Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 02.13.20

Our Woods Are at Risk

All over our towns and villages, our woodlands are at risk to development pressures. The time to protect the land we love is now. Do engage with your town, village, city government to plan to save the open spaces you care about, before they are destroyed and replaced with buildings and pavement. Trees breathe for us; they filter out toxins in the air from the neighboring construction and demolition landfill, the largest in NY State. They inhale carbon dioxide and sequester it deep underground. Woodlands are sponges that purify and soak up stormwater runoff. We need our open spaces.

Sheree Cammer


DEC: Stop Poisoning Children

Late last year, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos issued a news release saying DEC would spend the year 2020 celebrating its 50th anniversary.  

In the news release, Mr. Seggos wrote:  “For 50 years, New York State has set the national standard for environmental excellence by advancing ambitious and proactive policies to protect the planet. Established on the first Earth Day in 1970, the Department of Environmental Conservation has played a leading role in nearly every environmental milestone in New York’s history…This year, while we reflect on five decades of victories, we will urgently direct our attention to the challenges of the next 50 years, particularly climate change, the greatest-ever threat to our air, land, and water. As Washington, D.C., abandons environmental protection and sides with polluters, DEC is committed to taking on the challenges ahead.”

Mr. Seggos must think we are all fools.  Like the Trump Administration, DEC has also abandoned many responsibilities.  DEC allows a large, noisy, and often-smelly dump to operate right next to a 1000 student public school in Rensselaer, and DEC has granted Lafarge permission to annually burn perhaps millions of tires in its cement kiln in Ravena, directly across Route 9W from the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Middle and High schools.  DEC has not required preparation of any Environmental Impact Statement for the tire burning.

As many of us feared and noticed for decades, DEC “is not committed to taking on the challenges ahead.”    When it comes to protecting the public, and especially children, from deadly poisons, DEC and Governor Cuomo, often defer to the demands and profits of gigantic corporations.

Tom Ellis


Memoirs of an Amnesiac: Puppy Love

At age 6, I was smitten with the fair Roxanne, a little girl across the road. The building was a boarding house then, and her family lived there briefly. The road which separated us was fairly busy, and I was forbidden to cross it alone until my 7th birthday. When the big day arrived, I marched across, found Roxanne, and gave her a peck on the cheek.

That was the extent of our romance. Unbeknownst to me, my big sister had witnessed the whole thing; and I took quite a teasing at the dinner table that evening. Good-natured teasing, still embarrassing. My dazzling future as a ladies’ man was suddenly in doubt. In matters of the heart, I would have to play my cards closer to the vest.

In Junior High I worked up my courage to attend a dance in the gym. The boys were clustered at one end, the girls at the other. Suddenly I found myself blazing a trail across the floor, under the watchful eye of everyone. It was a long walk. To my great relief, the girl I invited to dance said yes. Otherwise, the walk back would have been even longer. We broke the ice, and everyone else joined in dancing.

History repeated itself years later with my young son. In Elementary School he had the warmies for a girl in class, and poured out his feelings in a Valentine card. The note he received back was the classic “just friends” let-down. He was bummed, of course; but I was proud of him for sticking his neck out in the first place. How brave!

Helen Keller wrote, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Win or lose, I believe we’re meant to keep sticking our neck out.

Ron McKee, Averill Park

Welcome to Schodack…It’ll Give You Gas

Boy, this town sure does love its gas stations. That’s all that town officials seem to approve. Sadly, these are projects that don’t take a lot of foresight or originality in planning. How many gas stations do we need in a half-mile stretch? Sheesh.

This week in gas station news, KME Property Development presented a proposal for a gas station at the northwest corner of Routes 150 and 9&20. Suggestion to the Planning Board, if you don’t want the fight of putting a gas station over the town’s water supply, the easy answer is to scrap that aspect of the proposal. That’s it. Finito. End of discussion. Keep the convenience store part of the project or don’t, but do scrap the gas station.

Will the Town also give away the farm, not tax them appropriately, and allow them a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) instead to build there? PILOTs seem to be the standard of practice these days.

It’ll be the same old story, the same old process again, as always. The town will hold public hearings. Public comments will fall on deaf ears. The Planning Board won’t require an Environmental Impact Statement. They’ll pass a negative declaration. They’ll rubber-stamp it.

When was the last time the Town reviewed and updated its Comprehensive Plan?

When are the “new zoning laws” coming out from behind closed doors? Smoke’s been blown up our derrières for four-plus years now. Town Code § 219-4 requires that the Zoning Law be comprehensively reviewed and amended at “intervals of no greater than five years.” The Town Board adopted the law in 1986, requiring seven (7) comprehensive reviews since then.

Has the Town Board even reviewed the Aquifer Protection Law at all since its adoption? Town Code § 223-3F, states “a comprehensive review will be performed every five years”. The Town Board adopted the law in 2003, requiring three (3) comprehensive reviews since then too.

Think out of the box, Schodack. Get creative. Demand quality for Schodack. Demand better for Schodack. It’s not that hard.

Stephen Van Hoose – SPDA President

East Schodack

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