Shen endured its tragedy with help from an entire region

Thursday, December 13, 2012
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Shen endured its tragedy with help from an entire region

Just over one week ago, the Shenendehowa High School community suffered a terrible loss with the untimely deaths of Deanna Rivers and Christopher Stewart, both seniors and actively involved in our school.

Together with the injuries to Matt Hardy, a junior at Shenendehowa and Bailey Wind from Shaker High School, this accident, tragic in its impact on the families and friends of these students, helped create an outpouring of love, compassion and support not only for them, but the entire Shenendehowa school district and greater Clifton Park-Halfmoon communities.

I have heard from dozens of schools, health care facilities, and nonprofit organizations around the region and beyond, offering their resources to assist our students and staff. I have received inquiries from numerous small businesses and individuals in the community who want to assist with scholarship efforts to recognize these young people. Local churches and their parishioners have prayed for our healing. The Roman Catholic community has comforted us in our grief and allowed for the types of tributes and remembrances befitting these outstanding youth.

The members of the state police, including the officers who assisted at the scene of the accident, along with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department, have allowed us to safely organize a moving tribute to our fallen students and attend two wakes and funerals in four days.

The high school Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA) and the Shen PTA Council, along with our sister schools and the district office, supported us all week with resources, food, materials for memorials and their positive thoughts and energy. It has been overwhelming and inspiring to say the least.

Perhaps most impressive to me has been the way our high school students, faculty and staff have rallied around one another to assist in the healing process. The resiliency, empathy and character of our students have been tested in the cruelest of ways. In education, we often speak of student and staff accountability; they have passed the most important of all tests. They have come to the aid and support of others, and they have done so in such a way that Deanna’s and Chris’ legacy and the healing spirit necessary for Matt’s and Bailey’s speedy recovery will never be forgotten.

The young people of our school, and their peers from other districts, have inspired us by their ability to respond in ways that have helped us understand the power of shared concern and the impact of social media used appropriately. They have defined themselves as people who care deeply for one another and who can rise to the occasion, even in the darkest of situations.

Clearly the Shenendehowa Class of 2013 will never be the same, having lost Deanna and Chris; surely they are better off for having known them, even for such a brief time. These seniors are now challenged with using the example of their departed classmates to become more serious students, more committed athletes and teammates, more loyal friends, and more loving individuals, since Deanna and Chris demonstrated these traits every day for us.

The Shenendehowa family will recover with time and the continued support of our families, friends, colleagues and community.

I offer all who helped by their support, thoughts and prayers my sincere appreciation, and I ask for your continued care and concern for the Rivers, Stewart, Hardy, and Wind families. It is a privilege to be associated with this school district and the surrounding communities.

We are Shen!

Donald Flynt

Clifton Park

The writer is the high school’s principal.

Did congressional GOP miss election results?

The “fiscal cliff” is a package of automatic spending cuts specified in the Budget Control Act (BCA) of August 2011. Under the BCA, these cuts will become effective Jan. 1, 2013, since the “bipartisan supercommittee” failed to agree on a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction package last year.

These cuts, in both defense and non-defense spending, can be averted if the president and Congress come to agreement on a deficit-reduction plan before the end of this year.

The major stumbling block in the supercommittee’s deliberations was how to deal with the Bush-era tax cuts. Republicans insisted that all cuts be extended, while Democrats wanted to extend all cuts except for the wealthiest 2 percent of taxpayers. In this context, Republicans were following the lead of conservative activist Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, who authored the GOP campaign pledge never to raise taxes.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney promised not to raise taxes if elected. Thus the Republican position on taxes was very clear going into the elections.

During the election campaign, President Obama emphasized repeatedly his plan to increase taxes on the wealthiest taxpayers if re-elected. Thus the Democratic position on taxes was also very clear. President Obama won re-election.

Nevertheless, when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented to Congress the president’s initial deficit-reduction plan, which included tax increases for the wealthiest Americans, Republican congressional leaders responded with surprise and derision. House Speaker John Boehner said: “I was flabbergasted.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he “burst into laughter.”

Why are the Republican leaders “flabbergasted” and “laughing” when the president did exactly what he said he would do? A majority of Americans endorsed the president’s tax plan and rejected the Norquist tax plan.

The Republicans should acknowledge the results of the presidential election, abandon their strategy of posturing and adopt a strategy of negotiation.

Don Steiner


Unthinkable to abandon dog on busy highway

To the woman who dropped off a dark brindle female pit bull Dec. 5 on Route 67 in the town of Amsterdam: I and many people have stopped along this busy road because your dog was standing on same spot along the road where you abandoned her. I tried for three days to get her to come to me, and brought food and treats, hoping she would trust me enough so I could get her on a leash so she would not get hit by heavy traffic on the roadway.

The farmer saw you get out of your car and just thought you were letting your dog out for a potty break. But as your dog did what dogs do, you jumped back in the car and left her, stranded in unfamiliar territory.

I tried so hard to get her to come to me, but she was scared and shaking.

As of Dec. 11, there is no sign of the dog. Calls to the sheriff’s department and the Montgomery County SPCA were made, but no luck.

Hope your Christmas is a happy one.

Rick Splawnik


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December 13, 2012
7:09 a.m.
FrankLowe says...

Mr Steiner, Apparently, The Speaker of the House did recognize the results of the election. Republicans kept a considerable majority in the House. You might want to read Article 1 section 7 of the constitution which says "All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills"
The president, as the executive of the country carries out laws that congress passes, he is not a lawmaker, and has no authority to legislate.
Unfortunately presidents, the current one even more than others, have been overstepping their authority. Perhaps you didn't notice that included in Obama's irresponsible budget proposal is the fact that he wants the power to raise the debt ceiling without congress' approval. If you're advocating giving the president more power, keep in mind that the next president may be one with whom you do not agree, but he/she will retain whatever powers the previous have been granted.
Those of you suggesting any kind of tax increases, especially on high income earners, should examine your values. Jealousy and envy of those have more than you are character flaws which you should try to correct.

December 13, 2012
7:35 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Rick Splawnik
What a disgusting woman. I feel so bad for the dog and hope that someone was able to rescue this poor creature. There are many safe places in the area that she could have taken this dog to. My hope is that as she gets older or ever sick that her family gives her the same future. Karma.

December 13, 2012
11:26 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Rick Splawnik

Dis you try calling APF 374-3944

December 13, 2012
2:59 p.m.
janesjoys says...

wmarincic - I know that there was something we could agree on! There are many choices for unwanted animals as you stated. Even euthanasia is better than what the woman did. Wonder what she'll do when Mom is too much to care for, or maybe her kids. Thanks for your reply.

December 13, 2012
7:34 p.m.
steveleary1 says...

Mr. Steiner people voted for the President for many different reasons. We have a
$ 15,000,000,000,000 deficit ( That's what 15 trillion looks like) We are spending and borrowing $ 1,500,000,000,000 ( 1.5 Trillion) every year more then we take in revenue from all sources. 40 cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed. If the President gets all of the revenue that he hopes to by raisng taxes on the top 2% of earners He will get $ 120,000,000,000 per year ( $ 120 Billion or $ 1.2 Trillion over 10 years) . This will cover the amount that we are borrowing for 30 days per year and that's if we get it all and the top 2% don't shelter their money somehow.
This doesn't come close to covering the amount of money we need to keep spending at these levels. The Republicans are looking for some Real cuts to spending before they will agree to any increase in taxes. There has been No proposal from the President on any spending cuts.
In 1920 Life expectancy was 54 years old. Social Security and pensions were set up so that people who lived to 65 could have a couple of years of retirement. Life expectancy has risen to 81. We are now paying for 16 more years of retirement then when Social Security was established. Can we talk about raising the retirement age by a year or two ? Can we look at the Federal Budget and not find ANY waste such as the Million Dollar GSA parties in Vegas ? Could we talk about bringing some of 50,000 troops stationed in Germany ( and other bases around the world) back to the US and put them on bases here where they can spend their money and help our economy ?
No ? The President only speaks of raisng taxes without cuts- I am sure if a few of us got together we could find plenty of places to cut spending. The first thing we have to do is put down our political party kool aid, and look at the problems objectively.Neither The Democrats or the Republican are always right or always wrong.

December 17, 2012
4:34 p.m.
rngeorge says...

Dear Mr. Splawnik,

My son was also one that stopped and tried to get a hold of her for two days, and then on the 3rd day on his way to work, he saw her laying on the side of the road dead. He was sooo upset. To the woman who abandoned her, that was a disgusting cruel thing you did. That poor girl was alone and scared. How would you feel if someone dropped you off in the middle of nowhere!!!! Hopefully you will never have to find out!

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