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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Amsterdam, NY ,
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Letters to the editor

Saturday, April 12, 2014 - Updated: 4:08 AM

Take a walk in Ashley's shoes

To the editor:

I would like you to meet Ashley Elizabeth Dowser, a vibrant, intelligent young woman. A daughter, a sister and a mother, Ashley's smile lit up a room when she entered. However, she became a victim of a brutal, violent sexual assault by four college football players who repeatedly attacked her. She, like many other victims, chose to keep it a secret, even from her family. Sadly, Ashley Elizabeth Dowser passed away Nov. 24, 2012, five years after the attack. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was a contributing factor to Ashley's passing and is directly related to her attack. Six months before her passing, Ashley finally let her family know what had happened. Her mom, Elizabeth Czelusniak Huxley, tried to get Ashley to press charges, but she refused, choosing to keep her silence. It was not until her passing that a journal was found that Ashley had been keeping, giving details of the attack and naming her attackers. However, there was not much that Elizabeth (Beth) could do to get justice for her beloved daughter.

Beth, an Amsterdam native, became involved with the Nashville Sexual Assault Center and May 3, an event called "A Walk in their Shoes" will take place in Nashville to bring awareness for victims of sexual assault. Beth, family members and friends are forming a team to walk in Ashley's memory. She has raised more than $3,000, but will not stop there. A childhood friend of Beth's, Laurie Druziak, had an idea that walking with Beth in Nashville would be impossible for most of Beth's family and friends still living in the Amsterdam area, so Laurie came up with an idea of a gathering in Amsterdam as a show of support for a dear friend. So for this year, to coincide with the date of the walk in Nashville, Laurie and a group of Beth's friends will meet to release balloons and have an informal walk in Ashley's memory with hopes that for next year, time will allow for a more organized event to take place that will give a voice to Ashley and all victims of this horrendous crime of sexual assault. Laurie has started a Facebook page called "A Walk in Their Shoes" -- In Memory of Ashley Elizabeth Dowser. Details of the get-together will be listed and contact information will be available on the event page.

I think that it would be difficult to find someone who has not been affected by this horrific crime in some way. This year may be a quiet whisper for Ashley, but next year, you will find that Ashley's voice will be heard loud and clear.

Eileen S. Andrzejewski,

Amsterdam

You can call me Jim

To the editor:

I have developed a ritual for sustaining my time above ground. If one adheres to it, it may extend one's stay in this valley of tears.

First, when you get up in the morning, open your eyes very slowly. Observe your bed in its entirety. Look directly to your left and try to avoid seeing the following: candles, flowers of any kind, and the smell of incense burning. Place your right hand on your night stand and try to avoid finding any mass cards. If you have achieved this, you are alive, and may get up to (hopefully) function the rest of the day.

The rest of my ritual involves two parts, both taking place at Hannaford's. With the exception of a haircut and doctor's visits, I am out of the house about four hours per week. On Monday afternoon, I have acquired the flyers from Saturday's papers, so we go shopping. On Saturday, we return to purchase commodities of a perishable nature, such as bread, milk, etc. Last Saturday was a very pleasant experience for me. Entering the store at the same time I was, was Rose LaGrange and her daughter. Rose and I knew each other from working together at Mount Loretto Nursing Home for 16 years. She was in housekeeping and I in dietary. Her daughter I've known longer. She was a waitress at Carl's Co. when they had a restaurant at the Amsterdam Mall. She was very pretty 20 years ago and she hasn't lost a thing. Her name is Sandra. Also, on that day, I renewed a friendship with a gentleman named Rich Rogers. He owned the auto repair shop on Bridge Street, next to Herk's Tavern on the South Side. He did all our cars for 15 years. Never once were we overcharged and we always received superior workmanship. He has a son named John who was once a paperboy and while still in school, went to work at Hannaford's. He completed four years at Siena at the top of his class. He's the kind of man that if you had a daughter, you would want them to get acquainted with each other.

Now the real reason for my shopping at Hannaford's was to confront the help. Every time I walk in I hear the following: "Good morning, Mr. Sheridan; Good afternoon, Mr. Sheridan; How are you feeling, Mr. Sheridan?" I had a belly full. I called a meeting and said: "My father was Mr. Sheridan. My name is Jim. You can spell it Jim, Gym or Jem, but that is how I would like to be addressed in the future. Is that clear?"

They all nodded in accord, so I finished my shopping and went back to the bench by the telephone to await my ride home.

In just a few minutes my daughter pulled up. I grabbed my cart and headed for the exit and at the exit were Nelsa Barnett, Denise, Brittany and Jackie and what do you think they said? "Goodbye, Mr. Sheridan." I instructed my wife to take them off our Christmas card list. Another reason for my going to Hannaford's was two years ago I had some surgery and had an extended stay in ICU at St. Mary's. The nurse who guided me through this difficult time was Lynn Armstrong. She was the daughter of a classmate of mine when SMI was on Forbes Street. He was one of the kids who could come up with 25 cents so that we could shoot baskets at Woodrow Wilson School. He went on to become a fireman. He has since left us, but the town is a much better place for him having been here. One Saturday I was sitting on my bench and Lynn Armstrong walked by with a cart full of groceries. She recognized me and we have five minutes of very pleasant conversation. I have not seen her since, but I suppose if I wanted to see her again, I would have to become violently ill and be consigned to St. Mary's ICU. But, with my luck, they would probably assign me a male nurse, which would do nothing for me.

Next Saturday, I'll fill you in on a very colorful wedding I attended. I'm getting a little tired right now.

James Sheridan,

Amsterdam

Not enough money for potholes

To the editor:

Massachusetts is passing out $40 million to its municipalities to fill potholes created by the recent severe winter. Since New York is three times as large as her neighbor, it seems apt that our state would contribute $120 million to its cities, towns and counties to repair streets and roads which have now become mine fields.

Gloversville's city engineer, Kevin Jones, said his city does receive CHIPs grants but that money cannot be used to fill pot holes -- only for full paving.

Incidentally, the state raised its funding to schools by 5 percent this year. Yet the same schools, which have become independent kingdoms, contribute nothing to the maintenance of the roads upon which it transports its children and employees. But, if its buses sustain broken axles caused by deep pot holes, the taxpayer will foot the bills. No such luck for taxpayers.

David Childs,

Johnstown

     

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