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Feds should help N.Y. protect Adirondacks, other state parks

Friday, April 12, 2013
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Feds should help N.Y. protect Adirondacks, other state parks

More than 7 million people will visit the Adirondacks this year, but sadly, without needed federal support these mountains may not be prepared for such crowds. Visitors may see a park that isn’t as pristine as in the past, and development may continue along its borders.

The current Congress could bring renewed hope for these majestic mountains — with their beloved lakes, pristine trails and popular ski resorts — by acting to protect our parks for generations to come.

Decades ago, Congress set up the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect our parks against overdevelopment and pollution. Unfortunately, this program has been routinely underfunded for years. This has put the Adirondacks — and the memories and experiences millions will have by visiting them — at risk.

That’s bad news for the Adirondacks, as well as other parks like Harriman in the Hudson Valley and Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes, where New Yorkers spend time hiking, fishing, boating, camping or simply enjoying the scenery. We should protect these special places so that future generations can experience seeing a moose up close, or catching trout from the crystalline waters of a mountain lake, just as generations of New Yorkers have done before us.

We owe it to our children to protect the Adirondack Mountains, and other places that make New York special, with full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I applaud Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for supporting our parks, open spaces and wilderness areas, and we hope New York’s legislators will give our parks the protections they deserve.

Eric Whalen

New York City

The writer is a field organizer for Environment New York.

It takes parents, not a village, to teach kids

The April 6 editorial, “Who will read to, with, Schenectady’s kids?” references the alleged need for reading specialists, which, of course, translates to increased financial costs. Finance issues always lead to the tug of war between localities and the state; thus suggestions about setting up some volunteer program.

Nowhere in that editorial was the word “parent” used. Why not? How about the parents reading to and with their children? Let no one provide the usual cop-out excuses!

We were not rich or upper class; my parents both worked full time, they were not scholars or scientists; just a blue collar and pink collar. They didn’t have the modern, time-saving conveniences that parents have today.

After breakfast on Saturday mornings, my mother retreated to the basement for the next seven to eight hours to do laundry in a wringer washer, alternately carrying up baskets full of heavy, wet laundry to hang on the clothesline.

Dad would use the hand-push lawn mower, then rake and carefully sweep the sidewalk. He dusted furniture, dust-mopped any exposed hardwood floor (including under the beds), shook out the throw rugs, vacuumed the carpets, washed the kitchen and bathroom floors, washed the sink, toilet and tub, made the beds and ironed the laundry after it was dried on the line (including the bed sheets). To this day I remember, as a young child, the creases on the fresh bedding on Saturday nights.

Despite all this, my parents had time to read to and with me! Today, I can read and comprehend what I read. Also, I do not need a computerized feature to check my spelling, nor a calculator to do math computations.

So who will read to and with Schenectady’s kids? How about their parents? Isn’t it time parents start being parents and stop neglecting their responsibility, stop pawning off those responsibilities on “the village”? By the way, I’m sure people in my parents’ generation can tell us all how much lower the taxes were before the village took over raising the children.

Maryann Ruege

Rotterdam

Crusade on behalf of fired cashier is improper

Re the decision not to rehire a seasonal cashier at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course: There are always two sides to any story.

As this is a personnel issue, I am not at liberty to discuss the particulars of the situation, but state emphatically that the decision was not made lightly. There were valid reasons to pass on this year’s rehire. My position was well-founded and documented. Replacing this individual was not at all political. I have never worked that way.

I find it inappropriate that golf course “members” have chosen to make this a public conversation, as they are not privy to all of the facts; their information comes from a disgruntled individual.

They are no more entitled to make decisions about hiring at the course because they play golf there than they are at Price Chopper or Burger King because they eat the food.

Lastly, the myth that this course costs our community nothing outside of what “members” pay is ridiculous. City taxpayers pay thousands of dollars to keep the course watered, toilets flushing and garbage picked up.

Honesty and integrity are top priorities of this administration. I have always operated with the best interests of the taxpayers in this community.

Ann M. Thane

Amsterdam

The writer is mayor.

Movie cast, crew a good bunch of people

My son and I just got back from the screening of “The Place Beyond The Pines” in New York City [April 5 Gazette]. It was so exciting to be there!

We met so many wonderful people while they were taping on our property; we still keep in touch with some of them. We can’t say enough about everyone, how good they have all been to us — [director] Derek Cianfrance, Jenny, [producer] Alex Orlovsky, [location crew] Marshall, Jean, Jenny and [actor] Ryan Gosling, just to name a few.

We had a loss in our lives while they were filming, and they all showed caring, consideration and compassion for us. They would call to check on us, call to invite us to where they were filming, check to see if we needed anything (my son wanted to be in the movie so Derek and Marshall made it happen — how exciting for an 11-year-old). We are very blessed to have them in our lives at that time and now.

I hope people will check out this movie; maybe more crews will want to film in our area and others will get the awesome experience we had. The after-party in New York City was fun and went on until the early hours of the morning.

Diane Pustolka

Tommy Pustolka

Guilderland

Full-day K or not, taxes rise in BH-BL every year

I read the April 8 letter championing Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s proposal for increasing kindergarten to full-day and noted the letter writer’s claim that there will be no budget impact for the next couple of years.

I would bet $1 of the thousands of dollars I, and all property owners in Glenville and Burnt Hills pay every year, that BH-BL School District in May will propose yet another budget increase that will add $300 to $500 per year to our school tax bill. That is $300 to $500 per year, every year since I moved back to Glenville in 2004.

My point is that there is a cost, and with every budget there has to be a point where you must say there is no money to enact these great ideas. The sky is not the limit. Most property owners in the district do not have unlimited resources.

If all-day kindergarten is truly budget-neutral, let’s see if the district proposes no increase in May. If that happened, I would be glad to lose my $1 bet.

John Van Patten

Scotia

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comments

April 12, 2013
7:48 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Maryann Ruege, Exactly.

April 12, 2013
10:07 a.m.
deeder says...

In regards to BH-BL full-time kindergarten and tax hike: first of all, as long as there is a raise in salary and health insurance costs taxes will rise. Full day kindergarten or not, your taxes will go up, the question should be how much will they go up and then look into what they base the hike on. We are dreaming if we think there will ever be a year with no tax hike! Why do we except decisions from businesses/companies (National Grid, Time Warner Cable, groceries, or any of the products we need/want), when they raise prices for the purpose of making a better profit, yet we question our schools when there is a tax hike. Again, the question should be how much and where is it going or rather what it is being used for because it certainly is not being used for a profit!!!

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