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VJ Day is a chance to thank veterans

Thursday, August 7, 2014
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VJ Day is a chance to thank veterans

As we approach Aug. 14, VJ Day, the end of the war in Japan, it's time for all Americans to thank all the veterans and active servicemen and women.

Without the brave soldiers of all wars, we would not live in a free United States of America. The only thing most of these veterans and active service people really want is a "thank you" for serving our country.

The rest of what has to be done for these brave soldiers is up to our government. They know what is needed and hopefully they will give our veterans and military what they deserve. We must support our troops and veterans by telling our leaders how we feel about them.

God bless our veterans and active military and God bless America.

Sid Gordon

Saratoga Springs

Casino may be needed to save Howe Caverns

My emotions with respect to the proposed casino at Howe Caverns are mixed. On the plus side, it assures the preservation of Howe Caverns.

As an 18-season guide, this is very important to me. Previous owners of Howe Caverns like North America Cement actually mined the limestone encasing the cave, destroying some 600 feet of it.

What concerns me is that the revenues generated by the cave are pretty trivial, a few million at best, with profits undoubtedly below $1 million per year.

By contrast, the limestone encasing Howe Caverns is worth, by my calculations, over $1 billion. A major reason the limestone is worth so much is that it is pharmaceutical grade for use in medication. If revenues decline further (patronage at the cave has declined steadily since the mid-1980s), there will be a strong incentive for the owner of Cobleksill Stone Products, Emil Galasso, to resume mining the cave, steadily destroying it. As things stand now, Cobleskill Stone Products is mining steadily toward the cave.

Capital Region residents should be aware that Howe Caverns is, as a tourist attraction, a business; if it runs in the red for several years Galasso may just cut his losses and mine the cave where he can make a profit.

You should visit Howe Caverns and preserve one of nature's greatest natural attractions in the Northeast.

Richard Moody Jr.

Schoharie

Sch'dy school district pricing out residents

Again, there is an increase in our school taxes; but is there any progress in improving the district? The Schenectady city school district ranks 669 out 696 statewide -- 83 out 84 in the Capital Region [Aug. 1 Gazette].

And yet the district seeks another increase on homeowners who see little value in the amount of taxes they already are paying, and it's only going to get worse. Why, you ask.

There are for-sale signs all over the city, because many of these homeowners can no longer afford the school tax and send their children to private schools.

The city has an overabundance of nonprofit organizations, none of which pay school taxes and a very few of which pay PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes). Schenectady has the lowest percentage of home ownership in the Capital Region and it continues to shrink so that those remaining must pick up the slack.

The school district is top-heavy in administrative positions, making the salary portion of the school district's budget out of line versus other area school districts. Consider this: What if 1,000, 2,000 or even 3,000 homeowners in the city decided not to pay the increase and only pay the 2013 rate instead? What would happen then?

I'm not advocating a tax revolt per se. I'm just saying -- what if?

A.C. Budd Mazurek

Schenectady

Wal-Mart would be a benefit to Ballston

Yes to Wal-Mart. Being a widow, I would like to be able to drive less distance to buy clothing and housewares. I feel we need to help employment in this area.

Elizabeth Lenarciak

Ballston Spa

Vet grateful for honor flight trip, reception

I am a Korean War veteran. On June 7, I went on an honor flight to Washington, D.C., with Word War II and Korean veterans.

We were taken by bus to the airport with a police escort, where we were welcomed with a reception and small ceremony. We were accompanied by volunteer guardians, who assisted us during the entire trip.

We saw the WWII Memorial, the Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and several other sites. Before returning to Albany, we were treated to a great dinner.

I want to thank the volunteers and organizers of the Leatherstocking Honor Flight organization for all the work they did to make this trip possible.

It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget.

Ronald Applebey

Glenville

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