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Thursday, July 24, 2014
Amsterdam, NY ,
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Letters to the Editor

Saturday, August 17, 2013 - Updated: 4:09 AM

Time to clear the air

To the editor:

This is in reply to the article published in the Aug. 13 newspaper that was on tobacco-free parks in the city of Amsterdam. I disagree with Mr. Dybas. These laws can be enforced. Example: Riverlink Park concerts, compared to concerts at Freedom Park in Scotia, which is a smoke/alcohol free park. They enforce the rules, they have signage, they announce it at the beginning of their concerts. I have been to several and they do not smoke there. So maybe Mr. Dybas should contact them and talk to them regarding the same issue.

As for attendance, you have standing room only, and can't even find parking unless you get there early. Little children are dancing and playing without having to contend with smokers. At Riverlink Park you can go to a concert there at any time of the evening, find prime seating, and be bothered with smoke. Also, at Jumpin' Jacks in Scotia, it is packed with people and it is smoke-free there, too.

If Amsterdam wants to attract people to the area, they need to start looking at what is working and smoke-free parks is the best solution for everyone, as everyone has the right to breathe clean air.

Nancy Tyler,

Amsterdam

Before I forget ...

To the editor:

In a recent letter, I mentioned a grocery store on Green Street. My research shows Jim Lang had a son named Bud. Bud passed away at the age of 52. He looked a lot like Cary Grant. He has two daughters, Mrs. Pelusone and Trish Mroczka, who survive him. I see Trish twice a month as she works at MCT.

In prior letters, on Mount Loretto, I inadvertently missed a few people. Way back, by St. Mary's Church, a family owned a grocery store. Their name was Sulem. They had a daughter named Anne. She was married to a man named Gordon Champion, who left us far too early. The union produced a son named Thomas. I mention this on purpose because Thomas is now the fire chief of the Cranesville Volunteer Fire Department. If you recall, two years ago, we had a tornado in this area. We lost the roof of our house and a tool shed. My daughter, who lives next door, had a freezer on her front porch which we have yet to find.

In the midst, of all this chaos, there was knock on the door. It was Tom Champion and another member of his unit. He offered us styrofoam containers of hot dogs and hamburgers plus porta potties if needed. Also, water to cook with, or to flush the toilet with. This was not a one-time shot. He saw that we had no car and he came three days in a row. If there is a third world war, and I am in a trench, this is the guy I want covering by back.

Remember the word volunteer. That means no monetary gain. Now I hear that his son Jake has joined the fire department. Sorry, Luke, you've got a couple years to go. OK, Ginger?

I forgot in my previous letter to mention that Judy Newland, in addition to her 30-plus years of service at Mount Loretto, also makes wedding and birthday cakes at a professional level. Her father Donald, for many years, worked for the Fitzgerald Bottling Co. delivering Pepsi Cola for Jerry Cramer. If you want to know what he does now, take a ride up Swart Hill, look for a "Newland" mailbox, and look to your right. A place for everything and everything in its place. The lawn is so well manicured. It looks like a carpet in your front room. As for the house, it resembles an ICU unit in St. Mary's Hospital. He is roughly 10 days younger than I am and a very good looking man. He's no Jim Sheridan, but he tries.

My wife claims that I am very conceited. But, I tell her "no," because conceit is a fault and I have no faults.

There is one other young man who worked there by the name of Michael DeMars. He is now a member of the city fire department. In talking to his mother, I informed her that should he pursue this career, he would one day become an executive. He is very well organized and dedicated. I feel certain of his success because he has Lazarou blood in his veins and there are two words that have been eliminated from the Lazarou vocabulary. They are "quit" and "loser."

Finally, I will reveal to you the one secret love of my life. Her name is Mary Lou Coughlin. She used to take the residents down to get their hair done, took them to doctors' appointments, and everywhere for the 20 years I have known her. I get birthday, anniversary and Christmas cards. They are all made by Hallmark. There may be nicer and more warmer people than Mary Lou, but, I've never met them and I've been around the block a few times.

Let's try a couple of isolated incidents at St. Mary's Hospital next week.

More to follow ...

James Sheridan,

Amsterdam

An update on the train wreck

To the editor:

The latest news from the two-month-old Fonda train derailment seems to be the same-ol', same-ol'.

CSX has contracted Environment Systems and Products to clean up the mess and it has rendered several cars.

But, the detour barriers remain which antagonized a Herkimer businessman, whose drivers now must curl around the south side of the Mohawk River to make deliveries. He thought somebody was taking too much time to complete the job.

The complication may derive from having to lay new rails on stronger foundations.

Interestingly, CSX is said to have donated dozens of remaining derelict cars stranded in gullies to Montgomery County which is dicing up the carcasses into small pieces which can then be sold as scrap metal. A small Caterpillar "dinosaur" can be seen chomping up the cars at a slow dinosaur pace.

A rumor that the engine was drowned in a bog, and that the Department of Environmental Conservation refused permission to have it removed for fear of disturbing the swampy habitat of frogs, was disclaimed by a guard. But, there remain a few hulks teetering over a chartreuse pond which might harbor more than frogs.

The first train derailment I saw along this stretch happened 60 years ago and that one in the middle of Fonda. Recalling other such derailments since in that area, I wrote the federal transportation department, to list every accident reported along the railroad between Amsterdam and Canajoharie. You may be shocked that the government did not reply.

This part of the valley once was the bed of a huge post glacier river, and thus, the sediment may be unstable when soddened by heavy rains. Thus, necessitating firmer foundations for the rails than one might need for rocky land.

Since this stretch of rails has been in constant use for more than 150 years, it is easy to see why no authority would be concerned. But about the time of the Fonda accident, a train disaster in a similar obscure Quebec community killed several people and blew out a hole in the community. As Sen. Chuck Schumer wondered, what are these trains that pass us by daily carrying, and are the roads safe? If he can't get good answers, why should we?

Meanwhile, overlooking the scene of the latest smash up is the 18th century yellow house of Volkert Veeder who was the Montgomery County representative to the constitution ratification conference in Poughkeepsie in June 1788.

David Childs,

Johnstown

Offering the proper structure

To the editor:

As an organized group, they can be considered persistent opponents of the presence of athletic sports activities, being an integral part of an educational institution's make-up during a school year.

By intentional design they maintain an obscure public profile, yet are continually engaged in quite successfully convincing a generous portion of the population to at least seriously consider the legitimacy of the propaganda they diligently dispense on almost a daily basis.

So it wasn't surprising at all to see how quickly these anti-sports advocates took full advantage of the poor standardized test results recently announced by the state Department of Education, insisting that if the youngsters used all of the time involved with various athletic sports pursuits toward seriously preparing themselves for the exams, far different and more acceptable conclusions would have resulted.

Their additional solution to the problem is also no surprise -- place strict limitations on the amount of school time allocated for athletic sports participation and further extend the entire school year to 12 months in order to obtain even more classroom study time.

Another more drastic ploy being prepared is to significantly increase public pressure during yearly school district budget discussions to eliminate all funding of sports programs and turn over the task of securing the necessary money to outside groups such as PTA members, booster clubs, alumni organizations, etc.

Always remember -- no matter how radical a face certain propaganda initiatives wear, that's being peddled, to the taxpayers. The way it's dressed up and presented will always succeed in gaining an amazing number of listeners who will agree with the message.

These new recruits in turn can be instrumental in wrongly influencing those parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and other citizens who already have expressed some serious concerns about our schools becoming "sports factories" more so then centers of learning to the point that when the time comes to vote on a school budget, the final decisions arrived at could very well prove to be totally wrong in every sense of the word.

Any effort made to correct the misinformation that's being presented as factual to an unexpecting public is never a waste of time, especially so with such an issue as this one.

Today's youth need the proper structure that organized athletic sports programs within the school systems have successfully provided over the years. The same can be said for all the other sports venues that exist throughout the community. To have any one of them reduced, in size or scope, would be a major tragedy in the making.

A Recorder editorial (Nov. 9, 2011) focused upon the subject of a cure being needed for voter apathy that centered primarily upon electing governmental representatives. Such voter apathy also rears its ugly head when school budget voting is required.

The solution to both problems is obvious -- every concerned citizen has to step up and speak out. A school budget vote goes far beyond just approving enormous expenditures for specific purposes. The procedure becomes another building block in creating a solid future for today's youth who are destined in a variety of ways to become tomorrow's leaders.

Anthony Biscotti,

Amsterdam

Put an end to the discounts

To the editor:

Youth smoking is still a problem in New York and remains the leading cause of preventable death. We need to protect our youth and put an end to the deadly discounts that are addicting our kids to tobacco. The evidence is undeniable -- people smoke more when cigarettes are less. Studies show that a 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes causes a 3 to 5 percent decrease in purchases among adults, and youths are even more price sensitive.

Tobacco companies have crafted innovative and intricate price-related strategies to dissuade quitting and to entice new customers to purchase their products. With coupons, "buy one, get one free" offers, undisclosed payments to retailers, and other methods, tobacco companies seek to offset high prices caused by increase in tobacco taxes and keep their products attractive to price sensitive customers, like youth.

Price-related strategies are a priority for tobacco companies. In 2011 alone, they spent approximately $7 billion on price discounting strategies to reduce the price of cigarettes for consumers. This was 83.6 percent of the industry's overall advertising and promotional expenditures for cigarettes.

Some localities are fighting back. In 2012, Providence, R.I., prohibited the redemption of coupons and multipack discounts. And New York City has now introduced legislation to address coupons and price discounts in an effort to protect youth.

What are you willing to do to protect our youth from these deadly discounts? Sharing this information with other community members, speaking to elected officials and attending your local municipality meetings is the step in the right direction.

For more information, visit www.realitycheckofny.com.

Shauna Sitts,

Johnstown

     

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