Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 02.24.22

NDIS Have Finally Hit Rock Bottom

Many participants who have had their NDIS Plans renewed or ‘rolled over’ have not picked up on the fact that there have been some subtle changes. Some Plans are rolled over without consultation and in some cases the participant has never seen or spoken to their NDIS Planer. 

Last year’s goals have been put into the new Plan without any consideration to the fact that the participant’s circumstances may have changed. But by far the most significant cover up is the fact that they have made some of the plans for 2 years and in one case that I know, 3 years. You might say that this is not a bad thing and if you have a reasonably good Plan that allows you to participate in your community and lead a reasonably safe and supported life, then this is a good thing. But, what I and many people thought was a mistake on the part of NDIS (and they do make a few) is in fact a deliberate attempt to cut costs. It would appear that when NDIS put in place a Plan for 2 or 3 years, they increase the time but not the funding. 

If you had a Plan for $50,000-00 for one year, and you now have a two year Plan, it is more than likely that the funding is still $50,000-00 but now needs to last you for two years instead of one. This is happening too often for it to be a mistake. The only way for this to be changed is if you request a ‘review of a reviewable decision’. You have three months to do this from the date of the Plan and even if NDIS admit that they have made a mistake, this is the only way to correct it. When the review request has been lodged, you will be contacted by NDIS who will consider firstly whether or not they will grant you a review and secondly whether or not they are prepared to change the decision. If the answer is no to either, then I would suggest that you contact the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and ask them to intervene on your behalf.

Glenda Noble, Croydon Park

Just the Truth, Nothing But the Truth

President Biden recently gave a speech in support of newly elected NYC mayor Eric Adams addressing gun violence in the streets. 

Did he talk about New York States`s misguided, failed no bail policy? You know, the policy that lets criminals and even repeat offenders right back on the street? No, he didn`t. Maybe he talked about District Attorney`s refusal to bring charges and prosecute people for committing crimes, even violent ones? Nope. D.A. Alvin Bragg from Manhattan actually came out and said he had no intention of prosecuting crime including violent crimes. 

How about the insane notion that defunding police does not increase crime, even though NYC had voted to slash the police force budget? Nah. So what did he talk about? He talked about holding gun manufacturers responsible for people using guns to commit crimes. He made a statement declaring gun companies are the only industry in the Country are the only ones that can`t be sued. Sorry Joe, not true. If I buy a new rifle and while target shooting it blows back in my face because of a manufacturing defect, I can absolutely sue.

He somehow wants us to believe a company should be held liable if a legal product is used illegally. If a lunatic rams a car through a crowd, can the auto company be successfully sued? Never gonna happen. If someone stabs me with a kitchen knife, can I hold the cutlery company liable? That would be no again. Cars are made so people can drive to work or pick the kids up at school. Kitchen knives are made to cut up a steak. Likewise, guns are manufactured to go hunting, target shooting, and yes, self defense (GASP!). No rational person would believe guns are being produced so some crazy person can shoot up a school. Common sense tells me people who are convicted of a crime should pay a price. Common sense also tells me that people who commit violent crimes and injure another human being, or worse, should be locked up. Period. These days, common sense is anything but common.

Mark Maddalla, Averill Park

Poestenkill Town Attorney

Bob Crawley, I have known you a long time and count you as a friend, but your letter last week in the advertiser was disappointing and off base. 

Because someone has represented a client in the past that you don’t approve of doesn’t mean they can’t represent the Town of Poestenkill. If you are an attorney representing people locally you are bound to have a conflict of interest at some point. I would like to point out we didn’t just hire an attorney but an entire firm that specializes in municipal law. 

His firm can help with the master plan we are updating, the creation of a new water district, updating our codebook as well as giving us legal advice that is second to none in our area. He currently represents the Town of Brunswick planning and zoning board and Village of Hoosick Falls and has done so for quite some time. 

We are lucky that Mr. Gilchrist and his firm took us on as clients. Please stop trying to create controversy when there isn’t any.

Keith Hammond, Poestenkill

PFOA Saga No. 10 – A Teaching Moment

Now that this bush-league, amateur-hour whitewash by the NYSDEC, the RCHD and the Town of Poestenkill of incredible gross negligence leading to the contamination of the NYSDOH-regulated public water supply serving the Algonquin School has been exposed for what it is, thanks to the community-minded spirit of the Advertiser, it is time for us responsible grandparents in this school district who do not bow in supplication to Obama-era EPA administrator Judith Enck or fancy suits from the NYSDEC to step up to the plate here to ask the hard questions that need to be asked on behalf of those children at Algonquin school whose health has been impacted by this gross negligence, and ourselves, those of us on fixed incomes who pay school taxes and who are going to be handed the bill for this fiasco.

With all of the regulatory safeguard in place to protect public water supplies in NYS to keep them from becoming contaminated, how then could it have possibly happened that seemingly right under everyone’s noses the NYSDOH-regulated public water supply serving the Algonquin School has become contaminated with PFAS?

What about the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) passed by Congress in 1974, with amendments added in 1986 and 1996, to protect our drinking water? 

Under the SDWA, EPA sets the standards for drinking water quality and monitors states, local authorities, and water suppliers who enforce those standards.

Except in the case of the Algonquin school, they clearly didn’t monitor the water suppliers for the Algonquin school, and perhaps one day, Ms. Enck will come off her mountain and deign to inform us why that was that somehow, in a town she has known since at least 1989 has had serious groundwater issues, her EPA never bothered to get involved.

But more to the point, where was the APBOE, which acts as trustees of the school district and by its code is supposed to work carefully to ensure that it is well-maintained, and the Superintendent of Schools?


Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Is Septic Tank Effluent Causing PFOA Problems with Drinking Water?

The source(s) of PFOA in drinking water in the Poestenkill and Avril Park areas remain unknown, but a good possibility is multiple residential, commercial and municipal septic tank discharges into groundwater. 

Two septic system input reasons indicate why: (1) We all have some level of PFOA in our bodies and its biological half-life is on the order of 2-4 years. Human wastes are one way of eliminating it. (2) PFOA was (is?) an ingredient in many consumer products including cosmetics, sun screen, cookware, container ware, stain resistant clothing, etc. – some of which can wash off during cleaning and bathing. These are likely small individual inputs of PFOA into groundwater, but collectively they could produce the very small concentrations in drinking water (greater than 10 ppt) that are causing public concern.

To illustrate: dissolve 81 milligrams (a baby aspirin) of PFOA into an Olympic size swimming pool (660,000 gallons of water) and do the math. The result is about 32 ppt. So one baby aspirin worth of PFOA dissolved in 3 Olympic size pools (about 1.98 million gallons) is about 10 ppt. 

For a local comparison, the pool at the Greenbush YMCA is about ¼ the size of an Olympic size pool, so dissolving 81 mg of PFOA in 12 Y-sized pools would result in a concentration of about 10 ppt. Conclusion: a very small amount of PFOA can cause standards to be exceeded. 

Conducting some testing of septic tank effluent might give conclusive answers to the source question, but PFOA has been phasing out of use, and it may be that legacy PFOA from past septic tank effluent is the cause. In this case, PFOA concentrations in groundwater should gradually reduce over time.

Joseph Visalli, Schodack

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