our outstanding scholastic achieving athletes who have been recognized for maintaining the highest academic standing of excellence and in April we discussed the 2013-14 school budget. We wanted to get feedback from the listeners. This past year we have instituted technology thorough the use of Facebook and Twitter. This has proven to be very successful. To continue to gather feedback the BOE has developed an Anonymous Exit Survey Questionnaire which the voting public will find at the polls. There are 10 questions which can be filled out after casting your ballot. A BOE member will be at the various polling places at different times of the day and will be seated where the exit surveys will be available. Filling out the survey is strictly voluntary. We are hopeful that the voters will take the time to fill out the survey and give us feedback which can be used in the future as school budgets are developed. Goal 2 -- To provide leadership, direction and resources that will benefit the students and staff of the GASD in a fiscally effective and efficient manner. This year we have seen our students excel and be recognized on a national, state and local level. Recently our honors students at AHS were recognized and given honorary awards for their outstanding documentaries through a national competition sponsored by the national organization C-SPAN. The robotics program has received honorable mention at a national gathering of students from across the United States. The outstanding success of this program has been made possible due to the unwavering support of teachers, parents, staff and the community who believe in providing these students with the skills they will need to be creative and successful in the 21st century. Recently, the Fulton and Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce celebrate the academic excellence of the students from the high schools in the two counties. Amsterdam High School was very well represented. Our AHS drama club presents outstanding performances for the community. Recently, our AHS chorus received two first-place honors in an out-of-state competition, not to mention the artistic ability of so many of our students. Last but not least, we are very proud of our student athletes who bring honor and pride to Amsterdam. A math teacher from AHS was recognized as an outstanding educator in the area. It is through these experiences that help our students develop into contributing members of society. Goal 3 -- To define the board's seriousness toward being fiscally responsible, the budget committee began meeting in August to review the status of line items. The goal of meeting and being fiscally responsible has been apparent throughout the year. The school taxes of our neighboring districts are increasing: Shenendehowa 2.8 percent, Saratoga Springs 2.9 percent, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 2.4 percent, to name a few. The Amsterdam school district tax levy is 0 percent. Amsterdam is not wealthy. We have great needs and major challenges. More than 69 percent of our students qualify for free and reduced meals, many of our students speak languages other than English and we have a very transient population of students who enter and leave school during various times of the year. Each year our graduation rate improves, but it takes a great deal of time and effort in order to overcome some major challenges which we face as a school district. These challenges are compounded by the unfunded mandates that are required by the state in order to help students succeed. Goal 4 -- To be cognizant of the learning standards and new requirements as they relate to a working knowledge of various curriculum areas and the required plan for the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR). All school districts are working toward the new common core learning standards as well as the APPR for teachers and principals. The district received approval from the state education department before the deadline. A great deal of staff development is being implemented in the district and the money to do this is coming from state education grants. This training enhances the professional practice of our teachers in order to help our students achieve. As a BOE we are proud of our school district. Great things are continuing to happen for the benefit of our students. We always have to work harder and smarter to accomplish our goals. We as a board of education want the Amsterdam community to know that our actions are a reflection of what we know is in the best interest of our students who are the future. We are proud of the accomplishments of all students who want to learn and take advantage of the opportunities available to them. We are proud of our teachers, principals and staff members who face many challenges on a daily basis. We are especially grateful to the parents who take an active interest in the education of their children. Please be reminded that, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." Please exercise your right as a citizen to go and vote your conscience during the school budget vote on Tuesday, May 21, from noon to 9 p.m. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. NELLIE A. BUSH, Ph.D., is president of the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Change is what is needed To the editor: Hello, my name is Laurie Hamblin. I am a married mother of five children. First and foremost, I am not by any means a politician. I am not running for school board to scratch anyone's back just to have mine scratched in return. The truth is I am running as a concerned parent and taxpayer. I believe that my children's education and safety in the public school system is a primary concern not only for me but for many others as well. I for one do not agree with the integrated classrooms. In my experience I do not feel as though my children are getting the basic fundamentals of their education so that they can one day become productive members of society. Too often teachers are spending a large portion of their day focusing their attention on the students that are in need of individual disciplinary action which is highly disruptive for students that are eager to learn. One may say that this is the parents' fault for lack of discipline at home and this is true; however, it exists and until parents are held accountable for parenting their children, the school district must devote their time and attention to the numerous students that wish to learn. By electing me to the school board it would allow me the opportunity to address the disciplinary issues within the district. As parents, my husband Paul and I were very discouraged with GASD and decided to place all four of our grade school-aged children into private school. Soon after, my husband and I came to the realization that the cost of our school taxes along with the cost of a private education was simply not going to be feasible. As parents we also looked into the possibility of relocation; however, that Idea was short-lived, considering the cost of taxes alongside an undesirable school district which ranks near the bottom when compared to the rest of the capital region. Realistically, many educated parents would not move into our district due to the low rankings. After a considerable amount of contemplation, we chose to move our children back into GASD with the determination to seek a positive change. In doing so, I decided to make a personal commitment to become a candidate for the school board in order to voice my opinion that all students are entitled to receive an unquestionable public education. I would like to explore other possibilities such as re-evaluating how the budget is spent in such a way that is conducive to the children's education instead of using the vague excuse of debt. It is time for unnecessary expenditures to come to a halt, while a solid plan is devised to improve the education of our children as well as the restoration of honesty, integrity and pride within the Greater Amsterdam School District. I am an informed yet concerned parent and taxpayer and I feel that it is time for change and change is what is needed to find a solution to our underlying issues. In order to initiate the needed changes I am asking voters for your support in the upcoming school board election. Please put students and taxpayers first on Election Day (May 21). When elected, you have my assurance that I will work toward a positive school environment for our children and a school district our students, teachers and taxpayers can once again take pride in. Laurie Hamblin, Amsterdam The time is now To the editor: As a candidate for the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Robert Vennett. I was born and raised in Amsterdam, attended and graduated from GASD. I have lived in and worked in and around the area all my life. I believe our future is a result of what we are doing right know. I believe in a quality education for each child, preparing every student for their college careers, life goals and other aspirations. Each child needs to be prepared to meet life's challenges and demands and we must provide them with the ability to do so. While providing a strong fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraint, which I believe is owed to the taxpayers. Business as usual can no longer be the order of the day. Living and operating within our means is not just a personal achievement but is necessary at all levels. We need to be taking into consideration that we have an aging population that is increasingly dipping into their life saving to meet the tax demands. There has been little if any at all new construction in Amsterdam or new jobs for that matter, while we continue to increase taxes on the same tax base. According to the census the median household income from 2007-2011 was $38,699. Get a copy of the budget and check out the salaries and make your own comparison. The time is now for independent thinkers who are willing to do the research, review the facts and make their own conclusions. I encourage all of you to get out and attend board meetings and budget hearings every time. You must let the board know that you are here and you want to be heard. I look forward to serving our school district and community and would appreciate your vote on May 21 polls are open from 12 noon to 9 p.m. Robert Vennett, Amsterdam Beyond the vocal bluster To the editor: Science: The quest for knowledge of things that surround us and also knowledge of ourselves. Questions such as: Who are we and how did we get here? And, why are we here? These are part of scientific studies: the past meets the present. In Tina Dupuy's April 13 article, she challenges the reader why we should even consider the study of "Creationism" (God created the universe in six literal days, Noah's world wide flood, etc.) as a viable explanation of past events that affect our present day lives. Why would any sane, rational intelligent person think to question the scientific evidence of evolution as Tina suggests? The answer, a rational scientific examination for the true knowledge of this argument (Evolution vs. Creationism) the study of the past with modern and up-to-date technology. We must look beyond the vocal bluster of these high priests of evolution who propagate falsehoods in the minds of those who desire to know the truth of the past. There is only one being at the dawn of creation and he has written the only account of the event. We know him as God as dictated in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. God (Jesus) is the sole creator and sustains our life, not evolution, based also upon facts of historical and modern science. Humans did not evolve from lower forms of life. The fossil record is void of any traditional evolutionary changes (the missing link is still missing). Micro-biology, the study of the small inner workings of living matter, makes no connection between human and ape ancestors although evolutionists try their hardest to make a claim for it. All life forms from plants to animals to humans are engineered to be highly complex. We are designed in the eyes of our creator the same as an engineer designing a highly complex piece of machinery. The only exception is that life is 1,000 times more complex. Even a computer with all its memory, programs and function is far less complex than the human brain. Yet we are led to believe that the human brain and all of the information to make it work some how through the aeons of time developed to what we see today. Scientists are finding today that humanity is slowly decaying and not evolving to a higher degree of some sort of super human. Entropy, the theory that all matter in the universe is slowly dying, is taught throughout the Bible long before any Darwinian scientist discovered it. Historical literature of world cultures is replete with accounts of a worldwide flood. The flood of Noah's day is the cause of much of the geological upheavals and sedimentary layers on Earth. Geologists are starting to accept massive global catastrophic events that helped shape the great scenic wonders on our planet not so long ago even thousands of years, not the billions that evolutionists believe. Scientists should abandon the old evolutionary uniformitarianism view that "the present is the key to the past." This worldwide flood was God's judgment on mankind and the Bible tells us that God will again judge mankind with fire, and this, very soon. Science is a wonderful tool, research and investigation, check the scientific articles that are written in the science magazines for data then compare them with the creationists' scientific articles. Then the truth will become much clearer. Do not take the evolutionists' ideology of discrimination and bias attacks against creation science. Examine for yourselves the real facts of the past. Data changes, evidence changes, evolutionists change their views and opinions all the time. The story of evolution continues to deceive and fraud the public. Given that Creationism is a creditable alternative to the study of evolution, it should be taught alongside evolution, in all classrooms of science. There is a God who created us all. We humans have always been human and God never changes. Patrick Whelly, Tribes Hill Enabling a new venture To the editor: This message is, in reality, another "thank you" to the Recorder for unexpectedly providing what turned out to be the key incentive which motivated enough support and interest in enabling a new venue to be established. Which, in working with the Arbor Day Foundation and Wildlife Forever, will encourage on a month-by-month basis the general public to elevate the essential protection of our forests, woodlands and their wildlife inhabitants to even higher levels. The letter to the editor titled "Protect What We Already Have," published by the Recorder on Jan. 27, 2012, struck a chord with the right people in various states and eventually this fledgling, totally volunteer non-profit endeavor finally became a reality. Because the Recorder felt the letter was newsworthy enough to print, all the pieces came together over a period of time. If the Recorder had decided differently, one can only speculate, how much longer a worthwhile project would be prevented from materializing. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Strolling the South Side To the editor: The following is a compilation of what I retain from the South Side. I spoke to Joe DeRose a few years ago and he told me of a method by which I could acquire all that I needed to know about the South Side. I am married now for 61 years. Sixty-two years ago I took my wife on a date to eat at Lanzi's. At the time, eating at Lanzi's was regarded as a rite of passage. We entered there at 5 p.m. Only two people were in the dining room. There was a very tiny woman sitting in a chair just outside the kitchen. She had on a bandana and an apron and she never moved until the waitress gave her our order. Everyone knew that the sauce and the meatballs had to be done several days before serving, but the pasta was something else. It was cooked to order, "el dente," slightly resistant to the bite. I learned a few things that day. We never got poor service, we were never overcharged, and we never left there hungry. This also applies to Lanzi's on Union Street (it used to be on Bridge Street) and in Sacandaga. As Tevye said in "Fiddler on the Roof" -- tradition. Next door was Rich Roger's Auto Repair Shop. If Diogenes sought the world over for an honest man, he would stop there. Rich was, and always has been, a straight arrow in all repairs that he ever did. Next door was Herk's Tavern, home of Hawk Quatrocci. Over to the railroad tracks, and at the Armory Grill, you might run into one of four people. Presently, the Parillos, but going back a ways, it was owned by Stretch Dicenza, Turk Mercandante and my all-time favorite, Joe Ianotti. Across the street is Richie Marnell getting ready to open Carl's Tavern. Up the street, one came to Ehmer's Market, Shorty's ice cream stand, and ... then you are at the end of Bridge Street. If you hung a right on Florida Avenue, one of the first three houses you came to is owned by Carmen Consentino, but we all knew him as "Mingo." Freddy Baia and Mingo gave me enough odd jobs to be sure that I could pay the rent and feed my family. I owe them big time. I am now picking up an odor that penetrates my nostrils on Florida Avenue. It is a very pleasant smell. We now came to Broad Street. I walk down to Pepe's Bakery and pick up a warm loaf of Italian bread. As I leave the bakery I am cognizant that I will spend the balance of my adult life trying to find a duplicate for this loaf of bread. It ain't gonna happen. As I return to Florida Avenue an over-powering smell hits me. It tickles the roof of my mouth the same way that a glass of good rose wine would, or the coleslaw you get at CP's in Hagaman. It is a combination of six to eight different recipes whose contents are determined by what province in Italy the family comes from. Rome, Calabria, Sicily, Venice or Palermo. The ingredients are the same -- just different amounts -- olive oil, garlic, onions, peppers, oregano, cumin, 90 percent hamburger, a pork butt and crushed tomatoes. As you move along Florida Avenue, you note how well kept the houses are. They are occupied by the owner. The lawns are manicured to the point where they look like the carpet in your front room. Over the years you run into people like Eddie and Shoosh Alteri, Anthony "Judge" Carusone, the Elmys and the Sandys, the Baias, the Maslahs, the Grecos, the Botches, the Lanzis, the Leggieros, Champ and Art Porcella, Joe Simeone and family. On Sunday morning at noon you could shoot a cannon up Dewitt Street, down Center Street, Grieme Avenue or Florida Avenue -- and you wouldn't hit a soul. The guys are done playing bocce, the women have dinner ready, and I wish to God I'd been invited. Not once, in all the years that my stomach was in order, did anyone invite me in. Now that I am 86 years old, my stomach is messed up and my diet consists of mashed potatoes, gravy and oatmeal quite often. Now everyone invites me over. I complained to my doctor and he said, "I can't make you any younger." My reply is, "No, but I just want you to make sure that I get older." His parting shot to me is, "You have to start drinking diet soda." Diet soda is like kissing your sister -- there's no buzz. Next week I hope to talk about the West End. James Sheridan, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor A confession to make To the editor: My viewpoint for a number of years has been Boston has Lahey Clinic and Rochester, Minn., has Mayo brothers. We have St. Mary's. Let's leave it like it is. In 1936 SMI was on Forbes Street. During lunch hour I was playing on East Main Street with two classmates, "Gooch" Covell and "T" McDermott. Now, we all know, you shouldn't run out between cars, right? We also know you can always tell an Irishman, but you can't tell him much, right? This Irishman was 9 years old and he ran out between cars. He was struck by a truck driven by a relation of the Allen family of Eagle Street. He did a job on my extremities and I ended up with a fractured skull. I was taken to St. Mary's Hospital and my doctor, Dr. Dixon, didn't know if I would ever walk again. My mother didn't have much faith in medical procedures. She claimed that's why they call it "practicing" medicine because nobody has got it right. After a lengthy stay in the hospital she managed to get me up to the Auriesville Shrine. There, they applied the relics of Kateri Tekawitha and Father Isaac Jogues. Four months later I was walking. Since then, the following has occurred: 1.) Tonsils removed. 2.) Adenoids removed. 3.) Circumcision. 4.) Gall stones removed. 5.) Gall bladder removed. 6.) Six cystoscopes for removal of kidney stones. 7.) Prostate removed. 8.) Ten to 12 colonoscopies. 9.) Endless problems. 10.) Quadruple bypass. 11.) Femoral bypass of right leg. 12.) Neuropathy which means I go nowhere without a wheelchair or a walker. 13.) Several TIA's which has left my right side somewhat useless. 14.) I am diabetic and receive insulin two times daily. In addition I take 13 pills every day. My wife has lost the hearing in her left ear and recently concluded treatment, successfully, for bladder cancer. Outside of these minor inconveniences, we're doing just great. My wife asks me every so often, in the event of my demise, if I wish to be buried or cremated. My reply: "Surprise me." Like I'm going to know what's going on. Now, I can bare my soul, for the deception I pulled off at the hospital. A while back I was being admitted for a procedure. The nurse had taken by vital signs and was writing down my medicare number. She looked at my signature, and then looked at my age 86, and she asked me if I was Dr. Sheridan's father. I neither acknowledged nor denied this. I just nodded my head slightly and I guess she took this as an affirmative answer. Within 20 minutes, I was in a private room, TV going full blast and eating a roast beef dinner. I had a nursing staff of three who looked like Clara Barton, Edith Cavell and Florence Nightingale. Having been raised in a series of Catholic homes, I was cognizant of the wrong I had committed. I would have to designate this as a venial sin as opposed to a mortal sin. After all, it was an error of omission, not commission. I feel better having shared this with you. Sister Patricia Ann Corbett stopped in to see me every day. I must have looked very poorly because she asked me, as a favor, would I please go to confession and communion? I told her that I had made my peace with God so communion was a given. I could not comply with confession because once I went into the cubicle, I would have to have a picnic basket, because I'd be in there quite a while. More to follow. James Sheridan, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Grabbing the tourism dollar To the editor: When all vacationers are on the road traveling, especially cultural tourist collectors, they still remain registered members of the political party of their choice, and their loyalties continue to be intact with fellow party members all across the nation as well. So, when visiting vacationers stop over in a community and they discover campaign fund raising events in progress for candidates endorsed by their own party, they show up and contribute to the cause. This observation is an established fact, and not merely speculation. More and more grassroots county political party committees are creating candidate campaign fund-raiser formats designed specifically to invite fellow tourist/party members to visit the fundraisers as they take place. Depending upon unlimited tourist dollars to publicly finance political campaigns is another way to potentially help rescue the special interests' money clout during an election cycle. Obviously, it's not a total answer, but it does illustrate that various campaign fundraising reforms can be created without being overly complicated. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam A discount smoke screen To the editor: Dollar General and Family Dollar now selling cigarettes: What does this mean for American families? Low-income Americans struggle to make ends meet and provide for their families. In many cases, money is tight, they don't have access to health care services or transportation and they have limited shopping choices. It is well documented that individuals with lower incomes and education levels smoke at much higher rates than those with higher incomes and education levels. Dollar General and Family Dollar are entities that cater to those who look to save money by spending less. But now that they are selling cigarettes, does this not speak volumes about their focus on profit, not the health and well-being of their customers? It is unfortunate that the two leading dollar store retailers, whose primary customers are lower income, recently began selling and marketing tobacco products to this already vulnerable population. According to the Family Dollar website, Family Dollar is "your neighborhood dollar discount store, where you'll find the products that you and your family need the most at the lowest prices." But do these families need tobacco and its associated troubles, especially discounted tobacco products and promotions like buy-one, get-one that keep addicted smokers from quitting and encourage youths to start smoking? According to the Dollar General website, "When you shop Dollar General, you join an effort to make our communities and our world a better place. We are committed to conducting business in a way that promotes healthy families, thriving communities and a cleaner environment. By providing safe practices, we proudly display the values that make our company great." Tobacco is not a safe product, does not make our world a better place, and clearly does not promote healthy families. The truth is that smoking continues to be the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., killing over 25,000 New Yorkers each year. We need to protect our youth from ever picking up a cigarette. The best way to do this would be to reduce the amount of tobacco advertising they see around their communities. For more information, visit Sarah Kraemer, Johnstown The writer is program coordinator for Reality Check in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor What living is all about To the editor: The other day, as I was waiting for my son to take me for a haircut, my mind flashed back to my first haircut in the city. It was 1935. Market Street was cobblestone and trolley tracks ran the length of the city. There were two bus lines, FS&G and Vollmers. The barber shop was a one-chair unit on Division Street. The cost of the haircut was 25 cents. I guess that's why we refer to them as "the good old days." Today, the price is $14. But, because of my age (86), it is $12. For the past 20 years I've been going to the Hagaman Barber Shop. I first went there when Vince and Steve were there. Today we have Jeff, Jim and Micah, and they are professional to a "T." The only thing that rubs me the wrong way is their motto. It was pilfered from the death house in Sing Sing where they used to execute people in the electric chair. The motto is "Three chairs -- no waiting." While in the village of Hagaman we stop at Stewart's for several reasons. They make the best cup of coffee in town at a reasonable price, the help is very courteous, and when they advertise maple walnut or butter pecan ice-cream, you know there is more than an adequate amount of walnuts and pecans in each unit. They also sell 64-ounce half gallons and you pay the same as other ice creams selling 48-ounce units. The big key for us in Hagaman is CP's Restaurant. Our children like to take us out to dinner as often as we feel able to go. They have a tendency to take us to upscale places like 99 in Rotterdam, Romano's in Johnstown, or Blue Ribbon Diner in Schenectady. But, if we have a choice, we pick CP's for several reasons. We've never had bad service, always had good food, the prices of everything, everywhere, have gone up, but CP's has had those $8.95 specials for five to six years. You never leave there hungry. I just hate to see my children go for $80 to $100 and then have to come home and make a sandwich before we go to bed. In my writings, I searched for something negative to say about this community or its residents. The longer I looked, the more positive I became, that this community is full of quality people with a true sense of what living is all about. I was 17 before I ever had a date, because the word "date" denotes the need of "money" and fiscally, I always had a terminal case of the "shorts." Of course, another reason was, I wasn't another pretty face. My sisters told me that I looked like I had been in a hatchet fight with four guys and I was the only one who didn't have a hatchet. Other people told me I looked like a goalie for a dart team. And, when my son was born, my mother came to see him and she said, "Jim he looks just like you, but don't worry, he'll outgrow it." More to follow. James Sheridan, Amsterdam A great day to be a Republican To the editor: This past Monday, April 22, was a great day to be a Republican in Montgomery County, as evidenced by the great turnout for the Republican Committee's annual "Salute to Reagan" dinner and gathering. To be in the same room with so many great Republican leaders -- Chris Gibson, George Amedore, Hugh Farley, Tom DiMezza, Ron Barone, Butch Greco, Barbara Wheeler -- was both humbling and exciting. At the epicenter of it all was Joe Emanuele, Republican Committee chairman, to whom Montgomery County owes a tremendous debt of gratitude. I don't think people realize (I certainly didn't) the critical role and responsibility that committee chairs play in the political process. For no motivation other than fulfilling civic responsibility, Joe Emanuele works tirelessly to identify, vet and run the types of quality candidates that the party has come to expect and the taxpayers demand. Joe is responsible for setting the tone with our state, local and national officials while seeing that the party's goals are met and Montgomery County's identity is preserved and concerns addressed. In a world where being a Republican, in some circles, is not only unfashionable but downright distasteful, and in a general political climate where civility and honesty seem to be, sadly, lost arts, and where rhetoric proves itself more often than not to be disappointingly empty, Joe manages the daily business of the Montgomery County Republicans with the type of quiet grace, competence, strength of character and dedication to conservative principles that we have come to expect from him. I could not imagine, nor would I want, anyone else at the helm of Montgomery County's GOP. With the new era of a legislature dawning in Montgomery County, this is an exciting time for Republicans. I would love to see more people like Joe involved in this and to run for the open legislator seats. After all, it takes people like Joe Emanuele who, rather than sitting on the sidelines, has answered the call of duty and is making democracy happen every single day. With Joe Emanuele as the party boss, I know that we can make every day a great day to be a Republican. Katie Evenson Bottger, Ames Educating the whole child To the editor: Recess is often seen as a highlight of the school day. Recently, unstructured play breaks got an endorsement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Many schools have been forced to reduce or eliminate recess in order to spend more time working on math, reading and other academic pursuits. The AAP recently issued a policy statement saying that recess should not be withheld from children as punishment; that it should complement -- but not replace -- physical education; and that it can benefit children's cognitive, academic and social development in addition to contributing to overall physical fitness. "It's important to protect recess," said Catherine Ramstetter, who co-authored the policy statement with Robert Murray. "The fundamental goal of school is to provide academic and cognitive development, and recess is part of that." Educating the whole child, body and mind, is critical for the development of well-rounded, healthy, successful children. Kelly Pilkey, Glens Falls The writer is a program coordinator for Healthy Schools New York. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Class makes a donation To the editor: On behalf of the trustees of the Walter Elwood Museum board of directors, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Wilbur H. Lynch class of 1947 for their recent donation of $500 to the museum. In meeting with the class secretary and treasurer, Regina Cassetta, I was fortunate enough to learn some very interesting information about the class of 1947. I would like to share some of these fascinating tidbits with your readers. In 1947 the principal of Lynch high was James Kelton, the assistant superintendent was Clara S. Bacon, and the head of the English department was Miss Louise Livingston. The class of 1947 produced some very well known and accomplished graduates. These graduates included; Judge James N. White (known affectionately as "J.V." by friends), Mary Galinski Insogna, Auggie Catena Russo, who was the flower girl in my grandparents' wedding, Joe Martuscello, retired teacher and speaker at the 50th class reunion in 1997, and many others who made educational and careers accomplishments too many to name here. Some exciting highlights of their high school years as reported in the 1947 Senior was the extra day they got off from Christmas vacation due to there being a coal shortage, hanging out at Doyle's, and meeting at "The Hill." Alumni Joe Martuscello's speech at the 50th class reunion was filled of many poignant points and observations, but the ones that touched my head and heart are the following: "I always keep looking for another assignment;" "we should all fight growing stale;" and "you have grown old when you have replaced your dreams with regrets and most of us all seem to still be good dreamers." Generous donations such as these allow us to continue our mission and allow the community to connect to the heritage and culture of our region and the world around us. Touching the past can help one to gain a clear and compelling value of our community's shared historical past, present and future. Ann M. Peconie, Amsterdam The writer is executive director of the Walter Elwood Museum. Clearing up the confusion To the editor: I read the letter to the editor from Katie Evenson Bottger, published in the Recorder newspaper on April 18, 2013, with some concern. The letter was very misleading, and I feel that I should correct it. The writer really misstated the facts and circumstances around this year's state budget. Her confusion is quite understandable, as the Republican-led coalition leading the Senate insisted that the debate and votes on this year's budget occur while everyone else in New York state was asleep. Debate started at 9 p.m., and the final budget vote was cast at 4:30 in the morning. In regard to the 18-A utility surcharge extension, Sen. Tkaczyk repeatedly called for its immediate elimination. She and many of her colleagues in the senate supported an amendment to the budget that would have eliminated it this year. The Republican-led coalition in the Senate defeated the amendment. That bill did pass the Senate. However, in addition to the 18-A surcharge, it also authorized all the funding for the CHIPs program, which rebuilds our local roads and bridges -- $477 million for our local communities. In fact, the bill itself states: "This act enacts into law major components of legislation which are necessary to implement the state fiscal plan for the 2013-2014 3 state fiscal year." It provides the funding for dozens of programs that serve our areas and jobs, both public and private. The writer wants us to believe that Sen. Tkaczyk could have voted against just the surcharge. That is not true. What the writer is actually saying is that she wanted Sen. Tkaczyk to vote to shut down state government, and deprive our communities of millions of dollars of highway funding and other government services. Ken Mazur, Amsterdam Stockpiling the Lorna Doones To the editor: I was employed by Mount Loretto for 16 years. After being there for two years in the dietary department, we had an admission with whom I had gone to school. He was 75 years old, and proceeded to tell me his likes and dislikes. He said, "First of all, some men like booze, other men like girls, but I like Lorna Doone cookies -- do you understand me?" Each day, I would bring up a package of Lorna Doones to him. One day, I was busy and forgot. When I went to retrieve the breakfast carts, he questioned my birthright and my legitimacy. When I brought up the lunch carts, he was in the dining room. I gave him the Lorna Doones and he said, "No thanks, my tray is full. Please put them in my night stand." I opened the drawer in his night stand and there they were -- count them -- 54 packages of Lorna Doones. I told him that if Sister Pat had opened that drawer he would have been in a veteran's home by nightfall ... and I would have joined the ranks of the unemployed. It took him two weeks, but he finished the whole lot. James Sheridan, Amsterdam Tuesday, March 17, 2015 Letters to the Editor Learn more about Obamacare To the editor: In March 2010 President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is more commonly referred to as "Obamacare." There has been a great deal of speculation regarding the impact this act will have on New York state. As a master's in social work student with the University of Southern California I have done extensive research on this topic. I have been trying to understand this act better and obtain information regarding the changes that we will soon see. Who better to reach out to than my district representative, New York state Sen. Hugh Farley? When I reached out to him to arrange a meeting to discuss the act I received the following response: As a member of the New York state Legislature, I was not involved in the enactment of the federal health care legislation. You may want to reach out to your federal representatives. Please do not hesitate to contact me on any matter involving New York state government. I responded to him by stating that I was disappointed in his response and that he should be open to discussing the act with his constituents. I also told him that I know that New York state has been working since 2011 to establish a state-based health benefit exchange consistent with the Affordable Care Act and on July 9, 2012, Gov. Cuomo submitted a declaration letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services confirming this. Therefore, as a representative for the people of the state of New York, he should know about the Affordable Care Act and have more of an interest in expressing its purpose and impact to those he represents. I have yet to hear from him again, but I am hopeful that more people will take the initiative to educate themselves about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and not rely on their "representatives" to educate them about the changes they should expect to see. Shirleen McClarren, Broadalbin The household finances To the editor: Several years ago, I convinced my wife that we should retire, and we filed for Social Security together. Our children were married and had their own homes, families and careers. We then received a jolt. It seems that my wife, who taught in Head Start for 30 years, was not funded for a pension. My years in York Beach, Maine, and Mount Snow, Vt., had no applicable pension. We were left with Social Security, period. So we had a meeting, just the four of us: my wife, myself, the cat and the dog. We decided that my wife would continue teaching. I obtained a job in the Dietary Department at Mount Loretto during the daytime. It lasted 17 years. I also got a job as a night watchman at Ward Products on Edson St. That lasted nine years. On my day off, and on weekends, I picked apples for a very dear friend, Ed Schuyler. We now had to decide what to do with this monetary "windfall." We decided that my wife was more stable that I was with money. So we took another vote: my wife, myself, the cat and the dog. It was three to one that my wife would handle all the money involved. On the third of every month, everything we had money-wise was placed on the table. We endorsed our respective checks and my wife took everything down to Patty Macek at MCT. She and her beautiful associates would assure that all bills were paid and that we didn't face bankruptcy. The reasoning behind this was that we had no vices, we didn't drink or smoke, and I played the Irish lottery once a month. Now, if I want a bag of jelly beans, a haircut or a Hershey bar, all I have to do is ask. I don't get a dirty look or a long face. The money is there. This went on for three years. With an absence of vices, our existence is captured around meal time, and in 61 years I've never had a bad meal. Never. One Sunday night, the four of us were having dinner: My wife, myself, the cat and the dog, when the phone rang. All I heard of the ensuing conversation was as follows: "Yes, certainly, of course." "I'll meet you there at 3:30 p.m. on Monday." My wife came back to the table and said "One of the children needs a short-term loan. They're purchasing a car." I said, "Define short term." She said, "Thirty days." I said, "Define money." She said, "$2,500." I almost choked to death. When I got up off the floor and regained my composure, I said "Mary, where in heaven's name did you get $2,500?" She patted me on the forehead and said very gently, "You just keep picking those apples Jim, that's all you got to know." Two and a half weeks later, we got the $2,500 back, plus interest, and I never again questioned my wife's banking procedures. I adhere to the following three adages that we have lived by: 1) Chicken one day, feathers the next. 2) The rich get richer, and the poor get children. 3) Old cooks never die, they just smell that way. More to follow. James Sheridan, Amsterdam It all seems unfair To the editor: On a recent local radio talk show, a retired civil servant said he sent about $20 to the IRS, and about the same to the state for taxes. It seems such individuals are not paying their fair share for the upkeep and maintenance of services provided by their governments. State pensions go untaxed by the state and are often sent to forwarding addresses for those who have escaped New York state. The loss in taxes for the state, and perhaps the federal government, is immense. Since our legislators game the same system, it is unlikely, such pensions will ever be taxed. All of which seems unfair. David Childs, Johnstown Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Tkaczyk deceiving the public To the editor: In the recent editorial by Sen. Tkaczyk published by the Recorder, Tkaczyk disgracefully attempted to deceive the public about her vote to extend the 18-A surcharge that every senior, consumer and business is burdened with. For those of you who are unaware of this hidden tax, the 18-A surcharge is on every one of our utility bills and is partially the reason why we pay some of the highest electric rates in the nation. In a slick political maneuver, Tkaczyk informed readers that she voted to repeal the tax, but conveniently left out that she voted for Senate Bill 2608 which extended the 18-A Tax that was set to expire at the end of 2013. So either she didn't know what was in the bill she voted for or she is desperately trying to fool the public into thinking she didn't vote for a massive tax increase that will be paid for by all of us. I believe this speaks volumes about the freshman senator's integrity. If she was that opposed to the tax she should have voted against the bill that actually extended it. Rather, she places more importance on a vote for a bill which she knew would never become law in order to fool the Recorder's readers and the constituents she represents. This type of political maneuvering is disgraceful and we should expect more from our elected officials. Katie Evenson Bottger, Ames Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor In defense of the cashier To the editor: I wish to respond to the letter from Amsterdam Mayor Ann M. Thane in which she attempts to justify her decision not to rehire cashier Chris Ceterski at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. First of all, I think it appropriate to say, "I think the lady doth protest too much." Mayor Thane will damn anyone who dares to question her decisions; it reminds me of many interactions I had with her when I was a building official for the city of Amsterdam. I am a long-time friend of the Ceterski family and I cherish them as I would my own family. Chris's family was very instrumental in my younger years; in my learning and education, they helped me become the person I am today. Because I know Chris so well, I can say she will stand up to anyone when she feels it is necessary and right. This is probably why Mayor Thane fired her. I wish her the best; I can tell you from personal experience that leaving the employ of the city of Amsterdam was the best thing I ever did. This arbitrary decision was not based on the best interest of the taxpayers, but the best interest of Mayor Thane and her empire. If she has to write letters to justify her actions, she is not properly conducting the business of the city of Amsterdam. Lastly, the golf course is not Price Chopper or Burger King; it runs on taxpayer dollars and membership fees. Luis Aguero, Amsterdam Concerned about the hotel To the editor: Well. If the mayor didn't say those untrue words to the paper. It may not be the end. By putting the place down so. It may not sell. The staff and I came from Johnstown and made it a wonderful friendly, safe and clean great hometown hotel. I haven't been there for 2 years do to illness, but the same staff is still there. You can't do anything about capital improvements. If you had owners, putting profits in pocket and not in capital improvements. Which management and staff. Have no control. But cleanliness. How dare you mayor of Amsterdam. Free hotel rooms for police department. When you were not in office to clean up Amsterdam. Drug problem. Donations to all fund raisers. Large accounts that came to hotel and everyone in Amsterdam. Got a piece of the pie. You got phone calls. I'm sure a disgruntled employee and family members. Locals. Believe me. You're not in the hotel business, if they have a problem, they call head office. So they get discount. Free room. Some people. Do this constantly, and hotel chains know this, not City Hall. If they did, common courtesy would of been to pick up phone call to management. Not blast untrue remarks in paper. I was there that day. For breakfast when the paper came out. Phone was ringing off wall. That they were closing. Should they change reservations. Shame on you. That almost lost business, hurt travel and tourism for all of Amsterdam. The city you represent. Their were new people that were running restaurant. Started to have a nice following. That night. Packed up and left that night. And the staff. Were heartbroken. For the paper write up. Well, what this place needs is someone with money to fix it and will care not some scum bags to buy it and keep it like it is. Needs roof fixed needs someone to put money in curb appeal money. Capital improvements. Or knock it down and build new. Only way to save Amsterdam. But dirty. Not. Susan Maye, Johnstown History, made fresh every day To the editor: The Courier-Standard-Enterprise newspaper provides a valuable community service. You and Linda Kellett create well written and researched stories that are full of details on the latest hometown news. The C-S-E is a trusted source for information on the people, and the many local events. I also enjoy the Down Memory Lane photos from your archival files. Some people say that nothing ever happens in a small township or village. Reading the Courier-Standard-Enterprise would certainly change their mind. Thank you for a great weekly paper and the community service it provides for the close-knit villages of western Montgomery County. History isn't dull, because it's being made fresh every day. Anita Smith, St. Johnsville Growing up with ... To the editor: I recently received my alumni newsletter from St. Mary's Institute. In it was a very wonderful tribute to Father Calvin Poulin. It was extremely well written. When I got to the bottom of the page, I knew why. Attorney Robert Going, class of '69, was the author. The last book that I read that was written by Robert Going was the WW II Servicemen's Book. That brought a tear to my eye. In 1935, we moved from Rome, N.Y., to Amsterdam. I attended SMI when it was located on Forbes Street. My father died in 1936 and his legacy to my mother was a cigar box full of unpaid bills, which took her six and a half years to pay off. We lived on the corner of Wall and Green Street. On the third of every month, my two sisters, my mother and I split two popsicles -- total cost 10 cents. But, there was a segment of the population who were worse off then we were. On my way home from school, I went up Guy Park Avenue to the corner of Wall Street. I hung a right there at Bigler's Cafe. Next store, was a brick tenement where the Hurleys and the Barnes lived. Their children all went to SMI. About 40 feet up Wall Street was Charles Street. If you hung a right on Charles Street, about 60 feet in you came to an alley, which our forefathers dignified by naming it Covey Lane. On Covey Lane were two structures, which could not be classified as houses. I played there with the occupants; and I know that they had less than we did. Coming out of that alley came Patricia, Donald, Calvin and Neal Poulin. One nun, and three priests whose mother sustained their livelihood by cooking for the nuns in the convent on Grove Street. It don't get any better than this. Their religion sustained them. Myself, I always had role models to look up to. Jimmy Bergen, Rocky McCune, Bob Sise and several families who gave dignity and class to being born in this time frame. The Bennison family from Guy Park Avenue, the Hage family from Grove Street, the Allen family from Eagle Street, the Sise family, the McDermotts, Betty Seward, the Jasper family from Trinity Place and the DeRose family from Wall Street and the Clary girls. It was such a pleasure to grow up with these people, although, quite honestly -- I didn't appreciate it then, but I do now. James Sheridan, Amsterdam Getting the message across To the editor: It's called a letter-petition, consisting of a detailed message on one sheet and the names, addresses and so forth on a second attached sheet, listing local residents who totally support the particular views being outlined. Letter-petitions are continually sent to elected state and federal governmental representatives, alerting them that their respective constituents are regularly monitoring various political and economic events taking place. Surprisingly, when letter-petitions arrive from grassroots small-town village residents, they receive full attention because it becomes quite obvious to the legislators that from virtually all municipalities, regardless of population numbers, the voices of vigilant voters are speaking out loud and clear. Letter-petitions are also excellent reminders for legislators that their mission goal is to always provide effective decisions and actions which directly benefit, first and foremost, the public good. Officials and members of small-town and village civic centers, community groups, clubs and the like are primarily the major source of preparing and sending out letter-petitions. As the political corruption scandals in our state legislative houses become known, letter-petitions are viable vehicles to use in letting the governor and our elected representatives become appraised of exactly what the average citizen voter has to say about the treachery that has been allowed to become so rampant. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 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, Johnstown Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Can no longer rely on rehab To the editor: I applaud Antony Susi's comments of April 4 in the C-S-E and the Recorder letters to the editor regarding the importance of the St. Johnsville Rehabilitation Center in the St. Johnsville Nursing Home complex to the residents, the rehabilitation patients, and to the general public. I, too, enjoyed the family experience of seeing familiar faces when I stepped into the gym, so much so, that when my doctor after reviewing my physical therapy report and said that "no sweat" mean that I was "talking too much," I asked if that fact was in the report? He shook his head, "no." But now you know that therapy days were not only effective, but also pleasurable days for me. Since 2000, I have gone to the St. Johnsville Rehab Center with a doctor's prescription and purchase of a gym membership on several occasions for knee strengthening and increased mobility as a viable option to replacement surgery. Since February 2013, I have returned, this time following the inevitable double knee replacement surgery. As my insurance coverage for rehab would be for only so many days/dollars, it was my intent to continue the prescribed therapy as a private pay gym client at the St. Johnsville Rehab gym in order to be able to stay in a familiar environment with staff who knew me and not far from my home. It was a shock Friday, March 29, to learn that that this plan would not be possible: that the gym facilities were effectively now closed to the general public. What will I do, where will I go? Bonnie Kerr, Fort Plain Kitten season approaches To the editor: The members of FGA (Feline Guardian Angels) would like to express our sincere appreciation to Imperial Lanes and the public for making our third annual bowl-athon on April 6 a great success for another year. Imperial Lanes graciously opened their doors to us and the community once again opened their hearts by supporting our cause. All of these acts of kindness demonstrate the growing community support of the effort to fight the feral cat overpopulation. The funds from this event will be used to spay/neuter feral cats locally. Additional special thanks to Country Valley Vet Hospital, Milton Vet Hospital and Montgomery County SPCA PAL (Prevent Another Litter) program by working with FGA to help accomplish our mission. We truly couldn't do it without your services and support. Please note when temperatures rise each spring, it marks the beginning of "kitten season," the time of year when millions of kittens are born. Cats have an approximately 60-day gestation period, so spring kittens are being conceived right now. In addition, cats can become pregnant as early as four months of age, so last year's kittens can be producing this year's litters. The time for prevention is now. FGA urges community members to have their pet cats spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Not only does neutering prevent new litters of kittens, it improves the cat's health. Additionally, this is also a crucial time to neuter neighborhood stray and feral cats through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), we are able to stabilize the population of local cat colonies, and decrease the number of cats entering shelters or living on the street. Feline Guardian Angels is a 501c3 charitable organization operated by volunteers and concerned citizens whose mission is to humanely reduce the number of feral cats in the local community and to improve the quality of life through a trap-neuter-release program. Trap-Neuter-Return is a long-term, comprehensive community program that stabilizes the feral cat population humanely. Cats are trapped, tested for aids and/or leukemia, altered, vaccinated and returned to their outdoor homes with a caregiver to oversee the general population. FGA also provides education to the public about the benefits of population reduction through responsible ownership. FGA is funded solely by public donations. The organization primarily serves Montgomery County. As of December 2012, the group has spayed/neutered over 350 stray or feral cats from the local community in a two year span of time. Please be part of the solution. For further information regarding FGA and our services, please call 466-3478. Myra Lampkin, Amsterdam Spirit of kindness is alive To the editor: The Haven of Hope Ecumenical Food Pantry in Fonda would like to express our gratitude for the incredible generosity of the Fonda-Fultonville community. It is heart-warming to know that the spirit of kindness and giving is alive and well. Last week we received a donation of 800-plus items of food collected and delivered by Chartwells School Dining Service staff at F-FCS. In addition, the F-F elementary school faculty and staff also recently collected and donated a huge quantity of food. In the past weeks and months donations of food and money have come from Walmart, F-F Lions, Lexington, Glen-Mohawk VFW, NBT Bank, Freihoffer's, Decrescente, Dollar General, F-F Kiwanis, Fultonville and Fonda post offices, Boy Scout Troop 32, National Kateri Shrine, Stewart's, Panera Bread, Fonda Liberty Houses, Buanno TA, Iroquois, Fonda, and Tribes Hill senior citizens, as well as from many church groups and individuals. Because of this amazing support from our communities, we are able to keep our pantry supplied for needy residents of the Fonda-Fultonville school district. If you are in need, please visit the food pantry at 10 Main St. in Fonda on Thursdays between noon and 2 p.m. If you have contributed in any way to the food pantry, please accept our heartfelt gratitude. Ann B. Mahon, Fultonville Thank you for the support To the editor: I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and extend my gratitude to Danny Montalvo of Montalvo Gym. This individual has been my training partner and mentor throughout my life. Prior to enlisting in the Air Force, I was aware of the physical and mental challenge I would be facing upon my initial entrance. In most cases, many recruits are unable to last past the first week of basic training. I turned to Danny for assistance and moral support. He was able to establish an exercise regimen that was similar to military requirements. Once I completed the training he provided I was more confident in my approach to basic training and technical school. I can recall a quote Danny would use while in training: "Never quit on something that you love and always do your best." Once I completed my basic training, I was named airman of the month, outstanding performer, and received a leadership award. I would like to say thank you, Danny. Thank you for all the support and encouragement. It has contributed to the man I am today. Manuel Morales, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Mayoral shenanigans To the editor: "Replacing this individual was not at all political. I have never worked that way." For once the mayor is right. It wasn't political; it was shenanigans at its worst. The hiring of a relative of a non-approved counsel instead of the rehiring of a competent, hard-working, and friendly person is too blatant to ignore or even face up in Facebook. As I always reminded the honorable queen of politicians, "The Nile is not just the name of a river." This is a famous quote of Will Rodgers that is still relevant in Amsterdam politics today when honesty and integrity are truly revealed. William D. Wills, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Decision not taken lightly To the editor: I am writing in regard to the decision not to rehire a certain individual as a seasonal cashier at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. I would caution that there are always two sides to any story. As this is a personnel issue, I am not at liberty to discuss the particulars of this situation, but state emphatically that this decision was not made lightly. There were valid reasons to pass on this year's rehire. Replacing this individual was not at all political. I have never worked that way. I find it inappropriate that members of the golf course have chosen to make this a public conversation, as they are not privy to all of the facts surrounding this situation and their information comes from a disgruntled individual. Honesty and integrity are top priorities for this administration. I have always operated with the best interests of the taxpayers of this community in mind. Mayor Ann M. Thane, Amsterdam Terrible voter turnout To the editor: Last week, a friend and I went out to vote for the approval of two new buses for the school district. It was about 6 o'clock. My friend was number six to register, and I was number seven. You registered voters on the South Side should be embarrassed about yourselves. Three people sacrificed their evening to register voters, and one was a 90-year-old-plus gentleman. Again, just a terrible turnout. Bob Parillo, Amsterdam Thank your mother To the editor: In March 1936, my father passed away. We were living on 9 Stewart St. Within 30 days, we were forced to move to 79 Wall St. My mother often referred to this as a move from a penthouse to an outhouse, but as my father left her with nothing but bills, we had no choice. Social Services wasn't funded the way they are today. At the age of 9, I was classified as incorrigible. They were right. My mother was allowed to keep my two sisters, but I was sent to Father Baker's orphanage in Lackawanna. During the year that I was there, I had 15 to 20 fights. Yes, I lost them all. So they sent me to a boy's home in Albany, where I had another 15 to 20 fights, which I also lost. My record looked something like it had taken place in the Roman Empire -- the score: Lions 35, Christians 0. But I did learn how to defend myself. It got so that kids left me alone because they knew they could whip me; but in doing so, they would sustain a broken nose, a black eye, missing teeth or a hernia. One day, I received a small package from my mother. It seems that she and my sisters had picked up soda bottles, milk bottles (plastic bottles hadn't come along yet) and newspapers, accumulating $1.40, which was the exact price of a round-trip ticket from Albany to Amsterdam, with a change in Schenectady. To me, $1.40 represented the gross national product of a Third World Nation. So on Sunday, Mother's Day, I knew one thing. I had to be back at the "home" by 7:30 or they would give me a "lesson in corporal punishment." I left school, walked up to Howard Johnson's on Central Avenue, and a miracle happened. A man, his wife and son picked me up and were headed to Tribes Hill to see his mother. They let me off on Market Street. Just a few feet off was a florist. It was either Mary and Belle's or Hotaling's. I walked in, put my 70 cents on the counter, and the lady fixed me up with enough "scraps" for a corsage. I took it home. We had dinner, and then I walked down to Lurie's to catch the bus back to Albany. I arrived in Albany at 5:30, and that was the end of a very eventful day. Several years later, my mother and I were having Thanksgiving dinner. My two sisters had married. One sister, Pat, was a registered nurse, and she married a guy who looked good enough to be in the movies. His name was Frank Lupa. They now live in Texas. To augment her income, my other sister, Betty, taught ballroom dancing with Hugh Donlon's daughter, Margaret. She taught a fellow who was a jockey with Sanford Stud Farms named Lou Hildebrandt, who passed away last year. They were married for over 50 years. After dinner was over, my mother started to address Christmas cards. She had gotten about 35 done and asked me to go in her desk drawer and get a roll of stamps. They were either 3-cent or 5-cent stamps, not 47 cents. Underneath the stamps was a ball of cellophane with a small card and what looked like decaying foliage. The card read, "Jimmy -- 1938 -- Mother's Day -- Thank you, Jesus." All you guys who take your mother for granted, keep this in mind. You can't even pay your mother the interest on what she's done for you. When you're alone, give her a hug and let her know that you are aware. If your next gathering of family involves food, you never have to worry about her burning her mouth on the food, because by the time she gets done with waiting on everyone and sits down, her plate and what's on it is nice and cold. Chances are, she'll be eating the leftovers anyway. It was ever thus. My favorite quote to my mother, borrowed from Robert Browning, was, "I don't love you for what you are but for what I am when I am with you." James Sheridan, Amsterdam Protecting our parks To the editor: More than 7 million people will visit the Adirondacks this year, but sadly, without needed federal support these mountains may not be prepared for such crowds. Visitors may see a park which isn't as pristine as in the past, and development may continue along its borders. The current Congress could bring renewed hope that these majestic mountains -- with their beloved lakes, pristine trails, and popular ski resorts -- by acting to protect our parks for generations to come. Decades ago, Congress set up the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect our parks against overdevelopment and pollution. Unfortunately, this program has been routinely underfunded for years. This has put the Adirondacks -- and the memories and experiences millions will have by visiting them -- at risk. That's bad news for the Adirondacks, as well as other parks like Harriman State Park in the Hudson River Valley and Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region, where New Yorkers spend time hiking, fishing, boating, camping or simply enjoying the scenery. We should protect these special places so that future generations can experience seeing a moose up close, or catching trout from the crystalline waters of a mountain lake, just as generations of New Yorkers have done before us. We owe it to our children to protect the Adirondack Mountains, and other places that make New York special, with full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I applaud Sen. Gillibrand for supporting our parks, open spaces, and wilderness areas, and we hope New York's legislators will give our parks the protections they deserve. Eric Whalen, New York City The writer is a field organizer for Environment New York. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Concerns about golf course To the editor: I have just returned home from Mexico and read that the our mayor decided to terminate Chris Ceterski as cashier at the golf course. I believe that the mayor should try to maintain the city's finances instead of trying to control the only city entity that makes money for the city. In the past we had two full-time cashiers. They were great. Ann Marie and Lynn. Chris has filled the void of the past cashiers and now the mayor has decided to not reappoint her. The golfers who pay to use this facility should have a say in this matter. I'm writing this because if you don't speak nobody will listen. I have been a taxpayer in the city of Amsterdam since my return from the military in 1971. My concern is with our municipal golf course. The golf course should not have to suffer because of the city's budget shortfalls. Every year at budget time the golf course is chastised about its yearly rates. The golf course is a department within the city. It pays its percentage of its total revenue toward the city budget. The golf course is self-sufficient and receives no money or personnel to maintain the properties. When a golfer pays their (user fee) their locker fee, their cart storage fee, their tournament fees, we respect our city's former elected officials for maintaining this great venue. The muni golf course is one of the best venues within the city. Our elected members of the council should try to promote our jewel instead trying to raise our rates and detour our membership. The taxpayers of Amsterdam do not pay any money to subsidize the normal operation of the course. There are other venues in the city, Shuttleworth Park, Riverlink Park, the swimming pool, all the tennis courts, all the baseball and softball fields. How much revenue does the city receive to maintain these facilities? The taxpayers pay the freight for these. Thanks to all the volunteers who work hard to help keep these venues vibrant. So I hope when the council meets they think of the golfers who pay to maintain this Robert Trent Jones great golf course. I speak for the golfers who pay to use to golf course. I know that their feelings are mutual. Mayor I hope you you read this. Donald Zarecki, Amsterdam No access to exercise To the editor: As a longtime and frequent user of the exercise equipment at the St. Johnsville Rehabilitation and Nursing Center I was profoundly disappointed to learn that the facility will no longer be available for outside membership. I might add that this change in policy was recently implemented without any advance notice or written explanation to membership holders. Since its opening several years ago the rehabilitation/nursing center has enjoyed a good relationship with the St. Johnsville community. I think, in part, some of that may be attributed to providing the general public with access to this state-of-the-art facility. That access not only afforded a forum for a healthier community physically but also mentally and socially for both outside users and facility residents. Family is created in many ways and never is that more evident then in a small town. When I walk through the doors I see people I grew up with and looked up to. I see former neighbors and friends, some now in their twilight years, greeting me with a smile. This coming together to get fit, talk and laugh benefits us all not only as individuals, but collectively, and contributes greatly to our communal well being. While I am not privy to the center's administrative reasons, it would seem on the surface to be an unfortunate change in policy. Anthony Susi, St. Johnsville Pinwheels for prevention To the editor: April is Prevent Child Abuse Month. To bring awareness of child abuse prevention, Prevent Child Abuse Chapters around the nation mobilize a Pinwheels for Prevention campaign. CASA of Fulton and Montgomery Counties advocates for children who have been adjudicated neglected and/or abused. It is sad for these children and even sadder is the fact that it could have been prevented. There are many reasons child abuse can happen: unrealistic expectations of parenthood, differences between what we want and what we have, strained relationships, too much to do and too little time, financial problems, drug and alcohol abuse, and a history of being abused as a child are examples of problems that can cause parents to take out anger and frustration on their children. You can help prevent child abuse. Here are some actions you can take: Be a good example, be a friend to a parent, reach out to neighbors or relatives with children, praise and encourage the children you know, take action and don't wait for someone else to, organize safety systems for your neighborhood, volunteer, set up an after-school program at a retirement home, learn more about child abuse and child abuse prevention. Also, join us at the St. Mary's Amsterdam Memorial campus April 19 from 4 to 6 p.m. and plant a pinwheel garden. Besides planting a pinwheel, each child will receive a pinwheel to take home. There are also events by the Hagaman Fire Department, State Police, Montgomery County sheriff, and the Amsterdam Police Department Explorers will be there to help with the pinwheel planting. St. Mary's Hospital will provide cookies and juice. Pinwheels are the symbol of a happy, carefree childhood. All children deserve a healthy, happy and safe childhood. If you have questions or need further information, please contact Linda Burns, director of CASA, at 842-3762, ext. 2207; or email Linda Burns, Amsterdam The writer is director of CASA of Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Wednesday, October 22, 2014 Letters to the Editor St. Baldrick's a success To the editor: On behalf of the Johnstown Police Benevolent Association we would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the following individuals and businesses for their support of the St. Baldrick's Day Event on March 23, 2013. A special thanks to Lisa Page and Brad Petrie from Razor Hair Salon and Lou Lanzi from Partner's Pub, for co-sponsoring the event with us and for dedicating their time, staff, expertise and knowledge to the event. A big thank you to Sean Piasecki, Karen Newkirk, Denise Cheney, Tammy Gagne and Valerie Caban who all volunteered their time and professional skills for a great cause. We would also like to thank the following businesses who not only stepped up to the plate by making some larger donations, but also providing some of their employees as "shavees." Michael Bowman and everyone at Veterans Telecommunications, Eastern Medical Support, Gregg Buckley and the rest of the staff from Fuccillio Autoplex in Nelliston, and Shawn Humphrey from Small Town Sound who volunteered not only his head for shaving, but also provided music and emceed the event. Finally, we would like to thank everyone who either donated, had their head shaved, or just spent the time soliciting donations for St. Baldrick's, which raised almost $5,000 to fight childhood cancers. To everyone involved, we could not have done any of this without your help and support. Thank you for your time, dedication, professionalism and friendship. We, at the Johnstown Police Benevolent Association look forward to working with all of you again at next year's St. Baldrick's Day event. Eric Johnson, president; Adam Schwabrow, Mike Pedrick, Johnstown Police Benevolent Association Smoking and public health To the editor: This letter is in regard to your editorial on public health in Wednesday's paper. All the ideas you included are obviously good ones. I would like to get specific regarding one item -- cigarettes; actually, the smoke from them. Keep it out of the playground, away from me, my kids and your kids. Keep it away from school bus stops. You should also stop walking your children home, often also pushing a stroller containing a baby, while you are smoking. Stop smoking in your vehicle with your kids inside of it, or when they will be inside of it shortly. You will be able to get your fill of toxic smoke when there are nobody's children around. You'll just have to show some restraint, if that's possible for you. Finally, if our forward thinking municipality could bring itself to enact a no-smoking in playgrounds statute and enforce it by fining smokers, that would be effective. A $50 fine? That's the cost of five packs. Mark Valberg, Amsterdam Canajoharie's champions To the editor: Congratulations to the Canajoharie Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team for being the best in their classification in New York state. These extremely talented and intelligent young people are going to the world competition in Michigan in May. They've won the regional competition for the past five years. Quite an accomplishment in itself. They deserve our support and praise for a job extremely well done. Joyce Cochran, Canajoharie Thursday, May 30, 2013 Preventing child abuse Preventing child abuse To the editor: Child abuse is a major problem facing our community. One of the most dangerous and tragic forms of abuse is Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). SBS happens when a caregiver violently shakes a baby or young child, causing brain injuries, cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing loss, learning and behavior problems, seizures, paralysis and death. Twenty-five percent of shaken babies die, and 80 percent of survivors are left with lasting medical problems. Between 1,000 and 3,000 children in the United States suffer from SBS each year. Just a few seconds of shaking can result in lifelong injury or death. The good news is that Shaken Baby Syndrome is completely preventable. Most adults responsible for causing SBS don't mean to hurt the child. Sometimes the caregiver is frustrated because the baby will not stop crying. SBS may also be triggered by other "bad behavior" from the child, or by stress in the caregiver's personal life such as relationship or money problems. Educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of shaking a baby is a proven way to lower SBS rates. Right now, the nursing staff at The Birthplace of St. Mary's Hospital is working to educate our community on SBS through a comprehensive education program that includes increasing awareness of this problem, providing tips for soothing a crying baby, and encouraging parents to educate surrogate caregivers of the infant. We recommend that when a parent leaves their child with a caregiver to always provide numbers where either they or another support person can be reached, should the caregiver experience difficulty in soothing a crying baby. Recently we provided an educational program at the Lynch middle school, reviewing safe infant care practices for emerging young adults who may be asked to care for an infant. Simple educational points and a plan for reaching out for support are effective prevention strategies. If you are caring for a crying baby, first check to make sure he/she is not hungry, hot or cold, sick, or that his diaper doesn't need to be changed. If the baby is still crying, try rocking the baby, rubbing his back, or singing to him/her. If you feel overwhelmed, it is OK to place the child in a safe place (like a crib) while you take a break for five or 10 minutes. Once you have relaxed, you can try again to calm the baby. Maintain a list of people that you can call for support and relief when you are feeling overwhelmed. For more information on SBS and tips for soothing a crying baby, the New York state Department of Health has a wonderful tool kit for infant care givers. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact Julia Shafer, director of women's services at St. Mary's Healthcare. Julia Shafer, Amsterdam Monday, August 24, 2015 Letters to the editor Hats off to Bill Cooper To the editor: Where is the mold from which Bill Cooper was made? Here it is. No, it's over there. Where? Not easy to find, is it. There are not many men like Bill around these days. You could call him an old-timer. Appropriate. Here's how: Bill was full of life and love. He must have been trained in the way he should go in life when he was young because he didn't depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6.) Optimistically and fervently he made his decisions and performed his work. If you weren't imbued with exuberance talking to him you needed a mirror test. A man of multiple moral Christian virtues: integrity, dignity, probity, felicity, appreciation. Yes, all the adjectives fit. Also was he a great father, husband and family man. A man to remember. Hats off to Bill Cooper. Michael Wager, Perth Hanging out and playing ball To the editor: People my age usually are into nostalgia and memorabilia. Two words -- Cossens Park -- should strike a responsive chord. During the depression, every Saturday morning, there would be 25-26 young men gathered there for a pick-up baseball game. The captains of each team would choose who they wanted based on ability and size. Before you ask -- no, I was never chosen. I had about 10 cents worth of ability and I weighed 107 pounds. So, I became a spectator. I saw Roger Bowman, Bob Sise, David Langley, Porky Blanchfield, Joe Phillips and my all-time favorite, Butch Petruccione. When Butch hit a fly ball, I swear it must have had ice on it when it came down. He was not only big but he was a beautiful human being. Here's where I have a problem: There were nine men on each team (9 x 2=18), but there were only 12 gloves. Some must have been exchanged while going from offense to defense. The other piece of missing equipment was a catcher's mask. With the mask being missing, in all probability, the catcher's teeth were missing too. Two foul balls and you were headed to Dr. Dunning. You could then look forward to gumming your pork chops. You have to remember the era of the depression we were in. Every Friday night our parents played bingo at the Rialto Theater, not for money, but for dishes. A cup and saucer, a dinner plate, a gravy boat. In this time frame there was a man named Joe Polo. He was very muscular and had long, bleached hair, down to his hips. They hooked him up to a harness then tied his hair to the front bumper of a car. They put the car in gear and he pulled it from Main and Market to Main and Church. It was a promotion for a car dealership. In September, the weather turned cool, and the custodians in the schools had job security. I don't think any of them were making over 35 bucks a week. So, if we could get 10 kids who could come up with 25 cents, we would give the $2.50 to the janitors. While they were mopping the floors and dumping trash, we could use the basketball court for an hour and a half. The $2.50 doesn't sound like much now, but everybody in those days was on a bean, rice and macaroni diet. I used to think I played fairly well. Then one day we got a new kid who had a quarter and he promptly put an end to my playing days. This kid was 14 years old and he could have started for any team in the Capital District. CBA, Vincentian or Mount Pleasant would have loved to have had him. When he played with us, he cleared all rebounds, and knew exactly what to do with the ball. He was "poetry in motion." More movement than a Swiss watch. Every move was a picture. He should have had an ego as big as the Grand Canyon. But, on the contrary, he was humble and very dignified. He had a very good sense of humor off the course. He was the kind of guy you wanted your daughter to meet. His name was Freddy Guzielek. Sadly, he and Butch Petruccione left us far too early. This was a void that could never be filled. If, you were with either one of these men for over 20 minutes, you were hooked. They were magnets. Jim Sheridan, Amsterdam Ignored for her loyalty? To the editor: This a copy of an e-mail I sent to Mayor Thane regarding the rehiring of our cashier. It boggles the mind that the city is still standing.. Dear Mayor Thane: As president of the Amsterdam Couples League, I have been informed by my members (over 70 men & women) that Chris Ceterski is not going to be rehired for the most ridiculous reason we have ever heard. I thought someone must be pulling our leg because instead of rehiring one of the best workers the course has ever had, the story is that you won't rehire her because she had too many hours last year. The reason she had so many hours is that your hiring practices were flawed. The average time a new hire stayed on the job was about one week. This meant that Chris had to fill in until another person could be put in place. It seems that this happened all summer. We strongly recommend that you rehire Chris and give the course a chance of getting started on the right foot. Instead of rewarding her for her loyalty, it seems that she is being ignored because of it. If you wanted to make a political appointment, you should have been forward enough to admit it. When the city required that all the leagues pay an additional $10 per person to have a league, we went along with it, although ALL of our couples were paid up members, because it was for the good of the course. This situation is not good for the course, or the membership. I would guess that a lot of members will look upon this as one more reason to doubt the city of Amsterdam can do anything in a professional manner. With new ownership at the Hales Mills course, some of our membership is at risk of leaving for greener pastures. Hales Mills has already teamed up with two courses with reciprocity and I expect, because the new owners are real golfers, that there will be other incentives to steal members from Amsterdam. We have fewer members than ever before and it is imperative that enough people join to support the upkeep of the course (and the large assessment that the city receives from the membership ). Bob Donohue, Amsterdam The writer is president of the Amsterdam Couples League, an Arthur Carter Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course league for 26 straight years. 'R' rating for roller-skating To the editor: Last Sunday, my husband and I took our two children, ages 11 and 14, roller skating at a popular roller rink in Amsterdam. We went to the 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. session. There were dozens of small kids there, and two birthday parties going on. As we were skating, I noticed that a Britney Spears and song containing several curse words was playing. I was not expecting to hear a song like that, as we were in a family roller rink on a Sunday afternoon and not a nightclub. I spoke to a member of the staff about this, who went and spoke to the DJ. I thought that the matter was settled; however, not 30 minutes later, another song by Nicki Minaj was played that contained racial slurs, specifically the "N" word. My husband then spoke to staff, whose reply was, "It's Requests Day." I have a request of my own. I would request that anyone who is operating a business which is focused around children would take some time to make sure that their customers are not being exposed to vulgar language and racial slurs. Simple common sense and a screening of the music is all it would've taken to avoid the whole problem. This might also be a good way to keep your customers. Jennifer Abrams, Fort Plain The hotel dilemma To the editor: America's Best Value Inn is Amsterdam's latest problem. And is a serious one. I would like to share my thoughts on a possible solution. Admittedly, I came up with the idea in 5 minutes, but here it is. There is no future for another hotel. There is no return on investment. Upscale apartments won't work either. The town of Amsterdam is proving that by the continued building of apartments by the shopping areas, grocery stores and pharmacies. I think the best use would be by private and public joint venture. I would recommend the city bond to buy it, and then deed to the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency. Then AIDA begin working with Ken Rose and the county economic development agency to get the marketing in place for a developer. Here's the enticement to a developer. Have the board of supervisors with the Department of Social Services begin the planning to bring some of the DSS workers to work at the hotel. Have specifications for renovations where needed and begin the transition of people on the DSS roles moving out of apartments that are not good and expensive into the hotel. You could have part of the DSS employees work out of the pool area that has been filled in. You could have day care in the very large meeting room. A lounge with no alcohol where the bar area is. And an entrepreneur has a built-in customer base for a small grocery market in the dining area. It is close to Medicaid only physician and dental office. A bus route. Banks. Centro Civico. The Cultural Arts Center. DSS would have to guaranty no one on a sex registry list would be there. A profitable long-term lease for the developer. A decent housing situation for people at lower cost to the county. And a further resulting opportunity drill these absentee New York City slumlords out of town, by harsher code enforcement or demolition as a result. Michael C. McKenney, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Missing a good friend To the editor: We recently had a snowfall. This reminded me of a larger snowfall several years ago when I first met my neighbor, the late Ron Wierzbicki. I had gotten my car hung up in the snow. Out of nowhere a man showed up to help me, yelling something I did not understand. When he was finished clearing the snow, I asked him what he said. He said it was Polish for stupid. We introduced each other, and became friends from then on. I found him as time moved on to be a man who had a great sense of humor, honest, good host, and good citizen. And he never held it against me when I voted the Republican ticket in his election or when the dog and I would stop on his lawn. He was a great man who I miss. Michael C. McKenney, Amsterdam Nothing to be afraid of To the editor: The crows are still hanging out in Amsterdam at night, waiting impatiently, like the rest of us, for the weather to warm up. Once spring comes they'll spend more time in their nesting territories, out in the suburbs. Crows in upstate New York usually start nesting in the last week in March or thereabouts, so this cold weather is holding up their spring plans as well as mine. Other birds are flocking too. Huge groups of starlings, red-winged blackbirds, and grackles are swooping around, back from their winter spent in warmer climates. They're complaining loudly about the frigid weather up here. These big flocks are impossible to ignore. When 1,000 birds are surrounding your house, it can make you a little ... well ... nervous. Every time I see dark mobs of birds swirling overhead I'm reminded -- who could not be? -- of the movie. The movie. You know the one I mean, right? Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." Admit it, the thought crosses your mind every time you see a cloud of black feathers. And the screaming mob of crows circling over the city night after night certainly does seem to be cause for alarm. Any moment now, it seems, the crows will swoop down and start pecking out eyeballs. Seems as though it could be ... well, dangerous to have thousands of crows roosting in such close proximity to humans. You know how many humans have been killed in crow attacks? None. None ever ever ever. "The Birds" movie is fiction. Science fiction, not science. Like most people, I first saw this movie as a kid, staying up way past my bedtime, and was so traumatized that I wouldn't feed the parakeet for a week. It's a really effective movie. Hitchcock knew just how to scare the pants off people. The movie was made in the '60s, long before the humane society was on hand during filming to make sure no harm came to any animals. Tippi Hedren, the lead actress, endured days of prop men throwing live crows, ravens and gulls at her, their beaks taped shut. When you watch that scene, remember that the most terrified ones in it are the poor birds. Tippi was bruised and bloodied, and had nightmares afterward, but at least she survived. Not so sure about her avian co-stars. One reason they used crows in the movie for so many scenes was not only that crows are big and scary. They're also smart. Ornithologists are discovering that crows are highly intelligent animals -- probably the smartest birds on this continent. They communicate with each other, display problem-solving abilities, and can grasp basic mathematical concepts. Maybe someday they will get fed up with us and start organizing attacks on humans. But they haven't done it yet. Crows can live a long time -- the oldest crow on record was 29 -- and they can often live to be 15 or more. They're highly social; families often working together to raise the young. They mate for life and are monogamous -- unlike Alfred Hitchcock, a famously unfaithful spouse. Alfred Hitchcock made very scary movies, but I'm not a big Hitchcock fan, myself. He was much too fond of filming violence against women, for one thing. ("Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints," he once remarked.) And he may not have meant to, but he created a view of nature as evil and terrifying that has lingered on for five decades now. Every time a flock of sleepy crows heads to their nightly roost, or a group of red-wing blackbirds goes by on migration, someone looks up, shivers and murmurs, "The birds ..." Perhaps we can look at crows in a kinder light than Hitchcock did. I prefer the view of crows presented in another film classic, "The Wizard of Oz." I like the scene with the Scarecrow with crows perched calmly on his head and shoulders. He didn't love crows, but he was wise enough to know that they're nothing to be afraid of. Anita Sanchez, Amsterdam The costs are skyrocketing To the editor: As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words." When it comes to tobacco marketing, a picture can be worth billions of dollars to the tobacco industry, cost $8 billion in health care costs, and thousands upon thousands of preventable deaths. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, "In New York state, the tobacco industry spends approximately $1 million per day to market its products." Tobacco marketing is in convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores. Tobacco products are displayed in the most visible location in stores which is behind the checkout counter. Awareness to educating the youth about tobacco is the first measure. Community partnerships and coalition members educate community leaders and the public about the dangers and social costs of tobacco use, foster community environments that are supportive of policy change to restrict the tobacco industry's presence to de-normalize tobacco use, and eliminate exposure to second smoke. For further information regarding what can be done in our own community, please visit MaryAnn Dignazio Louison, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Being frugal in tough times To the editor: With the recent news that some followed, our area saw the end of a volunteer fire department located in Fonda. It is sad that when financial times get tough, something like public safety gets cut first over other facets of municipal control. This is not something new, but something of a first for our area. The costs of being an emergency services organization have done nothing but get more expensive year after year. An opinion I have, and many others as well, is if the costs of something have to go up -- and if it's an important service -- it must be paid for. Public safety in our area, which has an aging population along with new, younger families who call this area home, is something that many depend on -- even if they don't realize it until they need to call 911 from home or until they are involved in an emergency involving their vehicle on a roadway. Local governments, villages and towns need to start clearly looking at how they are spending valuable tax dollars. In the grand scheme of things, the results of the Fonda Fire Department closing its doors may lead to a decrease in the amount of tax dollars being spent on the purpose at hand, although the steps taken to get to that savings has been and will be debated for much time to come. There are many examples in our county where there is duplication of services, services that cost taxpayers money. Tradition, organizational pride, personal feelings, and lack of true understanding of issues leads to things not being done in the most fiscally responsible ways. This is something that can't be sustained. Our local elected political boards have to step back and, with the help of the emergency services in their areas, take a close look at where money can be saved but still provide the best possible service to the taxpayers. Things like consolidation are going to be more common in the future, either done at the local level or forced from the state and federal level. Getting things done at home on our own terms will be much better than the alternative. It's time to not only take the elected job seriously but also to work on stretching each and every tax dollar as far as it can go, for there is less income out there to be collected and that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon. J.D. Downing, Town of Glen Life in a small town To the editor: There are certain aspects of my life that I have not elaborated on in previous correspondence. My wife is very shy and withdrawn, whereas, I am a control freak. So, I decided to give her certain tasks to perform that would give her a sense of responsibility. These deeds have nothing to do with the length of our marriage, but I didn't want her to feel too comfortable. So, I assigned her the following chores: 1. She is in complete charge of all money and anything else of a monetary nature that we receive. 2. She decides at what time we will eat all three meals a day. 3. She will also determine what these meals consist of. On the other hand, as I would say, I will decide anything really important such as: 1. Should we let Red China into the U.N.? 2. Shall we continue to vote for Ann Thane or David Dybas? 3. How do we go about getting autographed copies of Paul Tonko's speeches? We decide all family matters in a democratic fashion by voting. There are four votes in my household. My wife has one, I have one, our 7-year-old beagle has one and the black cat named Snowball has one. My wife has never opposed me, but when it comes to where we buy our groceries, she votes for Price Chopper. The other three of us vote for Hannaford. There is a reason for this. At Hannaford I am on a first-name basis with both Mikes, both Jackies, Dave, Jim, Matthew, Patrick, Nelsa and Denise. I feel very comfortable there. Relative to my children there are three surviving. The sole source of the income of my wife and I is Social Security and small pensions. For the past 25 years my children and their spouses have made sure that we are not hurting for a single thing. We are truly in "Fat City." The three of them however have a very warped sense of humor. A few years ago I lost all my teeth. While I was walking around with nothing but gums on Father's Day, they greeted me with a 2-pound box of peanut brittle. I almost bled to death trying to eat it. In later years, after I had been working in the dietary department of the former Mount Loretto nursing home, my doctor decided I needed a quadruple bypass. Upon completion of this procedure, they decided I needed rehab and of all places I was sent to Mount Loretto. I knew all of the personnel there, including the nuns, and the residents. And the day I was admitted, 54 people stopped by to wish me well, shake my hand, or say a prayer with me in the first two hours. That evening my daughter, Millie, stopped in to visit and I told her about the 54 people. Her reply was "Gee, dad, that's great. Can you imagine how big your funeral is going to be"? I didn't speak to her for a month. For you old-timers who remember the city as it used to be, on the southeast side of Main Street was a bar called Peck's Dutch Grill. Next door was the Empire Market. It was fairly large and even now 50-odd years later, I run into a lady named Sunny, who was the glue who held this operation together. If you saw her now you would know that the word "lady" fits her to a tee. She is drop-dead gorgeous. Outside the Empire Market sat a man in a wheelchair. His name was Simpson and he had lost one leg from diabetes. Social Services hadn't advanced enough to provide this man with an adequate way of life. On the fronts of the wheelchair was a wooden slab on which he had two mason jars. One jar said 25 cents and the other jar was full of pencils. This is a very warm town. While nobody had anything, this man had less. People would always put a quarter in the jar. I don't think anyone ever took pencils. He was on a first-name basis with everyone. After four years of passing by this man and putting in a quarter, one Sunday my mother and my two sisters were going to Mass. They crossed the street from the Community Pharmacy to the Empire Market. My mother reached in her purse, took out a quarter, and put it in the jar, at which point Mr. Simpson grabbed her arm and said, "I'm sorry Mrs. Sheridan, but they went up to 35 cents." That was the end of our philanthropy. I love this town and its inhabitants. I don't think that they realize how much quality they possess. James J. Sheridan, Amsterdam Wellness day help appreciated To the editor: On March 7 Wilber H. Lynch Literacy Academy in Amsterdam held a Health and Wellness Day for the entire school. Area experts came and shared their time and experience in a variety of presentations such as yoga, stress management, healthy eating, exercise, team building, animal rescue, and many more. The 50-plus health and wellness volunteers came from Amsterdam, Gloversville, Schenectady, Troy and the surrounding environs to spend time with our students. We would like to thank the presenters for sharing their time and talents with our students and enriching their lives. We would also like to thank manager Reggie at Amsterdam's Rent-A-Center for providing three HDTVs for one of the presentations; Robert Bardin, Sodexo Food Service general manager for the district for donating 800 pieces of fruit for the students for a healthy snack and all the faculty and staff for making the program run so smoothly. The well received programs had the students experience and learn a great deal and they were very appreciative of the event and are looking forward to the next one. Carol Stuff, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Education and awareness To the editor: On Feb. 28, the Mayfield Suicide Prevention Task Force, in conjunction with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), presented a town hall meeting entitled "Suicide Prevention, Education and Awareness: It's Everyone's Business." It was a community discussion about recognizing warning signs of suicide and how to help prevent suicide. This uncomfortable topic needs to be discussed because we are often reminded too late about how real these issues are. Every 13.7 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide. This is a frightening statistic considering 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. Many of these deaths can be been prevented if warning signs are noticed and help is provided. I'd like to thank everyone who made this important town hall meeting possible. First and foremost, the community members who attended and Mayfield Central School District for supporting the efforts of their suicide prevention task force. Thanks also to Laura Marx and AFSP for providing the program and to Kathy Cromie of the Mental Health Association in Fulton & Montgomery Counties for doing most of the leg work. Thank you to the community providers who attended: Court Appointed Special Advocates of Fulton & Montgomery Counties, Catholic Charities of Fulton & Montgomery Counties, the Family Counseling Center, Fulton & Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Task Force, HFM Prevention Council, Mental Health Association in Fulton and Montgomery Counties, National Alliance on Mental Illness- Montgomery, Fulton & Hamilton Counties (NAMI) and VetCorps. A very special thank you to the survivor panel speakers who offered their personal perspectives on suicide: Miss Fulton County 2013 Katelynn Smith, Ann Thane, MaryFran Fiorillo, Zakk Delach and Kim Buchanan. I believe their openness and willingness to share such personal matters had a huge, amazing impact. And thank you to Marianne Reid, for not only sharing her personal story, but for helping make the whole evening possible. I'd like to ask everyone to take a moment to familiarize themselves with the warning signs of suicide. You never know, you might just save a life. More information can be obtained from the Fulton & Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Task Force (contact Kathy Cromie 762-5332 x111), the Mayfield Suicide Prevention Task Force (contact Robin Lair 661-8295), or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Rebecca Woodruff, Mayfield Helping the volunteers To the editor: I am writing this letter with some thought that maybe readers really have no idea exactly what our volunteer fire departments actually do for your communities. These men and women are always there for you in times of fire, medical emergencies, floods, wind damages, and the lists go on and on. Oh, yes, they even are there to assist in aiding your favorite pets if need be. Volunteer firemen and women don't get paid in money for the dedicated work they do for you. They do get satisfaction knowing they made someone feel safe and comforted if they need to call 911. Day or night, hot or cold weather, weekdays or weekends, including holidays. These people are here for you. Some areas pay a fire tax while others are fortunate not to have to do that. Volunteer fire departments work on a budget that is not always the greatest and sometimes they work hard trying to keep the community safe and the equipment they have to work with is very expensive. From the boots on their feet to the trucks they drive to the scene. Nothing is cheap today, we all know that. Just the coat our firefighters wear costs upward of $1,000 to replace, if not more. We need your help to provide these services. To replace the equipment is necessary for safety of our firefighters and it is mandated through state and government laws. Just the thought of buying a new jacket for everyone in the department is so expensive. For example, if there are 25 active firefighters, times $1,000, you are talking $25,000. That is just the coat they need to wear. Then they have pants, gloves, boots, helmets -- the list is endless and costs are unbelievable. People, many fire departments are hosting fundraisers and not just because they have nothing better to do but because the budgets they are allowed by towns and cities just don't cut the total costs to run the departments. When someone approaches you for the purchase of raffle tickets, 50/50, or other type fundraisers, dig deep and be proud that you helped out in a small way. Get out there and be part of these events hosted by the fire departments. It really is a great thing and I promise you will feel great about yourself. If you can't get out to a fundraiser or have no desire to purchase a ticket someone could approach you to buy, consider mailing a donation of money to your local fire department. It all helps no matter what you can do to help. Thank you so much and please make a difference. You will be glad that you did. Town of Glen Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its annual Easter breakfast March 23 from 8 to 11 a.m. The Easter egg hunt will follow for children at our fire house in Glen. Come out, enjoy breakfast and say thank you to a fire fighter. We would love to see you and maybe you can ask what you can do to help us serve all of you better. God bless and be safe. Sandy Knapik, Town of Glen Rangers, speak out To the editor: Rangers are quick to tell me they don't make the rules and would like to help me when camping. I'm allowed one month camping in Wild Forest with a permit; then I have to remove my tent. Then I'm only allowed to camp in other places for three days and have to remove my tent. I was told if I put my tent in another Wild Forest area I could get a permit for two weeks, any time so long as I keep moving. I hunt and fish West Canada country. I don't want to camp in Siamese Ponds country or other areas. I'm 72 and can't move my tent every three days. No one knows where I set my tent except the rangers. I harm no one. I challenge the rangers, if they want to help me, speak out and notify the governor and the public. I think the state Department of Environmental Conservation, its rangers etc. will be enforcing new gun laws. I haven't read anything on how they will help hunters and campers with this matter. To me my rifle and camping represent the same as the American flag -- freedom. Now they are going to put even more restrictions on them. I think EnCon and its rangers should stand up for hunters', trappers' and campers' rights. They are the ones that go into the woods and know the problems we face. If rangers aren't going to monitor wildlife and deer populations (I was told wildlife comes under another department) and look into hunters' and trappers' complaints and only do law enforcement, issue burn permits, check on camps and search and rescue then they are only stewards of the forest. I feel I care more for forest and animals than they do. The deer population is very low. Everybody is so afraid for their job they don't speak out. I was told I should try to have these rules changed, write the governor and other politicians, so I'm trying. I was told by friends not to stick my neck out. Wild Forest Forever. Lewis N. Page Sr., Speculator Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor To know him was to love him To the editor: I just read in the Recorder about Dutch Howlan's admission to the hall of fame. I have a question: Why did it take so long? From the time I first met him in the 1930s, to the time he passed away, he was a contributor in the largest sense of the word. When St. Mary's was located on Forbes Street they played their home games at Theodore Roosevelt Junior High. I never saw him give less than 100 percent. As a coach he raised the bar so high you couldn't possibly make it, but in attempting to, you exceeded your prior efforts. Everybody tried to win for him because you didn't want to disappoint him. If you played for him, and you had troubles away from the game, a sit-down with Dutch usually cured your problems. Even now, when his name is injected into a conversation, you will never find anything negative. Now that he's settled in upstairs, I'm sure he met another SMI man, Bernie Welch. I hope when they get together, and my judgment day comes, they will put in a good word for me. God knows that I'll need all the help that I can get. To know this man was to love him. James J. Sheridan, Amsterdam The best care anywhere To the editor: Who says bigger is better. People seem to think they need to go to larger hospitals to get better care. Not true. The care I received at St. Mary's Healthcare was outstanding. I would like to thank Sharon Perfetti in outpatient registration, the nurses in the outpatient department and the operating room staff for the kindness and care they showed during my surgery. Last, but not least, God bless Dr. Ron Marsh for his skilled hands. I hope that Amsterdam realizes how fortunate we are to have Dr. Marsh. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. Helen Abbattisti, Amsterdam Students equipped to succeed To the editor: The state Education Department is warning parents and teachers that the scores on this year's state assessments in grades 3-8 English language arts and math could be dramatically lower than last year. That's because the 2013 tests reflect the tougher learning standards of common core. SED is basing its forecast on test results seen in other states, such as Kentucky where scores dropped 46 percent from the previous year. It's understandable that we feel disappointed when we see lower scores, but it should be expected because of the higher educational goals built into common core learning standards. On the other hand, maybe we should appreciate this as a wake-up call for our students' sake. They are the ones that must build a life on the educational framework we provide in our schools. Common core was designed to strengthen the framework and position our kids for a brighter future. State Education Deputy Commissioner Ken Slentz pointed out that evidence of fewer students meeting or exceeding grade-level common core expectations is "necessary if we are to be transparent and honest about what our students know and can do as they progress toward college and career readiness." That is the crux of the matter. We are conditioned to view lower scores as failure. We don't like to think that we are less than OK in any way, including education. In fact, our rapidly progressing world will not slow down for an education system that lags behind, and our kids pay the price. So welcome common core into the mix. The initiative, being implemented in 44 states, is a starting point to ensure that our students graduate equipped to succeed on whatever path they choose, whether it is college, vocational training, the military or a job. This will be challenging, because the learning standards are higher and emphasize critical thinking and communication skills beyond simple memorization of facts. However, this is what our kids need to succeed in the world beyond high school. This will be hard, because all change is hard, and requires everyone -- teachers, students, parents, principals -- to get past a very natural fear of change to embrace a new model. But the results will be measured in success stories from our graduates. This may be exasperating, because right off the bat, lower test scores this year will shine a light on where we are not OK, not yet. But that's not a bad thing. It establishes a baseline for improvement and offers an opportunity to thoroughly prepare students for their future, the ultimate goal of education. Patrick Michel, Johnstown The writer is HFM BOCES district superintendent. Constantly under renovation To the editor: Much is being said and written, especially in the mainstream media, about where they hope the Catholic Church goes under the guidance of Pope Francis, and the church's present faults and past failings. First it's erroneous to assume that "the church" is a direct synonym for "the hierarchy," "the bishops," and "the Vatican." The church is not an institution. It is composed of entirely sinful people. But Catholics are also human beings, and are not more prone to evil than the general population. There is no option of escaping grave sin in this world; you meet it everywhere, including the mirror. That's why we have the penitential rite in every Mass and the sacrament of confession. You can't avoid the fact of human fallenness and the church was never promised that human sin would not afflict her or her members. That's because no mere mortal (no, not even the pope) constitutes the soul of the church. The soul of the church is the Holy Spirit. The Catholic faith does not stand or fall with the moral quality of our bishops. It stands on Jesus Christ, and this is where we place our faith, as he is gracious to knuckleheads and sinners. Judging the church on the actions of a dwindling small population of abusive priests and stupid bishops is like evaluating all the apostles just by the behavior of Judas. The Catholic church was founded after all, on Peter, who Catholic theologian G.K. Chesterton described as "a shuffler, a coward, and a snob -- in a word, a man." We have to remember that this is the man for whom the cardinals voted a successor. We are a communion of sinners before we become a communion of saints, and the church is like "This Old House," perpetually under renovation, and a mess. But, thankfully, God is merciful. Deborah A. Humphreys, Amsterdam Saying yes to NOEP To the editor: Did you know there is a free and confidential service in New York state that is helping people in communities like ours put food on the table and bring much needed money to local businesses? It's called the Nutrition Outreach and Education Program (NOEP) and last year it helped bring in over $84 million local communities across the state. NOEP provides individuals, couples and families with a free prescreening to find out if they might be eligible for SNAP, the new name for the food stamp program, and helps them through the application process. SNAP is an entitlement program, like Social Security, so the more households that apply for SNAP and use their benefits, the more revenue for our local businesses. This extra money means more jobs at local grocery stores, farmers' markets buying more produce from local farms, and more products purchased from local businesses. NOEP is helping to make sure that the our local grocers and businesses are getting all the money they can to keep the local people here working and all of New York's farmers in business. Help spread the word about NOEP throughout New York. For more information about NOEP or a confidential prescreening to find out if you may be eligible for SNAP, contact the Legal Aid Society at 842-9466. Carmen Cintron, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Gun control laws reflect views of anti-hunting groups To the editor: The Empire State's newly created gun control laws have the fingerprints of the two largest anti-hunting entities in the world: "The Fund for Animals" and the "Humane Society of the United States," which should never be confused with local humane societies -- all over various sections of the enacted legislation. The working budget of $102 million-plus at the disposal of these two major anti-hunting movements was widely used in this latest endeavor. As we all know, in the political arena, money talks; and legislators walk in the directions they are expected to. If every grassroots, outdoor sportsmen's organization throughout New York state created their own in-house "political oversight committee," staffed by dedicated member volunteers who maintain a constant watch over their elected representatives' antics, the gun control legislation would still have materialized, but in an orderly, commonsense manner and not because of the back room dealings that actually took place. Outdoor sportsmen's clubs' political oversight committees are still essentially needed, because the 2016 elections are not really that far off and because the anti-hunting giants already have selected their choice to occupy the White House -- and it's not Andrew Cuomo. ANTHONY BISCOTTI Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Address the real problem To the editor: I am a resident of the town of Charleston who recently attended the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors meeting held on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in which a unanimous vote to repeal the NY SAFE Act was passed and I was pleased at the resolution's passage. Then on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, I walked up to the gun rally at the Capitol in Albany, New York. I work downtown so it was just a short hike up State Street hill and once there I discovered that several thousand American citizens were gathered to protest the recently passed NY SAFE Act. This legislation was shoved through by our state governor, Andrew Cuomo, and our elected representatives without allowing public comment ... not one. These American citizens who gathered in Albany were passionate yet peaceful in an effort to convey their message (and mine) and I stood there among them to say, "we know what the 2nd Amendment to the American Constitution means and we do not intend to give up our freedom without a fight." In the days since the NY SAFE Act was passed I have become familiar with the 2nd Amendment's short but concise words: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." After my first reading of the 2nd Amendment I had to look up the definition of the word "militia" for clarification because for me the word militia always conjured up the image of a group of violent and unruly thugs. What a relief to discover that according to the New Webster's Dictionary (Vest Pocket Edition) "militia" is a citizen's army. So it seems by the wording in the 2nd Amendment that our founding fathers knew -- even in 1791 -- that a "citizen's army" might be needed in order that we retain our freedom. It's also pretty clear that they intended this right shall not be violated, encroached or breached. I'm no constitutional scholar but its reading seems very clear. I believe where we are at odds is over idea of what "well regulated" means. Remember that laws are already in place to regulate the sale, possession and use of firearms. More regulations will not solve the problems we are faced with. I suppose the thing that makes this issue so important is that this latest infringement on our freedom is just one more in a long line of governmental regulations that continue to rob the average citizen of one's freedom. This latest infringement is, I believe, just the first step in removing any legitimate means of self-defense. More limits lead to more limits until we have nothing left but limits. We the people just want to live our lives in freedom, we want to dream big dreams that might someday come true and we want to be happy. I can tell you that it truly was a hopeful scene at the Capitol in Albany on Thursday. With lots of handmade signs and American flags waving I was witness to 5,000-plus people united as visible proof that "We the People" are willing to fight for the freedom we enjoy and while we don't want to imply that there is no compassion for those who have been victims of gun violence, taking such a means of self-defense from innocent, law-abiding citizens will not net the answer that is sought. I believe it's high time for our elected officials to address the real root of the problem. Instead of imposing more and more regulations how about welcoming God back into the conversation? How about trying to help families remain intact by becoming a good example? How about valuing life? How about being appalled by violence instead of glorifying it in the movies and in children's games? It's time to get to the root of the problem and stop thinking that by clipping the leaves you've eradicated the weeds. I posted a modified version of this statement on my blog but wanted to share my words in the hope that more and more Americans might decide to become involved, informed and exercise their privilege to vote when the time comes. Thank you. Lorraine Mulligan, Esperance The facts are frightening To the editor: Did you know that there is a new "commercial hunting preserve" that I will refer to as a "canned hunting" facility in Fulton County, in the town of Perth? First let me say to the hunters that get a hunting license and hunt wild deer in the woods during hunting season, that this is not directed to that type of hunting. I know many hunters and listen to their tales of adventure when they go hunting. This is about a canned hunting facility that was literally placed in residential property owners' back yards. It was erected without any input from the neighboring property owners. Did you know that bullets can travel from .5 to 5 miles? Did you know that some types of guns will shoot bullets straight through a branch and continue on to their target without a flicker while others ricochet at the slightest twig? Did you know that a hunting license is not required in a canned hunting facility? Did you know that canned hunts can operate 365 days a year? Did you know that the minimum requirement for a canned hunt is 10 acres? If these facts don't frighten you, they should. They frighten me. I can show you a newspaper article where a bullet ricocheted off a boar and killed a driver in his vehicle one mile away. There are many similar newspaper articles. The fence line of this facility is about 50 feet from the road. So now you are thinking that so what, it's only this one and I don't live near it. There is another one going up in the town of Brunswick. Without laws to protect us they will be going up all over. I suggest you attend your town board meetings and get some laws on the books to either ban them or restrict how close to residential properties they can be. If you see a petition asking legislators to make laws governing these facilities, please sign it. Rosa D'Alfonsi, Town of Perth Reading to the Curie students To the editor: On March 1, the students and staff of Marie Curie Institute participated in Read Across America. We would like to thank the following people who took time out of their day to read to our students: Mayor Thane Larry Banta, Firefighter Iannotti, Tom Perillo, Donna Decker, Alicia Satty, Lisa Lorman, Stormy Orengo, Kent McHeard, Chief Liberti, Rick Potter, Officer Spencer, Undersheriff Smith, Colleen Braender, MOJO from the Amsterdam Mohawks and his reader Brian. Involving the community in our schools is always a positive experience. Our students see first-hand how important their education is to the community and how much the people of Amsterdam care about education. Our students are always excited to meet people from various professions. Thank you again for helping us to make Read Across America at MCI a success: Donna Marek, Jamie Farrington, Jamie Masterson, Sarah Cetnar, Jenna DeGiulio, Roseanne Lybolt, Susan Kelly, Sue Leone, Marisha Gennett, Barbra Riedel, Marie Curie Institute. Donna Marek, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Ron knew who he was To the editor: I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike Lazarou for his articles and to Diane Hatzenbuhler for her great articles for telling it like it is. Mike's and Diane's articles were so overwhelmingly heartwarming for me. I am so sorry for my man, who tried and worked so hard. Ron was fair and went above and beyond. He loved this city and the residents. Christmas Day when he went to the hospital and had two IVs and oxygen, sat on the edge of the bed and told me, "Jean, you and my health are the most important to my life. I'm tired of the fighting, harassment and battling every day. I'm going to retire at the end of the year." He looked so sad, my heart broke for him. Ron knew what was going on, he told them it was illegal. The retort was "We've always done it." He reiterated, "It's illegal. You have a new sheriff in town and I'm telling you you can't do it." Ron is gone. Not from my heart or the many hearts in Amsterdam. Ron Wierzbicki was a brilliant man, he was a Mensa person, he didn't have to wear any kind of t-shirt to depict who he was. He knew who he was. Thank you again, Diane and Mike, for your wonderful articles. The tears still come when I read them over and over. Jean Wierzbicki, Amsterdam Setting a thoughtful example To the editor: Through my work I am privileged to interact with many families in our area and, of course, that includes some smokers. Most adults who smoke are genuinely concerned for the well-being of children, at least according to what I see. As we know, small amounts of secondhand smoke can trigger allergies, asthma attacks and other breathing problems, especially in children. Many smokers and non-smokers wish to set an example and communicate a message that encourages youth not to start smoking. Many are also willing to support and cooperate with efforts to promote the health of all non-smokers, such as by observing designated smoking areas, both indoors and out. A lot of tobacco users have successfully quit and a lot more hope to quit in the future. Any former smoker will tell you what a great help it is to know that certain locations, even outdoors, will be smoke-free. This makes it much easier to pass through, whether out for a walk or entering a public building, without smelling the smoke that would trigger a craving. Over and over, I am impressed by people's willingness to adjust their own actions to benefit others. I appreciate the consideration shown when someone waits to light up, moves to a designated area, or carefully contains any potential litter and disposes of it in a proper fashion. Please join me in thanking those people. Project Action is currently working together with Tobacco Free New York State on behalf of the people in our area. See to find key messages and facts, frequently asked questions, and lots of ideas on how you can join the effort too. For more information on tobacco-free outdoors, please visit or Stephanie Cook, Johnstown Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Hoping to settle a score To the editor: On Thursday night, Feb. 14, three Recreation Basketball League championship games were played one after another (5:30; 6:30; 7:30) at Bacon school. Comment No. 1: All three games were well played, well coached and officiated and the kids played with enthusiasm and had fun. Each player was acknowledged at a brief trophy ceremony celebrating both the winning and losing teams after each game. Comment No. 2: The Recorder sports editor, Paul Antonelli, was there. Excellent. He took team pictures and wrote up a story for the first two championship games (he took credit on the photos published of the winning teams the very next morning in the Recorder) Excellent again. But he left the gym and school prior to the start of the third game. Complaint No. 1: The Recorder failed to cover, report on or follow up to see who won the grades 3-5 girls championship basketball game played at 7:30. Had they done any reporting of the game they would have found out that the Kentucky Wildcats had won a hard-fought game versus the Syracuse Orange. Complaint No. 2: The Kentucky/Syracuse game was not reported on the next day like the other two games by the Recorder, no team picture was taken by the Recorder and as I write this letter on Thursday morning, Feb. 21, the Recorder has still not even reported the score. Comment No. 3: Disappointing. Bob Hoefs, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor It's all swept under the carpet To the editor: I must take exception with some points in a recent editorial. We obviously have not been attending the same meetings for the past five years, let alone this past year, with Time Warner off the air a lot in 2011/2102. I do admit at times things have been comical, like Alderman Dybas showing up in a "Superman" tee shirt and former Alderman Bill Wills throwing a bag of cheese doodles to the corporation counsel, although it may have been the other way around. Oh, I am routinely timed in my comments by the corp counsel, as is anyone that does not favor the Thane administration, so I do intentionally try to keep them at the five-minute limit. But the comment that has me most concerned is "lawmakers have largely behaved themselves during the past year." For almost a year now, Mayor Thane and Alderman Dybas harassed, humiliated, and belittled the former controller Ron Wierzbicki during the public Common Council meetings. Rarely if ever did the mayor gavel out Alderman Dybas for his shenanigans. Ron was not her choice for controller and with Alderman Dybas's personal disagreement with Ron going back some 30 years, it was used by the mayor to allow the attacks to continue. Alderman Dybas was relentless in his attacks on the controller. There was even a private meeting with the mayor, Dybas, DeCusatis, and the Democratic chair in which the Democratic chair walked out, the purpose was to remove Ron from office, going so far as to offering him a buyout. When that was not enough, a new local law was proposed, to do away with the elected controller's position and by backdating the local law to the day he took office. (Proposed LL C-12-E, 12-4-12) As someone who regularly attends the meetings this was a very sad state of affairs and I did speak on Ron's behalf on several occasions. Ron passed away on Dec 28, 2012. Having spoken to Ron on these occasions I was familiar with his concerns and lack of answers for the council. The numbers never balanced. He would attack one problem and in trying to find the answer, end up with several more questions then when he started. The staff was doing things incorrectly according to NY state accounting practices having "always done it that way." There is no telling how many years back these items go, some 10-20 years? During this time, with the exception of one temporary controller in the mid 2000s (Larry Mazur) the city has never had a professional with a degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting. Ron was a retired NY state auditor. He was more than qualified for the job. What he never anticipated was the degree of unacceptable books of account he found. He would routinely state at the Common Council meetings that in fact the "books of accounts" don't balance. While much went back years, the computer transition from the county to the city was never "proved." Accounts were dropped, others commingled in the transition and never rectified by the former controller during the change over in systems. Checking accounts were not routinely balanced. Paperwork that was supposed to have been done under the direction of the previous controller was not done. The only thing that Ron might have been guilty of was not asking for professional help sooner rather than later. He was a man that gave up his retirement to give back to his home community and look how he was treated. He was not only unfairly attacked, but it was also extremely unprofessional on the part of the mayor to allow it to go on. And corporation counsel was complicit in the matter. So, as you can see, from my perspective, City Hall has been an embarrassment for the past year in more ways than one, but when the mayor uses the gavel to stop public comment there must be a reason. In my case I do bring into the open many things that she would prefer to remain out of the public domain. How can someone who uses the F word in her daily vocabulary with City Hall employees be professional? I even tried to bring up at the Tuesday night meeting a recent posting on the city Facebook page that uses the F word. It is not and never should be considered professional to use that word in any context on a city FB page or in normal conversations at City Hall. And FB is a lot more public than our Common Council meetings in numbers of viewers. This administration has clearly been unprofessional in many matters which the mayor would prefer to keep hidden or swept under the carpet. Thank you for allowing me to respond. Diane Hatzenbuhler, Amsterdam Get an early checkup To the editor: In 2011 there are 230,480 estimated new cases of breast cancer in women and 2,140 in men. The estimated deaths from breast cancer are 39,520 in women and 450 in men. The good news is with early detection the five-year survival for stage 0-1 breast cancer is 98.8 percent. The American Cancer Society and several cancer organizations recommend that all women 40 years of age and older receive yearly screening mammograms. Early checkups or screening tests such as a mammogram or Pap tests can reveal diseases early when they are much easier to treat. Screening tests and routine checkups can help women lower their risks of many health conditions. Depending on a woman's age, certain important tests and exams can ensure good health and prevention. Women who take care of themselves typically live longer, healthier and happier lives. Women most often are primary caregivers and forget to focus on their own health. Don't delay -- now is the time to improve the health of your wives, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and girlfriends. Promote screening tests to the women you love and it will be the best gift you could ever give. If you or someone you love does not have health insurance or cannot afford these tests, there is a program out there to assist you. Locally, the Cancer Services Program of Fulton and Montgomery Counties offers free breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings to women age 40-64 and men age 50-64 if these individuals do not have health insurance. Women can receive a free breast exam and mammogram through this program, as well as Pap testing. You can contact Suzanne Hagadorn, program coordinator, at 841-3726 to see if you are eligible for these services. Remember to take the time to encourage the women in your life to get their mammogram. Their life is worth it. Wendy Lucas, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Spreading the love To the editor: As we celebrate this Valentine's Day, and weekend, let us reach out and think of others whose lives may not have been touched by love. Many of us are fortunate to have been given unconditional love by those who have loved us even through our childhood awkwardness and sheepish pranks to the choices we make today. Let us now turn that love inside out and give it to those who are lonely or cut off from society in nursing homes or to the sick. I remember one Valentine's Day when my dad was in the nursing home. I bought a big bouquet of carnations and proceeded to separate them two by two. I then tied a ribbon around each and brought them to the home. I gave one to a very well dressed resident who already had a beautiful bouquet sitting on her nightstand. "Those are for me," she said. "I am so happy." That emotion trumps many of my other Valentine memories. She died a few months later and I was glad I used Valentine's Day to express a kindness toward her. So this Valentine's Day, I am thankful for all those who have loved me, and I hope to reach those for whom love is just a distant memory. Gail Vines, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Clearing up the misinformation To the editor: I let many things slide because I speak often at the Common Council meetings and I feel everybody is entitled to their own opinion. However, the mayor's actions on Tuesday night (Feb. 5) indicated that I must now start documenting my comments for accountability. While I was speaking during the public comment session of the meeting, the mayor was shaking her head no and rolling her eyes and finally gaveling me down. (Corporation counsel is an excellent time keeper by the way, when it comes to my speaking time.) However, the mayor's rudeness was above and beyond that Tuesday night. However, I do apologize to Police Chief Greg Culick, that he even had to get out of his seat. I was speaking on several subjects but the one she interrupted me on and questioned me openly and told me I was totally wrong and passing "misinformation" concerned the East Main Street Arts Center at Vrooman Avenue. Where was I coming up with all of this stuff about a private entity purchasing it down the road? She said I was wrong once again. Let me quote you the following: "The board of trustees of Amsterdam Creative Connections is proud to announce that the cultural arts center initiative has made marked progress ... with formal adoption of articles of incorporation ... non-profit status ... investigated the option of a city run operation ... but with budgetary constraints ... board offered a solution of a private foundation ... that would support the city operation ... thru grant writing, fundraising ... Creative Connections will use space in partnership with the city of Amsterdam at 303-305 East Main Street, providing compensation for utilities once operations commenced. As the initiative maintains self-sufficiency ... of location may warrant the purchase of the present space." From "Amsterdancin" (wildthane), Aug. 6, 2012, subject tilted "Structure," from the mayor's personal blog. There, right in the mayor's own words, is where I got my information. And the mayor was quick to inform me that it is she who maintains their Facebook and Website accounts. For the past year I have requested and even FOILed a copy of a lease with this organization and the city and none has been provided. I have brought this issue up to at least three other Common Council meetings and during the budget session. At no time until Tuesday night has the mayor publicly discussed the arts center, that now seems to have become a rec center. I have no quarl with it being either. I am objecting to the mayor once again using city funds for unbudgeted items, that I personally feel the city cannot afford, and also doing things without first discussing it with the Common Council. In addition I have been concerned that with no agreement in place with this organization, who is responsible for routine maintenance and other issues that will arise, like the utility bills, plows and sanitation indoor vandalism.The mayor has at no time discussed this with the common council in the past year, until I brought it up once again in the public comment session Tuesday night. The mayor was attempting to pay for items that she or someone had already purchased but not budgeted for, i.e.: replace the leaking water expansion tank in the basement (not an issue) which should be somewhere around $500 but maybe less, and carpet and paint. Now last year volunteers devoted time and effort to go down and paint the arts center with donated paint and supplies. What about the paint job, time and effort that was put in then, to have it redone now? At no time has it been publicly addressed that the carpet needed replacing. I looked through some photos of the building and carpeting and it did not appear to need replacing. I have not seen it in person, but Recreation Director Rob Spagnola said it was wrinkled. In that case, it could have been reglued or restretched to address the matter and then have it cleaned, that would have been a better use of tax dollars at this difficult time. Should things improve financially then look into replacing the carpet. Since the mayor took office she has routinely used money from the custodial account to redo city hall and used Amsterdam Beautification funds to purchase new banners. The money she used for new banners was replaced, albeit after my public comments. Corporation counsel was supposed to draw up a contract between ABC and the city for the use of the ABC funds. That contract was never drawn. When the mayor took office, she used the custodial funds set aside for the roof repair to redo city hall, and it looks beautiful, but now we bonded for a $60,000 roof repair and will have to pay interest. (The mayor brags about how low the interest rate is.) The mayor has no concept of finances, recommending we bond for everything we have no cash for. Even after having brought in expensive consultants to tell us to be very careful with our spending she spends and the council goes along with it most of the time. And when she called Ron Weirzbicki the last time he was on the radio, days before his death, he asked her about what "sustainable revenue" she has brought in, and all she could bring up was the grants that she has gotten on the city's behalf. Grants are good, but they are not "sustainable revenue." Ron was asking you about "sustainable revenue" and you were so busy talking over him, you never did answer the question. By the way mayor, do you even know what "sustainable revenue" is? Have you brought any in? Enough said. Thank you for allowing me to respond. Diane Hatzenbuhler, Amsterdam Make-A-Wish says thanks To the editor: Make-A-Wish Northeast New York would like to thank the people of Montgomery, Fulton and Schenectady counties who made a visit to the Kristi Pollak Memorial Holiday Lights Display in Amsterdam part of their holiday tradition in December. Those who made donations at the park raised nearly $5,000 to help grant wishes this year for children in Montgomery and Fulton counties with life-threatening medical conditions. We would also like to thank Dave Falso, his volunteer team, and all of the individuals, businesses and organizations in the greater Amsterdam area who worked so hard to make the holiday park so beautiful and magical this past holiday season. They did an extraordinary job. We consider them valued partners in our mission to bring hope, strength and joy to seriously ill children in our region through the power of a wish. William Trigg III, Cohoes The writer is chief executive officer of Make-A-Wish Northeast New York. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Changes in flood insurance To the editor: Last summer, Congress enacted changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that will result in dramatically higher flood insurance costs for many policyholders. To account for the true costs of flood insurance, the bill phases in premiums that reflect the full flood risk of each insured building. Congress clearly wants to restore the fiscal soundness of the NFIP (which owed the U.S. Treasury $17 billion prior to Hurricane Sandy) and expects people who occupy floodplains to shoulder more of the costs. The legislation phases out insurance subsidies for several categories of buildings, including: second homes, business properties, new policies, and newly purchased property. Without these subsidies, insurance costs will be based on the elevation (or flood protection level) of the structure. The resulting rates can be quite high, particularly for buildings with basements. Other changes will affect rates for all flood insurance policies, which can rise by up to 20 percent per year. The bottom line is that premiums are going to rise significantly in future years. Unfortunately, Congress did not address the affordability of flood insurance, other than to authorize a study. The New York State Floodplain and Stormwater Managers Association (NYSFSMA) recognizes the need for NFIP reform, but is concerned about the impact this legislation will have on business districts and real estate markets in older floodplain communities. The association will continue to advocate for additional reforms to the flood insurance program in order to achieve the multiple objectives of affordability, fairness, and fiscal soundness. Colleen M. Fullford, Schoharie County The writer is Region 4 director of NYSFSMA. One letter can save lives To the editor: After several years of decline, smoking imagery in youth-rated movies (G, PG, PG-13) increased 36 percent in 2011. PG-13 movies are the biggest concern since they account for nearly two-thirds of the smoking scenes adolescents see on the big screen. In 2011, eight of the 10 biggest hits at the box office were rated PG-13, which is the rating most widely sought after to maximize a movie's potential audience. Of those movies rate PG-13, three contained smoking imagery including "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," "Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol," and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows." The most effective, least intrusive way to cut tobacco exposure would be to rate future movies with smoking in them R. Producers would simply reserve the smoking for their R-rated films, the way they now routinely regulate other content. Movies rated G, PG, and PG-13 would be smoke-free, cutting teens' risk from on-screen smoking in half. Hollywood's rating system doesn't cost taxpayers a dime. Yet the "R's" result will rank among the most important public health advances of our time. One letter can now save thousands of lives. For more information on how you can take action, visit Reality Check on Wednesday, Feb. 20, to celebrate our smoke-free movie day. We will have a free showing of "Escape from Planet Earth" at the Emerald Cinemas at noon and at the Johnstown MoviePlex at 4:30 p.m. People will get in on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have any questions, please call 762-8313. Sarah Kraemer, Johnstown Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Youths address smoking issue To the editor: I work at Centro Civico of Amsterdam and I am working with Project Action in conjunction with a project to assist in stopping tobacco marketing to our youth. Part of the grant was to have three students write letters to the editor, which are attached. Stormy Orengo To the editor: I am a 7th grade student, and I am concerned about other students smoking. I have seen that young people are smoking because of tobacco marketing. Many students that I go to school with stop at a convenience store before they come to school. There are two stores in the area of our middle school. Either way that you walk you have to pass one. In these stores the cigarettes and tobacco products are right where we can see them and there is marketing for cigarettes all over the windows. It makes kids interested in smoking and this is where 75% of kids shop at least once a week, and many of my friends shop there every day. I think that this is terrible; we have enough to worry about. We teenagers shouldn't have to worry about tobacco marketing too. If we continue the way we are going children will die because of tobacco-related diseases. I don't want to see these products in convenient stores or in my grocery stores either. Thank you Natasha Cabrera * * * To the editor: My name is Krysta and I'm in 11th grade. I don't think Tobacco marketing should be in places where kids can see it. I know plenty kids who are already smoking cigarettes and they are younger than me. It upsets me to see kids who are the same age or even younger than me smoking because I know that they are going to have a shorter life than me, and even if they don't they are going to have a lot of health issues like cancer. I live by a convenience store and there are cigarette ads all over the place. I don't want to take my 8-year-old brother in there because I don't want him to see the ads and think that smoking is cool. By my school there are plenty of places to buy cigarettes. Cigarettes should only be for adults and should only be advertised to them. Not in plain view of children. Many kids in America die from smoking-related causes and I don't want to see my classmates die of lung cancer because they were smoking. Sincerely Krysta Ortega * * * To the editor: I think tobacco marketing has influenced young people who may have a healthier life by not experimenting early tobacco use. There are some local stores near our school that have tobacco marketing and I do not like that some of my classmates have started smoking just because these stores have so many different tobacco posters in their windows. I understand that marketing is part of their business, but I'm asking they please stop marketing to the younger population. Tobacco marketing also seems to kids that it is okay to smoke when it's really not. It does more harm to kids than good. If you smoke at an early age, it will be harder to quit and it's not healthy for a growing young body. I don't want to become a next generation smoker and I don't want my friends to become one either. I also don't want to see tobacco marketing where I shop or hang out. Sincerely Jeremy Espinoza Another good day of fishing To the editor: The fifth annual Walleye Ice Fishing Challenge took place Jan. 26 on the Great Sacandaga Lake, with weigh stations in Mayfield at Lanzi's on the Lake and at the Broadalbin boat launch. This winter's conditions made for ideal fishing conditions and a great day. The tournament once again was a sell out with 1,500 fishing enthusiasts with approximately 54 percent of participants from outside of Fulton County including participants from seven states. These participants spent money in our county on hotel rooms, fishing supplies, fuel, bait and tackle, food and refreshments, and much more. We are grateful to all of them, their families and friends for making our county their destination on that day and hopefully to return to Fulton County on many more occasions. The continued success of this tournament would not possible without the help of our entire Fulton County community and its businesses: Bartyzel Inc. and Budweiser, Frank's Gun Shop, Frank & Sons Body Works Inc., the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce and its dedicated staff, the great staff and family at Fuel-N-Food, Lanzi's on the Lake, Powerhouse Motorsports, All Seasons Equipment, County Line Auctions, Final Reward Trophy, Doherty Window, Kingsboro Lumber, Greenscapes, Ross' Bait Shop, Jim's Bait Shop, Dave's Bait Shop, Beebie Printing, R&D Contracting, the town of Broadalbin, the town of Mayfield, the town of Northampton, the town of Edinburg, the New York state DEC, Maria and Beaver Ross, Denise and Nancy Stutzke, Jack Belknap, Ron Barnes, Rick Coyne, and many other individuals who helped in many ways to make this a great event. We are thankful to all of these businesses and individuals. And we are thankful to our Fulton County residents who welcome with open arms these and thousands of other visitors as they explore the great resources of Fulton County. Lou Stutzke, Gina DaBiere-Gibbs Gloversville Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Toward a high level of care To the editor: My name is Deven McDougall. I live in Gloversville. I have lived there all my life, for 50 years. Both of my grandparents, and both of my parents, were patients at Nathan Littauer Hospital when they were alive. I was a patient there when my son was born, and he was a patient there, when his appendix was removed. Generations of people in this community have used NLH. I'm sure everyone in Gloversville (or their families or friends) have used our hospital. It is a vital part of our community. If we are patients, or have to visit a loved one, we don't want to go to Albany Medical Center, Ellis Hospital or even St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam. We want to go here in our city. We want to be taken care of by people we know in our community. We want things that are familiar to us that make us feel comfortable. I am a medical technologist in the laboratory at NLH. We are having trouble with our contract negotiations. It isn't just a matter of money and benefits. What we really need are good people who will take good care of the patients. If NLH management makes wages and benefits unfavorable, or uncompetitive, workers will quit and go to the other hospitals. Who will replace these workers? People of lesser quality, who won't work as hard or care as much, about the patients. The quality of care will go down. Health care workers with good skills and experience will no longer work there. This would be terrible for our community. What am I asking you to do? Perhaps you know members of the hospital board of directors and could discuss the future of our hospital with them. Let's all try to keep a high level of excellent health care in our local hospital. Thank you. Deven McDougall, Gloversville Making the safe decisions To the editor: February: the month which turns hearts to valentines and flowers. In some situations, it can also turn some to bruises, verbal lashing out and other means of violence. According to Joan Chittister, "We know that half of the planet -- women -- are routinely sneered at, demeaned, beaten, sexually abused, bought, sold, trafficked for sex, or enslaved." Sometimes, dating has proven the same. Why bring this up in a month with a day dedicated to hearts, relationships, feelings of love, and appreciation for significant others? Besides the hearts and flowers, February is designated as National Teen Violence Awareness Month. If you want to know what goes on in society, one way is to note on the calendar days that are aimed at certain issues. We are finding that violence in teen dating has become an issue to be aware of and to work at so that it does not happen. The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention record nearly 1.5 million high school students in our nation have reported physical abuse in a dating relationship in just one year. Talk to your children as they enter relationships and start the rite of passage we call dating. Healthy relationships occur when role models live such and when conversation with our youth explore what a healthy relationship is all about. If you need further resources for issues of dating violence or domestic violence, please know that Montgomery County Domestic Violence and Crime Victims Services housed at Catholic Charities, 1 Kimball St., Amsterdam, is there for you. Hot line is also operative at 842-3384. MaryAnn Dignazio Louison, Amsterdam Where every day is sundae To the editor: Was so happy to see in Thursday's paper, Jan. 31, that Kool Dipper is opening up again. Welcome Kim and Brandon. Can't wait to come and have lunch, dinner and most of all, a great hot fudge sundae. We have so few places to eat in the city of Amsterdam. Kool Dipper was really missed. City Lights is a great place for banquets and parties. Pat does a great job. We have had two Christmas parties and they were great. New Year's Eve party was also wonderful. They will make a great team. So happy for Kim, Brandon, Pat and George. Can't wait. Homemade soup is the best and Jersey style grinder. Best of luck. Donna L. Dickerson, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Rules for hunters make no sense To the editor: Today's campers are looking for a place to have beer and pot parties. State campgrounds are patrolled constantly, so the state closing free camping along main roads and modernizing back road into areas zoned as wild forest, sends this sort of camper there. The state is restricting hunters and trappers from wild forests by issuing one permit a year. I have some suggestions for the state: 1. Allow a renewable permit for one year. One year for trappers, especially for retired people, etc., in wild forest. 2. The permit would only allow one tent, and tarp shelters of a certain size, and only three or four people. 3. The camp would have to be used a reasonable time and inspected by forest rangers. 4. Permit holders should be allowed to sell their permits. 5. Overlap the camping areas. 6. The only ways into a camp would be to walk or canoe, no airplanes. 7. Allow only people who will protect and want to expand the wild forest. 8. Promote wildlife back into wild forest and away from towns. 9. Owners of leased camps would be allowed to use them year round, but not allowed to put up gates, blocking access to state land. The average person cannot afford to stay at state parks. By closing down free camping, the state is sending people into wild forest areas, yet the state wants to restrict hunters, trappers, etc., from wild forest. This doesn't make sense to me. Bad rule. Do you know the state and EnCon are promoting this camping by opening new trailheads with large parking areas, modernizing roads and bridges, and closing some areas to camping? Yet hunters and trappers are restricted, and can only get one permit a year. Fish and game clubs, and forest rangers, pass this along. Lewis N. Page Sr., Speculator Combatting dating violence To the editor: February is a time we traditionally think of love. Flowers, poems, chocolate, stuffed animals and other items to show those we care about our affection for them but did you know that February is also Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month? Teen DVPA month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse among teen and 20-something relationships and promote victim services organizations during the month of February. Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. Calling dating violence a pattern doesn't mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence. It just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time. Every relationship is different, but the one thing that is common to most abusive dating relationships is that the violence escalates over time and becomes more and more dangerous for the young victim. While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are 10 of the most common abusive behaviors: Checking your cell phone or email without permission; constantly putting you down; extreme jealousy or insecurity; explosive temper; isolating you from family or friends; making false accusations; mood swings; physically hurting you in any way; possessiveness; telling you what to do. The repercussions of teen dating violence are impossible to ignore -- they hurt not just the young victims but also their families, friends, schools and communities. Throughout February, organizations and individuals nationwide are coming together to highlight the need to educate young people about relationships, teach healthy relationship skills and prevent the devastating cycle of abuse. If you or a loved one is in a violent relationship, you are not alone. Help is available. If you live in Montgomery County and you'd like to know more about what dating violence is or how you can get help, please call Domestic Violence and Crime Victim Services of Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties. There are also many great websites that offer information including Denise Benton, Johnstown Thanks for a chili reception To the editor: The members of Feline Guardian Angels would like to express our sincere appreciation to Imperial Lanes for hosting our first chili cook-off which was held Jan. 26. Plus a very special thanks to the wonderful supporters who made 19 different and delicious varieties of chili to be tested and voted upon. Everyone who attended had a great time. Once again our group recognizes that these acts of kindness demonstrate the growing community support to help fight the feral cat overpopulation. All funds from this event will be used to spay/neuter feral cats locally. Please note when temperatures rise each spring, it marks the beginning of "kitten season," the time of year when millions of kittens are born. Cats have an approximately 60-day gestation period, so spring kittens are being conceived right now. In addition, cats can become pregnant as early as four months of age, so last year's kittens can be producing this year's litters. The time for prevention is now. FGA urges community members to have their pet cats spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Not only does neutering prevent new litters of kittens, it improves the cat's health. Additionally, this is also a crucial time to neuter neighborhood stray and feral cats. Through trap-neuter-return, we are able to stabilize the population of local cat colonies, and decrease the number of cats entering shelters or living on the street. Feline Guardian Angels is a 501c3 charitable organization operated by volunteers and concerned citizens whose mission is to humanely reduce the number of feral cats in the local community and to improve the quality of life through a trap-neuterrrelease program. Trap-neuter-return is a long-term, comprehensive community program that stabilizes the feral cat population humanely. Cats are trapped, tested for aids and/or leukemia, altered, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor homes with a caregiver to oversee the general population. FGA also provides education to the public about the benefits of population reduction through responsible ownership. FGA is funded solely by public donations. The organization primarily serves Montgomery County. As of December 2012, the group has spayed/neutered 148 stray or feral cats from the local community. Please spay or neuter your pets and be part of the solution. For further information regarding FGA and our services, please call 466-3478. Myra Lampkin, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor After 61 years, he still gets a thrill out of holding her hand To the editor: In 1951, my mother and I used to meet every Friday night at Nick Meola's Rialto Restaurant for dinner. On one Friday night, I noticed two young ladies on the other side of the dining room. As our waitress was also their waitress, I wanted to find out who they were. They were sisters. One was a cook at the Maxwell House Diner and the other was a drop-dead good looking waitress at a place called Al's Pizzeria. For the next two weeks, I was at Al's Pizzeria. The woman never gave me a look. One day I tapped her on the shoulder and I said, "Hi, I'm Jim Sheridan." She looked me in the eye and said, "I'm not." This was the first of a series of wet blankets. But, within two weeks, I finally got her to agree to go out with me. That's the good news. The bad news was that I got laid off from Mohawk Carpets. Our date was for 6 p.m. on a Friday night. At 4 p.m. I was standing in Louie Allen's pool room on Market Street. My shoes were shined, pants pressed, shirt and tie, cardigan sweater and 40 cents to my name. I was going to call her up and tell her that we had a death in the family, or that I got hit by a truck, anything to get off the hook. In the pool room, for a nickel, I bought a package of peanut butter nabs and for a dime, I bought a soda that they don't make anymore, TruAde. I heard some noise from the back of the pool room and I looked through a peep hole and saw 10 to 12 guys shooting dice. I walked down the alley, between Larrabee's and the pool hall, knocked on the door and they let me in. There was Harold Weissman, "Dunk" Baia, Mike Pacillo, Kenny House, Danny Gugliemelli, "Cheech" Farina, and a couple guys that I didn't know. As I was putting my empty soda bottle in the case, Mike Pacillo yelled, "Your dice, Sheridan." I put the remaining quarter on the table and made the sign of the cross. If you believe in miracles, this is what happened. I held the dice for 12 minutes. I threw five passes and three numbers. The quarter was now $64. I picked up the money and headed for the door. Harold Weissman grabbed me and said, "You're not leaving here with that kind of money." Kenny House said, "Let him go." In those days, people had a tendency to listen to Kenny House. He was in training. His stomach looked like a washboard and if he hit you in the jaw, he'd probably break both of your ankles. I went down to the Amsterdam Hotel, where the cab stand was, and picked this young lady up at 67 Bridge St. up over the Armory Grill. When we got out of the cab at Isabel's, there was a young kid in a pedal car, five to six years old, who almost knocked us down. It was Joey Isabel. The man who waited on us had been in my room at SMI; it was Pup Isabel. After dinner, I called another cab which took us to the Rialto Theater where we saw "Shane" with Alan Ladd, Van Heflin, Jean Arthur and Jack Palance. When we left the theater, I did what all young men would do on a first date. I took this woman by cab to meet my mother. It was 11 p.m., but the next day was Saturday, nobody was working and I had lost my job. My mother talked to this young lady for 15 minutes. I still had over $25 in my pocket, but I didn't call a cab because in the theater, she had let me hold her hand. That was a "home run" in 1951. I figured maybe she would let me hold her hand for the one mile walk back to the Armory Grill, and that's the way it turned out. When we reached her place, I started to go up the stairs. She said, "No, this is as far as you go." I said, "Could we do this again sometime?" Her reply was, "We'll see." I was living at the YMCA at that time and as I checked in, the man at the desk said, "Your mother called; she wants to talk to you." It still wasn't midnight, so I walked up to my mother's place and the first thing that my mother said to me was, "You're going to grab that girl, aren't you?" "No, it's our first date and I don't even know her." My mother looked me in the eye and said, "She's going to say 'no' to a lot nicer guys than you." And every so often, the blind pig stumbles into the acorn. Five months later, we were married. She gave up restaurant work, got an education and taught for 33 years in the Head Start Program. We have five children, two of whom are deceased. The remaining three are married and provide us with all our basic needs in excess. We raised three beagles, one 14-year-old black cat whose name is Snowball, and we're not hurting for anything. On Feb. 12 we will be married 61 years and I've got to tell you, I still get a big bang out of holding her hand. I'm 86, my wife is 83, and I'm still waiting for my first bad meal, but it will never come. James J. Sheridan, Amsterdam You can count on the crows To the editor: Every night as I drive into Amsterdam to pick up my son from wrestling practice, I'm travelling the same route as about 10,000 other commuters. Every night, they fly overhead, going the same way I am -- but unlike me, they're never late. You can set your watch by them. It's 4:45 p.m. -- they're right on schedule. The crows are coming into town. Rush hour is starting. Traffic is getting heavier. The crows fly north up Route 30. Some peel off after crossing the bridge and bed down for the night in the scattering of trees near the river. Others fly on north up Route 30 and bear left at Route 67, heading for the cemetery. And some of them prefer the area near the old factory on the top of the steep Main Street hill. All they need is a tree or two. They settle in for the night, loudly telling each other about their day. The crows are incredibly punctual. Many of them range far from the city during the day, flying 10 miles out or more. So they must begin to return to the roosting area about 3 o'clock. It's amazing how they manage to stay on schedule. They're considered to be among the most intelligent birds in the world, capable of remarkable feats. For instance, it's been well proven that they can recognize individual humans by facial characteristics. They can design and use tools. They can even grasp basic math concepts, which is more than I can do. They've figured out that cities are perfect places to roost in. Cities have fewer owls and other predators to prey on the crows while they're trying to get a good night's sleep. Cities are warmer, with nice tall buildings to block the wind. Crows prefer to roost in lighted areas, perhaps because well-lit streets mean less danger from predators. In a few weeks, as the days get longer, the increasing amount of daylight will prompt the crows to start pairing off in couples and setting up nesting territories. They'll abandon the winter urban roosts and head for the rural areas to bring up the kids. So enjoy the crows while they're here, swirling around the city like a scene from a vampire movie, every evening at 4:45. And if you're anxious to be rid of such noisy neighbors, they won't be here much longer. Anita Sanchez, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Avoiding the sad truth To the editor: For the last few weeks, changing gun laws has been the main topic on every news channel and newspaper. I do agree changes need to be made, but I feel I need to say "Before I Burst." The changes that are being made "aren't enough." Limiting the amount of gun magazines and the amount of ammunition a gun owner can purchase, and doing a more intensive background check, is not enough and is certainly not the solution. I truly believe that people with a license to own a gun certainly have the right to protect their home and people who have a hunting license have the right to hunt. But, I feel, it's not only the right thing to do. It should be made into a law, to keep these guns locked up, and the key should stay on your person at all times. It is ridiculous to me that so many gun owners are leaving their guns in a dresser drawer, an unlocked cabinet, or in clear view for anyone to see or take. I feel a law should be passed that when you purchase a gun license, you must sign an agreement that you will keep your gun locked up and the key with you at all times. With the exception of someone breaking into your home, and breaking the lock off your gun cabinet, you should be held responsible if a family member, friend or neighbor, while in your home, is able to take your gun and use it to hurt or kill another person. After all, it seems lately that if it is not the gun owners who are committing these horrible murders, it's been people living in or visiting the gun owner's home. I'm certainly not trying to suggest that keeping your guns under lock and key will put an end to all these horrible crimes; but I'm certain locking them up will prevent some. Those sweet children in Connecticut were all killed by a gun owner's family member. And my precious grandson, Jonathan DeJesus, along with his best friend, Paul, were also killed by a gun that was not owned by the shooter. I often wonder why the shooter was able to get his hands on the gun. The death of my grandson has ended the life I knew and loved. My family and I are in constant pain without him in our lives. We never thought this could ever happen to us. The sad truth is this could happen to anyone if things remain the same. So please keep your guns locked up. I would love to hear what the readers of the Recorder think about my opinion. Jonathan's grandma, Deborah Tiano, Gloversville We must adapt to change To the editor: On Dec. 6 the Fulton-Montgomery Region CEO Roundtable sponsored a city revitalization symposium. We had a great turnout of local business leaders, elected officials, interested citizens and media. The mayor of Auburn spoke about the steps that community has taken to revitalize their city. They have made impressive progress. We also heard from area developers who are working in neighboring communities. These developers were very encouraging about the potential in our community. The outcome of the symposium was very positive and many agreed that the next steps for our communities are to work regionally in our two counties with all municipalities in mind. Collaboration and cooperation will raise the economic prosperity of the entire region. As president of Alpin Haus with two locations in Montgomery County, I see our area as a region. Our employees and customers come from both counties and the greater region as a whole. We have been in business for 49 years and know that to be successful you must continually adapt to change. Our communities must do the same so that we can grow. Growth is necessary, both in population and in business development. We need growth for our area in order to increase our property and sales tax base. Activity breeds activity and leads to momentum. We have had a lot of success stories in our communities over the past few years. Growth in any of our cities, towns or villages is good for the whole area. I encourage all of us who live in this region to work together, be positive and get involved. Andy Heck, Amsterdam Putting the plans on hold To the editor: The dangerous method of natural gas drilling called hydrofracking threatens our environment and our health as increasing scientific evidence clearly demonstrates. But it also possesses a tremendous threat to the economic future of the entire state. The catastrophic effect of fracking on our water supply has been widely documented. Should this technology be allowed in New York state, not only will home values drop, rural New York will lose much of its appeal to tourists and potential future residents. My wife grew up in Sharon Springs and we still come to visit friends and family in the region on a regular basis. Upstate New York has experienced a recent influx of people drawn by the beauty of its unspoiled nature and the popularity of TV shows such as the Fabulous Beekman Boys. Small communities like Sharon Springs are slowly recovering from years of economic stagnation. All this could soon be over, should hydrofracking be permitted. As a family, our plan has always been to move back to upstate New York eventually. As long as a decision on fracking has not been made, we will have to put this plan on hold as the risks on our health and finances are simply too high. Thomas Schmidt Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, and Sharon Springs Have you had your exams? To the editor: Happy new year. Have you scheduled your annual exam? For women, this yearly visit plays a critical role in your health. A breast and cervical cancer screening is an important part of making sure women remain healthy. Men also need to have a colon cancer screening, if needed. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cervical cancer is the most preventable cancer in women. An annual pap test detects abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix that could be precancerous. At the same time, a test for human papillomavirus may find the virus that triggers the cells' abnormality. Finding abnormal cells and treating them in the early stages has significantly decreased the incidence of cervical cancer. With this in mind, I would like to remind you about the Cancer Services Program of Fulton and Montgomery Counties. The program offers women 40-64 and men 50-64, who do not have health insurance, the opportunity to get a free breast and/or cervical cancer screening, and/or colorectal cancer screening kit. Schedule a breast and cervical health screening. Cancer screenings and early detection saves lives. Unfortunately, despite its availability and success in reducing death from cancer, too many women neglect to take advantage of these life-saving screenings. The cancer services program is here to offer you free cancer screenings if you do not have health insurance. Please call Suzanne Hagadorn, program coordinator, at (518) 841-3726. Christina Akey, Johnstown Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor PAV offers its thanks To the editor: The Polish American Veterans and auxiliary would like to thank all of our supporters and local businesses that participated in our annual Christmas food drive. This year's donations yielded six boxes of food and a paper products gift bag to each of the five needy families in our community. A special thank you to all of the members that helped assemble, pack and deliver the boxes. We even had Santa Claus help with our deliveries. Thank you all again. Alicia Sheckton, Amsterdam Guardian Angels to the rescue To the editor: I would like to publicly acknowledge and thank the Feline Guardian Angels for their help with a situation that had developed in the area where I live. A colony of 26 cats and kittens were living in a nearby residence that no longer housed anyone. It appeared that most of the cats were feral, but some may have been abandoned and wandered there, or were lost strays. Other than food and water, I was not able to do much for these animals, that were increasing in number. I called several groups and the group that was able to help was the Feline Guardian Angels from the Montgomery County area. They are a trap, spay or neuter and return group. All 26 cats and kittens were spayed or neutered and given the required shots and tests necessary to return to their home. Several of the cats were adopted and some were able to be placed in foster care. A situation where a population of feral cats kept increasing has been stopped. Often, the volunteers would have to patiently wait and watch to trap, and then transport the cats to a veterinarian and then keep the cats until they could be returned to their "home." Ideally, it would have been wonderful if all the cats could have been adopted, but at least the cycle has been stopped. Again, thank you Feline Guardian Angels. For any information about this great group, they can be reached at (518) 466-3478. Patricia Palkovic, Amsterdam Tuesday, July 28, 2015 Letters to the Editor Moving into the new century To the editor: Reasons for voting against Resolution #12/13-170: First, while it conforms to the current city charter requirements to fill the vacant position, it continues to ignore the reality of today's 21st century demands required of the position. Specifically, being a city resident, being a registered member of the same party as the person who held the position, and being at least 18 years of age, are way too meager requirements for a position of this importance. Merely doing what an out-dated city charter dictates to fill a position requiring a great deal of higher education and a good degree of job-related experience is not my desired path to solve the city's challenges. Second, the Common Council and the mayor have come to the conclusion that a highly educated and experienced individual will need to be put in place in order to gain what has been termed, "institutional knowledge and continuity." Timely resolution of this process appears to be imminent. Third, the Common Council, the mayor and prior controller all concluded that an accounting consultant is needed to be hired to flush out accounting issues requiring resolution. The result of this initial hiring proved the need for additional hours being added for this consultant in order to fully comprehend the magnitude of the issues. This is an on-going process and requires a highly educated and skilled person that could need to be in place for some time. Finally, if the Common Council and the mayor are serious about upgrading what may have worked in the 20th century with the elected controller who resides in the city of Amsterdam and is at least 18 years old with the 21st century demands of a controller who must possess the higher education and the requisite job experience required for this position, the city of Amsterdam charter must be changed. Let's give the residents of the city a say in the matter. Let's not perpetuate what looks like it isn't working any more. Let's postpone the current charter requirement for appointment. Let's fix the accounting issues with accounting professionals, not with appointees. Let's pay for the current dilemma we have now and not add more to the bill that is, already, too high. The foregoing is/was not meant to be an indictment of any appointee, individual or any political party, but, an explanation for my vote. It is my opinion of what needs to be done and how we could do it. In any event, the people of Amsterdam must be in the mix and must be given the final say in how we are to proceed in the 21st century or remain stuck in the 20th century. David J. Dybas, Amsterdam The writer is Amsterdam's Fourth Ward alderman. Help support Relay for Life To the editor: Once again the city of Amsterdam will be hosting the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in June. In order to get preparations under way, we will be hosting our kick-off on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 6 p.m. The purpose of the kick-off is to explain what the relay is all about and to generate some excitement for this year's relay. We will also be there to answer any questions, and hopefully recruit some new members to our committee. Unfortunately, cancer is a disease many of us are all too familiar with. The Relay for Life is one way we can come together as friends, family, teams and a community to raise funds that can help eradicate this awful disease. Please consider joining us for kick-off at St. Mary's Healthcare Carondelet Pavilion Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. We look forward to your support and hope to see you there. Andrea Rogers, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Making it easier to vote To the editor: I read your Sunday article entitled "Puerto Rican ballot access discussed" with great interest. Never did I think that my letter, which was written out of great frustration, would become part of such important discussion as facilitating the right for Puerto Ricans with limited proficiency in English to vote. Amsterdam has been involved in this conversation for 30-plus years and still the conversation continues, but change is slow in coming. In this great country every citizen is afforded their right vote even if they lack proficiency in the English language. This right is not just for the Puerto Rican people, but for all American citizens with limited English proficiency. Although there seemed to be great concern over cost and who helps or doesn't help Latinos to vote, the discussion might be best served if framed differently. Maybe the discussion should be: "How can we assist all voters with limited English proficiency understand the voting process and how can we make the process easier and less intimidating in the current system of things?" Here are some recommendations that I don't think requires a rocket scientist, but that can be quite cost effective. First, both the Democratic and Republican parties pay poll watchers; why not pay bilingual bicultural poll watchers to assist those with limited English proficiency, instead of depending on volunteers who are just available from 9 to 5 in just certain voting polls? In the city of Amsterdam it can't no longer be said that Latinos live in certain areas of the city. We live in all wards and many of us work beyond the hours of 9 to 5. We are embedded into the fabric of this community such as other ethnic groups that comprise the Amsterdam community. Also, it would be of benefit to both parties if they paid poll watchers who are supportive of their prospective party agenda. Non-paid volunteers have no reason to be beholden to any party agenda except their own. By both parties paying bilingual bicultural poll watchers ensures their party's agenda is carried out. Second, continue to provide voting material English and Spanish; however, ensure you have Spanish speaking poll watchers available to explain what the material is trying to convey throughout the day. And lastly, this goes way beyond Amsterdam, why can't the voting process be made much easier? In this day and age where technology is so advanced, why are voters still using paper ballots and magic markers to cast their vote? Why can't our politicians invest money in making it easier for all American citizens to vote? Millie Figueroa-Zabawsky, Amsterdam Community comes through To the editor: "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson. With that thought in mind, I wish to thank the Recorder, their generous readers, and the Amsterdam community for the great support we received again this year. The Recorder has promoted the Catholic Charities holiday food pantry drive for several years by donating space in their paper. We would not be able to raise such funds, and provide the much needed assistance to area families, without the Recorder's help and without the generosity of its readers. In the past two months the money we've received from groups and individuals in the community helped us with much needed food to restock our shelves. Everyone who contributed, whether it was $5 or $5,000, made an impact on the many families in our areas who are desperately in need of food; not just during the holiday season, but all year long. It would be very difficult to mention all the groups and individuals who support our food pantry, but, besides the Recorder, I'd like to extend a special thanks to the employees of Amsterdam Printing & Litho Corp., Amsterdam Teachers Association, the Amsterdam Rotary Club, the Children's Aid Association, SEFCU Credit Union, Ladies of Charity, Calvary Reformed Church, CTW Fund,, mcnulty#mcnulty, Raphael J. McNulty Academy for International Studies and Literacy, and numerous religious organizations and individuals. Please forgive me if I left any group out. Catholic Charities currently serves about 460 people per month. There are many families (including children, the elderly, and the disabled) who do not have enough to eat each day. As resources dwindle and the need increases, the support we receive from the community is greatly needed and appreciated. To all who support our food pantry and agency, thank you for showing your concern for the needy families of our community. If you wish to make a donation to the Catholic Charities food pantry, please bring non-perishable food items to our office at 1 Kimball St., Amsterdam, or send a donation to the same address. John A. Nasso, Amsterdam The writer is executive director of Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Lions offer their thanks To the editor: The Greater Amsterdam Lions Club recently engaged in its annual fund-raising campaign to finance our community services. This activity involved delivery of our message through the Recorder and a direct mailing appeal. We thank you for your help and editorial support which contributed to our success. We also want to thank the people at Benchemark Printing for preparing our letter and the local merchants who contributed gifts for distribution at our annual Christmas party for the visually impaired. Finally, we want to thank the donor of a laptop computer for a visually impaired student. He prefers to be anonymous but he knows who he is and that we are deeply appreciative of his magnanimous gesture. For those who are inclined to do so, your contributions are still welcome. Please send them to Greater Amsterdam Lions Club, P.O. Box 2, Amsterdam, N.Y. 12010. Anthony Vecchio, Amsterdam The writer is president of Amsterdam's Lions Club. Gun laws matter To the editor: Many of the states with the strongest gun laws also have the lowest gun death rates nationwide. The states with the weakest gun laws have gun death rates above the national average. (Source: Gun safety laws matter because they work to help keep people safe. Unfortunately, we will not see change to our weak federal gun safety laws until those of us who support such laws start to act. The Brady Campaign ( in Washington, D.C., has been fighting for 30 years to enact reasonable gun laws that protect people. (They are not interested in banning guns.) There is also a new grass roots movement called They are inviting "all caring people" to join them. Check out these organizations. Consider joining. Get involved. There are millions of Americans who support safe gun laws. We just need to harness that power. Lisa Ribeiro, Edinburg The dangers of tobacco To the editor: Tobacco takes a terrible toll on the people in the counties our agency covers. I mainly work in Montgomery County and when working with youth about the dangers of tobacco they think everyone smokes because all the people around them smoke. My sister died at the age of 52 because of her tobacco use. We watched her slowly die from cancer that basically devoured her body. She went from 140 pounds to 65 pounds. People used to think that tobacco use only caused lung cancer; now we know that it attacks every organ in the body. The dangers of second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke have become evident through research. The children and other bystanders become victims of the people who smoke. Tobacco control programs educate citizens about the dangers of tobacco use. One of the students whose father was hospitalized with breathing difficulties due to tobacco use said if he was president he would illuminate all tobacco factories. Here is a second-grader who has the solution. For my information, please visit or contact Betsy Reksc HFM Prevention Council at 736-8188 x 107. Betsy Reksc, Johnstown Twenty little angels To the editor: Little darlings six and seven, In school to learn their skills. Confronted by a madman, Toting a semi-automatic that killed. Senseless shots received, Not to be believed. Shocked by such devastation, The world cries. These children had a right, To their lives. The life poured out, Of so many innocent victims. What is the answer, To such senseless killings? More gun control -- more mental testing? Pour little lambs, Before the slaughter. Now twenty little angels, Now gone from this Earth. Newtown, Conn. Dec. 14, 2012 Julia B. Blue, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Making wishes come true To the editor: We want to thank the entire community for joining us in our yearly Christmas event fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. I cannot begin to thank all of our co-sponsors that keep our park up and running and enable us to offer new lighting ideas each year in improving our event to where it is now. This is the second season that we are partners with Make-A-Wish and all the generous donations that you left behind will soon be forwarded to Make-A-Wish. Last year was our first in being a partner with Make-A-Wish. Within that timeframe Make-A-Wish granted 10 wishes in Montgomery and Fulton County areas. The average wish granted is nearly $10,000. By partnering with Make-A-Wish they have enabled us to continue this beautiful Christmas tradition and enabled more children to have their wishes granted than we could provide in the past. A big thank you to all the volunteers that have worked with us this season. Our three-day celebration this year was wonderful, despite a little rain we had the largest turnout ever. The lines of children waiting to see Santa and Mrs. Claus, seeing the thrill in their eyes as Santa arrived on a fire truck was outstanding. The children certainly enjoyed the horse rides throughout the park and our Make-A-Wish train ran non-stop for hours. As much as this Christmas event is a fundraiser for children, we also want everyone to know that we want the community to feel that this is their Christmas place to be during the holiday season. Isn't this community blessed to have two wonderful Christmas drive-through light displays? We highly compliment the Marching Rams in their beautiful display once again this year. Thank you so much to everyone that makes these events possible. David Falso, Amsterdam Friday, January 23, 2015 Lighting up the sky Lighting up the sky To the editor: On behalf of the AHS Marching Rams, boosters and alumni, we would like to thank Mayor Thane, the AFD, the APD, the DPW, AHS Marching Rams band directors, majorette adviser and flag team adviser for helping to make our show, "Light Up The Sky With The Marching Rams," a huge success. Special thanks to Sean Hardies for keeping our lights glowing for the past 14 years. From 10 generators to circuit breakers -- progress. Thank you to WCSS and WVTL for advertising our show on the radio. It was greatly appreciated. Thank you to all of the school districts in Montgomery County and beyond for allowing us to distribute our flyers to their students. We appreciated it very much. Many students from near and far drove through our unique show. Thank you to all who donated printed flyers. Without your help, we would not have been able to reach so many children. Also thank you to the Leader-Herald, the Recorder and the Gazette for their coverage. Many thanks to everyone who donated paint and wood to make the beautiful displays and thanks to everyone who donated food for the workers during the show. It kept us warm while working out in the cold from Nov. 30 to Dec. 23. Special thanks to all of the Marching Rams, boosters, alumni and community members who worked the show every night. We appreciate you braving the cold and rain in order to allow all who enter to enjoy the show. Together we raised over $17,000 for the AHS Marching Rams to use toward their trip to Washington, D.C., in January. To all of our neighbors boarding the premises, a special thank you, for your patience during the duration of the show. Another year of creating tourism for Montgomery County. Many people who drove through our show mentioned eating at local restaurants and shopping in our stores. I'm sure they gassed up before heading home, too. "Light Up The Sky With The Marching Rams" will return in 2013 for your enjoyment and holiday spirit. We wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Thank you for supporting the AHS Marching Rams -- the ambassadors and pride of Amsterdam. Leslie Mihalek and Linda Selbert, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Value life at all times To the editor: Removing guns is a separate goal from eliminating violence. We guard the killing of the unborn. We corrupt the born with depictions of violence in music, movies and video games. Rappers romanticize the urban ghetto and "street cred." We watch filth on primetime network TV like "Two and Half Men." We wear t-shirts with the picture of mass murderer Che Guevera, and put up ads in Times Square at Christmastime representing Jesus Christ as a myth. We embrace single motherhood. We celebrate the weakening of marriage and watch as more and more men become isolated and estranged from their children and those children act out their abandonment. What happened in Newtown, Conn., shocked us because 20 children and six adults died in one horrifying act of violence. What about the 3,000 children that were slaughtered just yesterday? But they were not children, they were useless lumps of tissue destined for flushing. What about the 260 public school students in Chicago alone that died from shootings, stabbings and beatings from 2009-2011? I don't believe all types of guns should be available to everyone. A sane approach needs to be taken with guns and limiting access. But let's also take up the issue of violence, and the reasons why people choose to pick up a gun, knife, punch child, or wrap their hands around another person's neck. Let's value life at the beginning, the end, and all the times in between. Deborah Humphreys, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Strike up the band To the editor: Several days ago, a letter was sent in to the editor by Mr. Bob Carr, in regard to the "Amsterdam High School's band concert." I could not have said it any better than he did. Thank you Bob. I personally would like to add that these students put in many long hours of hard work, practice and dedication, until the results are musically excellence. They are now under the direction of Mr. Michael Perry, who took over the position after Stephanie Boice retired last year, after many years of teaching. (A very hard pair of shoes to fill for sure.) He is doing a remarkable job and should also be commended for his work. The next time you hear that there is going to be a performance, take the time and check the Amsterdam Marching Rams/band perform. Philomena Farrell, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor True meaning of community To the editor: At the age of 86 I shed tears on four occasions: Births, deaths, viewings and funerals. That all changed on Christmas of this year. We are blessed with three children who provide us with any material needs we might have. This year, they decided that we would go to the Kristy Pollack lighting display on Lyon Street and the Marching Rams lighting display on Brookside Avenue. I had already made up my mind that I was going to have a lousy time. I couldn't have been more mistaken. The first thing that my wife said to me was, "We don't have to go to Orlando or Anaheim, this is our Disney World." I find it hard to believe that so much effort, dedication and professionalism went into these projects. If you are not moved by these exhibits, you are a single-digit IQ, or you have "toys in the attic." The 20 to 30 people we saw were standing in weather that was colder than a dead Eskimo's nose. Yet all that came out of their mouths was "merry Christmas" and "happy new year." This is what community is all about. Anyone connected with these projects can be very proud of their participation. No monetary gain, for anyone, just love for the unity they represented. I think $5 a car is a steal. If I am still above ground next year, I will gladly pay $10 for my car. You people who are affiliated with these projects deserve all the accolades the city can give you. Yes, I had a wet pillow when I went to sleep that night. James J. Sheridan, Amsterdam What lies within us To the editor: Now that the dust has settled and my ears have stopped ringing, I'd like to take this opportunity to say "thank you" to all the loyal customers who supported me during my years as bartender at Shorty's. I never owned Shorty's, but I was a staple behind the bar for over 11 years. In that time, I met and served some of the greatest people Amsterdam has to offer. I can't stress enough how wonderful you all are. Your support of me and the camaraderie were amazing. It is a time in my life that I will always cherish. Bartending is not just about mixing up ingredients, but it is an art of making people feel comfortable, welcome and special. I know without a doubt that I was very successful at that part of the job. This was evident by the loyal following I cultivated over the years. These special relationships will never be forgotten. It is always difficult to predict what the future will hold, but whatever that is, I go forward a much richer person for the privilege of having served and known all of you. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: "What lies behind us, what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Tim Malaney, Johnstown Thank you all for caring To the editor: Now that Christmas is over, we want to say thanks to everyone who contributed to make the Comfort Zone Ministry a success. We asked for hats, scarves and gloves for the children of Amsterdam. Knitters in many places handmade these items, while others bought and donated them. Thank you for helping the children be warm through the cold weather. Christmas came and we asked for toys for the children of Amsterdam. You stepped up one more time. We gave away 571 toys. We wish you could all have been there to see the children pick out their own toy. The smiles and thank yous were worth their weight in gold. Then there were the parents picking out toys for their children. Some of these people had asked us if we would do Christmas because they had no money for presents this year. The "God bless you" we heard from them should have been heard by all of you. Thank you for giving from your heart and making the world a much happier place for the children and their families. All the while you were doing these things, you never forgot the basic needs of toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and bars of soap. All of these items were donated and given out monthly. Please continue to remember us in 2013 and, if you ever want to feel good, come down to Trinity Lutheran and volunteer on the fourth Tuesday of the month. We set up at 6 p.m. and start handing out items at 6:30. It is amazing and awe inspiring to watch. Most of all, thank you for everything you have done for the people of Amsterdam. Pat yourself on the back because you have done a great job. Thanks for caring and for sharing during 2012. Jean Amy Swenson and Bette Errig, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Be it hereby resolved ... To the editor: My top resolutions for 2013: 1) Love one another. 2) Plan to put more pressure on our politicians to get your point across. 3) Try to stop wars all over the world. 4) Tell someone that you hurt that you're sorry. 5) Help someone that society rejects. 6) Finally, if you're Roman Catholic like I am, go to confession more and pray more because it works. Happy new year. Dave Gomula, Amsterdam Do what must be done To the editor: Over a sixty year career span, dedicated efforts have been consistently pursued through art promotions to create incentives that would engage all citizens, not only outdoor sportsmen and women, to actively participate in conservation and forest protection projects so that future generations could inherit a strong healthy habitat and eco systems that were cared for and preserved. Intelligent, carefully crafted management designed to always safeguard both wildlife and their natural habitat, as well as recognizing and combating the ever increasing dangers of climate changes, are the required tools needed to achieve the ultimate successes that are sought. Parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, as well as concerned educators uniformly agreed significantly expanded classroom activities directly focusing upon guaranteeing the well being of majestic forests, woodlands and wildlife in general, should commence in grade school, onto middle and high school graduates, will produce future generations that are educated, engaged, energized and well equipped to forever protect our cherished natural treasures. Hopefully the clearly obvious necessities of doing what must be done now will prove to be the incentives every citizen needs to step forward and become totally proactive in this overall endeavor. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Sharing a common goal To the editor: Project Action, tobacco-free coalition of Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties, educates the community about tobacco-free outdoor areas around playgrounds, parks, businesses, college campuses and other grounds. Parks, playgrounds, beaches and other recreational areas should be places that people can go to enjoy the outdoors, breathe fresh air and exercise. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Also, cigarette litter is dangerous for children and bad for the environment. It can take up to 25 years for cigarette butts to biodegrade. As the community educator for domestic violence and crime victims services of Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties, I proudly partner with Project Action. We share the common goal of healthy families and a safe community. Should you need more information on tobacco-free outdoors, visit Ginger Cato, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Confused by the reaction To the editor: I watched, with tears in my eyes, as the facts became available about the massacre in the Connecticut school. God go with them all. What has me confused is the liberal reaction to this horror. Within hours, they were showing all kinds of compassion, and rightly so. But aren't they the ones that find nothing wrong with abortion, even late term abortion-life. Maybe the birth certificate makes the difference. Then to see the president, Mr. Cool, on TV with a tear shocked me. I did not listen to what he was saying because I know he hangs out with people that say we should kill our soldiers and torture their families. And some that want to kill all the crackers and their babies. If that's the case, why would this really bother him? Is this compassion or just an excuse to further the anti-gun laws? I was always told that if you cannot take a man for his word, then you're not dealing with a man. I guess we will just have to wait and see. Just an old man's observations. Dave McBurnie, Tribes Hill Big cats causing no stir To the editor: This letter is regarding all the negativity I have read and heard about Mr. Salton's tigers and leopards. I decided to see for myself what a "dangerous" situation existed there. At two different neighbors I asked their opinions. They said they did not like it. One person said these animals had no shelter from the weather. What I saw was the most wonderful experience I could imagine. Each animal had a 30-foot area to walk around in, enclosed shelters for sleeping and protection from the weather, and a large exercise area. The enclosures have a very high sturdy steel fence with an electric fence around the top and large roofs over everything. There is a second very high steel enclosure about 5 feet away that would confine them if they ever got out of the first one, which is almost impossible for them to do. As for how "dangerous" they are, Mr. Salton called each by name and they came to him to be petted. He put his hand in their mouths, put his face against the enclosure, asked them for a kiss, and they licked his face. They are extremely content and gentle. Some dogs (and especially people) are more dangerous than these animals. Just watch the news. The only noise I heard was a low "rumble" in the throat of the male when he came to be petted. Mr. Salton said only occasionally the male roars during the night. I felt I was experiencing the restored paradise on Earth (Isaiah 11:6-11). I loved it. The Mayfield town board members and Mr. Salton's neighbors should see these beautiful animals before they condemn him with scare tactics. Mr. Salton said these people have never seen his animals. Everyone should see them. It is extremely secure and safe. Bertha C. Kenyon, Northville Making a difference To the editor: I'd like to thank editor Charlie Kraebel for the letter you wrote on Dec. 8. It was very kind of you to put into words what so many of us were feeling. My heart also goes out to Deanna Rivers, Chris Stewart, their families, and the community. But as you said, "All of us are created equal and should be treated as such." I also want to thank you for mentioning Jonathan DeJesus and Paul Damphier, the two teens that were found dead in the town of Florida. Those two boys were wonderful kids that were loved by so many. I want people to know that when Jonathan and Paul were missing, their families reached out to the media for help with the exception of one television station that briefly showed their pictures and made less than a 30-second mention of them. All other television stations refused to help. It was the family and friends of Jonathan and Paul who made flyers and pounded the streets day and night. We tried desperately to find the boys. Unfortunately there wasn't large teams formed to search through fields, or trained dogs, who could have easily picked up on their scents simply because we could not get their story out there for people to know we needed help. It was heartbreaking to read the article that was released on July 17 that the two boys were considered runaways, not missing. I can't help but wonder if the boys weren't average kids, living a simple life, would things be handled differently? If just one of them was a star athlete, or came from a wealthy background, would the media jump right in to help? In my heart I truly believe with a lot of help we could have found the boys much earlier and maybe we could have kissed them goodbye. I can't tell you how much your letter touched by heart. It's people like you who will make a difference in this world. You certainly gave me some hope back. Jonathan is my grandson and I thank you for letting people know that his life and Paul's life are as valuable and equal to all others. Deborah Tiano, Gloversville No safety in numbers To the editor: My views on gun control: (1) To say that if everyone was armed would solve any problems is absurd. If it were true, then no police officer or soldier would ever be shot. Also, being armed does not prevent an ambush. (2) To say that "If someone wants a gun bad enough, he'll get it," is also faulty logic. If you follow that faulty logic, then why have laws and protections against anything, since a person could get it if the person wanted it enough? (3) We sent thousands of men and women to Iraq because of a false premise that there were "weapons of mass destruction" there. Here we sell them on a grand scale, fail to outlaw them, and somehow connect them with the sport of hunting. Kind of like letting people buy dynamite or TNT and claiming they have a right to buy fireworks. (Even fireworks are illegal.) Summing it up: People kill people, with guns, most of the time. Assault weapons, plus lots of ammo, equal mass murder. It would be easier to remove those weapons and ammo from society, than to try and identify potential monsters, who for whatever reason, kill as many innocents as they are able to. Ask yourself this: If the weapons and their ammo were gone, or greatly reduced, would I be safer? If you can't say "yes", then you are part of the problem. Mark Valberg, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor If the band played on ... To the editor: It has been said that the best things in life are free. Last week one of those things was presented at Amsterdam High School in the form of a band concert. It was heart warming to say the least to witness such musical excellence, it left one wishing that they would never stop playing. If this is any example of how things are done at our high school then we have an institution we can be very proud of. To these students I can only say thank you for putting in the hours of practice that it took to rise to such a high level and for sharing it with us. This restores ones faith in our youth and our future. The only way to sum this up is to say that you and your music teachers rock. Bob Carr, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor It all seems to fit To the editor: My name is Sharon Watroba Burns. I graduated from Wilbur H. Lynch High School in 1967, which makes me a contemporary of Michael Lynch, class of 1966. I want to add my voice to the movement of naming the theater in Mike's name that he and I and so many others worked upon with Bert DeRose. I had the pleasure of working with and seeing Mike perform in many shows in the mid-late '60s and the idea that the stage we worked upon could be named in his honor just feels right to me. I realize he's been dead for more than four decades, but to know that this young man could go from the whimsy and razzle dazzle and impermanence of theater to the awareness of something greater than himself and the sacrifice he might make, and then volunteer to defend our country's ideals anyway shocked me then and saddens me to this day. His choice was so brave. Remember Pepe's Restaurant? That's the last place I talked to him, all dressed up in his uniform. Months later, I attended his wake, not fully understanding until I aged and lived a life that it was something Mike never had the chance to do. Now I understand the full impact of his sacrifice. If even one young person learns his story and follows in his footsteps, then the legacy his name on the theater brings might help remove the sting of his greatest of all sacrifices, and show all the people of Amsterdam, both young and old, that the best form of acknowledgment comes not from being famous but in being able to impact your fellow man with your awareness and compassion, and putting a greater good ahead of yourself. And the Michael Lynch Theater of the Lynch Middle School all seems to fit, doesn't it? Sharon Watroba Burns, New York City No better tribute To the editor: My name is Bill Parker. I graduated from Perth Central School in 1965, but made friends with Mike Lynch in my senior year, when I became friends with many drama people from Amsterdam High. At that time, I was fortunate to also befriend Mr. Bert DeRose, who has stayed a lifelong friend. Mr. D allowed me, or looked the other way, while I participated in several productions. I met Michael Lynch during "Camelot," when he was playing Pellinore. In the musical "Camelot," Pellinore is a comical, much-loved, permanent guest of Arthur and Guinevere. He is however, somewhat unsure of Arthur's new ideas for a new order of chivalry -- being against "... any new ideas" on principle. Pellinore is still with Arthur before Arthur fights his final battle at the end of the play; and when Arthur knights the young boy "Tom of Warwick." I knew Michael to be gentle giant, and a good and true soul, even in the short time we had together. Michael's light shined very brightly. To me he was "Pellinore," and always will remain so. We shared many thoughts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as well as discussions of the meaning of life. I can think of no better tribute to both Michael Lynch's memory and sacrifice, Mr. DeRose's mentoring of us all, and to the Lynch High School legacy than naming the theater in Michael's honor. I hope you are able to accomplish this goal. Bill Parker, San Francisco Friday, March 28, 2014 Letter to the Editor Thanks to Fort Plain Post 2000 To the editor: My name is Stephen Boos and am the president of Holly Expert Tree Care Service Inc. of Staten Island. We are a small tree service of five to seven employees that maintains trees, shrubs and sells firewood. As you know, on Oct. 29, Hurricane Sandy devastated the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas, with Staten Island being among hardest hit. Thousands of people lost their homes and businesses, many lost their lives. In my wildest dreams I never thought we would be among the victims but on Oct. 29, we found out the hard way that nature has no mercy and anyone can be a victim. As hard as we had worked to prepare for this storm it was not enough. We had prepared for a rare 5 to 7 foot surge of seawater but instead we had an unprecedented 11 to 14 foot surge hit us. We had moved all of our trucks and equipment, office, shop and inventory to higher ground but just wasn't high enough. Most everything went under water and also about 100 cords of firewood just up and floated away. The insurance company said "it is flood-related so except for the trucks, you're not covered." FEMA said they don't help businesses. Both my insurance company and my government had basically turned their backs on us. I didn't ask for or even expect this but the folks at AMVETS Post 2000 and their ladies auxiliary in Fort Plain heard about our plight and went out of their way to help us. On Nov. 8, they held a benefit dinner to help me and my company to recover and rebuild in the aftermath of this natural disaster. It is truly heartwarming to know that there are people out there who will help when the chips are down and there is no one else to turn to. Thanks to their hard work and generosity we have been able to start to rebuild some of our equipment and are now back to work. Thank You AMVETS Post 2000 and ladies auxiliary. Stephen J. Boos, Staten Island Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor In honor of Michael Lynch Dear editor: The Greater Amsterdam board of education is currently entertaining a proposal submitted by Bert DeRose to name a school theater in honor of Michael Lynch, who was graduated from W.H. Lynch Senior High School back in the 1960s, the decade many social commentators feel was the beginning of the unraveling of American society, beginning with the assassination of then President John F. Kennedy. Following a New York City visit to see "The Impossible Dream" musical Man of La Mancha, Mike stated his intent to put his college studies on hold and join the armed forces. His mission was to help. Though posted in Germany, he volunteered for service in Vietnam at a time when many were seeking any kind of deferment. He drove an ambulance and dedicated himself to healing. Most of the news this weekend has been focused on the mass shooting at the elementary school in Newton, Conn. Everyone says it is a horror no one could imagine. Michael did not imagine this kind of horror. He witnessed it regularly, long before media sources brought it up close into our living rooms. He died in this service from what is euphemistically termed "friendly fire." Bert's drama kids have a not-so-impossible dream where Mike's name graces a theater where he graced productions of Camelot, Mary Poppins, The Miracle Worker, and so many others. Near the entrance would be his picture and an account of his service, not just to his country, but to other people. He set a good example, both on-stage and off, by simply trying to do the right thing. Our hope is that a young person will see his name and ask, Who is this? And, Why? And then be inspired to do the same. We ask those of you who remember Michael Lynch please contact the board and support this proposal. Edward C. Schwartz, Troy Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Slow down and look around To the editor: My mind has pondered over the last 24 hours on what happened at Sandy Hook school. My first reaction when my sister told me was pure total emotion and tears thinking that could have been my own grandchildren. My heart goes out to all of those families who will never ever be able to enjoy special time with their children or grandchildren again. My heart goes out to the murderer's family also (the other brother, the grandmother). God help them also to get through all the pain and anguish the next few days. I pray that people will not judge the brother or grandmother because of the senseless act of the other brother but I am sure that his acts of violence will haunt them the rest of the days of their lives. I was reading various comments on Facebook last night and how several people suggested stricter gun laws. Guns is far from the problem. Yes it adds to the problems but is not the core of the problem. Instead this is a wake-up call that God is sending us. It is a very sad but powerful wake-up call. Gun control does not matter as people will get a gun anywhere (black market, etc.), if they want it that bad. Instead, we need to start looking at our own lives and what we are doing wrong. Why are so many people on drugs, alcohol and pills? Why are family values going down the drain? With texting, video games, iPods, TV, etc., the art of conversation is becoming more and more obsolete. How do you even know what is going on in someone's life or someone's head unless you look them straight in the eyes and have a heart to heart conversation. I walk in restaurants and stores and I don't see eye contact, conversations or laughter anymore. Instead I see everyone hanging on to their little phones and texting, texting, texting. There are too many people in our world walking around with mental instability and we need to start helping these people. We need to also start bringing back family values and respect for them. Respect for our parents, our teachers, our friends. We need to start doing things as a family whether it be a short drive to have a picnic, playing outside with our kids, or taking them to a playground. I never see hardly any kids playing outside anymore. It is so sad. We need to start believing in God again and we need to start doing this right away. I cannot bear to pick up a newspaper anymore or listen to the news as it disgusts and upsets me. I am sickened by how competitive we have become. I am sickened that the government thinks that our kids are not educated enough and therefore need to throw more and harder curriculum at them. Let's just add some more kids to society that will drop out of school, will have low self-esteem and will be mentally unstable walking our streets. We all need to reach out to our friends and family and start helping each other. We need to develop strong family and friend bonds again. We have to be united as one and believe in God in order to help fight all of these demons. We need to care about each other, truly care about each other not just pretend to care. We need to start treating people how we would like to be treated. We need to love each other. These are all pretty simple and easy things that we can do and in the same token will help our society as a whole so something such as Sandy Hook will never happen again. Please, I beg of all of you to slow down and look around you. We need to stop this fast-paced nonsense that we call life and love our families, friends and even strangers. Feel free to post or forward this wherever you want. If I can get through to just one person that we all need to change then maybe I will feel that those poor little kids' lives weren't totally lost in vain. One other note I would like to make is that this should also be a wake-up call for better protection in our schools and that we cannot let our guard down any more, whether the school is large or small and whether the community is big or little. Unfortunately I thought I would never have to say something like this but I feel that every school should have a metal detector. It is sad but there are children as well as adults that are mentally unstable so we can't just assume that only adults need to be searched but children need to be searched also because of so much mental instability going on. I read somewhere the following saying and it is so true: "Values are a foundation for a better life." Come on people, let's start bringing back some of the values that our own parents or grandparents taught us before it is too late. Thank you for reading this and please start helping to put our country back together again. Paula Tucker, Broadalbin A time-honored tradition To the editor: On Sunday, Dec. 9, St. Mary's Institute hosted its annual spaghetti dinner and auction. This year marked a record-breaking turnout with over 1,000 guests enjoying a memorable afternoon of great food and festivities sure to put anyone in the holiday spirit. On behalf of the entire student body, the faculty and staff of St. Mary's Institute, the Home & School Association, the school board and our pastor, the Rev. John Medwid, I would like to express my deepest thanks to the community for supporting this important fundraiser. This year's event featured over 125 items in our silent auction, wonderful musical entertainment, and a delicious homemade dinner prepared by my parents, owners of Sovrana's Pizza & Deli in Albany. This year's dinner committee included Lori Stachnik, Christine DiCaprio-Yandik, Sandy Blanchard, Liz Tesiero, Jeanette Constantine, Jennifer Leonard, Crystal Quatrini, Joan Krohn and Christine Potter. Many thanks are due to these women who so generously gave of their time and talents. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the many parents and family members who volunteered their time to sell tickets, work in the kitchen, serve dinners and so much more. Our sincere appreciation goes to our corporate sponsors AGT Services Inc., Greno Industries, St. Mary's Hospital, Alpin Haus, Power & Composite Technologies, Betz, Rossi, Bellinger & Stewart Family Funeral Homes, Future Wrecker Sales, Miller Printing & Litho, Mohawk Valley Dialysis, Quandt's Foodservice Distributors, Beckmann Converting, and Upstate Utilities and Consultants. Thank you to our in-kind donors Bartyzel Inc., Bill's Wholesale Beverages, Bloomfields, Damiano's Flowers, Hannaford, Imperial Florist, Karen's Produce, Mannys Corners Wine & Liquor, Mary & Belle's Floral Shop, Old Peddler's Wagon, Sovrana's Pizza & Deli, Slezak Petroleum, The Garden Bug, Wal-Mart and White Cottage Gardens for your contributions. We are very grateful to the many businesses and individuals who donated items for our silent and penny auctions. Thank you to the talented lineup of performers who provided the musical entertainment for the afternoon: Reyers Brusoe, Rachelle Cotugno, the SMI Chorus, Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York, Peter Capobianco and Boice's Woodwind Studio. Many thanks to our art teacher, Mrs. Christine Potter, and her students for the beautiful artwork that adorned the cafeteria, gymnasium and hallways. Thank you to Mrs. Bernadette Pecora, student council adviser, and the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students who did an amazing job serving our guests. You did SMI proud. Thanks to our facilities staff for their hard work and dedication. The St. Mary's Institute spaghetti dinner is a time-honored tradition and a true community event. It is the result of months of planning, weeks of working, and days of fine-tuning rolled into one spectacular December afternoon. An old Italian proverb sums it up best, "Nulla si fa senza volonta": "without commitment, nothing gets done." We look forward to seeing you next year. Giovanni Virgiglio Jr., principal, Amsterdam Monday, June 15, 2015 Letter to the Editor Two Annies better than one To the editor: The Glove presented "Annie" last week. For those who missed it, the last performance was exceptional because the audience had the pleasure of enjoying the performance of not one, but two "Annies." Sound odd? Well, yes, it was somewhat unconventional, but the show was full of heart. In the spirit of the season there's a story of two special little girls who, each in their own way, gave from their very hearts what no amount of money could buy. The director, Will Eagan, had wisely cast two Annies for his production: Adriana-Annie and Isabelle-Annie. Each Annie was planned to perform twice. The girls, unlike what one would expect, became friendly, not competitive. They joked, wrote notes, played pranks, and bought each other little gifts. Unfortunately, Isabelle got sick and therein our story lies. Isabelle had a heartbreaking performance Friday when she literally lost her voice on stage. No one died, but in theater losing a voice qualifies as tragic. She was actually worse on Sunday, which was to be her second performance. She would not be able to sing and she knew it. Despite all her hard work and although it broke her heart not to perform, she decided it was best for the sake of the show. She requested for the good of the show that Adriana take the stage. Fate had been unfair and director Eagan wouldn't hear of it. He came up with a way that Isabelle would still be able to perform. He proposed a creative plan of Isabelle performing with Adriana singing. But would Adriana agree to something so selfless? In a word, yes. What fate had stolen, providence restored. In order to help her friend, she agreed without a second thought. Not only does this little girl have the voice of an angel, but the heart of one, too. It's a remarkable director indeed who can create strong bonds in his cast and direct a group so dedicated to each other. Eagan made an announcement to the cast and then eventually to the audience, and for the show, Isabelle took the stage to act and dance and Adriana stood at the piano singing. Together they put on a wonderful performance and when the two Annies took their curtain call together the audience popped up out their seats like champagne corks. There are too few examples of kids today being selfless -- rarely are the opportunities taken to actually do good for others. It's heartwarming to see children giving of themselves at any time, but especially so at Christmas time. Natasha Cucinella, Saratoga Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor The sounds of the season To the editor: Let me preface my remarks by saying I am not qualified to be a music critic in any way. I do love music and, at this time of year, love the Christmas portion of Handel's Messiah. It seems to be the way to start the Christmas celebration. This [Sunday] afternoon, St. Ann's presented the 50th performance of this wonderful music. Over 300 people attended and I would be very surprised if you found anyone who did not think this performance was outstanding. The late Otto Miller started this tradition 50 years ago and conducted it until his passing. Richard McKee, a former parishioner now affiliated with the Syracuse Opera, has been the very able conductor for several years now but health problems prevented him from carrying out this duty this year and Mr. Donald Ingram filled in for Mr. McKee. The soloists were absolutely marvelous. The addition of two trumpeters (Michael Perry and Dylan Canterbury) to the violins and organ added such dimension to the music. The choir was excellent and the whole performance was just breathtaking. The caliber of the soloists each year absolutely amazes me. Should you have any doubts about my statements, look up Julia Ebner, Melisse Weber, Kirk Dougherty and/or Jimi N. James on the Internet. You can hear samples of their singing on some of their websites. I can't help but think God and Mr. Handel would both have been pleased with this performance today. This event is held on the second Sunday of December every year at 3 p.m. The only cost to hear this magnificent performance is a free will offering. Refreshments are served following the program. If you don't go, you are missing possibly the best performance you could see and hear in Amsterdam at any price and for the price of a free will offering, it cannot be beat. Thank you to those at St. Ann's who bring this performance to us year after year. This is the beginning of my Christmas. Anne DeGroff, Amsterdam Get your cancer screening To the editor: The Cancer Services Program of Fulton and Montgomery Counties wants to remind men, women, family members and friends of the importance of encouraging the men and women in your life to have their annual cancer screenings. With Christmas and the New Year upon us, and family and friends coming together to celebrate this wonderful occasion, it is a perfect opportunity to do just that: remind them to get screened. The Cancer Services Program of Fulton and Montgomery Counties offers men 50 to 64 and women 40 to 64, the opportunity to get a free breast exam, mammogram, pap test and/or a colorectal cancer screening kit if they do not have health insurance. Despite advances in prevention and treatment, cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in New York state, exceeded only by heart disease. Prevention and early detection are key reducing cancer incidences and cancer deaths. According to the state cancer registry, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among women in New York, after lung cancer. Every year, nearly 14,500 women in the state are newly diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 2,700 women die from the disease. The program also offers a colorectal screening kit to eligible men and women 50 to 64. Colorectal cancer still remains the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. It is one of only a few cancers that can actually be prevented through the use of regular screening tests. Cancer is a disease that doesn't discriminate, and touches all families. If you do not have health insurance and need your annual screenings, please contact Suzanne Hagadorn, program coordinator, at (518) 841-3726 for more information. Suzanne Hagadorn, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Fire department fires back To the editor: In the last two weeks there have been many people talking about the Fonda Fire Department and the abolishing discussed in last month's fire commissioners meeting. This letter will serve as our official statement regarding the continued existence of the Fonda Fire Department. Firstly, until the doors are closed, the department will continue to serve the community to the best of our ability. We remain dedicated to providing fire and EMS protection to the village of Fonda and have no plans to abandon our duties in that regard. Secondly, we would like to clarify our perspective for the record. Our current disagreement with the village board is a result of their continued refusal to collaborate with our leadership on matters regarding the department's budget, fund-raising, and in this most recent case, our very existence. The mayor and the board of trustees made a valid point in their argument for sharing the town of Mohawk's fire protection with the village of Fonda. Sharing resources between the village and the town makes sense economically, and in that spirit, we believe the village should strive to consolidate as many services as they can. In fact, the Fonda Fire Department proposed to the village board this summer that a consolidation of the Mohawk Fire Department and the Fonda Fire Department be looked at as a means to enhance fire protection in both the village and town while simultaneously reducing the costs of fire protection. The village board decided at that time that instead of pursuing a Mohawk/Fonda consolidation, we would be maintaining separate departments. Two weeks ago the village board announced that they had decided to abolish the Fonda Fire Department. This historic decision to move toward an expansion of the Mohawk Fire District was made without including the Fonda Fire Department. The members of the Fonda Fire Department feel highly disrespected that after 139 years of serving the community we would be abolished without even a voice in the matter. This decision will have a lasting impact on all the fire department members, as well as the village residents and taxpayers, and should not be taken lightly. The next village board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the village hall, 8 E. Main St, Fonda. As always, all residents are encouraged to attend. Again, the members of the Fonda Fire Department will continue to provide fire protection service to the residents of the village of Fonda until our doors are closed. We hope that the village board will choose to involve us in any decisions moving forward, and that whatever direction we go in, it turns out best for the residents of Fonda. Respectfully, The members of the Fonda Fire Department Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Military donations overwhelming To the editor: Once again the officers and members of Catholic Daughters Court Catherine Esther 1264 would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who contributed items and money to the Christmas collection for our servicemen and women in Afghanistan. We'd also like to thank the Fort Plain, Canajoharie and St Johnsville branches of the NBT Bank, Our Lady of Hope Church in Fort Plain and the Episcopal Church if the Good Shepherd in Canajoharie for their cooperation in letting us place the collection boxes in their lobbies and vestibules. We are extremely grateful for the publicity afforded us by the Pennysaver, the Courier-Standard, the Recorder and other area newspapers. Our thanks especially goes to Lt. Col. Lisa Bowman for providing us with the names and addresses of several servicemen and women from the Albany/Schenectady area to send the collection to. The response from the community was overwhelming, with donations also coming from the Canajoharie Middle School Junior National Honor Society, the ARC homes on Carlisle Road, Ridge Road and Burch Street in Canajoharie, on Karol Ann Place and Gilbert Avenue in Fort Plain and on Grand Street in Palatine Bridge. We packed and sent 41 boxes of items from the recommended list on Nov. 30 and we received enough money in donations to pay the shipping costs. Again, we thank you all for joining us in supporting our troops during the Christmas season. May God bless you for your generosity. Marlene Nalli, Fort Plain Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor They're back: Surrender Dorothy To the editor: They're back. They've been gone all summer long -- building nests, raising the kids, feeding them and teaching them how to fly. Now it's winter, and they're coming home. The crow show is back in town. It's odd how early in the day the crows start coming into the city. I'm having lunch, and the crows are getting ready for bed. I suppose they start the day earlier than I do. They begin to trickle in, one by one, just after noon. By 3 o'clock, dozens of them are heading across the sky, aiming swift and sure for their favorite tree to spend the night. By 4:30, hundreds of crows are swirling overhead in an insanely ominous way that always reminds me of the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz. I expect to see "Surrender Dorothy" scrawled in smoky letters over the skies of Amsterdam. This is a nuisance and a problem, surely, to those who live near their roosting sites. Crows create a lot of mess and noise. But they also create a lot of beauty. The nightly flight of the crows is an amazing manifestation of the natural world, right here in the heart of our city. We ought to sell tickets. Do you love the crows or hate them? Are they blessings or are they curses? There are arguments on both sides. But one thing's true, for sure. Blessings, like curses, come home to roost. Anita Sanchez, Amsterdam Every voice is important To the editor: This past Election Day, thousands of good citizens in the new 46th State Senate District took the time out of their lives to go vote. Those that were unable to go to the polls in their communities made the special and commendable effort to apply for and cast absentee ballots. But the counting in the Cecilia Tkaczyk/George Amedore race is still ongoing. About 900 combined absentee and affidavit ballots are being disputed as to their legality, with the Republican lawyers objecting to the vast majority. I say it is important to have all valid ballots counted. But it appears that the Republican gang of lawyers is making every effort to obstruct the true count. They are making frivolous objections to honest ballots. Give me a break. Next they're saying that objections to the Montgomery County Supreme Court determinations on the ballots are "inevitable." It sounds like they are just trying to delay the "inevitable." Ken Mazur, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Join us and ring the bell To the editor: To fulfill our goal of doing the most good and to share the joys of caring and sharing, the Salvation Army's traditional red kettle drive has been an integral part of the Christmas scene since 1891. Donations made to the red kettle aid needy families, seniors and the homeless by providing Christmas dinners, winter clothing, and toys as well as continuing year round with the basic necessities of food, clothing and medications. Ninety percent of funds gathered will be used to provide emergency assistance to residents right in our area. The Upper Montgomery County Salvation Army service units of Canajoharie, Fort Plain and St. Johnsville have a long history of successful red kettle campaigns. The red kettle tradition will continue and with the support of several new local businesses who are generously hosting a red kettle. Please help your favorite merchant raise the most to support the Salvation Army red kettle Christmas campaign. The merchant's red kettle that raises the most will receive a plaque and special recognition. And ... you'll be doing the most good. Perhaps you have always been one who found it in your heart to donate to the red kettle, and are willing and able to take your generosity one step further by giving two hours of your time to ring the bell and help us gather much needed donations. If you can join in the treasured tradition or wish to make a financial donation, please call one of us. We hope when you see the red kettle, you will be able to help fill the kettles and feel the joy of caring and sharing. Thank you and may God bless you. Jackie and Jessica Lape, Holly Craver, Tom and Lori Hajczewski, Pastor Dave Prahst, Lori Fredricks Tuesday, November 26, 2013 Letters to the Editor Generosity is appreciated To the editor: Hundreds of local children will have the opportunity to enjoy a local summer camp experience because of the generosity of your neighbors, friends and local businesses. Sacandaga Bible Conference's annual dinner auction raised nearly $17,000 to help provide an affordable Christian camping program and fund about a dozen free events throughout the year. In addition to several anonymous donors and auctioneer Mark Capone, Sac would like to thank these individuals who donated toward the auction or purchased a table: Jerry and Joyce Albertin, Garth and Beth Allen, Dave and Nancy Ames, Carl and Rita Benjamin, Barney and Susan Bellinger, Al and Robin Bennett, Dave and Beverly Bernard, Keith and Kelly Canary, Ken and Phyllis Canary, Tom and Sue Cooper, Pat Davis, Dave and Susan Filieau, Jim and Lisa Hare, Grace Lewis, Rebecca Krolikowsi, Harriet Mahr, Tara Nasse, Kevin and Sarah Phillips, Bill and Peggy Pitcher, Erika Pitcher, Grace Salisbury, Bill and Gwen VanGorder, Michael Wager, Bob and Aurelia Waite, Dave Waite and Mimi Worden. These businesses also donated or purchased a table: 1st on Scene Fire & Emergency Services, Adirondack Backpacking Supply, Adirondack Country Store, Adirondack Feed Center, Beau Monde Hair Studio, Bennett Industries, Black Lab Candle Company, Brooks' House of BBQ, Butez Antiques, Cantina Mexican Cuisine, the C&R Restaurant, Canary's Creekside Stables, Complements, CMK & Associates Real Estate, Creek's Edge Elk Farm, Curves in Amsterdam, Domino's Pizza, Drs. Brad and Tamara Dunlap, the Farmers Museum, The Final Turn, Fit Happens, For the Health Of It, The Garden Bug, Gore Mountain, Grandview Mini Golf, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, H&B Heating Oil, Hannay Reels, Holiday Inn Cooperstown-Oneonta and Hudson River Tractor Co. Also, the Hyde Collection, J Fine Jewelry, Johnstown Restaurant Supply, KMC Consulting, Klippel's Kozy Korner, the Lake George Steamboat Co., Lapland Lake Nordic Center, The Leader Herald, Life Savers Ministries, Lisa's Family Restaurant, Longfellows restaurant, the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, the National Museum of Dance, Olde Bryan Inn, Palatine Valley Dairy, Pattersonville Furniture, Peaceful Valley Maple Farm, Perfection Cleaning Service, Pine Lake Stoves, Pizza Works, Plaza's Italian Bistro, Johnstown Price Chopper, Renditions Hair Designs, Rulison Honey Farms, Sacandaga Dog Supply, Saltsman's Hotel, SAMCO Leather, Sampson Bog Studio, Saratoga Olive Oil, Sievert's Sports, South Shore Marine, Tanner Lumber, Tubby Tubes Outdoor Fun Park, Gloversville Walmart and Watphoto. For more information on the ministry, go to David Spencer, Broadalbin Shoe box collection a success To the editor: A big thank you to all Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton county residents who contributed gift-filled shoe boxes for distribution to children in Third World countries. This year we collected 8,286 gift-filled shoe boxes in the southern Adirondack area, more than 300 more than last year. We are extremely grateful for your willingness to take the time to shop and select gifts, so that children who have nothing, may have the joy of opening a personal present that shows that someone loves them. Thank you for supporting Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child. May God bless you all. Gerry and Priscilla Cutler, Gansevoort Monday, April 13, 2015 Letters to the Editor Educating the public To the editor: On Nov. 20, Reality Check of Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery Counties along with the Project ACTION Tobacco-Free Coalition partnered with the Fulton-Montgomery Community College student activities board to educate our community leaders and the public about tobacco marketing in stores and the dangers of tobacco industry marketing in retail stores and the effect that this marketing has on New York's youth. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, each year, 22,500 new youths begin smoking in New York state alone. Tobacco marketing refers to the posters and signs inside and outside stores, as well as the colorful, well-lit displays to tobacco products behind the counter in most convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores. Exposure to both ads and product displays has been shown to make youths more likely to start smoking. The more tobacco marketing kids see, the more likely they are to smoke. Thank you to all partners involved and to a successful event. For more information, please visit or Sue Arminio, Amsterdam What is best for the town To the editor: I am writing in regards to the two articles published by The Recorder about the town of Florida fire contracts. I believe the media needs to dig a little deeper and inform the public of the real issue at hand. The problem does not lie with the Florida Fire Department wanting to take back "Schedule A." The problem is the budgets. We, the Florida Volunteer Fire Department do not want to eliminate the Fort Hunter Volunteer Fire Department. We are all volunteers and work toward a common goal, but as a fiscal decision the own board needs to decide what is right. Town Supervisor William Strevy says that he does not want to hurt feelings and he would feel bad if Fort Hunter Fire Department had to close its doors. What Supervisor Strevy needs to realize is this is not about hurting people or feelings; it's about what is best for the town and the taxpayers. This is a business decision and needs to be treated as one. Supervisor Strevy's opinion on the subject may be biased because as a property owner in the hamlet of Fort Hunter this directly affects him and he benefits from having fire protection half a mile away. As George King was quoted in the most recent article, insurance rates would skyrocket with a fire department more than five miles away. Think about what that would do to the insurance at Mr. Strevy's apartments. Being a politician, Supervisor Strevy is sure to realize a majority of votes come from Fort Hunter and eliminating "Schedule A" might jeopardize them. I'm sure Supervisor Strevy wants to protect them at all costs. Even if that means not doing what is right for the community. The media did not discuss how Town of Florida residents' tax dollars go to paying for the hamlet of Fort Hunter's fire protection area and the small portion of the Town of Florida known as "Schedule A." I'm sure if they did more residents would have shown up for the public hearing. Fort Hunter Fire District will receive roughly $24,000 from the hamlet of Fort Hunter and nearly $88,000 from the town of Florida. That is an outrageous amount of money for such a small area of coverage. So for those of you who weren't there, what Florida Fire Department did say is, we have the means and the capability to cover "Schedule A" if we had to and we could do it for our proposed budget of $159,200, not the $137,000 we were granted. We were not asking for any more money than we had budgeted for to cover the extra area. This was brought to our attention by Mr. Strevy himself, not the other way around. Florida Volunteer Fire Department Board of Directors Treasurer Guy Robatallie was shocked when he heard the budget proposed by Fort Hunter Fire Department and decided to dig deeper into the subject at hand. I'm very disappointed in the way Supervisor Strevy handled this situation. He had to have known what was going on fiscally even though he denied it, and then failed to fix the problem up until now. By delaying the process and bringing the subject to the councilmen so late in the year, they had no time to study the problem and tabled it until next year. By doing this he was able to secure another year of fire protection for himself and another year of spending nearly $66,000 more than had to be spent on fire protection. Supervisor Strevy brought up a valid point that two departments serving the town are better than one. This is both true and false. In the realm of firefighting there is a critical thing called mutual aid. This is when one or more departments from the surrounding areas come together to help a distressed department. They do this for free at any given time for anyone who needs a hand. So is paying an extra department when there are multiple departments in the area to help the smartest thing? You be the judge. The residents need to be aware of where their money is going and how their town spends its money. Don't live in the shadows while the political wolves try to pull the wool over your eyes, question everything. Jake Krohn, Amsterdam The writer is a Florida Volunteer Fire Department board member and a volunteer fire fighter. Learning from the voters To the editor: Now that the elections are over, I hope our current and future politicians have learned something from the voters. First, it would seem that you cannot have a history of continually raising taxes or the percent of home assessment that causes taxes to climb, or you'll not be elected. We all know that taxes go up once in a while, but it should be the last choice, not the first. Second, you cannot take care of the rich and big oil at the expense of the average American. Mr. Gibson continued protection of the tax cut for the rich, while throwing medicare to the private insurance companies, cutting HEAP, meals on wheels, PELL grants for education, etc., just may prove this latest election to be the last election he wins. I feel this election also proved that the people will not elect someone who just fills a seat and votes the party line. Mr. Amedore was supposed to win handily. But that did not happen. You cannot just sit there and do nothing anymore. Just taking on powder puff issues like Thruway toll increases isn't going to get you re-elected. Mr. Amedore, if you do squeak this election out, you're going to have to tackle New York's big issues, like our huge welfare budget, highest gas tax in the country, complicated rules and large expenses that face small business owners. New York is one of the few states losing population. And we're doing it faster than any other. You need to make New York attractive to the residents so they'll stay. The weather certainly isn't keeping them here. The same goes for you, Ms. Tkaczyk. If you win, you'll need to remember who put you in office. Big changes are needed for New York. The numerous problems bring New York is like a cancer that needs to be radically cut out. You'll need to cut away at the bureaucracy that's keeping New York in the dark ages. You can't just pick away at the problems any longer. Balancing the budget on the backs of labor is not a permanent solution. Its like someone going to the emergency room with a gun shot and the doctor puts a bandage over the wound but doesn't take out the bullet. The reasons that caused the problem hasn't gone away. We deserve politicians that will make the tough decisions and it's up to us to put them in office. John Swartz, St. Johnsville Thursday, May 30, 2013 Marine Corps values By CHRISTOPHER M. SZABO For the Recorder On Nov. 7 my mother died of multiple sclerosis. She had the disease for more than 35 years and suffered from the time she was diagnosed to the very last day. The day before she died, I received a phone call from my father in New York and he advised me that my mother would probably not make it through the night. In a moment's notice, I called the command, and was sent home to see my mother before she was to pass. I drove the five-hour trip at Marine speed and was able to see her hours before she passed. The next day at about 0930 my father took the call and was advised my mother passed in her sleep. In the end, I, by the grace of my command, was able to see my mother prior to her passing. I as well was the last person from my family to see her alive. My name is Master Sgt. Szabo. I have been in the Corps for over 21 years and have been attached to two I&I commands. I have logged over 300 funerals and multiple CACO calls. I have stood in front of many next of kin spouses, mothers, fathers and children and presented the flag to them with the utmost professionalism. Many of the funerals I have completed, you wonder how the family sees us in our blues. Do they care, do they have anger toward us, or are they excited to see us? These are the questions I always asked myself doing someone else's funeral. Not until recently did I get to stand on the other side of the fence and feel what the other side feels. My mother as mentioned died of multiple sclerosis. She was never in the Marines, nor did she serve in any branch of the military. She did however marry a Marine (my father), live among Marines (most of my father's siblings), and she gave birth to one of the proudest Marines on the planet. She would never have a full military burial by the order, nor would she be graced by a flag folding in honor of her service to the country for raising a Marine son, waiting for 21 years for her son to come home while bed-ridden, and never saying when are you going to get out. She mostly said stay in and make it a career and that she was proud of my service. The funeral planning went as any did from the past: flowers ordered, music requested, and I even got ahold of one of my peers, Cpl C.J. Rando, who served with me 15 years ago. He put on his blues (tight fitting) and stood next to me during the funeral to give his respects to the family. While he and I were standing in the reception area with my wife and father, one of my cousins whom I have not seen in 15 years came up and told me there were a bunch of Marines outside and on their way in. I looked out the window from the funeral home and assumed they were Marine Corps League members doing something for the Marine Corps birthday. Since my mother's funeral was on the Marine Corps birthday, it just seemed likely this is what was going on and I just focused my attention on my family ... until ... Moments later the front door opened, there were five Marines from my command in full dress coming through the door. These five Marines ranged from my commanding officer, all the way to my platoon sergeant. These Marines showed up without informing me to show honors for a family they didn't have to show honors to. In a command that serves three to five funerals a week, multiple parade details, Toys for Tots, and training of more than 120 Marines, the senior staff took the time to drive to my mother's funeral. As mentioned, the Marines came up on a federal holiday, took time away from their families, drove on their own dime, placed my mother in the hearse, and then spent time with my family after the funeral was complete. At the moment they came through the door I understood what all the other families must have felt when we showed up. It became apparent that we are appreciated for what we do, because if a screw like me can lose his bearing and break down in front of his command, then the people we serve must feel the same thing. My mother did not rate a funeral from Marines. The only time I have ever seen Marines at a funeral such as a civilian is when the president passes on. Once again, they came, and I realized that the Marine Corps family I have means just as much to me as my real family. The reason I am writing this letter is to show my utmost respect and honor for what they did. No medals will be given out, no awards will be signed, and no days off were given for what they did. They just continued to march and do more funerals as the tasks came down. My family was honored by their presence, I was humbled by my brother's presence, and the Marines were taken in as family by my family. Laughs were had, tears were shed, bread was broken, and a brotherhood between my family and my Marine family was created. My mother, Norma Jean Szabo, was honored that day, and all the Szabo family present at her funeral were dumbstruck by the Marine power that was there. A scene like this has never taken place in upstate New York, so powerful that the priest himself broke down from the spectacle that was the support of a Marine Corps team that showed up to support a family. I would like to recognize each Marine for their time and effort: * Major Stanley Calixte (I&I). This officer has only been on deck for about three months, but he still found the time to drive himself and his wife to a funeral that was a 10-hour round-trip drive, and show more support for a Marine under his command than any officer I have ever known. * GySgt. Eric Cruz (acting 1st Sgt./training chief). This GySgt left his family while on a federal holiday and while his children were going to test for their next belt in martial arts to show his respect for a fellow brother. * GySgt Alan Montoya (admin chief). This GySgt while planning to go on leave to Nevada to see his family, placed his personal plans on hold to show another Marine brother his respects. * S.Sgt Tommy Ware (assistant training chief). Placed his personal life on hold and left his wife and children home after a long deserved break and showed his respects to a family whom he never knew. * Sgt. Bradley Flook (floor chief). This sergeant of sergeants gave up time with his newly born infant daughter and young wife to spend time with his SNCOIC in a time of hardship when a phone call would have sufficed. The Marines above will never be awarded for what they did, but their actions will be remembered as one of the most important acts of compassion, kindness, and honor that the Szabo family and I have ever seen. Master Sgt. CHRISTOPHER M. SZABO is a 1991 graduate of Fonda-Fultonville Central School who joined the Marines right after graduating. He is stationed at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor To a heartless dog killer ... To the editor: To the person who hit and killed my grandchildren's pet chihuahua on Friday evening, Oct. 19, on Truax Road in Amsterdam. You knew what you hit and you didn't even have the decency or respect to stop. We know who you are and we know you are fully aware of what you did. You are a coward. My two precious grandchildren have broken hearts and our whole family is grieving this loss. In her short life, she brought much joy and happiness to us all. Although this was not a premeditated act on your part, your actions afterward were at the very least heartless. Carolyn Marino, Amsterdam The best care anywhere To the editor: To the staff at River Ridge Living Center: We are very grateful for the care and kindness you have given to our father. After living alone, having repeated falls and being hospitalized, we were very fortunate to have him moved into River Ridge. He could no longer care for himself and the staff have supported him in numerous ways. He now goes to the "gym," which is the rehab room for daily exercise. He has activities such as music, art and current events. He has wholesome meals eating with others in a beautiful dining room setting. He has nursing care, physician services, and the ability to attend religious services, and to go on field trips. He has his nails and hair trimmed regularly. He can visit in the sun room gazing out at a decorated patio through the seasons. Friends and family can visit regularly at flexible times and have full access to the place. The rehab staff are highly trained and experts at what they do to help restore independence and physical mobility. The staff are highly skilled and the admission process was sensitive to the emotional conflict families feel when having to make this type of decision. We have the highest respect for Susanne and Paul Guttenberg and for their vision and commitment to quality care. Our deepest thanks to this dedicated and supportive staff. Frank Marcellino, on behalf of the Marcellino family, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Town tax not fair to villages To the editor: The town of Amsterdam board is considering imposing a highway user's tax, which will include the village of Hagaman property owners. The rapport between the town of Amsterdam and the village has been great through the years. We have shared equipment, trucks and manpower. At this time, we have to strongly object to this form of tax because of the unfairness to the village taxpayers. Our village attorney has informed us that the town has the legal right to impose this tax on our village property taxpayers. The town board is proposing a tax of $7 per thousand of assessment for all entities located in the town of Amsterdam, which includes the villages of Fort Johnson and Hagaman. This tax will be billed on your county taxes as the fire tax has been for the town property taxpayers. The town will continue to have no town tax and use this highway tax to operate their highway department with a dedicated fund. This means that the villages in the town of Amsterdam will pay an equal share of all expenditures in the highway department which includes new trucks, new equipment, manpower, etc., and related maintenance costs. The town of Amsterdam has been operating at a higher level of service, which includes replacement of truck and equipment on a five-year basis. The village of Hagaman has replaced trucks and equipment that was over 20 years old because we could not afford to replace them sooner. Now, we have to maintain two highway departments. The village cannot afford more than two highway persons and the town will be able to continue with their present staff. This is radically wrong. Mr. DiMezza expects the village to support the town roads because of the expansion in the town. The expansion in the town of Amsterdam will impact county roads and not town roads. The town roads in the town of Amsterdam are serving their property owners and are not main routes for commuters or trucks. The village streets' volume of traffic is significantly higher. This fact could be easily proven by traffic counters and trip counts. Not many people use the town highways. The county highways are the main highways and connectors in the town of Amsterdam. Some examples of county highways are Manny Corners Road, Wallins Corners Road, Maple Ave Extension, Midline Road, Miami Avenue, Golf Course Road, Truax Road, and Hammondtown Road. See the list attached for other county roads and a list of town roads. Lastly, and not least, the village residents are town constituents, please treat us fairly. The following is a list of town board members and phone numbers: Supervisor Thomas DiMezza 627-0201, Alexander Kuchis 842-6138, Terry Bieniek 843-2268, Bart Tessiero 842-6508, Kenneth J. Krutz 842-3631. Martin A. Natoli, mayor; David Druziak, Rodney F. Kowalczyk, Robert T. Krom, Michael Shover, trustees; Village of Hagaman Congrats on a job well done To the editor: Again, I would like to thank all of the employees of the New York state canal system for their excellent job of controlling the water level in the Mohawk River during our recent storm. All of their hard, back-breaking efforts paid off. I hope people will congratulate these individuals for a job well done. A big thank you again. Ellen D. Younglove, Town of Florida Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Voters: Don't be fooled To the editor: I was surprised to read Tom DiMezza's letter to the editor on Tuesday, which purports to list the first-year cost of a county charter. The way it is written suggests the numbers are a done deal. Problem is the numbers are complete made up. Let's take them point by point: $20,000 per legislator -- What? Supervisors are paid $10,000 now, and under the charter the scope of a legislator's job would be cut in half. Why would we double their pay? $140,000 for the county executive -- Where does it say that? Several similarly sized counties pay their executives in the range of $69,000-$80,000. Fulton County pays theirs $82,000. Under the charter, the supervisors would set the executive's salary for the first four years. Apparently DiMezza will vote to pay almost double the going rate. $125,000 for a deputy county executive -- Did DiMezza read the charter? There is no deputy executive position in the charter. $60,000 for a secretary for the executive -- Seems like a lot to me. More likely, we would just take the $40,000 we currently pay the deputy clerk for the supervisors (a position that won't have much to do under the charter) and a that money for a secretary. $85,000 for a full-time auditor -- The charter doesn't require an auditor. Under the charter, the legislature can do the audits, like the supervisors do now. $60,000 purchasing agent -- Huh? The county has a purchasing agent now. He's paid $50,000. Apparently DiMezza wants to raise his pay, too. $45,000 for a staff person for the purchasing agent -- I think not. The purchasing agent doesn't have a staffer now. Under the charter, his job won't change, so he won't need a staff member. $100,000 for a community services director -- We have a community service director now, who is paid $30,000. The charter would not result in tripling his salary. $45,000 for a staff person for the community services director -- Again, we don't have one now and the charter won't change that. $35,000 for a car for the executive -- What the heck? There is no car in the charter. I advise the readers to call DiMezza and tell him you don't support his plan to buy the executive a BMW 1-Series. $35,000 for printing -- The budget currently allocates $500 for printing to the entire board of supervisors. $25,000 for "miscellaneous expenditures -- I don't understand, does DiMezza support giving the executive an expense account now? It appears the opponents of the charter will resort to any scare tactic they can to stop the voters from enacting a badly needed and positive change in county government. Don't be fooled. Justin Knudsen, Town of Amsterdam A case of fuzzy math To the editor: In response to the editorial found in the Amsterdam Recorder on Oct. 30, 2012, written by Supervisor Thomas DiMezza, I must set the record straight. Supervisor DiMezza, I have known you for over 30 years and this is a true case of doing fuzzy math that does not add up. You have done a huge injustice to the proposed Charter and the residents of Montgomery County. There is a reason why salaries and budget figures were not added to the new charter. The charter commission does not have the power to do so. The only way the new charter form of government will cost the county taxpayers any more money is if you, Supervisor DiMezza, and the other 14 board of supervisors choose to do so. At each and every public meeting it has been made clear that the current board of supervisors will establish salaries under the new charter form of government. It is has also been pointed out that there should be no need to increase support staff as those positions are already established and being used by the current board of supervisors. So unless you plan to increase the county budget, there is no need for the positions, and the dollar value attached to them in your editorial example, to be created under the new county charter. I encourage voters to read the new charter by going to And, get out and vote on Nov. 6. Mayor James F. Post, Palatine Bridge The writer was vice chairman of the charter commission. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Stand behind your record To the editor: A message for Mr. Santabarbara's campaign: Tom Quackenbush's grandparents came from Italy looking for the American dream of owning their own home and raising a family. Through hard work, they accomplished that, but struggled, like everyone, to pay the high taxes on their home. That is why Tom doesn't believe in raising taxes, as you accuse him of doing. He doesn't want to see other families go through the same hardships his grandparents had gone through. You say that Tom Quackenbush raised his pay when he was mayor of the village of Fort Plain. Why didn't you check the reasoning behind the village board's decision to raise the mayor's pay? Tom Quackenbush was on the payroll, working hard for the taxpayers of Fort Plain at a rate of roughly $35 a week -- and doing a fine job at that. Mr. Santabarbara, would you want to run a village for that kind of pay? There comes a point when a leader has to lead and make the tough decisions. You would rather hide behind false ads through mass media, than talk about your own record. Clearly, Mr. Santabarbara, you are not a leader who is capable of doing that. My vote is for Tom Quackenbush. Angelo Finocchi, Amsterdam Vote for 'green' candidates To the editor: Will it ever end? Will it ever, ever end? Election season goes on forever, it seems. The ads, the phone calls, the mailings, the commercials. It's even worse than Christmas. Just be deeply grateful you don't live in Ohio. But no matter how annoying it all is, this election matters. It does. It really makes a difference who wins. Not just the presidency, but on the state and local level, too. But sometimes it's hard to decide who to vote for. Who's got time to study the positions of every candidate in a dozen local races? As a person who values nature, and also my own health, I always vote for the candidates I feel are responsibly committed to protecting the environment. Candidates who will fight oil companies to keep the water clean. Candidates who will vote for legislation that will protect our health, not corporations. But with all the hype and negativity, it's hard to know who's telling the truth. The New York state League of Conservation Voters endorses candidates with a proven track record in protecting the environment and public health. Check out their website if you'd like to see which candidates are really "green," and which ones just claim to be. Those are the ones who get my vote. Actions speak louder than words. Anita Sanchez, Amsterdam Telling fact from fiction To the editor: We know as Election Day nears, our mailboxes get filled with political flyers telling us to vote for this guy or that guy, and many times it's hard to tell fact from fiction. We'd like to take a minute to tell you what we know about Angelo Santabarbara. We have worked with Angelo on the Schenectady County Legislature. He is a family man who cares deeply about our community. Angelo serves on the board of directors for the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region and owns a cheese-making business which donates all profits to children's charities. An engineer by trade, Angelo established a scholarship program for high school seniors pursuing an engineering degree. Angelo's dedication to service began after he graduated high school and served eight years in the Army Reserves. When his son, Michael, was diagnosed with autism, Angelo dedicated himself to helping children and families in our community. Together, we helped bring more than $500 million in private investment to our area, generating over 5,500 new jobs. We know Angelo will take his experience to Albany to fight for our families. On Nov. 6, please consider supporting our friend, Angelo Santabarbara, for New York State Assembly. If you'd like to learn more about him, please visit Judith Dagostino, Schenectady The writer is chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature. This letter was also signed by 12 members of the legislature. Ways to save money To the editor: I read that a majority of the members of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors endorsed Tom Quackenbush. Of course they did. The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors has balanced their budgets by raising county taxes and depleting their reserve funds to dangerously low levels -- so low that Quackenbush himself testified that if they continue at this rate, Montgomery County is destined to fail. Now they seek to raise sales tax by "a percent or two." This will harm everyone, but our seniors living on fixed incomes and the unemployed will feel this the most. We know that George Amedore, while serving as our assemblyman, was vehemently opposed to supporting that legislation because he knows how devastating further tax increases would be for the families of Montgomery County. We also know that Angelo Santabarbara is against tax increases. Angelo, like George Amedore, has never voted to increase taxes. But Tom Quackenbush isn't like George Amedore or Angelo Santabarbara. He testified at a state hearing and said "Let us raise the sales tax by a percent or two. For every percent, that would mean $6 million for us." Raising taxes is not the solution -- but to politicians like Tom Quackenbush it is. Let's elect Santabarbara. He will find ways to save us money, not ways to take more money from us. Phillip Rossignol, Amsterdam The best way forward To the editor: As a young person, I am concerned about the future of our community. Unemployment remains high, taxes remain high, and opportunities are few and far between. Government seems to have failed. It's time for a change. For the past few months, I have been following the proposed county charter in the news. I am convinced that this is the way forward for the county. The charter won't solve all our problems, but it will at least give us a chance to solve them. Do we want to continue to run county government the same way year in and year out, even though it doesn't work? Or do we want to try something new? I ask you to vote yes for my future. What do you have to lose? Diana DiCaprio, Amsterdam Four court vacancies To the editor: As the November election draws near, there are still many who are questioning the number of candidates running for Supreme Court. This year, three of the judges in the district are reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70, and one, the Honorable Joseph M. Sise of Montgomery County, is seeking re-election. This has created four vacancies to be filled at the November election. Those running on the Republican and Conservative lines are Judge Sise, Montgomery County Judge Felix Catena, Warren and Saratoga Counties Family Court Magistrate John Ellis, and attorney Thomas Buchanan of Schenectady. All have been endorsed by the New York state Republican Party and the New York state Conservative Party. Judge Sise, a native of Amsterdam, has served as an assistant district attorney in Bronx, Fulton and Montgomery counties, Montgomery County judge, and since 1999 as a Supreme Court justice presiding over 6,500 cases. In addition he has conducted over 200 trials during his career as a practicing attorney. Judge Catena, also an Amsterdam native, has served as Montgomery County Court judge since 1999 and as an acting Supreme Court judge since 2000. Prior to that he was Amsterdam City Court judge from 1995-1999. He has presided over several thousand civil and criminal cases as a judge and conducted more than 150 trials in both supreme and county courts in 11 counties. John Ellis, a native of Franklin County, has served in his position in Warren and Saratoga counties since 2005, having heard over 35,000 cases in Family Court in that time. Prior to that he was a Franklin County assistant district attorney from 2002-2005, and served as an 82nd Airborne Division chief legal assistant from 1990-1994. Thomas Buchanan has served as a litigator for many cases before the New York state Supreme Court throughout his career. He is currently an attorney with Hacker, Murphy in Latham. Each of these candidates is highly qualified to serve as a New York State Supreme Court justice and will fairly and honorably serve the citizens of the 11 counties that comprise the Fourth Judicial District. They do not sit on the bench in just the county in which they reside, but travel throughout the district as needed. They have each displayed dedication to their chosen profession, as well as commitment to their families and communities. Each will bring an honest, fair and conservative approach to the court at the same time respecting the rights of those appearing before them. Karen Smith, Gloversville The writer is secretary of the Fulton County Republican Committee. Support the charter To the editor: On Nov. 6, I urge you to vote "yes" to the proposed county charter. As a member of the commission that created it, I believe that this document provides a way forward for our county. For the first time ever it will allow voters to elect a county executive to oversee the complex day-to-day operations of this $93 million enterprise. My experience in both the public and private sector has led me to believe that a county executive is necessary for the most efficient administration of county government. As former CEO of St. Mary's Hospital, I understand the importance of strong executive leadership. Such leadership provides clear direction and encourages efficiency. As a past president of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, I recognize the need for our county to have a voice in Albany, advocating for economic development and job creation. A county executive will provide that voice. As a former head of a county department, I have first-hand experience with the workings of county government. I have seen how the current system, in which each department has 15 different bosses, simply doesn't work. A business needs a leader, not a committee, in order to oversee its budget and its bottom line. On Election Day, flip your ballot over and vote "yes" for leadership and efficiency. Peter Capobianco, Town of Florida Good luck in retirement To the editor: Thank you Donna Nevulis for your many years of service to the youth of Amsterdam both as the Amsterdam High School golf team coach and as my assistant for many years at the junior summer clinics. Good luck on your retirement. Joe Merendo, Amsterdam The writer is the golf professional at Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor The high cost of change To the editor: I have to agree with all interested parties that there is an important vote on Election Day. There have been many individuals supporting the issue of an elected county executive and a charter change in the county. I am going to give you $690,000 worth of reasons to vote against the charter. If we change the charter and elect a county executive that is possibly how much more it could cost just in the first year. The probable costs are as follows: Nine legislators x $20,000 each at $180,000; one county executive (salary + benefits) $140,000; one confidential secretary (salary + benefits) $60,000; one full-time county auditor (salary + benefits) $85,000; one full-time purchasing agent (salary + benefits) $60,000; one full-time community services director (salary + benefits) $100,000; one full-time deputy county executive (salary + benefits) $125,000; one county car for county executive, $35,000; office expenditures (dues, printing, etc.), $35,000; miscellaneous expenditures for county executive, $25,000; one staff person for purchasing agent, $45,000; one staff person for director of community services, $45,000. Grand total: $935,000. Current expenditures for staff and supervisors are $245,000 -- a difference of $690,000. Additionally, out of 62 counties, only 17 have an elected executive and 16 of the 17 counties are the largest counties in the state (Albany, Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Rockland, etc.) Small counties have a county administrator and clerk of the board, which I would agree with at a far less cost. Making people vote with no financial information is a dangerous way to go. The voters will be leaving this up to the individuals who would want the job and if they got their way would certainly make the salaries what they wish, at or above the listed salaries. The increase will do one of two options: increase your taxes or lay off the rank and file to hire the new employees. This whole issue reminds me of a statement I heard in recent years. "We have to pass it to find out what is really in it." We all know what that is going to cost us. Don't make the same mistake. Thomas DiMezza, Town of Amsterdam supervisor Hitting a skunk with the car To the editor: Approximately four weeks ago, the late Shayne Walters called me and asked me if I had any information on a charter government. I said yes, and gave him a letter I had wrote years ago. He gave it to the Montgomery County Charter Commission. It said that I was opposed to the charter. So the questions in my mind is how many letters did the commission get that was for or opposed and why have they not told the public this information? As president of "We the People" I have attended many county meetings and I know how Montgomery County government works. I think the county supervisors do a good job. Many questions have been asked who started this commission, there is no public outcry for change. The commission says they want people to be informed, but they haven't told you what towns will lose these voices in the county government. Six supervisors will lose their job. At budget time will 15 supervisor votes for it or just nine? The people of 15 towns pay these taxes and should have a voice. These 15 town supervisors were elected by the people and no one has the right to fire them. Another question in the private sector, when companies form a charter most end up as a corporation, which gives the state more control then they already have. There are so many unanswered questions. How much will this all cost the taxpayer? This charter has come up before time and time again, it has a bad smell, it is like hitting a skunk with your car, and you can't get rid of it. May the late Shayne Walters, town of Charleston supervisor, know I did my best. Vote "No" when you go vote on Election Day on Nov 6. Frank Quill, Town of Charleston A change for the better To the editor: On Thursday, Oct. 26, I had the opportunity to attend an informational meeting, presented by three members of the Montgomery County Charter Commission. It was an extremely informative meeting, attended by a near capacity crowd at the town of Canajoharie offices. There was a wide range of questions asked that were very well answered by the three panelists. There have been meetings such as this presented throughout the county over the last few weeks. For those of you who were unable to attend these meetings, I'd like to offer some of the questions and answers. One question was, "What are the qualifications required for the position of county executive?" The answer is none, other than residency and age as stipulated in state law. However, I cannot imagine the Democratic, Republican, Conservative or any other party for that matter, proposing and supporting anyone they do not feel has the necessary requirements to fulfill the duties of the position. Another question is, "Doesn't this create another level of government?" The answer is no because we already have at the town level, the town supervisor performing the duties of the town supervisor for a salary. He also performs the duties of the supervisor at the county level, for another salary ($10,000 for supervisor, $15,000 for chairman). The thing that the charter does is separate the duties so that each representative can focus on their specific positions. The question was asked, "What would be the pay for the county executive and the legislators?" The commission does not have the authority to set salaries. If the charter vote is successful, the existing board of supervisors would be charged with determining the salaries. I would assume the present supervisors would have the common sense to set the new legislator at or below the $10,000 level. There is no viable reason to increase it. Also by reducing the number of representatives from 15 to nine, it would be a reduction of $60,000 in salaries. As for the county executive, the example was given of counties of similar size, the salary ranging from $59,000 to $75,000. It was also pointed out that the county executive, in many counties, does not have the highest paid salary in that county. Examples were given where many counties had 15 to 25 positions that were paid more than the county executive. The issue of staffing for the county executive was discussed. It was pointed out there are already people performing these duties for the chairman and the full board of supervisors. No further staffing would be necessary. There were references to term limits by the commission members. Both the county executive and the legislators may only serve 12 consecutive years. Appointments to positions within the county shall be proposed by the county executive, but must be approved or disapproved by the legislators. I could go on and on but the truth is, we need a change and the county charter is a change for the better. We need equality on the board, where one representative has one vote and it isn't weighted. We need one person in charge, responsible for overseeing all county departments. We need one person, not 151 for department heads to be responsible to. We need someone to be working full-time administering to a nearly $100 million budget. We need someone to represent us in Albany with county issues. Statements by people indicating high additional costs with a legislature and a county executive are not accurate. I feel the charter can make Montgomery County stronger and more efficient. That's probably why 95 percent of the counties outside of New York City utilize this legislative form. It should be pointed out, the vote for or against the charter is on the back side of the ballot. I am hoping for a positive vote for the charter, but no matter what your choice is, get out and vote. John R. Vesp, Town of Minden Myth busting the charter To the editor: People are saying a lot of things about the charter that just aren't true. Let's dispel some myths: Myth 1: "The charter will add another layer of government." False. We already have a layer of government at the county -- it's called the county government. Actually, the charter will reduce its size from 15 legislators and executives to nine legislators and one executive. Myth 2: "The county executive will be a 'dictator'." False. The county executive was designed to be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the county. He has all the powers he needs to do that, no more, no less. There are numerous checks on the power of the executive in the charter, to ensure that major policy, budgeting and personal decisions go through the legislature. I've read all 21 New York state county charters, and I can tell you that powers the executive has are standard. Myth 3: "My town or city government will change." False. You will continue to elect your town and city government officials, with no changes. The charter only affects the workings of county government. Myth 4: "The charter will cost the county more money." False. Many of the opponents of the charter are claiming it will make your taxes go up. That is a scare tactic -- think about it, if you wanted to torpedo something in Montgomery County, you would say the same thing. A major concern of the charter commission was the cost of government. We designed a system that will maximize efficiency, minimize waste, and reward fiscal responsibility. For the first time, we will have someone we elect at the county every day watching your tax dollars. I'm confident that government will cost no more under the charter, and will ultimately cost less. For more myths and answers about the charter, visit Vincent Stark, Amsterdam The right man for the job To the editor: I'm writing in response to the negative commercials, letters and mailings regarding the Republican candidate for the 111th Assembly District, Tom Quackenbush, from Fort Plain. Mr. Quackenbush has been accused of giving himself a raise while serving as the mayor of Fort Plain. You need board approval for this to happen. He has 17 years experience in the political field, serving as an assessor, mayor, town supervisor and twice chairman for the county (Montgomery) board of supervisors. I realize no one is perfect but Tom Quackenbush is a decent, trustworthy, loyal and caring person. He's a mature, dependable and hardworking person. He's a motivated and experienced individual. Not only is he intelligent, he's committed to do what's best for the people. He's concerned about the people who've lost their jobs and homes. He wants to create jobs and job retention as well as mandate relief and property tax reform. He's mindful of the issues facing New York state, our country and community. He wants to reform the welfare system. He's in favor of shared services and consolidation. We need to eliminate the "double dipping" and duplication of services. Our government is out of control. We need Tom in office. Tom will fight for the rights of the hard working taxpayers who are being taxed to death. We need change. Mr. Quackenbush has a huge heart. He has supported and organized a run (marathon) and benefit (for the Jennings family) for Kathy, who lost her life, with breast cancer. He raised an enormous amount of money for the Hole in the Wall organization. He also participates yearly in the memory walk in honor of Dustin Watson. He's a strong supporter of the armed forces and all veterans. We need a person like Tom Quackenbush to fight for our rights and be our voice in upstate New York. I believe in Tom Quackenbush and have faith that he will make the right decisions to help with the difficult times we're all facing. I'm proud to say I know Tom Quackenbush. He's been a great leader and has the knowledge to continue his path in government. He has hundreds of workers, supporters and friends helping him regardless of their party. Tom wants to work together regardless of their political party to achieve the goals so necessary in strengthening the economy and the issues he's committed himself to change. I believe Mr. Quackenbush is the better person for the job. Please vote Nov. 6 and support Tom Quackenbush. I "Back Quack." Betty Sanders, Palatine Bridge Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor It's about telling the truth To the editor: This assembly race is about telling the truth. It's also about measuring the candidates and deciding which one is the best to represent the people. So, here is the real story, the truth behind my opponent's distortions. In 1998 the village of Fort Plain Board of Trustees decided there needed to be an incentive to retain the once-ceremonial position of mayor once I left office. Our deputy mayor therefore put forth a resolution to raise the mayor's pay, and the board voted to raise the salary from $3,000 a year, which amounted to $2.80 an hour for a 20-hour work week, to $5,000 a year -- $4.81 an hour for a 20-hour work week. That's below minimum wage. In 2007, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors (15 members) voted to raise each supervisor's pay to $10,000, and it hasn't been raised since. As for hiking property taxes? That's a lie. As a supervisor on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, I took office in 2002 and the county tax rate for the town of Minden was $14.07 per $1,000. This year the county tax rate is $12.67 per $1,000, at 100 percent assessment. I am proud that I helped lead the fight to cut every resident's taxes. Here's another thing my opponent, Angelo Santabarbara, isn't telling you. According to an audit by the state comptroller, as chairman of the Rotterdam IDA, Santabarbara carved out a salary for himself and other board members, costing taxpayers $38,000. The money hasn't been returned. He gave away $4.2 million to a corporation to build a facility which was never built and for jobs that were never created. That money hasn't been returned either. Angelo Santabarbara failed as Rotterdam's economic development czar, failed the taxpayers by swindling them out of their money, and failed to create jobs. That is the truth. On Election Day, I ask for your support and consideration. Hire the best: Vote Tom Quackenbush for assembly. Tom Quackenbush, Fort Plain The writer is a candidate for office in the 111th Assembly District. Another pay hike explanation To the editor: As deputy mayor of Fort Plain for over 40 years, I had the great pleasure of serving with Tom Quackenbush in the village of Fort Plain from 1997 to 2002. Since I have firsthand knowledge of what happened during those years, I can personally say that the accusation attacking Tom for his "enormous pay hike" distorts the truth. In 1998, the village board of trustees decided that when the mayor's seat became vacated again, there would need to be an incentive to hold the once-ceremonial position. As deputy mayor at the time, I decided to put forth a resolution to raise the mayor's pay. As a result, the board voted to raise the mayoral pay from $3,000 a year, which amounted to $2.80 an hour for a 20-hour week, to $5,000 a year, or $4.81 an hour for a 20-hour work week. Note that the hourly total is below the minimum wage. I can vouch for Tom's leadership as mayor and the outstanding job he did while representing his village and the taxpayers. As mayor, Tom has a list of legislative accomplishments that have greatly benefited our village. Tom helped to secure a $1.2 million grant to build a water tower to provide increased water pressure to areas of the village in need. He started the neighborhood watch program, which helped keep our village safe. At a time when keeping local services was important, Tom did his best to balance state mandates while fighting tax increases. He also brought job creators to the area like Access Transportation and its 43 employees. Tom has always put the taxpayers first, which is exactly the kind of representative we need in the Assembly. Vote for Tom Quackenbush on Election Day. Loring S. (Dutch) Dutcher, Fort Plain Of course it will work here To the editor: I write in support of the proposed Montgomery County Charter. Right now, we simply have a default form of county government known as the board of supervisors. It operates under the general provisions of county law rather than a county charter of our own choosing. As I see it, the biggest weakness with the board of supervisors form of government is that the supervisors hold both legislative and executive authority -- a system that confuses, minimizes and contradicts any real possibility of executive leadership. More importantly, the people don't get to choose who leads. The chairman of the board is chosen by fellow board members. Sometimes they just take turns with the chairman's position and alternate between the towns and the city. Times have changed. Rural counties like ours now have big budgets and are responsible for the administration and delivery of complex programs and services, all under a newly imposed tax cap. Clearly, our county would stand to benefit from the executive administration of its budgets, day-to-day affairs and long-term goals, but not everyone sees it that way. Some people say it won't work here. Of course it will work here. The separation of legislative and executive power works on both the state and federal levels. The people elect governors and presidents. Most certainly the people can be trusted to elect a county executive too. The proposed charter is worthy of our support. I urge you to flip your ballot over on Nov. 6 and vote "yes" to change county government. John Duchessi, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor We can fix government To the editor: We all know that the county government is in serious trouble, and things need to change. This year, on the back of the ballot, we have a chance to change it. It's called the proposed county charter. The charter would finally give us a chance to choose someone to handle the day-to-day administration of the $100 million county government. It would reduce the size of county government. The more I have read about this proposal, the more it makes sense to me. The more I read about the way we do things now, the more shocked I am we haven't already changed it. The charter isn't an another layer of government; we've already got a county government. The charter is a chance to fix government and put in back in the hands of the people. The charter won't solve all our problems, but it will make government more responsive, more efficient, and cheaper. It sets us up for success rather than failure. I hope you'll join me in voting yes to the charter. Krystle Colamarino, Amsterdam Not worth the turmoil To the editor: After the first presidential debate, I was left, by President Obama, with a feeling that Obamacare was not worth all of the political and emotional turmoil which has ensued since the bill's passage in 2010. The president said the ACA was about keeping kids insured until they were 26 and a prohibition against denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Seems like not much after all the conflict and anger for the past few years However, recently there was published the results of a program started by the ACA which will have a profound effect on our national discourse with respect to woman's health care. Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis reported on a two-year study wherein 9,000 poor and uninsured women were given access to free contraceptives. They were offered the IUD device, the pill, and intradermal time release implants. These women experienced far fewer pregnancies. There were 6.3 births/1,000 teenagers, compared to a national rate of 34/1,000 teenagers. There were also substantially lower rates of abortion 4.7 to 7.5 per 1,000 verses the national rate of 20 abortions per 1,000 women. Abortion is not a rare event. Which is only argued about by politicians during election season. Three out of 10 women will have had an abortion by age 45. (Gutmacker Institute.) Teen pregnancy is a tragedy which has long-term consequences for our society. The young mother usually has to drop out of school, and if not well off or cannot afford child care, goes on public assistance. Without a HS degree the earning power of the young mother is diminished. Without a HS degree the attitudes of respect and reverence for education never are transmitted to the child and failure and not finishing school is accepted as normal, leading to further unemployment and poverty. Free and universal access to contraception is one of the most bitterly contested Obama administration policies, however this study foreshadows the potential impact of this new program in which millions of women are beginning to get contraception without a co-pay. Philip Lyford, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Looking for solutions To the editor: In response to Mr. Swartz's letter to the editor the other day, what this country, and especially upstate New York needs, is a bipartisan solutions-oriented leader in Congress, Representative Chris Gibson. Congressman Gibson recognizes that we need to cut spending across the board because the greatest threat to this nation, the rich and poor alike, is our crushing debt that continues to grow by more than $1 trillion every year. He has voted for reductions in spending throughout the federal budget, including taking a leader's stand for reductions in defense spending, something important to him considering he served 24 years in the United States Army. When you say Congressman Gibson is taking money from the poor or women or elderly, check the record. He has voted for targeted cuts to waste and to make federal programs more efficient. In fact, he has gone against his party on attempts to eliminate entirely funding of certain programs, such as NPR and PBS. I am afraid if Chris' opponent makes it in, we will not have that same, bipartisan solutions-maker and an independent leader for upstate, especially judging by the constant, partisan attacks aimed to divide us coming from the other side. Katie Evenson Bottger, Ames Vision for the future To the editor: Over the last six months I have visited and spoken to many citizens in the new 118th Assembly District. The issue that has come up more often than not is the lack of jobs. First, I must say we should all be proud of our region, New York state is a beautiful state filled with history, four season recreation and a quality of life that is second to none. However, because of the lack of jobs and opportunities many people are leaving the state for other more tax friendly states which offer greater opportunity. As the father of two teenagers I am very concerned not only for my children's future but for all those looking for a job. One of the reasons I am running for the state Assembly is because I believe that our region can be so much more than it currently is. My vision for the future and the possibilities of what our area can look like years from now starts with input from our citizens with each town and village creating a comprehensive plan for their community's future supported and approved by its citizens. We must market and promote our region much better than we have done. We must bring down taxes in order to compete with other states and stop the drain of our young people leaving the area. My vision for the future has a lot of possibilities but starts with common sense planning and building on our strengths, understanding that sometimes we must adapt and change in order to move forward. It also takes some courage from those in a leadership position to step up and think outside the box. Our politicians often talk about bringing industry and new business to the area but we must give businesses reasons to want to come here. Politicians don't create jobs, but can create the conditions and climate for entrepreneurs to come and invest in New York state. One of the centerpieces of my campaign is to create the economic conditions in order to revitalize our region by working with both Republicans and Democrats to get the people's business done. I am not running to be a life-long politician but a representative for all the people, one of the bills I will be pushing for is "Term Limits" so people like my opponent aren't in office for 18 years. On Election Day, you have a clear choice between a seasoned politician and myself; a business owner who brings forth new ideas and a hope for the future who'll represent you with a much loader voice in Albany. You have a choice between keeping the status quo and the current economic stagnation or moving forward with a progressive common sense agenda that will benefit all. If you believe like I do that our region can do so much better, then I ask for your vote on Election Day. Please feel free to contact me at (315) 866-3474 or visit my webpage at to see my platform for change. Joseph Chilelli, Herkimer The writer is a candidate for state's 118th Assembly District. Record speaks for itself To the editor: I'm writing this letter to support Chris Gibson for Congress for the following reasons, my personal opinion he is an honest person with great family morals and a pillar to his community. Congressman Gibson has supported various initiatives to get the economy growing and bring jobs back to upstate New York which is important to us all. Congressman Gibson continuously supports pro-growth tax cuts for small-business owners and hardworking families as well as a lower payroll tax to encourage economic growth; he is working to expand broadband access to help business, farms and customers in under-served rural areas, sponsoring a bi-partisan amendment that saved the rural broadband loan program. He helped devastated upstate communities like our community after Hurricane Irene hit us by securing increased federal aid for recovery efforts and serving as chair of the bipartisan for Hurricane Irene Coalition. He is a strong advocate for farmers, agricultural business and energy alternative to lower power costs. Congressman Gibson is a strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security and has voted to preserve both programs without cuts to benefit for current recipients and safeguarding the service for our future. Please remember that Congressman Gibson has given his full military pension back to the treasury while serving in Congress, he also froze his own pay and voted several times to cut or freeze the office budget. Congressman Gibson has served our country for 24 years in the United States Army with four combat tours to Iraq. Congressman Gibson's record speaks for its self. On Nov. 6, I will be voting for Congressman Gibson and hope you will too. Lewis L. Wilson, Schoharie The writer is Schoharie County Republican chairman. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Our government's shortfalls To the editor: I have served as a Montgomery County supervisor from the town of Glen from 1984-87 and again from 2010-present. During these years I observed what I feel are the shortcomings of our present form of government. First, the county lacks someone to oversee the day-to-day operations of what has become an expensive operation. Someone is needed to meet with department heads, make day-to-day decisions, and handle administrative duties which are now done by committees of the board of supervisors. The proposed Montgomery County Charter provides for this person through an elected county executive and by being elected would be accountable to all residents of the county. This person would have certain powers to make day-to-day decisions to move everyday business along smoothly. The executive would also be responsible for the preparation of the budget and it would be his/her responsibility to justify it to the public as well as the legislative body. The executive would represent the entire county and focus on countywide issues. The second problem I see with Montgomery County government is the antiquated system of weighted voting we now use. I believe this system leaves supervisors from the least populated towns at a disadvantage. Supervisors from those towns may have some great ideas but without the votes these ideas may not get advanced. I also believe that 15 supervisors is too many. Some counties in New York work with as few as seven legislators. The proposed county charter provides for a nine-member legislature with legislators elected from nine evenly populated districts. Each legislator would have one vote, thereby eliminating any iniquities, perceived or real, with the present weighted voting system. Legislators would focus on countywide issues and the needs of their districts. City, town and village governments would remain exactly the same as they are now. The county charter is simply a document that defines the functions of county government as well as the powers and responsibilities of those elected or appointed to carry out their duties. The charter commission was formed by resolution of the board of supervisors. The commission is made up of nine dedicated residents of Montgomery County who care about their county government. They formulated this charter through several months of discussion and debate. They produced a document which I believe is a step in the right direction and I fully support it. It would be impossible to cover every detail of the charter in this piece, so I would suggest that interested persons go to the Montgomery County website ( and read the charter and all information leading up to it or talk to any charter commission member. Montgomery County has many dedicated and loyal department heads and employees and I feel that those employees, working with an elected executive and county legislature, can make our government more streamlined and efficient. Over the long term I think these changes will help control costs while still delivering the essential services our residents deserve. I have lived my entire life in Montgomery County and plan on spending the rest of it here and I would not support any change that I felt was detrimental to the county. I know this is an important vote for those who care about their local government, so get informed and regardless of your decision get out and vote Nov. 6. Lawrence Coddington, Fultonville The writer is town of Glen supervisor. Setting the record straight To the editor: It's time to set the record straight. Unfortunately, my opponent, state Assembly candidate Tom Quackenbush, has been telling flat-out lies about my record, while "ducking" his own. Recently, Mr. Quackenbush sent out yet another misleading campaign mailer. This one insinuated that I voted to exceed the governor's property tax cap. That's a lie. The truth is, I voted against an override of the cap because I know our families can't afford an increase and shouldn't be forced to pay more. Meanwhile, during his time on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, Mr. Quackenbush voted to increase property taxes six times -- a whopping 44 percent. He also voted to increase his pay by over 43 percent on the county board and by 66 percent as the mayor of Fort Plain. And to top it off, Mr. Quackenbush spent down the reserve fund to almost nothing on the county board of supervisors. I'm proud of my record because unlike Mr. Quackenbush, I've never voted to raise property taxes. In fact, I've voted to cut taxes twice. I've also worked to keep the reserve fund strong to cover unexpected expenses in the future. And, I've never voted to increase my legislative pay and I never will. Another thing Mr. Quackenbush won't talk about is how he testified before the governor's mandate relief commission on Feb. 24, 2012 and said, "Let us raise our sales tax by an additional percent or two, for every percent, that would mean $6 million for us." Taxpayers would pay even higher taxes for everyday necessities so government can have more money to spend. My philosophy is very different. I believe the government needs to tighten its belt and spend less just like the rest of us. That's why I'm running for state Assembly and why I'm running on my record of cutting taxes and never voting to raise my own pay. Angelo Santabarbara, Candidate for State Assembly Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Seeking out the truth To the editor: I have tried very hard to be quiet about the ongoing reports about the Broadalbin Highway Department. Last year, January 2012, my son Lance Winney took over as highway superintendent, replacing Donald Loveless. From the very first day, after crawling through a window to get into his filthy office, he has been through hell. The entire staff of workers and the supervisor have done everything to discourage him. They wanted Loveless back. I can't believe these people have the audacity to say they have been harassed. Obviously the former superintendent and the workers did not care that the place was dirty, windows were broken, or that the paperwork was in a complete mess. That was just the start of the many things that Lance has had to face in the last 10 months. It seems to me that during the mildest and least snowy winter we have had in some time, would be the perfect time to do repairs and clean up the place. However, none of the staff wanted to be told what to do, Lance has been met with resistance every step of the way. For one example, in the Oct. 4 issue of the Sacandaga Express one of the workers stated that "Lance does not check the roads and that was why the roads were so bad last winter." I find this a strange comment since last year was the mildest winter we have had in years with very little snow. I would never say that my children are perfect, but they were brought up to be honest and tell the truth. This quality seems to be sadly lacking in so many now, right from the top on down. I feel the taxpayers should know the truth and not be bombarded with week after week of lies. Ethel Winney, Northville Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Explaining the water rates To the editor: You may have noticed a change in your water rates if you are a metered user of the city of Amsterdam water system. Water is used for drinking, sanitation, manufacturing and fire prevention. Water rates and fees pay for the hefty cost of water filtration, distribution and maintenance of the system. Earlier this year, the city conducted a review of its billing practices related to metered water. The need for this review was required because of an apparent large disparity between flat, non-metered rates for one- and two-family households and the rates paid by metered multi-family and commercial users. In April of 2012, the city hired an engineering firm to review usage and billing methods. The study confirmed inequity in the billing practices. As a result, changes were implemented and incorporated into the 2012-2013 city budget. Under the old system, metered users were charged a flat rate that provided for a set amount of water use per quarter. That equated, in some cases, to three times the average use of a one-family household. What this meant was that a metered property would pay one-third of the rate that a single unit, flat-rate user would pay. To correct this, the billing structure was changed. The city moved to a billing method similar to that used by other utilities, such as National Grid. Metered accounts are charged for each cubic foot of water used plus a set distribution fee. These rates and fees were set so that a metered user, using the average amount that a single-family home would use, would pay the same amount as an unmetered, single-family home would pay. The advantage of the new structure is that multi-unit metered and commercial properties will pay rates that are consistent with flat-rate payers. Typically, water usage varies by season and the quarterly bill will change according to personal usage. This method of billing will encourage water conservation, as billing is tied to usage. The cost of a safe and reliable water system must be paid for through water rates and fees. The city is dedicated to billing for this resource in the most equitable way possible. Mayor Ann M. Thane, Amsterdam Our future depends on it To the editor: In a few short weeks, we will have the privileged of electing those that will represent us in Albany and Washington. There is a great deal of dissatisfaction, especially in our area, with the recent flooding and lack of response from many government agencies; the high cost of food and fuel and worry about the future. I have had the privilege of meeting Bob Dieterich, candidate for the U.S. Congress. Bob has ties to this area, but most impressive is his background of military service, a respected professional in the banking industry; a family man who understands how important it is to have stability in this country for his children, and his drive to serve. I support Bob Dieterich for his many qualities, among those being term limits, which I believe should be instituted so that people do not make a career of politics. I urge everyone to get out and vote. Our country's future depends on it. Jane Slezak, Amsterdam The haunting truth To the editor: Halloween is upon us and we will soon be noticing the scary sights and sounds that come with it: from children's trick-or-treat chants to scary costumes and movies. Therefore, this a great time to remind people about the tricks being played on youth by the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry promises treats -- rebellion, fitting in, being cool, being glamorous, but instead delivers nicotine addiction and ill health that haunts many for a lifetime. The tobacco industry spends $1million a day to market their deadly products in stores. At almost every convenience store in New York state, kids are inundated with colorful tobacco product displays surrounding the cash registers and tempted by cigarettes in candy-colored packages. The tobacco industry pays retailers to display tobacco products in these highly visible locations where youth are continually exposed. Licensed tobacco retailers in New York state display an average of 18 ads per store and over 82 percent of retailers dedicate 50 percent or more of the merchandising space behind the counter to openly visible tobacco products. Studies show that even brief exposure to tobacco advertising influences youth intentions to smoke. It gives the youth the impression that tobacco products are easily accessible. Our youth face enough scary obstacles and tough decisions; do they really need to be constantly bombarded with advertising that could potentially be life threatening? Removing tobacco products from the view of our kids is an easy way to help save many youth from facing early death and disease from tobacco. For more information or to sign a global petition, please visit Sarah Kraemer, Johnstown The writer is program coordinator for Reality Check of Catholic Charities of Fulton & Montgomery Counties. Monday, September 07, 2015 Letters to the Editor A generational thinker To the editor: I read with great sadness the passing of Supervisor Shayne Walters. I never had the pleasure of meeting the supervisor and know of him only through countless newspaper reports over the years. By his actions and words Supervisor Walters struck me as a man of great integrity and character; a rare combination on today's political scene. To quote James Freeman Clark, "A politician thinks of the next election, a statesman thinks of the next generation." I do believe Supervisor Walters was just such a generational thinker. Truly, the town of Charleston and Montgomery County have suffered a tremendous loss with his passing. I wish grace and peace for his family and collegues during the difficult days ahead and to Supervisor Walters I would say, "Well done, good and faithful servant.' Dawn Lamphere, St. Johnsville Cheese, grapes, hops & garlic To the editor: Speaking with numerous farmers in the region, it seems clear to me that even though agriculture has been a vital part of our region and economy it doesn't seem to always get the attention and support it deserves. Any revitalization of the region must include agriculture, it is part of our past and must be part of our future. New York state has a rich history of agriculture and we need to build on this. Dairy makes up most of our farms but with many dairy farms shutting down and the current ones having a tough time making ends meet, our dairy industry must adapt to changes. At the same time we must remove the barriers that are imposed on the dairy farmers regarding how much they can charge for their milk. This should be a free market system and one that I will fight for if elected. As an avid grower of numerous agricultural products, I believe farms must diversify and offer other agricultural products on top of dairy. A perfect example of this are the two Greek Yogurt plants that have come into the area and employ hundreds of people. We need to do more of this and expand the idea of cost added products like adding various varieties of cheeses and ricotta products. For example: Italian cheese makers and others who would like to break into the U.S. market don't really know our area exists or what our area has to offer. So we must do a much better job of marketing our area to companies around the world. We also have some of the best soil in the country for growing garlic. Our soil produces better quality garlic than that of California. If we promote and broaden this market, there is no reason why we cannot compete with California growers. Also, I and several others have begun growing wine grapes and small vineyards have already become established in the region. There is no reason why we cannot grow grapes and become a similar destination for wine production as has happened in the Finger Lakes. Imagine the big boost to tourism for our region. One other agricultural product a lot of people don't realize would grow well here is hops for making beer. In the 1800's, New York state produced over 90 percent of the hops for beer making, most of which came from the counties just south of the Mohawk River until a blight destroyed all the crops. The soil and climate is still here and ideal for growing this crop again and with modern technology we can avoid many of the problems encountered in the 1800s. Think of New York state as a beer producing center, eclipsing the other large growing area in the Pacific Northwest, I have no doubt that, with the right leadership and investments, we can compete with the Pacific growers. Other niche products like maple syrup and honey can be targeted for increased production and promotion. I also believe that in order to promote and encourage people in going into agriculture all land that is zoned agriculture should be fully tax exempt. This would be another way to help farmers keep the family farm and grow their business. We need to do a better job in expanding, diversifying, promoting and helping our farmers flourish. We must do a better job in taking a more pro-active approach in making this vision become a reality. I know if I am elected the farming community will have a strong voice in Albany. Please feel free to contact me at (315) 866-3474 or visit my webpage at to see my platform for change. Joseph Chilelli, Herkimer The writer is a candidate for office in the state's 118th Assembly District. Best interests in mind? To the editor: Two years ago, Mr. Gibson ran for Congress for the first time. Not having a record of his own, all he did was criticize his opponent. Well, now he has a record and I feel it's a record that needs to be examined. In his two years in office, Mr. Gibson has voted for cuts or eliminate meals on wheels, cut or eliminate HEAP (the program that helps seniors pay for their fuel oil), end Social Security, a $716 billion cut in Medicare (which will run out of funds by 2016), turn any Medicare program into a voucher program to be run by insurance companies, and ending women's health centers. He did this when congress was trying to keep interest rates low for college loans. The Democrats wanted to pay for that by raising taxes on the rich, the Republicans wanted to cut funding for women's cancer screening clinics which Mr. Gibson voted for. He also voted for allowing the rich to continue to pay less than the average American, allowing big corporations to deduct the cost of their private jets from their taxes leaving the taxpayers to pay their costs, keeping the tax breaks for big oil so they can continue to not pay any federal taxes, increasing the defense budget by 3 percent a year even if the Pentagon does not want it. (The U.S.'s defense budget is larger than the next 30 countries' defense budgets put together.) That includes China's and Russia's. Eliminate Sesame Street and you have a pretty good picture of what Mr. Gibson is all about. Protecting the rich and big oil companies, while stepping all over the average American citizen. I guess that's why his political ads do not tout his accomplishments as a congressman. Do we really want a guy representing us that doesn't have our best interest in mind? I don't think so. John H. Swartz, St. Johnsville Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor A plan for flood recovery To the editor: As a candidate for the New York State Assembly, it is important for the people in the 111th Assembly District to know if their leaders have a plan for disaster prevention. As chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, I was responsible for overseeing the aftermath of two area floods in 2006 and 2011. It's never easy to anticipate what Mother Nature will do -- so I believe the best approach for flood prevention and mitigation is a comprehensive one. Prevention and Planning Measures: 1) Study -- Conduct a study of Gilboa Dam (and others if necessary) and waterways (Schoharie Creek, etc.) in and around Montgomery and Schenectady counties. 2) Maintenance and Reclamation -- The state, state departments, towns and local departments need to be both aggressive and serious about stream-bank reclamation and stream maintenance. All waterways need to be cleaned out on an annual basis. Programs should be in place to not only ensure streams can carry water, but also have water-reserve areas that will be able to slow the water down. Adequate funding and personnel is necessary for this. 3) Preparedness -- Increase emergency first-responder (fire, police, ambulance, etc.) grant money for state-of-the-art rescue and preparedness equipment. 4) Awareness -- During the 2011 flood, Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed a liaison to local leaders who would be the go-to person in the event flooding occurred in affected counties, informing the administration. Recovery Effort Measures: 5) Flood-Mitigation Funding -- Due to Hurricane Irene, the state needed to spend an unanticipated $574 million in flood-recovery aid. While this aid helped thousands of homeowners, communities and businesses rebuild, there are some who fell through the cracks. To help those victims, I would urge the sponsorship and passage of Assembly Bill 10492/P. Lopez, or the "Whole Communities Recovery Act of 2012," which would provide assistance to homeowners, businesses, farmers, municipalities, school districts and community-response teams for expenses incurred as a result of a disaster declared by the governor. 6) Sponsor and Pass Assembly Bill 8643A/Tedisco -- Establishes a credit against income tax for residents and business owners who incurred damage to property as a result of tropical storms Irene and Lee. Thomas Quackenbush, Fort Plain The writer is a candidate for the state Assembly in the 111th District. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Support these quality men To the editor: First let us take a moment to thank you for your support and taking the time to read this very important letter. We all have some very important decisions coming up on Election Day 2012. As difficult as it is to decide who to vote for, we are sure you have educated yourselves and are working toward making the best decision you can to benefit your families, friends, community and our great state. During these difficult times we ask that you join us in voting for our friends Tom Quackenbush, Felix Catena, Joe Sise and George Amedore. These four individuals have proven themselves to be quality family men, hard workers, men of integrity and tremendous leaders. They have also proven overwhelmingly to support, appreciate and understand public safety, one of the most important things for all of us to live healthy, happy and prosperous lives. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Please get out and vote and together let's elect these quality men to represent us in their respective positions. Thank you. Sheriff Michael J. Amato; Undersheriff Jeffery T. Smith, Fultonville Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Read the charter before you vote To the editor: Regarding the possible change in the way Montgomery County does business, i.e., "the charter" vs. the current board of supervisors, we are being admonished to learn the facts before we vote in November. Unfortunately, in the huge jump into the abyss of "improving government" there are few facts available on the actual workings of the proposal. There are printed guidelines, and then there are suppositions and even more questions. The facts will only become visible if and when this proposition becomes law. Then it will be too late to change our minds. For example, what are the qualifications to run for the county executive? According to the charter, he or she need only be a qualified voter in the county. That's it. Some are worried that the treasurer should be a qualified person, but the county executive needs no qualifications. Get a few people to back you and you can run for the office. Boy, is that democracy or what? How about the pay for the county executive? We won't find that out until and if this thing passes muster in the fall. With many school administrators raking in $150,000 to $200,000 a year, what are we going to have to pay to attract good, qualified candidates? While we're on the subject of money, has anyone crunched the numbers to see what this "new" government is going to cost us? We'll still have our town supervisors (paid), and now nine legislators (paid) going to Fonda instead of the 15 supervisors, and a county executive (paid) and all the assistants (paid) he or she needs to run the office. The most dangerous part of the "charter" is the power that is vested in the county executive. The executive makes virtually all the appointments, tells each department how it is to be organized and run, and does all this with the supposed blessing of the legislature. The county executive, in reality, will create the flow charts and the legislature will look to him or her as the point person to provide the necessary information to get the legislature's approval. A county executive may "get things done" but we as taxpayers may not like the process or have much to say about it for four years. By all means, read the "charter" before you vote. Earl F. Spencer, Canajoharie Score one for the hunters To the editor: Once again, congratulations to the Recorder for providing the public at large a true and accurate example of what the typical American outdoor sportsmen, and women, are really all about by publishing the two excellent articles, "Deer meat to feed seniors" and "Near and Deer," written by Heather Nellis, Recorder news staff. It's also noteworthy to point out Heather made sure to mention the SDEC report stating sportsmen who hunt in New York state contribute nearly $690 million to the state's economy annually through hunting-related expenses. News coverage like this enables the average non-hunting grassroots citizens to realize that anti-hunting, anti-gun ownership advocates who continually endeavor to paint a totally negative perception of the people who actively participate in the sport are simply distorting the facts with nothing but outright false information. No matter how it's dressed up and presented, baseless propaganda is easy to recognize and completely ignore. Thankfully, most people possess the intelligence to always do that. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Get the facts before voting To the editor: It's that time of year again: election time. This year the voters in Montgomery County will make history by voting yes or no for a new charter form of county government. I am asking all members of the voting public to take the time and educate themselves on the new charter. Over the past 30 years the county board of supervisors has looked at this topic at least four times formally and talked about it forever. The public can review the charter by logging on to the Montgomery County website, attend a local meeting on the matter, or reach out to one of the nine members of the charter commission for information. This charter form of county government does not change city, town, or village governments but instead brings Montgomery County in line with the majority of the counties in New York state that have made changes to their form of government. Earlier this year the board of supervisors formed a subcommittee to look at a possible change in county government. Following the request by the subcommittee, the full board of supervisors appointed a nine member charter commission. Among others, the charter commission included three attorneys, all of whom reside in the county, and a former county supervisor. The board of supervisors then reviewed the charter and by resolution placed it on the November ballot for the voters of Montgomery County to vote on. While I believe this county charter form of government will be good for the county, I urge you to get the facts before the November election. James F. Post, Palatine Bridge The writer is vice chairman of the charter commission and mayor of Palatine Bridge. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood To the editor: The Market Hill Neighborhood Watch would like to thank everyone who came out for our Meet Your Neighbor event. It was a great fun-filled day. Special thanks for the donations from Walmart's, Price Chopper, Hannaford's, Fastrac, Hill & Markes, and Dunkin' Donuts. Also to Carlos Aleman who provided music, he did a great job. We would also like to thank the Michael's employees for their great craft table, Beki Silva for face painting, our neighbor Orlando for the use of his electricity, Dorothy for cooking hot dogs the entire time, Alderman Joe Isabel who donated pizza, and to Mayor Ann Thane and Lt. Robert Richardson for their help and support. We would also like to thank all of our members who donated cookies, prizes, passed out flyers, etc., or who donated their time to help coordinate this event. We also collected $47.60 that was donated to the SPCA thanks to Ashlyn Lisicki, Gaby Maroto, and Chelsea Redmond. Great job girls. Tim Becker, Nancy Lisicki, coordinators, Market Hill Neighborhood Watch, Amsterdam The original believers To the editor: To all you people patting yourself on the back for the new Veterans Memorial getting started on Locust Ave. -- please don't forget Richard Leggiero (alderman of the 5th Ward) and his son Anthony Leggiero. They started this by collecting bottles and cans (nickel by nickel) to get this off the ground. I'm sure all the rest are doing a great job -- "But" -- remember the people who were the original believers. Elizabeth Andolina, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Golfing for a cure To the editor: On Aug. 17, 2012, the ninth annual Dr. Sheridan Golf for a Cure Tournament was held at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. On behalf of the committee, we would like to thank our major sponsors: New York Oncology and Hematology, St. Mary's Healthcare, Kohl's, Kwiat Eye Center, Beckman Converting, Dr. Deborah Sculco and Subway of Amsterdam, the tee box sponsors, the area businesses who donated gift certificates and merchandise, golf pro Joe Merendo and his staff and Laura Elmendorf and her staff at the muni clubhouse. This year's event raised $21,000 and over the last 15 years, Dr. Sheridan has raised $765,000 for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. We look forward to the community joining us next year for the 10th annual Dr. Sheridan Golf for a Cure Tournament. Scott Jackson and Barbara Johnson, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor County charter: Get acquainted To the editor: The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors decided that Montgomery County requires a new form of government -- a charter. To this end, the board of supervisors appointed a commission to create this charter. The commission chairman, F-MCC President Dustin Swanger, Ed.D, believes that this commission created a new commendable form of county government with which you, the taxpayer, should acquaint yourself. He is also confident you will find this charter a solution to all and any problems the county taxpayers face. In the Sept. 13, 2012, Recorder, he advises that this charter will not create another layer of government ... well except perhaps for the new county executive, nine legislators and their staffs. The current supervisors will remain as heads of their respective towns/wards. I strongly urge you to acquaint yourself with this new form of government. However, as you read the charter documents ask yourself why we need this, what unintended consequences may arise because of its institution and what are the additional costs this governing system will impose on the county taxpayers. After you have completed your due diligence, go vote. Michael Kuhne, Fort Plain Don't block mandate relief To the editor: Recently, I called on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his conference in the Assembly to stop blocking mandate relief efforts in New York state. I also called for a special legislative session to take up overdue mandate relief measures for schools, upstate towns and taxpayers. Unfunded mandates are created when Albany forces local governments and school districts to create or expand a program without paying for it. Mandates drive up property taxes, hurt schools, and lead to larger local budget deficits for upstate taxpayers. This is a big issue that Sheldon Silver and his Assembly conference have failed to deliver on. Silver and his members have blocked every attempt at comprehensive mandate relief and one simply needs to look no further than the economic condition that our state is in as evidence. Schools are going broke. Towns are filing for bankruptcy, cutting critical services and exceeding the tax cap. Sheldon Silver and his conference who preside over the Assembly are simply out of touch with the concerns of upstate taxpayers and families. I have always been a staunch advocate for mandate relief. In my 17 years of experience, as a two-time chairman of the board of supervisors for Montgomery County, and as the current Minden town supervisor, I understand the strains on localities attempting to do more with less. In June of 2011, I joined Assembly Republican Leader Brian Kolb and his conference, including Assemblyman George Amedore, to call on the state Legislature to pass overdue mandate relief, specifically medicaid reform. Earlier this year, I was invited to participate on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Mandate Relief Council, where they would use some of my recommendations to shape mandate relief policy and reforms. In Montgomery County, we haven't been waiting for Albany to act. In fact, we took the lead in working to reduce our costs and control government spending. Local governments and school districts have been forced to deplete fund balances to stabilize taxes and to provide programs and services that are mandated by the state. The reality is that we have already tightened our fiscal belt -- now it is time for Albany to do the same. Taxpayers need a break from these out-of-control taxes caused by Silver and his Albany insider friends. The Legislature intends to give itself a raise but it can't lift a finger to reduce property taxes for millions of Upstate residents? Enough is enough. Here's an example: Approximately 70 percent of Montgomery County's $96 million budget last year went to pay for unfunded Albany mandates. Medicaid alone cost Montgomery County $12.5 million in 2011, half of the county's total tax levy. Albany keeps avoiding the main problem and placing the blame on middle-class public-sector workers and teachers and their collective bargaining agreements. We need to attack the real problem. The high cost of Medicaid is driven by an out-of-touch ruling class in state government. Leader Kolb and his conference have repeatedly offered solutions to pass comprehensive mandate relief for our schools, local governments and taxpayers. Over and over again, the votes are along party lines -- with members taking their orders from Speaker Silver and his New York City bosses. Albany spends, upstate pays. This has to stop. We need independent thinking in Albany, not someone who will be a rubber stamp for Silver and his New York City conference in the Assembly. The voters of the 111th need a representative who already has a proven record of working across party lines to achieve solutions for taxpayers and who can start on day one. When I am elected as your assemblyman, I will continue to work with the governor, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Leader Kolb, George Amedore and the rest of the Legislature who are genuinely committed to delivering unfunded mandate relief to balance budgets, cut taxes and save jobs. Thomas L. Quackenbush, Fort Plain The writer is a candidate for office in the 111th Assembly District. Use a natural resource to boost the economy To the editor: After visiting many Adirondack towns and discussing the local issues, the concern on most people's minds is the lack of jobs or opportunity in the area. The northern part of our state, which includes the Adirondack Park, is a very beautiful and untouched area. However, the strict restrictions and regulations imposed by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) in order to protect the park and designate sections of it "forever wild" is in my opinion hurting the local economy. When we have over 6 million acres of preserved parkland with one of the largest timber and wood reserves in the United States but we are not utilizing this natural resource to help jumpstart the local economy in my opinion is not a wise use of our natural resource. It is my belief that if we loosened up some of the restrictions within the Adirondack Park in order that some timber can be harvested by selective cutting and sold, you create the environment for lumber and timber companies to come into the area employing local people. As an environmentalist myself, I am not saying to cut down all the trees and clear entire areas but for a forest to be healthy it must be thinned out and properly maintained. We are sitting on a natural resource that is not benefiting anyone by leaving it forever wild. We need to remove some of the restrictions imposed by the APA and the state in order to allow this natural resource to help revitalize the local economies within the Adirondack Park. There is a need for more wood throughout the world, why should we not be a major source for this commodity and at the same time help revitalize our communities. Just has important is the allocation of cell towers within the Adirondack Park. This is a vital need in our modern world and can help save lives in an emergency situation, let alone for communication. These issues should be key for north country towns to move forward into the future. It is my intention, if elected, to make sure these issues are addressed. Also, but just has important, is the issue of state campgrounds closing on Labor Day. From talking to several campground owners it would be much more beneficial to end the season on Columbus Day since there are still many tourists and visitors in the area in the month of September. By keeping these state campgrounds open you are again keeping local businesses open to serve the needs of the people visiting the area and having additional revenue coming into the area. This is a common sense issue that makes financial sense and will be done if I am elected. Please feel free to contact me at (315) 866-3474 or visit my web page at to see my platform for change. Joseph Chilelli, Herkimer The writer is a candidate for office in the 118th Assembly District. Thruway toll hike would crush business To the editor: Trucks and commercial vehicles use the New York State Thruway to provide goods and services to millions of people every day. The Thruway is the main gateway into and out of Amsterdam, as well as a majority of the surrounding capital region. In May of this year the New York State Thruway Authority announced a proposal to raise truck tolls by 45 percent. In an August report from the Office of the State Comptroller it states, "The proposed 45 percent average toll increase for commercial vehicles would unavoidably have a negative impact on commercial trucking companies and truck drivers operating in New York state, sending ripple effects through the state's overall economy." Today, for example, a full truckload (FTL) traveling from Amsterdam to Boston costs approximately $725. With the 45 percent proposed toll increase the cost will rise to $1,051. A $326 increase, when multiplied by the number of inbound and outbound deliveries throughout New York state, becomes a staggering number. This number is unbearable for many small businesses, and is at best going to hinder their growth, and at worst going to close their doors for good. The proposed 45 percent increase will only further impede an already struggling New York state economy, and will endanger thousands of jobs, and vital employee benefits throughout the state. I urge residents and business owners alike to please join us in requesting this toll increase not be passed by contacting their New York state delegates. Rachal Raeburn, Amsterdam The writer is president of NTI Global, Amsterdam. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Vigil being planned for Kellisue Ackernecht To the editor: An invitation in faith, hope and love -- a vigil for missing person Kellisue Kilcullin Ackernecht. Look in the cellar, look in the tunnel. In the lake, in the woods. Look at the husband, look at the boyfriend, and even look at a serial killer. Look in Utica, look in Northville. He did it, she did it. She ran off, he took her off. She was hit, she was bruised, she was loved. These are the words that the family of missing woman Kellisue Kilcullin Ackernecht hears on a daily basis. Imagine the tears, the frustration, the drama and the pain that the family has gone through since their loved one simply just vanished. Vanished is the easiest way to explain what happened to Kellisue Ackernecht, who left her job at Rite Aid in Amsterdam on Sept. 30, 2008, at 9:35 p.m. and who was never heard of again ... from anyone. The story goes from simple to heartbreaking. The Ackernechts' car was found engulfed in flames approximately three hours later in the area known as Frog Hollow, off of West Mont-gomery Street in Johnston just minutes from her home. Authorities never found a body. Heartbreaking leaving a daughter, husband, family and friends behind not ever having answers, never being heard from again. In the past, Kellisue had been employed by not only Rite Aid but Dunkin Donuts, Burger King and as a teacher's aid as well, and on Sept. 30, 2012, the family and friends will be coming together for a time that is set up not to speculate the whos and the wheres but to share the love, kindness and peace within a community -- the once sleepy town of Amsterdam and Johnstown. The family invites the community to come to Rite Aid on Market Street in Amsterdam at 9:45 on Sept. 30, 2012, for a start of a vigil that will be continued to Frog Hollow in Johnstown. The friends and family will start with a prayer and a candle lighting vigil which starts in Amsterdam and will be completed in Johnstown because this is the beginning and the end of that eve four years ago. The color for the night is purple in awareness for domestic violence which also was Kelli's favorite color. The website is a place for history, a place for tips, and a place the family would like you to be enlightened. One tip can mean all the difference in this life, in this world. Answers and question for the past 1,424 days Kelli has been missing will be quiet on the eve of Sept. 30, this night is about Kelli's memory. As scripture says, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." And in memory that is all the family has. Karen McCullough, Spring Hill, Fla. Inmates are running the asylum To the editor: I have just completed watching both political conventions. As the last one ended, I was informed through the media that we had just funded Pakistan to the tune of $2 billion for humanitarian aid. Unless I am mistaken, this is the same Pakistan which had Osama bin Laden hiding out near a police station and a military base. Not for a weekend but ... for five and a half years. It's nice to have friendly neighbors. So I switched to Afghanistan and I see where we provided them with training equipment and weapons for their fight against al-Qaida. In return, at the Dover base air field in Delaware, they sent us some body bags that I believe contained American soldiers. In the meantime, Karzai has ripped off several million dollars for his own personal use. So much for that. Gov. Corzine has apparently been cleared of any wrongdoing in the disappearance of half a billion dollars. It seems things were so confusing when he accepted this assignment that no one can be held responsible for replacing this sum of money which the justice department views as "chump change." The president has raised over $100 million and Gov. Romney has raised even more. There is a rumor, mind you, just a rumor, that Gov. Romney bought a kid for his dog to play with. Money isn't everything -- after all, I believe a man with $6 million is just as happy as a man with $12 million. As for my own financial status, if I could go from Amsterdam around the world and the price for this was $4, I couldn't get out of sight. Mr. Holder has assigned two of his deputies to investigate him. I'm sure if they find any illegal activities in "Fast and Furious," they will report them to either Oprah Winfrey or Jerry Springer. I can't get over two men with IQs above 160 spending two years bad-mouthing each other and not offering any plausible solution to this "horror show" we now accept. I was particularly thrilled by Joe Biden's bumper sticker -- "Osama bin Laden is dead but General Motors is still alive." They should have finished the sentence by telling us that GM still owes the taxpayer over $30 billion which we will never see. It's odd that when Biden's name comes up, the word "plagiarism" never follows, but that's the Democratic way they used when they nominated the senator from Missouri for VP, never checking with mental health authorities. When you seek public office, clean your closet. If you wet the bed when you were 11 years old it will come out. I am 85 years old, so according to the actuary tables, by the time the next election occurs, I should be underground. I will leave this world the same way I came in: bald headed, no teeth and wearing a diaper. But I can't bring myself to vote in this election because the inmates are running the asylum. James Sheridan, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor More city hall personnel? To the editor: This letter is written in response to the recent request for more personnel in the city of Amsterdam's controller's office, that was published in Friday's paper. I am also copying the current administration; some already have received the attached information. As a taxpayer in the city of Amsterdam, it is with great concern that this request is even being considered. When I left office, all systems were in place and processing everyday transactions correctly and timely, including all reporting necessary to meet the responsibilities of the controller. I also would like to point out that when I left office, there was one less staff member in the controller's office than there is now, we functioned this way since 2010, and smoothly may I add. As soon as this newly elected controller was in office, he re-hired personnel, when it was more than apparent this position was not needed. Now, he is requesting yet more staff? I did research to be able to reduce staffing and save taxpayers money, this controller has only spent more and more on unnecessary personnel. From the nine different municipalities researched, the highest number of employees with similar budgets and population have no more than six personnel (including the treasurer or controller) to facilitate everyday operations in these offices. This controller wants 10 employees -- seems like a huge disparity as compared to other municipalities. When it comes to the staff in the controller's office, they are very capable and dependable. It is not their job or function to act as the accountant for the city, this is what the controller is elected to do. Maybe the controller should read the job functions and duties that each position clearly outlines, all approved by the CSEA and state authorities. I implemented the new accounting software to reduce personnel hours needed to get the job done. It is obvious that this controller wants nothing to do with what he was elected to do, instead he wants to hire someone to do his job. All at the expense of every taxpayer in this city. I would have copied the current controller, unfortunately it appears that he does not have e-mail according to the city website. Please forward this to his attention. Concerned taxpayer . . . Heather E. Reynicke, Amsterdam The writer is a former controller in the city of Amsterdam. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Playing the blame game To the editor: I have tried to remain silent the last few months, but recent remarks in the Recorder need to be addressed. First of all, I need to thank the taxpayers of Broadalbin and the loyal highway employees for all their support over almost 20 years for me, while I was employed as the highway superintendent of Broadalbin. It seems as though the new rookie highway superintendent of Broadalbin tries to blame all of his problems on me. It makes me sick to drive by the highway garage and still see the head plow and the wings outside rusting because neither was painted and put away. In the past years this task would have been during April. However, instead of taking care of this equipment during April, the new highway superintendent spent his time trying to lay off the employees because they apparently had nothing to do during this time. It is now Labor Day and there still isn't any paving done. In the past years myself and the employees of the highway department would have already completed the paving and shoulders by now. The new highway superintendent said he was going to save the taxpayers money. Well let's review a few things that's happened since Jan. 1, 2012. He cut down a bunch of trees causing the board to intervene with a court order for him to stop cutting down those trees immediately. It isn't the highway superintendent's job to cut down those trees without prior permission of the board. As a result of this matter, the highway superintendent has cost the taxpayers of Broadalbin thousands of dollars in legal fees. In the past years myself and the employees would paint two trucks per year. Now, under the new highway superintendent, the trucks are being painted by someone else at the price tag of $5,000 per truck. Somehow, the new highway superintendent seems to think that it's OK to purchase equipment parts from vendors without comparing prices, and has managed to purchase parts double the prices than they should have been. The new highway superintendent hired two new part-time employees after he tried to lay off full-time employees in April. And now the real grand finale. The town of Broadalbin's new highway superintendent has decided to forfeit the county contract for over $70,000. This contract has been in effect for many years and to the best of my knowledge it has benefited both the taxpayers and the county. The contract is now in jeopardy due to the new highway superintendent of Broadalbin not wanting to plow the county roads and therefore trying to end the contract with the county. If the contract is ended then only two things can happen next year: Taxes will go up and there will be less paving. The new highway superintendent isn't saving the taxpayers money -- he's costing them more money. But for some reason which doesn't make any sense to me, he continues to blame me for all of his problems. Donald R. Loveless Jr., Broadalbin The writer is the former town of Broadalbin highway superintendent. Making it Crystal clear To the editor: It is with great sadness that I witness the closing of Crystal Bar Ristorante. Crystal Bar, as it was called when I was growing up, was more than a restaurant. It was there for all the seasons of our lives. It was there when I had my daughter's family birthday party for 16 years. It was there when we had a family get together after my dad's passing. It was there that we got comfort food after my aunt's wake. We came to Crystal Bar for many happy times, whenever we had something to celebrate. Every year we went there for Valentine's Day, even the day of the big snow storm. We were always met with friendly people (Tony, family and staff) who made us feel comfortable and tried to accommodate our wishes. To Tony and family who gave so much of themselves to this community -- from donating to churches, to school events and providing for the soup kitchen -- Amsterdam thanks you for this. We will always remember your unequaled pizza, which we ate from the time we were old enough to chew. We are sad but we are also hopeful for the future. Remember: This or something better. We will miss you all. All our love. Gail and Rick Vines, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Remembering June By LEN CZELUSNIAK Special to the Recorder In 1971, June Czelusniak, employed as a bookkeeper by the Saveway Supermarket, realized that she needed a greeting card for a special occasion. She thought that she should have no problem in finding one as there were three stores in the area in which she worked that she believed could accommodate her. Unfortunately, that was not the case, for after having searched for a long period of time in the various stores on Route 30, frustrated and disappointed, she drove to downtown Amsterdam and tried to find a parking place in order to buy a card. This was before the construction of the mall. During the year, June began to discuss her desire to go into business for herself, but there was a question as to what kind of business. And the location. So, when June took me aside and said that she had come to a decision, I responded with, "What is it this time? And she replied, "A Hallmark store. And somehow, in the way she said it, she had my attention. And immediately, I said, "Wow." Then June told me of how she had been in contact with the developer of the Perth Plaza on Route 30 and was offered a store next to Loblow's Supermarket, which would be a great location in my opinion. She had already contacted Hallmark Cards and after doing a market research they told her that the area could support a Hallmark store, and after further discussions and planning, I said, "Go for it." And a lease was signed. Therefore, on Sunday, Aug. 15, 1972, before invited guests and with the help of Congressman Sam Stratton, June cut the ceremonial ribbon and the card boutique was opened. The following day, June went to church, as usual, drove to the plaza, walked into the store, turned on the lights, and realized that her dream had come true. During the days and weeks to follow, friends, relatives and strangers came in not only to shop, but to wish her well. Many of the new customers soon became friends as June always treated everyone who came in with open arms, which I always felt was the secret of her success. As time progressed and her inventory expanded, she was surprised to discover that Grants, one of the major stores in the plaza, had filed for bankruptcy. The closing of Grants had an immediate impact on the other stores in the plaza, but June believed that it was the loyalty of her customers that brought her through this difficult period. Six months later, a knight on a white horse, in the form of Kmart, came riding in and settled in the plaza. Within weeks, the store was opened and business returned to normal. Business continued to thrive in the plaza, but June began to think that the Hallmark design could be improved and was often heard to say that she would design her next store. The opportunity presented itself when June discovered through an article in the Recorder that a shopping center was going to open in Sanford Farms. She contacted the developer, being one of the first to sign, and chose a place in the middle of the mall. Hallmark was receptive for a bigger and better location for the new store. When June created her design for the store, she had decided that she wanted to create an open-air atmosphere for the customer and that a gondola fixture would be more appropriate than standard fixtures. The gondolas can be multi-tiered and catch the customers' eyes when displaying merchandise. However, when June explained this design to her Hallmark representative, it seemed to fall on deaf ears. Obviously, the rep did not anticipate June's determination. In May 1995, the store in the Sanford Plaza was completed, merchandise was ready to be shipped and yet, no store design. When the traditional store design was shipped, June rejected it. Finally, Hallmark's chief designer called and wanted to know the problem, which June explained in detail to him. He countered with the fact that this had never been done before and June answered, "Make my store the first." Promising to call her back, June waited but did not hear from him, but instead to her surprise she received a call from his boss, vice president of retail relations, who asked her directly what was wrong with the Hallmark design. June responded with every ounce of her Irish charm, explaining in detail her design plans. Following nearly 15 minutes of discussion, June emerged from hanging up the phone, smiling, and said, "I got what I wanted." June did not want another grand opening, but in June of 1995, when the store opened, the amazement on the faces of the customers was satisfaction enough for her to realize that her ideas were a success. In 1997, this was further substantiated by the announcement that the June Hallmark Shoppe was one of the 200 stores nationwide to receive the Hallmark Excellence Award, the highest award that Hallmark gives the retailers. June went to Kansas City to receive her award, but refused to have a press release. June had a gift for assisting people who came to select cards. They merely had to mention what kind of card or occasion they needed the card for and she would lead them directly to it and read two or three before they decided to choose one. On Sept. 14 and 15, 2012, June's Hallmark is celebrating 40 years in business, and what is more important is that it will also be remembering and honoring June for all that she has done. Perhaps there are people who still have a favorite "June" story. If you do, please stop at the store and tell us. Whether it was rooting for the favorite long shot coming down the homestretch at Saratoga, or watching a sunset on Siesta Key, having dinner with her favorite guy, and, yes, still having time to design her own store, June did some unusual things and somehow they turned out just right. I am also sure that all who knew and loved her would say that June did things, "My Way." June, I miss you and still love you. Thanks for the memories. -- Len Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Charter vote: Know the facts To the editor: On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Montgomery County voters will be asked to cast their vote on a proposition to change the form of Montgomery County's government. Montgomery County has operated with a board of supervisors form of government for many years. Earlier this year, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors appointed a charter commission to draft a change to the county's charter to create a county legislature form of county government. The charter commission recently completed its work and submitted its recommended charter change to the board of supervisors. The board of supervisors has decided to put the charter proposal up for a vote this November. The CEO Roundtable recently discussed the proposed charter change to create a county legislative form of county government. We applaud the work of the commission that spent considerable time and effort to prepare a comprehensive charter proposal. The CEO Roundtable members firmly believe that government is owned by the people, in this case the residents of Montgomery County. Therefore, we praise the board of supervisors for sending the proposed charter to the people to decide this November. This is truly democracy at work. The CEO Roundtable is not taking a position in support or in opposition to the proposed charter. The CEOs, however, strongly encourage every voter in Montgomery County to read about the proposed charter change and fully understand what it means. It is critically important for voters to cast informed and not emotional votes. We encourage voters to read the proposed charter at: If you do not have access to a computer, call the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors office at 853-4304 and find out how you can review a copy. Here are a few highlights of the proposed charter changes: The proposed charter would create a county legislative form of government instead of the current board of supervisors. A county legislature would not be a new level of government. The proposed county legislature reflects a structure that currently exists in numerous New York state counties. The proposed county legislature would consist of nine elected county legislators from nine legislative districts. The proposed charter would create an elected county executive. The county executive must be a resident of Montgomery County. The county executive would work with the legislature to enforce the laws and regulations approved by the legislature and to oversee the day-to-day operations of county government. The proposed charter would create a system of checks and balances between the county executive and the county legislature. The proposed charter would maintain an elected county treasurer. The proposed charter would not change the existing structure of any city or town government in Montgomery County. The CEO Roundtable encourages every voter to understand what this proposed charter change means and to vote in an informed manner. The foundation of government in the United States is one of government of the people, by the people and for the people. This founding principle is what makes our country special. Please vote on Nov. 6 and make it an informed vote. Dustin Swanger, Amsterdam A successful chicken bake To the editor: On behalf of the Sons of the American Legion Post 701, 123 W. Main St. Amsterdam, we would like to thank all participants, sponsors (PAV, Post 701, Irish American Club, Bosco's and Russo's) and the men and women who helped with this year's annual benefit walk and chicken bake that was held Saturday, Sept. 8. With their continued support we can have successful events for our veterans and community. This year's fundraiser was for the Town of Florida Veterans Memorial Park. Last year we were able to donate to the Amsterdam Veterans commission for the memorial park they are erecting at Veterans field on Locust Avenue. Also this year we were able to make a donation to the South Side veterans park. The American Legion is a great organization, not only do they provide for the veterans but they also give back to the community. Our post here in Amsterdam holds a Christmas dinner every year for the community and delivers the meals to the ones who are unable to come down to the hall. On average, 1,200 to 1,600 meals are served each year and it's all put together by members of the legion and people from the community who just show up and help out with this worthwhile cause. Local businesses donate food items and the Post 701 also does. It's great to see everyone come together to do these types of events. There is a lot that goes on throughout the year with veterans' organizations, be it ceremonies, parades, dinners, meetings or fundraising events. It's all about the good people behind it. Next time you are out and about take the time to thank a vet who has served or is currently serving. Thank you to all that makes things like this happen and to be proud of. As always, for God and country. God bless America. Mark Lavigna, past commander; Mike Blankenbaker, adjutant/membership chairman, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 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, Fonda 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, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Thanks for a quick response To the editor: To the Florida Volunteer Fire Department: We would like to express our deep gratitude for your quick response and action concerning our recent garage fire. Your hard work and efficient manner helped save our home. The response and teamwork of other volunteer companies from Fort Hunter, Glen, Mariaville and Pattersonville was also very much appreciated. Also, thank you to John Sampone our code officer and Dwight Schwabrow, county fire coordinator, for their help and assistance. Thanks to all of you that responded. We are so very thankful to all of you. Frank and Kristina Marcellino and family, Amsterdam Party affiliation doesn't matter To the editor: Over the last many weeks I have enjoyed meeting and talking to many people on the campaign trail. One of the most asked questions that I'm faced with is: What party are you with? My answer is always the same: Does it really matter? It shouldn't. I am not running for the party, I am running to represent the people in the district regardless of party. You will not find my party affiliation on any of my handout material or on my web page. It does not matter to me. I want to be elected not on what party I am registered with but what I stand for, my principles, my ideas, plans and commitment to represent the people in my district. It is my intent to work with everyone regardless of party affiliation in order to get the people's business done. As an example, my campaign team is made up of mostly Republican members even though I am running on the Democratic line. I am not a seasoned politician like my opponent, but a hard working business owner/family man who will give you better representation and a louder voice in Albany. Vote for the person, not the party. Please feel free to contact me at (315) 866-3474 or visit my web page at to see my platform for change. Joseph Chilelli, Herkimer The writer is a candidate for office in the 118th Assembly District. Growing tired of downstate politics To the editor: This week, I saw a press release from the Republican chairmen from the three counties that make up the 111th Assembly District. In their release, the chairmen asked two questions of Angelo Santabarbara: First, will his campaign again accept tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from Speaker Sheldon Silver and his political friends; and second, if elected, will he use his first vote in the Assembly to re-elect Sheldon Silver as speaker? These are interesting points being brought up. I know that in the past, Santabarbara received well over $100,000 from Speaker Silver and his political campaign committee. Speaker Silver has now been caught paying off a woman, with taxpayer dollars, who was sexually harassed by one of his members. I can't understand the lack of outrage at Speaker Silver's use of $103,000 of our tax money to settle this claim, and cannot believe this is an isolated incident. I am a Democrat from upstate Fort Johnson and I am tired of the downstate politics. There is a better candidate for the 111th Assembly District, Tom Quackenbush. I do know he will not be accepting tainted money from anyone, and his first vote will not be for Mr. Silver as speaker. On Election Day, I'm voting for Quackenbush. Pete Swatt, Fort Johnson Reading program a success To the editor: I've worked in the Amsterdam Free Library for more than two decades and, for a number of years, I was also involved in the literacy program. Now, with the unofficial end of summer already upon us, I wanted everyone to know that this year was something special, indeed. That's because the summer reading program for children was incredibly successful. Much of the credit for the program's success, I believe, must go to library director Nicole Hemsley, and staff members who ran the day-to-day operations under her direction. Education is the key to our country's future, and reading is a vital part of it. I was extremely proud to be a small part of the reading program these past couple of months. Thanks to everyone for making this year's reading program an overwhelming success, and thanks, also to those parents who share their children with us. Flora Iannotti, Amsterdam Time for a change in state government To the editor: Last week, Recorder reader Eric Hess wrote a letter to the editor, praising Mr. Quackenbush and Mr. Amedore on the jobs they've been doing. I decided to look into Mr. Hess's statements. After some research, I realized Mr. Hess was just stating his opinion and nothing more. There wasn't a single "fact" in his entire letter. He starts off by saying he couldn't help but notice a "connection" between Mr. Santabarbara and Mr. Silver. He never says what that "connection" was. He says Mr. Santabarbara would vote with Mr. Silver 90 to 99 percent of the time. Where did he get that fact, since Mr. Santabarbara has never voted along side Mr. Silver. Again, it was just Mr. Hess's opinion. Not a fact. However, here is a fact. Mr. Amedore has voted with Republican leader Brian Kolb 91.7 percent of the time. Using Mr. Hess's own rule, we should not vote for Mr. Amedore just for that reason. (We shouldn't vote for Mr. Amedore, but for other reasons.) I would expect a Republican or a Democrat to follow along their party line. But why pick on Mr. Silver? He's been re-elected many times, so he must be doing something right. Also, why think Mr. Santabarbara, an upstater, would turn his back on upstate as Mr. Amedore has? To prove my point about Mr. Amedore, I called him at his office to ask some questions, like: why New York state puts a tax on retiree pensions. Many states do not, so why New York? It doesn't tax state pensions, why other pensions? I mentioned this is why many older people move out of New York. I was told it was the downstate politicians' fault. When I asked why New York state had the highest gas tax in the nation, he again blamed the downstate politicians. Apparently, the residents of downstate like paying high gas tax and paying taxes on their pensions. I asked the big question last. Why does New York have the highest welfare budget in the nation? In fact, it's double the budget of the No. 2 state. His answer? You guessed it: downstate politicians. I was going to ask him why the Jets had such a bad end to their season last year, but I was afraid he'd blame it on the downstate politicians. When I asked if Mr. Amedore ever offered up a bill that would affect any of the questions I asked him, he replied "no." He blames everyone else but himself. He's been in office long enough to be responsible for the problems facing New York. He's offered up zero answers to those problems. I went back and checked many of the budgets that raised our taxes. Mr. Amedore voted for every one of those budgets. People ridicule President Obama for blaming his woes on George Bush. It's time for Mr. Amedore to accept responsibility for his failings also. Now he wants to be in the Senate, so he can do nothing in a new setting. If you're tired of nothing happening in the state government, your taxes rising, then maybe you should vote for someone else besides Mr. Amedore. Now, to Mr. Quackenbush. Montgomery County is in the top 10 list of highest taxed counties in America. Since the list was alphabetized, it could very well be number one in the country. Mr. Quackenbush voted for all budgets that raised our taxes, including trying to raise the sales tax just recently. Make no mistake, Mr. Quackenbush is a tax and spend politician. He voted to raise his own salary as a town supervisor and county board member. He spent away a $28 million surplus down to $8 million. His letter to the Columbia paper dated 7/23/11, is required reading to see just where he stands. As a county board member, he has been unable to make the big decisions. He'd rather raise taxes on the elderly and poor than make tough choices. While town of Minden supervisor, Mr. Quackenbush , along with his tax-hungry cronies, passed a full property value tax assessment, effectively raising property taxes some 25 percent. Compare the town of Minden's 100 percent property assessment with St. Johnsville's 35 percent. The town of Minden is listed as the highest tax rate in the state of New York and the nation. Since the full assessment went into effect, property values in the town of Minden have sunk quicker than the Titanic. And deeper, too. No need to take my word for it, Mr. Hess, just look at some properties for sale and check their taxes. When Mr. Quackenbush announced he was running for Assembly, he said he wanted tax reform. Not lower taxes, but reform. Remember how he reformed the taxes in the town of Minden. If you want to know what a politician will do when in office, don't believe what they say, look at what they have all ready done. As they say, the proof's in the pudding. If you think we already pay enough taxes, as I do, then maybe you should be thinking about voting for someone else besides Mr. Quackenbush. It's time for changes in the state government. Putting the same people in office, or moving them into a different office, where you can expect the same incompetence, is not the answer. John H. Swartz, St. Johnsville Facts about next week's voting To the editor: I hope this letter will be informative to voters next week. FACT: Primary election will be next Thursday, Sept. 13. This is because of the anniversary of 9-11. FACT: In New York state, you cannot just enroll in school and become a certified assessor. You have to be hired or elected and sponsored by a municipality. With special approval a data collector or other support staff in the assessor's office may be deemed eligible for training. FACT: Both Broadalbin assessors currently in office had no related experience before being elected. Yes, it does not make sense that a position that determines your property value puts someone into office with no training. But we're talking about New York state. FACT: Assessors must complete their training, and pass tests for their certification within three years or the state will remove them from their position. This did happen in Broadalbin over 10 years ago. FACT: There is taxpayer expense in training all assessors. Having a background in real estate or insurance appraisal does not waive classes and save money. FACT: If you are 18 you are old enough to be an assessor. At 18 you can register to vote, enlist in the military and carry a gun, and we applaud our high school graduates as they take on huge loans and go to college for a career they hope to have. Lolalynn Steele had planned on following in her father's footsteps some day after he retired. Her running for assessor now is a solid career choice based on a familiarity with tasks in that office. FACT: Years ago, when I was a town councilman, I did advocate for the other assessor candidate to be appointed to the board of assessment review where he served as chairperson. The last fact that I'd like to share is during his term, he abruptly resigned. How does this person expect to handle the stress of being an elected official for four years if he could not handle dealing with the public and other officials a few months a year? The last fact that I'd like to share is that every vote at the local level does make a difference. The polls are open for primary voting on Thursday, Sept. 13, noon until 9 p.m. Joy Canfield, Broadalbin Pay hike idea morally bankrupt To the editor: I read recently that there is the looming possibility of a lame-duck session salary hike. I find the very idea of this unnecessary and offensive as a taxpayer. Others share the same sentiment. To be clear, I am against any pay raise for state legislators. Between per diems, perks, benefits and salaries, legislators should not get any increase, especially while many middle-class families are struggling to find jobs. New York's unemployment rate is over 9 percent and we are still in the midst of recovering from the longest recession since the Great Depression. I would argue that there are more important things to discuss, such as property tax reform, mandate relief, jobs and improving this struggling economy, than salary increases for legislators. According to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted at the end of July, 80 percent of New Yorkers oppose the pay hike. Members of the Legislature collect an annual base salary of $79,500, excluding perks and benefits. With all due respect to the legislators -- they actually did their jobs for the first time in years by passing two on-time budgets -- it should be this way every budget year. It does not merit a pay increase. If anyone else on the job failed to meet a deadline, they would be fired. Why should we hold state elected officials to any other standard than what we hold ourselves to? In contrast, these are not local positions that have historically been ceremonial in nature, are low paying, have increased work loads, and merit a boost at times when appropriate. There's more work to be done and many issues to resolve in Albany. This pay hike is morally bankrupt and is certainly not a pressing issue. When I'm elected, I will continue to work with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Hugh Farley, assemblymen Jim Tedisco and George Amedore, and others in state government to work on property tax reform, mandate relief, opportunities for job creators, job growth and improving this struggling economy. Thomas L. Quackenbush, Fort Plain The writer is a candidate for office in the 111th Assembly District. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Children and gambling To the editor: Startling statistics about youth gambling have been brought to our attention. Can you believe that 48 percent of 7-12 graders have gambled in the past year in New York state. Of these teens, 28 percent also have a problem with chemical dependence. These statistics come from the New York State Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services. Children need to be made aware that gambling is not a way to make money and that there are many risks and bad consequences when gambling becomes a problem. Things to look for in your teens if gambling is becoming a problem for them: Are they using gambling lingo, "point spread or chips"? Do they bring up gambling in conversations? Do they watch programs associated with gambling? Are they having mood swings? Difficulties in school with grades dropping and poor performance. Unexplained absences. Needing more money for school or other outings? Are there items missing from your home? Before problems start make sure you have an open relationship with your children. Let them know they can talk with you about anything. Reassure them how much you love and care for them. The average teen is impulsive, aggressive and they like to take risks. They are very easily influenced by peer pressure. Look in the family; are there problems with gambling? If there are make sure you talk with your children about addictions. If you need professional help it is available. The national problem gambling hotline is (800) 522-4700 or the website for the National Center for responsible gambling is and the NYS 24 hour helpline is (877) 846-7369. For more information contact Betsy Reksc, HFM Prevention Council at 736-8188 ext. 107. Betsy Reksc, Johnstown Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Shuttleworth comes alive To the editor: Thanks to the generosity and support of the Amsterdam Mohawks, Altieri's Auto Body Shop, the Wasserman Foundation, Amsterdam Auto Parts, and the Smitka Brothers, the greater Amsterdam community was treated to two great events at Shuttleworth Park. On Saturday, Aug. 11, the first outdoor amateur boxing, both sanctioned and exhibition, meet was held in Amsterdam. The brainchild of Amsterdam Mohawks assistant manager Dan Nelli, this event featured four Amsterdam natives: Harley Beekman, Tommy Marcelino, Tricia Altieri and Tom Regal. On the following Saturday, Aug. 18, under the direction of Amsterdam Mohawks manager Brian Spagnola, "Rock the Park" filled the entire ball field with music, cars and motorcycles. It featured four popular local bands Skeeter Creek, Bed Spins, Perfect Storm and Tunnel. On behalf of the Shuttleworth Park Foundation, which benefited from the proceeds of both events, I would like to thank everyone mentioned here along with the volunteers and staff of the Mohawks who worked both events. Also the foundation wants to note its appreciation and support of the late but not forgotten Norbert J. Sherbunt II. Bill Wills, Shuttleworth Park Foundation, Amsterdam Comfort Zone says thanks To the editor: As co-chairs of the Comfort Zone Ministry, we would like to say thank you to the good and generous people of Amsterdam for making our recent distribution a huge success. On Aug. 28, we gave out 277 backpacks, along with the usual personal care and paper products, to over 200 families. Probably about 500 people went through that room, and the number of thank yous and smiles made the entire event worthwhile. Each of these backpacks contained 18 school items and all of these were supplied by people from the various churches and others that chose to donate as well. This means that people donated 5,274 items, or the money for us to buy these items, plus the backpacks to put them in. Many of the backpacks were hand-sewn. The backpacks were new this year, thanks to the generous donations of SEFCU, Amsterdam Printing, Junior Girl Scout Troop 2245, Trinity Lutheran Sewing Circle, and the Heralders Class of Trinity Lutheran Church. The items which went into the backpacks were supplied by Amsterdam Printing, the Heralders, Children's Aid Association, people from Trinity, United Methodist, United Presbyterian, St. Luke's, St Ann's, St. Mary's, St. Stanislaus, First Baptist Church, as well as many individual donors. These backpacks did not interfere with the normal monthly donations of paper goods and personal care products, which many of these same people have also donated throughout the year; some of these same people also come on the fourth Tuesday of each month and volunteer. So, this is a great big thank you and God bless you to everyone who has given of their time and talents to make the Comfort Zone Ministry the success it is. We started in 2009 with 40 families and now have over 800. Thank you to all of you who have helped so many people in your own community. If you have any questions, would like to make a donation, or help in any way, please call one of us as we would be glad to hear from you. Many hands do make light work and we can always use another helping hand. Jean Amy Swenson, Bette Errig, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor A voice for upstate To the editor: Two years ago, I watched an interesting race shape up in the 105th A.D. between Assemblyman George Amedore and his Democratic challenger Angelo Santabarbara. In this race, I couldn't help but notice a connection between Mr. Santabarbara and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a powerful and influential New York City Democrat who controls much of New York state policy and holds the majority of seats in the Assembly. At that time I realized it would be a scary thought if we had a representative who was an ally of Mr. Silver and would vote with and support the speaker and his New York City policies 90 to 99 percent of the time, but who would also accept support in the form of campaign contributions, from a person who is anti-upstate. This is why I voted for Mr. Amedore, the person who would truly represent upstate taxpayers and businesses. Fast forward to today. Mr. Amedore has endorsed Republican Tom Quackenbush, a former assessor, mayor, twice chairman of the board of supervisors, and a current town supervisor with over 15 years of budget and managerial experience. Mr. Quackenbush's conservative and business-friendly outlook has dramatically improved our upstate community. Mr. Santabarbara is of the party that is anti-business and enjoys the tax-and-spend policies that Mr. Silver is all too fond of. As a majority legislator for Schenectady County, Santabarbara has done little to assist overburdened taxpayers and businesses in the district. Mr. Santabarbara would love a chance to represent and ally himself with the man that has been the poster child for dysfunction and corruption in Albany, who is solely interested in maintaining power and influence over policy in this state, and is destined to once again give Mr. Santabarbara tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from New York City -- Mr. Silver. A word to the wise this November -- vote for the candidate who wants to stop the corruption and scandal; has a campaign truly for the people and by the people; is the true fiscal conservative with the experience and leadership necessary to do the job; and is the only voice for upstate New York. Hire the best: Tom Quackenbush for state Assembly. Eric Hess, Rotterdam To market, to market To the editor: I would like to thank MaryAnn Johnson, president of the Farmers Market Association, Mayor Ann Thane and Cheryl Scott, director of the Amsterdam Transit Department, for their concern and help in trying to resolve this issue with access to farmers markets for senior citizens. I learned a lot by speaking to each of them. As far as right now, there is transportation to the market at Sanford Stud Farm on Wednesdays. The Amsterdam transit will pick up seniors at Roosevelt apartments, the Hi-Rise and Stratton apartments at 2:45 p.m. and take them to the market. The bus will return to take them home at 3:30 to 3:45 p.m. The cost is $2 per one-way trip. The bus is also available for pickup by calling a day in advance. If anyone has any question about this transportation they can call Amsterdam transit at 843-2831. In speaking to MaryAnn, I learned that there are state regulations on the number of farmers needed in order to participate in a market. There was only one farmer this year for the Guy Park site, and therefore, it could not be run. Thursdays, which is the day it has always been held, is not good for many of the farmers. They live too far away to get here by 9 a.m. Hopefully, per my conversation with MaryAnn, the market will be able to return next year on Guy Park Avenue, at a different day or time, in order to accommodate the farmers. I have asked to address the association next year when they plan for the markets, to try to come up with another suitable time frame. The seniors need this market. The farmers are more than happy to accept the coupons, and in fact look forward to them, but have to abide by state regs. In the mean time, seniors do have some transportation options. While not ideal, and they have to wait a little bit for the bus to return, it is something. There are some chairs to sit in while waiting for the return bus. And we will work on getting the market back down on Guy Park Avenue next year. Jeannette Stevens-Daury, Amsterdam The writer is executive director of the Horace J. Inman Senior Center. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Illegal aliens to benefit from higher education bill To the editor: New York State Assembly candidate for the 111th A.D. Tom Quackenbush (R,C-Fort Plain), announced today that he opposes legislation sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to allow illegal aliens who "meet certain criteria" to receive education subsidies at taxpayer expense. "My grandparents arrived in this country legally from Italy and struggled to realize the American dream, but made it. We need to encourage more legal immigration, not provide handouts to those who have already broken our laws," said Quackenbush. "How do you justify spending millions in taxpayer dollars to fund college assistance for illegal aliens when middle-class families can barely stay in their homes? The number of illegal aliens in New York state is unknown, yet the speaker wants to spend millions to send them to college? That's absurd, and I adamantly oppose this legislation." Quackenbush noted that if there were 90,000 illegal immigrants in New York state, and all were eligible to receive the maximum TAP (Tuition Assistance Program) benefit of $5,000, it would cost taxpayers $450 million annually. According to the bill, illegal immigrants who qualify for "deferred action status" will be allowed to access tuition assistance programs that are currently prohibited for illegal aliens. The legislation requires the New York state commissioner of education, in conjunction with the president of the Higher Education Service Corp., to create an application to qualify students for New York state programs if they cannot apply for federal aid. "Our upstate school districts are busy cutting programs for school children and over 890,000 New Yorkers need a job. If the Legislature is going to propose to spend millions on a program for illegal aliens, I would suggest making that money go toward something for the citizens of this state and country who actually pay taxes, such as unfunded mandate relief, property-tax relief or opportunities for businesses to create jobs -- these are smart solutions that taxpayers want from their elected officials, not what is being proposed." Thomas L. Quackenbush, Fort Plain The writer is town of Minden supervisor and a candidate for state Assembly in the 111th District. Together, we can save lives To the editor: Did you know that nearly 37,000 die by suicide each year in the United States? That's one person every 14 minutes. These are more than just numbers; they represent our family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. The New York State Senate has declared September as Suicide Prevention Month in New York state. What better time for our communities to learn more about suicide and how to prevent it? Learning some of the key suicide warning signs such as feeling hopeless, withdrawing from friends and family and making suicidal statements can help save lives. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or just needs to talk, call 800-273-TALK (8255). Help is available 24 hours a day, every day. Another way the community can help is by participating in the upcoming Capital Region Out of the Darkness Walk for RITA on Sunday, Sept. 16, at the Saratoga Race Course. Whether or not you have been personally touched by suicide, I encourage you to participate. The money raised at this event will support the mission of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( by funding national and local suicide prevention programs and research. To register for the walk, please visit or call 1.888.333.AFSP (2377). Together, we can save lives. Marianne Reid, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the editor Fundraising as a profession To the editor: "It takes money to make money." That is a time-honored and proven fact of life throughout the fundraising industry. Yes, fundraising is no longer just an occasional add-on activity in order to obtain extra cash for a non-profit entity. Today, fundraising is very often the number one priority for most responsible non-profits which desire to remain financially secure. So, when the suggestion popped up that perhaps "Fundraising 101" should become part of a middle school and high school curriculum, legitimate interest and not the usual immediate rejections was the response. Properly maintained, fundraising is an excellent consistent money source. It creates unlimited opportunities for dedicated volunteers to step up to the plate, it's an established incentive motivator that brings into a community welcomed tourism dollars which, in turn, helps create additional job hirings by tourism-orientated and non-tourism related businesses. The easily accessible worldwide communications capabilities provided by the Internet makes it possible for a non-profit, located in Small Town USA, with a resident population of under 10,000 to still reach out to the ever lucrative domestic (and foreign) cultural tourist response markets and secure the necessary financial returns required. Fundraising undoubtedly is a potential highly worthwhile career choice for middle and high school graduates to consider pursuing because it's a dependable industry that continues to endure and continues to grow. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Grateful for the sheriff's dept. To the editor: I am so very grateful for the outstanding people working for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department. A few days ago my pocketbook was stolen in a local grocery store. I reported it to the store manager who quickly called the sheriff's department. A deputy arrived in about three minutes and began his investigation. In no time the whole team -- deputy, investigator, dispatcher and others -- were working on the case. They kept me informed of their progress and when some stolen items were recovered, I was able to identify what was mine. Our community is lucky to have such quality people looking out for our safety and welfare. They definitely need our support and cooperation in order to continue to do their job so efficiently. Marget Barnett, Amsterdam All that and a bag of chips To the editor: I want to inform the public that CASA of Fulton and Montgomery Counties will be at the Fonda Fair. Thanks to the generosity of the fair board, CASA can be found in Scott Hall 1to 7 p.m., Aug. 28 through Sept. 3. We have a child centered booth with free crafts for the children. We have face painting, make your own pet rocks, make your own popsicle people, and coloring sheets for the kids to do. Everything is free. Friday is CASA's big event: the great cow chip toss. This event is for children and youths up to age 18 years. It starts at 4:30 p.m. and will be in Scott Hall. Everyone who tosses a cow chip will win a prize. There will be different classes for different age groups from little britches up to the hired hands. This event will be a lot of good clean fun. Local merchants have generously donated the prizes. CASA advocates for our counties' abused and neglected children with the goal that every child have a safe and permanent home. See you all at the fair. Linda Burns, Amsterdam The writer is director of CASA of Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter: Protecting small businesses To the editor: New York state's economic recovery depends on the success of small businesses so we must do everything we can to help them thrive. This is why I recently sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo requesting that the state of New York pick up the cost of the interest payment due to the Federal Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund -- instead of passing the cost on to our small businesses. The Department of Labor is passing more than $100 million in costs payable to the federal government on to employers, and they just can't afford it. If we're going to improve the economy, we need businesses to begin hiring. Increasing taxes on businesses is not going to accomplish that. With unemployment over 10 percent in Montgomery County, this tax will likely be the straw that breaks the camel's back for many local businesses who are already struggling to get by. Many will likely be forced to cut jobs, or in extreme cases, close their doors for good, which is the last thing we need. State government should be advancing policies that lead to job creation and investment in our communities. Residents depend on local businesses for their livelihood so we must do everything we can to protect them. It is time we stand up for the small-business owners and the workers they employ, and say enough is enough. Angelo Santabarbara, Rotterdam The writer is a candidate for New York State Assembly. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Getting the seniors to market To the editor: Farmers market coupons came out recently, as they do this time every year. Senior citizens look forward every year to these coupons. They only go to the neediest people, those who have to meet certain income guidelines, in other words, low income. For many years, the farmer's market stand located in the Roosevelt parking lot across from the Inman Center was a great source of fresh produce for low-income seniors who lived in the surrounding senior housing facilities. Most of those residents do not drive, and so this market was convenient to them. in the last two years, farmers attending this market have dropped off. Last year only one farmer showed up. This year, even though it was published in the annual listing of local markets, no farmers have been at this marketplace. There are only two markets currently in Amsterdam, one at Sanford Stud Farm on Wednesdays, and the other at Riverfront parking lot on Fridays. Neither is accessible to these seniors who do not drive. The Riverfront market does not accept the coupons. The Sanford market does, but many seniors have no way to get to it. I find it alarming that there has been so little consideration for our low-income seniors, who live in these subsidized housing complexes, who have no way to get to the one market that accepts these coupons. According to a representative at Montgomery County Office for the Aging, the distribution of the coupons this year has been way down. Well, why not? If the seniors cannot get to the one market that accepts them, what is the point? I have a lot of respect for our farmers, and I certainly understand that cash is much more desirable than coupons that you have to wait to get compensated for. Where does this leave our seniors, however? With transportation for seniors almost non-existent, how then are our vulnerable senior citizens supposed to take advantage of this benefit given them by our government? With so many programs and services being cut, they need all the benefits they can get. In a conversation I had last year with a representative from one of the farms, I informed them that the Riverfront Center site is too far away for those with no transportation. I also asked if the market that ran at Sanford Stud Farm could not move to Mondays, as there is a bus that runs to Price Chopper from these apartment buildings every Monday. Even the market that ran at St. Luke's Church last year is no longer there. Is this just one more example of the needs of our most vulnerable citizens being ignored? I strongly encourage our farmers to reconsider their stand on accepting the coupons, and ask that they return to the downtown area where more of our seniors without transportation can enjoy the benefits of fresh produce. If not, could not the city provide a bus on Wednesday afternoons to take seniors to the market? For the short time the markets run, it is little to ask in order to help our seniors. Jeannette Stevens-Daury, Amsterdam The writer is executive director of the Horace J. Inman Senior Center. It's about winning an election To the editor: It appears to me that Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate may have pre-signaled the re-election of Barack Obama. I say this because the goal of a presidential run is to win. It follows that a vice presidential candidate should be one that most helps the standard bearer achieve this end. I believe there is someone else that would have helped Romney more than Paul Ryan will. I can think of three areas where Romney is going to need a lot of help. First of all, and most important, he is going to have to split the all-important Hispanic vote. Next, he will have to capture as many of the women's votes as he can. Thirdly, being a Mormon, he must woo as many Catholic votes as possible. Paul Ryan can only help him here. But the person in the mix that could have helped him in all three categories is the governor of New Mexico, Suzanne Martinez. You'll notice I haven't gotten into the merits of the known vice presidential candidates. After all, this is about winning an election, not judging one's credentials. Hugh Carville, Johnstown FGA waging a feral cat fight To the editor: The members of FGA (Feline Guardian Angels) would like to express our sincere appreciation to Lorraine and Bill Nichols from West End Wine and Liquor who sponsored our second annual FGA wine tasting held Aug. 2. A big special thanks to Laura and her staff for hosting the event at the Muni golf course and also to the representatives from Opici, Bully Hill, Southern and Empire Merchants for serving the large variety of wines to taste. The evening was a great success for another year. Local sponsors donated many wonderful gifts and gift cards as prizes and the community once again opened their hearts by supporting our cause. All of these acts of kindness demonstrate the growing community support of the effort to fight the feral cat overpopulation. The funds from this event will be used to spay/neuter feral cats locally. Please note as temperatures remain favorably warm, cats will continue to mate and produce litters of kittens well into the colder months. Cats have an approximate 60-day gestation period, so fall kittens are being conceived right now. In addition, cats can become pregnant as early as four months of age, so this year's spring kittens can be producing this fall's litters. The time for prevention is now. FGA urges community members to have their pet cats spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Not only does neutering prevent new litters of kittens, it improves the cat's health. Additionally, this is also a crucial time to neuter neighborhood stray and feral cats through trap-neuter-return, we are able to stabilize the population of local cat colonies and decrease the number of cats entering shelters or living on the street. Feline Guardian Angels is a 501c3 charitable organization operated by volunteers and concerned citizens whose mission is to humanely reduce the number of feral cats in the local community and to improve the quality of life through a trap/neuter/release program (TNR). Trap-neuter-return is a long-term, comprehensive community program that stabilizes the feral cat population humanely. Cats are trapped, tested for aids and/or leukemia, altered, vaccinated and returned to their outdoor homes with a caregiver to oversee the general population. FGA also provides education to the public about the benefits of population reduction through responsible ownership. The organization primarily serves Montgomery County. For 2012, the group has spayed/neutered more than 100 stray or feral cats from the local community. Please be part of the solution. For further information regarding FGA and our services, please call 466-3478. Myra Lampkin, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Barbara Petersen says thanks To the editor: Seventeen years ago, I drove from my home in Duanesburg to Barkley Elementary School in Amsterdam, checking the school over as a potential job opportunity as an elementary principalship had just opened up at Barkley Elementary. Despite pleas from family and friends to not take a job in Amsterdam, that spring drive was the beginning of a 17-year journey as a principal of Barkley Elementary School and later principal of McNulty Academy. Once I began my job and got inside the walls of Barkley and McNulty I discovered that the Greater Amsterdam School District should have nothing but pride for their awesome staffs and facilities. Inside both of those buildings, I found a family-like atmosphere made up of parents, students, teachers and support staff. I met dedicated teachers as well as custodians, aides, cooks and bus drivers who focused their energies on the daily challenges of their students. Their commitment to the children in Amsterdam was genuine and focused, always trying to do their very best. I have been blessed as well as honored to be part of this community of teachers and learners. My personal life has been so enriched by families and staff that I was privileged to know and work with on a daily basis. I want to thank the community of Amsterdam for allowing me to fulfill my lifetime dream of being an elementary principal and being able to share in so many families' lives. I have been extremely lucky to work at a job that I loved and looked forward to coming to work each day. It really doesn't get any better than that. Thank you, Amsterdam parents, students and staff for 17 wonderful years. Barbara Petersen, Amsterdam Veteran's family says thanks To the editor: I am taking this time to acknowledge the deep, dedicated efforts of Mr. Gerard F. Koller, director of the Montgomery County Korean War Veterans, and to thank him for his commitment to honor all veterans of the Korean War. For many years, on July 27 my family, along with veterans of the Korean War and their families, have attended the annual remembrance day in Fonda. This has always been a very memorable dedication to all who served during this conflict. Unfortunately, my brother, Andrew Rossetti Jr., was killed in action, and the acknowledgment of this ultimate sacrifice for his country at 20 years old is always such a proud moment for our family and the families of the other veterans who were killed. I am again thanking Mr. Koller for all the veterans of the Korean War who help in any way to make July 27 such a special evening, and I would also like to thank all veterans for serving our country so proudly. Carol Rossetti Iannotti, Amsterdam Fixing the problems To the editor: I have the solution to the problem between Obama and Romney. Obama wants Romney's tax returns. I would suggest that Romney should present them to Obama in the White House. In return, the president would present Romney with the 8,000 pages of documents pertaining to "Fast and Furious." This would take Mr. Holder off the hook. Here I am a single-digit I.Q. who would get lost in a telephone booth, solving a major problem. I will give the president all the credit he so richly deserves for bringing the price of gas from $4.20 down to $3.60. Now you can fill your car fairly easy and drive any place you wish ... except to your job because there are no jobs. When my demise occurs, I hope to be going north instead of south. Once I'm settled in up there, I can observe the end results of the ripping off of Social Security and by then health care for a fractured skull will consist of a Band-Aid and two generic aspirins and "come see me next week." By then when one goes shopping, eggs will be $20 a dozen, bacon will be $50 a pound, and if you wish to purchase a pot roast, you will need a co-signer. Oh well, chicken one day, feathers the next. For every problem there is a solution -- unfortunately they all are not pleasant. James Sheridan, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Korea veterans say thanks To the editor: As director of the Montgomery County Korean War Veterans I extend thanks to the Amsterdam Recorder for your coverage of our Korean War Remembrance Day ceremony held on July 27 at the VFW Post 942 in Fonda. This yearly program is held at the Korean War Memorial monument at the county office building on Route 30A, but due to the uncertainty of the weather was moved inside. We hope this change did not cause any family members to miss the event. A special thank you goes to the honorable Joseph M. Sise, Supreme Court justice, 4th Judicial District, our Remembrance Day speaker. The sharing of family's military background, the Korean War battles fought, the eventual Chinese entrance into the war and his call to always remember the members of our community who have served and given their all in battle was well received. We, the Korean War veterans, greatly appreciate the support of Bruce Wadsworth and the members and auxiliary of the Fonda VFW Post 942 in hosting us for the program and social time, Bruce and his granddaughter Shelby Wadsworth for singing "Taps," and elder Thomas Flander for the invocation and benediction. We would like the public to be aware that the Montgomery County Korean War Memorial was erected in 1989 and dedicated in 1990 and is supported by donations only and not by any government funding. Thanks to the family and friends of the 22 Montgomery County servicemen lost in the Korean War and to the area veterans and public who attend this yearly event. The Montgomery County servicemen remembered on the memorial monument in Fonda are Jean Robert Allen, William Donald Amberger, George M. Barbiere, Donald L. Borden, Charles E. Byers, George Carter, Frank M. Cassetta, Milton H. DeVault, Donald Francis-Lare, Edward R. Francis, Leonard N. Horender, Russell S. Hoyer, John Frances Kline, John W. Maines, Edward Podmajersky, Andrew Rossetti Jr., Eugene M. Simiele, Javery E. Smith, Richard F. Smith, William E. Smith, Lew F. Sperduto and George F. Wilson. We Korean War veterans invite the community to visit the monument to remember these men. It would be an opportunity to take photos of the monument names and script. Gerard F. Koller, Amsterdam Say no to the toll hike To the editor: Recently, the New York State Thruway Authority proposed a 45 percent toll increase for large trucks. Well, I say no to the increase -- our families and businesses cannot afford it. I recently wrote a letter to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli urging him to conduct an immediate and thorough audit of the Thruway Authority before any increases go into effect. I also wrote to Thruway Authority Chairman Howard Milstein asking him to withdraw the toll increase proposal. Hardworking families will be the ones hit the hardest by the toll increase. By raising the cost to ship products, families will see a dramatic increase in the price of goods and food items. With the economy still struggling to recover and people already having a difficult time putting food on their table, the last thing they need is for the prices of basic necessities to go up. An independent audit of the Thruway Authority would highlight areas for it to cut costs and reorganize. As of 2010, the authority has approximately 125 employees making over $100,000 per year and 430 employees making over $75,000 per year. State agencies should not be balancing their budgets on the backs of businesses and families, which is what the Thruway Authority is attempting to do with its proposed toll increase. I ask everyone to join me in telling the Thruway Authority "no" to these outrageous toll increases. Join me by submitting your comments by Aug. 24 to the address below: Toll Comments c/o Legal Department 200 Southern Blvd. P.O. Box 189 Albany, NY 12201-0189 Comments can also be emailed to Angelo Santabarbara, Rotterdam The writer is a candidate for state Assembly in the 111th District. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Golf clinic is a hit To the editor: I would like to express my gratitude to those who helped make this year's junior golf clinic at Amsterdam Muni another success. With over 50 junior golfers between the ages of 5 and 14, we had another successful two days of lessons provided free of charge. With the help of AHS coach Donna Nevulis, Barney Lagreca, Mike Tambasco, T.J. Sumigray and Shawn Bond, young men and women learned how to play the game and gained an understanding of how etiquette and discipline play a part in our daily lives. Special thanks to Tony Sumigray for the freeze pops on a warm day. See everyone next year. Joe Merendo, Amsterdam The writer is a PGA member and Amsterdam Muni's golf pro. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the editor Walking for a cure To the editor: On June 15 many family members and friends gathered together to participate in this year's Relay for Life walkathon at the Amsterdam High School. Last year we lost a loving father, son, brother, uncle and friend in Sam Semyone. He fought courageously against multiple myeloma and in his honor, we created a team to give back and remember his battle. We personally would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the family members, friends, fellow community members, and local businesses for their generosity and support. As a result of everyone's teamwork and fundraising efforts, our team, named "Sam's Biggest Fans," was able to raise approximately $5,000 to help in the fight against cancer. It was businesses such as Parillo's Armory Grill, La Cucina, Girards, Karen's Produce, Brown's Transportation, and the Irish American Club that helped to make such a wonderful day like this possible. We would also like to give a special thanks to Klaus Beckman of Beckman Converting. This event truly validated the difference that a "small community with a big heart" such as Amsterdam can make in the lives of those in need. We as a family found in our first year of participation, along with all those on "Sam's Biggest Fans," this was an emotional event that proved to be a rewarding, empowering and a life changing experience. We look forward to continuing the fight and we encourage all those who can to be a part of next year's walk for a cure to remember lost loved ones, encourage those fighting, and celebrate those in remission. Thanks again to all that unselfishly dedicated their time and support. It was truly appreciated. The Semyone Family, Amsterdam We need more people like Frank To the editor: The doorbell rang at my home this morning with a familiar face at the door. There stood my former neighbor from seven years ago, Mr. Frank Putorti, with a box in his hand. Although my father was the one to receive the package, I opened it later that day. Inside was a beautiful wooden carving of my name. It instantly brought a smile to my face, and I was brought to tears by his random act of kindness. When I told my mother about the gift I received, she told me he had also made her a carving of her name when we first moved into the house across the street from him 22 years ago. The carving of her name has been displayed in our home for years, and I never knew who had given it to her. I found out later on in the day that not only did he do this for my family, but he has been making these name carvings for members of the community. He is skillfully carving them for people whose names have appeared in the Recorder, for accomplishments such as engagement announcements, making the dean's list, being the top student in their class, etc. The surprising thing is that he does not personally know a majority of the people he is making them for; he just does it out of the kindness of his heart. I would just like to take this time to thank him again, and for those of you who have received a name carving from Mr. Putorti, please be sure to thank him, because there aren't too many people who go out of their way to put a smile on someone's face like he does. The world definitely needs more people like him. Marisa Martuscello, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Another unfunded mandate To the editor: Last month the NYS Assembly and Senate both passed versions of a bill that would mandate that school district Committees on Special Education consider the "home life and family background" of special education students when deciding whether to place their students in a public school setting or underwrite the costs of private school placements. Superintendents of schools and boards of education have consistently voiced their strong opposition to the onerous burdens already placed upon school districts by the hundreds of unfunded mandates currently in place. To add to that burden by approving this bill is to exemplify why our schools are struggling just to maintain a basic level of programs and services. The disregard our legislators have shown for the state's school districts, their students and taxpayers by passing this bill is astounding. It appears that the continuing public outcry against unfunded mandates was not sufficient to dissuade our legislators from bowing to the pressure of a very small minority of the public who sponsored this legislation, the basis of which is intended to deliberately segregate special education students from their mainstreamed classmates. As a long-time educator with a special needs family member who was successfully educated in a mainstreamed setting, I can attest to the importance of eligible special needs students being included in a regular education setting with all appropriate supports being provided. I have also taught in such settings as well as administered programs where this was the norm, and know that all students benefit from such programmatic design when it is well-crafted, carefully implemented and properly supervised. The fact that our society expects its schools to raise their standards of student and staff performance while simultaneously imposing aid cuts, restrictions on tax levy increases and new mandates such as this, that are educationally and sociologically unsound and unproven, is mind-boggling to say the least. Citizens who are concerned about this latest unfunded mandate are urged to contact Gov. Cuomo, implore him to reject this poorly conceived bill and allow district Committees on Special Education to retain the right to make these decisions where and as they should be made; that is, at the CSE table, without the imposition of artificially derived constraints that benefit no one except the private schools. Kathy Dougherty, Northville The writer is superintendent of the Northville Central School District. Paying for the primaries To the editor: In this day of tight budgets, cuts in funding for so many programs and individuals and agencies struggling to keep their heads above water, I get upset when I see money being spent unnecessarily by our government. I am speaking about the very low turnout at primaries, and the cost to keep each polling site open. At our site alone, with four election officials, who each get a stipend and the stipend given to the center for use of the facility, it costs over $1,200 to run a polling site, not counting paperwork and other costs, such as delivering the machines, etc. Given that my site had only two (2) voters in the June primary, and only four (4) in the April primary, that is roughly $3,000 spent just for one site to service six voters. Now add in all of the other polling sites, and that number becomes very large. With another primary coming up in September, it would seem to me that that money could be put to better use. I realize that it might be confusing at first, but would it not be wiser to consolidate polling sites during the primary elections only, so that some of this money could be used elsewhere? We have at least two other polling sites within one mile of our location. In addition to the expense, there are four election officials working for at least nine hours, for two voters? Am I the only one who sees that this is just wrong? I think it is small (relatively speaking) expenses such as these that occur time and again, that could add up to huge savings in the long run and more funding for other necessary projects. While we are happy to provide a polling site for elections, I, as a taxpayer, am bothered by this kind of spending. I am sure this is only one small example of where our tax dollars could be put to better use. Jeannette Stevens-Daury, Amsterdam The writer is executive director of the Horace J. Inman Senior Center, Amsterdam. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor AHS still making a difference To the editor: On Saturday the 23rd, my son Ryan graduated from Amsterdam High School. In the days following, I have heard nothing but praise from the graduates, parents, and family members about the wonderful and well organized graduation ceremony. The pride and respect that filled the school during graduation was very moving. I am very impressed by the positive culture that is present at the high school to prepare our youth for the next step in life. Through academics, sports, marching band, drama productions, etc., you see our students excelling and making us as parents and as a community really proud. I continue to see the passion, energy, dedication and pride of the faculty and staff first hand as a parent and as a local business executive. When you see the students and teachers tearing up and exchanging hugs, you know what an impact the past four years have been on our kids. Thank you to everyone at the high school for the difference you continue to make in our kids and in our community. Andy Heck, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Back to reality with DOT and CSX in Fonda To the editor: The May 23rd hearing focused on two issues: Safety heading north over the Broadway crossing and the traffic light on the south side that never materialized. Before I address what I took from DOT's testimony and CSX's brief comments, I would remind you of an old adage: "Truth will out." It has been mind-boggling to watch DOT and CSX take the accident created by CSX's worker due to human error involving the woman driving south at the Broadway crossing and turn it around 180 degrees to fabricate the theory that we are facing a major problem regarding traffic heading north across the tracks. DOT and CSX have been huffing, puffing and blowing smoke to sell the "life-long residents" a bill of goods that there is a problem where none has ever existed. As for the photos they have submitted at both hearings, they are "still-photos" of video footage "allegedly" documenting traffic stopped on the tracks. DOT went so far as to put up concrete barriers to justify the non-existent problems heading north. If there were such a problem, why did DOT take these barriers away last fall when the 30A bridge construction stopped and not reinstall them until this spring when construction resumed? Apparently DOT cannot decide whether or not there is a problem. Given the accident at the Broadway crossing was man-made as a result of human error by CSX employees, how can DOT and CSX single out this specific crossing in Fonda, when this type of CSX human error can occur at any crossing CSX controls from Miami to Albany, from Boston to Chicago, and any crossing within the entire East Coast corridor where CSX runs? DOT and CSX should be reminded there was no malfunction of any CSX equipment, but rather human error in each instance. How can they single out and fault the Broadway and Center Street crossings? In this day and age, when cell phones are in everyone's pocket, all any CSX employee (who overshoots the side-bar signal and brings down the gates) has to is call the Syracuse dispatcher to see if another train is coming before manually raising them. What a unique concept. Make a phone call. But instead they dredge up the "gold-gilded" traffic light on the south side just to create more smoke to confuse the issue. We can put a man on the moon, build a space station in orbit, carry cell phones, and control multi-technological systems by satellites and computer chips, but they can't find a reasonably economical solution to this problem. To listen to DOT, it would be easier to climb Mount Everest in bedroom slippers. Then there are the Hatfields (DOT) and McCoys (CSX) that cannot seem to come to an agreement over the half-million and million dollar estimates to solve this non-existent problem. Since they are both in bed together, it must be a real fight under the covers trying to ensure that a compromise cannot be reached to solve this impasse. Here again, politics has certainly made strange bedfellows. One fabricates the problem and the other swears to them. Since there has never been an incident going north, there was no reason to install this highly expensive "gold-gilded" light. It appears that the "simple solution" is to continue to use the same style system which has been working fine with no malfunction of CSX equipment until human error and/or human choice caused the two recent accidents. There was another point made at the hearing. I recall DOT saying that trains go through Fonda at 79 (?) miles per hour. Did I hear that right? At the first hearing we were assured that trains have to run much slower as they traverse communities. Which is it? I do not recall whether anyone mentioned at either hearing that a few years ago about two miles east of Fonda there was a derailment involving around 18 freight cars that could have happened right in the village of Fonda. Two miles is not very far away at any high speed. Since there has never been a safety issue going north, much less both ways at the Broadway crossing, there is no need for any "gold-gilded" traffic light in the first place and no reason to close the crossing. Take the $500,000 grant, upgrade the Broadway equipment, including the track surface, create a safe pedestrian walkway at both crossings since the gates are synchronized, and kindly send DOT and CSX on their way. I am sure many would gladly offer to give CSX a ride out of town on its own rail. As I said in the beginning, truth will out, and there seems to have been very little of that with this well-orchestrated and costly taxpayer-funded dog and pony show designed to find a way for DOT and CSX to get what they both want, which is to close the crossing at all cost. I am tired of DOT and CSX proclaiming how concerned they are about us and the great lengths they have gone to "compromise" ("take it or leave it," as one man testified on May 23), because we have never really been part of the equation from the beginning from what I have seen and heard. Karen L. Hazzard, Johnstown Title IX continuing to open doors for our daughters To the editor: June 23 is the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark civil rights law whose purpose was to ensure gender equity in education. This legislation states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." Title IX's benefits are not limited to athletics but have provided many positive education opportunities for women and girls since 1972. The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE), made up of over 40 national organizations and chaired by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), calls on policy makers to direct more resources and attention to strengthening Title IX to end sexual harassment and close the achievement gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The new NCWGE report, "Title IX at 40: Working to Ensure Gender Equity in Education," which cites AAUW's 2010 research report, "Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics," on the underrepresentation of women in the STEM fields, asks the Department of Education to issue guidance outlining Title IX coordinators' responsibilities in ensuring equity in STEM education. The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has also issued guidance clarifying that bullying based on sex and sexual harassment of students, including acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. The NCWGE report references the 2011 AAUW research report, "Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School," which found that nearly half of middle and high school students experienced the problem in the 2010-11 school year. NCWGE recommends that OCR conduct public education and technical assistance activities to guide school districts in their compliance efforts, particularly in light of the guidance documents issued and recent technological developments affecting cyber bullying and harassment. This past May, the Amsterdam-Gloversville-Johnstown AAUW branch fostered opportunities covered under Title IX by offering the first area Tech Savvy Sister to Sister Summit giving middle school girls in the tri-counties a chance to try out activities in STEM fields and experience hands-on activities in the labs and classrooms at our local F-M Community College to encourage girls to go into STEM career areas. Advisers attending with the girls were invited to view the video "Real Points on the Imaginary LINE Sexual Harassment in School" produced by the AAUW Student Organization at Jefferson County Community College which included guidance by the OCR clarifying that bullying based on sex and sexual harassment of students, including acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Perhaps you remember your school days when girls did not take shop and were discouraged from taking higher math and science courses and also did not have the opportunities to participate in as many sports as our girls do today. The Title IX civil rights law has opened doors for our daughters and grandchildren and we hope it will continue to assist them. Elizabeth Russo Johnstown Supporting our young athletes To the editor: Thank you friends, neighbors, teachers/coaches for their financial aid to help send our young athletes to the 2012 Summer Olympics in England. You are all great supporters of our youths and great Americans. Geraldine Anderson, Canajoharie Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Doing what is right for the children To the editor: In an area as small as Montgomery County, and in an even smaller area of the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District, never will there be a time when everyone agrees 100 percent. So as budget time came around there where those that felt no matter what the cost, higher taxes are worth it. Then there are those that just can't afford to pay more school taxes. Some can't because the rest of their taxes have also risen in recent years and in some cases their households have not gotten any raises in said time or worse yet one or both bread winners have lost their jobs. Not really a local problem, but for those that live around here, it's our problem. Are there things that could have been done different in the past at F-FCSD? Absolutely. Should taxpayers have to continue to pay for those mistakes? Absolutely not. So, after all the uproar of the first budget, the voters that turned out in the largest numbers voted no. So the F-FCSD BOE set a date to get together and decide what to do next. They chose to take a list of ideas that was said came from administrators on how to save more money and bring down the increase percentage. Cuts were made in many areas of the district's budget; many numbers stayed the same as the first budget proposal. One of the numbers that stands out is the amount of fund balance that is being used in the current budget we will be voting on, on the 19. Modified sports was one of the cuts in the current budget. The public has been told that it would cost $45,000 to fund that part of the F-FCSD sports program. $45,000 out of an over $20 million budget? When there is $1 million sitting in the district's fund balance, they couldn't find it in the plan to use just a little more to keep this little part of sports at the school? Now I'm not saying sports are the most important thing that was cut, but in a matter to make a point that so many can't see. If this second budget fails, the district has said another $300,000-plus needs to be cut while holding taxes at 0 percent over this current year. When there is a little over $1 million in fund balance, are you really serious? Instead, the situation that has been presented to the public has led to the most childish of things like name calling to physical damage being done to personal property. Really? This is what our district is made of? Most people sadly don't pay any attention to what's going on in their school district, county, town, village or city. When it's something that they deeply care about, suddenly they are all up in arms over what's going on. No, this isn't something new, but really in today's society is it excepted practice to be like this? I hope more people show up at the voting booth June 19 from noon to 9 p.m. and express their right to vote than did a month ago. Maybe if people really stop, take a moment to put personal feelings aside, look at the real numbers and situation, they will see that instead of threatening bodily harm to those that don't agree with you, or damaging someone's property, or stealing personal property, you will see that the majority wants what is right for all our children, but only in a responsible way. Everyone is entitled by the constitution to their own opinions, too bad there wasn't a line in the constitution that mandated everyone to except others' opinions, even when they don't match yours. Jd Downing, Town of Glen Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Mayor is on the job To the editor: I often wonder what Mayor Thane's critics mean by saying she should spend less time painting murals and more time doing her job? Does this mean that when Mayor Thane runs the Spring Fling on Saturday, city clean-up on Saturday, plants tulip bulbs on Saturday, leads clean-up of citizens center on east end after 6 p.m., helps paint the flag mural on Sunday that she is not in her office doing her job? In fact Mayor Thane in addition to these outside events books 70 hours a week in her office frequently. Rodney Wojnar, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Your budget in a nut shell To the editor: I have worked on a total of 24 county and city budgets combined in my tenure as an elected official. I feel that that qualifies me to comment on this year's proposed city budget although I may add that any of you who paid attention in school whether it is only high school or with some college education besides could review this budget if it were readily available to you and notice what I present to you now. I agree with Mr. Kraebel's editorial assessment of this year's budget process as being a farce. It appears that it was a set up by those who had the information way beforehand to make the others look like fools. Last year and years prior it took us two to three months to get the budget in place and on time in accordance with the city charter which by the way is rarely followed these days. Within two weeks a budget was produced and then declared completed for review by the public. It was only due to man on a white horse that the budget and the entire city was rescued. So isn't that enough of justification to give that man a medal or better yet a 25 percent raise and the ability to show patronage in hiring a personal secretary that will work for the city and not have to take those silly civil service tests? Here is your budget the assessment of which will be condemned by the very people who put it together as what do you really know, not having the information that we have in front of us. The percentage increases across the board are as follows. There are two figures -- one with debt service and the other without. Remember the state says you can eliminate debt service when you project your budget increase or decrease for the new fiscal year. But also remember you pay on the amount with the debt service included when your bills come to your home. General Fund -- .65 percent increase w/o debt, w/debt, 13.59 percent; Water -- w/o 5.36 percent, with 7.14 percent; Sewer -- w/o 9.86 percent, with 9.86 percent; Sanitation -- w/o 2.18 percent, with 2.29 percent. Notice the strict adherence to the 2 and 3 percent caps. The total budget is over by $150,288 the 1 percent cap but this will hopefully be taken care of by an interfund transfer from the water budget. In the general fund under revenues are the following increases: Sales tax, $300,000; code enforcement fines/fees, $20,000; building permits, $150,000; Medicare subsidy, $20,000. With the exception of sales tax all other major revenues show decreases some remarkable. In the general fund under appropriations (spending) the following remarkable increases from the current budget are noted: the mayor's budget is up by 11.77 percent; the controller's shows an increase of 31.18 percent; the corporation counsel's spending is up by 25.32 percent (this is due to the fact that the white horse previously mentioned only eats special oats); code enforcement shows an increase of 15.41 percent; and under employee benefits the total amount increases by 21.15 percent. Debt service is interesting. The numbers reported show a 27.7 percent increase for the principal and a 109.48 percent increase for the interest for a combined debt increase of 39.9 percent. As noted earlier there is no interfund transfer to the general fund from the water fund which I expect is an error. What is remarkable in this area, i.e., interfund transfers, is the increase to the bus transportation of 92 percent or $119,305 more than last year. Under personnel you already know of the 25 percent for the man on the white horse and the $30,000 so that he may give out a patronage job. There is a new position of economic development director for $45,000 plus benefits but you need not apply as this has already been earmarked for another "worthy individual." Last but not least but being least it is the only additional position that makes sense even in bad economic times is a part-time assistant events coordinator for $10,000. As far as I know this is not earmarked for any coveted person but please apply soon and often if just to make a case for the need of employment in our city. If you have been trying to follow my synopsis of the budget don't waste your time. It is fuzzy math at its best. It doesn't balance out but is a work of art. I'm sorry, a work of Gerry. I must give credit to where raises are due. William Wills, Amsterdam Budget battle is tonight To the editor: I moved here just 11 years ago and never imagined getting involved in politics. It was the furthest thing from my mind. But today, I am imploring that everyone come out to the public hearing on this coming year's city budget on Tuesday night (tonight) at 6:30 p.m. at city hall. This is the seventh or eighth budget session I have sat through and I am so overly concerned about the financial stability of our city I am urging you to attend and speak against this sham of a budget. For the past four years, every budget session has gotten worse as far as an actual review of the numbers. After getting off to a very slow start through no fault of his own, city Controller Ron Wierzbicki presented a budget with a 55 percent increase in taxes. He plugged in numbers based on what he was given by the department heads and other information given to him. If he did not have the information it was not included, which made up for some of the mistakes. They were corrected and the budget review board moved forward for more sessions. Six days later, Corporation Counsel DeCusatis, with the mayor's fervent blessing, took over the budget and put forth one that was "balanced." At that meeting the mayor stated, "I do not wish to go through this line by line, but please have any questions ready for the department heads that are here." That was it. The mayor made her statement and everyone except 5th Ward Alderman Rich Leggiero agreed. Almost nothing was questioned. When the 5th Ward alderman brought up the 25 percent increase for corporation counsel and a $30,000 stipend for his secretary, the mayor was prepared with a five-page proclamation in support of his unwarranted increase. (By charter the corporation counsel is a part-time employee to advise the council on legal matters.) There are other increases for certain individuals, along with several new positions. One is for $45,000 for community and economic development. This is a duplication of services that we already are receiving from the county IDA, and the city IDA. Ken Rose from the county is working very closely with the city on all aspects of bringing in new businesses. We do not need to spend money needlessly when we do not have it. In other areas of concern, FEMA and grant revenues are being used to balance the budget. And then the big issue is the increase or decrease in water rates, depending on which version of the budget you are reading. Four years ago, corporation counsel drafted and the council passed a water agreement with the towns for revenue. That revenue is tied to the water rates in the city. For years nothing has been done to examine those rates and it turns out they are all out of whack. A study has been completed and for the revenue from the towns to increase, the city rates must go up. Since this was not known by corporation counsel four years ago when the contract was signed, we are now in a rush to change the water rates. The fairest way to make water rates equitable is have all properties metered. The cost is $300 for meter and installation. The controller suggested bonding for the entire amount and then charging back the taxpayers a $60 fee for five years on their annual tax bill to offset this cost. A very reasonable figure in my opinion and everybody pays for what they are using. To do this I recommend not moving ahead with any changes in water and sewer rates until the meter installation is complete, and the sewer rates analyzed in the same manner as the water rates. They go hand in hand. It is unfortunate, but the current administration does not care what is said on the local blogs, web sites and radio talk shows. The only way they will hear you, is if you go tonight and speak up. Ask that the budget committee go back into session, and go line by line through the whole document with each department head and put forth a reasonable and legitimate budget with numbers that are put forth from correct information in the controller's office and not adjusted here and there by the mayor and corporation counsel. No matter what the counsel's math background is, it is not his job to be a part of the budget committee. If tax bills go out late, so be it. Because of the incompetence of the former controller, it has taken and will take the new controller the rest of the year to move forward in his office. But we must have a budget that has been reviewed in its entirety line by line with each department head and each alderman asking appropriate questions. The aldermen have done you, the taxpayer, a monumental disservice by voting to accept and move forward with a budget that has so many holes in it, nothing was complete. That is not what you voted for in an alderman. You elected these people to represent you the taxpayer and they are doing a lousy job. It must be stopped and only you the taxpayer can do it. Diane Hatzenbuhler, Amsterdam Relay for Life is Friday To the editor: On Friday, June 15, Amsterdam will be hosting its third annual Relay for Life. It will be held from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. at the Amsterdam High School track. This is the American Cancer Society's signature event and calls us to "Remember, Celebrate and Fight Back." Most of us know someone who was diagnosed with this life-altering disease and to take up this cause in honor or memory of their fight is so important. There are many ways you can help. You might want to join a team or donate to a team member. You can even help with the fundraising by purchasing raffle tickets or luminaria for this event. If you are a survivor, we are looking to celebrate you and hope you will join us on this night. There will be several activities and musical performances to enjoy, as well as some great food to purchase. All of this contributes to the primary goal of eradicating cancer. Please visit the website for more information. You can register at the relay itself, or at Let's all join together to make this event a great success as we work to achieve our goals. Help us all celebrate more birthdays. Thank you. Andrea Rogers, Amsterdam Vote Tuesday, June 26 To the editor: I am writing as chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party to express my support for Wendy Long in the Republican primary for United States Senate on Tuesday, June 26. As chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party, I am calling all Republicans to join me in voting for Wendy Long. The polls are open from noon until 9 p.m. at your regular voting locations. If there are any questions regarding this June 26 election, please call the Montgomery County Board of Elections at 853- 8180. The professional staff is willing to assist. After several meetings and after having attended the state Republican Convention in February, I believe Wendy's experience and work ethic is second to none. She is an accomplished attorney who served as law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Wendy was instrumental in creating a grassroots advocacy group that fought for the U.S. Senate confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. She is also honored to serve as one of presidential candidate Mitt Romney's political campaign advisers. As a wife and mother of two young children, Wendy knows that we need to get our country back on the right track. She believes in a limited government and strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution. She knows that stopping government over-reach and over-extension is the only way to shrinking the deficit and national debt. Wendy will work for you in an undivided effort to stop Washington's wasteful spending. Wendy is passionate about cutting taxes in order for small businesses to have the capital needed to create jobs and the opportunity to live the American dream. Wendy Long is the only candidate in the Republican primary who has the knowledge and political savvy to go head to head with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on the issues that mean most to us in upstate New York. She is extremely honored to be the nominee of the New York state Conservative Party and with our Republican support on this special primary day June 26, she will become the U.S. Senate candidate for the Nov. 6 general election. Please join me in voting for Wendy Long on Tuesday, June 26. Together we will put America back to work and return our country to the land of prosperity. Thank you. Joseph Emanuele III, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the editor A pat on the back To the editor: This message pertains to the Spring Fling that occurred on May 19. First let me clarify my position. I am a retired 85-year-old chef who spent 25 years in Mount Snow, Vt. Naturally all gatherings and occasions, I try to find fault, it is the nature of the beast. My wife is 82 years of age and our only mode of transport to many destinations is by wheelchair, thanks to our children. First of all, let us pay attention to the presence of the police department. Chief Culick has surrounded himself with winners. Each member present acted so professionally, it made you proud to be a part of this community. No profanity or skirmishes were anywhere near started. Then you come to Donna Dickerson. It amazes us to see how well organized she was and the entire proceedings were done gratis. Now comes the part that disturbs me the most. We sat in the shade and directly in front of us were Jeffrey Chase and Mayor Anne Thane. They were engaged in picking up soda cans, cardboard, popcorn holders and any scrapes of paper left lying on the streets. Those are people who live by what they preach. I live in the town of Amsterdam, but if I lived in the city I can tell you flat out who I would vote for in the next election. The only sore spot was my son-in-law purchased two lemonades, it came to $10. If they were going to hold me up, I would rather they use a gun. It is so nice to give the people involved in the Spring Fling a pat on the back as opposed to a kick in the butt. It's a warm feeling to have the community come together like this. James Sheridan, Amsterdam South Side tours a hit To the editor: I wish to express my admiration and appreciation for all those who made the recent Historic Amsterdam League (HAL) South Side historical tour possible, and to answer some of the many questions we have received subsequently. Approximately 225 to 250 persons embarked on the South Side tours on June 2. Considering the stormy weather, this in itself is a great testament to interest in both the South Side and Amsterdam history generally. Standing forth in the rain to make this happen at Mount Carmel RC Church and Bridge Street were too many HAL volunteers to mention individually (they know who they are and how much their fellow HAL members treasure them) but some deserve especial recognition for their extraordinary contributions, and I believe, no one who was soaked that day would begrudge this: Dorothy Dumkowski, who was there from editing the booklet to the final strike of the booths, and everything in between; Jackie Murphy, former county historian, who added life and color not only to the booklet but also to the tours, and is our ultimate arbiter of fact; Susan Phemister, who not only opened the Amsterdam Castle Bed & Breakfast to a torrent of visitors but also accommodated the volunteers, and still conducted tours herself; and Jerry Snyder, dean of local iconography (and HAL VP), architect of the Amsterdam post card revival, who gave the most informative, significant and highly remarked-upon tour of the day (about the Erie Canal and West Shore Rail Road). We are also grateful to Padre Luis Torres of the Holiness and Fire Pentecostal Church for opening it on the tour and for former First Reformed Pastor Hesselink for being there to interpret its history. HAL is also grateful to its corporate sponsors, none of whom have even asked for an ad or treatment in our historical booklets. First and foremost we will always be grateful to (we hope) Liberty Enterprises, there from the beginning of this tour series, and without whose buses none of these tours would have been possible; it's also appropriate to note that, even without the physical presence of a corporate supervisor, that the flexibility and courtesy of the individual Liberty drivers were undeniably essential to the success of he event. We are also grateful to WCSS (especially Sam and Mike) and WVTL (the unflaggingly all things Amsterdam and the Mohawk Valley Bob Cudmore) (also a contributor of a booklet article) for promoting the event. To the publisher and editor of the Recorder, we are doubly grateful for not only the coverage, but also for providing much historical information which informed both the tour and the associated booklet. I have received a number of requests to repeat this tour due to the inclement weather keeping persons away. Regetably, we cannot: Each HAL member is an uncompensated volunteer, a number of which took more than just the day of the tour from their regular employment to make this happen. In addition, they are already looking to selecting and preparing next year's tour/booklet/post cards/cancellation, along with other activities. The best recommendation I can make to any one who missed the tour due to weather is to obtain the historical booklet and post cards before they are gone. (Last year's Heart of Amsterdam booklet is already a collector's item; two days after this year's event we were 60 percent sold out). Anyone who would like to be involved in this process of picking the next year's tour topic, or revising the next Port Jackson tour, is urged to become a member of HAL. Additionally, we are offering an eight-page supplement to the historical brochure (couldn't fit it in and hold the cost to $5) at; this page will also serve as a repository for articles/images worthy of consideration for the next South Side tour/booklet, and all are urged to contribute. Finally, thanks to Dolci Bakery for much good coffee during planning visits and the best black and white cookies anywhere (even NYC. I know; I lived there for some years). R.H. von Hasseln, Amsterdam The writer is president of the Historic Amsterdam League and is the city's historian. Spreading the good word To the editor: As a health care professional, I strive to meet the individual needs of my elderly clients whether physical, emotional ... or spiritual. On Good Friday this year, I accompanied a client to attend private reflection at the Fonda Reformed Church. A group of teenagers were gathered there for a 30-hour fast group, and without request or expectation, they enthusiastically sang an impromptu concert just for us alone. This private performance, full of joy and a sense of togetherness, has left a lasting impression and strong, vivid memory. It is extremely heart-warming and greatly appreciated to see people who care about our neighbors and specifically the elderly. This was such a wonderful experience that I needed to take this time to make everyone aware of what our community has to give and offer sincere recognition to these young people for their heartfelt efforts. Terri Bradley, Fonda Raise issue is nothing new To the editor: I was peripherally involved with the half-time full-time mayor nonsense when it first started up 12 years ago. Mayor Duchessi was proposing that the mayor's salary be increased from $26,000 to $52,000. The issue was about to be voted on by the Common Council. I alone went up to the podium in support and suggested "that we move up to the big time" and fund the increase. It was thought that a more reasonable salary would attract more ability and make the position into a real job. As an aside, one of the most vocal critics of the present raise for Decusatis was the alderman for the Fifth Ward at the time and voted to increase the mayor's salary by 100 percent. The concept of a full salary and full time was done a disservice by Mayor Emanuel in the subsequent term 2003-07 as he tried to balance a full teaching schedule in Fonda-Fultonville with a half-time mayor. An analogs situation exists at the present, with a proposed salary increase for the corporation council. The DeCusatis haters have even suggested that the salary be cut by half so that he has to quit. DeCusatis has rendered a vital service to the city by rescuing the budget process from an impending train wreck. As late as May 22 with the budget almost a month late and with a 50 percent tax increase proposed the corporation council took it upon himself to assist in the process using his data processing and accounting skills. The resultant product has a miserly 9 cent increase in the rate per thousand. It is ironic and almost laughable that the radio commentators are lamenting that people will forget the pay raise and be happy with such an insignificant increase in the tax rate. People happy with budget original concept. Happy with a pay raise. That is a new thought, or is it? Philip Lyford, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor The new Fonda-Fultonville school budget is explained To the editor: The intent of this article is to provide current and relevant information regarding the status of the Fonda-Fultonville School District 2012/13 budget. The second (and last) budget vote is to be held on Tuesday, June 19. As usual, voting will take place in the auditorium lobby between noon and 9 p.m. The community sent a clear message when it rejected the first proposed budget on May 15. Since then, we have worked diligently to craft a new budget that significantly lowers the proposed tax levy. The defeated May 15 budget called for a 7.96 percent tax increase, while the June 19 budget calls for a 3.5 percent tax increase. Our goal was to create a budget that would preserve essential student programs and opportunities, while simultaneously lessening the fiscal burden being placed on the community. In the last several months, the district has realized significant savings that have enabled us to reduce the tax levy proposal. These savings include full salary freezes from all district employees for the 2012-13 school year. Significant savings will also be realized by filling the interim superintendent position internally, and by not filling the vacant buildings and grounds superintendent position. The revised budget eliminates 10 full-time teaching positions, 15 non-instructional positions, and nearly all modified sports. The board of education has made these difficult decisions in an effort to preserve crucial student programs. If the budget is passed on June 19, all varsity and junior varsity sports teams will be preserved, our K-12 music and art programs will remain intact, and most of our College in the High School and Project Lead The Way technology courses will be offered. The academic impact of staff reductions will include a significant increase in class sizes K-12, the loss of the elementary science program, significant reductions in foreign language and business course offerings at the middle and high school levels, and a reduction in course offerings across the curriculum at the high school level. Educating and supervising children is a labor intensive endeavor. With salary and benefits comprising nearly 65 percent of operating costs, decreasing the number of employees is the only sure way to effectively lower the proposed tax levy to a level that is palatable to district residents. As indicated, the newest 2012-13 budget reduces 25 positions. These reductions include 10 full-time teaching positions (five of which are retirements), 10 student support positions, two clerical positions, two custodial/maintenance positions and one managerial position. (Of whom six of those are also retirements.) It is important to note that some of these retirements were not planned, but were a direct result of program elimination. These reductions, combined with other staff cuts over the last four years, bring the total number of employees reduced since 2006-07 to 49.5. In 2006-07 the district employed 219 people, including 134 teachers. If the budget passes on June 19, we will have 169.5 employees, 112 of whom are teachers. While the need to downsize obvious for fiscal reasons, 22.6 percent fewer employees (16.4 percent less teaching positions) in a five-year span, represents significant and alarming reductions. Student population fell 4 percent during that same time period. Although we have been eliminating staff over the last few years, Fonda-Fultonville continues to flourish as a school district. We have been the highest ranked school district in the H-F-M BOCES for years, and have been ranked in the top 25 (out of 96 schools) of the Capital District Business Review for the past three years. Our current ranking of 18 is the highest we have ever achieved. We received the national honor of being named a Blue Ribbon Elementary School in 2009, and the Fonda-Fultonville High School 2010 graduation cohort reached the milestone of a 90 percent four year graduation rate. In 2010 Fonda-Fultonville also had the highest Aspirational Performance Measure in the BOCES at 60 percent. This measurement, previously known as the college readiness rate, is measured by the number of students who achieve a 75 percent or higher on the English Regents and 80 percent or higher on a Math Regents. In addition to these accomplishments, our athletic and music programs have achieved tremendous successes. These programs are regionally renowned for their quality of commitment, performance and character. Fonda-Fultonville is universally recognized as a quality school district, and has been for a long time. However, it is important to acknowledge the strain staff reductions will inevitably place on our ability to maintain these types of successes. The lack of funding from the state and the general weakness of our nation's economy is no fault of our students. The proposed budget is far from ideal, but it represents our best attempt to slightly alleviate the devastating blow our district is already facing. If this budget is defeated, the district must find an additional $315,000.00 in cuts. Those eliminations would have to come from non-mandated programs such as interscholastic athletics, enrichment courses, elementary art, music and kindergarten. Hopefully this information will help dispel misconceptions that may exist in the community regarding the budget. Community members with questions or concerns are encouraged to attend the community budget forum, to be held Monday June 11, in the high school auditorium. David Halloran, principal, Fonda-Fultonville High School Thanks for the support To the editor: The board of trustees and staff of the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library would like to thank everyone for their show of support with the recent funding ballot. In 2010 the library celebrated 100 years of service and as we move forward we will do our best to justify your continued confidence in us. Rebecca Sokol, President, Dawn Lamphere, Director, St. Johnsville Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the editor for June 2, 2012 Our country's bleak outlook To the editor: Does the average American realize that our country is on the brink? Our national debt is now approaching $16 trillion and is escalating every day. Borrowing from other countries such as China and printing money which will eventually bring about inflation presently allows our government to continue to operate. Both practices are recipes for disaster in the not-too-distant future. In 2010 President Obama appointed a bipartisan commission headed up by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. The commission was established to make recommendations to the president and Congress to slow the financial hemorrhaging that is bankrupting our nation. They felt that $4 trillion would have to be trimmed from our budgets over the next 10 years. To achieve this they proposed a plan to cut percentages of government expenditures from Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense and to reinstate the infamous Bush tax cuts. The also recommended increasing the high income earner's tax bracket to 23 percent from the existing average of 16 percent. In short, everyone under their plan would feel some pain. According to Simpson and Bowles, the country would achieve the needed $4 trillion cuts during the next 10 years' budgets. So what happened? Well, our president shied away from approval; in fact, the Congress never even brought the commission's recommendations up for a vote. They felt this realistic bad news would harm them in the polling booths. Simpson and Bowles had laid it out for them in black and white. Congress is so divided these days they refuse to face the looming economic storm on the horizon. Now, you see why I feel our country's outlook is bleak? Neither Obama nor Romney have it right. Obama wants to pile on the entitlements, cut defense spending, and raise taxes on the rich. Romney wants to cut entitlements, increase defense spending, and he refuses to raise taxes on the wealthy. The Simpson-Bowles script is the only right one and that is to lower entitlements, cut defense spending, and raise taxes on the privileged. I say bleak because I don't see the Simpson-Bowles approach of ever having a snowball's chance in hell of ever seeing the light of day. Hugh Carville, Johnstown Thankful for the support To the editor: My name is Calynn Vitus, and I would like to express my gratitude for the fundraising benefits that were recently given on my behalf. I am deeply touched by the concern and generosity of everyone who volunteered and contributed to make these events a success. I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and I'm receiving treatment at Albany Medical Center. On June 18 I will begin the procedure for a bone marrow transplant at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The proceeds from these fundraisers will help to pay these medical expenses. I appreciate the kindness and support from the community. Calynn Vitus, Hagaman Baseball coach gives thanks To the editor: I would like to start by saying that as of Tuesday, May 15, 2012, I am no longer the head baseball coach at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. The college informed me that they would like to go in a new direction, have a new voice for baseball. Although the decision was unanticipated and unappreciated, I have to respect that the college has a plan that will benefit the future of F-MCC baseball as well as the college in general. I am thankful to the late John Boshart for offering me the opportunity to make F-MCC baseball such a large part of my life. On Aug. 25, 1989, I became the second head coach in program history, following Art Cotugno, who coached the team for its first two seasons. Now, after 23 years, I have far too many great memories to share at this time, but I would like to pass along a few important thank you thoughts. First, I would like to thank my family. They proved to be unbelievably understanding when I could not attend family functions, was not available or just otherwise occupied with something baseball related. Their love and support helped carry me along the way. The biggest thank you goes to my daughter Maggie, who grew up eating, sleeping and dreaming Raiders' baseball. There were so many times I could not attend her games or functions, birthday celebrations, etc., yet she was my biggest supporter. She has always assisted and supported my efforts both on and off the field. I would like to thank the media for the support and coverage they have offered throughout the years and so many of the faculty and staff at F-MCC who have not only been co-workers, but friends. Thanks to all the high school and summer league coaches that have been part of the process throughout. Last, but not at all least, I would like to thank all the student-athletes that have come through the program and given me the opportunity to touch their lives. I can only hope that they learned as much from me as I have learned from them. In the words of Rickey Coles ('95-96) who contacted me a few years ago after the death of his father and said that he wanted to thank me for all the things he had learned from me: "And I'm not talking about baseball" ... For 23 years, F-MCC baseball has not only been what I did, but has been who I am. I am truly fortunate for this opportunity, which very few people get to experience. I will miss it immensely. In closing, I would like to wish the new coach at F-M the best of luck and hope that he may enjoy his time there as much as I have. Mike Mulligan, Former head baseball coach, Fulton-Montgomery Community College Library series a success To the editor: Thank you to all those who helped make the 2012 spring travelogue series at the Amsterdam Free Library a success. Thanks especially to the speakers who gave their time and talent. This program did not cost the library anything. The Amsterdam Free Library is struggling to pay expenses so costly programs are not possible. These generous speakers have sparked our interest, inspired and educated us and helped show us that nice people live around the world. This spring's speakers and topics were Bob and Florence Grimm about the Panama Canal, Andy Heck about South America, Howard Aison about Israel, George Steele about India, Pauline Brickner about the Galapagos Islands, William J. Mycek about Ireland, Dr. Gus Kappler about France, and Dr. Sean Ryan about Patagonia. You can find books about all these places at the Amsterdam Free Library. If you are able to share your travel experiences with the people of Amsterdam please let us know at the library. Thank you for the community support for the Amsterdam Free Library. John Naple, Amsterdam In support of wind energy To the editor: Wind energy creates pollution-free energy and jobs for New Yorkers. For the last decade, New York's wind-energy industry has been bolstered by a federal tax credit. Unfortunately, the credit is scheduled to expire at the end of the year -- putting our environment and clean energy economy at risk. Many of New York's wind farms were made possible by this tax credit, like the Hardscrabble Wind Farm in Herkimer County and the Cohocton Wind Farm in Steuben County. On May 24, President Obama stood at a wind-turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa and called on Congress to extend the tax credit. If the credit is not extended, job-creating clean energy businesses like these will be less common. Congress, led by senators Schumer and Gillibrand, should move quickly to extend the production tax credit and check this legislative priority off of President Obama's to-do list for the sake of our environment, our health, and our economy. David VanLuven, Albany The writer is the director of Environment New York. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Improving health; protecting youth To the editor: ASAPP's Promise and Project Action Tobacco-Free Coalitions work together toward a common goal to improve the health of local citizens and to protect our youth. Together through the partnership of both coalitions we encourage and promote healthy communities in Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties. Project Action works to systematically reduce tobacco use in Hamilton, Fulton and Montgomery counties. ASAPP's Promise's vision is to build a healthy Fulton County. ASAPP's Promise and Project Action Tobacco-Free Coalitions create, sustain and recognize communities throughout our local communities that promote health and wellness through prevention. Both coalitions provide access to knowledge and opportunity to empower people to make healthy choices. We encourage other community members to attend the next ASAPP's Promise meeting June 5 at 9:30 a.m. at the HFM Prevention Council Training Center in Johnstown. If you can't make it we encourage you to contact us for more information. The relationships between the two coalitions is key to sustaining prevention-focused communities throughout our counties. You can learn more about ASAPP's Promise and Project Action by visiting or Please take a moment to learn about the two coalitions and we welcome you to join the team to educate and build a healthy tobacco-free and drug free community. These coalitions are here to answer any questions that you may have and will provide information, materials and technical assistance. We look forward to working in your community to ensure and empower healthy choices. Sue Arminio, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Planting the seeds for visitors To the editor: In March of 2011, I became the District V director of the Federated Garden Clubs of New York State Inc. I have lived in Montgomery County my whole life. In 2000, I joined the Kingsboro Garden Club, which is now 77 years old. In 2007, I became co-president of our club. In this time I am the first director to come from the Kingsboro Garden Club, one of only three to ever come from Montgomery County, and the first in over 35 years. Ever since joining a garden club, I have been very involved in gardening, education, preservation and conservation. This week in Buffalo, the National Garden Club Inc. is holding a national convention and flower show. This is the first time in nearly 40 years that this event has been held in New York state. Visitors from every state and several countries will be attending. Many designers and horticulturists from around the world will also be in attendance. To promote tourism and encourage these many visitors to take an extra week and explore the wonders of New York, each director was asked to gather items and information to represent their district. District V includes over nine counties and runs from the Schoharie County line north to the Canadian border, along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, back through Oneida, Otsegeo and Herkimer counties to Montgomery County. In addition to this, I live the furthest east and south of any member in our district. With this in mind, I decided to concentrate on Montgomery County. I would like to thank the following for providing me with material and information placed in welcome bags passed out to convention guests: The Shrine of Our Lady of Martys for post cards and small gifts; St. Mary's Hospital for wonderful key chains; Montgomery County Business Development Center for tourism flyers, brochures and maps representing all the wonderful historic places our county has to offer; LoveKnot Farm and Marigrace Hoag for the many, many turtle shaped goat milk soaps; Sen. Farley for his Historic Guides and Garden and Park Guides to the 44th Senate District; and the Kingsboro Garden Club for their continued support. I would be remiss if I did not also mention the beautiful "Herkimer Diamond Necklace Set" that another member solicited from the Herkimer Diamond Mines. I am hopeful these items will attract visitors to our community. With the convention already open, I have already received several calls. Again, thank you. Agnes C. Rodd, District V director, Federated Garden Clubs of New York State Inc., Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Giving credit where it is due To the editor: There have been a few front page articles in the Recorder about the deteriorating conditions of the Holland Garden Apartments as reported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Upon viewing some of the pictures you can't dispute that the apartments shown are in need of repair, however this represents only a small percentage of the 200 apartments that make up the entire property. One can only imagine what it takes in time and money to repair and maintain 200 apartment units. Each time a tenant vacates an apartment the unit is fully renovated and remodeled before the next tenant moves in. The inspection performed by HUD is very stringent and should be. I just wonder how many apartment houses located throughout the city of Amsterdam would pass this same test performed by HUD. I would venture to guess not too many. The part that bothers me and many other people is not the reporting of the issue, but the constant inclusion of the individuals who own the property, particularly Sean Hardies. For those of us who know him there is no need to explain his integrity. For those of you who don't know Sean Hardies, please read on. Sean was born in Amsterdam back in the '50s. He attended local schools, graduated and went on to attend Siena College. In 1978 he joined Hardies Electric, his father's (Edwin Hardies) business. Since 1978 he has operated Hardies Electric and successfully grown the business substantially over the past 34 years. That success afforded him the opportunity to invest in a variety of properties and businesses all located in Montgomery County, most in the city of Amsterdam. I would venture to guess that he pays (on time) close to $500,000 a year in property taxes, employs over 20 people full time, and pays them all well over minimum wage. All of these properties are very well maintained and kept neat and clean. Furthermore, he purchases all of his construction materials, vehicles and business supplies from local vendors. When he needs to hire other contractors for the work he can't complete himself, he hires local contractors who live and work in the area. Sean has served on numerous boards of directors. He has dedicated countless hours of his personal time and expense to assist local charities and schools. Not too long ago Sean and Hardies Electric along with other local businesses donated the time and material needed to renovate the building that currently houses the Amsterdam Family YMCA. He was recognized by the Y as the "citizen of the year." In fact the Y was dedicated in memory of his father Edwin Hardies for all of his dedication to the Amsterdam community. I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. It is often too easy to condemn someone personally in the press about an unfortunate incident that occurred without recognizing the entire positive past devotion they have made to the city of Amsterdam. Let us respect all that he and his family have given to this city. Bill Sikora, Broadalbin Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor A great place to learn To the editor: On Tuesday, (today) the people of Fonda-Fultonville Central School District will be asked to approve a budget of just over $24 million. It is a difficult decision, but it is one that should have the approval of the taxpaying citizens since it will have an effect upon the quality of life within our district. This budget is approximately $1.5 million less than four years ago, yet there still is an increased tax levy of 7.96 percent. As many people are aware, the governor and his counterparts haven't done rural poor schools like F-FCSD any favors with the imposition of the restrictive tax cap coupled with drastic cuts in state aid while at the same time requiring particular mandates (that according to most are unrealistic to our school districts). Undoubtedly, this has been a cause of concern for many. With so much misinformation circulating in public, the man on Main Street would think school taxes are skyrocketing and they have done so over the past decade. However, let us examine some past numbers. In the past 10-year period the school tax levy increase in the F-FCSD has averaged a mere 1.48 percent. That's right, only 1.48 percent, with taxes actually decreasing in two of those years. Obviously, nobody wants to pay more taxes, but in comparison to some surrounding districts I would wager that this number is relatively low. This has been achieved with little "fluff" and a sense of commitment on the part of many. Is there more work to be done? Absolutely; but let's keep in mind the achievements as well. What have the people of the community received in return? A "blue ribbon" elementary school, an annual ranking in the top 25 of the Capital District Business Review, Regents scores and graduation rates at or near the top of the HFM BOCES year in and year out. If you have ever attended a school concert you would know that our music program is something in which our entire community can be very proud. Additionally, we have an outstanding athletic tradition that boasts over 60 percent participation among high school and middle school students, and which has produced numerous championship teams over the past few decades. I might add that approximately 75 percent of F-FCS varsity teams are named NYSPHSAA scholar-athlete teams each year. That's right "scholar-athlete," which goes a very long way for those individuals that wish to continue their endeavors at a collegiate level. What about the school climate? There are few instances of violence or bullying in our schools. Not many high schools can boast that they use lockers with no locks on them in the halls and experience few, if any, instances of thievery. Fonda-Fultonville students take a great deal of pride in their school and visitors often remark what a great environment and great kids we have here. Yes, you can elect to vote the budget down and watch not only sports programs potentially be cut, but also other programs such as the arts or important educational programs known as "honors" and "AP" programs. If that occurs, then ask yourself why anyone would want to live in the F-FCS district when it has relatively nothing to offer, not even in education. Is that what you really want to achieve? If you want to make a difference and you are concerned with your taxes, make it known to your legislator and governor; and demand they remove imposing mandates. In addition, demand that your district receive better funding support from the state, considering they took care of their downstate counterparts that were more affluent than ours. Yes, be certain as well that our district remains as efficient as possible maintaining our expenses in control while continuing to produce good F-FCS students. However, don't be a "penny-wise and a pound-foolish" since you will only get in return for what you pay. As a parent, that has a large tax burden, I want the very best opportunity for my children. That is why I decided to return to this district and county. Voting the budget down this year will only reduce their opportunities, and to others that depend on such quality programs. In a nutshell, Fonda is a great place to learn, as it has been for many years. Let's keep it that way or there will not be many left in this district to pay any taxes. John Mancini, Fonda The little guy needs help To the editor: We realize everyone in the community feels the financial squeeze lately. There was a time when it was a pinch. We also realize that someone's hand is always out asking for money, help and or guidance. Well we're not asking for money but we sure could use some help and guidance from the medical community of Amsterdam and our local, state and federal agencies. Some of the employees at Beech-Nut have lost their health insurance because of layoffs that began last November due to lack of work at the Amsterdam facility. Yes, we are aware of the COBRA plan that assists workers who need insurance, but we still have to pay our weekly health insurance premiums, even if we only work one day a week and even if we don't qualify for insurance at that time. So you see, if we apply for COBRA we would still have to pay for our insurance we have through the union. I don't know about other people, but to have to pay for two insurance plans a month is not financially possible especially when you are laid off a lot. We eat lunch and take breaks with friends who have had to cancel surgery due to lack of insurance, who are in pain but can't afford to go to the doctor or the hospital for tests, who can't afford prescriptions. After talking to fellow employees who have insurance, about the hardships some are having because of this issue, I realize by their comments and the looks in their eyes that even they can't grasp the enormity of not being able to go to the doctor or take a child who's sick for medical attention. The community along with local and state agencies helped Hero of Switzerland keep Beech-Nut in this area to create new jobs and boost the economy and of that we are extremely grateful, but now we, the little guy, could use some help. Christine Schwartz, Fort Plain Softball tourney a success To the editor: On behalf of the Papierniak family, I would like to thank numerous people for making our first Ronald D. Papierniak softball tournament a success. First and foremost, I would like to thank the 2012 Fonda Fultonville varsity Lady Braves and their families for their donations of desserts, beverages and time to play in the tournament. A special thanks goes out to our alumni that attended and worked the tournament. I would like to thank Dave Bubniak, Cailyn Derby, and the Quandt's Food Distributors for donating our food for the tournament. Thank you to Silk Screen Art for screening our t-shirts that were so beautifully designed by Monica Wendell, junior at Fonda Fultonville High School and L&L Embroidery for embroidering the hats. Thank you to Dave Lepine and the Recovery Sports Grill for the use of their grill for the day. Thank you to Cranesville Block for their generous donation. Last but certainly not least, thank you to Checker's Out Speedway who hosted our dinner and racing after our tournament where we could relax, visit and celebrate our championship title. Approximately $5,000 was raised for the Ronald D. Papierniak Scholarship Foundation which will award two graduating males and females this June at Fonda-Fultonville High School and many years to come. Nothing would have made Ronald Papierniak more proud than seeing this ever so generous community come together for a beautiful day of softball in his honor. Kari MacDougall, F-FCS Varsity Softball Coach, Mayfield Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor School vote and trains coming To the editor: First of all I would like to remind everyone that Tuesday, May 15, is school budget vote from noon to 9 p.m. Qualifications are: A U.S. citizen; 18 years old; registered for at least 30 days prior to the vote; registered with Montgomery County Board of Elections and live in the district. You do not have to own property or have children in school to vote, you just have to meet the above and be a concerned parent (or relative) and taxpayer. As you prepare to vote please keep in mind that Sharon Springs has a 96 percent graduation rate, Fonda-Fultonville has an 87 percent and Amsterdam has a 61 percent graduation rate. Lastly, of the six schools in the district five are classified as a "school in need." Not to mention that raises were approved despite the drastic tax increase last year. On another note: Concerning the relocation of the train station. I travel by train often during the course of the year. To move the station where it is proposed would be a grave mistake and disservice to those that utilize the service. Its current location is in an uncongested area with ample parking, and most of all there have been no reported problems. What Amsterdam needs is a ticket kiosk where tickets can be ordered on-line, print the reservation bar code and scan it on the kiosk to print the ticket. Therefore not requiring advanced ordering and express mailing, or traveling out of town to Schenectady or Saratoga to pick up tickets. This rings of the 1970s urban renewal programs that have made the city what it is today: one-way streets (that we're going to spend countless money to restore); no downtown; an office complex in the middle of the street, etc. I am not against change when necessary. I just cannot see the logic behind it, so I ask that the mayor and common council leave it alone, please. Robert Vennett, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Bicycle safety always first To the editor: I am a bicyclist. Though I have given up riding racing, taking long trips for purpose of bicycling. But I still say I am a bicyclist. When driving anywhere in my VW, I see a cyclist on the wrong side of the road, going the wrong way down a one-way street (Division Street), not wearing a helmet, I get upset. Or doing anything else "wrong," I worry for their safety. I don't think they are doing this just in order to annoy me, they don't think they are wrong, they may even have (probably) reasoned this out in own mind, and decided this will be the best way to ride. For instance, is a bicycle rider a pedestrian? A pedestrian is advised to walk on (left?) (right?) side of road, facing traffic. I think there is not any law (rules and regulations) saying to do that. However, there are laws for vehicles (autos, trucks, huge trucks, pickup tricks, motorcycles). Included in such laws is the bicycle. A bicycle is a vehicle. The person who plans to drive cars, trucks, motorcycles, has to pass a test. He/she is given a book to read though they cannot be made to remember everything in the book, if they do pass the driver's test, they receive a driver's license, and while driving around they (usually) develop the "right" habit, staying on the "correct" side of the road. Well, it's hardly a surprise if the bicyclist doesn't know what he/she should be doing. One helpful thing is a bicycle club. I did join such, and received helpful hints, such as: Do not stop at foot of a hill still in highest gear (hardest) it will be hard to take off and proceed up hill again. One can learn this by oneself but helpful hints from other riders are helpful. What if no bicycle club? What if worried that the better riders (?) won't want to help new riders. My experience is that it's one of their favorite things to do. My very first ride with a club, away they went, 25 or 30 individuals, each on own bike, Scary. I was afraid of being part of such a large group, so I hung back. (I couldn't have kept up anyway.) Then one rider, a younger woman, turned around and came looking for me. Her name was Cindy, I remember her fondly. Never would have expected it. Very grateful. We had to go up a hill, quite a respectable hill. I did have the bike, which had the gears (I remember a friend who said, I just leave it in the middle gear, not recommended by me). Cindy was along side me, talking me into the next gear, go slow, don't fight it, breathe. So much for the actual riding. It can be learned "seat of the pants" style. But I'm wanting to talk about safety. A lot I might could say, one to one, talking and explaining. But if there was a class, somewhere, some how, for a group of people (I'm assuming adults), with a teacher, expert, trustworthy. Anybody have ideas? Someone out there, somewhere? I could help. Elnora Peters, Amsterdam Balance and perspective To the editor: My name is Kathy Hans and I am a candidate for the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education. I am a life-long resident of Amsterdam, a mother of two children in the district, and a taxpayer. As a mother, I am concerned that five of our six schools are "in need of improvement," and that the high school graduation rate is only 61 percent. As a taxpayer, I am concerned about the financial burden of rising taxes on our community. We need to find a balance between spending in the district, class sizes and the programs that will improve these standards. Like you, I want this community to be a good place for our children in the future. That includes a school district that meets high performance benchmarks without breaking the bank. I am running for the board of education because I think I can bring balance and perspective to the issues of both taxpayers and parents. This won't be easy, but I am up for the challenge. Kathy Hans, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Thanks for the support To the editor: The Fultonville Reformed Church would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came out and dined at our corned beef and cabbage dinner on March 17, 2012. We are truly grateful for the community's support to make this dinner a success. Thank you again and look for our many events to come in the future. We would also like to thank everyone who contributed to our bowlathon on April 21, 2012, at Perry Lanes in Johnstown. Your generosity made this fundraising event a success. A portion of your donation will go toward the operational cost of the Haven of Hope food pantry in Fonda and to Christian education programming in our church. Thank you very much again for your support. Melissa Vrooman, Fultonville A collateral boost To the editor: According to the latest newspaper articles, the proposed Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce is well on its way to becoming a reality. Also noted is that while Fulton County's chamber is the tourism agency for its county, Montgomery County's chamber is not. Hopefully the immediate, essential change in that status will become clearly obvious to everyone concerned. Now that a productive merger arrangement has been approved by both county organizations, concerted efforts to tap into the always lucrative tourist response markets, especially in attracting foreign and domestic cultural tourist collectors will be an excellent entry in the new organization's list of "top priority goals." Perhaps finally recognizing the tourism industry as not only a strong, steadily reliable money source, but also one capable of helping create additional jobs for community-based businesses, both directly tourism-related and others, is another positive collateral boost to the local economy tourism can provide. It's happened time and again elsewhere throughout the nation, why can't it happen in Montgomery and Fulton counties, too? Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Success with flapjacks To the editor: On behalf of the board of trustees, staff and patrons of the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library I would like to thank everyone who participated in our Flapjacks and Fairytales fundraiser. With 72 generously donated gift baskets and over 500 pancake eaters, the event was a wonderful success. The money realized will be used to support our ongoing programs and services. We look forward to seeing you as we plan for Flapjacks and Fairytales 2013. Rebecca Sokol, St. Johnsville Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Have we lost our minds? To the editor: I was dumbfounded to read DOT's new solution to the "alleged" major safety problem that never existed at the RR crossings in Fonda in the first place. The bottom line is DOT and CSX are proposing a "solution" when they have not established there is a "safety problem" based on facts and figures from over 100 years of rail traffic. You cannot get to Point B (closings) until you have proven Point A (safety problem). They are ignoring the fact that they have not justified this basic premise that would allow them the right to close the crossings and are hoping that no one else has noticed this either. Well, unfortunately for them most of us "country hicks" are not asleep. They are like a bunch of fifth graders. They didn't listen to the assignments, didn't do their homework (although they had unlimited resources at their disposal) and when they got caught with their pants down and about to fail, they asked the teacher (Judge Rybak), "Can we have a do-over?" The do-over being "the key" to unlock a closed crossing gate by Subway in case of an emergency. Have they lost their minds? It is inconceivable this professional brain trust (?) could come up with such an idea, unless they were on drugs and/or alcohol at the time. It would be funny, if it was not so pathetic. Do you really want to rely on someone with "the key" in a crisis? It makes as much sense as taking time to look for a water pistol when your house is on fire. They continue to make our lives a living hell by again closing the Subway crossing going north just to prove they have "the power," when the stop light at the four corners has taken care of traffic problems in all four directions for years, including traffic crossing the tracks. Right or wrong and rhyme or reason have nothing to do with any aspect of this whole situation. It all centers around the fact that they want what they want and to heck with how it will affect us. There is only one solution to this "alleged" problem: Leave the crossings open. Karen L. Hazzard, Johnstown Over-stepping the boundaries To the editor: As an interested Northampton resident, I attended my very first town meeting on April 18 2012. What an eye-opener that was. I must say that I was utterly appalled by the vicious attack on our supervisor, Linda Kemper. Not only was she attacked by the other board members, but she was subjected to the most outrageous accusations of wrong doing by the members of various town groups. It was like watching a pack of angry wolves relentlessly tracking down its prey until they had shredded it to pieces. I don't know a lot about town politics, but from what I could garner from the conversations, it did not seem to me that Linda Kemper was guilty of any wrong doing. In fact, many politicians should emulate her policy of transparency in her handling of town business. As an older citizen, I was dismayed by the rudeness of the men who were old enough to have been brought up with old-fashioned good manners and decorum, especially toward women. One senior gentleman most definitely overstepped the boundaries of respect. This was uncalled for. I doubt very much that he, or any other of the hostile men, would talk to their wives in this manner. Linda Kemper was voted into office twice by the people of Northampton, and obviously she is well liked and respected by the citizens of Northville. However, as she did not seem to have any supporters to defend her, I think it would be a good idea if some of the people who voted for her would come to the meetings and take note of what is really going on. Otherwise, it seems that she will be hounded out of office by an all-male contingency who want business to run as usual in the old manner. Evelyn Horwood, Northampton Rotary raffle winners listed To the editor: The Amsterdam Rotary Club would like to thank everyone who purchased a ticket for our tax day raffle. This year's event was again a tremendous success. The proceeds from this year's event will go to help the Office for the Aging of Montgomery County, and Interfaith Partnership with their homeless shelter here in Montgomery County. Listed below are the winners from this year's drawing: $10,000 grand prize, Robert Kelly; $2,000 prize, Amy Rossi; $1,000 prize, Judy Furman. Four $500 winners: Matt Cutler, Sue Owens, John Medwid and Charles Archinal. Brent Phetteplace, Amsterdam A successful fundraiser To the editor: The Root Historical Society would like to thank all of the local businesses for donating items for our first fund raising raffle. With the proceeds from the ticket sales we were able to pay for our first year's insurance on our building. We apologize for the delay in getting this letter in the paper, but we have been very busy trying to get our building ready for our grand opening later this summer. Again, thank you to: L&M Appliances, The Tire Shop, Roosevelt's, K-Auto, True Vale Hardware of Fort Plain, Ace Hardware of Palatine Bridge, Fort Plain Agway, Randall Implement, Mohawk Valley IBA, Hudson River Tractor, L.J. Hand, Don's Electric, Richardson Candy, Peruzzi's Market, Ed Oliver, Lashes Paintball, Stewart's of Fonda, T.J.'s Pizza, McDonald's of Fultonville, Kelly's Kuts and Lyndee's. Also, thank you to all of the people who purchased tickets for prizes. William Maring, Sprakers Fashion show thanks offered To the editor: On behalf of the Amsterdam High School class of 2012, we would like to thank Kohl's department store for sponsoring our second annual fashion show Sunday, April 22. A special thanks goes to Jeanine England who coordinated all of the outfits and fittings. Kohl's also donated money earlier in the year to help fund our Operation Smile chapter. It is nice to see a large company move into our town and do the things to help the school and community. Great things do happen at Kohl's. Amy Liverio, Karen Agresta and Mary Maines, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Get on your bikes and ride To the editor: The Healthy Schools NY program at Glens Falls Hospital is encouraging local schools to participate in the first National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 9. This event has grown out of the annual International Walk to School Day that is held every October. Both events provide an opportunity for schools to encourage physical activity before and after the school day as well as reinforce the importance of safely traveling to and from school. Many schools also choose to highlight the positive impact biking and walking can have on the environment by reducing our carbon footprint. If May 9 does not work for your school please consider choosing another day in May which is recognized as National Bike Month. For more information on planning an event at your school please visit For more information on establishing a Safe Routes to School Program please contact Healthy Schools NY at 926-5904. Cathleen Kerman, Glens Falls Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Drama club is cutting loose To the editor: You may have seen the posters all over town for the AHS Drama Club's production of the musical "Footloose." I would encourage everyone to go see it. The drama club is a treasure of the community, on par with the Marching Rams and our football team. They do a terrific job, one we can be proud of. It's too bad that the club doesn't get the attention it deserves, including from this newspaper. We're a town that's always searching for the good things going on in the community. We're searching for cultural events. And we're searching for young people engaged in positive activities. The drama club is all three. I hope that the club will get the kind of support it deserves from the public and from the press. "Footloose" plays Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m.See you there. Justin Knudsen, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor Setting the record straight To the editor: We wanted to write this editorial to clear up rumors and lies that have been circulating throughout Fulton and Montgomery counties since MaryAnn's Restaurant was put on the market a month ago. It is quite sad that there are people out there that have no source of any valid information, yet they feel it is OK for them to say and share things that are not true, creating panic, and trying to sabotage our business at the same time. Today we will take the time to give back our loyal patrons piece of mind. First, and foremost, we will not be closing the doors at any time. The restaurant will continue to run until it is sold. All parties that are booked for the 2012 season will be honored and we are continuing to book parties for 2013. Please, if you have any questions or concerns call the restaurant and speak with Marc Clay, our executive chef, or Darrin Romeyn, the owner and operator. They are two people that will answer your questions and know the actual facts or details. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday at 11a.m. We are closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but there is an answering machine, and someone will call you back when we open on Wednesdays. This past year and a half has been a learning experience for the staff and family. We have been very successful in continuing to honor MaryAnn and her traditions. Again, it is very sad to hear such malicious and callous rumors to try and hurt the business that she created and ran successfully for over 40 years. We will continue to serve the community and hold our heads high and know that MaryAnn would be very proud! As always we want to take the time to say "thank you" to our loyal customers both old and new, our staff, and all of our distributors and sales people. We could not have made it through this nightmare without all of your patience, love and support So, with that being said, we are open for business, we are not closing the doors, and are looking forward to a great summer season. Hope to see you all at the second annual memorial clambake the third Sunday in September honoring MaryAnn and Murph. Darrin Romeyn, owner, Marc Clay, executive chef, MaryAnn's Restaurant Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letter to the Editor A brief note of thanks To the editor: Kudos and many thanks to the city of Amsterdam for the recent cleanup of the sidewalk area along the east end of Main Street Extension leading up to the line with Chapman Drive. It is a very pleasant improvement and appreciated. Phil Pierce, Amsterdam Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Letter to the Editor Providing better government To the editor: While I do not normally make a practice of responding to newspaper articles, I am obligated to clarify and correct information that appeared last week in the Recorder and Sacandaga Express concerning the town of Northampton ambulance and justices. The articles appear to imply possible wrongdoing, which is not the case. The town has had an auditor in from the state comptroller's office since the end of February. The town's last audit was conducted in 1994. The auditor is tasked with looking at all town departments and accounts, as well as procedures, practices, policies and controls over all finances within the town. This is how the accounts apparently established long ago, and held by the ambulance corps, were found to be under the town's federal ID number. The town is held responsible and accountable for all financial accounts being held under its ID. The town budgets for the ambulance, coordinator and many expenses, as well as putting money aside each year ($17,200 in 2010 & 2011) into a reserve toward the purchase of a new ambulance. The ambulance service purchases additional needed equipment through donations and their fundraising efforts by their volunteers. It is the result of the work of these dedicated volunteers that enable them to provide valuable ambulance services to the towns of Northampton and Hope. The town's contributions alone could not support the entire cost of maintaining this ambulance service. The town is awaiting direction from the comptroller's office regarding the ambulance accounts that were discovered to be under the town's ID. The town board will be working with the ambulance to follow through with any requirements, recommendations or changes that need to be made. While the justice's bank accounts were found not to be under the town's federal ID, this apparently was done several years ago, without anyone realizing that they needed to be set up differently. This is an insurance issue and also would be a problem if something were to happen to a justice and the account was frozen, thus preventing the town from obtaining the fines collected and distributing them. The justices are currently working with the bank on correcting this oversight. The article incorrectly states the justices' salaries as $6,500 each; the correct amount is $11,400 each. It also stated that their reports "are lacking the sufficient detail required," which is not correct. Their reports provide the number of cases and total fines collected. The court system has recently advised them that they are not required to provide detailed information on individual cases. The justices have to account to the state Unified Court System as well as to the town for all fines collected. They submit their reports and all fines collected on a monthly basis to the town, which the town in turn distributes the amounts due to the state. The town board reviews their books annually. All of the town books and accountings are a matter of public record. As the auditor progresses, the town remains solid with its commitment to accountability, disclosure and transparency to the public. We are now finding that past policies, procedures, agreements and practices (or the lack of) that were established many years ago are no longer adequate for today and need to be revisited, revised and new ones implemented. As the auditor continues to assist us while he makes his recommendations, many of these changes already are being initiated. Others will take time to correct or initiate. It is my responsibility as the town supervisor to provide information that the taxpayers are entitled to know, without concealing it. In many cases an elected official is forced to make unpopular decisions. It is unfortunate that information or findings that could come out during the audit process may be unfavorable or uncomfortable to some in one way or another. While some seem too eager to "take aim and shoot the messengers," we are doing our jobs and will continue to do so. These audit findings should not be viewed as a "witch hunt," but rather as an opportunity for all of us to learn from, to correct any problems, and to provide a better government to our constituents. Once the audit is complete, the report and findings will be posted for the public to review. The town will then need to produce a corrective action plan for any inaccuracies or inefficiencies resulting from the audit findings. I would hope the press is diligent in any follow-up reporting. Linda Kemper, Northampton The writer is town of Northampton supervisor. Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor Postmortem on CSX hearing To the editor: As I said at the hearing, it is not always what lawyers say, but what they don't. The lawyer had DOT and CSX's witnesses prepared, but for all their "song and dance" that failed to prove a major issue. Big-Time Safety is the reason being touted to justify closing the 2 crossings. I still think it is 10 percent safety and 90 percent high-speed, but I could be wrong. However, for all the footage DOT has from its 4(?) cameras at the Broadway crossing, it could only produce 1 photo of a red farm truck with its tail end over RR property at the far side of the side-bar track near Cumberland; nowhere near the 2 east-west main tracks on the other side. I can't believe DOT was so unprepared that if it had 10 or 20 photos of vehicles stopped on the tracks, it would not have submitted them to drive home the monumental safety problem, DOT and CSX allege to be the real issue. Wasn't it a coincidence that on the very day and the morning and hour before the hearing, a tractor-trailer just happened to be parked right on Park Street by the annex for all to see as we drove up? He would have had to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see the River Bridge he knew he had to cross from where he was and not driven on. So why stop and park? As Gibbs says on NCIS, "I don't believe in coincidence." Well, neither do I. DOT said it is going to have a dedicated right turn by the Mobil station going toward the river. "Dedicated" implies constant access, except when traffic from the east is allowed to turn left toward the river. Yet there will be no light at the Dairy Isle. So when does DOT plan to let traffic out of Park Street? How does "The Twelfth of Never" sound? DOT said when construction resumes in April, the northbound Broadway RR crossing will be closed again, and all we local people know how well that worked by adding to the traffic congestion on 30A by the fairgrounds, even with a light. DOT never learns a lesson and rarely listens because it is om-ni-potent. So why not hold the closing of the 2 RR crossings in abeyance for a year or so to study how well DOT's new traffic plan works? Because this has never been about safety, has it? And what if another tanker flips over at the light at 30A and 5 by the Mobil station with the 2 RR crossings closed. It might not be filled with milk next time. Then there really will be emergency and safety issues, won't there? And there will be no place to turn, both literally and figuratively. Need I say more about the grave safety issue at both RR crossings, except that for all their "so called" studies, DOT and CSX has not justified closing either crossing. Karen L. Hazzard, Johnstown Closing the railroad crossings To the editor: As has been illustrated in the local news media, CSX Transportation at the request of New York state Department of Transportation has requested in order from the New York state DOT commissioner to close two railroad crossings in the village of Fonda. These crossings located at both Center Street and Broadway are not only largely used thoroughfares for village residents, but are primary means to access services both for Montgomery County and the town of Mohawk. At a public hearing held March 21, 2012, CSX and New York state DOT, under the guise of "safety," provided evidence supporting their position to close these crossings. Although the law judge presiding over the matter will make final determination, it is my strong opinion that CSX and New York state DOT provided little to no evidence that closure of these crossings would guarantee the safety of anyone. As the mayor of Fonda it is my position that the following holds true: The health and safety of our residents and visitors, who normally utilize these crossings, would be at greater risk by their closing. * By the closing of these crossings greater burden of heavy traffic will be placed on Bridge Street, commonly known as New York State Route 30A, particularly at the entrance of the Fonda Speedway and the Fonda Fair; * Closing these crossings would cause pedestrians, which has been shown by history, to improperly attempt crossing the road tracks by alternative means potentially trapping individuals on the rail tracks; * The residents of the Park Street area will be placed at further risk during times of emergencies. * These closings will delay police, medical and fire services access; * Evacuation routes will be blocked during times of natural disasters as experienced in both the 2006 and 2011 floods; * Additional environmental and health exposures will be created with the extended idling of traffic along New York state Route 5 and Route 30A. The closing of these crossings will create further financial burden to the taxpayers of the area. DPW workers from both Montgomery County and the town of Mohawk will be delayed access to the town of Mohawk and northern portions of Montgomery County, creating unnecessary expense in both manpower and fuel costs. In addition financial burden will be added to taxpayers on the state and local levels for highway and infrastructure repairs to the already overly used Route 5 and Route 30A roadways. This is not just a problem for the village of Fonda residents, but the closing of these crossings will impact the entire region who utilize the village of Fonda for passage to the southern portions of New York state and who utilize Exit 28 of the New York State Thruway. As of the writing of this letter New York state DOT has requested and received additional time from the hearing judge to create a new proposed order for the New York state DOT commissioner to consider. It is unknown if the newly proposed order will allow for additional public hearing on these closings. The presiding judge in this matter has approved an extension to April 30, 2012, for DOT to submit the new proposed order, and will allow for letters to be written by concerned parties, to be received by the law judge no later than May 11, 2012. I ask you to join me in sharing with the law judge how the closing of these crossings will negatively impact you. You may write your letters to the presiding judge at the address and references provided: Honorable Robert A. Rybak Acting Chief Administrative Law Judge, Office of Proceedings RE: CASE 38491 and CASE 38492 50 Wolf Road Albany, New York 12232 Thank you for your support in this matter. William Peeler, Mayor of Fonda Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor The loss of an icon To the editor: I begin this letter in sorrow; sorrow for a city that is losing something very meaningful, something thought never ending, something iconic: Crystal Ristorante. I was born, raised and began a family in the area without ever leaving. I have been almost everywhere in this city and have a million and one plus memories. Of course, my most fond are of my family and friends, not just an establishment however, there is a lot to be said for Crystal. I am a proud customer and patronize the establishment often, I have made many friends and met many acquaintances over the years and the atmosphere is almost always the same: Come in, have fun, yet be safe. I am writing this letter to thank the Centi family, I do not know a lot of them personally, just enough to say "hi" while passing. I do know they are a strong family with exceptional family and community goals. With that, a thank you is enough, but many of them have taken that commitment much further. Tony, I have heard many stories, I don't believe them all, but know you have done amazing things for Amsterdam. My brother was diagnosed with cancer and you were monumental in preparing a benefit to help with upcoming, unforeseen costs, again my sincere gratitude. We were just one of the countless benefits you have performed, I believe if you live near or around Amsterdam, you too, have attended one. I did not know this until recently but, many holiday dinner donations noted as "anonymously donated" were quietly sponsored by you, I have also learned you have provided for the soup kitchen often. You are truly a generous man and deserve the utmost respect anyone can give to offer. I left Crystal last evening looking and thinking of the great friendships I have made, the employees, customers, feelings of knowing I may never have a place I felt so welcomed, so appreciated, so unconditionally accepted. I may never have that comraderie again, but am so thankful you gave me the chance to. I wish you and your family well, and can only speak for ourselves when I say your selflessness has made Amsterdam a wonderful place, one I am proud to call home. God speed my friend. P.S. Don't give your pizza crust recipe away. Nancy and Paul Karutis, Amsterdam The view from here To the editor: I have had always had the knack for pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory and here is the latest example politically. Anyway I write regarding various issues. First the city. The mayor needs to look more closely at city operations. The fire department is one example. There is no reason why I and other people should see $300,000 fire trucks at banks in and out of the city or other places on personal business at any time. Period. Change the policy. Though the firefighters are highly trained, the city should not be in the ambulance business. The voters don't want it, and neither do I. The fire department should be doing the bulk of its spare time in desperately needed code enforcement. The mayor should address this now. I would hope that the mayor might consider leading the city common council in an effort to establish a desperately needed Boys and Girls Club of America in the East End building formerly used by St. Mary's Hospital. As far as the mayor's personal life is concerned, it is impeccable and above reproach. Character assassination against the mayor is wrong and inaccurate. In county business I have some thoughts. As far as the health insurance controversy is concerned, I would say this. If the intent by some is to encourage free market competition to obtain the lowest cost of doing business, fine. If, on the other hand, it is to destroy Pat Baia's personal business out of jealousy for his successful career, that is wrong and immoral. I would recommend you contact the county attorney before breaking any contracts. Again on the county: They are forming a charter commission to revamp county government. I suspect they are going to recommend an elected county executive. There are three elected county officials already in place to attend to their departments. What Montgomery County needs is an administrative officer with suitable education criteria appointed by the supervisors who are beholden to their constituents. This is how it is done in Fulton County with great success. No, no, no to an elected county executive. It runs the risk for an unsuitable candidate overseeing a $100 million budget. Keep all the current numbers of supervisors intact with no changes. At the federal level, Congressman Paul Tonko's views, 85 percent of the time, are different than mine. His voting record and political associates in Washington are fair game for his constituents to question, criticize or affirm. Character assassination is incorrect and inaccurate. Lastly Billy McDermott was a friend of mine. I grieve for his loss of life and I miss him terribly. Michael C. McKenney, Amsterdam A spaghetti dinner thank you To the editor: On behalf of the Ian R. McDuffie spaghetti dinner benefit that was held on Sunday, March 4, we'd like to express our gratitude to all that came and donated as well as all the additional donations that were mailed in. We received an overwhelming amount of monetary support as well as local businesses and volunteers donating their time. A thank you sometimes just isn't enough and we would like to recognize the businesses that so benevolently gave to this benefit: TJ's Pizzeria, Meatland, I-Haul Transport, Four Score Tattoo, Sanders Motorsports, Greno Industries, Small Town Sound, PROforma, Shrader & Shrader, Quandt's, Adirondack Beverage, Antonucci's, Lanzi's, Sam's Restaurant, Bill's Beverage, Deli Master, Rauch Bakery, Al's Pizzeria, Leonzo Pizzeria, Freihoffers-Nelliston, Price Chopper, Hannaford, Times Union Center, Town of Mohawk Fire Department, Hill & Markes, ItalyMONDO, Fulton County Barbershop, and many other members of the community. Enough money was raised to offset some of the unexpected expenses to Ian's family but also to establish a scholarship fund. As many of you know, Ian was an amazing drummer. Music was his life, so the Ian R. McDuffie Music Scholarship has been set up and will be given to a Fonda-Fultonville senior this year as well as in years to follow. Ian gave to everyone that he met in his short journey of life, so it's only fitting for this scholarship to give back to those that have the same passion and talent in music as he did. Again, it was you, the community, that made this all happen and we can't thank you enough. The amount of love and support that you have shown is a testament to what a great community it is that we live in. Thank you again. Financial contributions toward the scholarship can be made at any SEFCU location to: Ian McDuffie Benefit or mail to PO Box 22 Fort Hunter 12069. Amanda Gunther, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Letters to the Editor A problem quickly solved To the editor: This letter is four months too late. Before Christmas, I went to my parents' gravesite. Someone stole not only the flag, but the veteran's stand that held the flag. I did not know now how to handle this. I called my Supervisor Ron Barone. He said I didn't have to call anyone. He would take care of it. And how 10 minutes later he dropped off a stand and a flag. I am very grateful to Ron for this. This is just one of the many reasons I vote for him. Thank you, Ron. Michael C. McKenney, Amsterdam Teachers are trying to help To the editor: It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. The Fonda-Fultonville Teachers' Association recently made a proposal to the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District in an effort to help alleviate the financial burden that our district currently faces due to current state funding issues. While we realize our offer would not completely eradicate the current shortfall, it was intended as our sincere effort to work toward a collaborative solution to our district's financial woes. The association recently proposed the following to our district: * Complete freeze: Step and salary (0 percent increase for all teachers the 2012-2013 school year) * Spread out the final contact percentage (3 percent) over an additional two-year period to alleviate the financial burden on the district: 1.5 percent 2013-2014; 1.5 percent 2014-2015. This scenario would have saved the district a total of $928,034 over the next three years. Our membership believed this was an appropriate offer and felt encouraged when teachers in the South Colonie District were recently lauded as "heroes" for a similar scenario. Our proposal, with the complete wage freeze for next year, and the two-year extension of the contract was even more generous than the South Colonie offer of 0.75 percent increase for next year. We felt optimistic and confident as we presented our offer to our board of education. Our board of education, however, was initially unwilling to even listen to our proposal. After phone calls and requests for discussion, they agreed to "talk," yet unashamedly again turned down our offer. While our membership did not create the current deficit produced by our state government, we do feel a responsibility and a desire to work in partnership with our district to achieve an amicable solution. Sadly, it is apparent that our current board of education does not agree. They are unwilling to budge or negotiate in good faith. Over the last couple years, members of the FFTA have received $0 or little funds for classroom supplies, instead purchasing materials out of their own pockets. During negotiations of our current contract, members of the FFTA, proactively changed our indemnity insurance plan to a PPO in an effort to pre-emptively save funds for the district. This also created additional expense for individuals, yet teachers felt it was an appropriate, fair approach. At that time, we were told it saved enough money to "fund" this entire contract -- including next year's 3 percent increase. Times are tough, and the Fonda-Fultonville Teachers' Association has tried to help. We've attempted to share the burden with the district and the community, yet the board of education is apparently uninterested in the savings we have offered. They demand only a wage freeze and are unwilling to discuss any further possibilities. Fonda-Fultonville teachers want the community to know that we care. We care about our district. We care about our community. We care about our programs. We care about our students. We want to help. James Murray, Fultonville The writer is president of the Fonda-Fultonville Teachers' Association. Hopping out for a big night To the editor: I guess the woodchuck was right. Remember back in February? On Groundhog Day, it was cloudy, so he didn't see his shadow -- which means an early spring. Soon will come a night of warm spring rain. And if you're driving after dark, you know what that means -- hordes of pesky little frogs hopping across the road. Where are they going? Why so many? Are they trying to commit suicide? Frogs and salamanders breed in the spring. They all get together in the same spot, usually a small pond, and then the males show off and try to attract females. It's kind of like a singles bar. So if it's a damp night and the temperature is about 40 degrees or so, tens of thousands of frogs and salamanders are sharing the roads with us. Amphibian fans call it a big night. It's a migration, just like geese flying north in the spring. But instead of migrating thousands of miles, these little guys travel a quarter of a mile or so. That's a long way, though, if your legs are 1/16th of an inch long. Sadly, many migration pathways cross roads or driveways. And a critter with tiny legs moves verrrry slowly. The bigger frogs can hop across faster, but sometimes they just sit there maddeningly staring into space, and get squished. Amphibians are cold-blooded, so on a chilly night, fresh out of hibernation, they move slowly. We don't get a chance to observe the miniature amphibian parade as our gigantic cars whiz by them. Wood frogs are cute little creatures with a black mask like a raccoon over their face. Spring peepers are the size of your thumbnail. A spotted salamander is a gorgeous thing, like a piece of jewelry -- jet black with golden spots. They can live for 15 or 20 years. I hate to think of it. A salamander crosses the road one tiny step at a time, slowly toiling back to the pool he's visited for years, and then -- my tire obliterates him. So if you're out late on a wet night in spring, please drive even more carefully than usual. You're not the only one having a big night. Anita Sanchez, Amsterdam Thursday, May 30, 2013 Spaghetti committee says thanks To the editor: The spaghetti dinner committee from Sacred Heart Church in Tribes Hill would like to say thank you to everyone who helped to make this annual event a success: Area businesses for their donations, the set-up crew, the kitchen crew, wait staff, dining room help, ticket sellers for the 50/50, plants and TV raffle, the organizing of the basket raffle, the parishioners who donated desserts and to the lettuce can, and last of all but not least, those who attended. Everyone worked well together to make this event happen and it gave many guests a time to enjoy being with friends and family. Thank you again for your donations, hard work and time. We hope to see everyone next year on the first Sunday in March 2013. Tony and Connie DaBiere, Tribes Hill Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor At this difficult time ... To the editor: The children of Cheryl Ann Goss would like to sincerely thank the following for their kindness and support during this tragic time: The friends and family, Betz, Rossi and Bellinger, victims of violent crimes, all forensic and crime scene investigators, and to the Amsterdam Police Department for the on-going investigation and support. The time, cooperation, effort, compassion and understanding from all of you made this terrible tragedy somewhat easier to cope with. Again, a special thank you to all. Diane DelliVeneri, on behalf of the Cheryl Ann Goss family, Amsterdam Paying our good deeds forward To the editor: Many times in life it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time and that, mixed with wonderful people, can make one very, very lucky. I am speaking of the care provided by St. Mary's parish to the folks whom I support at the Liberty family here in Amsterdam. Over the past 22 years at work I have been witness to many miracles and believe that most around us are guardian angels or their likeness. The people I speak of don't need to be recognized, but deserve it just the same. Rosemary DiBlasi, John Czelusniak and our many friends (parish members and friends all) have created a family for all people with different abilities at the St. Mary's church along with our priests, Father John Medwid, Father Vito Polito and Father Brian List. Their purpose is to teach and make enjoyment out of learning about helping others and the basic teachings of Jesus and how we should strive to be as giving and loving as we possibly can. Mardi Gras was held at the St. Mary's Institute on the night before Ash Wednesday for people to experience the true joy of life and celebrate their differences not be embarrassed by them. When people with disabilities are treated like modern-day movie stars by others to help make us all better people and show love it is a wonderful thing to witness. Each Sunday for over the past 10 years the church has had differently abled masses for the people who may need a simpler teaching of the religion and the saints -- people of better influence of stories which are received by folks who don't get the traditional explanation completely well -- including myself. The education is priceless and too many times in life folks haven't said "thanks" when given the opportunity to do so -- so I and the folks that I work with would like to say thanks to all who help others out on a daily basis and give time to endeavors such as the ones St. Mary's Church afforded the people of different abilities -- and focus on what a person can do, not what they can't. God bless Amsterdam and the locals who live in this great part of the world and thanks from the bottom of my heart -- you know who you are. When given the chance to do a good deed just pay it forward and the joy of giving of yourself will be its own reward. Michael J. LaCoppola, Amsterdam Concern for the future of cats To the editor: I am a volunteer for Feline Guardian Angels who is concerned about the future of our cats and kittens in Montgomery County. I am writing to the newspaper to spread the word about what we do. Our goal is to reduce the number of feral and homeless cats in Montgomery County. We humanely trap feral and stray cats, vaccinate them for rabies, test for feline aids and feline leukemia, and return them to their colony to live out their lives. The trap neuter program also involves a colony caretaker who provides food, water, adequate shelter and monitors the cats' health. As you can imagine this is very costly. This is a community-based issue that needs attention. Feline Guardian Angels are the only group in Montgomery County that does this kind of work. We do not receive any financial assistance from the city, county, state or federal government. We work diligently to control over population and disease in the cats of the community. We are trying to keep you and your pets safer. It is heartbreaking knowing that without our help these cats and kittens will starve, freeze to death, or worse. With spring right around the corner the problem becomes magnified, as this is kitten season. For more information about us or to make a tax deductible donation call us at 466-3478 or write us at Feline Guardian Angels, PO Box 462, Amsterdam 12010. Patricia Kelly, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor The time for prevention is now To the editor: The members of FGA (Feline Guardian Angels) would like to express our sincere appreciation to Imperial Lanes, our local sponsors, and the public for making our second bowlathon on March 10 a great success for another year. Imperial Lanes graciously opened their doors to us. Local sponsors donated many wonderful gifts and gift cards as prizes and the community once again opened their hearts by supporting our cause. All of these acts of kindness demonstrate the growing community support of the effort to fight the feral cat overpopulation. The funds from this event will be used to spay/neuter feral cats locally. Please note this public awareness. When temperatures rise each spring, it marks the beginning of "kitten season," the time of year when millions of kittens are born. Cats have an approximately 60-day gestation period, so spring kittens are being conceived right now. In addition, cats can become pregnant as early as four months of age, so last year's kittens can be producing this year's litters. The time for prevention is now. FGA urges community members to have their pet cats spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Not only does neutering prevent new litters of kittens, it improves the cat's health. Additionally, this is also a crucial time to spay/neuter neighborhood stray and feral cats. Through trap-neuter-return, the community can begin to stabilize the population of local cat colonies, and decrease the number of cats entering shelters or living their life on the street. Feline Guardian Angels is a 501c3 charitable organization operated by volunteers and concerned citizens whose mission is to humanely reduce the number of feral cats in the local community and to improve the quality of life through a trap/neuter/release program. Trap-Neuter-Return is a long-term, comprehensive community program that humanely stabilizes the feral cat population. Cats are trapped, tested for aids and/or leukemia, altered, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor homes with a caregiver to oversees the general colony's well being. FGA also provides education to the public about the benefits of population reduction through responsible ownership. FGA is funded solely by public donations. The organization primarily serves Montgomery County. As of December 2011, the group has spayed/neutered over 200 stray or feral cats from the local community. Please be part of the solution. For further information regarding FGA and our services, please call 466-3478. Myra Lampkin, Amsterdam Remember on Election Day To the editor: About a month ago, I sent an e-mail to Mr. Tonko asking him why we were causing ourselves so much trouble, like rising gas prices, just to stop Iran from getting nuclear power. What gave us, along with other countries, the right to tell another country what they can or cannot have? After all, Israel has nuclear weapons. After waiting two weeks for an answer, I called his office and spoke to a young lady. I asked why I haven't received a response. She said she'd look into the matter. I still have not received a response. I guess this is the kind of service we can expect from Mr. Tonko. I will remember how important his constituents are to him come Election Day. John Swartz, St. Johnsville Equality for all NYS schools To the editor: Mayfield Central School District is currently facing a $760,000 shortfall in their budget for the 2012-2013 school year. This means that children in this district will most likely be losing all non-mandated programs such as all sports, art, music, extracurricular activities, French, AP reductions, half-day kindergarten, business electives, and student support services ... not to mention even more teacher cuts. This is devastating to an already shortchanged district. These children deserve equality, and the same opportunities as children from larger, more affluent districts. I ask of you, Gov. Cuomo, what will our children do with all of their spare time since they are having everything that they hold so dear to their hearts ripped away from them? Where are you, Gov. Cuomo, you have labeled yourself as the "student advocate" and yet all that you have done thus far for my children is take from them. Art and music classes provide an outlet for children to be creative, to think outside of the box, and most importantly, an opportunity to freely express themselves. For some children, these art and music classrooms are the only place that they feel they truly belong. Athletics programs are equally as important. If they don't have school sports or other extracurricular activities, what are they supposed to reference on college resumes? What will make our children competitive with the graduates from larger, wealthier districts in terms of college admittance? My children learned to read in kindergarten (thank you, Mrs. VanDerVeer and Mrs. Klena). If kindergarten is cut to half days next year, when are those children going to learn to read? They will already be at a disadvantage ... in first grade. Are you OK with that? At what cost does your political gain come to our children? Our children need you, Gov. Cuomo. Please, I beg of you, do the right thing and restore the $250 million to the rural districts in New York state who are at risk at going bankrupt within the next few years. Parents, I urge you to take an active stance against the unequal funding in education in New York state. Rural districts are being shortchanged and it is our obligation to advocate for our children. Lori Meca, Mayfield Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Put athletics in perspective To the editor: Lately, there has been much mourning over the potential loss of school athletic programs due to the current fiscal problems facing our public schools. I am not opposed to sports, and I believe that one can learn many life lessons from participating in sports, including diligence, teamwork and the importance of physical fitness. However, these lessons can be learned through intramural athletics or community-based leagues. Additionally, you may think that high school athletics are an excellent means to an athletic scholarship. The NCAA reports that only 2 percent of all high school athletes garner partial or full athletic scholarships. In fact, the average athletic scholarship -- including the high-profile sports of basketball and football -- is only $10,409 per year. While this may sound like a lot of money, college tuition and expenses can easily range from $20,000 to $50,000 per year. Let's imagine that many students could become professional athletes. In that case, I would encourage them to ponder the following questions. Will I be able to read and understand the professional contract I am about to sign? Will I be able to understand how I am being paid and how best to save and invest money? Will I be able to speak to others in their language and understand their culture? Will I be a good ambassador for my country? Will I be able to participate in the political and civic life of my own country in a knowledgeable manner? Will I be able to understand and appreciate my humanness as it is manifested through culture, religion, art, film, theater, literature, music and dance? Will I have the philosophical understanding of those who came before me to help me make a meaning for my life? How do I enjoy life and recognize the beauty therein? The ability to answer these questions comes from a solid and varied education. Again, I am not opposed to athletics, but we must put them in proper perspective when considering the lives of our students as citizens. I urge you to think about the importance and purpose of education. Lastly, I want to thank my parents and teachers for my education. It has illuminated all aspects of my life. Mamie Krupczak Allegretti, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Helping the kids in Schoharie To the editor: One of the communities hardest hit last summer when the Schoharie Creek over├čowed was the village of Schoharie. Water ├čowed down their main street, ruining all the businesses and homes in its path. Their beautiful rich fields and crops were destroyed. Things looked bleak. Less than a year later, the people of Schoharie have something to cheer about. A group of their high school students are finalists in Samsung's Solve for Tomorrow contest. The students studied the ruinous water to determine its lasting effects on the fields of the future. As one of 12 finalists out of 1,500 entries nationwide, they could win as much as $110,000 for their school. We have the unique opportunity to choose the grand prize winner when we vote for the the People's Choice Winner on the Samsung Web site. Right now, Schoharie and Sutter Middle School in California are running neck and neck for this award. The Sutter school is in a large unified district that has four middle schools and a large school population, while Schoharie is a small central school with fewer than 300 students from grades 7 through 12. It's David vs. Goliath. These kids need our help. They can't do it alone. Let's get behind these students and show them the power of the Capital District. I'm sure the kids have a lot of good stories of how people all over the country are supporting them. Let's not be the local people who ignored their story. Please vote. Go to to vote. You can vote every day until March 12. Tell everyone everywhere to vote. Jane Riley, Amsterdam Friday, April 24, 2015 Letter to the Editor Clarifying the fundraiser profits To the editor: There was one error that I wish to bring to your attention in the article from the town of Northampton meeting ("Sparks fly"; the Recorder, Feb. 16). The article states that 90 percent of the profits support worthy cause like St. Jude's. The 90 percent comes from my income that I get from working at Stewart's, which goes to the horse rescue, not from fundraisers. When we do fundraisers, 100 percent of the profits that we receive goes to the organization in which the fundraiser is being held for. The bands, food, advertising, etc., also comes from my son James Crisalli, myself, and others that put the fundraiser together. All cost is ours, and as I said 100 percent of the profits which we raise from the fundraisers goes to the organization. Deborah Bant, Northampton Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Fault shared three ways To the editor: I am writing this letter in response to the article regarding the Highland & Holland Gardens housing complex. First of all, let me begin by saying how saddened I am personally to see what has become of (what I considered) these beautiful apartments. I consider Holland Gardens my childhood home, as I lived there from 1973 to 1979. Living in the "P" section between the ages of 6 and 12, I felt like the whole complex was my personal back yard. My sister, brother and I loved it there; we have many fond memories. It was very secluded, as there was only a road behind us, bordered by fields. Holland had two playgrounds as did Highland. Housing many families and in close proximity to the Rockton/Sanford Avenue region, we made many friends. What a wonderful place to be a kid. The complex was very safe and secure. That said, it was not without problems then, but management seemed to be on top of things. Sure, we had some maintenance issues, but they were resolved relatively quickly, as we had a maintenance worker living right in our unit. I know way back when, the construction of the complex faced much opposition; I now realize why. What has happened there is exactly what area residents feared most. Why these units were allowed to deteriorate in such a fashion is beyond my comprehension. They (the complex owners) collected rents for 40 years, did they not? Is it not the owners' responsibility to maintain the units? I have to that with my own home. If there is a problem, like it or not, you have to fix it or the problem gets worse. As far as HUD, why did they wait so long to address this problem? These things did not happen overnight. Is it not their job to inspect these units periodically, especially in between lease renewals, to make sure they are adequate, with everything in working order, free from mold, electrical problems and chipping paint? What about the health of the occupants of these units? They have families living there, as well as the elderly. As far at the city goes, is it not their job to send code enforcement to inspect these units? You'd have to be blind not to notice the disrepair of the exterior of the complex, let alone the interior problems. I feel there are three entities at fault here: the complex owners, HUD and the city of Amsterdam. As much as it sickened me to read the article and see the photos of Holland Gardens, maybe now, at long last, something will be done to restore the structures, renovate the interiors, and once again make it the nice place that I remember as a child. The tenants deserve that, as well as the homeowners/residents in that neighborhood. Angela M. Neuls, Amsterdam Make health a priority To the editor: The tobacco industry spends more than $12 billion annually to market their deadly products to current and potential customers. In New York state alone, they spend an estimated $429 million each year which translates to $1.1 million every single day. Tobacco companies use lucrative contracts to ensure that many retailers are marketing their deadly products. These contracts include requirements to prominently display tobacco products in the most visible locations of stores: behind the cash register or near check-out lines where all customers, including children, are forced to see them. Exposure to this tobacco marketing in stores is a primary cause of youth smoking. Studies show that exposure to tobacco marketing causes nonsmoking adolescents to initiate smoking and to move toward regular smoking. Studies also show that even brief exposure to tobacco marketing influences adolescents' intentions to smoke. In order to protect our children, our community must reduce youth exposure to in-store tobacco marketing. Removing or covering up tobacco products from the view of kids is an easy way to help save many youth from facing early death and disease from tobacco. Let's make the health and well-being of our youth the priority. Sarah Kraemer, Reality Check, Johnstown Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Nothing short of an outrage To the editor: We have been had. And I, for one, am disgusted. I have come to understand that hundreds of thousands of Montgomery County taxpayer dollars have been secretly paid to an insurance broker and the Benetech insurance company in administrative fees through the funnel of an insurance trust. This ironically named "trust" was created illegally in 2007 by the county board of supervisors, with two current supervisors at its head, Mr. DiMezza and Mr. Barone. Mr. DiMezza then quickly negotiated contracts with Benetech through the insurance broker, Mr. Baia, which were never approved by or even shared with the full board. These contracts contain hidden fees and broker payments which have raised the effective administrative costs of these contracts from an industry-standard 3 percent to an alarming 8 to 12 percent. Just from July to December of 2011, the county paid $350 in claims for eyeglasses, but paid $3,700 in administrative fees for eyeglass insurance. We are being fleeced to the tune of $750,000 to $1 million every year. That's every year for the last five years. And every effort on the part of some supervisors to shed light on these contracts or make the negotiations of the "trust" more transparent have been thwarted by stalling and bullying on the part of the administrators of the "trust." This is nothing short of an outrage. These contracts must be renegotiated in the light of day, this "trust" must be dissolved, and those responsible for creating and perpetuating this theft of county taxpayers' money must be investigated. End the nepotism and graft so "trust" can be restored in Montgomery County. William Nelson, Amsterdam NOTE: The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors' Finance Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to move resolutions to the full board to dissolve the county health insurance trust and declare its contracts null and void. The resolutions will be considered at the board's meeting Feb. 28. More on insurance contracts To the editor: I was legitimately shocked and somewhat disgusted to read about the contracts the Montgomery County insurance trust had negotiated for us. For years our representatives on the insurance trust have been telling us we don't need to concern ourselves with health insurance, that we don't need to see the contracts they negotiated, we just need to trust them. Well, they betrayed our trust. The numbers that are coming out about the insurance contracts are sickening. Almost 10 percent of the total cost of county health insurance is administrative costs? The industry standard is 3 percent. Administrative fees of $5,000 to administer $1,500 in dental claims? Fees of $3,700 to administer $350 in eyeglasses claims? We are literally being robbed blind. For the life of me I can't understand why some supervisors don't want to rebid the contracts that contain these unconscionable fees. Maybe they just don't care about taxpayers. Krystle Colamarino, Amsterdam Speaking for the students To the editor: I am a senior class officer at Fonda-Fultonville Central School who is worried for the future of my district even after I graduate. I am writing to the paper to spread the word about an upcoming community forum at the Fonda High school on March 6 at 6:30 p.m. The budget cuts proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo would be devastating to the entire student body and every student will be affected whether it's through cuts to technology, music, business, foreign language, sports, clubs, or advanced courses offered by our district. The last meeting to discuss the budget was attended by approximately 40 people, most of them being faculty and staff of the district. How can the community vote on a budget for the upcoming school year if they are not attending the meetings that discuss the most crucial and devastating budget cuts of our school's history? The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District has been a leader as well as a role model to the other schools in the capital region for as long as I remember. With some of the highest test scores and graduation rates in the area, how we can strip this from the students who work so hard and have so much pride in the work they do? I have been fortunate to be able to attend such a wonderful school for most of my education and I would not have wanted to go anywhere else. There is always something to do or someone to talk to if you need anything. I have been lucky enough to be involved with many groups, sports and activities offered at our school. I have also been able to choose classes from the many courses offered by our business department, including marketing, accounting, financial management, and computer courses. These courses have prepared me to pursue an education in business administration and have given me the skills I need to have great confidence going into the future. These teachers care about each student and truly want to see each and every student succeed. I have also been able to participate in band, art, technology, advanced college courses, soccer, track, cross country, and have been inducted into the National Honor Society. If our district's funding is cut as much as it is projected, every single one of these activities will be eliminated. While I have been academically successful, some students don't react to the same environment as others and aren't as driven to succeed. Often these students come to school solely for the elective classes offered, so that they can work on a project that they enjoy doing and might want to pursue in the future. Without these classes and programs to keep these kids in school, who says they will stay enrolled? Now is the time to contact Gov. Cuomo and fight for our district before it's too late. The students of this district deserve the best education possible and the budget cuts proposed will not permit that to take place. For more information on the district's fiscal future, please attend the community forum at Fonda High School on March 6 at 6:30 p.m. A list of our local representatives and their contact information is on the school district's Web site,, and Gov. Cuomo can be contacted by mail at: The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, N.Y. 12224; or by phone at 474-8390. Jesse Mars, Class of 2012 Secretary, Fonda-Fultonville Central School Thanks for flood relief To the editor: I would like to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to all those that aided me after the flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. I wish to thank my family, friends, neighbors, my co-workers at Saratoga Hospital and to those whom I have never met for their support and generosity after this devastating event. I was overwhelmed by their kindness. A very special thank you to Deanna Terlecky and her crew from Karen's Produce who, together with my brother, came and worked tirelessly to empty out my flooded home; a huge undertaking that I was not emotionally prepared for, after the nearly 30 years of memories made there. I could not have done it without them. And above all, thanks to God for the countless blessings He has given me after this event. Thank you all so much. Michael Boice, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor An eyesore at our gateway To the editor: I was pleased to read in this past weekend's newspaper that someone, albeit a federal agency, HUD, has finally addressed the appalling conditions that exist within the Highland/Holland apartment complex. I find myself unable to use the term "Gardens" to describe them. This project was built in the 1970s on the last existing farmland in the city of Amsterdam. This was property that potentially could have been developed into one-family residential parcels to fit with the character of the neighborhood, but greed and stupidity prevailed. Certainly, the school district and the city were able to strike a "deal" for developing the nearby Woodrow Wilson land into streets soon after. These structures have become yet another colossal mistake in the devolution of Amsterdam able to rank alongside the ill-conceived bridge leading up Church Street, urban renewal and its destruction of Main Street, and of course, the mall. Although HUD is concerned with unsanitary conditions that are prevalent within these shoddily built structures, the visual impact of their exterior appearance has continued to worsen, particularly with the inside units unseen from Church Street and Clizbe Avenue. A former Amsterdamian recently visiting friends living there commented that they reminded him of his time stationed in Beirut. I am hoping that our mayor and Common Council are aware that the Church Street (Route 67)/Clizbe Avenue/Widow Susan Road intersection is a major route for commuters not only from the city but for others as well. As a major gateway for the city, it is heavily used by visitors passing through to reach Saratoga, Malta and beyond. For people traveling down Route 67 to reach the Thruway, these sad eyesores "greet" visitors. This certainly makes for a poor first impression. I also need to ask why our code inspector was not involved. Sadly, with our local government's focus on other parts of the city, a viable area was allowed to become blighted. I have had the occasion to observe subsidized housing in Schenectady, Albany and here in Amsterdam and nothing compares to the decrepit appearance of Highland/Holland apartments. That this was allowed to develop and continue is inexcusable. Judith Heffernan Elmy, Amsterdam The East End meeting To the editor: I'm sure that one reason for poor attendance at this meeting is that the East End has so many elderly folks who cannot make it to the meetings. Also, was the meeting properly advertised in advance, both in the paper and on the radio? And maybe because the East End has been so terribly abandoned for so long that residents don't believe much will be changed. When I visit my elderly mom who lives in the East End, everything is so dismal: buildings deteriorated, or boarded up or razed. And the loss of the church, St. Casimir's on East Main, was a devastating blow to our community. My understanding is that the church building has also been semi-abandoned by the "buyers" -- the Buddhists. This is a particular shame, for at the ridiculously low price it sold for, it could have been bought by the city, or groups who, if not restoring it to its original, beautiful inspirational haven, could have put it to use as a soup kitchen (like my sister, Christine, organized there for nine years), or as a food and clothing bank, a gathering place, a senior center, or an after-school activities area in the basement, etc., etc., etc. Carol Jankunas, Fort Collins, Colo. An objective solution To the editor: The newspaper article's lead-in sentence said it all: "For the third consecutive year, the Super Bowl set a record as the most watched television show in history." Yes, the power of television is hugely responsible for the universal exposure of the sport, but football, itself, has made the game the most popular physical contest ever, and because of that success, as Shakespeare once said, "And Therein Lies the Rub." Now, football sports booster clubs, from Little League on up to high school will have to work twice as hard to assure every individual program has the financial capabilities to continue functioning. This means all forms of fundraising must be pursued, not occasionally, but all year long, for two obvious reasons. Severe injuries, such as concussions, are now receiving the proper, overall concerned public scrutiny needed, and more advanced safety equipment is being made available to combat such medical problems, but at a much higher cost. The second reason is still a weak economy, and upcoming 2012-2013 school budgets will commence to be prepared and undoubtedly, serve cuts once again centering upon various programs will be a priority, with all athletic sports most likely near the top of the list. Just depending upon past operational formats for fundraising purposes may not be the only way for sports boosters clubs to go. A short while back Recorder management clearly illustrated how a major problem can be solved, by joining up with the Times Union so that the Recorder's Sunday subscribers would continue to have a reliable news source available to them. It's called establishing an objective solution, and it's something seriously worth considering. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Starting up a new market To the editor: In this day and age, when we all need to eat right, I have decided to contribute to this process. Many still run to the grocery store or raise their own produce, but for the ones that don't do either, I have the solution. Since I was a market manger for three years, I have now moved back to the Mohawk Valley with the thoughts of starting a market in the Fonda/Fultonville area. I found out, upon doing some research, that there are other people with the same dream. This is such good news to me, as I am a firm believer in having a healthy diet, which will lead to a healthy life. Of course I would like to take the time to now thank all my customers at the previous two markets I managed and of course a big thanks goes to all the vendors that made it happen. I hope to see all of you in the near future at my new market. There will be a public meeting to decide on many things for the new market venture, so please watch the papers. Any questions or future vendors needing info, please contact me via e-mail at, or my number is 775-7844. Curdie Gardner, Fonda R is for reasonable, responsible To the editor: Smoking on screen is an urgent public health concern because it puts millions of kids at risk. We know kids and toxic hazards don't mix. In fact, 360,000 American teenagers alive today will die prematurely because of smoking in movies. That's why state attorneys general and health authorities say smoking should be eliminated from kid-rated movies (G, PG & PG-13). The most effective, least intrusive means to cut tobacco exposure would be to rate future movies with smoking in them "R". Producers would simply reserve smoking for their R-rated films, the way they now routinely regulate other content. Movies rated G, PG and PG-13 would be smoke-free, cutting teens risk from one-screen smoking in half. Hollywood's rating system doesn't cost taxpayers a dime. Yet the "R's" result will rank among the most important public health advances of our time. One letter can now save thousands of lives. For more information, visit Reality Check on Wednesday, Feb. 22, to celebrate our "Smoke-Free Movie Day." We will have a free showing of "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" at the Emerald Cinemas at noon and at the Johnstown MoviePlex at 4:30 p.m. First come, first serve. Call 762-8313 if you have any questions. Courtney Danise, Reality Check Youth, Gloversville Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Out of money; out of time To the editor: Attached is a copy of an open letter I have sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Dear Gov. Cuomo: I am writing to you today to request your assistance. This year, my district and other small rural school districts face the end of programs that are normally expected for students attending public schools in New York state. Fonda-Fultonville faces an almost insurmountable deficit due to the reductions in state aid that have taken place in this district over the past four years. We have lost over 10 percent of our total budget in state aid reductions since the aid formulas have been adjusted. It has become next to impossible for our school to provide some of the most basic programs for our students. At this point, we are receiving less in state aid to education than we did in 2004-2005, while the expectations and costs mandated by both state and federal agencies continues to grow. Please do not dismiss us as a "spendthrift" district that is just throwing away money and wasting it. We have received several commendations for our efforts to save taxpayer money whenever possible. We generate our own electricity by means of a co-generation facility, our administrative staff boasts the lowest per-pupil administrative cost in our area, and the average budget increases have been below the rate of inflation. Additionally, we have had reduced budgets for the past two years, and as you recommended, have used most of our fund balance to keep programs afloat. However, those options are no longer available, and we are out of money, as well as time. Our deficit for the coming year to keep programs as they are, if voters pass the property tax increase within our cap, is $2.7 million. That is 11 percent of our total budget. Governor, that is the equivalent of you having to reduce the state budget by $14.6 billion for 2011-2012. Obviously, if you did that, you would be in the same position I find myself, having to drastically cut necessary programs and unable to provide for the most basic needs of our constituents. Governor, I beg you to help us before I am forced to deny students some basic programs that NYS parents have come to expect for their children. These include kindergarten, sports programs, art, music, advanced foreign language, honors/college programs for high school students, middle and high school bands, and much more. Also, our average class size will rise dramatically as a result of the coming budget. By your own admission, you feel a responsibility to students and want the best for them. Please demonstrate that responsibility by providing support for basic educational programs for all of the students in New York state. I would welcome any assistance to work with us to provide that, so we may maintain a level of excellence in public education for our students for which we can be proud. Thank you. James D. Hoffman, Superintendent, Fonda-Fultonville Central School District Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor The train has run off the tracks To the editor: As we tick toward Election Day 2012, there seems to be a fairy tale type mantra being told by our media. When someone becomes an elected official, the things they say in front of the cameras, quoted in the papers, or letters written to taxpayers, are forever cast until which time these elected officials decide to change their views and put them out to taxpayers to hear, see and read. I don't buy into the D party vs. the R party crap that has gotten way out of control in modern times. No one can ever be responsible for their own decisions or actions; it has to be blamed on a political party all the time. Facts are things that can be proven without a doubt. Opinions are what people or organizations decide to believe, most times not facts. We don't have a perfect system here in the USA, but much of it is very good and can be improved upon. If our society had not become so social program driven, many of our fiscal problems would not even exist. As we get close to having half of the country pay for the other half to shelter, eat, drive and so forth, it should be clearly obvious that the train has run off the tracks. We have a broken tax code system in the USA. Warren Buffet doesn't in fact pay a lower income tax rate than his secretary, he collects the legal minimum amount for a CEO of a corporation. This is so he doesn't have to pay high income tax. Most of his fortunes come from investment income. When you earn a salary, you pay taxes on it. When you invest some of your net salary and the day comes when you withdraw some profit on your investment, you pay a different kind and rate of tax on that income. It's not the same kind of income, so the tax rate is different. President Obama has lied to everyone many times about the facts of Warren Buffet and his secretary, that's a fact not an opinion. We don't have an income problem in Montgomery County, NYS or the US government, we have a very factual and obvious spending problem. If the path we have been set on in the last three and a half years continues, we can watch a rerun of Greece in our homes just prior to watching it live on the streets of our country. If you don't know why the citizens of Greece are acting out the way they are, then my opinion is, you will never understand our problem here, and never see our country grow and prosper once again. Let's keep giving away all we can so we have no choice but to have to depend on the government for everything in our lives, which U.S. Congress member is going to be on bathroom duty 20 years from now when I can't go by myself? Jd Downing, Town of Glen Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Taxpayers can't afford more To the editor: I recently read the article in which the Broadalbin-Perth School Superintendent was whining about not having enough money in the budget this year and how he cannot possibly come under the cap as proposed by the governor. I am tired of hearing about the problems with this school district. Too much money is being spent and the taxpayers cannot keep paying more and more on their taxes. I have never had any children but have paid the same amount as someone who may have had four or five in school. I think you should be taxed based on the number of children in school or if you ever had children in school. My taxes have gone from approximately $1,200 in 1994 to approximately $3,800 in the current tax year. The value of my home has not gone up even close to the percentage of my taxes. I wish my pay had gone up the same percentage as my taxes. There have been no additions to my house to cause this increase in taxes. I recently spoke with someone who's daughter is in the high school and she has two classes with 10 to 15 students in them. I know anyone my age had between 25 and 30 kids in our classes when we went to school. I am sorry some classes or activities might be cut but the raising of our taxes has got to stop. If people can't pay the taxes they will move then those left will have to pay more. Is there anyone else out there that feels the same way I do? Robert Zurlo, Broadalbin A family thanks the community To the editor: We, the family of "Judge" Franklin J. Wendell, wish to extend our deepest heartfelt gratitude to the entire community, to friends and neighbors during the time of his passing. The countless acts of kindness and thoughtful expressions of support will never be forgotten. The kind words, touching sympathy cards, flower arrangements, meals, visits, notes on the Web site, Mass cards, and generous donations to the Montgomery County Literacy Project, founded by the judge, have deeply moved us. His love of nature, justice and respect for all humanity has been an inspiration to all. His legacy will live on through us, his grandchildren and great grandchildren. In particular, we would like to express our sincerest appreciation to the Montgomery County Magistrates Association; law enforcement personnel; Dr. Klausner and Dorothy Amsterdam Community Hospice; the nurses at St. Mary's Hospital; Fr. Patrick Gallagher and St. Cecilia's Church; Jackson and Betz Funeral Home, especially Peter Rose and Kari Bezio, for their compassionate service; and his dear caregiver, Renae. With love and our heartfelt thanks, Gloria Wendell, Marcia Schoff, Tricia Wendell, David Wendell, Bruce Wendell, Timothy Wendell Gas prices on the rise To the editor: The price of gasoline is nearing $4 a gallon and it is said it will be $5 a gallon by summer. Please contact your state and federal representatives to protest. If you cannot call during the day you can reach their answering machines in the evening. Don't delay; call today. Assemblyman George Amedore: 843-0227 Sen. Hugh Farley: 843-2188 Congressman Paul Tonko: 843-3400 Sen. Gillibrand: 431-0120 Sen. Schumer: 431-4070 Irene Carpe, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 An open letter to the governor An open letter to the governor Dear Gov. Cuomo: I'm writing to ask for your help, both in your role as governor of the state of New York and as a lobbyist for the students of our state. Broadalbin-Perth, the school district that I lead -- and reside in as a parent of a kindergarten student -- is in trouble. We are dangerously close to being unable to provide our students with the sound, basic education that is guaranteed to them by the state Constitution. We have followed all of the rules and recommendations that you have given to school districts during your time in office. We also followed the recommendations of your predecessors, dating back to the 1980s when the Broadalbin and Perth school districts merged in order to maximize local resources and expand educational opportunities. Over the last three years, we have made -- and are continuing to make -- decisions designed to control costs and increase efficiency in the way we operate our schools. We have exhausted our fund balance to make up for lost state aid and to forestall devastating program cuts, keeping only what we need to ensure fundamental financial security and staying well within the state limit for unappropriated fund balance. We've made overtures to neighboring school districts and municipalities to consolidate or share services, and we have several agreements in place. We're utilizing BOCES services whenever possible, both to save money and to provide programs and services for our students that we could not otherwise offer on our own. We've even participated in a regional transportation pilot study. In fact, I believe that Broadalbin-Perth can stand as a model school district when it comes to actively seeking out and engaging in shared services. Recent negotiations with several of our employee bargaining units have resulted in significant savings, and we're currently seeking the same results with our teachers' union. We're also working with our teachers' union to develop an annual professional performance review system that holds teachers and administrators accountable for student learning, and we are on track to meet your January 2013 deadline. Our true value tax rate is historically and currently among the lowest in the region, at $16.16 per $1,000 of property value. Our administrators' salaries are also among the lowest in the region -- 21st-lowest of 93 school districts, according to the latest Albany Business Review rankings -- and we have relatively few administrators for a school district our size. Our per-pupil spending, $16,156, is the 17th-lowest among 91 school districts in the greater capital region, according to the Albany Business Review -- yet our student achievement is relatively high, with our district ranking 35th overall in the same report. So, why do we need your help, you may be wondering? Despite our very best efforts, and some very real achievements and progress, beginning this September we will not be able to provide much more for our students than what is mandated by the state and federal governments. And if our budget is voted down by our residents -- as it has been in two of the last four years -- we won't even be able to meet the mandates. How did we come to this point? Since 2008, when the stock market crashed and state foundation aid to schools was frozen, we have been trimming around the edges, getting closer and closer to our core programs. Over the last three years, we have cut the equivalent of 25.5 full-time positions from our staff of 300 -- a reduction of nearly 10 percent. These cuts included 12.5 FTE teaching positions and three administrative/management positions. We've also reduced extracurricular and athletic program offerings, and increased class sizes. So far, we've been able to avoid wholesale cuts to our academic programs. That's all about to change. And that's why I'm looking to you. We need you to work with us to find real and immediate solutions to the problems that Broadalbin-Perth is facing. We can't wait two or three years -- our school district won't survive that long. If we raise taxes up to the limit prescribed by the tax levy cap legislation, including exemptions, and if we almost completely exhaust our fund balance, we are still left with a $2.4 million gap between projected revenues and expenditures -- nearly 10 percent of our 2011-12 total budget. Theoretically, we could completely exhaust our fund balance to help fill our budget gap. However, if we do that, one unexpected expense -- a leaky roof, a broken boiler, or worse -- would force us to borrow money to cover our costs and leave us with interest payments that we can't afford. As it stands now, we may have to borrow money anyway, just to make payroll in September. Our situation is further complicated by the ongoing revenue problems of our single largest taxpayer, the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District. Earlier this school year, the regulating district repaid two years' worth of back taxes -- only after the Hudson River section borrowed money from the Black River section, and only after our school district paid $8,000 in legal fees. The regulating district has not yet paid its taxes for the 2011-12 school year, a total of $289,402, and we do not anticipate that it will be able to pay because its revenue problem has not yet been resolved. This situation has left us with very few choices. In order to close our budget gap for 2012-13, we're looking at eliminating art and music instruction in our elementary schools, French as a foreign language offering, upper-level Spanish classes, social workers, and all interscholastic athletics and extracurricular programs. We will also reduce technology instruction at our elementary and middle schools; health instruction at our middle school; science, social studies and business electives at our high school; career and technical education opportunities for our high school students; and will revert from full-day to half-day kindergarten. I don't want to make any of these cuts, as they provide invaluable learning opportunities and support services for our students. However, under New York state law, they are not mandated, and we must prioritize the programs that we are legally obligated to provide. At this point, there is no way to avoid all of these potential losses, but with your help, we might be able to mitigate some. We are asking that you: * Recommend that some or all of the $250 million in grant funding that you proposed being awarded competitively instead be distributed to the state's most needy school districts. * Fix the school funding formula so that more state aid goes to the neediest school districts in the state. * Follow through on your pledge for meaningful mandate relief -- which our school districts desperately need. I know the problems facing Broadalbin-Perth are not solely your responsibility to solve. However, I don't know what more we can do as a district. Our books are open to you. We invite you or members of your staff to examine them and let us know what we're missing. Tell us how we can be more efficient. Tell us how to survive -- educationally and fiscally -- into 2013. I applaud you for taking on the role of students' lobbyist. Right now, the students of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District need you. Please help them. Stephen M. Tomlinson, Superintendent of Schools, Broadalbin-Perth Central School District, Broadalbin This letter was written to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A copy was submitted for publication. Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Put a collar on your animal To the editor: We are writing to alert cat owners about steps you need to take to protect your cat from being euthanized without you knowing. A cat wandered into our neighborhood over the summer and a few neighbors looked after him, feeding him on occasion and providing a bed in our garages when it rained as we searched for a home for him. One of us already had pets and one of us is allergic to cats but we still looked after him. We learned later that each of us had different names for him but a couple of us called him Kitty. Kitty had no collar and no ads were placed that the cat was lost. So, we placed ads in the paper describing him, and we also placed messages on Facebook looking for a good home for Kitty. We called the SPCA several times, but did not get a call back. A few days passed and no one saw Kitty. Sadly, we received confirmation that someone took Kitty to be euthanized after he nipped someone. Had Kitty been wearing a collar with the owner's contact information, he would not have been euthanized because the owners would have come to get the cat. Because Kitty was a stray, however, he was doomed. The reason being, the person bringing him in has the option of taking the animal home and keeping it caged for 10 days to look for signs of rabies. If the animal shows no signs of rabies, he could be removed from the cage and let go. The second option is to have the animal euthanized because, due to liability exposure, no veterinarian, ASPCA or other rescue organization will house the animal for 10 days and then find a home for it because if it bites the new owner, the rescuing organization could be held accountable, knowing the animal previously bit someone. There is no obligation on the part of any party (veterinarian, rescue organization, person bringing the animal in) to make a few phone calls to neighbors to see if the cat belongs to anyone. Had a couple phone calls been made to those in our neighborhood explaining the eventual outcome, one of us in the neighborhood would have taken him in and Kitty would still be with us as a permanent home continued to be sought. The moral of the story is, put a collar on your animal. Otherwise, if your pet cat wanders a few doors away and happens upon someone who, for example, does not like cats, that person could have your cat euthanized because it would be considered a stray and rescue organization simply don't have room to house stray animals. Additionally, a law should be pursued by rescue organizations or at least a practice adhered to by veterinarians committing to allow 10 days to pass before euthanizing a stray cat and during that time make it incumbent on the person bringing in the stray cat to provide evidence of the names of neighbors contacted to determine if the cat belonged to any of those neighbors. That way, a stray has a chance that someone would step forward and acknowledge the cat belongs to them or adopt the cat if it didn't belong to them. In Kitty's case, had we known the outcome was euthanasia, he would be alive today. Otherwise, today anyone can bring in a stray and have it put down if it allegedly bit someone. Our neighborhood is saddened by this and hopes that we can stop it from happening again. Fran Biviano, Enza Phelps, Dawn Kirkland, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor A offering of thanks To the editor: To my family, my great friends and special neighbors, for all their prayers, masses, cards, flowers, phone calls, gifts and delicious food. I thank Dr. Ron Marsh for the wonderful care, and also thanks to Dr. Michael Sheridan. To my special pastor and friend Fr. Stan Swierzowski, I thank him for all his prayers and visits. I especially thank my granddaughter Jill De Rose and grandson Jim De Rose, for all they've done for me. My dear brother John Bartkowski, and special nieces: Marilyn Banewicz and Sandra Hammond, also nephew Ron Krupa. Thanks to my dear neighbors: Anthony and Dannie Colistra and Bob and Sue Greco for their concern, they are always there. I'm so blessed with all of you. God Bless every one of you. Thank you to all. Irene Kartner, Amsterdam Don't extend bobcat season To the editor: The Department of Environmental Conservation is planing to extend, by two months, the trapping and hunting season of the bobcat. They are taking comments from the public on this matter until Feb. 16 when they will make their decision. I sent the following letter to the NYSDEC: Please do not extend the trapping, hunting season, another two months on the bobcats. They are just starting to make a comeback. They only live in secluded areas and keep to themselves. Bobcats do not harm humans in any way. In fact they help croplands by eating small rodents and birds that feed on crops and seeds. Bobcats also feed on carrion. They do not, and cannot, kill deer. Their average size is twice that of a house cat. No harm is done to the deer population. With bobcat pelts bringing a high price, it is the only reason they're sought after. For this reason alone, trapping and hunting will devastate this already low population of species. It also will fuel the illegal taking of animals. Poaching on private and posted land is quite prevalent even now. The vast majority of people will not buy a bobcat skin coat, so in turn, the pelts are sent to Canada for processing and then sold to other countries. By extending the season another two months into spring, females will be pregnant. For every female taken, up to six unborn kittens will also be killed. Bobcats should be protected, not persecuted, by a few. These wild felines are not a threat to humans. Wildlife observers and photographers would love to capture a sighting and no damage done. The animal gets to live and to have its picture taken again. This kind of activity could bring money to rural communities where sightings occur. Bobcats, like all wildlife, belong to all of us. Their lives depend on our protection of them. They should not be considered only as human usage, for the few, after the big money for pelts. Please do not extend the season on our beautiful bobcats. Please send your comments. This plan is already in place and will become effective if your voice is not heard against this proposed plan. You can make a difference. The DEC will hear from the public on the matter Thursday, Feb. 16. Send your e-mail to or write NYSDEC Bobcat Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany 12233-4754; or call (518) 402-8924. Lorie Suits, Canajoharie Point-of-sale advertising To the editor: There is one licensed tobacco retailer for every 194 children in New York state. Tobacco companies spend a massive amount of money marketing their products in stores. Tobacco companies pay retailers to put their products in the most visible locations. In New York state, the tobacco industry spends approximately $1.1 million per day to market its products. Young people 18 and under are almost twice as likely as adults to recall tobacco advertising. Tobacco product advertising and display in store gives youth the impression that tobacco products are easily accessible. Young people are more likely to be influenced by cigarette advertising than peer pressure. Tobacco control policies can be developed for regulation on how tobacco can be marketed. Visit or to learn more about efforts to reduce tobacco marketing within stores. Sue Arminio, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor A true hometown hero To the editor: The Recorder lost a great opportunity in not reporting the Shawn Taylor story, the fire chief from Rotterdam Junction who was invited to be Paul Tonko's guest at President Obama's State of the Union address. He was given this honor for his quick evacuation of Rotterdam Junction which saved hundreds of lives when Hurricane Irene hit. After, he continued to give hope and help to many when the fire station served as a command post where people gathered, ate and received necessary items for survival. He went to Washington and again spoke to make the representatives aware of the severity of lost homes and disrupted lives. This story, which was run by the Gazette and covered by Fox News, could have brought hope and courage to those still suffering and trying to rebuild. It could have shown young people that a decisive decision in a moment can save people's lives. I wished the Recorder had chosen to honor a true hometown here, Shawn Taylor. Gail Vines, Amsterdam A family and community event To the editor: On Sunday, Jan. 22, a special event took place in Amsterdam that felt like both a family and a community activity. Amsterdam Reads, the local community read organization, invited World War II veterans to come to the Century Club and share their memories. The program was designed to encourage people to read this year's book, "Unbroken," by Laura Hillenbrand. About 100 people heard from six World War II vets who shared their stories. The Amsterdam Reads would like to thank the bakers, the Amsterdam High School Junior ROTC and Master Sgt. Wilday, the Amsterdam High School chorus and Pat Valiante, the Century Club and Mary Ann Metz, Tom Foster and Spinner Productions, Bob Cudmore from WVTL, Bob Going, Rob von Hasseln, Walter Elwood Museum and Ann Peconie, all the World War II vets and people that came. We would also like to send condolences to the family and friends of a World War II vet who planned to come but did not. Steve Fitz, the radio personality, planned to be part of this Reads program, but passed away the day before. Steve served on the U.S.S. Amsterdam. John Naple, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor A family offers its thanks To the editor: We do not know how to express how grateful we are for the care packages and donations many of you have sent to us. My husband and I knew that taking in these three small children would be challenging but yet rewarding. To see them smile or hear them laugh is priceless. We would not have been able to get through the holidays without your kindness, thoughts, prayers and donations. It has been many years since we have had little ones in our home; both of our children are in college. We prefer to send everyone a handwritten thank you but since we seem to be very occupied at this time, we realize that will not be possible. Thank you very much for thinking of us. The boys (age 6, 3 and 4 months) are adjusting well. We know that there will be more challenges ahead, emotionally and financially. We honestly believe that God would not give us more than we can handle. With each new day, we pray that we are able to bring a lot of love, guidance and happiness to their lives. We know that Carol is watching over all of us. We are so blessed that we are able to honor her by watching over her children each day. May God bless all of you who have thought of us, prayed for us or helped us in some way. We are so thankful to each and every one of you. We are in need of an addition to our home and have already had some people volunteer to help us build. Once we have enough lumber and supplies, we hope to begin that project. We hope one day that we are able to help another family as you have all helped us and continue to help us through our difficult time. Thank you. Loretta and Roger Blanchard Jr., Speculator Thank you all for being there To the editor: As we begin this new year of 2012, we (the family of Stephen Terlecky Sr.) would like to reflect back and give a heartfelt thank you to the community, caring friends, neighbors and our loving family for their support, devotion, dedication, prayers and most of all their love during our most difficult time. As we continue to relive that tragic day of Aug. 29, 2011, and the days, weeks and months following, we would like to reach out with empathy to those who have also endured loss and extend a sincere thank you to those who have supported us emotionally, physically and financially. Our lives have been touched by so many people and so many acts of kindness, it would be impossible to thank everyone in this small letter, but please know it has been greatly appreciated. We know our journey ahead may be challenging, but we keep focused on the clean-up and rebuilding of our business (Karen's Produce and Ice Cream), to carry on that very special legacy we were left. With our determination, dedication and strong family bond, we continue to work toward our goal of opening on April 10, 2012. On that very special day, we will be honoring our husband/father and we look forward to sharing that day with the community. Again, we thank all of you for being there in our time of need. The Family of Stephen Terlecky, Owners of Karen's Produce and Ice Cream, Amsterdam In this climate of change To the editor: In the continuing debate over global warming (climate change), of those who dogmatically believe that it is destroying the planet versus those who have doubts against such processes happening, there are two important scientific conclusions for the reader to understand. Scientists and climatologists have known that Earth's climate in times past has oscillated and fluctuated from warm temperatures to mini-ice ages (during the middle ages) and back to warm temperature once again. But these fluctuations do not destabilize the climate. Has planet Earth in times past been involved in a climate change so serious that even the surface of the planet was destroyed, along with all nature? That answer is the affirmative. That period of time of climactic catastrophe is known as the Great Flood of Noah or God's judgment on plant Earth. Not only was the planet submersed under water but also a host of global problems such as super volcanoes, earthquakes, hyper-canes the likes we will never experience. As serious as these catastrophic, cataclysmic events during that time were, our planet will not self-destruct due to human misuse. We all should do our part to keep clean the environment and our planet and not to pollute it. However, even with our pollution, Earth will not simply overheat because of greenhouse gases. Do not despair. There are also natural causes that is helping the Earth warm itself such as the Sun's activities that affect our planet and also the inner workings of our planet that contribute to the problem. In the book of Genesis 8:22, God tells us that while the Earth exists there will be summer and winter and cold and heat. The final fate of Earth and the inhabitants will be from God's hands, not ours. He will bring justice to the planet with a new Heaven and Earth, and salvation to those inhabitants that believe in Jesus the creator according to the dictates written in God's word, "the Holy Bible." The day of judgment according to the Bible is not too far in the future. I advise people to read the Bible and study the greatness of God's love for his creation (humanity) and be saved from the finality of God's judgment. Patrick Whelly, Tribes Hill Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Protect what we already have To the editor: It's not surprising at all to note that the most dedicated, determined, passionate conservationists who are constantly involved in forever protecting and preserving our natural forests, woodlands and their respective wildlife inhabitants, are also devout followers of a particular religion of their choice. The overall framework steadily materializing here being that nature, with all of its obvious treasures, are considered direct gifts from God to mankind, to be enjoyed, respected and cherished for all eternity, and should be totally accepted as such. Because of the current stagnant economic climate, many vacationers stayed close to home by traveling only to easily accessible state parks, outdoor recreational sites, etc., within reasonable distances, and, by doing so, became reacquainted with the very gifts mentioned, and immediately realized that they, too, should endorse the agendas of conservation in every way they possibly can. This renewed enthusiasm proclaiming that all of us must protect what we already have is welcomed news, because our forests, woodlands and wildlife species are being increasingly threatened, not only by a hostile environment, but more so because of unbelievably expanding human greed which, if allowed to remain unchecked, will eventually leave behind only desolate wastelands where one majestic forests reigned supreme. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Take advantage of the EITC To the editor: The IRS has proclaimed Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, EITC Day. EITC stands for the Earned Income Tax Credit which is a fully refundable credit available to many taxpayers with low to moderate income. The maximum credit this year is $5,751. However, according to IRS estimates, only four out of five eligible people claim and get their EITC. We want to raise that number to five out of five. They earned it, but must file and claim it to get it, meaning awareness is critical. Taxpayers may receive the EITC on their federal return even if they weren't otherwise required to file. New York state taxpayers may also be eligible for a New York state Earned Income Credit in addition to the federal credit. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Coalition of Fulton and Montgomery Counties prepares free federal and state tax returns for EITC-eligible taxpayers. For more information on tax preparation, credits or refunds, or to schedule an appointment, please contact one of the following: Fulmont Community Action Agency Inc. -- Amsterdam 842-0790; Fonda 853-8351; Fort Plain 993-3230; Gloversville 725-7110; Northville 863-2177; Fulton County Office for the Aging 736-5650; AARP 673-2943. Denis E. Wilson, Fonda Carrying out the mission To the editor: The Greater Amsterdam Lions Club has just completed its annual fundraising drive to support its community service activities. Once again, the people have come forth with their generous contributions to our services. We want to thank the Recorder for its distribution services and for editorial support and the public for its response. This will enable us to carry out our mission -- "We Serve" -- for another year. While this annual direct appeal is over, we are open to donations and memorial contributions throughout the year. Our address is P.O. Box 2, Amsterdam, N.Y. Thank you all, once again. Anthony Vecchio, Amsterdam Tourney organizers thankful To the editor: On Aug. 19, 2011, the eighth annual Dr. Sheridan Golf for a Cure Tournament was held at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. On behalf of the committee we would like to thank our major sponsors: New York Oncology and Hematology, Dr. Goslin and Dr. DeJesus, St. Mary's Hospital, CDPHP, St. Johnsville Nursing & Rehab Center, Cranesville Block, Cushing Stone, White Cottage Gardens, Kwiat Eye Center, Dr. Fox, Beckman Converting, Medical Office Online, BBL Management, Mountain Valley Hospice, Matrix, GMB Properties LLC, Cana Rx, Subway of Amsterdam, the 39 tee box sponsors, the area businesses who donated gift certificates and merchandise, golf pro Joe Merendo and his staff, Laura Elmendorf and her staff at the muni clubhouse, and golf committee member Ron Barone. This year's tournament raised over $25,000 and to date Dr. Sheridan has raised over $675,000 for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk. We look forward to the community joining us on Aug. 17, 2012, at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf course for the 9th annual Dr. Sheridan Golf for a Cure Tournament. Barbara Johnson and Scott Jackson, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Century Club says thanks To the editor: On behalf of the GFWC-Century Club of Amsterdam and the 2011 Festival of Trees committee, I would like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to all our wonderful sponsors and supporters, for without them this year's 20th anniversary celebration would not have been a success. A special thank you to: Alpin Haus; the Alumni Boosters-AHS Marching Rams; Altieri Auto Inc.; Amsterdam Rotary Club; Baptist Health Nursing & Rehabilitation Center; Barnett Agency Inc.; Bob's Paving LLC; New York Oncology/Hematology; St. Mary's Healthcare System; Sunshine Playhouse; Elaine Ko-Talmadge; John & Marilyn Boggie; Inglenook Realty; Lexington Home & Career Center; and Liberty ARC for sponsoring trees. A gracious thank you to: West End Wine & Liquor, Cameo Industries; David Jablonski Roofing; Riley's Moving & Storage; Charlie's Restaurant; Mohawk Dairy Store; Price Chopper, Amsterdam; Berkshire Farm Center & Services for Youth; Quandt's Food Service Distributors Inc.; City Lights Restaurant; Chatterbox Boutique; Price Rite-Schenectady; Raindancer Restaurant; Subway Sandwiches & Salads- Amsterdam; Cookie Lane; Hummingbird Hills Winery; Dr. Kurt Konieczny; Manny's Corner Liquor & Wine, U.S. Foods' McDonald's - Rte. 30; Amsterdam Printing; Spagnola & Spagnola Bookkeeping & Tax Service; Spinner Productions; Amsterdam Auto; Chef Lomanto's Kitchen; Diamond Nails; Dolci; Extreme Looks; Friendly's Ice Cream; Grandma Millie's Bakery; Halcyon Farm Bed & Breakfast; Hudson River Tractor Supply; LaCucina; Natural Bridge Farm; Noble Ace Hardware; Partner's Pub; Recovery Sports Grill; Rogers Orchard; Romana's Italian Kitchen; Ruby & Quiri; Ship 'N Copy; The Railyard Restaurant; Travers Family Restaurant; Union Hall Inn; Damiano's Florist; MCT Federal Credit Union; Bloomfield's Florists; White Cottage Garden; Bob's Trees; Miller Printing; and Design As One of donations for our various events, raffles and advertising. We would like to recognize: Joe Ciappetta, Edward Goodemote & the Amsterdam Singing Seniors, Rose Poole & the Liberty Bell Choir, Gary VanSlyke & the Liberty Choir and Stanley Wojeski for their wonderful entertainment during our group lunch & general admission daily -- they really helped us usher in the holiday season. Our new event this year was to showcase some of our local talent from the Amsterdam High School Select Choir, Fonda-Fultonville High School Select Chorus, St. Mary's Institute Chorus, St. Mary's Contemporary Choir and the FOVAPA Holiday Ensemble -- the evening of music was enjoyed by all. Last, but assuredly not least, I would like to thank all the wonderful decorators and volunteers for their superior talents and time that went into making our home a holiday show place. From the outside entrance to the entrance hall, the unique gift shop, to "Main Street Amsterdam" in the main hall with 20 beautifully decorated trees, and into "George and Mary's living room" on stage -- I hope we expressed that we all have a "Wonderful Life" with many an "Angel Among Us" in this community we all call home. Kim Rogers, Fultonville Toys for Tots a success To the editor: On behalf of the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation, Adirondack Detachment 787, Marine Corps League, Mayfield, and the children of Fulton and Montgomery counties, I wish to express my gratitude to all who supported the 2011 campaign. This year, many families were without work and the devastating floods throughout our area made it difficult for families to provide for their children this Christmas. Your participation helped to provide more than 1,385 area children the joy of opening a new toy on Christmas morning. Close to 4,000 toys were distributed this year and your contributions made that possible. I want to thank the local businesses, organizations and private citizens that made financial donations and especially Jack Callery and the F.M. United Fund for their more than generous gift. I also need to thank the local businesses and their customers that participated in the "buy a choo choo" fundraiser. All these donations helped to provide the extra funds needed to purchase toys for the kids. This year over 75 businesses, organizations and private offices were kind enough to set up one of our drop boxes. By providing a space for one of our collection boxes, you not only provided a place for someone to drop a toy, but also kept the image of Toys for Tots and what it means in the mind of the public. And whether it was just a few toys or a couple of pick-up trucks full, each and every toy counted. And although it is impossible to list them all, I need to express a special thanks to the Amsterdam Marching Rams "Light up the Sky" program, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., Gabriel Construction of Amsterdam, Jackies Diner, Lexington Day Hab of Johnstown, LOOM 1185 of Johnstown, Main Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, Ruby & Quiri, Steet Toyota, Townsend Leather and the Vintage Cafe. These businesses/organizations went above and beyond in their support for this year's drive. And last but not least, I need to thank all my volunteers, especially my wife Mary. Without them, there would be no Toys for Tots campaign conducted. These are the ones who gave of their time to help me help the kids. I truly appreciate your time and effort in completing our mission of no child going without a toy on Christmas. Semper Fi. John Pradelski, Johnstown Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Make it easier to live To the editor: Most will remember our former governor, Elliot Spitzer. I wonder how many will remember his proposal to tax illegal drugs. No really, he wanted drug dealers to buy tax stamps for the drugs that they intended to sell. Which is actually worse than the way I remembered it. I thought he wanted to, in essence, fine the dealers per unit of illicit drugs with which they were caught. Nope, he really expected dealers to go buy tax stamps from the state in order to avoid tax evasion prosecution. It staggers the imagination how this guy got elected, but that's another story. "It was a way of getting tougher on criminals," said Joseph D. Henchman, tax counsel for the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based educational group. "It kind of boggles my mind. If you want to get tougher on drug dealers, increase the penalties. "It's just weird to put an excise tax on an illegal substance," Henchman said. "When you tax something, it's a way for the government to say you can have it, but we want a piece of it. It's sending a mixed signal." This from the Tax Foundation web site. In other words, taxing a substance legitimizes that substance at least to some degree. The government is saying, "Sure use that substance, we know you want it, you need it so we are going to get a piece of the action." That idea had an impact on me when I read the AP story on Spitzer's lunacy. I got to thinking what other substances does the government legitimize by taxing the hell right out of them. Gas and cigarettes come to mind. For all the rhetoric flying out there about the evils of tobacco, the government really doesn't mind getting its cut, does it? It's been said by people smarter than I, "If the government really wanted people to quit smoking, it would outlaw tobacco." A government that can outlaw burn barrels in rural back yards, and bug bombs, can't seem to legislate tobacco out of existence? A federal government that can eliminate incandescent light bulbs can't seem to rid the country of the scourge of smoking and smokeless tobacco? Sounds fishy to me. Much has been said about the evil 1 percent that has allegedly pillaged the American economy and how that percentage ought to be, in effect, punished for its prosperity. Little is said about the percentage that continues to oppress the people that can least afford the burden of over-taxation. Under the guise of promoting good health and a clean environment there are legislators that continue to tax a segment of the population that can least afford it: the working and non-working poor. Often these legislators are the very ones that claim to champion the disadvantaged. Often these citizens find themselves supporting the very same politicians as a way of "getting even with the evil rich." Don't misinterpret: I am not advocating tobacco use. I'm trying to illustrate a point that is often lost. The people that claim to represent and advocate for the downtrodden are the ones treading on them. Not just with exorbitant tobacco taxes but with all taxes on things we want and need. If this government or the next really wants to spur this economy it will make it easy for people to live. That's it. Make it easier for people to go about and live their daily lives without undue taxation or regulation. Make it easier both financially and emotionally. Charles Kubly Jr., Fonda Irresponsible spending? To the editor: I just completed reading the article about the elimination of a position in GASD with the distribution of duties from the eliminated position. This action reportedly resulted in salary increases for certain administrators who had their duties increased. Apparently three of seven board members voted against this action. Further, the Recorder article stated, "Perillo said of Preston's former duties 90 percent were doled to Donna Decker." I am disturbed by the board's majority vote favoring the pay increase during these trying times for property owners. Also based on the foregoing quotation of Mr. Perillo I have to conclude that Ms. Decker was not fully utilized before being given the additional load of 90 percent of Preston's duties or Preston's duties were very light. It seems that the superintendent and the majority of this new board are either totally out of contact with the wishes of the property owners or incompetent. I do not believe the action reported by the Recorder can fall under the caption of "mandate," which I have heard too often as an excuse of budgetary actions This action appears to preview the board's attitude for the upcoming school budget -- more irresponsible spending. Michael J. Orapello, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor It hasn't even been two weeks To the editor: It has not even been two weeks since I have been out of office as the 2nd Ward county supervisor and I find myself writing this letter. Supervisor Quackenbush's final quote that appeared in the Recorder on Jan. 11, 2012, on Page 7 motivated me to write this letter. It made me question why I was advised that the process of our committee meetings was to attend each committee meeting to review resolutions and be knowledgeable in order to vote at the full board meeting -- this is the responsibility of being a county supervisor. Discussions, questions and views regarding a resolution from supervisors not on the committee were always allowed. Add-on resolutions were always frowned upon or not allowed at full board meetings due to discussions. Also, attendance is taken at each committee meeting whether you were on the committee or not. Supervisor Quackenbush's quote: "Why bother having a committee if everyone is going to show up and participate? You might as well have a Committee of the Whole for every meeting." What is wrong with this statement? Do you not wish to have your supervisor "show up and participate?" Isn't this why we have elected officials? This statement does not reflect as to how I was living the past six years. The purpose was to discuss resolutions in committee by all and not at the full board meeting. Everyone was allowed to give their input whether on a committee or not. I expect my present supervisor to have the ability to speak up at each and every committee meeting whether he is a member or not. This is why he is a representative of my ward. A resolution to allow any supervisor to speak and participate in committee meetings of which they are not members should not have come to this level. This is a democracy and all supervisors represent the residents of Montgomery County and have always been allowed to speak, not just those that can speak on designated committees. Concerned about chairs? Years ago a few supervisors threw chairs at one another. When I first became supervisor at my first meeting, another supervisor was sitting where my predecessor sat. Rather than drawing attention to myself or the situation by sitting in the audience, I remained in that seat and resolved the issue the following week between myself and the other supervisor who I worked very well with. You do not need a resolution to establish rules for behaviors of supervisors; you need respect for one another. P.S.: Prior to becoming a supervisor, Mr. Chiara was very vocal and critical of the prior board of supervisors for not taking a pay cut during budget cuts. I am very interested to see if a resolution will be sponsored by Supervisor Chiara. Barbara Johnson, Amsterdam Superintendent: It's just not fair To the editor: To his credit, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently determined that the former state payroll taxing formula was, in his words, "just not fair." He and our legislators took some important steps to address the inequities, the most significant of which is the welcome change to state income tax rates that will result in higher rates for the highest income residents, while providing some measure of relief to lower- and middle-class residents. But for those of us who are either working to prepare school district budgets, or the taxpayers who are dreading the release of those budgets, there are other urgent inequalities being propagated upon the citizens of our state of which our governor and legislators are fully aware, and which 15 of our upstate senators, including Sen. Farley, have now publicly opposed in a letter sent to the governor Dec. 29, 2011. Those are the huge cuts in school aid that have been enacted these past several years upon the school districts that are least able to absorb those cuts, along with the long-present inequalities in the state aid formulas for school districts. Citizens of New York state need to know that there has been a great disparity in the application of the cuts, as evidenced by the fact that, last year, every district in Fulton County experienced a cut greater than the state average. This occurred despite the fact that the poverty rate for these districts, as calculated by the percentage of students receiving free/reduced lunch, range from a low of 30 percent in Broadalbin-Perth to a high of 68 percent in Gloversville. The cuts per pupil in those districts for their 2011-2012 budgets were $1,444 for B-P and $942 for Gloversville. Other Fulton County districts with similar or higher poverty rates received cuts as high as $1,870 (Wheelerville) and $1,797 (Mayfield). Contrast those numbers to similar-sized districts in our state such as $364 in Sag Harbor in Suffolk County, a district virtually the same size as Mayfield but with a poverty rate of 0 percent. Or consider the $285 per pupil cut in Eastchester School District in Westchester County, with 10 fewer students than Gloversville, also with a 0 percent poverty rate. Then ask yourselves which districts are better able to manage per pupil state aid cuts in the four digits. Even in my so-called "wealthy" district (according to formulas used by the state Education Department) such as Northville, with a poverty rate of 39 percent, we experienced a cut of $1,160 per pupil in 2011-2012 which, when calculated on a full scale, comprised 13 percent of the total local tax levy from the previous school year. The total loss of state aid to the seven school districts in Fulton County in a single school year was $10,429,915. Studies on the impact of these cuts showed that districts adapted to the aid reductions primarily in two ways: either by reducing staffing, programs and services for students, or raising their local levies. Most districts did both, with students and taxpayers paying the price. Those cuts in personnel and services simply cannot be sustained, nor can the increases in the levies. The solution to such injustices, as Gov. Cuomo has found, is to realign the impact based upon people's ability to pay. Just as he led the effort to adjust the tax rates, so, too, should he be listening to the pleas of school districts' leaders, the voices of the 15 senators, and as New York state's chief executive officer, leading the charge to correct the injustice that is inherent in the current funding state aid formulas in our rural and small city school districts. Kathy Dougherty, Northville The writer is superintendent of the Northville Central School District. Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor The citizens deserve better To the editor: The new year for city government is not encouraging. Your news article on the recent Common Council meeting was disappointing. Your editorial concerning the change in corporation counsel was hasty and not sufficiently justified. You should be condemning both the mayor and common council for the continued rancor and discord. The city is faced with many enormous problems, including budgetary, aging infrastructure, decreasing population, unsatisfactory school performance and inadequate business environment. We need responsible decisions and actions to better control our budget, encourage business opportunities, and increase taxable properties. We should insist on mature, reasonable and responsible city government. We need leaders with a clear vision for our future. Amsterdam's future is the issue. We will not be able to accomplish anything significant with continued pettiness and division. The citizens of this city deserve better. Michael J. Orapello, Amsterdam Light display a huge success To the editor: On behalf of the AHS Marching Rams, booster club and alumni, we would like to thank Mayor Ann Thane, the Amsterdam Police Department and the Amsterdam Fire Department for their help in making our 13th annual fund-raiser, "Light Up the Sky with the Marching Rams," a huge success. Also, special thanks to Sean Hardies who helps keep the show glowing. Thank you to the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, the Recorder, the Leader-Herald, Gazette, WCSS, WVTL and Albany Broadcasting for advertising our show and the other helpful "Santas" printed in our program. It was very much appreciated. Thanks to all of the school districts who allowed us to distribute our flyers to all of their students. We appreciate your support. Our show has become a yearly tradition for families from Amsterdam and all surrounding communities. We cannot forget to give thanks to neighbors bordering 154 Brookside premises for their patience for the duration of our show. To our committees who, once again, proved that working together for their children makes a successful event even more successful, thank you, thank you. It was a pleasure working with each and every one of you. Without your commitment and dedication, there would be no show. Together, we raised over $17, 640 for the AHS Marching Rams, collected numerous toys for tots and much food for the Catholic Charities food pantry. We hope that everyone who had the opportunity to drive through this amazing show of hundreds of homemade wooden display pieces and millions of lights, enjoyed the venture as much as we enjoyed putting on another fabulous show for you. We will be back in December 2012 with new displays and our dancing characters. We wish all of you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. See you in December. Linda Selbert and Sue Gray, chairpersons, Amsterdam Leadership in the 21st century To the editor: A short while ago, the Recorder published a letter I submitted, focusing upon management's excellent decision to enter into an agreement with the Times Union to provide a Sunday edition of (TU) for local and county residents to read. Quite unexpectedly I've become a recipient of rather good news, resulting directly from this arrangement. When the Times Union's art editor, Michael Janairo, invited readers to submit their thoughts about the past year's art activities, I sent in a response. It eventually appeared in print and obviously widely circulated not only via the Times Union's established 325,000 readership, but also photocopies, e-mails, etc., resulting in an avalanche of inquiries about the possibilities of my unretiring and preparing art work once again. That scenario is unlikely. However, the church administration and ministry network people who exclusively distributed my renderings over the years also saw the letter and informed me that their various depository sites around the country still had existing inventories of my art, which, with my permission, would be offered as prizes along with cash awards for written essay contests involving grade five level students. The purpose of these competitions being to ensure that principle of recognizing the vital importance of the youngsters enhancing their abilities to read, write and personally communicate with others and not rely solely upon push button, electronic capitalizes, will be fulfilled. The offer was additionally sweetened considerably by the promise that if a locally based non-profit entity agrees to oversee the individual essay contests, the program will be made available here. Needless to say, the proposal was accepted and a specific non-profit organization will be approached to consider becoming a participant in the project. One of the goals most newspapers appear to strive for is to always keep in touch with the needs, and also help solve the problems confronting the communities they are reaching out to. The Recorder, by joining with the Times Union, has done that in one small way, not by direct design but by simply establishing an objective solution to an existing problem, and then making it happen. That's the kind of leadership which is needed to succeed in the 21st century. Once again, congratulations Recorder management. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Forgiveness for Bible thief To the editor: To whomever stole my military-camouflaged Bible carrying case from my car on Christmas Day: As you know by now, there is nothing of any significant monetary value that you could possibly sell -- save, perhaps for "The Very Best of Badfinger" CD (you'd get very little for it) and a few postage stamps. The few football cards are of obscure players that nobody remembers. Beyond that, I have important personal papers and Christian literature inside. I have other Bibles, but that one was given to me eight Christmas ago and has obvious sentimental value. You may want to open the Bible to read what it says about thieves. The irony is that you stole from someone who is probably poorer than yourself. I live alone and gross roughly $13,000 in a good year. I wouldn't expect a calloused soul to return the case, but if you are truly penitent, you can leave it in or near my mailbox at 21 Bunn St. Is it any wonder that, whenever I leave my apartment, I go into "paranoid mode" and prefer not to talk to or even smile at the strangers I encounter? My advice to all, especially to the very young and very old, is to never place complete trust in any earthly human. Because we no longer have a common American culture (we live in increasingly segmented communities where values, ethics, morals and even truth are alarmingly relative and shockingly subjective), this is, fortunately, becoming easier to do. By the way: Because Christ forgave and still forgives me, I choose to forgive you. To whomever stole my military-camouflaged Bible carrying case from my car on Christmas Day: As you know by now, there is nothing of any significant monetary value that you could possibly sell -- save, perhaps for "The Very Best of Badfinger" CD (you'd get very little for it) and a few postage stamps. The few football cards are of obscure players that nobody remembers. Beyond that, I have important personal papers and Christian literature inside. I have other Bibles, but that one was given to me eight Christmas ago and has obvious sentimental value. You may want to open the Bible to read what it says about thieves. The irony is that you stole from someone who is probably poorer than yourself. I live alone and gross roughly $13,000 in a good year. I wouldn't expect a calloused soul to return the case, but if you are truly penitent, you can leave it in or near my mailbox at 21 Bunn St. Is it any wonder that, whenever I leave my apartment, I go into "paranoid mode" and prefer not to talk to or even smile at the strangers I encounter? My advice to all, especially to the very young and very old, is to never place complete trust in any earthly human. Because we no longer have a common American culture (we live in increasingly segmented communities where values, ethics, morals and even truth are alarmingly relative and shockingly subjective), this is, fortunately, becoming easier to do. By the way: Because Christ forgave and still forgives me, I choose to forgive you. John Salerno, Amsterdam Thanks for the kind thoughts To the editor: I want to thank all my relatives and friends for their prayers and concern for me when I fell Thanksgiving Day and broke my hip. I also send a special thank you to all the staff at the Wilkinson Care Center for the care they gave me while a patient there. They are the best. I made many friends while I was there that I will never forget. Mary Anne Nichols, Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Wishes for the new year To the editor: My wish for the New Year is that the "mudslinging" in politics will come to an end. May the sun shine upon the United States and dry up the "mud" in today's politics. The verbal adult bullying needs to stop. The American people are tired of turning on their televisions and computers to only hear another "muddy" politician. May the sun shine upon our politicians in 2012. Robyn Stultz, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Open letter to wonderful people To the editor: On Tuesday, Dec. 20, we witnessed a minor miracle and want to thank a lot of wonderful, giving people who helped to make this happen. On this night, the Comfort Zone Ministry Volunteers gave away over 3,000 items in less than an hour. During the year, we write a thank you note to each person or organization that makes a donation to the ministry. Within the last two weeks, the response has been so tremendous that we have not been able to keep up. So, we are choosing an open letter to tell all the people of the Amsterdam area how wonderful they are. On distribution night, the 3,000 items included toys, paper products, bars of soap, knitted items, and household products. Where did this come from? It came from the following churches: Trinity Lutheran, United Methodist, United Presbyterian, St. Stanislaus, St. Mary's, St. Ann's, St. Luke's, and the Woestina Reformed Church in Rotterdam. It also came from Wal-Mart, Dollar General, Green Fiber, the Port Jackson Women's Bocce League, United Presbyterian knitting group, and many wonderful people in Amsterdam and the surrounding communities. When the ministry first began in April 2009, we had 40 families come for help. We now have over 700 families. The people of Amsterdam and the surrounding communities have met some of the basic needs of these people. So, to all of you, and you know who you are, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making our dream of helping others become a reality. The Comfort Zone Ministry distribution is held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the fellowship hall in Trinity Lutheran Church. When the distribution is over there is a short (10 minute) nondenominational service led by Pastor Hodgetts and Father Medwid. People are not required to attend this service but may do so or leave prayer wishes if they so desire. If you have any questions, please call Jean Amy Swenson (842-2280) or Bette Errig (843-7182). God Bless you all for your wonderful giving spirit. Jean Amy Swenson and Bette Errig Amsterdam Make your teens read this letter To the editor: Relative to the recent suicide of a 14-year-old Buffalo suburban high school lad, add these thoughts of mine to the appropriate but one-sided demands for strict/stricter curbs on school hall and Internet bullying: Divulging and blabbing about one's homosexual or bi-sexual leanings, any honest educator will admit, is fraught with potential consequences of the aforementioned tragic nature. Why, then, no corresponding demand that schools require students, under pain of expulsion or transfer, to keep mum about such things? To the school, media, law enforcement, etc., professionals, the candid answer is anything but complimentary. But here it is: The fact that promiscuity-encouraging and illegitimacy-fostering sex teaching has proved a boon to sex-related news reporting and public payrolled school employment, is no trade secret. Which, hence, explains why the homosexual sodomy "rights"-related indoctrination of minors continues unabated. Get the picture, do you? Now sit your teens down right now, folks, and make them read this letter. Explain how they're being literally used and manipulated for despicable nest-feathering purposes. Hopefully, the truth will filter down to the student bodies. Hopefully, too, your thinking youngsters will act fraternally to coax any troubled peers (A) to confide in a natural law-grounded clergyperson, and (B) to reject their schools' church-state separation-ignoring doings for the moral/spiritual poison that they truly are. Joseph A. Carnevale, Buffalo Friday, May 31, 2013 A tribute to a gentle giant To the editor: The town of Florida lost a friend in a tragic accident on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. My family and I called him Farmer Mike, some called him Big Red, some called him Papa Mike. Farmer Mike was a family farmer who could probably count on one hand the number of days he spent away from the farm in his entire life. To my knowledge, he'd never been on an airplane and never traveled more than a few hundred miles from home. From the time he was young, seven days a week, 365 days a year, he tended to farm chores, cared for the cows, and worked the fields. His dedication to his farm came second, only to his dedication to his family, friends, and even sometimes a stranger who needed help. Farmer Mike was always dressed in stained work clothes, always had a bit of dirt on his big hands, and mud on his boots, but underneath his rough weathered exterior, he possessed a keen intellect, a warm sense of humor, a sharp wit, a grounded common sense, and an incredible knowledge of things that grow. I once stood next to his barn with him, looking at the grass, and he proceeded to spend a considerable amount of time explaining to me the different types of grass I was looking at, and which grass was good for this, and which grass was good for that. To me, grass was just grass, until Farmer Mike set me straight. When I first met Mike, I was visiting relatives in the town of Florida. Most farmers probably would have considered me a flatlander, or a city slicker. But Mike's warm welcome and growing friendship with each time I visited was one of the deciding factors in uprooting me from where I grew up, moving 200 miles, and settling in his neighborhood. It truly is his neighborhood. Time after time when we talked, he spoke of the history of the town, the history of the farms, and the history of the people here. Very few individuals today have a knowledge of their community like Mike had. He was always there for me, whether I needed something welded, needed to borrow a tool, needed a nut and bolt, or even borrow his truck. He never boasted, but I know for a fact that he treated everyone he came across in the same manner as he treated me. I've lost loved ones, my parents, relatives and friends. It's always difficult, always sad, but never have I seen the amount of people, and the outpouring of emotion, especially the many big rugged men with tears in their eyes as I did at Farmer Mike's service. This is indeed a testament to who he was, and how he was loved. The hundreds of people who pass by his farm every day will surely miss waving to Farmer Mike. I'm sure I, as well as many others, will choke up when driving by, knowing Mike's not there to wave back. Never in my life have I known someone who could so appropriately be referred to as a gentle giant. The loss of this great big man, with the great big smile, great big wave, great big handshake, and great big heart leaves a great big empty space in the hearts of all who knew him. Frank Lowe, Town of Florida There are reasons for joy To the editor: It is only six days until Christmas as I write this letter. It won't be elaborate this year. There probably will not be piles of gifts underneath an "8-foot tree." The dozens of cookies, multiple pies, 10-pound roast and door full of cards have become part of the past. Still, I am grateful. I am thankful. I have some hope in my heart. In spite of the headlines, the news flashes of dread, disaster and death, I have reasons for "joy." There are some wonderful people in this world, country, state and city. They probably won't be the posted on Facebook or even make it to Who's Who. They are the silent givers, the volunteers, the holiday workers, the elderly lady pulling a grocery cart. They are our mothers, daughters, neighbors, sisters and friends. They are our pets, animal companions, individuals without homes, children crying in a crowded store. So this year, this Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah and yule, stop a moment, shake a hand, give a hug, share a smile, donate a meal, make a call from your "cell." Be grateful for someone/something in your life. Keep sit simple and leave your light. Thank you for another year. Francine Farina, Amsterdam Carrying on family traditions To the editor: This is in response to Sandy Mead's letter published Dec. 20. Thank you, Mrs. Mead, for putting into words something we've long thought. But take heart, all is not lost. Our family still carries on many of the traditions of the past but as our children marry, they add new ones to their family makeup. Hopefully, some of which our grandchildren will carry on. Mangers are still set up under the tree and letters written to Santa. In fact our 8-year-old granddaughter wrote to Santa and asked for one thing (Barbie hair extensions) then noted that Christmas really wasn't about presents but it was for spending time with family. God willing, she'll carry that feeling the rest of her life and pass it on to others. So this year, we'll sing our favorite (traditional) songs and still wish everyone we see "Merry Christmas" (never using the short version with an "X"). C. Samolis, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Remembering the flood victims To the editor: The summer of 2011 will long be remembered for its floods, tragic loss of life, and unending hardships for our Montgomery County communities. We, as a small community-based group, would like to remember this time where we all came together for a common cause -- our neighbors -- and helped in some small way to make the lives of those affected a little better. During summer months events took place in the Fonda and Fultonville villages that raised funds greatly needed by over 200 families devastated by tropical storms Irene and Lee. We would like to thank the mayors of Fonda and Fultonville, Kim Flanders and Robert Headwell, respectively, for their support in the use of village streets for a barrel drive during the Fonda Fair. Undersheriff Jeff Smith and his deputies who provided a safe environment to collect the funds from motorists, who graciously gave to those they did not know. The Fonda and Fultonville fire departments along with Ray Tylulki of 1st on Scene provided safety vests for volunteers. Steve Monk, Jerry Rose for your assistance throughout the day. To the volunteers that stood in the 90-plus degree weather and gave of your day to help those in need. A very special thank you to Lori Snyder for taking on the task of public relations. Thank you, everyone. The spaghetti supper held at the Fonda-Fultonville Elementary School was the second push for funds from a community that had already given so much. Thank you to the school board along with Dr. Hoffman for allowing and providing a place to hold the event, the staff and faculty of F-FCS, the PTA, for your donations, the Builder's Club along with family and friends, for coming out to help serve the dinners. To Michael and Patricia Grandy from Michael's Diner for your assistance, and to all of the volunteers that came prepared to help. We would also like to thank the many community businesses that helped with donated items, money and support time and time again. Any remaining food that was uncooked at our event was passed on to the Rotterdam Junction area which allowed their volunteers to serve another 150 members working in that area that was also hit hard by the flooding. To all of you that have rebounded from the floods, and to all of you that are still struggling, we continue to keep you in our thoughts and may each of you have a blessed holiday season and a safe, happy and healthy new year. Linda Denton, Fultonville This letter was also signed by Heather Rose, Lisa Dumar and Chantel Cooke, all volunteers and area residents who help raise funds for local flood victims. Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Whatever happened to traditional Christmas values? To the editor: I usually do not voice my opinion about controversial topics to anyone other than my family and friends but I am so tired of trying not to offend others or being afraid of saying what is on my mind. The last I remember, freedom of speech was our constitutional right. I don't care about being politically correct anymore. As far as I am concerned, being politically correct is a bunch of nonsense anyway. Who even came up with that term? It's the modern day politicians and our retailers that have made Christmas a money-making scheme and I am just plain sick of it. I am 43 years old and can always remember singing along to Christmas songs at school, home and in the car. I remember every word to these songs til this day. Waiting for Santa Claus to bring you presents and going over to my grandmother's on Bunn Street for Christmas eve and then having Christmas day dinner with my parents, my grandmother (Babci), my Uncle Bernie, my aunt (Cioci), my cousins and other extended family. That's what it was all about -- kids and family and the most important reason, Jesus was born. It was not just my generation, it was my parents and their parents before them and so on that kept these traditions going. Little by little those traditions are fading away. It seems that kids don't want to believe in Santa Claus at an early age and all they do is care about what expensive electronic gadget they have on their list or what $200 pair of UGG boots they want because "everybody else has them." What happened to the simple way of growing up and appreciating everything you had regardless of the name tag? Here's an idea, maybe play outside for a few hours rather than sitting in front of video games or texting on your cell phone. The magic of Christmas is supposed to be about children and family. The route our wonderful government and our retailers are taking us is in the opposite direction. Who gives them the right to make us say "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas?" Who gives them the right to only teach certain Christmas songs in school? I did attend Catholic schools all of my grade school and high school days and maybe it is because of my upbringing that I feel very strongly. But I rode the bus and had many friends that attended public schools and you know what? They had the same traditions and sang the same Christmas songs I did. This is what brings me to the original reason I decided to write this. My 5-year-old daughter just had her first Christmas concert at school last week. (Oops. Maybe I should have said "holiday" concert). I was really looking forward to this and to be able to hear and see all of the kids singing all the traditional Christmas songs that have been sung at Christmas (there I go again) time for many, many years. But to my surprise, I recognized maybe two or three out of the songs they sang. What, now we have to add Spanish songs in order to be politically correct? We are in an English-speaking country. You want to live here and attend our schools, learn the English language, don't make us accommodate you. When I was in eighth grade we had a student from Poland that came to our school and you know what? He had to learn the English language, not us learning the Polish language. After many long hours and tutoring, he did it and succeeded. Why can't everyone make an effort to enforce our beliefs and keep them strong? So I try to play and sing to the traditionally correct Christmas songs and watch the kids' Christmas specials on TV that the rest of us grew up on, and hope that they will see the magic and spirit of Christmas that I did at a young age. It seems that we are operating on such a fast-paced society now, no one seems to have time to sit back and enjoy the real reason of Christmas. It's rush, rush, rush all the time. It makes me scared for my kids and their kids some day, that they will be forced to keep up the pace regardless of how hard us as parents try to keep things as simple and traditional as we can. I am sure there will be a rebuttal letter in the paper against mine (if mine gets in), which is OK because freedom of speech is our constitutional right (for now -- until we have no more freedom at all and our everyday lives will be dictated by someone else). That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Merry Christmas and happy New Year everyone. God bless you. Sandy Mead, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Success with spaghetti To the editor: St. Mary's Institute recently opened its doors for its first fundraising event since the school sustained major flooding in early October caused by a water main break. Guests for the annual spaghetti dinner and auction held on Dec. 4 were treated not only to a delicious meal but were able to view the many improvements made to the school. On behalf of the entire student body, the faculty and staff of St. Mary's Institute, the Home & School Association, the school board and Father Medwid, I would like to express my deepest thanks to the community for supporting this year's record-breaking event with over 1,000 dinners served. Guests were treated to a memorable afternoon which featured exciting auctions and raffles, wonderful entertainment and a delicious homemade dinner prepared by my parents, owners of Sovrana's Pizza & Deli in Albany. This year's dinner committee included Lori Stachnik, Christine DiCaprio-Yandik, Sandy Blanchard, Liz Tesiero, Jeanette Constantine, Jennifer Leonard, Kristin Pasquarelli, Joan Krohn, Christine Potter and Gina McNamara. Many thanks are due to these women who so generously gave of their time and talents. Our sincere appreciation goes to our corporate sponsors: Greno Industries, AGT Services Inc., Power & Composite Technologies LLC, St. Mary's Hospital, Betz, Rossi, Bellinger & Stewart, Blasper Company Inc. and Richard T. Horigan. We owe a special thank you to Lou's Electric for donating the installation of our school's new dishwasher which was purchased following a fundraiser coordinated by our Home & School Association. The dishwasher was installed and unveiled just in time for the dinner. Thank you to our in-kind donors Bartyzel Inc., Bill's Wholesale Beverages, Bloomfields, Damiano's Flowers, Hannaford, Mannys Corners Wine & Liquor, Mohawk Dairy, Slezak Petroleum, Wal-Mart White Cottage Gardens, and WCSS for your contributions. We are very grateful to the many businesses and individuals who donated baskets and items for our silent and penny auctions. Thank you to the talented lineup of performers who provided the musical entertainment for the afternoon -- Rachelle Cotugno, the SMI Chorus, Girl Scout Troup 2316, Joan Krohn, Peter Capobianco and Reyers Brusoe. Many thanks to SMI art teacher, Mrs. Christine Potter, and her students for the beautiful artwork that adorned the cafeteria, gymnasium and hallways. Thank you to Mrs. Bernadette Pecora, student council advisor, and the 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes who did an amazing job serving our guests. You did SMI proud. Thanks to Matt Constantine and his facilities staff for their hard work and dedication. The St. Mary's Institute spaghetti dinner is a time-honored tradition and a true community event. It is the result of months of planning, weeks of working, and days of fine-tuning rolled into one spectacular December afternoon. An old Italian proverb sums it up best: "come semini, cosi raccogli: As you sow, so shall you reap." We look forward to seeing you next year. Giovanni Virgiglio Jr., Amsterdam The writer is principal at St. Mary's Institute. Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Book donations help museum To the editor: The board of trustees of the Walter Elwood Museum would like to take this time to formally and publically thank Bob Cudmore for the donation of $250 from a book signing he held on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2011, at the Coffee Beanery. Mr. Cudmore donated $6 from the sale of each of his book, "Stories from the Mohawk Valley" to the museum due to the severe damage suffered in the Hurricane Irene flood disaster. Nearly 40 books were sold that day which made this signing the most successful book signing to date in terms of books sold and monies raised. Ann Peconie, executive director of the museum, is extremely grateful to Bob Cudmore and all those who attended the book signing and came out to support the museum and our local history and for their thoughtful generosity and support. Ann Peconie, Amsterdam Finding success with pasta To the editor: The Broadalbin-Perth Sports Booster Club recently held its second annual pasta dinner fundraiser, and the event was a huge success with more than 200 dinners sold. We would like to thank the following for all of their help and support: Spinnaker Realty, Wal-Mart, Price Chopper, Charlie's Restaurant, Mary Ann's Restaurant, Pizza Supreme, Lanzi's on the Lake, Meatland, Adirondack Beverage, Antonucci Produce, Stewart's, Subway of Broadalbin and Mayfield, Big Daddy's Bakery, Vandeline's, Raindancer Restaurant, Hannaford, M&M Printing & Design, athletic director Adam Barnhart, the Broadalbin-Perth High School custodial staff, food service director George Hanstein and his staff, all of the B-P coaches and student athletes, and all of the parents and community members who came out to show their support. A special thank you to Lisa Zarecki for organizing the event and to all of our booster club volunteers for making it run so smoothly. Good luck to all of our B-P student athletes during the winter sport season. Jeff Simonson, Broadalbin Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Thinking outside the big box To the editor: I was shopping in Saratoga the other day, when I saw a man carrying a big sign. Not a mob of protesters, just one guy, quietly carrying a sign on a pole. I don't remember what he looked like, except he wasn't extraordinary in any way -- just a young guy, wool hat, jeans. The sign said, "Everything's Okay, Just Keep Shopping." I was puzzled. As often when my kids talk to me, I couldn't decide if he was using withering sarcasm or helpfully trying to talk me down from the ledge. What was he trying to say? Did he mean it sarcastically? "Oh, everything's OK, sure, fine, go on, all you ostriches -- bury your heads in the sand and enjoy your maniacal pursuit of Black Friday deals before the galaxy comes crashing down on you ..." Sarcasm is never helpful. Or did he mean it sincerely? "Everything's OK, it's not as bad as it sounds, the economy won't collapse and things might work out as long as we all take a deep breath, calm down, and keep shopping." Well, yes. I tend toward the sincere. There seem to be a lot of headlines these days like, "Jittery Investors Fuel Market Plunge," etc. We could all calm down a little. OK, keep shopping. But shopping where? Amsterdam is getting surrounded by big, big, chain stores. I know that the big box stores have the best deals on the necessities of life, like bread, milk and Oreos. But at this gift-giving season, I'm trying to think small -- and to think, if you'll forgive the expression, outside the box. There are so many great small businesses in our town, and I'm trying to remember to check them out instead of automatically running to the biggies. It's hard to find extra money to donate to charities, but I like to shop at them. For example, a not-for-profit store called Ten Thousand Villages sells gorgeous, reasonably priced gifts. Everything's made by hand, by craftspeople in third-world countries struggling to rebuild their lives. It's hard to be green anytime, but especially so at Christmas. Face it: No kid is going to give you a big hug for a present or a certificate that says, "A Tree Has Been Planted In Your Name." But organizations like World Wildlife Fund and National Wildlife Federation will send you a big, cuddly stuffed manatee or panda bear if you "adopt" an endangered species by making a contribution. The grocery store is great for canned soup and toilet paper, but there are farmers' markets and farm stands (especially the ones that got hammered by the floods) that really need our support. Squash, pumpkins, cheese, tomato sauce -- everything tastes better if it's local, not trucked in from California, and it's better for the environment as well as our neighbors' businesses. Everything's OK, just keep shopping. Well, if sincere, that sentiment is far too optimistic. Everything's not OK; these are very tough times. But let's keep shopping anyway. Anita Sanchez, Amsterdam In need of answers To the editor: They said the reason for the cuts is that people are taking advantage of the system. Maybe in some way that is true. Let me say my peace. You can't blame the people who are getting services. Come on here. The people that they talk to tell them what to say to get full benefits, and I know it for a fact. So here we go. I went down to Schenectady with a young man about his payee. He was gonna move in with me, and change his payee. The man we spoke to helped us with the paperwork. Then he sat back in his chair and looked at us. Then he said, "If you say yes to this question, you won't to loose any of your benefits." Now come on, people. Who is gonna say no? Now ask me, who do we really blame? Sounds to me like everything is going crazy. I don't mind paying co-pays and it really don't bother me that two of my meds won't be covered at all. What does bother me is the elderly. Now they suffer even more. She is 86, God bless her, but she found out one of her meds is $200. That's sad. She not only has to pay for insurance, but co-pays like that are uncalled-for. I say shame on the pharmaceuticals and shame to the people. Like that man at Social Security. I wish I had an answer to this mess, but I don't. Just keep on going. Do the best you can do. But I ask all of you to wake up every day and say thank you, Jesus, for another day and a new beginning. Linda D'Arrigo, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Successful collection for troops To the editor: Once again the officers and members of Catholic Daughters Court Catherine Esther 1264 would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who contributed items and money to the Christmas collection for our servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. We'd also like to thank the Fort Plain, Canajoharie and St. Johnsville branches of the NBT Bank, the First Niagara Bank in Palatine Bridge, Our Lady of Hope Church in Fort Plain, and the Episcopal Church if the Good Shepherd in Canajoharie for their cooperation in letting us place the collection boxes in their lobbies and vestibules. We are extremely grateful for the publicity afforded us by the Pennysaver, My Shopper, the Courier-Standard-Enterprise, the Recorder and other area newspapers. Our thanks especially also goes to Jean and Kenneth Watkins of Fort Plain and their son Col. Terry Watkins for providing us with the names and addresses of several servicemen to send the collection to. The response from the community was overwhelming, with donations also coming from the Fort Plain Junior National Honor Society, and the American Legion. The ARC homes on Carlisle Road, Ridge Road and Burch Street in Canajoharie, on Karol Ann Place and Gilbert Avenue in Fort Plain and on Grand Street in Palatine Bridge also collected a car trunk full of needed items. We packed and sent 35 boxes of items from the recommended list on Nov. 30 and we received enough money in donations to pay the shipping costs and to purchase prepaid AT&T calling cards. Again, we thank you all for joining us in supporting our troops during the Christmas season. May God bless you for your generosity. Marlene Nalli, Fort Plain Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor A little help for the East End To the editor: The purpose of this letter is to provide some context and to give some additional information that may help to shed some light on comments that I made at the Amsterdam Zoning Board meeting held on Dec. 1, 2011, but were left out of the article "Gimme Shelter" that appeared the next day in the Recorder newspaper. First of all, when I went up to speak, the first comment that I made was, "I am not a resident of the city of Amsterdam, but I do own a house on Voorhees Street." I also stated that, "I was not in opposition to homeless people or a homeless shelter being located in Amsterdam, and that I felt that there was a need for a shelter." Then I stated that my frustration is with the lack of representation that the East End receives whenever there are controversial issues that come up in the city. The East End is always the backup plan. I was quoted in the newspaper as saying that, "every time there's trash, you dump it in the East End and nobody hears of it." What I was referring to is how people continually dump their personal garbage down at the end of Voorhees and Front streets and also to the seven boarded up houses on Voorhees Street. These are issues that need to be dealt with and yet they get pushed aside. This is a reoccurring theme concerning the East End since this area of the city is not getting proper representation. My comment was not in reference to the homeless people that are in need of shelter, but that city representatives use the East End for a quick fix to city issues. I apologize to everyone who may have been offended by any comments made at the zoning board meeting. I hope that there can be some good that comes out of all of this. Matt Constantine, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 A tribute to the real thing To the editor: On Nov. 27, Bill Albertin passed away after a short illness. There are people who during their lifetime, make a real difference in the lives of others -- Bill Albertin is one of those people. Bill is a founding parent of Liberty. He and his wife Joan became involved with Liberty in the early '60s. They were the parents of a son, Dale, who was born with Down Syndrome. They could have been volunteers who helped out at bake sales or even served on the board for a few years. We would have been grateful for that assistance and involvement. That is not the type of people or the type of parents they were and are. Bill is the one that stepped up and joined the board with Joan's support. He, along with some of his early compatriots on the board -- Vince Sollecito, Nick Manginelli, Wesley Linquist, Cookie Jagiel and others -- went to the community to make the case for Liberty House. They advocated local and state legislators for funding, they petitioned local school systems to provide educational programs, they asked local businesses to provide work opportunities and much, much more. Bill never walked away from Liberty even after his son Dale passed away and he and his wife retired to Florida. He was a board member for over 51 years. His legacy has been carried on by his daughter Valerie when she joined the board in 2003; she now serves as president. From the beginning, Liberty has relied on volunteer board members to help the organization grow. There is a long list of generous volunteers who have contributed to Liberty's success. Bill Albertin is at the top of that list. Starting with a few individuals and unpaid staff, he shared a dream of making Liberty the best it could be for people with disabilities and their families who need quality supports and the opportunity to experience a fulfilling, happy life. At present, Liberty is the largest provider of services to people with disabilities in our community, serving over 650 children and adults and the second largest employer with 850 staff. The organization offers day, residential, vocational, family support and health related services as well as operating programs in other states that ultimately help sustain services in our community. Over the years, Bill Albertin made a big difference in the lives of thousands of people because he had a vision and was committed to seeing it through. He did it with little fanfare and no pay. The term hero is thrown around with some frequency these days. Bill Albertin was the real thing. Frank Capone, Amsterdam The writer is CEO of Liberty, the Montgomery County Chapter NYSARC Inc. Dishonoring the honor system To the editor: There is a lot to say about the friendliness of our Amsterdam friends and neighbors. However ... Recently I found out that someone in the area is a real Grinch. I found a nice little Amish stand on Route 161 that sells wonderful candy, bread and even has hand-churned butter. I was very excited about this, and told many friends. On my second visit, to buy butter for my homemade cookies, a young Amish gentleman told me about an incident that had happened just a few days before. He had come out to collect the money from my purchase, but usually the stand is not manned, but payment is expected on the honesty system. He said that a few days before a little red car stopped, opened the hatch or trunk, and took lots of items from the table. He hoped that they really needed the stuff, but said that he estimated that almost $30 worth of goods were stolen, because the thief (my words, not his) only left a $5 bill. He said that he thought that more than one person was in the car, which makes this even more troubling, but said nothing else. If you know someone who recently shared some Amish candy, bread, cookies, or butter with you, and might not have paid fully for their "take," please let them know that they need to make good on what they took. The Amish are gentle, quiet people, who do no harm to others, so please do what you can do to help them regain what is lost. They are a great addition to our community who don't cause trouble, so why anyone would do this to them is very sad. The stand is on the right, if you are on 161 from Route 30 south, about 2-3 miles. You will see lots of lumber and some big barns there, too. Holidays are a special time to celebrate the love of Jesus, and one special way to celebrate is to be kind to our neighbors. May God bless those who make good on this. Carol Jordan, Amsterdam Our health is a blessing To the editor: November is a month when we give thanks for all of the blessings we have in our lives. Without a doubt, health is a tremendous blessing; and one of the best things you can do for your health today is to quit smoking. On Nov. 17, we celebrated the Great American Smoke Out, the American Cancer Society holiday where all smokers are encouraged to quit for one day, or start a quit plan. One of our goals is to reduce the number of kids each year who are starting to smoke, so they never have to go through the process of trying to overcome the addiction. Tobacco advertising is a primary cause of youth smoking initiation, so this year we celebrated GASO by releasing a humorous short film that focused on how big tobacco companies market their deadly products to youth. Courtney and Maria Danise, two students from Gloversville, did a great job starring in the film. Please check out the video for yourself at: We would like to thank the Glove Theatre for being so accommodating and helping us complete this project in time for the smoke out. Richard Samrov and Marc Norton were extremely helpful as we were shooting the film and planning the film release event. For anyone who might be interested in quitting, it's never too late. What better holiday gift could you give your family, friends and children than a healthy, tobacco-free life? For more information and support please call the New York State Smokers Quitline at (866) NY-QUITS. For more information on how tobacco marketing impacts kids, please contact Project ACTION Tobacco Free Coalition at St. Mary's Healthcare at (518) 841-7123. Rebecca Guarino, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor The crow show is back To the editor: I'm starting to notice them at night. First one or two birds flap overhead, then a few more. Now there's a dozen of the big black birds, coming from all directions like iron filings moving towards a magnet. Now there are hundreds, weaving and soaring in the purple evening sky. The crow show is back in town. Where have they been? I hardly saw a crow all summer. They're very secretive nesters -- they hide their nests in the tallest trees, and during the nesting season the crows are quiet and low-key. They take excellent care of their babies. But when the days imperceptibly start to get shorter, they don't wait for daylight savings time to end. They know the cold is coming. Crows used to roost in the country, far away from people. But in the last few decades, crows have started using cities for their winter roosts. No one knows why One reason might be that it's warmer in cities, with tall buildings to block the wind. And cities have fewer predators, like owls, to bother the crows. Crows often choose locations that are brightly lit. Maybe the lights help them spot danger, since they don't see well in the dark. Why do crows have this giant slumber party every night? No one knows. I read some fascinating information on, a website maintained by an ornithologist named Michael Westerfield. He's been studying and mapping crow roosts across the United States for years, but he hasn't solved the mystery yet. No one has. Westerfield thinks that roosts are mostly made up of young crows who haven't established their own territory. Perhaps all those "caws" are a way of sharing information. Perhaps the roost is a place to meet other crows and choose mates. Or maybe it's all about food. Maybe young crows learn that when they follow older, well-fed crows in the morning, they can find out where the good feeding spots are. Or maybe crows somehow "tell" each other where to go for a good breakfast. So the roost could be a learning place -- a giant classroom. But no one knows. Westerfield believes that crows are highly intelligent and have many ways to communicate. He collects information on crow roosting and other behaviors. Crows are well worth watching. Once when I was at a picnic area in a park, I saw a crow fly over to a table littered with the remains of someone's lunch. The crow poked around among the sandwich wrappers and potato chip bags, and then checked out a beer can. He studied it carefully, then lifted the aluminum can with his beak, tilted it (I swear this happened) and finished off the beer. That's a smart bird. Check out the crows as they swoop down on Amsterdam. Instead of hating and fearing them, maybe we can study them. Insights into crow behavior would also help us figure out ways to get them to roost in places where they won't bother people so much. Since we're the unwilling audience to the nightly crow show, we might as well enjoy it. Anita Sanchez, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Join us and ring the bell To the editor: To share the joys of caring and sharing, the Salvation Army's traditional Red Kettle drive has been an integral part of the Christmas scene since 1891. Donations made to the red kettle aid needy families, seniors and the homeless by providing Christmas dinners, winter clothing, and toys as well as continuing year round with the basic necessities of food, clothing and medications. Ninety percent of funds gathered will be used to provide emergency assistance to residents right in our area. The Canajoharie, Fort Plain and St. Johnsville Salvation Army service units have a long history of successful red kettle campaigns and are looking forward to continuing that tradition, as well as adding new bell ringers for the holiday season. We have wonderful local businesses who offer us the opportunity, and we need more bell ringers to work toward increasing our times of collection. Perhaps you have always been one who found it in your heart to donate to the red kettle, and are willing and able to take your generosity one step further to give two hours of your time to help us gather much needed donations. If you can join in the treasured tradition or make a financial donation, please call 673-2030, or any one of us. Also, if you are unable to give of your time, perhaps when you see the red kettle, you will be able to add to the filling of our kettles and feel the joy of caring and sharing. Thank you and may God bless you. Jackie & Jessica Lape, Holly Craver, Tom and Lori Hajczewsk, Dave Prahst, Lori Fredricks Canajoharie Tobacco marketing and youth To the editor: In New York state, the tobacco industry spends about $1.1 million per day on marketing their products. Tobacco marketing refers to the posters and signs that are placed both inside and outside of stores. Marketing also includes the colorful, well-lit displays of tobacco products behind the counter in convenience stores, gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores. Tobacco companies provide retailers free shelving, racks and cabinets to put tobacco products in the most visible locations in the store. Many retailers sign contracts with tobacco companies that have requirements on how the products need to be marketed in their stores. These marketing tools are designed to reach and attract new youthful smokers. Exposure to both ads and displays has been shown to make youth more likely to start smoking. The more tobacco marketing kids see, the more likely they are to start smoking. Kids have enough stress in their day-to-day lives, without having to be pressured into smoking by the tobacco industries marketing plan. Many smokers start smoking in their teen years and battle to quit the rest of their lives. By removing these marketing tools from local stores, we will be reducing the risk of the youth ever developing smoking habits. Ryan Wille, Johnstown Many thanks this year To the editor: It is Thanksgiving season. Everyone has something to be thankful for. My thanks are great this year. My son was hit by a car on Aug. 17. I want to thank everyone who made our journey a little easier. Thank you all (and you know who you are) for the prayers sent our way. Thanks to GAVAC for their quick response, the Montgomery County SPCA, its staff and volunteers, Little Giants Football League and all the well wishes that let their support. And especially my close friends who lent a shoulder for me to lean on. While my son recovers at home we truly have a lot to be thankful for this season. Bless you all. And thank you. Debbie Mazur and family, Amsterdam Not treated fairly To the editor: It is very generous of the city of Amsterdam to assume the responsibility for the repair of the sidewalk owned by Russo's. Where was the city's responsibility when the damage to my home, which was caused by city neglect, denied? For two years the department of public works ignored my pleas regarding water in my cellar stating the problem was not a city matter. However, when the source of the water problem was identified and repaired by the city, the problem ceased to exist. During this time, damage was done to my home but the responsibility lay at my feet. I have been a property owner for over 50 years, living on Social Security, struggling to pay my taxes. I believe I was not treated fairly in this matter. Anna Waldynski, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor In praise of coaches To the editor: Whether on grass or turf, this community has witnessed great acts of athleticism, courage, resolve, teamwork and pride. Together, we have bared witness to two undefeated teams, two state championships and many other titles -- and we all saw the transformation of two young assistant coaches into two grisly old veteran head coaches. They put their work on display every week in every fall for everyone to see, criticized by some but applauded by most. Their former players and coaches allowed you to see the affection and admiration that they have for each other on those very special days or nights. Coach Frank Derrico and coach Pat Liverio have left a large footprint on Amsterdam football, Amsterdam, and on all the people that they have coached and coached with. Having played for and coached with both men, I believe that I have a unique understanding of both of them. I may not know them completely nor am I privy to all that they have or have not done, but I do know that Amsterdam has been blessed to have had back-to-back high school coaching legends run their program. Today, we have many in administrative or mentoring positions, relating to young men and women, failing to stay focused on the cause at hand, preparing children for life's challenges -- instead, they decide that their career ambitions and pseudo-status as community leaders are of greater importance than those they are supposed to serve. Kid yourself not, the kids want to learn how to be successful in life and not just be mandated through it. Young leaders are encouraged from people who are willing and have capacity to teach, relate understanding, show compassion, and give focus when none is there. To all the coaches of AHS, thank you for teaching me the reality of life through the game of football. Coach Derrico and coach Liverio: Thank you for giving young men the chance to become leaders. Ray Moran, AHS class of 1987, Town of Glen Thanking the supporters To the editor: To all of my supporters: Thank you for all you have done. Thank you for being the people that you are and thank you for caring so much about the future of this city. I encourage you to remain active and to become or stay involved. This city is at a crossroads. We need to pay very close attention to future decisions and legislative policy, as it will have a lasting effect on us and our families. My concerns for the fiscal wellbeing of this city will not diminish due to a tally of votes. I am so blessed to have such a loving and caring family and friends that I hold dear to my heart. I am also thankful to all those who came to the polls to support me and to those who contributed to my campaign in so many different ways. Thank you also to the Amsterdam Recorder, the Montgomery County Republican party, the Montgomery County Conservative party, the Fulmont Tea Party, and the Montgomery County CSEA Local 829 for their endorsements. I am truly fortunate. Thank you and have a blessed Thanksgiving. Joe Emanuele, Amsterdam Dollars & cents vs. loss of life To the editor: I would like to make a statement as a 63-year resident who lives on a hazardous corner on Route 10 in Stone Arabia. In those years, there have been many accidents. Often late at night and in extreme weather. A limited number of vehicles are on the highway where drivers can lend a hand to those who need it. In recent years, the great fire companies and EMTs are there to help. How many people find themselves alone on a dark night trying to aid an injured or trapped accident victim before help comes? Unless you have been in that position, you cannot know how pleased and relived you are when a State Police officer or sheriff deputy arrives. When I read of the reduction or sometimes elimination of the sheriff patrols for budget reduction, I see not dollars and cents but loss of life and the security they have always provided for us. Willis Barshied Jr., Stone Arabia Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Curie students well behaved To the editor: On Nov. 7, it was my privilege to attend a program celebrating the birthday of Marie Sklodowska Curie at the Marie Curie school. It was a pleasure to see almost 450 children sitting quietly on the floor of the gymnasium and listening attentively as their peers presented interesting information about the life, work and contributions to mankind by the great scientist and Nobel Prize laureate. After the program, the children quietly and in an orderly manner exited the gymnasium to enjoy birthday cake and cup cakes. To the children and entire staff at the Marie Curie school -- sto lat. Jo Wierzbowska, Amsterdam The homeless need shelter To the editor: It was with great disappointment and shame when I read about the Amsterdam Zoning Board's decision to veto Interfaith Partnership's application to open a homeless shelter on Church Street. We claim to be the "small city with a big heart." What happened to our hearts on Thursday evening at City Hall? Winter, cold weather and blizzards are fast approaching. What will people without adequate housing do then? Last year a shelter was allowed to open and operate in a house on East Main Street. Needy individuals were given hot meals and a warm place to stay. Why weren't "zoning issues" a problem last season? Is Church Street regarded as a residential area and East Main not? There are vacant houses on Church Street which have gone uninhabited for quite some time. I agree with the landlord of 216 Church St.: "Why not give these people a chance?" I spent 14 years serving the homeless in Albany and inner-city Chicago. People seeking help usually want a connection, a path leading to change. My question is: Did fear and misconception guide city residents and council members to veto the proposed shelter, or was it a true concern regarding "zoning?" There are many community volunteers who donated their time and effort to the Amsterdam shelter was last year. They are supportive now, as well. I'm asking those who want to help, to call, write or e-mail your council members in support of a seasonal shelter for 2011-2012. Thank you. Francine Farina, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Family of player offers thanks To the editor: We would like to thank all those who assisted during the injury of my son and player No. 23 Luigi Iorio. Quick response from the league, parents, and GAVAC probably diverted what could have been a more critical situation. Special thanks to Kevin VanHoesen, Jim Valikonis, Kathy Carbone, responders at GAVAC, the APD, officer Ariel Santiago for all their assistance and the good people at St. Mary's Hospital. The family would like to greatly thank all those friends and family members and the general community for the numerous phone calls they received. This is what makes this community great, when total strangers care about your kid. We are proud of our community. Chris Iorio and family, Amsterdam Home tour spreads the spirit To the editor: St. Mary's Hospital Auxiliary will be presenting the fifth annual Christmas in November tour of homes Saturday, Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be the opportunity to visit five different and unique homes in the city of Amsterdam. The experience and participation of visiting the homes will surely lift your spirit. It will be a bright light in our community after such a difficult August and September due to the destruction caused by a hurricane, tornado and widespread flooding. Christmas in November activities, in addition to visiting the homes, include several unique features at the Carondolet Pavilion in the auditorium. These include the availability to purchase unique gifts from vendors and from the auxiliary elves workshop and Santa's Sweet Shop. Proceeds from Santa's Sweet Shop will be donated to the flood victims in Montgomery County. There will also be raffles for gift baskets and original artwork created by local artists. The artwork will be made into note cards and will be available for purchase. Participants will also receive a note card when they visit each of the homes. Ticket holders who return their signed ticket to the Carondolet Auditorium will be entered into a drawing for a special gift. Complimentary refreshments and homemade desserts will be offered throughout the day at the Carondolet Auditorium. Adult tickets are $15 in advance. Tickets purchased on the day of the event will be $20. Children 15 years of age and younger are $8. Tickets can be purchased at St. Mary's Gift Shop, June's Hallmark, Damiano's and Bloomfield's Flower Shop, J Fine Jewelry in Gloversville and Mulberry Tree Gifts in Johnstown. Proceeds from this activity will be added to the auxiliary's financial pledge to St. Mary's Healthcare to meet the needs and services of the community. Christmas in November will be a wonderful way to come together and spend a day filled with happy thoughts, creative ideas and promote the giving spirit of the season. The uniqueness of each home will surely lift your mood, make you happy and motivate you to prepare for the holiday season while giving you many marvelous ideas. Hope to see you on Nov. 19, 2011. Pat Schuttig, St. Mary's Hospital Auxiliary President; Nellie Bush, Chairperson of Christmas in November Thanks for the help To the editor: Due to Hurricane Irene on Aug. 28, 2011, and the heavy rains on Sept. 9, 2011. My family and I would like to thank the Fultonville Fire Department and the Glen Fire Department for pumping out my cellar on both occasions. Thank you to the Fonda-Fultonville school's football team, the volunteers for the local churches and everyone who volunteered their time and help. My appreciation to FEMA for their rapid response and payment so we could get everything repaired and our lives back to normal. To my family and friends that gave me support and a helping hand, thank you. I wish to thank my dear friend and her husband that took me and my "pets" in during this difficult time and the many weeks following. Beverly Durrin and family, Fultonville Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Listening to the concerns To the editor: Since returning to his home town of Amsterdam Ken Mazur has been a self-motivated volunteer. He has been seen cutting brush along the roadside on Locust and Clizbe avenues. He has cleared the yards of abandoned properties. His interest in the community brought him to attend common council meetings speaking on various issues. Ken has walked every street in the 1st Ward listening to the concerns of residents. By electing him your member to the common council you would be represented by a man of integrity, one who would keep in mind the cost of living in a progressive Amsterdam. On Election Day give your support to a self-motivated ambitious Ken Mazur for 1st Ward alderman. Jeannette Bucek, Amsterdam No point in going backward To the editor: There are always many claims by people running for office and I believe it is important to check the facts. I took the time to review the tax and user fee rates over the last eight years; that's one of the reasons why I am supporting Ann Thane for mayor. Joe Emanuele increased user fees (total of water, sewer and garbage fees) $154 per unit over his four years in office. These fees only increased $64 during Ann Thane's four years in office. Mayor Thane has proven that she can keep taxes under control while moving the city forward. There is more to being mayor than tax numbers, it is also important to show leadership by moving our city ahead. There have been real improvements under Mayor Thane, while all I can recall from Joe Emanuele's first four years was a running debate over building a dump in the city which yielded nothing in the end. There is no point in going backwards, so I urge all voters to get to the polls on Nov. 8 and cast a vote for Ann Thane to keep Amsterdam moving forward. Mary Lyford, Amsterdam Taking the right to vote seriously To the editor: Like most of you I am an average city resident. I am a lifelong Republican and a veteran who takes my right to vote very seriously. I vote for candidates that are ethical, honest and show the highest amount of integrity. My party's candidate has left several questions unanswered: Will he honestly retire in six, nine or 12 months? Will Doug Landon leave his county position to become the city attorney? For six months or longer how can he justify working only a few hours a week when most of the city offices are closed? What happens during a disaster do we have to put everything on hold until after school? We always hear teachers say "it's for the students." What about his math students don't they need a teacher that has them as their #1 concern making himself available for after school assistance? Showing no integrity he sent out very negative campaign literature. After countless radio commercials he made his point about the Heather Reineke inspired lift of the 3 percent water tax cap. He deserves an F- for wanting to bring Amsterdam politics into the gutter. Is he hoping that we don't remember when he tried to sell out the city to the New Holland Group for $10? Would he try that again? The tax payers and voters haven't forgotten. In contrast to his previous record as mayor we now have a mayor in office that has raised the ethical standard. Among many of her reforms she has done away with cronyism in hiring. Is he willing to short change the taxpayers, short change his students and short change our city to be the mayor? Everyone suffers except him. We have only one clear choice this year. Ann Thane. Cathy Meyers, Amsterdam You do have a choice To the editor: To the people of the Town of Florida: You do have a choice for town supervisor. Please write-in Eric Mead on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Due to circumstances that arose from the flooding in Fort Hunter, people were upset with the present supervisor. He came down into the village at midnight the day of the flood; he stopped at the firehouse to ask what the status was then left. A half hour later when the sirens were ringing and the village was flooding he was nowhere to be found. We would have thought he should have at least come down to the edge of the village to see if he could do anything for the people. He didn't show up until later the next day and then complained to the firemen that people were driving through his apartment house property. Bill had no compassion for his fellow neighbors in the village especially in a time of dire need. On the day of the flood Bill Weller, road supervisor, came with the town's bucket loader along with Eric Mead, town councilman. The two of them went into the flooded streets of the village to get an early assessment of the damage. After they were done in Fort Hunter, we were informed that both Eric Mead and Bill Weller had also gone to other parts of the town to assess damage there as well. He talked with various residents of the town to see if they needed assistance. We have not heard of any town residents that said they saw Mr. Strevy helping anyone except those that live in his apartment building. We need a supervisor who is compassionate, one that will help the whole town of Florida. A committee was formed to find another choice for supervisor. Eric Mead for supervisor was their choice for the following reason: He is a dedicated family man, a dedicated business man, a faithful town council person even though he has a very busy schedule. Both his father and grandfather were past supervisors, doing fantastic jobs. This shows the interest the Mead family has in the town of Florida and Eric was brought up on these values. We believe Eric Mead will do a great job for the entire town of Florida. When we first talked to Eric he was not receptive to the idea but once his campaign signs were out there, and people started calling him, he decided that maybe the town of Florida does need a change. Eric informed the committee that if elected he will accept the position. The committee is sponsoring him and campaigning for him, therefore you do have a choice. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, when you go to the polls write-in Eric Mead at the bottom of column 5 for supervisor. When you vote please make sure to spell Eric's name properly and stay within the lines of the write-in box. If anyone is interested in helping on Nov. 8, please contact Jason Downing at 829-7946, committee chairman. You do have a choice. Jason Downing, Town of Florida More than we can chew To the editor: It is quite obvious we are approaching Election Day in Amsterdam, if the hundreds of signs and mail literature are anything telling. After spending the last few weeks pondering the decision for mayor, I question one particular candidate's theory that he can run Amsterdam on a part-time basis. Joe Emanuele tried it once, and Amsterdam suffered as a result. With an economic downturn behind us and a potential one ahead, I disagree Mr. Emanuele can dare accept a full-time salary on a part-time basis if elected. The recent flooding disasters showed who the real leader was -- the one communicating directly with her constituents; not the one in a classroom far away. How would he have been able to direct subordinates? Thankfully we did not have to find out, including my family who had to be evacuated. Speaking of which, how does Mr. Emanuele expect to fulfill any of his mayoral and civic duties after working the required eight to 12 hours a day as a teacher? Where is the room in one's daily schedule for this? The last time Mr. Emanuele was mayor, Amsterdam suffered with bruise after bruise in budget shortfalls and municipal employees who went undisciplined. Added to that with the mismanagement of everyday duties and having a clear misunderstanding of what it means to be mayor of Amsterdam, it is obvious Mr. Emanuel does not know what this job entails nor does he realize he bit off more than he could chew. Edward Maslak, Amsterdam Getting better every day To the editor: After intently watching the recent debate between current Mayor Ann Thane and former mayor Joe Emanuele, it has become increasingly apparent the best choice in leading Amsterdam the next four years. That choice is Ann Thane. As a lifelong resident of Amsterdam, I can say with others that our city has seen its fair share of better days. I can also say with great pride that it has gotten better. Once again, Amsterdam is slowly being seen as a place to be. It is self-evident that it looks better and better every day. Our population is steadily growing. Business is returning. Families are choosing here over many other options as the place to raise that family. Mayor Thane's grasp on reality has certainly put her far ahead of her competitor in the mayoral race, who has evidently made no mention of his intentions for Amsterdam, except that he will bring businesses to Amsterdam. This is despite his destruction of the economic development department. Now is not the time for a mayor who will not heed the economic demands of a city that has seen such positive growth the last few years. It is my firm belief that in order to continue that growth, we must choose to keep Ann Thane as mayor of Amsterdam. Melanie Georgia, Amsterdam The support means a lot To the editor: The race has almost been run. With only a few short days left until the final moment, the general election on Nov. 8, I find it incumbent to stop and say thank you to the many people, relatives, friends and total strangers who gave me encouragement to seek the office of Amsterdam city controller. The outpouring of support, assistance and funds has meant a lot. Amsterdam needs a professional to manage the accounting system and the financial affairs of our city. I hope to be that person since, unlike any opponent, I have a four-year degree in accounting along with over 30 years' experience in this discipline and certification as a government financial manager. I can do the job -- I will do the job -- I will serve our community to the best of my ability. Again, thank you to all. Ronald G. Wierzbicki, Amsterdam Offering the residents a choice To the editor: My name is Arlene Bronski and I am seeking the office of 4th Ward supervisor as a write-in candidate. I am doing my civic duty by offering 4th Ward residents a choice. I am just an ordinary person who can relate to the difficulties and challenges in our city. The residents of the 4th Ward need the attention of a supervisor who has business and administrative experience. Please vote for me by writing my name in the square at the bottom of Column 8. Arlene Bronski, Amsterdam Don't cut the sheriff's budget To the editor: It is with great concern that we write to you today and implore Montgomery County residents to contact your representatives in county office and ask them to re-think their proposed budget cuts to members of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. The three police agencies on the western end of the county depend on MCSO to assist: as back up during incidents and evolutions; during investigations of large-scale offenses; and through large disasters such as floods and hurricanes. It is hard to believe that anyone could actually feel safe without the watchful eye of our road patrol on the rural highways and streets of the entire county. It's a travesty that the state is cutting the New York State Police, but concerns to their office fall on deaf ears. You have the chance to make your voice heard in local government that you want someone on patrol to solve crime and stop those with less care about others from invading your privacy and property in our local area. Montgomery County's road patrol has been an important and integral unit that serves you and your neighbors, friends and families. Recent arrests for drug-related crimes in our county and the smooth and efficient handling of Hurricane Irene and the subsequent flood should immediately flash to mind that this is one department to leave alone during budget crunch time. I urge you to speak to or write to your local representatives and tell them to find cuts elsewhere. We cannot afford to lose this valuable service. Until this issue is resolved sufficiently, I will be watching and informing your constituents of the status of their safety. Do not modify or lower the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office budget. Robert A. Thomas III, Chief of Police, Fort Plain William Stack, Chief of Police, St. Johnsville Leonard Price, Chief of Police, Canajoharie Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor The right man for the job To the editor: I am writing concerning Ron Wierzbicki running for the office of controller for the city of Amsterdam. I've known him and his family for many years. I have always found him to be sincere, diligent and hard working at every turn. As a candidate for the office of controller I know that he will thoroughly do an excellent job. I ask that voters in my ward give him serious thought and help elect him. James Lazarou, Amsterdam Taking the job seriously To the editor: I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the residents of the 1st Ward and the city of Amsterdam for their support and confidence. I truly enjoy working with and talking to the people of our community. Being able to provide assistance and guidance to you has been my primary goal as your alderman. I will continue to defend and protect the needs of all taxpayers of our community anytime I can. Maintaining the tax cap, you voted for, continuing my efforts to fight neighborhood neglect by absentee landlords and making public safety paramount will be my priorities if re-elected. I know how important it is to keep the public updated and I will pursue legislation for a more open and transparent city government. The next two years will be a very critical time for our city and those with experience and the background to understand the hard job ahead for us will be necessary. I bring with me a history of love, dedication and commitment to our hometown. I take my job as your alderman very seriously and ask that you allow me the opportunity to continue to serve you for two more years as alderman of the First Ward. Joseph M. Isabel, Amsterdam Mayor proud of accomplishments To the editor: On Monday, Oct. 10, I chanced to listen to my opponent, Joe Emanuele, for just under a half an hour on a local talk show. As several statements were made that were patently incorrect, I will take this opportunity to present the facts as they pertain to this referenced conversation. My opponent stated that Bridge Street reconstruction had been held up by the Chalmers project. This is untrue. The fact is that Bridge Street reconstruction should have been completed before I took office. The project had been conceived and launched during the Duchessi administration, but upon my taking over in 2008, nothing had been done to progress the job -- not a survey, environmental assessment, permitting, or most basic engineering/design. During Mr. Emanuele's time in office, Phase II of Riverlink Park stalled, asbestos identified in 2003 crumbled from the pipes in City Hall's basement (putting staff and the public at risk), and the Church Street reconstruction project ended up planting 11 fire hydrants in the middle of the sidewalk all of the way up Route 67. They have since been removed. Of greatest concern was Mr. Emanuele's lack of oversight when it came to carefully tending taxpayer dollars. In fact, he left my administration with only half the fund balance he said he did and tax rate increases were much higher during his tenure than during my time in office. Water rates during his four years hiked up 24.6 percent and property taxes went up 9.4 percent (compared to much lower increases during my first term: 8.2 percent water; 6.9 percent property taxes.) He couldn't get what the city deserved in sales tax from the county and he was unable to negotiate water deals with the towns or a revenue sharing agreement with GAVAC. Mr. Emanuele's lack of supervision extended to the management of departments and employees, but that was to be expected, as he was not in the office during normal business hours. The fact is that if there is not administrative oversight, projects languish or worse, progress without change orders or the permission of the council and incur additional costs. Opportunities are missed and efficiency is lost. We cannot afford to go back to what didn't work before, especially when so much progress has been made in the past four, short years. I'm proud of the accomplishments of my administration, from neighborhood engagement, marketing initiatives and public safety measures to organizational restructuring and budgetary stability during a historic downturn in the global economy. I remain committed to moving our community forward. I encourage you to check out my record and plans (yes, unlike my opponent, I have them) for the future at Decisive action has been my hallmark. Ann M. Thane, Amsterdam The writer is mayor of Amsterdam and a candidate for re-election. Responsive to the constituents To the editor: It has been my pleasure to serve the 3rd Ward as your alderwoman for the last two years and to have had the chance to meet and help so many of you. I have learned a lot from listening to your concerns and am pleased to have the opportunity to continue to serve you for the next two years. As a homeowner and city taxpayer, I have a good understanding of the needs of my constituents, and I continue to support keeping the tax cap in place for the overall budget and user fees, which was voted on by you, the citizens of Amsterdam. My experience working with the city budgets the last two years, along with my prior experience working with budgets for the Greater Amsterdam School District, is an important asset for the work that needs to be done in the upcoming years as our city faces an even tougher time financially. I have proven to be a fiscally responsible council member and will continue to fight for the taxpayers. One of the top issues facing our city is the aging infrastructure on which it is built. We need to update and fix this infrastructure before we put a lot more money into fixing what's above the infrastructure, which otherwise might then need to be redone. I also continue to be a strong supporter of strengthening the absentee landlord policy, fighting graffiti and demolishing abandoned properties in order to bring people and businesses into the city and increase revenue. I supported hiring a city engineer and support strengthening the engineering and codes departments. For the past two years, I have been liaison to AIDA which, along with the county and URA, currently serves as the economic development arm of our city. I have seen AIDA make great strides with a new director and look forward to continued collaboration with them to support the best interests and future business goals of Amsterdam. I will continue to be very responsive to my constituents and work hard for you. I am endorsed by the Republican and Conservative parties, Assemblyman George Amedore and the CSEA. On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, please vote for the only 3rd Ward candidate that is a tax-paying homeowner and the only 3rd Ward candidate with prior experience. Please vote for me, Gina DeRossi, to represent you and your taxpayer dollars. Gina M. DeRossi, Amsterdam Actions speak louder than words To the editor: As your town councilman for the last five years, I have been a very active representative for the best interest of the taxpayer. Administered and worked with the contractor on the town court renovations, saving the town over $5,000. Found that the town had a grant for $20,000 for a generator for the town hall that was never acted on. Fill out proper paperwork and will have that in place for an emergency shelter. Discovered and helped remove 18 fraudulent exemptions from the tax roll, lowering the tax burden for all taxpayers. Helped stop the HRBRRD from increasing permit fees by over 1,000 percent and helped stop the DEC from classifying this land as forest preserve. Helped apply for a second grant for the town court. Willing, and have pursued all grant opportunities for the town. Only Northville Central School representative to speak before an Assembly sub-committee on ways to reduce the school tax burden Spoke and urged the Fulton County Board of Supervisors to oppose the 51 percent tax increase last year. Remember, vote Nov. 8, Row 4, Column 9, for a continued fighter for the taxpayer. Guy Poulin, Northville Accountable to the residents To the editor: Letter to the residents of the Town of Florida: In November of 1989 the voters in the town of Florida elected me to serve as their superintendent of highways and on Jan. 1, 1990, I undertook those duties. I just want to thank you for your support throughout the years and I hope that the voters will once again re-elect me on Nov. 8. My work with the town highway department over the past 22 years has put me in a unique position to know what our town must do to improve our town roads and my training and experience gives me the ability to make the improvements happen within the confines of the highway budget. The town has grown tremendously in the last 22 years. Together with the cooperation of the town board, I have been able to develop and implement capital improvement projects that reduce costs and continually update equipment and roads. I believe my ability to communicate and work harmoniously with the town board and work within the highway budget has been a pivotal factor in there being no town tax. I am the only qualified and experienced candidate for the position of superintendent of highways. I have proven to the town of Florida residents that I am honest, devoted and dedicated. My loyalty to the town is impeccable. I will, as I have always been, accountable to you -- the residents of our town. I would once again like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support throughout the years and I hope you will once again elect me on Nov. 8. Bill Weller, Town of Florida An opportunity to do something To the editor: Before my grandpa passed away he used to tell me quite often that "enough is enough." "Politicians that don't care about the people have only one person on their mind. Themselves." I am a 5th Ward resident and if he would have known about our current 5th Ward supervisor he would not be afraid to tell me "enough is enough." We finally have the opportunity to do something about tax reform and taking control of spending. A former leader in our community has stepped up to the plate and has asked us to write in his name as a positive alternative for supervisor of the 5th Ward. Mike Chiara cares about our city and county. Mike has the experience to make things happen. Mike Chiara was there for us and kept the Little Giants football program in Amsterdam. Mike also helped with Mohawks baseball. If you can think of anything good ever happening in this city Mike Chiara was probably involved in some way or another. Mike will work hard for us spending his days up at the county offices making sure Montgomery County can turn itself around and be among the best in the state instead one of the most frowned upon. Current county politicians with the exception of a few don't care where we are or where we are going. They care about themselves. Mike is not like that. As a solid Republican I know that we can see positive changes in very hard times by supporting write in candidate Mike Chiara. Curtis Peninger, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor The time to act is now To the editor: Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, the voters will be asked to make a decision on candidates for political office. My name is Michael (Mike) Chiara and I am running for 5th Wad Supervisor on a write-in. I feel that this position, under the current economic condition of our county, dictates that immediate decisions must be made and requires someone not afraid to speak out, look for solutions, and take the initiatives needed. You have a right to be informed. The current format of the county budget, without adequate commentary and the individual names of the people you pay, must be revised to include this. We must be able to understand in layman's terms what the programs mean, how they are funded, and what mandates mean. All we hear is that our hands are tied and it is they, them, the state who are at fault. Whatever happened to you, the hard-working over-taxed public? If someone put strict restrictions on programs, page after page of regulations, without concern for the taxpayers then they, them and the state (one and the same) can change it. Have we forgotten that we are the state, that our representatives in Albany are elected by us? In this once Empire State, where the median tax paid is 96 percent higher than the rest of the country, and the local taxes are 79 percent above the national average, what can one do? For starters, in this litigious environment, partner with other counties and hire a powerful (preferably out of state) law firm and commence a taxpayer's action on behalf of all of us for mandate relief. No games, no excuses, and let us not hear it can't work. There is more than adequate back-up statistics, many of them New York state induced, that state the case for the economic peril the counties are in. For instance, Montgomery County's median income is $32,128, with only three of 62 counties lower, the population increased by 511 in 10 years and the sales tax is not growing fast enough. If our state legislators fail to respond then make this clear to the constituency and vote them out. The time for the same rhetoric each fiscal year is over. Do not be fooled that all the expenditures are the state's fault. Did the state mandate a certain percentage increase for the employees per year? How the mandates are implemented and to what degree is information you deserve to have. If elected supervisor, I will make it my crusade to get you the answers. I support the 2 percent cap as I initiated the 3 percent tax rate cap for the city of Amsterdam. I have been chairman of the Industrial Development Agency, chairman of the city's master plan, chairman of the city's recent Charter Revision Commission, as well as president of Alternatives to Incarceration. I was chairman of the last County Charter Commission as well as a member of their Governmental Operations Commission. I have assisted various organizations such as Little Giants, helping them to stay in Amsterdam, finding a future home for the SPCA, revitalizing Shuttleworth Park, and recommending the grant writer, through AIDA, utilized by the city. Over 25 years as assessor of the city I understand the tax plight, the neighborhoods, procedures of government and the concerns of the public. I was proud to have helped seniors with the STAR exemption and assisting over the years with the city budget. I have recently and continually been involved with school tax reform and co-hosted a forum at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church to hear the concerns of the taxpayers. The audacity and arrogance of such a tax hike must be addressed and those responsible voted out of office. With a fund balance of approximately $9 million for the county, with $4.1 million of this allocated in this year's budget, there is still a proposed tax increase. This shows that there is over a $5 million shortfall and coupled with an estimated $5 million fund balance left, next year and the year that follows spells economic chaos. The warning sirens are sounding and the ship is sinking unless the board of supervisors change the way we are operating. One can hope that money will appear from other sources but this is wishful thinking and stifling new procedures. Taxation is not the answer as this limits growth and is regressive. There is no longer a window of time in which to act. What will I do if elected? I will make it my duty to check and understand every line item in the county budget, fight by every means state mandates that shackle the taxpayer, and look for new and innovative ways to provide services, with lowering the cost of government as my primary target. I will demand sound ethical procedures, a term too often forgotten. I will not be swayed by lobbyists, special-interest groups, and political cabals. If elected I will represent you and if I do not keep my promises then I expect you to demand my removal. To say anything to get elected is despicable and indicates a total disregard for the voting public. Your vote is sacred and when you give it you expect that your best interests will be sought. Often times this is taken lightly. The future of our county, our property, our economic prosperity, and our legacy to those that follow are at stake. It is our obligation to see that we do no tarnish this. If you would like to vote for me on Election Day, then at the bottom of the ballot where it says write-in -- under the heading where it indicates "supervisor" -- print "Mike Chiara" in the box at the bottom. I would appreciate your vote and thank you for your effort. Michael Chiara, Amsterdam Accepting the responsibility To the editor: I'd like to comment on Bill Weller's letter to the editor on Oct. 26. His remarks should show the residents why we need change. I am running as an Independent for highway superintendent for the town of Florida and would like to provide these facts. I worked for the town highway department for over 24 years. Eight out of the 10 highway departments in Montgomery County are represented by a union. In 2009 the crew was interested in the feasibility of being represented by a union. In a union busting move, I was let go in January 2010 supposedly because of budget reasons. After a hearing I was given my job back. As you can imagine my life on the job was horrible after that and I resigned in early 2010. My aunt, Irene Carpe, wrote the editor commenting on Mr. Weller's lack of maintaining the road she lives on during the 2010-11 snow season. Mr. Weller claims it's my fault? It's refreshing to think as one person I was that important, however he forgets I didn't work for the town then. Could it be because she is my aunt that the road didn't get plowed? Using Mr. Weller's claim that routes are plowed every four hours, in that three-day storm, the road should have been plowed 18 times. I understand how busy the highway department is in a big storm, but to ignore roads for long periods of time puts our residents in harm's way. What would happen if there was a house fire or an ambulance needed to get through Big storms are a challenge; that's a fact. But let's not blame or treat people disrespectfully because you don't like them. We are overdue for a change in the operations of the highway department. If I am elected I will be a professional. I will manage the department efficiently, address the needs of all the residents and fully accept the responsibilities or criticism of the position. Doug Hebert, Fort Hunter A very important decision To the editor: Four years ago, a historical step forward was taken by the voters in Amsterdam. They elected Ann Thane as both the first woman mayor of the city, as well as the first chief executive who understood, appreciated and related to the importance of visual performing arts and other associated talent-driven venues. Various corporate entities in the industries just mentioned and the foreign, domestic tourist collectors' markets, which annually generate billions in revenue and continued job creations, all felt that, finally, the door was opened for the city and county to become additional participants in the lucrative future tourism expansions that are forthcoming. But we all jointly made one big mistake. Instead of receiving the help Mayor Thane needed in laying the ground work for stimulating job growth from within the community, unbelievable opposition became the policy of the day and four more years were lost. Not this time. All the voters have to do is give Mayor Thane another full term in office. Everything else will be directly attended to by the people who sincerely care about the future of Amsterdam. So on Election Day, a very important decision has to be made, especially by the hard-pressed property taxpayers. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam The future of our town To the editor: Mayfield voters of all parties have a chance on Nov. 8 to re-elect Councilman Shawn Humphrey to his second term of office on the town board. I hope you will as Shawn represents the future of our town. He is an intelligent and hard-working young man, very community-minded, and an excellent representative of the younger generation that is often under-represented in local government. Shawn has been involved with Mayfield town government for about six years. He served two years on the board of assessment review prior to being elected councilman. Shawn has also been active with the Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department for several years. He has an excellent background in computer technology -- he owns a small business that is a computer and networking solutions provider. This has been a real asset to the town board. Councilman Humphrey exemplifies good citizenship. He loves his community and he looks forward to serving the residents of Mayfield for his next four-year term. Please vote for Shawn Humphrey on the Conservative Party line and while you're there, let's re-elect Supervisor Rick Argotsinger, Councilman Tom Ruliffson, and Town Clerk Dorothy Hart. They have served Mayfield well and they will continue to do so. Kathy Sieg, Town of Mayfield A prophet leading the battle To the editor: I don't live in the 5th Ward, so I suppose there will be some who say I have no business advising the good citizens there how to vote. And yet, if you are an employer hiring someone to do a job, you certainly would be interested, I think, in any letters of recommendations he carries with him. So, as someone who has known Mike Chiara for over 40 years, I feel comfortable in submitting this recommendation to the voters of the 5th Ward who are looking to hire a supervisor. Mike Chiara knows local government inside out. Mike Chiara understands budgets. Mike Chiara has been a prophet leading the lonely battle to bring taxation under control and stop the bleeding of jobs, resources and productive citizens from this county. If there is a more honest man in the world than Mike Chiara, I've yet to meet him. Nor a more honorable one. If you're looking for someone who will stand up for what he believes to be right, look no further than Mike Chiara. If you want someone beholden to no one and nothing but his own well-reasoned consideration of the issues, then you want Mike Chiara. Few people know Mike Chiara better than I do. It is my recommendation that the people of the 5th Ward do themselves a big favor and write in the name of Mike Chiara for supervisor. Robert N. Going, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor There is only one clear choice To the editor: I am writing in support of Ann Thane in the upcoming city of Amsterdam's mayor's race. I am a person who has been involved with city projects for the past 10 or 12 years, serving as a volunteer under at least three administrations. Even as a volunteer it doesn't take long to ascertain who in the mayor's position is an achiever and who's not. I have worked side by side with Ann Thane on many projects over the past four years, and I can tell you she is a person committed to the City of Amsterdam. Her list of achievements includes being a founding member of the Amsterdam Homeless Project, the Church Street Reconstruction Project saving over $100,000, and the completion of the Riverlink Park Phase II. Please visit Mayor Thane's web site at for a more comprehensive list of things she has accomplished over the past four years. Her commitment to her job as the mayor of this city is steadfast and constant; she is a hands-on kind of person who works 24/7. I have seen her go over and above what is expected of her as mayor, picking up bags of dirt swept up by local residents after the winter sanding, hauling away trash in her own vehicle from abandoned or uncared for homes, and painting buildings along with volunteers downtown. She is always at the city cleanups, usually with her family. Ann is the first mayor I can remember who is actually out there getting her hands dirty. Amsterdam cannot afford to have another part-time mayor, not even for six months. Those first six months of any administration are critical. It is a time of transition. No one should expect to begin a position, especially not the mayor's position at their convenience, nor should any person think they can hold such a responsible position without giving it their full attention. Ann has done more than any mayor I can remember to move this city forward. This city needs a mayor who is confident and has the power of his or her convictions. If you want to continue to move forward as a city there is only one clear choice on Election Day and that's Ann Thane as mayor of the city of Amsterdam. Betty Clough, Amsterdam The constant reminders To the editor: Very soon voters will decide who our next mayor will be. Before voting consider the following: Debt -- The total debt stands at approximately $34 million. The council is being asked to borrow $2 million more. Fund Balance -- On 1/1/2008 the city had over $3 million fund balance (left by then-Mayor Emanuele). Today it's being estimated to be approximately $500,000. Deficits -- According to reliable sources and what I learned reviewing annual report and audits there has been a deficit in year 2009 and 2010 and this year is no exception. Overtime -- Overtime is out of control and plays a huge part of the continuing deficits. In addition to the overtime we read about there is a hidden overtime (it's perfectly legal) but it is a liability no less. It's called accrual overtime and it includes holidays that are not taken, vacation days and personal leave. The overall total is not known. Failure to comply with the charter -- Section C-121 requires that remedial action is to be taken to prevent a deficit. No where in my review of records was I able to determine that remedial steps were indeed taken. Bridge Street and Chalmers Project -- Had it not been for the three year delay, those ugly telephone poles that carry overhead cables would be gone. During those years the city borrowed so much the council members were reluctant to add the $600,000 needed to remove the poles. What should have been a magnificent accomplishment became a huge improvement of what used to be. These poles will be a constant reminder of the mayor's failure to market the city. Mario Villa, Amsterdam The type of person we need To the editor: As election day approaches we the undersigned would like to take this opportunity to endorse David "Toad" Thibodeau for town of Amsterdam highway superintendent. Dave has been an employee in many capacities with the town highway department for 31 years. Most recently he was the deputy highway superintendent working under Chuck Phillips. Dave knows every road in the town like the back of his hand. He is familiar with the needs of the town and has continued the same capital project projections that Chuck Phillips started under his administration. Dave has a good working relationship with all the town departments and also serves as the deputy water/sewer superintendent. Dave has been the driving force behind many of the repairs of the town's water and sewer system. He operates every piece of equipment the town owns and still drives one of the highway plows, doing all the side roads where the large trucks don't have such access. Dave supervised the cleanup operation of the Cranesville area after the tornado ripped through that area. He has a good working relationship with the county highway department and was able to get them to assist on this project. Dave is not afraid of work, he's often found helping his men with the manual labor. This is the type of person we need as a leader. When you have someone of this caliber, knowledge, dedication and experience, it makes it very simple to get behind him and give him a boost for this upcoming election. Dave most recently was appointed as acting highway superintendent after the retirement of Chuck Phillips. The town board had the foresight to see that Dave Thibodeau could handle the position and made Dave the acting highway superintendent. This is why we the undersigned hereby endorse Dave "Toad" Thibodeau for highway superintendent in the town of Amsterdam. Make the correct choice on election day. Keep the experience of a 30-year dedicated employee as highway superintendent. Tom DiMezza, Town of Amsterdam supervisor; Chuck Phillips, Retired Highway Superintendent Class reunion worth the trip To the editor: Dear Ceil (Esposito) Samolis, We were very impressed. You, together with other devoted committee members are entitled to a huge "atta boy." The Friday and Saturday reunion events were perfectly planned and executed. As I mentioned to you on Saturday night, I was impressed with the purple and gold gift bag of exquisite memories of the Lynch class of 1961. When your committee meets for a critique, please tell each of them that I and my wife Ronnie are grateful for a "first class" reunion and our trip there, from Florida, was well worth it. I wish we could do it again soon. Peter Urba, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. New York will fall on its face To the editor: As time goes by we all are wondering. What's next. The gas prices get to the highest in history. Even the price of food. I'm sure some people are wondering why we see more and more houses just in Amsterdam alone going up for sale. People just can't afford the taxes any more. Even though they work so hard for what they got. They have to sell their home. Schenectady taxes are just as bad. It's not the mortgages it's the taxes. It's a loosen battle. So they put their house for sale. What about the welfare. A two year program? Not any more. It seems to be a life style. What about the dead beat dads? Nothen is being done. The star program for the taxes is being taken away. You mean to tell me that someone can't do something about all this. I feel really bad that someone who works hard for what they get loses out. Has to give up what they work for. Years ago they didn't get 15-20 or more dollars an hour. They worked hard. The elderly I say should be able to sit back and enjoy the rest of their lives, but no they can't. I'm sick and tired of seeing all the houses up for sale. Over something that New York can do about. If the leaders don't do something soon. We will and I'm sure to see a depression. New York leaders, New York is headed that way. The taxies are paying for the welfare and the dead beat dads. It's ashame. Wake up New York. The people that vote are now wondering. What's the sense of voting nothen is being done right anyway. It looks like to me that all your thinken about is. Am I gonna to get the votes? Yes just say anything they want to hear and then you will get the votes. I don't think that's right. Tell the truth. New York is in trouble. Think about it. Go to the homes that are up for sale. Tell them the truth maybe you can make a difference. I've been saying it all along. I wrote letters and made phone calls. That's not enough. So now I write to the editor and say please, please listen. Do something for the people. So they don't have to lose out. I'm getting sick and tired of seeing what's going on. My heart goes out to the people that have to lose out on what they worked for. I really at this point don't care if November ever comes. Haven't the New York people suffered enough? Just think about it this way. They way New York is freely with the welfare, and forget about the dead beat dads. Would you want that person in office? New York will fall on there face if we don't do something soon. Linda D'Arrigo, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Addressing the needs To the editor: Town of Amsterdam voters my name is Harold Weaver and I am a candidate for the position of highway superintendent in the town of Amsterdam. I was born and raised in the town of Amsterdam and graduated from AHS in 1974. I am married to Denise Labelle Weaver and the father of two children Amy and Randy Weaver and five grandchildren. I was employed by the Town of Amsterdam Highway Department from 1984 to 1990 when I left to return to my prior employment at General Electric. In 1998 I left the area to pursue employment in Wilmington, N.C., where I was employed by the city of Wilmington as highway construction foreman, where I oversaw the work of 16 employees whom I also worked side by side with on a daily basis. I am certified in the operation backhoes, loaders, graders, trucks and asphalt rollers. In this position I was responsible for employee performance evaluations, scheduling of daily work assignments daily reports and ordering job materials. I am certified in work zone safety training and FEMA-NIMS training. I returned to the area in 2010 after the death of my father, Floyd Weaver, to be closer to my family. Upon my return I was hired by Chuck Phillips to work as a part-time wingman for the winter of 2010-2011 and continue to work as a part-time employee 40 hours per week with no benefits. There have been many rumors spread around that I returned to the town only to run for the position of highway superintendent. I was not even aware that Chuck Phillips was retiring when I returned until after I was hired, upon learning of the opening and after numerous discussions with my family and friends I decided to run for the position. My opponent was named acting highway superintendent by Supervisor DiMezza and has his full support in this election. If my opponent loses the election he retains his job in the highway department with no loss of service or position. If I lose I am unemployed as my position has already been promised to another person as a full-time position with full benefits. If I am elected I promise you the voters of the town of Amsterdam that I will continue to work as a full-time working superintendent, I will operate the highway department efficiently and will address the needs of all the residents of the town. It has been a pleasure to meet with you during my campaign and I ask for your support on Election Day, Nov. 8. Harold Weaver, Town of Amsterdam Advice for Mayfield voters To the editor: Nov. 8 is Election Day and I urge all Mayfield registered voters to cast their ballots. I am a councilman for the town of Mayfield. As such, I would like to ask my fellow residents to re-elect Rick Argotsinger as supervisor and Shawn Humphrey and Tom Ruliffson as councilmen. I have had the pleasure of serving with these three gentlemen for the past two years. I had never been involved in local government before my election. Rick, Shawn and Tom welcomed me wholeheartedly and all three were helpful in teaching me the ropes. Rick has been on the town board since 2006 and has been supervisor since 2009. He is one of the most honest people I know and considers all sides of any issue before making any recommendations. He takes seriously the input from all of us on the town board, as well as from the public at large. He is well-known in the community and respected for the job he has done and will continue to do. He has been invaluable to me in learning the job. Shawn is running for his second, four-year term on the board. He served on the assessment review board for two years before being elected councilman. Shawn owns Adirondack Computers and Small Town Sound, a DJ entertainment business. He has been an active member with the Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department for five years. His computer technology background is a great asset for the town. Shawn is our youngest member of the board which is a great plus as he represents a whole segment of our town that is often under-represented. Tom is well-known in the town, having served many successful years as the highway superintendent. After retiring from that, Tom ran for and was elected to the town board. He is now seeking his second term on the town board. Tom has vast experience in all aspects of local government, especially highway, buildings and grounds and the beach. Please join me in re-electing Rick Argotsinger, Tom Ruliffson and Shawn Humphrey to the Mayfield town board. Rick and Tom are on the Republican line and Shawn on Conservative. Vince Coletti, Councilman, Town of Mayfield A responsible decision To the editor: Several days ago, I read with some interest a number of comments that appeared in your Letters to the Editor column supporting the candidacy of Ron Wierzbicki for the office of city controller. As a retired accountant, I know the extent of the formal education and practical experience required to serve as a controller. Mr. Wierzbicki's credentials, as an accountant, are what one requires to function in a responsible fiscal position. There is no doubt that Amsterdam needs a professional accountant in the controller's office. Consequently, I am voting for Ron Wierzbicki and I hope all concerned Amsterdam voters do the same. John Carriola, Amsterdam An opportunity to serve To the editor: To all town of Mohawk residents, Let me take this opportunity to thank all town of Mohawk residents for the warm reception I received during my door-to-door campaign. I was able to visit almost 700 homes to hear your concerns, and to share with you my thoughts and suggestions. If you were not at home, or if I missed you, please feel free to phone me at 829-7384 with any questions. I am seeking the opportunity to serve all town residents, regardless of your political party affiliation, as a councilman for the town of Mohawk. With your support on Election Day, Nov. 8, it will happen. Please exercise your right to vote. Thank you for your support. Jerome Fryc, Town of Mohawk Snow concerns addressed To the editor: In response to Irene Carpe's letter to the editor Oct. 25: I, Bill Weller, was plowing other roads in the town of Florida during this snow storm and bringing in part-time help to fill in for Doug Hebert who called in sick and would not answer his phone. Doug Herbert also called in sick all week long through the snow storm. On Monday, I received a certified letter from Doug Hebert resigning his position from the town highway department. I accepted his resignation rather than taking action against him. The snowplows are out for public safety plowing snow. We plow 96 center line miles of road. Our main function is public safety not tow trucks and I cannot put the town liability for towing vehicles. By the way Irene Carpe is an aunt of Doug Hebert and she is talking about the same three-day storm. It takes about four hours to plow each route if the visibility and conditions are good from start to finish and then we start over again. Bill Weller, Highway Superintendent, Town of Florida The writer is a candidate for re-election. Asset to the community To the editor: To the residents of the 5th Ward: I have known Mike Chiara for 11 years. In that time I have found Mike to be honest, thoughtful and someone who is very knowledgeable on the workings of government. Mike has 25 years experience as a city assessor and is one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to finance and budgets. Mike has not only the ability to read a budget, he has the ability to make the hard choices when it comes to balancing a budget. Mike Chiara would certainly be an asset to 5th Ward residents, to the city of Amsterdam, and to Montgomery County as your next 5th Ward supervisor. If you truly want someone who will work for the people, put the residents first and have no hidden agendas, and cut wasteful spending then Mike Chiara is your man. Vote Michael Chiara as your write-in candidate for your 5th Ward supervisor. Vincenza "Jim" Nicosia, Amsterdam Making happy memories To the editor: It's that time of year when we count our blessings and turn our thoughts to making happy memories. The GFWC Century Club of Amsterdam is honored to be hosting the 20th anniversary of the Festival of Trees. This annual event is sponsored by our community-minded individuals and businesses. This year's festival will begin on Monday, Dec. 5, and end on Sunday, Dec. 11. We have an exciting week planned with general admission and lunch during the days, a "Premier Night," "Ladies Who Lunch" Luncheon, a "Wine and Beer Tasting," "Children's Morning," a "Sugar Plum Fairy Ball" and a "Holiday Brunch" This year we've added a special "Holiday Entertainment Night" featuring local schools and groups to help us all get into the holiday spirit. Many sponsor letters have gone out to local businesses in hopes they will join us in supporting this wonderful event by sponsoring a tree, an event, or placing an ad in the program booklet that everyone receives and uses for future reference. Please let us know if we can count on your support. We are also looking for past decorators and volunteers to join us and give us some pointers and maybe a helping hand once again. Please contact us if interested. This has been a difficult year for many of us but memories of good times will always be cherished. Please share those memories with us as we honor the "Angels Among Us" and celebrate "A Wonderful Life" to come. Contact Kim at 853-4733 for information of how you can be a special part of this wonderful community event. Kim Rogers, Fultonville Thanks for doin' it for Dodi Dear editor: I am writing to thank the countless volunteers, donators and participants in our "Doin' it for Dodi" fundraiser and the Walk to Defeat ALS this past month. The spaghetti dinner and walk were both a huge success, and the Doin' it for Dodi team raised over $20,000 alone. While there were hundreds of people that came out to support the cause, and dozens of businesses that donated money and raffle items, I'd like to especially thank Wal-Mart and R.L. Parsons Inc. for their generous donations. It is truly remarkable -- and a testament to the compassion and generosity of the people in this area -- that we were able to raise so much money in such a difficult economic time. Patients and families living with ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, face a long uphill battle, and it's relieving to know that so many people do care. On behalf of my mother, Dodi Cechnicki, and all others affected by this disease, I thank you all greatly from the bottom of my heart. Brian S. Cechnicki, Schenectady Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor We can't eliminate road patrol To the editor: To the voters of Montgomery County: I am deeply concerned with some of the thinking brought out in quotes read in current news media concerning the elimination of some, or all, of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office road patrol. I have read recent quotes from city supervisor Greco stating that he favors elimination of the county road patrol as a cost-savings measure. If supervisor Greco could show me how this will help to prevent crime, create less crime victims and more money available to provide for the citizens of this county, I'm all for it. Anyone with half a clue knows that this would not be the case. Due to past budget cuts the sheriff and all of his employees have done the most with the least. You will not walk into many buildings that have a soda or snack machine and find that the lights inside have been turned off to save electricity (money). You won't often find employees that purchase items out of their own pockets or remove parts from their own equipment to make emergency equipment operational when it fails during a crisis. You will never find a more loyal, caring group of individuals that willingly leave their loved ones at home to fend for themselves, so that they can report to the sheriff's office in times of crisis and great need. (Remember the floods, tornado and landslides?) I respectfully ask outspoken city supervisor Greco: On 9/11/2001 I worked a 12-hour road patrol shift handling all calls (emergency and non-emergency) west of State Highway 30A, outside of the three upcounty villages and did so without complaint, even though I yearned to be at home with my family. What did you do? When was the last time that you put yourself in harm's way for someone else? As a member of the Montgomery County regional SWAT team, I have done it numerous times in your city while raiding drug houses and homes of dangerous criminals. Did you do any of these things? If you truly feel that the villages and city can get along fine without the county, let's start with eliminating city supervisors and having the mayor or Aldermen represent their constituents at the county level. I believe in consolidation and that's where I would start. It's truly sad that you feel the way you do. I have yet to have a Montgomery County resident (city/town/village) ask me not to do my job, not to assist them in time of great need, or not to rescue them from harm's way. The residents and other law enforcement officers, regardless of where they live/work within Montgomery County, appreciate the dedication and hard work provided by all of the sheriff's office staff. Maybe it's time that you do the same. Lt. Burt Wilson, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Fultonville Fun time with the neighbors To the editor: We would like to thank everyone who came out to the meet your neighbor day at Arnold Ave Park on Oct. 8. The event was a great success and a fun time for the entire neighborhood. We would like to thank the following people and businesses who donated food, services or their time: Becki Silva, Kyle's Bouncy House, Price Chopper, Hannafords, McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts, Fastrac, First Ward Alderman Joe Isabel, and the Amsterdam Police Department. We would also like to thank our core team of neighborhood watch members who helped plan, promote and organize this event. Great job everyone. Tim Becker and Nancy Lisicki, Amsterdam Snowy roads make the going slow To the editor: Where was Bill Weller when: Our neighbor's son had to walk home, three-quarters of a mile to his house on Klapmeyer Road. The school bus driver let him off on Fort Hunter Road because Newkirk and Klapmeyer roads were not plowed. On another occasion our paper carrier got stuck by our house on Klapmeyer Road because it was not plowed. After numerous calls to get a plow down here failed, I had to call the sheriff's office to get Bill Weller down here to plow so our paper carrier could get out. It took one hour to get Bill Weller down here to plow. Bill Weller told our carrier to call a tow truck. On yet another occasion a dairy farmer in the town of Florida had to dump their milk as the tanker could not get to their house to pick up milk due to the roads not being plowed. I would not call this a good job of keeping the roads cleared last winter. Irene Carpe, Town of Florida Stop damaging others' property To the editor: I have lived at the East End all my life. I walk daily. I can't believe how many times the barricades the Buddhists put on their property (the former St. Casimir's) is damaged. They keep the area clean always. The people who do to the damage should stop doing it. Helen Bedell, Amsterdam Security and peace of mind To the editor: If you have an emergency and need help, who do you call? Well, if you are a resident in one of the many towns and villages of Montgomery County your help would be either the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office road patrol division or the New York State Police. It's been publicized and heard that New York state does not mandate a road patrol division and it's the opinion of some Montgomery County politicians that Montgomery County does not need a road patrol. However, Section 650 of the county law states the sheriff shall be the "conservator of peace." The common phrase "the sheriff is not mandated to have a road patrol" is a myth that is contrary to the law. Not only can the sheriff provide police services to the county, the law says he shall. I myself happen to be a member of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office and in light of another tough budget year I again, like last year, am concerned about losing my job like many others. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office road patrol would like to inform the taxpayers of exactly what they may lose. I would like to substitute the words "road patrol" with a word everyone is familiar with, "police." The title of deputy sheriff is not any different from police officer -- we are all sworn to protect the same laws and uphold the same constitution. Also, substitute the words "budget cuts" with "layoffs." So when you hear on a local radio talk show, or read in the local newspaper, that the county needs to make cuts and that Montgomery County does not need a road patrol read between the lines and use the words you know: layoffs and no police. So, if you have an emergency and need help, whom would you call and who is going to respond? What are the taxpayers really paying for? What do the sheriff's deputies do all day and night? How many of them are there? Taxpayers are paying for peace of mind. I, along with all other taxpayers, have peace of mind knowing that I can pick up the phone and call for help and someone will come as quick as they can and give me 110 percent each and every time. Being a deputy sheriff or any other public servant, you begin to appreciate the fact that you are someone's lifeline. You give 110 percent because it is your job and that is what the person needs. Public servants easily become a dollar sign when it comes to "budget time;" is that what the county residents' safety comes down to also? Deputies do not just sit in a car all day, visit the local coffee shops, and wait for their car number to be called over the radio. Along with handling 911 calls a deputy's day and night consist of traffic enforcement, property checks, serving civil process papers, executing eviction warrants, and proactive patrol. This occurs over 400 square miles of Montgomery County roads, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Over the past years I have watched the number of full-time deputies drop due to budget cuts. We lost two patrol deputies and one Investigator in last year's budget to retirement as a cost saving measure and now run with 19 total members of the road patrol division, and getting down to assignments three of the 19 are part of the investigations division stationed at the sheriff's office; another is a uniformed lieutenant who supervises all staff; and another is a uniformed deputy scheduled five days a week as the school resource officer at the Amsterdam High School. This leaves 15 patrol officers to handle "calls for service" 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round. A patrol deputy works a 12-hour shift and during the day there are generally three to four deputies on patrol. Couple that with two New York state troopers and that is a normal day. On a night shift, there is usually the same amount; however, the number drops after a certain time since we do not have enough work force now to keep our squads equal. Nevertheless, you will never hear a deputy complain about this. It is our job, we do it, and that is the bottom line. The Montgomery County Deputy Sheriffs PBA and I appreciate each and every Montgomery County resident and enjoy serving the community. This letter was meant to inform the residents of Montgomery County of what we hear on a daily basis and is meant to help the community understand what we do. We look for your support in this tough budget year and hope that you will stand by us and support the department against any more cuts to your safety. In the end, we all strive to achieve the same goals, peace of mind and the security of knowing help is a phone call away when it is needed. Michael Shang, Fultonville The writer is president of the Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff's PBA. Advocates for the retirees To the editor: I was president of the Union for several years while employed by the city of Amsterdam in the Public Works Department. I negotiated contracts, in good faith, as did the city of Amsterdam. I wanted the retirees' rights and benefits to be written into the contract. The mayor, at that time, assured me that the retirees' rights and benefits would not be interfered with in any way. A man's word meant something then. The proper thing to when negotiating current contracts is to introduce changes in benefits and rights (such as insurance) to new and current employees and allow retirees to reap the benefits of things they gave up and earned while working so they would be able to get by in their retirement years. I would like to thank Richard Leggiero, James Sheckton and Alderwoman Gina DeRossi for being advocates for the retirees. Joseph A. Montagnino, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor There is one clear choice To the editor: In the race for Amsterdam city controller there is only one clear choice. That is Ron Wierzbicki. I ran for New York state comptroller last year and I can tell you that Ron is well qualified for the controller's position. I have known Ron for nearly 25 years as a colleague. I worked with him at the Department of Transportation. Ron is the only candidate with the background for the controller's position. He has the education, the knowledge, and the experience for the job. I know Ron is very thorough and conscientious in his work. Ron will work hard for the residents of Amsterdam to ensure that their tax dollars are used wisely and he will find new sources of revenue while trying to reduce the taxpayers' burden. You will find no one more knowledgeable about government accounting and finance than Ron. I am not of the same political party as Ron, I am a Libertarian. But that doesn't prevent me from endorsing him because we have similar views on how government should work. I strongly support Ron Wierzbicki for Amsterdam city controller. John A. Gaetani, Glenville Meeting the residents' needs To the editor: My name is Dave Thibodeau. I am currently running for the position of highway superintendent in the town of Amsterdam. I would like to this opportunity to introduce myself to the voters of the town of Amsterdam that do not already know me. I am a lifelong resident of the town of Amsterdam, growing up in the village of Hagaman and currently residing on Pioneer Street in the town. My wife Darlene and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Our daughter and her husband Brian reside in Patuxent River, Md., where he is stationed in the Navy. We also have three grandchildren. I am running for the position of highway superintendent due to retirement of Chuck Phillips. Upon Chuck's retirement in March, I took over his duties at the highway department. I have the endorsement of the former highway superintendent Chuck Phillips for the upcoming election. This endorsement means a lot to me because of his experience and the way he was able to relate to the residents' concerns over the years. I hope to continue in that tradition. I have been employed by the town of Amsterdam highway department for 30 years, 15 of those years I was the deputy highway superintendent. During my employment, I have done every job from plowing roads, assisting with budget preparation, operating every piece of equipment, paving roads, supervising other employees and yes even sweeping the floors, many, many times. I am currently working to obtain FEMA reimbursement funds. I currently have a good working relationship with the surrounding towns, the county DPW and the city of Amsterdam for sharing services and equipment to save taxpayers dollars. I have completed training from the Cornell local roads program at Ithaca College. I will run the highway department in the most cost-effective manner while meeting the residents' needs and expectations. I am asking for your support for the upcoming election on Nov. 8 because I believe that experience does count when it comes to running a successful highway department. Your vote is greatly appreciated. Dave Thibodeau, Town of Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Collectibles worth the effort To the editor: With the current stagnant economy droning on and on, one particular group of citizens, those novice and fledging collectors, who have obtained hand-prepared art work, assorted merchandise, etc., either as gifts, prizes awarded or through direct purchases, are very often, because of pressing financial necessity, selling some, or all, of the collectibles they own, at prices far below what they really should be. In virtually every municipality throughout the country, their best-kept secret are the numerous, highly talented resident artisans and crafters, who never received the recognition they deserved, yet still utilize their respective talents strictly as a hobby and thus practically gave away most of their creations at next-to-nothing prices. It's an established fact, that once an individual artist, crafter, etc., passes away, their existing works skyrocket in value. Dealers insist that rule applies exclusively only to those, who, over the years, achieved high market distribution, enormous popularity, consistent public acceptance, and so on. Not true. The crafted quality, attention to detailing and overall appeal of a completed work, are strong determining measurers, along with the fact no additional offerings will never be produced by the deceased. How can these determinations be realized? Just do the required homework. Via today's existing computer technologies, any artist's background can be carefully scrutinized back to the very day they were born. Is the effort worth it? Yes. The signed art original and handcrafted collectible you intend to sell for, say, $50, may very well actually be worth $500 or more. That's an incentive to any collector, fledging or experienced, should never ignore. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam A vote for highway boss To the editor: Bill Weller is the highway superintendent for the town of Florida. He has done a super job with the snow removal in areas that have the worst snow drifts in our region. He has provided this service for the past 20 years. I highly support his continuation. Thank you for all you do, Bill. Peter E. Capobianco, Amsterdam The writer is interim president of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. A vote for city controller To the editor: I am writing in support of Ron Wierzbicki, who is running for Amsterdam city controller. I've known Ron for a long time and I think he's the best person for the job. There are a lot of difficult times ahead for the city of Amsterdam, and we need somebody we know we can trust to keep track of the finances. Ron is a life-long Amsterdam resident and is very active in the community, so he knows what people are going through and how important it is to make sure the accounting is done properly. Ron is an honest guy that we can count on. He says what he really thinks, and that's important, especially when budgets get made. He's also a hard worker with a lot of accounting experience, so I know he will do the right job. Renae Mead, Amsterdam ... And another one ... To the editor: As a registered Conservative voter, I am pleased that Ron Wierzbicki, who is the Democratic candidate for city controller, also has the endorsement of my party. His education, extensive accounting experience and professional accreditation, along with his motivation, are qualities that are necessary for an effective controller. I urge everyone, regardless of political party, to join me in supporting and voting for Ron. Joe China, Amsterdam ... And still another To the editor: I am writing because I support Ron Wierzbicki for controller. Right now the city is in bad shape financially. Four years ago we took a chance by electing a young woman with no accounting or financial experience to watch our money. She's done a pretty terrible job. She took long vacations. She made a million dollar rounding error in last year's budget. Two years in a row she was criticized by an independent auditor for poor accounting practices. Now we are offered a young man with no accounting background or financial experience. We should elect Ron Wierzbicki. He has over 30 years of experience as a government accountant. We can trust him with our money. In hard times, don't we want a professional accountant in City Hall? Patricia Ross, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor The worst and the best To the editor: On Aug. 28, 2011, many of us experienced an event of a lifetime that we hope never to be part of again. Of course I'm speaking of hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquake, and rain, rain, rain. The above events were the worst of times for many of us that brought out the best of character in countless others. The members of our fire department, the mutual aid from other fire departments such as Hagaman, Fonda, Perth, Galway, Cranesville, West Glenville and others that aided the hamlet of Fort Hunter with pump-outs, traffic control, cleanup, etc. I also need to mention the many private folks that showed up with food, water, soda, cleaning supplies for five or six days after the flood, also not to forget the volunteers with the Red Cross that served us and the citizens of the hamlet with hot meals, water and cleaning supplies (one group from far away as Pennsylvania), the Town of Florida Highway Department helping residents with cleanup, the Town of Florida Supervisor Bill Strevy for his help and concern for the people of Fort Hunter. As I mentioned above that when the chips are down the best in humanity shows up. I am writing this article on behalf of the Fort Hunter Engine and Hose Co. Inc., whose members worked tirelessly for 10 to 12 days after the event to get our community back on its feet, and the fire departments and private citizens that came to our aid. I also need to mention the loved ones we left at home that worry about our safety and wellbeing every time we go out on a call. Thanks to all. Paul F. Slansky, Fort Hunter The writer is third assistant chief of the Fort Hunter Fire Department. Enjoying the Riverlink scene To the editor: This letter is a response to Mr. Wills' article in Wednesday's Recorder concerning the Riverlink Cafe. With summer being a limited length of time, I prefer to enjoy the outdoors as much as I can. The concerts at Riverlink Park are wonderful and the cafe is one of the few places to dine outdoors and enjoy the scenery. Bob Kirkham and Rene Galley do a wonderful job of serving not only a different variety of food but make their customers feel special. Many people come from out of town to enjoy something different. I can't help but wonder why you would want to dispute something so positive when there is so much negatively in Amsterdam. Marlene Ehmer, Amsterdam Thanks for all the help To the editor: I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the community who have been helping us with our fundraising efforts. Our clothing recycle program has been going very well, and will continue indefinitely as we try to make up for lost revenue. We could not do this without the support of our citizens and local businesses, who have so generously given so that the seniors may continue to receive the benefits the senior center has to offer. I would like to especially thank NBT Bank in Amsterdam, Perth and Vail Mills, Amsterdam Print, Sikorski's Service Station, the Recorder, Riverfront Center and Mohawk Dairy for allowing us to place bins on their property. While we recognize that these are difficult times, it is heartening to see the cooperation and compassion these businesses and the citizens who have supported this fundraiser have for their fellow citizens. We will continue to collect clothing and other items, and have added a green fiber bin to our own lot to collect cardboard, newspapers and magazines. In addition, we will continue to collect ink jet cartridges, as we have been doing for some time. These recycling programs help not only the senior center, but the community as well, by keeping these items out of the landfills. We at the center look forward to many more years of being able to help the senior citizens remain active, vital members of our community, and we thank you for helping us to do that. Jeannette Stevens-Daury, Amsterdam The writer is executive director of the Horace J. Inman Senior Center. Feral cats have their day To the editor: In honor of National Feral Cat Day, Oct. 16, Feline Guardian Angels (FGA) would like to provide general guidelines about feral cats in our local community and about our organization. Feral cat facts: What is a feral cat? A cat born and raised in the wild or one that has been abandoned or lost and has reverted to wild ways to survive. What is the life span of a feral cat? If a feral cat survives kittenhood, the average life span is less than two years if living on his own. If a cat has a caregiver, he may reach 10 years. On average, how many kittens can one feral cat produce? A feral female cat can produce between two and three litters a year with an average of two to six kittens in each litter. Is euthanasia a solution to feral cat overpopulation? Catching, killing or relocating feral cats only temporarily reduces the numbers. The survivors of the colony breed to fill the void. This is known as the vacuum effect. FGA is a 501(c) 3 charitable organization which helps the Montgomery County community by providing low-cost spay/neutering for feral cats. Our goal is to reduce the number of feral and homeless cats by implementing a successful community TNR (trap, neuter, release) program and educate the general public on how to help be part of the solution. TNR is a method of humanely trapping feral cats, having them spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies, and then returning them to their colony to live out their lives. TNR also involves a colony caregiver who provides food/water, adequate shelter and monitors the cat's health. This practice has been proven to be the least costly as well as the most efficient and humane way of stabilizing feral cat populations. Please be part of the solution. For more information about any aspect of TNR or to become a volunteer, please call 466-3478. Myra Lampkin, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor The Elwood offers thanks To the editor: The Walter Elwood Museum suffered severe damage and loss from the flood caused by Hurricane Irene. Many artifacts were lost and severely damaged by the disaster. Although we are devastated by this tragedy, we are encouraged by the out-pouring of support the museum has received from the community and its residents. Our gratitude for all those who donated cleaning supplies and to WCSS for allowing folks to drop off at their station in the Riverfront Center. Please continue to do so. We are thankful for all the volunteers who came out to help us on Sept. 17 at the Guy Park Manor to clean out the damaged first floor of the building and salvage what we could. We are thankful to Fucillo's who has generously donated their empty building on Division Street which has worked out perfectly as a great place to sort, clean and assess all flood damaged items. And to all those who have donated their time and various items to help us begin the arduous task we have in front of us in conserving and preserving our beloved collection. We would like to especially thank the Irish American Club, club president Tim Riley and all their members for taking their 40th anniversary and making it a benefit fundraiser for the WEM. It was a wonderful day of music, great food and camaraderie for all those who attended. Lastly, thank you for all your e-mails, letters, messages and expressions of support and caring concern. Please visit our Web site at, make us your friend on Facebook at Walter Elwood, or stop down to 328 Division St. and give us a hand. Donations may still be made to our Museum Flood Fund at any First Niagara Bank branch or be mailed to First Niagara Bank, 11 Division St., Amsterdam 12010. Please make checks out to the Walter Elwood Museum. We look to the future with hope and determination to preserve the collection for public enjoyment for generations to come. Ann M. Peconie, Amsterdam The writer is executive director of the Walter Elwood Museum. A choice with a voice To the editor: I have known Mike Chiara personally and politically for over 35 years and have always respected his opinion. He has always demonstrated his concern for the taxpayers and the elderly, and would do so as your supervisor. Mike is very well versed on property taxes and what effects they have on all of us. He deserves our consideration as a write-in candidate for the position of supervisor for the 5th Ward. I strongly urge the voters of the 5th Ward to consider a write-in vote for Mike so that you can have a choice with a voice. Remember to print his name on your ballot as shown, Mike Chiara. Robert L. Reidy, Amsterdam Kindness and care appreciated To the editor: Dear Paul and Suzanne Guttenburg: I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest appreciation for the care and concern my wife Antoinette Villa recovered at the River Ridge Facility from your staff of professionals while a resident there. This was a long arduous ordeal for our entire family, especially my wife. A fall had resulted in a broken hip and the only recourse we had was rehabilitation in hope of getting her back on her feet and ultimately home. From the first few days of my wife's admittance to the facility the care and kindness I observed displayed to my wife, including all the residents, was phenomenal. The entire nursing staff on the C wing along with the nursing assistants were just wonderful. Their professionalism, kindness and patience will not be forgotten. I would also like to thank the physical therapy staff. Thank you for your ability to motivate, coach and encourage. You were wonderful. On behalf of the entire Villa family we are forever grateful to the care, respect and dignity that was given to my wife right up to the end of her life. May you continue to be a facility we can be proud of in Montgomery County and may God bless you both and each and everyone of your employees. Mario H. Villa, Amsterdam Don't get spooked into smoking To the editor: Halloween is upon us and we will soon be noticing the scary sights and sounds that come with it: from children's "trick-or-trick" chants, to scary costumes and movies. However, there are some even scarier things that come not just one time, but all year long. These scary things are advertisements by the tobacco companies that target children and the deadly statistics that come with tobacco use. Tobacco companies spend $12.5 billion on advertising, promotions and price discounts. This is more than the combined amount that is spent to market junk food, soda and alcohol. Here's another scary fact: Tobacco companies place most of their advertising where young people shop -- in convenience stores, where 75 percent of teens shop at least once per week. This matters because kids are three times as sensitive to advertising as adults and research shows that kids are also more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure. Every day in America, there are 1,200 deaths caused by tobacco use. While 1,200 deaths is a statistic, one death is a tragedy if it happens to someone that you know. Despite all this scary information, here is the good news: Death and disease from smoking is 100 percent preventable. Help prevent your child from becoming a statistic and tragedy by talking to them about the real monsters this Halloween -- the tobacco companies. Kids who learn about drug risks from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use. Go to to get help on starting a conversation with your child. You can also get more information, and help support protecting our kids from tobacco advertising in stores, by going to Bridget Rocco, Johnstown Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Locals save the day for Canadians on ancestral trek To the editor: We live in Loyalist country -- the Bay of Quinte, Lake Ontario -- where Loyalists came after America's Revolution, building new communities from wilderness. My husband, Kelly Reid, descends through nine Loyalist families from America. So this holiday, we visited New York, researching his ancestors. Albany's Mayor Jennings' office referred our pre-trip query to city historian Tony Opalka. He suggested contacting Schaghticoke's town historian, where Chris Kelly put us on track. She connected us with local experts, and helped research my husband's fourth great-grandfather -- Albany/Rensselaer carpenter, millwright and farmer Robert Clarke, sent north from Saratoga's battlefield to later build critical mills for refugees. Quebec born Jean Richard, another fourth great-grandfather, arrived at Fort Hunter in 1743. By 1761 he was interpreting for Sir William Johnson. We were crestfallen to find Old Fort Johnson closed; then the road to Fort Hunter closed, too. Thankfully, the Raindancer restaurant welcomed my reclining chaise (lumbar injury), and Halcyon Farm innkeepers June and John Leonard were wonderful. Gorgeous location, gourmet breakfasts and fabulous comfort. Hearing our disappointments, John described another route into Fort Hunter. Construction crew pointed us further, and Tricia Shaw of Scoharie Crossing's State Historic Site centre gave a fascinating presentation. We were thrilled to find a footprint of historic Fort Hunter; stones visible since Hurricane Irene ripped parking lot asphalt away. Despite terrible flood damage, a silver lining of fortuitous historic connection. Our trip was filled with wrong turns and misdirection. Then our transmission broke down. That worrisome morning, having limped in the night before, John Leonard recommended a good mechanic. We coaxed the truck to Manny's Corners Garage near Amsterdam, where Patrick Madej quickly assured, "We'll help you." Onto the hoist went our Ontario plates, as Wanda offered a phone to tell historians we were meeting of our unfortunate delay. We set my zero-gravity device beneath the sun shelter, settled in with cold drinks, and nervously awaited a diagnosis. Madej quickly returned to say it would be fixed immediately, as Robert worked diligently inside. I was so relieved I began to tear up. By noon we were back on the road, amazed that Manny's Corners Garage had dropped everything to save the day. Schaghticoke's Chris Kelly escorted us to the Melrose home of Maren and Fred Stein. Over delicious homemade cookies and cider, Pittstown history volunteers earnestly connected my husband's past. Walter and Paula Auclair and Bill Morris toured us through autumn-tinged lands once tilled by great-grandfather Clarke, and wife Isabel's brothers, Abijah and Daniel Ketchum/am, who assumed lands when the Clarkes left. Bill went to extraordinary efforts to pinpoint lands on maps. At the Auclairs, Walter gifted a signed Loyalist book. Maren and granddaughter Emily took us to Kelly's great-uncle's gravestones at Cooksborough Cemetery. Jerry Davis thoughtfully pointed out bees' nests. Yes, we experienced problems and closures. But they were buffeted by the kindness of citizens of Amsterdam, Schaghticoke and Pittstown. You took wonderful care of us and truly touched our hearts, transforming our trip from troubled, to tremendous. We'll be back. Anne Rector and Kelly Reid, Belleville, Ontario Take back Amsterdam To the editor: It's time to take back Amsterdam. The Occupy Wall Street rallies, which protest the cavernous wealth inequalities destroying our democracy, have sparked a movement that is quickly spreading across the country. Just in New York, similar demonstrations are popping up in Albany, Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester and Utica. Let's add Amsterdam to this list. In the United States, the richest 20 percent of the population controls 84 percent of the wealth, according to PBS. Collectively, the nation's wealthiest 400 families own $1.37 trillion. This is enough, according to United for a Fair Economy, to pay off educational loans for every student in the country, or buy a new car for every family, or pay off the credit card debt of every person, or provide a $10,000 bonus to every worker. If massive non-violent change can be made in the Middle East, in the face of fearsome dictators, it can be made here. It's time to take our country back, starting with Amsterdam. For more information on the movement, please visit and Jon Hochschartner, Lake Placid Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Write-in candidate continues his request for a debate To the editor: The question often rose as to my continued campaign for mayor is why. Rhetorically, I sometimes respond as why my opponents not want to take a pay cut, maybe not as deep as the 45 percent I will take as mayor, in light of the unemployment and low incomes we have in our community. Why will neither of my opponents, who like I, have access to health care benefits want to depend on the taxpayers of our city to pay for their and their families' free health care and not give up that benefit to save this cost to the taxpayer. Why are they using other people's monies to get elected or re-elected and not expect to have to pay back these donors somehow when they become mayor, subjecting them and the rest of us to the wishes of vested interest groups and individuals some of whom do not live or pay taxes in our community. Why are neither of my opponents concerned with the often times lack of response given to our constituents' needs during the course of a year when we all pay high taxes and the services provided are the only thing we can rely on to justify those tax bills. This is the cornerstone of my campaign. My mission statement is, "To provide the most efficient and cost-effective government to the citizens of the city of Amsterdam while keeping in mind that service must be foremost." What are my opponents' mission statements? To provide service only during times of disaster and to make sure that media exposure is there to record the event? Or, to provide service only to my friends, family and campaign donors? I have once again challenged both of my opponents to a public debate, having sent e-mails and letters to both. In addition, I have contacted the Recorder and the chamber of commerce, which I am a member, to hold a debate. I sent out a press release noting such and hopefully by the end of this October a debate will be conducted by someone even if I along with other interested individuals not aligned with my campaign or that of my opponents put it together. There are issues to be debated and discussed among the candidates like high taxes, deterioration of our city, infrastructure needs, downtown revitalization, public safety, etc. along with others that the public should be allowed to bring up and get a response to. If my continued candidacy does anything, it should break the silence of my opponents and make them and I respond to questions of concerns from the public so that a more informed decision can be made on who will be our next mayor and not the results of a primary where less than 17 percent of the enrolled voters came out to vote. William D. Wills, Amsterdam The writer is a write-in candidate for mayor of Amsterdam. Help support Angel Names to honor the lives who were lost To the editor: We are active members participating in the Angel Names Association memorial walk. The walk is designed to support bereaved parents, raise awareness about infant death and promote ANA's role in the community. All those touched by the baby's life -- including family, friends, etc. -- are welcome to attend. This event enables us, along with so many others, to walk to remember and honor the lives of babies lost too soon due to miscarriage and stillbirth. On Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, we will be participating in the ANA memorial walk at Saratoga Spa State Park. Registration begins at noon and the walk will begin at 1:15 p.m. at the Columbia pavilion, with a special remembrance ceremony to follow. You may register online or on the day of the walk. For more information, please visit We are walking in memory our daughter, Kaylee Elizabeth-Jane Dumar, who was born stillborn on May 25, 2003. Even though eight years have passed, we still experience the grief of losing a child we so much hoped and dreamed for. Like us, there are many people who have experienced a tragic loss like this. The walk is held annually in October to coincide with Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day on Oct. 15. Please help us, and those you may know who have been touched by this -- not only to remember all the angel babies, but to help spread awareness. So many parents suffer in silence. These families need to know that they are not alone, and that miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death is no longer a taboo subject. Support groups founded and facilitated by parents are being formed all over the country to help families through the tragedy of losing their baby. We need to make communities aware that help is available. For more information about PAIL Awareness Day, please visit We know of many people in our area who have experienced child loss. We are advocating this cause to spread the word to others who may not know about the ANA walk and who would like to participate. We hope that this message can reach others and help to make a difference in this community to promote a very important cause that hits so close to home for many people. Lisa & David Dumar, Fonda Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Fixing our broken system To the editor: In "The Race to Nowhere," Thursday, Sept. 22, Mr. Metallo says funding ill-conceived improvement schemes won't fix our broken education system. He would hire good people, support them, and have a reasonable system for firing poor performers, but like most of the national debate, he excludes students from his reckoning. Education theory no longer views students as passive receptacles for teachers' knowledge. Somewhere in this endless, barren discussion, we need to include student viewpoints, while holding them responsible for their own learning. We also need to let teachers teach, and stop creating barriers to collaboration and creativity. I have talked with public school teachers who work in such toxic environments, due to this obsession with test scores, that they can't function. Others spend their salaries on supplies for lack of funding. Standardized tests will not fix our broken system, nor ensure our students graduate knowing what they need to know to be participating citizens and competitive workers. Neither will demonizing teachers. If we spend millions to fix the system, how can it be that teachers lack basic supplies? If students can sit in a daze all year, and then graduate by playing eeny meeny miney mo on standardized tests, how can we hope to sustain our already crippled democratic system, or become competitive in the global economy? Let's focus this discussion on students, and their learning. Support teachers who hold students to high expectations and create engaging and relevant learning environments. Use standardized test scores in a way that reflects their limited ability to assess learning, not as a cure-all for a system that is bound in red tape, and fails to engage students and support teachers. It's time for a complete overhaul from the bottom up, not from the top down. Kathleen Gilligan, Amsterdam Lions help disaster victims To the editor: Lions International Foundation has given a grant to Lions Club in the District 20 Y2 serving resident victims of recent natural disasters. This grant was distributed to six clubs, in accordance with damages in their areas. Along with the grants, other clubs in the district donated money to the Greater Amsterdam Lions Club. All of these funds were used to purchase food vouchers from local supermarkets, which were distributed to disaster victims selected by town of Amsterdam, town of Florida, Fort Hunter and Fulmont Center. The Amsterdam Lions Club wishes to acknowledge these contributions and acquaint the public with the source of the funds. Robert D. Montenaro, Broadalbin Good friends are always there To the editor: These are a few of the heroes who assisted my sister, Deena Bispo, and her husband, Roy Schaulkham, of Burtonsville, with their resettling after Hurricane Irene tore off the back of their home on Colyer Road in Burtonsville (Esperance). Literally, they lost everything. My sister, Deena, has severe MS and she is wheelchair-bound. Roy, my wonderful and resourceful brother-in-law, made sure that he and my sister evacuated to the home of one of their friends in Duanesburg, before any damage was done to their home. Those friends, Debbie and Bobby Wilke, are to be commended for their good spirits; and they are my heroes, too. Good friends are always there when you need them. Debbie and Bobby were not the only ones to help my sister. The "Over the Hill Gang" president, Wayne, contacted my brother-in-law Roy almost immediately. He offered whatever help he could, knowing how much Roy takes care of Deena, 24/7, and Deena would not have been able to survive on her own if she had been alone in their home when Hurricane Irene hit. Wayne even offered one of his own rental properties to my sister and Roy for their use, rent-free. How much of a blessing is that? Wayne was selfless in that offer, and I and my entire family thank him for his care and concern for my/our family members. Within the first 48 hours or so, Roy was able to speak to the town supervisor of Esperance regarding his situation. The town supervisor assured my brother-in-law that he, personally, would do everything he could for everyone affected by the devastating effects of Hurricane Irene. How many people can say they were able to speak to one of their government officials within 48 hours of a disaster? I do apologize for not having the name of that town supervisor; it was quite a time for all of us, and I never thought to ask Roy for the town supervisor's name. He or she is another hero to my family. And last but not least are all of the folks who called Deena and Roy, gave items they needed to set up their new temporary residence (in an apartment in Duanesburg), provided friendship and support, and anything and everything else they could and/or that Deena and Roy needed. Thanks also to Stewart's (a local grocer/restaurant) for opening their business in the midst of the disaster, knowing their community of customers, neighbors and friends would need supplies and etcetera. Stewart's also knew the community would need another type of sustenance to get them through the grief and agony experienced during this tragedy the friendly faces of the owners and staff of Stewart's, a long-time neighborhood landmark. Oh ... FEMA was also another asset Roy was able to call upon within the first few days of Hurricane Irene. FEMA's quick response and immediate availability was another blessing for all affected by the havoc Irene caused in the Burtonsville/Esperance area. Some members of my family banded together to mail clothing and other items to Deena and Roy. All my sister Deena asked for was jeans. Such a simple request. (Hers had been destroyed in the flooding into their home from the creek that runs behind their now-wrecked home.) Although my mother, 78 years of age, was unable to immediately fly to New York to assist, as was I (due to new employment); my youngest sister Janice and her husband Roy M., drove from Long Island to Duanesburg the weekend of 9/11 to help Deena and Roy move into their temporary living quarters. Janice and Roy are to be commended for their selfless act as well, since they just sustained damage in Southold when Hurricane Irene hit there. All of the 30-plus volunteers (friends, neighbors and others) who helped Roy go through his wrecked home to salvage whatever bits he was able to are angels on Earth. Thank you all. Thank you all of you angels. You are all angels. God bless you and keep you all the days of your life. Know that all of you are in our prayers every day for the rest of our lives. Elena M. Bispo, Ocala, Fla. Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the editor Undefeated, unremembered To the editor: I would like to applaud the Recorder for Adam Shinder's article of Aug. 27, 2011, "A Season to Remember," detailing the story of the 1986 Amsterdam High School football team on the silver anniversary of the school's first sectional championship in the sport. As a two-way starter on that team, the article brought back many fond memories from those magical autumn Saturdays. The article accurately described a group of single-minded young kids that set a goal as freshmen (after going 7-0 together on the modified football team) of going unbeaten as seniors and beating rival Shenendehowa for the Section II title, openly talked about that prediction and, when the lights came on, backed it up by an average score of 30-5. The fact that Shenendehowa (whom we had never beaten at the time) did not make it to the Super Bowl was a minor afterthought in that storybook season. Hard work, selflessness, a razor-sharp focus and an undeniable will to win no matter what obstacles we found in our "climb up the mountain" that Coach Derrico reminded us of each week, were the cornerstones of our success. All that said, even in our wildest dreams, I don't think any of us thought we would dominate the way we did. We were never behind in a single game, not even for a second. We were only tied at the beginning of each game and in more than half of our games, the starters sat out the entire fourth quarter. All against what would be a Class AA schedule today that included six teams that ended the season with winning records and two teams included in the Top 25 of the final state rankings. Unfortunately, in those days, there wasn't a state football championship tournament, so we had to rely on the New York State Sportswriters Association to vote for a state champion. When the final votes were cast, the 1986 team finished ranked No. 4 in the large-school poll. Not bad for an undersized and underestimated group from an old upstate mill town that did not include one Division I scholarship player. To me that makes it all the more special. We didn't ride the coattails of one superstar player; rather, we won as a "team," making up for a lack of size with speed, toughness and nearly flawless execution. What is also unfortunate is that on the 25th anniversary of the first Section II title in the storied history of Amsterdam High School football, the powers that be have seemed to unremember the undefeated season of 1986. Instead, those powers have chosen to have a homecoming celebration for the 1991 team, the only other unbeaten team in the last 60 years. As a result, a group of teammates led by Chris Iorio and Dan Quatrini had to remind the powers that be of the happenings from the fall of 1986 and coordinate a small, last-minute, pre-game introduction of a group of a dozen or so players from that season to commemorate the achievement. Somewhat disappointing, yet ironically fitting for this underestimated bunch that I am proud to call teammates and friends. Thank you again Recorder for recognizing "a season to remember." Daniel Saullo, Niskayuna Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Cow chip bingo not a flop To the editor: On Sept. 2, 2011, the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Fulton and Montgomery Counties held its second cow chip bingo fund raiser. This event was held at the Fonda Fair. The winner was Renee Carr of Johnstown. We want to thank everyone who made this endeavor a success. We thank those who bought the tickets, our faithful volunteers who worked so hard, and the Fonda Fair board for allowing us the space. We want to thank the Montgomery County Dairy Princess, Gabby Brownell, Fulton County Dairy Princess, Danielle Bartlett, and little Jr. Miss Fonda Fair, Kelsey Gray, who were the judges. What a great job they did declaring it was indeed a plop and it did land on that particular square. A thank you to the radio station WIZR for loaning us a wonderful MC, Fernando Jimenez. Fernando kept the audience entertained throughout the event and the anticipation by telling cow jokes, the history of farming in our area, and interviewing various bystanders. Fernando had a 10-year-old sidekick, Dylan, who also told jokes. The girls from Shooting Starts Dance Academy in Fonda did a great job dancing to "The Farmer in the Dell." And last but certainly not least, the Putman family who loaned us the beautiful bovine, Kello. Kello is a register milking shorthorn. She was taking her time doing the promenade around the bingo "card." We discussed a possible replacement. Kello heard the word replacement, not a word a dairy cow wants to hear, and promptly "delivered." We appreciate everyone's efforts on behalf of CASA of Fulton and Montgomery counties. Our program advocates for neglected and abused children. This fundraiser helps to keep the program advocating and making the lives of these children better. We will see you next year at the Fonda Fair. Linda Burns, Amsterdam Thanks for the help To the editor: I want to thank all the wonderful people namely relatives, neighbors, friends, office for aging, sheriff's department and to all those who checked on me and came to my home every few hours. To those wonderful people who brought me food, water, a lantern and a gas stove. Not to mention all the calls I received to ask me if I needed anything. I am so grateful to each and every one of you for helping me stay home during the power outage and in helping me to continue to be able to stay home now. Thank you all again and may God bless you all. Ann Coddington, Fultonville Fire victim offers thanks To the editor: On Aug.13, 2011, there was a benefit held on Belldons Road on the South Side of Amsterdam to help raise money for a rebuild of my home that was tragically lost in a fire in late July. I would like to thank the organizers of the event -- Dale Meyer, Sandy Welke and Ed and Sissy Meyer and all those who helped behind the scenes with set-up, cooking, making the large variety of baskets and items which were raffled off. I would like to thank Smitka Bros. 67 Bike Shop, JDR's, PNA, Tom's Tavern, Tuman's, Wally's and St. Mike's who donated items for the raffles. I would like to thank the organizations such as the Amsterdam PBA for their generous donation, and to the Red Cross for giving me a place to stay and money to help me get clothing and food to get me back on my feet. Thank you to the New York State Troopers who were on the scene of the fire, as well as the doctors and staff and St. Mary's Hospital who assisted me with my injuries. Thank you to all the musicians that came out to entertain the guests for a while. Most importantly, I would like to thank the members of the Town of Florida Fire Department and neighbors and friends who came to the scene of the fire to assist in putting it out. Thank you to those who have donated necessary items that I needed such as blankets and pillows. Thank you to those who may have not been able to make the event, but did not hesitate to make a donation. The support I have received from my family and friends, as well as the community, has been overwhelming and greatly appreciated. To those who attended the benefit, I thank you, and sincerely hope you had a great time with a lot of great friends. For those I may have forgotten to mention, my apologizes, but know that I do thank you for being there for me during this difficult time. On Aug.13, 2011, there was a benefit held on Belldons Road on the South Side of Amsterdam to help raise money for a rebuild of my home that was tragically lost in a fire in late July. I would like to thank the organizers of the event -- Dale Meyer, Sandy Welke and Ed and Sissy Meyer and all those who helped behind the scenes with set-up, cooking, making the large variety of baskets and items which were raffled off. I would like to thank Smitka Bros. 67 Bike Shop, JDR's, PNA, Tom's Tavern, Tuman's, Wally's and St. Mike's who donated items for the raffles. I would like to thank the organizations such as the Amsterdam PBA for their generous donation, and to the Red Cross for giving me a place to stay and money to help me get clothing and food to get me back on my feet. Thank you to the New York State Troopers who were on the scene of the fire, as well as the doctors and staff and St. Mary's Hospital who assisted me with my injuries. Thank you to all the musicians that came out to entertain the guests for a while. Most importantly, I would like to thank the members of the Town of Florida Fire Department and neighbors and friends who came to the scene of the fire to assist in putting it out. Thank you to those who have donated necessary items that I needed such as blankets and pillows. Thank you to those who may have not been able to make the event, but did not hesitate to make a donation. The support I have received from my family and friends, as well as the community, has been overwhelming and greatly appreciated. To those who attended the benefit, I thank you, and sincerely hope you had a great time with a lot of great friends. For those I may have forgotten to mention, my apologizes, but know that I do thank you for being there for me during this difficult time. Robert "Ed" Lewis, Amsterdam Fair board says thanks To the editor: The board of managers of the Montgomery County Agricultural Society would like to thank all those volunteers that helped to clean up the Fonda fairgrounds after tropical storm Irene. It is individuals like you that help make our fair a success and we want you to know that your efforts and help did not go unnoticed. Without your help we would not have been able to open our exhibition on Thursday evening. Our sincere thank you. Richard Kennedy, president, Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Remove tobacco products from view of young people Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the nation, and it cost New York taxpayers more than $8 billion annually in healthcare costs. Despite the continued decline in youth smoking rates, it is clear that more needs to be done to prevent youth from picking up their first cigarettes. Retail stores are the main channel of communication for the tobacco industry, and they spend more money to market their products than the junk food, soda and alcohol industries combined. Exposure to tobacco marketing in stores is a primary cause of youth smoking. Tobacco companies place most of their advertising where young people shop - in convenience stores, where 75% of teens shop at least once per week. Even brief exposure to tobacco advertising influences youth intentions to smoke. In New York annually, almost 21,000 kids under 18 will become new daily smokers. Our youth face enough obstacles and tough decisions; do they need to be constantly bombarded with advertising that could potentially be life threatening to them? Removing tobacco products from the view of our kids is an easy way to help save many youth from facing early death and disease from tobacco. For more information visit SARAH KRAEMER, Program Coordinator Reality Check Catholic Charities of Fulton & Montgomery Counties Johnstown Compeer volunteers making a difference On Saturday, October 22nd, the program is marking USA's Make A Difference Day to encourage others to volunteer their time, energy and talents. Make A Difference Day is a nation-wide community service effort to encourage helping your friends, neighbors and community. The goal of this day is to take action in making a difference in the lives of others. Past and present Compeer volunteers are a wonderful group of individuals that have continued to lend a helping hand and an attentive ear. The program will be participating in this special day by hosting a bowling tournament at Perry Lanes in Johnstown from 12-2 pm. Seasoned bowlers will be paired up with amateur bowlers to strengthen their skills and lessen the loneness of others who are dealing with mental illness. Although stigma has improved over the years, it is common in society. For those adults or youth dealing with mental illness, it can be a barrier to reaching their full potential. Even though mental illness can impact how a person interacts with others, it does not diminish the person's need to feel connected to others or to feel valued by society. A mix of emotional uncertainty, negative experiences, lack of opportunity and weaknesses in social skills can keep an individual from interactively positively and successfully in society. The social isolation that can occur is an off-shoot of dealing with mental illness for that person. The support of a trusted friend provides an invaluable connection or bond to others. The Compeer program along with many affiliates across New York State has provided nearly 5,000 people annually with over 83,000 hours of volunteer time or "bonds." The volunteer is asked to spend a minimum of four hours spending time with their Compeer friend and submit monthly reports on progress and growth of your friend. There is currently a surplus of Compeer participants waiting to meet their mentor, role model, and friend. On October 3rd, the program will be having an open house at the Gloversville library from 6:30- 7:30 pm. Information about the program along with refreshments and raffles will be available. The Compeer Programs are run by the Mental Health Association of Fulton and Montgomery Counties. If you have any questions about the upcoming events or the program please call Patti Quigley, at (518)762-5332 for further information. As the Compeer concept reads, "Friendship is powerful medicine." Compeer volunteers have proven through the years they have made a difference in the lives of others. PATTI QUIGLEY Coordinator of Children and Family Services Johnstown Domestic violence affects all October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic Violence is an epidemic that affects individuals in every community regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality, or educational background. Domestic violence is the use of abusive techniques and behaviors by one intimate partner to gain and maintain power and control over the other. Most people think domestic violence is physical abuse but there are many other types, such as verbal, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Sadly, one in four women will experience violence at the hands of her partner. Domestic Violence and Crime Victim Services of Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties (serving victims in Montgomery County) announces our annual Proclamation Ceremony in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month on September 30, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. at Montgomery Supreme Court in Fonda, NY. Local dignitaries and service providers will be in attendance to show their support for the effort of the Montgomery County Task Force against Domestic Violence. This year Congressman Paul Tonko, Assemblymen George Amedore, Board of Supervisors Chairman Thomas Quackenbush, Mayor of Amsterdam Ann Thane, Amy Barasch from The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and a representative from Senator Hugh Farley's office will read proclamations. Domestic Violence is everyone's business. It affects all of us- every family, every workplace, and every community. Each one of us has a role to play in stopping domestic violence. Action can be as simple as contributing money or food to local shelter, volunteering time for a program that assists victims of abuse, talking to a child about relationship violence, offering support to a victim of violence, or posting awareness materials in public places. If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, or you would like more information about the above event, please call the Montgomery County Domestic Violence and Crime Victim Services hotline at 518-842-3384. GINGER CATO Community Educator Domestic Violence and Crime Victim Services Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties Johnstown Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the editor The martyred capital To the editor: Forgive me if you've heard this one: a bad joke. A resident on Carmichael Street said that as the flood was rising (8/29/11), he asked someone from the state why they did not open the gates of Lock 11. He was told they did not want to flood New York City. Soon, the river inundated Carmichael and the west end, requiring hundreds to be evacuated and causing considerable damage to homes and businesses. Even Lock 11 got torn up and Guy Park Manor got its historic stone walls blown off. Thus Amsterdam retains its crown as the martyred capital of America. David Childs, Johnstown Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Learn about suicide prevention Did you know that more than 36,000 Americans die by suicide each year? That's one American every fifteen minutes. These numbers represent our neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues. National Suicide Prevention Week is September 4-10. What better time for our communities to learn more about suicide and how to help prevent it. Learning some of the key suicide warning signs such as feeling hopeless, withdrawing from friends and family and making suicidal statements can help save lives. Another way to help is by participating in the upcoming Out of the Darkness Walk for R.I.T.A. at the Saratoga Race Track on Sunday, September 18th. Whether you have been personally touched by suicide or not, I encourage you to participate. The monies raised at this event will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention which funds national and local suicide prevention programs and research. To register for the walk, please visit or call 888-333-AFSP. And please remember if you or someone you know is at risk for suicide, help is available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Together, we can save lives. MARIANNE REID Amsterdam Recognize those recovering from drug, alcohol addiction September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). By recognizing those living in recovery from addiction, we can inspire hope in the lives of those still suffering from this disease as well as encourage others to join in the celebration of recovery. Addiction is a chronic brain disease which impacts 2.5 million New Yorkers and their families. We need to always remember, however, that there is hope and there is help for breaking the cycle of addiction. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers and their loved ones are living healthy, happy, productive lives in recovery from alcoholism, drug abuse, and problem gambling. If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol, drug, or gambling addiction, never forget that help is available. People break free from the cycle of addiction every day. Recovery from addiction is real, and it is possible. If you would like to read stories of other New Yorkers who are living healthy lives in recovery, please check out New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services' website at Addiction, like many chronic diseases, can affect anyone. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. Like other conditions, it can require more than one attempt before achieving long term success. Many people achieve recovery through participation in self help groups, such as AA and NA. Others utilize in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation programs, medication therapies, or a combination of approaches. If you would like information about local services available to help people break the cycle of addiction, please call the HFM Prevention Council at 518-736-8188 for Fulton and Montgomery Counties and 518-548-5710 for Hamilton County. Please join me in paying tribute to our friends and loved ones who are currently living happy, healthy lives in recovery from addiction! ANN BRENNAN RHODES Executive Director, HFM Prevention Council Johnstown Perth firefighters keep busy I would like to take this opportunity to inform the taxpayers of the Town of Perth what transpired in town on Sunday, August 28th and Monday, August 29th as a result of Hurricane Irene. The Perth Fire Department responded to 22 calls for service on Sunday during the storm. Our members responded to numerous calls for wires down, trees on wires, trees in the roadway, trees on houses and basements filling with water. Firefighters manned the station during the storm. Our first call was 7:45 am Sunday we were back in service from our last call that day at 10:15 pm. Several firefighters slept at the fire station on the floor in sleeping bags Sunday night. Monday the department responded to 8 calls starting at 9:45 am and ending at 11 pm. Monday fire department personnel assisted with traffic control along the Route 30 corridor as traffic was backed up from Vails Mills to the City of Amsterdam due to the NYS Thruway closure. Perth Fire Department also assisted the Fort Hunter Fire Department for several hours with Fire Police on Route 5S and assisted the Fonda Fire Department with cellar pump outs in the Village of Fonda. Although many members had been away from their own homes all day Sunday and their jobs all day Monday it was fortunate that the station was manned at 5:40 pm when we received a call for a structure fire in the Northway Mobile Home Park. With traffic backed up Route 30 it would have been impossible for members to respond to the station in a timely manner. With our response with 15 members from the station at the time of call we were able to confine the fire to the kitchen area of the home and limit the damage. In less than 40 hours during and after Hurricane Irene the men and women of the Perth Fire Department provided our customers ( residents of Perth and people traveling through town) assistance for 30 calls for service, leaving their families and jobs that time period to do so. I can assure our members that the Command Staff on the Perth Fire Department appreciates the effort put forth and it would by my guess that our customers also appreciate your dedication. Visit us at MIKE QUINN First Assistant Chief; Perth Fire Department Perth Thanks for tornado help I would like to personally thank everyone who helped and assisted with our recent tornado on 9/4/11. It would be impossible for me to list everybody specifically to thank. Therefore, I would like to thank everyone from the private individuals, mutual aid Fire Departments, Montgomery County Emergency Management, Cranesville Reform Church, Town/County Highway Department, American Red Cross, SEMO, National Grid to the U.S. National Guard. Last, but definitely not least, I would like to recognize the long hard dedicated hours put in by the Firefighters and Ladies Auxiliary of my Fire Department. To deal with a disaster of this magnitude and not have one reported injury throughout the whole incident is amazing. I accredit that to the emergency responders' experience and dedicated hard work of everyone involved, we have made it through an earthquake, a hurricane/tropical storm, and now a tornado all within two weeks. Even though there is still a lot of clean up still to be done, everyone should be very proud of our community working this well together under these conditions. I know that I am proud to be the Chief of this Department. THOMAS CHAMPAIN Chief, Cranesville Vol. Fire Dept. Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Avoid false assumptions To the editor: Mr. Guy Poulin's recent letter clearly highlights my reasons for running against him for Northampton town board. Entitled "Northampton voters take notice," he presents the argument that electing a Northville resident to the town board will be harmful to that part of the town that is outside the village. His "us against them" letter 1) assumes that board member will not look out for the interests of the town, 2) is factually inaccurate, and 3) is divisive. 1) Neither current nor past village residents serving on the town board have put the village ahead of the town. Mr. Poulin says that if a board member is from the village, he/she is dishonest enough to look out for the village at the expense of the town. That is not the case. And it is insulting. We have a small town of 2,800 people and we are all in this together. Most of us know that. 2) Mr. Poulin claims that the village has stopped contributing to Meals on Wheels and Flags for Veterans. This is not only inaccurate, but disingenuous. Village residents have always paid, and still do pay, the same amount as other town residents. As far as the garbage truck is concerned, Mr. Poulin knows the facts but chooses to distort them by saying the town is being unfairly charged. He fails to mention that the village has for years let the town use its truck at no charge. The fact is, a joint committee of the town and village is working out a fair solution and is not trying to force anything on him. Mr. Poulin, you need to present your facts honestly. 3) The class warfare "town against the village" attitude of Mr. Poulin has continually hurt all of us town taxpayers. He opposed the ATT cell tower installation and inter-municipal cooperation on both a needed salt shed and the above-mentioned garbage truck, to name just a few instances. His attitude has hindered the town and village from moving forward together. Let us avoid the false assumption that village residents on the town board are out to shaft the town. (If that was the case, no village resident should vote for Mr. Poulin.) People ought to look into the so-called facts presented by Mr. Poulin's letter and decide for themselves what is true. This explains why I am running. It also shows why Ivar Anderson and I are running together against Mr. Poulin. We need to come together with intelligent, honest solutions for the town of Northampton. We should not let this "us against them" attitude prevail in Northampton. Thank you. William Gritsavage, Northampton The writer is a candidate for councilman in the town of Northampton. This letter was written in response to one published in the Sept. 8 Sacandaga Express. Thursday, September 05, 2013 Letters to the editor The writing is on the wall To the editor: I was at the Common Council meeting Sept. 6 to announce the Neighborhood Watch Association meeting to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 21, and to discuss some of the options available for participation. Our neighborhood association sponsors graffiti removal and coverup, as well as playing a large role in the citywide cleanup events. Within a week of being notified of a graffiti incident a neighborhood watch person will come and either clean it up or paint over it. Through these efforts graffiti eradication has spread. We hope to continue to raise morale in the city by having a large turnout at the next citywide cleanup on Sept. 24. The neighborhood watch has also proven highly successful, with the APD conducting successful drug busts and other arrests based upon tips from local citizens. These initiatives were started by Mayor Ann Thane. We are taking back our streets and neighborhoods through citizen participation. This revitalization program is starting Amsterdam on the right track. The often heard negative comments are being answered by the original ideas, creative thinking, and hard work of the present administration. I strongly urge you to vote for Mayor Ann Thane in the important primary election on Sept. 13. Philip Lyford, Amsterdam Reminder to get out and vote To the editor: I found it hard to write this editorial in light of the events we have all experienced lately. The real emphasis and attention should be spent on the victims of Irene and the aftermath storms. However, Tuesday's primary is an important event obviously for this individual. But it is also an important event for all who care about their community and where it is going. I was asked by the Recorder why I wanted the position of mayor. My answer was simply because I feel that the residents of our community, particularly our taxpayers, should be given the attention they deserve when they call City Hall for help. Yes, we need jobs and businesses. Yes, we need lower taxes. But shouldn't we expect our city government to be as responsive to our needs every day and not just in times of disaster? My opponents would not debate me and dismiss me as not a viable candidate. My ability to remain as the "voice" of the 4th Ward for almost 24 years speaks for itself. My ability to work with members of the so-called opposite party also says much. No one person/mayor can accomplish anything without the support and approval of the council. Any accomplishments or failures of an administration can be attributed to the cooperation or not with others. I don't have others speak for me. I will not hide behind my corporation counsel. I truly care about the people of this community and that means everyone regardless of color, creed, income level, and where you live. I hope to connect with you all so that I can better understand where we, not I, should take our city for the future. One candidate remarked often during his administration that there is no "I" in "team." I self-financed my campaign because I felt first that it wasn't appropriate to ask for money from individuals who are suffering because of the economy and now, after the fact, because of Irene and subsequent weather events. Second, I did not want to "owe" special-interest groups and/or individuals who might have contributed to my campaign. In fact, I have returned some sizable contributions which could have purchased a lot of campaign materials and media spots. I am running a kind of people's campaign to prove that money can't buy the position of mayor. Finally, regardless if you vote for me or not, please get out on Tuesday, Sept. 13, to exercise a civil right and obligation that really puts you in a position of power. If you don't think this is true then why am I am taking the time to write this editorial and my opponents are spending all kinds of money to convince you to vote for them. Thank you for your past support and remember to vote on Tuesday. William D. Wills, Amsterdam The writer is a candidate for mayor of Amsterdam in Tuesday's primary election. A vote from the line of scrimmage To the editor: When I (Josh Beekman) think about Matthew A. Agresta running for the city controller seat, I think of a young man that would pick me up every day for school in his car honking his horn to wake me up, making sure we arrived to school on time. I think of a young man that drove us to and from Amsterdam football practice and games, Matt working side by side with myself and teammates to win football games for city of Amsterdam. Matt also making sure we used football to take us far in life. He used to say, "You will be in the NFL some day Josh." Looking back, he had some insight into something that was clearly a long shot. Just as he used to push Amsterdam football team to be the best that we could, I know Matt A. Agresta will work hard and will give his heart and soul to our city and this job. This is why I am supporting Matthew A. Agresta for city controller. Josh Beekman, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor A matter of dollars and sense To the editor: As a resident of Amsterdam for many years, and as someone who is aware -- as all of you are -- of the troubling financial difficulties of our struggling city, I feel that it is imperative that we come together, and seriously, urgently seek and demand the very best leadership available to us. We are all a part of a community that has known more than its fair share of challenges. I have been many times so very proud of the way we have come together, and pulled together, when those challenges have assailed us. To that end, I would like to express my whole-hearted support for Manfred Phemister as our new city controller. I won't belabor the various dollars-and-sense aspects. Like you, I live here. We all know that our country is in financial trouble and so is our city. The role the city controller plays in our local government is extremely important. In addition to acting as an accountant, we need someone with a firm business background, who will openly collaborate with the mayor, the common council, the various departments, and with us, the taxpayers, so that we all have a true and honest sense of how our money is being spent, and exactly where it is going. Manfred Phemister is a non-polarizing candidate who would be open and honest in his approach, and would assume his duties with the level-headed seriousness they demand. The city's budget -- and the process by which it is arrived at -- is quite complex. Manfred Phemister has the ability to make it comprehensible, and ultimately transparent, not just to the common council, but to us, the taxpayers. He has the professional experience to watch out for us, and our money, clear-headedly and expertly. He also has a true personal sense of our situation: both of our needs, and of our shortfalls, and how they could best be addressed, and fairly, expertly managed, to create a better quality of life for all us living here. Beyond his business acumen, Manfred Phemister is a team player with a positive attitude, boundless energy, and a real commitment to our city. I recently had a conversation with his three beautiful children, and noted how excitedly they are anticipating the new school year ahead, at McNulty and the middle school. Their father wants the best for them -- and for your children, too. Amsterdam has recently been tested once again, by the calamity that Mother Nature has visited upon us. I am certain that we will do what we always do, when the circumstances thrust upon us seem to have almost destroyed us: We will unite, re-group, and sincerely help each other. However, we need real, true leadership. We need a controller who will understand our financial needs, who will hands-on assist us in meeting them, and who will guide us, with expertise, openness, and commitment, through the storms. Manfred Phemister is the perfect individual for such a task. I urge you all to get to the polls on Primary Day, Tuesday, Sept. 13, and cast your vote for this most worthy candidate. Maria Riccio Bryce, Amsterdam The controller's race is on To the editor: The race for the office of the controller is on. As mayor, I endured many audits and had the privilege of working with a number of controllers. Being a controller is not an easy job; if it was, I would have preferred to be a controller rather than mayor. Heather Reynicke has been in office for nearly four years and during that time, she went through a period of trail and error, annual audits and annual reports. The experience she gained enabled her to emerge fully mature and eminently qualified. I believe Heather deserves to be re-elected. I had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with Heather and there is no doubt in my mind about her ability to continue to perform her duty as the city controller in a very competent manner. I'm voting for Heather. Mario Villa, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Making a bad situation better To the editor: On Sunday, Aug. 28, during tropical storm Irene, it was great to see many people helping out to make a very bad situation a little better. First I would like to thank the Hagaman, Fort Johnson, Cranesville and Tribes Hill fire departments and also the Montgomery County DPW. During the storm we received many calls regarding trees across roads and flooding. In many instances by the time we were able to arrive at the roads with trees and limbs being across them, the fire departments were there cutting or had already cut up the trees to allow vehicles to get through. During situations like this our goal is to keep the roads passable for emergency personnel to get through. Between the efforts of the above named agencies and the town of Amsterdam highway department we were able to do so. This kind of cooperation is very important in these types of situations and it's good to see that we have that in the town of Amsterdam. Once again, thank you. Dave Thibodeau, Amsterdam The writer is acting highway superintendent in the town of Amsterdam. A quiet little community? To the editor: I just read with interest the article entitled "Duplex construction in Hagaman nearly done." If anyone is considering making their home in this bedroom community please answer the following questions. Would I be happy living in a village that has 200 vehicles passing through in a one-hour time span while trying to enjoy a "quiet" summer day/evening on my front porch? Do I enjoy listening to the roar of motorcycles and a fair amount of cars and trucks that are so loud they seem to need new exhaust systems or mufflers? The roads are not wide so, needless to say, the sounds echo like you're living next to a speedway even when you're in the comfort inside your house. Yes, Hagaman has a noise ordinance but it is not enforced. So, if you prefer an increase in traffic and loud decibels 20 out of 24 hours a day then Hagaman is the place to live. Pat Anderson, Hagaman The problem: conspiracy To the editor: Solving the crude oil problem won't be easy. The problem, I believe is conspiracy. The oil companies and traders call it good business. They're actually controlling the market price. The traders like Golman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are making a lot of money trading crude oil and so are the oil companies. The government also buys crude oil and the oil companies can buy it from the government if they are short of oil. So there's no need for them to trade crude oil on the market. I believe that the government should take the traders and the oil companies to the high court for trading crude on the market. There's no problem with supply and demand because Saudi Arabia and the cartel will supply all the crude oil needed. The supply and demand is fictitiously controlled by the oil companies, traders and speculators. The crude oil is bought and stocked piled at the ports to control the price. This is why I feel the crude oil situation is a conspiracy against all consumers and the government. Americo Mancini, Amsterdam Minority cannot remain silent To the editor: I write to you in quest of an answer regarding what I perceive as a problem. There is a possibility that I stand alone but one often wonders if there are other readers who follow the same line of thought. When the last local telephone directory came out it became apparent that the great reduction in size of the figures and letters made it very difficult to use, especially for us senior citizens. I called Frontier Communications on Aug. 25 at about 9:30 a.m. regarding my concern. I believe the man that I spoke to said that sometime soon there would be no printed directories. Doubtless computers would replace them. Although I recognize the great value of computers there seems to be little to no regard for the many older people who do not have them. The most distressing part of the conversation is he told me twice that companies are in business to make money. I well understand this concept, but it left me wondering what had happened to serving the public. I was also reminded that cutting down on paper would save trees. There is no one who cherishes trees and recognizes their value more than I do. It does seem that people's lives are important also. If only one life is lost because of not having a readable directory it is one too many. If there are others out there who share my concern, make it known as forcible way as possible. Call your communications company. Contact the Public Service Commission and/or your elected representatives. We may well be the silent minority, but history has told us that even the minority who remains silent, their rights and privileges are swept away. Willis Barshied Jr., Palatine Bridge Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Life in a caring, generous community To the editors: I want to first commend you on your tremendous coverage of the storm and its sequelae for our communities under what must have been beyond difficult circumstances at your offices and for your staff as well. I was impressed with the excellent reporting, photos and editing. I wonder if others were as disappointed as I was to hear about the Saez-Henriquez-Ortiz family's assessment of their experience at the emergency shelter at the Barkley school. Apparently Ms. Saez felt the free and instantly available safe, warm, dry accommodations were not to her liking. I hope she reads the rest of the paper or looks around her and reflects on her quoted statements and perhaps compares and contrasts them with the statements and actions of every other person reported on in that issue. This was a devastating event and despite great personal losses, almost everyone else did everything they could to make the situation better and safer for themselves and others around them. Ms. Saez and her family were said to be the last to leave the "horrible ... not very well organized" shelter and the picture of her and her children shows them with food, water and apparently dry clothing. I, too, am glad she thought to bring food for her baby; I am just disappointed that she seems to think that was someone else's responsibilty. I hope her children find better examples of what it means to be a member of a community at school or in their neighborhoods. I also hope that they have a home to return to, that their losses were recoverable and that somewhere in this ordeal they realize how very lucky we all are to live in a community as caring and generous as this one. Lynn Smolik, Gloversville Youths have seen enough To the editor: On Aug. 9-11, I attended the 2011 Statewide Reality Check Point of Sale Youth Summit in Buffalo. Over 130 youth came together to send a clear and simple message: We've seen enough in-store tobacco marketing and we want a change. While at the summit, we were educated about in-store tobacco marketing and promotions. I learned that the big tobacco companies have their products displayed at eye level of children with the intention of targeting us. These tobacco companies know that we, the youth, are more likely to be influenced by their advertising than by peer pressure. Therefore, these in-store tobacco displays are giving us the impression that tobacco products are easily accessible. On the last day of the summit, we took our action to the streets. We walked around Niagara Square chanting, "We've seen enough; we want our change." The change we want to see is for all in-store tobacco marketing to be covered up in non-adult-only retail establishments. We need to take a stand to get this tobacco marketing removed from the sight of children and teens. Just imagine what our community could look like if stores at least concealed their tobacco products? For more information, visit or call 762-8313. Cody Arminio, Johnstown Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the editor Stealing signs is illegal To the editor: This brief comment is to remind my fellow Amsterdamians of all ages, that the removal, disfigurement or destruction of political campaign signs is against the law. The placement of political signs is allowable under our city's codes. Unauthorized removal of these items is illegal and subjects the offender to punitive action. I recently lost several signs, which had been placed in two opposite areas of the city, to persons unknown. Perhaps my fellow candidates have experienced the same problem. Most candidates will seek the owner's permission to place a sign on private property. Public property is open to all. If a candidate's sign is not on your property, leave it alone. Please respect the activities of those who spend money, time and effort in running for a government office to try to serve you the public. Ron Wierzbicki, Amsterdam The writer is a candidate for city controller. Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Tigers on Wednesday agenda To the editor: Tigers in Mayfield, N.Y. Most people when they read the headlines or saw the broadcast must have figured it was a ploy by the media for attention or that it was Animal Land, the professionally run zoo nearby. Unfortunately, for the surrounding residents, families that fear escape, animal care advocates, and lastly but certainly not least the taxpayer, this is not the situation. As kind of a public service notice, please note that there will be a zoning board of appeals hearing Wednesday, Aug. 24, in the Mayfield town office at 7 p.m. regarding this subject. I hope all mentioned will consider attending and voicing their concerns. Please note that if we as residents do not voice our opinions in these open forums, we have no one to blame but ourselves for negative outcomes. This meeting does not just concern residents of Donje Lane or within walking distance of this residence on Route 30 near B&B Equipment. Zoning codes were established in the town of Mayfield in 2005 to guide the future and cohesive development of the town prior to the establishment of this business. These codes were for the benefit of the majority and the officials need to enforce codes uniformly if they are to provide a beneficial future. They were not meant to injure any ones livelihood but rather protect it. Please consider taking the time and attending, thank you. Goals are dreams with deadlines, remember only achieved goals, relationships and time are your only real assets. Rich Travis, Mayfield As attractive as candy To the editor: Because tobacco is legal for adults, we become accustomed to seeing it displayed prominently in stores. Most of us have already decided whether to smoke or not, so the advertising has limited impact on us. Who are all the advertising dollars being spent on, if not adults? Kids find the bright, bold images of cigarettes just as attractive as those of candy. In the type of convenience store typically located near a school, tobacco is often placed in close proximity to the candy. Children may not make much of a visual distinction between the two. Of course they may choose to purchase the candy at this point -- and we would hope no store owners would sell cigarettes illegally to minor children -- but that doesn't mean those tobacco advertising dollars are being wasted on kids. Children become accustomed to looking at tobacco displays just as adults do, but rather than blocking them out, this will actually cause them to notice the tobacco all the more. A study in the Journal of Marketing found teenagers three times as sensitive as adults to cigarette advertising. Tobacco companies know this. Parents need to realize it's only a matter of time before some kids, after viewing these attractive looking products their whole lives, will change their purchasing habits and try to find a way to obtain tobacco. Nearly 1.5 million U.S. youths under 18 begin smoking each year and, unfortunately, nicotine is known to be the single most addictive drug. Fortunately, parents can protect their kids. Visit or to learn more about efforts to remove tobacco products from some stores and to reduce tobacco marketing within stores that continue to sell the products. Please express your appreciation to retailers, such as Price Chopper, who have already opted to cover their tobacco products voluntarily. Stephanie Cook, HFM Prevention Council, Johnstown Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Museum's 30th annual summer fest a success To the editor: The Walter Elwood Museum recently hosted its 30th annual ice cream social, "Summer Fest." On a beautiful summer Saturday, over 1,000 people attended this wonderful community event. The museum raised much-needed operational funds and money which will help the museum provide educational programs, special exhibits and learning opportunities for community members of all ages. On behalf of the board of trustees, thank you to the many businesses and individuals who provided financial support and donations. Special thanks to St. Mary's Hospital, MCT Credit Union, Dr. Govind Rao, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko, and Amsterdam PBA for being our premier event sponsors. Our gratitude also goes to Miller Printing, Jamie Parkes, Mark Perfetti, Mohawk Dairy, Hannaford, Hill & Markes, Target team volunteers, WCSS, Stewart's Shops, Marty Wendell and Tom VanSlyke for their in-kind support. Thank you to the many businesses and individuals who donated items for our prize raffle. Many thanks to the volunteers who baked all the delicious desserts served at the event. Special thanks to Joan Krohn and the Girl Scouts who lent their face painting talents. Our sincere gratitude goes to Kevin Smitka and Route 67 Cycles for chairing the car and motorcycle show and all the vehicle owners who turned out to support the museum. N.Y.S. Canal Corp. was kind enough to provide us the Grand Erie tug boat for attendees to tour and enjoy throughout the day's festivities. Lastly, our gratitude to John of Empire State Fireworks for providing a spectacular fireworks display at the end of the event day that truly took everyone's breath away and was seen and heard around the city by all residents. We are thankful to the numerous vendors who came to support the museum and show their wares. Thank you to the food vendors, who provided a variety of tasty treats for festival guests. In addition, we thank the local media for their invaluable support and coverage of the event. We are indebted to the many individuals, including museum board members and staff, the Work Force Solutions Summer Youth Employment Crew, Rob Spagnola and the city's Recreation Department, Richard Boice and his crew from Community Service of Montgomery County, Fulton County volunteers and the N.Y.S. Canal Corp. who helped with set-up and who volunteered to work the event. The list of names of everyone who contributed to our success is far too long to mention. Special thanks to the Amsterdam Police Department for assisting with the vital tasks of traffic control and event security and to GAVAC for providing an on-site unit. A big thank you to AFD Chief Liberti and his men for helping to keep the fireworks display safe for all fest attendents. It was reassuring to know these valued professionals were on site to ensure our guests' safety. Also a special thanks to the Hagaman Volunteer Fire Department who brought out their safety trailer to teach children and families the importance of fire safety in the home. Montgomery County Sheriff's Department is also to be thanked for coming with their K-9 unit to teach attendees all the wonderful ways these dogs help the sheriff's department do their job better. A huge thank you is extended to everyone who came out on a warm summer day to enjoy a special event of food, fun and friends. The board and staff of the Walter Elwood Museum strive to provide high-quality educational programming and events which highlight our rich history to the Mohawk Valley region. Please stop in and tour the museum soon. We are confident visitors will enjoy the experience and see first-hand the historic gem we have right in our neighborhood. Ann M. Peconie, Amsterdam The writer is executive director of the Walter Elwood Museum. Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the Editor Remembrance Day thank you To the editor: Thank you to the Amsterdam Recorder for your coverage of our Korean War Remembrance Day ceremony held on July 27, 2011, at the Korean War Memorial in Fonda. A special thank you goes to attorney Paul L. Wollman, former combat pilot in the Vietnam War, retiring as a captain from the United States Air Force, our Remembrance Day speaker. His talk on the history of the Korean War and recalling some of the nationally known servicemen who served in Korea was highly informative. We, the Korean War veterans, greatly appreciate the support of Bruce Wadsworth and the members of the Fonda VFW 942 in providing this yearly ceremony, Justin Fox who returns from college yearly to play "Taps" and of Elder Thomas Flander for the invocation and benediction. In closing, in history the Korean War is known as the "forgotten war" -- "a nasty little war:" the actual firing starting on June 25, 1950, and ceasing on July 27, 1953. Of the 1,127 days in this war, there were 481 deceased per day. A peace treaty has never been signed. In a sense, we are still at war with North Korea. Also of note: The television show and movie "M*A*S*H" was of the Korean War, not any other. We would like the public to beware that the Montgomery County Korean War Memorial has been erected and supported by donations only and not by any government funding. Thanks to the family and friends of the 22 Montgomery County servicemen lost in the Korean War and remembered at the ceremony and to the area veterans and public who attended the event. Jerry Koller, Amsterdam The writer is director of Montgomery County Korean War Veterans. Belated words of apology To the editor: Unfortunately, the principal whose school for pregnant minors I ought not to have called a "whorehouse" is no longer around to read these belated words of apology. It was long ago during my truant office years that I was once asked to perform (piano) for the facility's scheduled open house. Whereupon, in verbiage that I today regret, I refused, angrily denouncing what was tantamount to celebrating the claimed, but never existed, "right" of adolescent fornication. The tongue-in-cheek "practice safe sex"-advising powers-that-be are loathe to admit their values-subverting pimp-like role's clear conflict-of-interest. Think hard about it, though: Is not the millions in state aid and local taxpayer dollars that are generated year after year, by illegitimately conceived offspring, what is sustaining and perpetuating countless public payrolled jobs? If one would, for but five minutes, dwell on the consequent evils -- teen vice, venereal disease, illegitimacy, the abortion scourge, prostitution, crime/drugs, welfare dependency, etc. -- that are clearly traceable to immoral school-administered sex indoctrination, one's blood temperature would soar. "Whorehouses" they're not. But dens of moral iniquity, which for 36 and a half years I truthfully and rightly criticized, our government-run schools most certainly are. And parents/guardians everywhere would do well to act resolutely in rescuing their exploited youngsters by enrolling them in private sector schools, or by teaching them at home during the remainder of the compulsory attendance years. Note: Home schooling is legal in the state of New York. Joseph A. Carnevale, Buffalo Thanks for the support To the editor: To the people of Canajoharie and the surrounding area who attended the Aug. 2 Music on Main Street event, enjoyed the music of the Nobby Reed Project, and ate fireworks and chocolate ice cream donated by Stewarts served by the members of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Moyer Street, thank you for coming on down to Wagner Square. Through your generosity of ice cream purchases and donations, $178 was netted for the work of Mountain Valley Hospice of Gloversville. Your support of community organizations through community activities is most commendable. Bonnie Kerr, Canajoharie Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Showing concern for the needy To the editor: The Dolly Lazarou Memorial Golf Tournament was recently held at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. Aristotle "Dolly" Lazarou was a U.S. Navy veteran and a standout athlete. He played pro baseball and was an avid bowler. He was a member of the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course, where he was a former city champion and once held the course record. When Dolly passed away in 2005, the Lazarou family wanted to honor him by helping the youth of the community. This year the Lazarou family decided to use the proceeds from the event to support the newly formed Amsterdam Homeless Project. Previous recipients were Catholic Charities, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Montgomery County, the Amsterdam Little Giants and the R.A.M.S. organization to save modified sports in Amsterdam. The community has benefited greatly from the work of the Lazarou family and we owe them much gratitude. This year the Dolly Lazarou Memorial Golf Tournament raised $5,100 to support a homeless shelter in Amsterdam. Much thanks to Christine Sherlock, Jeff Lazarou, Mike Lazarou, the many sponsors and the 80-plus golfers for their generous time and support. Last winter, a task force led by Sister Danielle Bonetti, vice president of Mission Integration at St. Mary's Hospital, opened a homeless shelter Feb. 1. The two-month pilot project served 19 different people. This year the shelter will become satellite program of the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, whose executive director Janine Robitaille provided invaluable assistance for last winter's shelter. The local task force will become an advisory committee to Interfaith Partnership. To all who supported the Dolly Lazarou Memorial Golf Tournament, thank you for showing your concern for the needy families of our community. John Nasso, on behalf of the members of the Amsterdam Homeless Project The writer is executive director of Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Guardian angels say thanks To the editor: Feline Guardian Angels (FGA) would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who helped and participated in our wine tasting event held Aug. 4 at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. Our event was a great success and we are hopeful to make it an annual event. First we would like to thank Lorraine and Bill Nichols of West End Wine and Liquor for hosting the event. They are wonderful to work with and continually show through all of their efforts the dedication they have for the community's forgotten animals. We would also like to extend a special thanks to all of the wine distributors who served a large variety of wonderful wines for the general public to sample. We greatly appreciated your time and wine donations. Many thanks to Laura Elmendorf and the clubhouse staff for coordination of the event at clubhouse. We enjoyed all the time spent planning this event with Laura and the staff. Joe Isabel and Rebecca Persico did a fine job of live broadcasting of the event. Special thanks to all the local businesses sponsors: Triple A Appliance, Vern's Auto Body, Sikorski's Service Station, Fritz's Pizza, Ponderosa, Dolci, Embrees Wine and Spirits, Broadalbin Christian Bookstore, Country Girl Salon, Carrero's Men's Hair Cuts, Hannaford, Europa, Nicholino's Restaurant, Smitka's Motor Sports, Chris Lindsay's Pet Jewerly, Turo's Auto, Sister's Gifts, Saratoga Brewery and White Cottage Gardens. All of the donations of cat/kitten supplies will be used by the feral cat caregivers to feed the local colonies of cats or used by the FGA volunteers who are fostering kittens from these colonies. All the money raised from this event will be used to help offset the cost of spay/neutering of stray or feral cats in our local community. Finally, words cannot express our sincere gratitude to the general public for the tremendous turnout and support of our mission. Through collective efforts, we can hopefully help in the overpopulation of the stray and feral cats in our local community. Myra Lampkin, FGA coordinator and FGA volunteers Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Dwelling on the positive To the editor: I am writing this to let the people of Amsterdam know how enjoyable the concerts at the Riverlink Park in Amsterdam are. My husband and I have been attending these concerts for years now and it is always a very relaxing evening of nice entertainment. In a recent article about problems with loitering and such issues at the Mohawk games someone said while at the Riverlink they never saw a police presence. I'd just like to say that there is, in my opinion, no need at all for the police to waste their valuable time to patrol these concerts. There has never been any problems and the people in attendance are all there for one reason and that is to enjoy a peaceful evening. You hear it over and over again that there is nothing to do in Amsterdam. These concerts are every Saturday night from 7 to 9, July through August. They are free of charge but donations are greatly appreciated and these help to ensure future concerts. Where else can you go and enjoy a two-hour evening of entertainment at no up-front charge. I'd like to encourage everyone to come and see how beautiful this park is. There is a wonderful little cafe there with an excellent menu. Plan to come early, have a bite to eat and just enjoy a little music right in your own back yard. I think once you have gone you will be back. I know this is what happened to me. The concert series runs through the end of August so there is still time to come down and see what it is all about. There is parking on the upper level of the mall with a pedestrian bridge across to the park. You may then take the stairs down or there is also an elevator. Parking is also available at the Front Street entrance. We are always finding negative things to dwell; on let's for a change find some positive. Michele Cetnar, Hagaman A disappointing adventure To the editor: I am sorry to say I was very disappointed with my visit to Adirondack Animal Land in Broadalbin on Aug. 8. After paying for three adults at $13.75 per person, spending an hour walking through the zoo exhibits, my family and I made our way to the safari ride. This is obviously the most exciting part of the park and we were told the next one left at 3:00. After standing in the shade to keep my infant daughter out of the sun and letting all others board the bus first, we realized it was getting full very quickly. The operator continuously told the passengers to squeeze in and we had to pack everyone in. There was another bus, so I assumed we would be using that one also. To my surprise, my family and I were the only ones turned away. We were told, quite abrasively, that there wasn't any room left and we could take the next one if we felt like it, which would be at 4:00. My daughter loves animals, but we were not waiting another hour, after being treated rudely. We had already seen what there is to see in the rest of the park. There was not any remorse for us here. I realize the economy is hurting and businesses are trying to downsize, but we are also paying customers who left unsatisfied and disappointed. Another visit to reuse our tickets to enjoy the safari ride would have been in good business sense, but was not an option unfortunately. Sherri Lott, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Stay healthy; be examined To the editor: When my significant other turned 50, he decided that he should get a physical before starting any exercise regiment. I agreed, and I accompanied him to the appointment. When the doctor asked why we were there, I spoke up first and told him that he wants to exercise again. I had no choice but to handle the appointment this way because I knew he wouldn't have a colorectal exam any other way. We set up an appointment for a colonoscopy, which went well. Approximately two years ago he became very ill, he ended up in the emergency room and having two more colonoscopies, of which both came back negative. I over heard him speaking to his friends just the other day about standing up and being men and that they each should have examinations because with early detection colon cancer is curable. He even admitted to having the examination, the colonoscopy followed by another examination, and a second colonoscopy when he was in the hospital. That is why everyone reading this letter should do whatever you can to protect your spouse, family, friends and yourself. Get the breast exam, get your pap test, and get the colorectal exam. If you do not have health insurance, there is a program out there that can help you. The Cancer Services Program of Fulton & Montgomery Counties offers free mammograms and pap tests to women 40+, and colorectal cancer tests to men and women 50+ who do not have health insurance. If you are due for your annual visit, or have put it off, please contact Suzanne Hagadorn at 841-3726. Remember the life you save just may be your own. Susan Winters, Amsterdam Ladies of Charity say thanks To the editor: The Ladies of Charity of Montgomery County would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped and participated in our golf tournament held July 22 at Amsterdam Municipal course. Our affair this year was a great success . First we would like to thank Joe "pro" Merendo for all his help as he does every year. Laura Elmendorf from the clubhouse put on her great dinner as always. Mangino Chevrolet helped us with a hole in one contest with a very nice car as the prize. Unfortunately, no one seemed to be able to obtain that prize. But-there is always next year folks. Special thanks to all our golf teams (without them there would be no tournament) and a special round of applause to the members of our organization and to those who do not belong but volunteered to help anyway with the many tasks that needed to be done. We extend thanks to C. Scott and Sons Contracting for being our giveaway sponsor. Our flag sponsors this year were: American Legion Sons Post 701, Brown's Ford, Catholic Charities, Church Street Mobil, Margot and Kevin Devine, DiBlasi Insurance, Elk's Lodge, Fantastic Sam's, First Niagara Bank, JoAnn and Paul Gegzno, The Gutter Guy Business (Karl Meier), Kinowsk Agency, attorney Robert Krzys, Dr. Kurt and Juliet Konieczny, Joe "Pro" Merendo, Mormile Plumbing, Polish American Vets, Dr. Giovind Rao, Rick's Robo Carwash, St. Mary's Hospital, Shear Magic Salon, Spagnola Accounting, State Farm Insurance, Congressman Paul Tonko, Tuman's Tavern, Wee Care Day Care, and Zanella's Market Hill Service Station. In addition to our flag sponsors, we also thank the following people and businesses for donations and prizes. Alpin Haus, George Amedore, Bartyzel's, Black Bear Wine, Burger King, Cappies, Cassellco Signs, Charlies, Cork Hill Liquor, Crystal Ristorante, Damiano's Florist, Danny's II, Dawn and Jim Dybas, Emerald Cinemas, Europa Restaurant, Hannaford, Hays and Wormuth, Home Depot, HySpeed Car Wash, Kathleen Joyce, June's Hallmark, Karen and Mike Jurcsak, Juliet Konieczny, Mohawk Dairy, NY Oncology Hematology, Betty and Ed Niski, Old Peddlers Wagon, Price Chopper, Raindancer, the Recorder, Sacandaga Style, Super Shoes, Rob Szkaradek, Tuman's Tavern. All money raised by us will be donated to needy organizations and individuals less fortunate than ourselves. We take great pride in making Thanksgiving and Christmas a happy occasion for many. Just saying thank you does not seem adequate for the appreciation we feel toward everyone who participated in any way. This truly is a great community to live in. Karen Jurcsak and Betty Niski (co-chairmen); Nancy Alteri, Liz Andolina, Margot Devine, Dawn Dybas, Gloria Mancini, Gloria Yevoli, committee members, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the editor Wake up and get motivated To the editor: The other day I finished watching the movie "JFK" on TV. It was made back in 1991 about the investigation by D.A. Jim Garrison from New Orleans, La., regarding the assassination in 1963 of President John F. Kennedy. I had never seen the movie before. But I have heard the stories over the years about the extreme probability that Lee Harvey Oswald either was not the lone shooter or that he either had little or nothing to do with the shooting as well. After watching the movie (and doing other research myself) I am now convinced that there were other people (more than one) who actually did the shooting and that Oswald was set up to take the fall as the "lone gunman" and murderer in this case. And it is very obvious that people within our own government (FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and other high ranking officials) knew of the planning and had a part of this assassination of JFK. And after Mr. Garrison uncovered all of these facts and brought one man (Clay Shaw) to trial for his part in the crime, the jury came back almost immediately after getting the case and returning a not guilty verdict. It shouldn't surprise anyone that our own government would be involved in such a high crime and coverup as this. Back in 1995, we had the Oklahoma City bombing case in Oklahoma City, Okla. The federal government would have us believe that a Timothy McVeigh (with some help from Terry Nichols and a couple of others) blew up a truck bomb in front of the building and this resulted in the whole front of the building being destroyed along with 168 people who were killed and another 680 who were seriously injured. But there were several witnesses at the scene who were heard to say by many that they had heard explosive devices going off in the building. And some of them also said that there were explosive devices inside of the building that had not gone off yet after the initial explosions (inside) of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Though in the investigations into this bombing, all of testimony of these people of explosives going off inside the building and about the explosives inside that hadn't gone off yet were ignored and were actually denied by investigators. Once again they had their perpetrator (McVeigh) and they were going to pin it on him (and Nichols) and their radical and anti-government beliefs that they both had. Then we come to Sept. 11, 2001. Everyone knows what happened that day and the resulting 3,000-plus deaths (including many NYC firefighters and policemen) and the loss of the Twin Towers and Building 7 in the World Trade Center District of New York City. Not to mention the supposed plane that crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the plane that supposedly went down in rural Shanksville, Pa. Our government would have us all believe that 19 Muslim terrorist hijackers were responsible for hijacking the four planes involved and were able to fly two of them into the Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon while the last plane was overtaken from the hijackers by the people on board and then crashed in Pennsylvania. In the past few months I have been researching and studying a lot of facts involving 9/11 and I have come to the conclusion that what our government wants us to believe about that day is well beyond the scope of what these 19 hijackers could have possibly been able to do in any way, shape or form. There are many witnesses around the Twin Towers that day who heard explosions coming from inside the building and others who testified that "military planes" were actually involved in hitting the buildings that day (and not the commercial aircrafts that the government claims were flown into them). And many other claims by people which were either covered up or totally ignored. In other words our "wonderful" government is involved in another high crime and coverup of the highest degree. But one thing I have found and which totally amazes me and saddens me to no end, is that whenever I try to talk to most people about these things I am met with people not wanting to hear any of this. Or they get angry. Or they get very defensive and they are quick to want to defend our government and they think and believe that they would never ever be involved in any activities such as this. They dismiss people like me (and many hundreds of thousands of others) as "conspiracy theorists" and un-American as well. Though what they don't realize is that to believe what our government wants us to believe about all these cases (and many other ones that I don't have time to write about) requires one to actually believe in the wildest and most far reaching of conspiracies to think that their version of events are actually true in any way. Another thing I am finding out is that most of these people don't even care about the likelihood that our government is lying to us and deceiving us as well. They are too busy and too involved in their own lives and they foolishly think these things don't involve them and it doesn't affect them either. Though nothing could be further from the truth. Every time we (in this country and even around the world) have some kind of "terrorist attack" or some other pre-planned disaster we get one step closer to the one world government and police state that the "globalists" and big money bankers are planning and are getting ready to implement and which the holy Bible foretells as well. I believe we are very close to yet another huge "disaster" or "attack" of some kind which will usher in more laws and rules designed to control us and totally take any and all freedoms away from us that we may have left. After 9/11 we had the "Patriot Act" which was implemented and signed into law which effectively sidesteps our Constitution to give the government absolute power in all of our lives in the name of "national security" and fighting "terrorism." We also had the invasions and wars with Afghanistan and Iraq (which we are still in to this day) after 9/11. When this next "attack" comes (which I fully believe will make 9/11 look very minor in comparison) that will usher in more "wars" and maybe even the beginning of martial law which our government is preparing us for. I am very afraid for the future of my family and my loved ones in this country. I know my writing these things will stir up a lot of anger, and false accusations, and people even questioning my loyalty to this country. But I can assure everyone that I love America and all that it stands for and was fought for from the beginning of our creation as a nation back in 1776. Though this country as it stands today is a remote shell of what it once was and what it is supposed to be and was designed to be. If you are a Christian today you are mocked and ridiculed and abused as is no other group of people. Every other "religion" in this world is respected and tolerated. But being a Christian (to the rest of the world) means that you are putting yourself out there to be attacked, and taken advantage of, and having your sacred beliefs meaning nothing to them. My main purpose and desire in writing this is to hopefully wake some people up and to motivate them to do their own research and look into these things and not believe everything that comes out of Washington. And to start to prepare for the terrible things that lay ahead for everyone. I have absolutely no allegiance any more to any political party either in this country. I recently was a part of the Republican Conservative party. But I fully believe that both parties are very corrupt and evil and are involved in the planning of the destruction of our country as we know it. I fully believe our only hope is to look to God. And to hope and pray that when all the terrible things that will happen in this country and in this world, when they begin to happen, that we (as Christians by faith in Jesus Christ) will have been already taken up to Heaven, and that we won't have to endure the pain and sufferings that await those of us who are left here. It isn't too late to turn to God and accept the free gift of eternal life that He offers through Jesus Christ his son. Amen. David Jobin, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor A sense of clarity To the editor: This is a good time to bring clarity to school budgets. The 2011-2012 budget of the Greater Amsterdam School District and the resulting tax increase continue to be loudly criticized. A review of 2011-2012 school district budgets in the local area shows that GASD spends less per student than any other district in Montgomery County, and less than any district in Fulton, Schoharie or Schenectady counties. Let's be clear. GASD students already receive less financial support than their counterparts in surrounding districts. How much more do they have to give up to satisfy the critics? Kevin Bechtel, Amsterdam A's say thanks To the editor: The Amsterdam A's 14U travel baseball team would like to thank the all of the businesses and individuals for helping send our team to the NABF regional tournament in Brooklyn. Thank you to Tailwind Associates, Adirondack Septic, the PAV, and St. Michael's Club for your generous donations. Thanks to Paul Peluso and Hertz Rentals for the generously discounted passenger van that allowed us to transport the team to Brooklyn, and also to and from games. Thanks to Sieverts Sports for the discounted equipment. A special thank you to Ed and Betty Niski, Carol Braun, and Tom Push Jr. for your individual donations. All of these donations helped to defray the costs that were incurred for travel, lodging and food for 11 great kids. Playing in typical A's fashion, we played tough, gritty baseball and managed to reach the finals, losing to the Long Island Vipers, 2-0. The dream of playing in a world series ended there, but the strong admiration for all of those involved with these kids only grew stronger. Once again, we thank you and feel proud that you helped make possible a lifetime of memories for a group of kids that always represents Amsterdam with class and dignity. Matt Flint and Bill McGillin, Amsterdam Thanks for the support To the editor: The St. Mary's Healthcare Auxiliary would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for supporting our garage sale at the Memorial Campus on July 16 and July 17. It was a resounding success because of your generosity and support. We would like to thank everyone who donated their treasures and gave of their time to help us get ready for the sale. We are especially grateful to our committee for their tireless help in the months leading up to the sale. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the following individuals and groups: the housekeeping and kitchen staff at the Memorial campus, the volunteers from Target Distribution Center, Cy Bintz, Karl Klemme and Dennis D. We can't thank you enough for your generosity of spirit and hard work. Sharon Shaw-Bintz and Maria Cinquanti, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the editor Amsterdam: Small city, huge heart To the editor: You nailed it Mayor Thane when you coined the tagline. More so than most people will ever realize. I experienced it firsthand this week while attending my only brother's funeral. It's ironic, too. You see when my brother was growing up we learned he was an epileptic when he started having seizures, many of them in public. Society wasn't so kind to epileptics in the '50s and '60s. The sight of a seizure was pretty frightening and many people weren't equipped to deal with it, so their reaction was to want to avoid having to. What resulted was subtle and not so subtle discrimination. We also came from a broken home and many people didn't think highly of people from that type of environment. So my brother had some pretty heavy things to bear and they weighed very heavily on him at times and life wasn't always that good to him -- but he persisted to try and try again to do normal things and enjoy life's many ups and downs, successes and failures. I remember thinking what a tortured life he was born into. As time went on he found a few things that meant a lot to him and they became a wonderful focus for him. He loved his daughter Rachel and he loved playing golf -- loved Amsterdam Muni. A couple of weeks ago I visited him while on vacation from my home in North Carolina. We had a great time playing golf at the most gorgeous golf course that exists -- Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course. Afterwards we had lunch and a few beers in the clubhouse and even had breakfast one morning there. He told me the clubhouse had the best club sandwiches and the best breakfasts -- he was right. My brother Jim, or Pert to most, or Pertski to me, had finally settled down in life. He had retired and was playing golf almost every day with many great friends. His daughter Rachel was still close to him and they had a great relationship. I left thinking the curse had finally been lifted from the brother that I loved so much. I was happy. However, that funny irony hit again when I got a call last Saturday from Rachel telling me that Pertski had died unexpectedly. I have been weeping since. But then the huge heart of Amsterdam and its surrounding communities showed itself to me. Hundreds of people visited Betz Funeral Home to pay their respects. The different eras and associations were represented -- Rockton, Tribes Hill, the Barge, Tryon, Post 701, Bigelow Weavers, PAV, Irish American, and the Muni. His golf buddy Don Zarecki made an impassioned and beautiful speech at the funeral, Don's wife and daughter and all the Betz people made Pert look wonderful, his other golf buddies were pall bearers, his daughter bravely arranged everything and strongly held it all together and our family stood by to help as they could. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who told me how much they liked Jim/Pert and how he had helped them. My heart was filled with pride just thinking I had a brother so well liked. I may have thought he was treated unfairly all those years but I now know that along with that he was quietly gaining a huge group of wonderful friends from an area that has a huge heart. I just want to say thank you to everyone and to maybe just tell some people who don't realize it yet, you are lucky to live in an area with such a huge heart. I love you all. Mike Pakenas, Calabash, N.C. Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the editor Candidate's perspective To the editor: It is unfortunately a campaign strategy by some candidates in an election contest to try to destroy the reputation and credibility of his or her opponent by circulating falsehoods and making items like correcting a signature after the original was signed by inserting his or her proper middle initial in order to further identify that person as the one who is the signer, as a crime against humanity when in fact that practice has been allowed for years by the election law. What is more disturbing to this candidate running for the office of mayor is the possible negative impact it will have on future candidates who innocently want to make a difference and contribution to their community. It will further discourage them from running against a "political machine" that has both the money and knows better the tricks of the system. What does it verbalize to a prospective candidate when the chairman of the Democratic Party, the proclaimed party of the people, says, "If you need 200 [signatures] and you turn in 400, statistics say half of them aren't valid." So basically even the endorsed Democratic candidate in her opinion lacks the valid number of signatures to be on the ballot for this September's primary. I have noted the specific rules that govern the signing of petitions in my comment in the Venner Vox for all to read. Another discouraging action, this one taken by the Recorder, was the legal publishing of my petitions. Even before the Montgomery Board of Elections ruled on the specific objections, the Recorder published under the Venner Vox my complete petition. When I requested in fairness to have them publish my Democratic opponent's, they were silent and nonresponsive. The actions of the Democratic chair of the party that is supposed to represent the people and a newspaper who prides itself in its community mindedness are more appalling than the actual specific objections which can be contributed more to political pettiness than to substance. What their collective actions did was to further discourage the average citizen from taking an active part in the election process by innocently signing a document that says yes I will allow this person to run but does not mean that I support or will vote for that person in the primary and/or general elections. That decision, thank God, is made in the privacy of the now open voting both. I didn't challenge my opponents' petitions but I do challenge them once again to a debate. I add to that challenge the following: take a reduced mayor's salary of $30,000 or less and take no health benefits or related payouts as I will do if elected, as noted on my Web site Now that's a political tactic that might just work and it doesn't berate your opponent or paint you in a negative way. William D. Wills, Amsterdam The writer is the city's 4th ward alderman and a candidate for mayor. Thursday, March 05, 2015 Letter to the editor Still not convinced To the editor: I'm still with the 50 percent of Americas who still believe as I do that Barack Obama is not a legal President of our America, and it could be proven if someone wanted to spend a lot of money, paying our top investigators to go to Kenya in Africa. This present dailey[sic] displays on television programming the distance the Republicans and the Democrats are in coming together on an agreement desperately needed by August 2, 2011 to avoid an American default, in my opinion is a plan by Obama to give himself credibility every day up until the very last minute, when he will compromise and avoid something that will not only ruin America's credibility, but problems around the whole world. For the Republicans just sitting there listening to him ramble and just sit twiddling their thumbs as one has been seen lately, is giving himself more and more credibility than he deserves, and it really shows that he is enjoying this whole thing by his continually looking into the camera. Unfortunately, his plans are already paying off as he has more than doubled the amounts of the Republicans to speed for his re-election to a second term. If that does happen, and it does appear that can, it would be the very worst thing that could happen to our country which would expose more of what he intends for us? Not a future we would like. Richard C. Beckwith, Caroga Lake Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the editor Pave paradise and ... ? To the editor: They're going to pave paradise and put up a parking lot. Or in this case they are going to create another launch? The Broadalbin beach will no longer exist? Really? No more children building sand castles or splashing in the water. No place for teens to meet up with friends to soak up the sun and cool off in the lake. No more late afternoon swims to watch the sun set over the Adirondack Mountains. I find this extremely disappointing. I've been going to the beach since I was young. As an adult now, I truly appreciate its importance for communities in not only Fulton County but also surrounding counties. First, there was no budget created to fund the opening of the beach and to supply lifeguards this year. Then, the Broadalbin and Perth youth commissions were left to scramble to find a place where children could go swimming. Many thanks should go to Mayfield for opening its gates to the people of Broadalbin and Perth. Some Broadalbin residents that I have spoken with are not happy. The result may be seen when officials are up for re-election. The Broadalbin beach is important. The Department of Environmental Conservation should understand the preservation of the environment and allowing it to be accessible to the people. What's next, are they going to slash and burn the forests in the Adirondack Park? Is it all about the Benjamins? Jeannine Zaluski, Johnstown Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor People's will is thwarted To the editor: Pastor Klueg of the Northville Baptist Church is absolutely correct when he states that "God defines marriage. He's the one who instituted and he created us as male and female. He instituted marriage as between a man and woman period. Anything different from that not only undermines the family but all of society." Thank you pastor Klueg, for speaking out publicly, many will not. Once agan the will of the people has been thwarted by those who think they know what's best for us. An issue of this importance should have been decided by the people, not elected "representatives." Whereever this has been done, it has been defeated, however we do not have that option in NYS (nor do we have a recall option) how convenient. We do still have the vote and I would expect those state senators that sold us out will not be returning after the next election. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has pledged $2 million to defeat them. In a recent poll by NOM 57 percent of New Yorkers are against homosexual marriage and 59 percent say the issue should be decided by the voters. NOM has pledged to bring this about. They were successful in California in overturning the gay marriage legislation. The first step is to replace these seven. For more information visit NOM's website. In my mind making something legal does not necessarily sanction it and suddenly make it moral, morality and legality being two separate entities. Morality, religion, and gun ownership must be removed in order for true socialism to succeed. (See your history book.) These are being chipped away at on a daily basis throughout the country. We are well on our way to pure socialism in New York. Herbert W. Hey, Northville Chamber fills a need To the editor: Congratulations to the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce for stepping forward to serve as host of that agency's first big buck contest. The significance of this moves goes beyond the fact that the obvious continuation of the always popular event is assured, because of the participation of a high profile business organization with a membership surpassing the 500 mark, the vastly expanded exposure that's created will illustrate that the importance of the sport itself has taken on a new meaning. Also, the venison for food pantries program can expect to greatly, benefit from the contest as well through a remarkable increase in entries. Again, a well done to the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce officials who quickly acted to fulfill a need immediately and effectively. Anthony Biscotti, Amsterdam Going smoke-free outdoors To the editor: On June 16, Community Partnerships for a Tobacco Free New York launched a campaign to educate New Yorkers about the benefits of tobacco free outdoor recreational areas. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of the environmental impact of tobacco litter, dangers of secondhand smoke and influence on children when tobacco use is not restricted. Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter and tobacco litter is poisonous to both children and wildlife. These products are toxic, slow to decompose and costly to remove. Cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of fish, whales, birds and other marine animals and can cause digestive blockages. These butts contain tar absorbed by the filter and bacteria from the smoker's mouth and lungs. These can pose a health hazard to young children who routinely pick up items off the ground and place them in their mouth. Irwin Berlin, MD, board chair of the American Lung Association in New York said, "When we consider that children have smaller lungs than adults and consequently breathe in 50 percent more air pollution, it's clear that we need to do everything we can to expand smoke-free outdoor areas so we can reduce exposure and prevent tobacco-caused disease." It is clear that tobacco free outdoor recreational areas are an important part to building a healthy community. Outdoor recreational areas should be places where people can breathe fresh air and exercise smoke free. Tobacco free policies reduce secondhand smoke exposure and eliminate cigarette butts so families can enjoy outdoor activities in a healthy environment. Public support for outdoor tobacco use restrictions is growing. There are currently outdoor tobacco use policies in over 280 local municipalities throughout New York state. Please support the outdoor tobacco use restrictions. If you are seeking information on quitting smoking, contact the NYS Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS and if you would like more information about tobacco free outdoors, please call Project Action at 841-7288. Ryan Wille, Johnstown Coaches, players say thanks To the editor: The coaches and players of the Amsterdam High School Football program would like to thank the city of Amsterdam and the surrounding area for their support during our recent barrel drive at Walmart Center. In these tough times the donations were greatly appreciated as we reached our highest total to date. Again thank you for all your support. Coach Pat Liverio, Amsterdam Friday, May 31, 2013 Letter to the Editor Looking for an apology To the editor: I am writing to you again in response to the June 7 article in which the St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominic Stagliano made reference to the workers in the Montgomery County Department of Social Services as being "rotten from the top down." Now we as the CSEA represent these workers and felt that this statement was both inappropriate and uncalled for, because of Mr. Stagliano's misspoken words he grouped all the employees together; even though the disciplinary meeting he was attending was for only a couple of employees. Now we have asked Mr. Stagliano to apologize to the rest of the hard working people in this department for his statement. This is not an unreasonable request, and not one that would take a great deal of time or effort on the part of this supervisor. This gentleman offended a great number of employees within the department; many of these have worked for quite a few years, under considerably stressful conditions. A situation that has now has added stress because of a county supervisor unappreciated statement. Mr. Stagliano is a supervisor, supposedly a man for the people, but as of this date we have not heard a single word from Mr. Stagliano. He could not even be so considerate as to say that perhaps his statement wasn't meant to be taken in the context it was, or that perhaps he misspoke. But, no we have not heard a single word from this Supervisor. It makes us wonder what his constituents think of Mr. Stagliano now. Does the town of St. Johnsville really want to be represented by this man who has so little regard for the feelings of others? I guess we will all have to see next Election Day. Edward Russo, Amsterdam CSEA Local 829 president Friday, May 31, 2013 Letters to the editor Clearing up some issues regarding the old church To the editor: This letter is to set the facts straight regarding the article "Fort Plain landmark is coming down" written by Mr. Smith in the June 23, 2011, issue of the Courier-Standard-Enterprise. To begin with, the Fort Plain village board has nothing to do with the countywide tax auction which is done every year. The auction is run by the Haroff Auction Team. They post big yellow signs on the properties in Montgomery County that will be auctioned off. These signs are attention getters, and very visible for all to see. In addition they have issued a booklet listing all of the properties, giving the location and a description, as well as a picture. Anyone from anywhere can go to bid on the properties that are up for tax auction. To be put in the tax auction, taxes have not been paid for at least two years. The auction usually is held in Amsterdam. The property in question here, the former Universalist Church, 39 Mohawk St., Fort Plain, is assessed at $57,700 and since the taxes were not paid, the county put it up for tax sale. As a church, the building was off the tax roll since churches are tax exempt. Prior to Mr. Yerdon buying the property the taxes from the previous owner were unpaid. Mr. Yerdon went to the auction (which anybody can do), bought the property, and paid the back taxes and fees that were owed. He then came to the village of Fort Plain and applied for the demolition permit. The code enforcement officer went to the village attorney to make sure everything was in order for Mr. Yerdon to take down the building. It was then that the permit was issued. Up until the time that Mr. Yerdon came to the village for the permit, the village board did not know Mr. Yerdon. Residents of the village should be thankful that someone who lives locally bought the property. Prior to Mr. Yerdon purchasing the property it was owned by someone from New Jersey who failed to pay the required taxes and who never came to Fort Plain to see what he bought. This is what happens to vacant properties. Often you will read in the paper or hear on the news about "absentee landlords." Usually, a problem will evolve, either they do not take care of the property, or they fail to pay