Letters to the Editor for March 16
Nuclear advocates need to get real about environmental issues
Re Carl Strock’s March 8 column, “Nuke plant? Waste is the problem”: I am delighted to finally read that someone in the media “gets” what the real problem is with nuclear power plants.
In the late 1960s to mid-1970s, I learned a lot about radiation in my capacity as radiological defense officer for Essex County. During that time, and more, I taught life and earth sciences in Essex County. I left there to pursue a Ph.D., then spent the remainder of my career as a college teacher — environmental science was one area of my teaching.
For years I’ve had discussions with a wide variety of people — some engineers, most well educated. I’ve listened, watched and read media accounts and opinions, and listened to politicians carry on about how nuclear power will solve “all” our problems. Strange, though, they never mention, or acknowledge when challenged, that not one human on this planet has the slightest clue about how to protect future generations from the dangers of nuclear waste.
Furthermore, not even the engineers I’ve talked to want to discuss the “environmental footprint” of building and then decommissioning one some 20, 40, or even 60 years in the future. It’s as if we are a citizenry committed to wearing blinders when it’s convenient.
George L. Preston
The writer is professor emeritus of the Hudson Valley Community College department of biology, chemistry and physics.
Today’s classrooms much different than yesteryear’s
The Mohonasen budget forum drew many concerned parents and teachers, all in response to massive cuts. People were asked to rank their greatest concerns; for many, it was the area that would be hardest hit, K-6 teachers. These cuts could result in class sizes increasing to 30 students.
When leaving the meeting I heard a woman say, “I was in class with 30 kids and I turned out just fine; the teachers will have to deal with it.” It is that line of thinking that could not be more removed from what teachers face today in an elementary classroom.
The spectrum of children from lowest to highest is so wide that, for many, it already is a balancing act. More and more children are receiving services in and out of the classroom, many have little to no academic reinforcement at home, there are those who need enrichment, and then, oh yes, there is everyone else who falls somewhere in between. Couple that with the pressure teachers feel with higher state standards and a last-hire, first-fire policy — which gets rid of some of the most promising teachers for the future — and what you have left is a system that will fail many of our children.
Mohonasen parents need to take note of what is happening and fight to keep K-6 teachers. They are the foundation of our educational system.
The writer is a Mohonasen teacher.
Amsterdam’s Puerto Ricans slighted in editorial
Calling Amsterdam “a transient community with lots of foreigners” [March 9 editorial] was the most outrageously bigoted phrase I have ever seen in the Gazette.
That the “foreigners” referred to in the editorial are or have been legal residents of Puerto Rico prior to living in Amsterdam is beyond any reasonable doubt or deniability.
For the benefit of this grossly uninformed editorial writer, residents of Puerto Rico are as much citizens of the United States as he/she is!
Rep. King hearings on Muslims were justified
Re March 7 AP article, “U.S. Muslim help sought in battle against extremism”: What strikes me is that while 52 percent of Americans think that the hearings by New York Republican Rep. Peter King were appropriate, so many Americans fail to recognize the threat posed to this country by growing nests of radical Islam, home-grown as well as imported.
Like all religions, there are moderate and extreme elements that make up the members. However, radical Islam has jihad and the liquidation of all non-Muslims as a basic tenet. In addition, while many more moderate Muslims would not take up arms against their non-Muslim neighbors, they often remain curiously silent when their radical brethren perpetrate murder and mayhem in the name of Allah.
Given that the most clearly articulated threat to the survival of America is Islamic jihad — and that the leaders of England, France and Germany have recently declared that the promotion of multiculturalism, which allowed Muslims and others to set up encapsulated, non-assimilating cultural communities in their countries, has led to the growth of terrorist cells —
I think Americans should applaud the steps being taken by Rep. King to inform our citizens about the extent of the threats to our lives and freedom posed by radical Islam.
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