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Former owners not to blame for Niskayuna blight

Monday, July 14, 2014
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Former owners not to blame for Niskayuna blight

I am writing regarding the June 27 article ["Town eager for law expediting foreclosures"] in "Your Niskayuna" to clear up what I believe is a misconception about the property at 1840 Union St.

This house was owned and occupied for many years by my husband's parents. They were hard-working people who always made their mortgage payments. They did not "pack up and leave" or otherwise abandon their home. In fact, they died while still holding the mortgage.

After their deaths, their children worked very hard to settle the estate and sell the property. They replaced the roof, updated the plumbing, cleaned up flood damage caused by the faulty plumbing and did yard work. Despite their investment of time, energy and money, the house did not sell, most likely due to the downturn in the economy.

The property then reverted to bank ownership and is now owned, I have been told, by the federal government. Neither of these owners has maintained the property or made an effort to sell it.

I have many happy memories of family holidays and celebrations that took place in that cute little house. I am pained not only by its current woeful condition but also by the way my family members have incorrectly been portrayed as deadbeats, both in the media and by Councilwoman Denise Murphy McGraw.

While I support her efforts to eliminate blight in the town in which I live, I object to the fact that Ms. Murphy McGraw continues to point to this house as an example of abandoned property, and I ask her to stop doing so.

Nancy Stopera

Niskayuna

Legalize drugs and stop drug violence

Getting rid of the immigration problem: Legalize drugs, removing the profit incentive, and no one has to flee south-of-the-border violence. Trying to stop illegal drugs not only isn't working; it has produced a multitude of horrendous and deadly unintended consequences, both there and here at home.

Ken Bress

Scotia

Curb Silver's power with term limits

Thank you for your July 4 editorial on state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver showing his power over state government and controlling any legislative bills.

Speaker Silver has held this position since 1994 and has held up budgets and legislation. And he has made sure that his home district, the 65th, which represents much of Manhattan, gets a lion's share of member items and that his campaign contributors get taken care of.

At age 70, he surely does not need the position for its salary of $121,000. It's nothing compared to his other non-government attorney's salary. He also probably has enough time in the state retirement system to retire with a large pension (which he has earned by being elected in 1984 to state government) by being in legislative session four months a year. It's plain to see he wants and likes the power of his office.

By enacting term limits and limiting a legislator's power, more bills would be passed. Maybe the reason to hold a political office would be taking pride in helping people.

Jay Janczak

Ballston Spa

Hero's death should have been on Page 1

I've been a faithful subscriber to The Gazette for many years. While I enjoy reading your paper on a daily basis, I sometimes question your choice of article location and photos you choose to publish. I have never expressed my opinions in writing, but today I feel compelled to do so.

I am grateful for the countless number of men and women who have fought for our freedoms over the years, the many who gave their lives, and to those who continue to serve our country.

Imagine how surprised and disappointed I felt this morning when I sat down to read the morning paper. The July 4th front page is almost completely devoted to the Phish concert at SPAC. Two-thirds of the front page, two articles, and four photos.

As I turned the page, I notice a small article and picture on page 2, "War hero and Olympian Louis Zamperini dies." "War hero and Olympian" -- what could be more American?

This man served our country during World War II, crashed his plane into the Pacific and was declared dead 70 years ago. He survived 47 days in shark-infested waters and then was held as a Japanese prisoner of war for two years. He was, and I quote your article, "an ordinary man who did extraordinary things ..."

Didn't Mr. Zamperini deserve a spot on the front page on the day we celebrate our freedom? We are enjoying the freedom that he so proudly fought to preserve. I guess in your eyes, the fact that "Phish heads happy down by the creek" was more important. Shame on you.

Eileen Pickett Kivlin

Mechanicville

Oil crisis demands more than criticism

Concerning the June 29 Viewpoint, ["Fracking waste creates many environmental headaches"] about all the evils of oil, I find it incredibly disappointing that environmentalists, protectionists and preventionists all see the evil of anything and everything that's done to serve our needs, but never come up with a positive suggestion.

We hear we must wean ourselves of foreign oil. But no, we cannot drill, frack, refine or transport via pipeline, train, truck or bucket brigade. We must learn to use more renewable resources. But no, we cannot have solar plants, wind farms, or, horror of horrors of horrors, a hydro plant.

Think what you want about the validity of their concerns. A positive suggestion will lend greatly to their credibility.

Robert Grimm

Amsterdam

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