Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 03.03.22

Crowley Letter Was Spot On

In a letter in the Advertiser on February 3, 2022 from Poestenkill resident Bob Crowley which was rejected out of hand on February 24, 2022 by Poestenkill autocrat Keith Hammond as “trying to create controversy when there isn’t any,” a patently ridiculous statement so typical of Keith in light of the facts, Mr. Crowley spoke about the conflict of interest of Keith’s new selection for his town attorney to protect him from the citizens of the town, that attorney being none other than Andy Gilchrist, the very same attorney who represents Troy Sand and Gravel. 

In response, Keith simply blows off the conflict of interest claim of Mr. Crowley by stating “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.”

Oh, really Keith!

Well how about the indisputable fact that on 28 September 2015, I was sitting at a table in the conference room of Supreme Court Justice Michael Melkonian in the Rensselaer County Court House, and sitting right across from me at that table, right next to an AAG named Marie Chery-Sekhobo representing the DEC, was this very same Andy Gilchrist, and he was representing Polaro in Poestenkill, somebody Keith likes, which is why Andy Gilchrist cannot represent the people of Poestenkill and should not be town attorney.

But what Mr. Crowley perhaps doesn’t understand is that with Keith Hammond, it is because of that very conflict of interest that Keith chose Andy Gilchrist out of all the other attorneys, because Keith knows Andy is politically reliable and will back whatever action Keith wants to take.

And I say “indisputable evidence” because I took great pains to memorialize that meeting in a writing to the Justice on 3 October 2015 wherein I discussed Andy Gilchrist threatening me with a retaliatory lawsuit if I didn’t back off Polaro. 

As to when Andy took on Polaro as his client, according to the record Keith wants buried, it was November 12, 2014.

Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Opportunity for Stormwater Management

Municipalities all over the US are planning infrastructure upgrades. Some municipalities are looking into stormwater management projects to reduce the severity of flooding.

It could be useful to analyze the expense of preserving the natural landscapes most useful in capturing stormwater runoff. How could the decreased runoff be measured? How much could the cost of installing and maintaining typical infrastructure such as drainage and culverts be reduced?

Other benefits of looking into “green” infrastructure include the potential for: preservation of the most critical biodiversity areas and wildlife corridors,

creating trails for biking, hiking, etc., preserving local farmland, cleaner air and water, and drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

The good news is that homeowners and businesses can also voluntarily preserve and encourage natural areas on the land they manage. Any landowner can look into methods to manage their stormwater runoff. How empowering is that!

People can explore with their municipalities stormwater and natural resources information. Perhaps we can preserve nature for future inhabitants, while saving money.for current residents.

Sheree Cammer, Wynantskill 

PFOA SAGA No. 11 – Neglect of Duty

First of all, who is it that “owns” the Algonquin Middle School?

It is public property, is it not, which means it is we district school taxpayers who are the collective owners, and now what we collectively own is a school with a contaminated public water supply that all of the “experts” from DEC, DOH, RCHD and Poestenkill, teamed up with all of the king’s horses, and all the king’s men, cannot find the source for, and who is getting to get nailed with the bill for that?

If you answered the school district taxpayers along with property taxpayers in Poestenkill, you would be dead on the money which then raises the question of why we are getting nailed for the costs associated with getting an alternate water supply for the school when it is clearly the neglect of duty, that being failure to give proper attention to a required task which signifies disregard of duty due to carelessness or indifference, of those responsible for maintaining at all times an adequate supply of water of safe, sanitary quality for the students and faculty and staff at Algonquin School, which would be the EPA, the DOH, the RCBOH, the RCHD and its Director of Environmental Health, the APBOE, the School District Superintendent, and the operators of the public water supply who have the primary duty of taking care of the wellfield of the public water supply pursuant to Title 10, Department of Health, Chapter I, State Sanitary Code Part 5, Drinking Water Supplies, Subpart 5-1, Public Water Supplies.

Pursuant to 10 NYCRR 5-1.12(a), when the school learned in January of 2021 that PFAS MCLs had been exceeded, it was to investigate all of the watershed to verify any existing changes in the character of the sources of water supply; and it was then to submit a written report to the State within 30 days of the onset of the foregoing conditions summarizing the findings outlined in paragraphs (1) through (4) of this subdivision.

It did neither, according to the records of the DOH.


Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Dunn Dump Ruins Quality of Life In Rensselaer and East Greenbush

During the final minutes of its December 2 meeting, an East Greenbush town board member asked how DEC (the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation) evaluates quality of life issues when reviewing dump applications. DEC’s new regional director said he could not offer any insight other than that the matter might not be decided by DEC.

This exchange came after more than an hour of comments from Rensselaer, East Greenbush and other nearby residents about how the Waste Connections’ Dunn construction and demolition debris landfill ruins quality of life for its neighbors, including students and staff at the Rensselaer public schools, located next to the dump.

One Rensselaer woman asked DEC, “How much is our health worth to you?” and what more evidence do you need. A retired epidemiologist reported on a survey she conducted of downtown Rensselaer residents who live along the truck route. Eighty-four percent of survey respondents said they are often bothered by the trucks, 89% said the trucks diminish their quality of life, 3/4 lose sleep, 2/3 sometimes must go indoors, and 55% sometimes cannot go out for a walk.

A retired East Greenbush mental health professional asked: “What about our rights?…If you can smell it, you can breathe it. I can smell it a lot…What message do we send to our children when their school is next to a dump?”

A Nassau resident who moved from Rensselaer two years ago to escape the dump said “my family is very affected.” Many family members still live in the hollow below the dump, and the hydrogen sulfide rotten egg smell forces her to go home when she visits them. She said noise from the dump at the nearby cemetery is often so loud, she cannot hear the services, school bus drivers have difficulty picking up children due to the trucks, and dogs have health issues from playing in the creek downhill from the dump.

Tom Ellis, Albany

Congresswoman Stefanik and the Dictators

When Donald Trump was president, he tried to hold up $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, in exchange for political favors from the Ukrainian leadership. 

He was impeached for this offense; Congresswoman Stefanik defended him. Earlier, we saw Mr. Trump stand on a stage with Vladimir Putin, renouncing the work of the FBI, CIA, and other American intelligence agencies, and telling the world that Vladimir Putin was an honorable man. Many traditional Republicans were appalled, but I don’t recall hearing any criticism from Ms. Stefanik. And Ms. Stefanik now accuses the current president of showing weakness to Putin. 

This hypocrisy should be a concern to every one of her constituents. Ms. Stefanik originally ran as a moderate, but she seems to have morphed into an opportunist who will go to almost any lengths in the service of a right-wing authoritarian.

Rudy Stegemoeller, Poestenkill

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