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.
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.
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 ).
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 will.i.am 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.
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,