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Cutting day care is penny-wise but pound-foolish

Sunday, September 8, 2013
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Cutting day care is penny-wise but pound-foolish

I read Shannon Luibrand’s Aug. 24 article, “Head Start programs take hit from federal budget cuts,” with interest.

As president of the board of Schenectady Day Nursery, it seems timely to point out that day care centers like ours have also been adversely affected by the budget cuts.

Our situation is different in that it is working families, typically from the lower end of the income scale, who are severely impacted. Every one of our families is a working family, paying day care fees based on their ability to pay.

Many have received Department of Social Services subsidies to make day care affordable. In some instances, the cuts have forced parents to quit their jobs, take their children out of day care, and sign up for public assistance. The resulting consequence for more and more children, is that they will be entering public kindergarten without strong reading readiness and other learning skills. Unfortunately, the lesson these children will model is that collecting public assistance is preferable to working.

The implication for struggling day care boards is loss of revenue and an economic crisis that puts our own 111-year-old day care center at risk. At Schenectady Day Nursery, we have tried to solve the problem by implementing a financial aid program for our families, by remaining frugal with operating expenses, by fund raising, and through advocacy.

Representatives of our board have met with elected government officials to explain the crisis and help them see that quality early childhood programs, like ours, benefit society. We cite amazing studies showing that children who have quality pre-school experiences are more likely to score higher in reading and math, are less apt to drop out of school, are more likely to hold jobs, and are more likely to earn more money in that job.

For every dollar invested in sound day care and early childhood initiatives, nearly $10 is saved in reduced welfare and health care costs, and crime. Still, there has been no change. Government officials seem to turn their backs on the problem and expect private donations to pick up the bill.

Our families are trying to do the right thing. They work to give their children a better chance. They strive to make a decent living, not just to survive. Schenectady Day Nursery encourages families to have positive behaviors and goals, but the current funding formula makes that difficult at best.

Karen D’Ascoli

Schenectady

Not all scaffolding fall claims are created equal

I was pleased to see a Sept. 3 Associated Press article about New York state’s scaffold law. The tax-paying public needs to be more informed on the impact that this antiquated law from the 1800s has in our state.

Interestingly enough, there was also an article on the front page of the A Section about a man who was injured while being chased by Saratoga police in the early morning hours of Aug. 31.

According to the article, the man was fleeing the police when he scaled a fence to bypass a barrier and climbed a construction site scaffolding. He was found injured, lying on the ground, and it was speculated the he may have fallen or jumped from the scaffolding. The injured man’s family already has retained a lawyer.

As the state scaffold law currently stands, it matters not that this person may have been committing a crime, trespassing, or even possibly been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Further, it makes no difference if the construction company had done everything humanly possible to properly erect the scaffolding and had made every attempt to secure the job site. The construction company, and possibly the property owners, are now 100 percent liable for this person’s actions!

Whether the state scaffolding law truly protects workers is subject to debate. There are many laws in place designed to protect citizens that still allow defendants to argue the case against them in a court of law.

Is it unreasonable to ask for a negligence standard in a scaffold law claim considering that a plaintiff may possibly have been committing a crime, trespassing, willfully committing an unsafe act, or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

Mark my words: Daryl Mount Jr. can, and will, sue under the state scaffolding law and, as the law is written, can’t possibly lose! He and his lawyer have, in effect, just won the lottery!

Margie Miller

Scotia

The writer is former president of the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association.

Not your average high school reunion at Linton

Last month, I went to my 49th high school reunion. Well, technically it was the [Linton High School] Class of 1963’s 50th reunion, but they invited the classes of 1962 and 1964 to join them. It was a wonderful time, which might sound surprising.

While each decade’s get-together had pluses and minuses, I sensed a definite evolution of the event and people’s attitude toward their classmates and time in Schenectady.

Interestingly, it was comments from spouses who did not grow up in Schenectady that helped put things in perspective and made me appreciate even more the three-year experience at Linton that shaped so much of my adult life.

Now, I had expected the focus of the evening to be about family, accomplishments and current status in life. After all, to varying degrees, that was the conversation of prior reunions. Yet this reunion, spread over three days, seemed to be more about enjoying each other’s company and having fun. Lots of fun — dancing, singing, storytelling, and setting dates for later get-togethers all happened with comfortable ease.

I sat at a table with two members of the school district’s Athletic Hall of Fame and talked at length with them and their spouses about where life has taken them. While they had traveled the world, both spoke with obvious affection about their experience at Linton. Their wives were genuinely astonished at the closeness of our little community and were quickly adopted in.

Another, addressing the entire class, expressed similar feelings, noting that the high school she was educated at in San Diego has never had this kind of bond. She commented that her school was similar in sports excellence, had a little bigger graduating class, but didn’t have that something special she repeatedly sees with this Linton group.

This month the Mont Pleasant Class of 1963 is holding its reunion, and I suspect those attending will have a similar reaction. Like most opportunities, they are what you make of them.

Paul Moore

Niskayuna

No need for business’ disparaging name

I have been following the controversy over the food truck with an ethnic slur painted on its side. I went so far as to vote my displeasure in their straw poll and even sent them an email when they decided that they didn’t need to change it.

The Sept. 3 letter from Gerald Plante spurred me to write because he completely misses the point. Sure we enjoy freedom of speech, and the owners of the truck have every right to paint an ethnic slur on it and sell their food anywhere they want, except on public land or at government-sponsored events. Ethnic slurs have no place on government property supported by everyone’s tax dollars.

To clarify this point, suppose the owners decided to expand to a fleet of trucks, each offering foods of a different ethnic group, such as Poles, Jews, Irish, Hispanic, blacks, etc. Each truck would have “The Wandering [blank]” painted on its side, with the blank containing the ethnic slur associated with the kind of ethnic food they were serving.

That’s not what this country is about. We are much better than that. The owners of this food truck should abandon their adolescent bravado and posturing, realize that they are alienating a section of their potential customer base and where they can do business, and come up with a clever name that does not use a slur.

That’s what a competent business person would do!

Tom DiCerbo

Schenectady

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comments

September 9, 2013
3:49 p.m.
robbump says...

Tom DiCerbo writes (in "No need for business’ disparaging name") "the owners... have every right to paint ... and sell ... anywhere they want, except on public land or at government-sponsored events."
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Where does it say (in our articles of freedom) that we check in our rights at the door of the government?
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Let the market decide if these folks should be in business, not the government or individuals with their shorts in a bind. If enough people feel as Mr. DiCerbo, the business will disappear.

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