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Oriola, Apkarian for Nisky school board

Friday, May 16, 2014
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Dear Readers

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Other letters related to the May 20 school elections can be found on our website at www.dailygazette.com.

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Oriola, Apkarian for Nisky school board

I am a parent of a Niskayuna student, a Niskayuna community member, a taxpayer, a Niskayuna teacher and, I am president-elect of the Niskayuna Teachers' Association. I am writing to enthusiastically support Ms. Deb Oriola and Mr. David Apkarian for the Niskayuna School District Board of Education.

My reasons are simple: Ms. Oriola has consistently supported students and the excellent educational program that is the hallmark of the Niskayuna community. Ms. Oriola has six years of experience as a Board of Education member, something that is needed as Niskayuna transitions toward district leadership that supports and focuses on a strong educational program.

Mr. Apkarian has been a strong advocate for students and his involvement with the PTO and other school committees is evidence of his commitment to our schools and program. Mr. Apkarian's ability to articulate issues and concerns reasonably and thoughtfully on behalf of the Birchwood community is an asset that is very much needed on the Niskayuna School District Board of Education.

The Niskayuna school system is the reason we live here. Let us stop the needless banter and bickering and get back to the business of supporting our children, our teachers and the centerpiece of our community, our great schools.

MARY E. EADS

Niskayuna

Urging support for medical coverage bill

As the Legislature debates new bills, one of particular importance is the Drug Treatment Bill, A7003-A and S4623-A, introduced by Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island) and Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau), respectively.

The purpose of the bill is to ensure that patients suffering from drug and alcohol dependency receive proper medical coverage, including immediate residential treatment, as prescribed by their physicians. Under current practice by health insurers, it is not unusual for insured patients to be denied timely residential coverage in an attempt to curb costs.

However, patients with the ability to marshal the requisite energy and challenge coverage denial, in addition to combating their health crisis, can expect a 70 percent success rate in reversing the original denials. This statistic excludes patients who give up midway due to administrative exhaustion and unending insurance company runarounds. As a result, the statistical success rate in challenging health care providers is actually much higher than 70 percent.

The overwhelming success rate for those contesting the denial of health care coverage leads cleanly and unambiguously to one fact: The insurers are denying legitimate health care claims while collecting handsome health care premiums from New Yorkers across the state. That is asymmetric, patently unfair and at odds with enlightened public policy.

As you know, New York (and all other states) is experiencing an epidemic of heroin and drug abuse, as well as alcohol abuse, especially among the young. It is both a family and community tragedy that has no boundaries. It is growing at an alarming rate among all ethnicities, all geographies and all incomes. If this health care crisis has not visited your home or extended family, you are indeed fortunate; however, it is not far away and it most certainly has visited your street, your neighborhood and your schools.

I urge you to contact your state legislator in the state Assembly and state Senate to support the drug treatment bill and request the bill be moved from their respective insurance committees for a full legislative vote, where there is much support.

Early medical treatment is the best chance we have in saving our most precious resource, our children and young adults, and in doing so, tomorrow's future.

Michael Rinella

Niskayuna

Spring is here: Need to fix city's potholes

Now that the last snowfall is nearly two months past, I wonder how much longer it will take the city of Schenectady to repair the streets. A very few spots on areas of Nott Street and upper Union Street have had some work done, but the downtown area is a mess.

Areas in and around the Stockade look like they were recently bombed. South Church and Liberty street behind the Burger King still have potholes that could easily swallow a small car. I realize that this is the historic area of the city, but that doesn't mean that the roads should look the same as they did a century or two ago.

Scotia, Rotterdam and Niskayuna have all had crews out weeks ago repairing the damage from our long winter. But apparently, Schenectady never got the memo. The side streets around Proctors are as bad as the Stockade, and motorists risk major damage to their cars whenever they drive on them.

With all of the attractions that downtown now has to offer, it is truly a shame that its streets are so unwelcoming to visitors. The mayor and public works head should be ashamed of themselves. Look at the calendar, gentlemen. It's the middle of May. What are you waiting for?

John Angilletta

Scotia

Thankful to veterans who still serve others

Americans should take their hats off and salute all the honor guards and veterans that continue to serve their country long after their military service is over.

These dedicated veterans from all wars continue to stay active and perform the military rites that honor our veterans in their time of need.

This takes place on a daily basis at all national cemeteries and other cemeteries. Thank you for your kindness to our fallen heroes. Our country, and families of these departed brave veterans, thank you.

We can't say enough for your kind deeds and service. God bless America and God bless our veterans.

Sid Gordon

Saratoga Springs

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comments

May 16, 2014
11:24 a.m.
+0 votes
jjhehir says...

While Ms Oriola was president of the school board there were two almost school closings and the sudden unexplained resignation of the superintendent. I do not think that the school community can take another three years of Ms Oriola.

May 16, 2014
6:35 p.m.
+0 votes
Hamelot says...

Not sure an endorsement from the president of the teachers union is helpful. The problem with school boards is the exertion of power from the teachers union and short term thinking about hard business decisions that need to be made. I pay $250 per week in school taxes and have a middle class income.

May 16, 2014
7:25 p.m.
+0 votes
jjhehir says...

Hamelot, I see many instances of short-term thinking by the board: close this school, no, close that school, no, fire the superintendent nine months after extending her contract, etc. Do you have any specifics on the teacher's union exerting influence on the board?

May 17, 2014
7:02 a.m.
+0 votes
wmarincic says...

The teachers union controls every aspect of a school including the terrible education our children are getting. What this country needs is a voucher program "school choice" if it really is about the kids and education the union would have no problem with that. But it's about the money and not the kids.

May 17, 2014
10:29 a.m.
+0 votes
Hamelot says...

jjhehir, no specifics, I just know that the public unions exert pressure on their public bosses. If the unions do not like the candidate for mayor, they have a slim chance of getting elected. It's not about the kids, it's about healthcare for life, step raises and retirement plans the private sector can only dream about. Schenectady is a great example of public teachers, fire and police who would not think of actually living in the city and sending their children to the city schools. Not everyone of course, but I would bet a high percentage.

May 17, 2014
8:03 p.m.
+0 votes
jjhehir says...

Hamelot, that is specific enough for me. In Niskayuna, the Niskayuna Teachers’ Association is endorsing two of the three candidates for a seat on the Board of Education. This fall, negotiations will begin on a new teachers’ contract. It will be very difficult for a person endorsed by the NTA to do his or her job and advocate for the students and taxpayers of the school district in those negotiations.

May 18, 2014
9:54 p.m.
+0 votes
wmarincic says...

Again, if it's really about the kids then everyone should be supporting school choice. Period.

 

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