Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 06.18.20

The Scope Of Hope

You may not be able to grasp it

And hold it in your hand

But if you look you will see glimpses

Of it throughout this great land

There’s the scent of hope when a flower starts to bloom

And its sweetness fills the air with nature’s perfume

I touch hope when a newborn child grasps my finger

It’s a warmth that fills my soul

And then tends to linger

I see hope in the smiles of the young children

Who greet me each day

They have the determination of a new generation

And they won’t let anything get in their way

I hear hope when the rhythmic sounds of birds

Singing, greet the morning light

A new day begins with the chance

Of taking your life to a new height

I taste hope when I savor a tomato picked from its vine

Knowing a new season has begun

And everything gets better with time

I feel hope when I lift up my faith and start to pray

Knowing that God’s blessings are coming our way

Let hope live deep within your heart

Cherish it daily and never let it depart

Embrace hope as you would the one you love

And remember that there is an everlasting

Supply of it from the Lord above

Donna Masters, Troy

East Greenbush Library Should be Opened Much More Quickly

We’ve got a good library.  I’m a frequent visitor, and have volunteered at events there for many years.  I miss it very much, like so many other patrons do.  The staff has served the community well; and I’m sure they’re also anxious to return to a normal schedule.  I had previously contacted the leadership of the library about the process of starting up regular operations again.  

The library came out with a 20-page reopening plan.  I’m sure much work went into this plan, and that effort is appreciated.  However, the 7-Level plan is arduous, complicated, and unnecessarily slow-paced.  A nuclear power plant could be opened faster.  

Yes, I might be facetious, but this comes from frustration.  There’s no doubt that reasonable, consistent precautions have to be taken to minimize the spread of the Covid virus.  Cleanliness, spacing, and limited capacity at first.  And of course, common sense.  But procedures like the highly-restricted borrowing and entry steps, quarantining/isolation of materials, and the many other procedures listed in the plan?  Terribly excessive.  Is that the standard for safety in East Greenbush?  Then the sight of thousands of people strolling, handling, tasting, and exchanging money, food and clothing at Walmart, Hannaford, Target and Stewarts must mean we’re all doomed.  

I’m sure the library leadership believed it was adhering to NY State Pause guidelines along with Upper Hudson Library System recommendations.  But the library is a very important function within our town, supported by significant taxpayer expense.  A much more imaginative, aggressive approach could have been undertaken, which still satisfies safety and health goals, while allowing residents to again make full use of this resource.  

Frank Coppa, East Greenbush

Positive Change for North Greenbush Democrats

My husband and I moved to North Greenbush four years ago this summer and quickly came to see it as our home. Our neighbors welcomed us, and we have grown to appreciate the friendly faces and small-town feel. Living off Bloomingrove, however, it was impossible not to notice that the town was going through a period of change. As someone who plans to call this place home for a long time, I was eager to find out how I could get involved in making sure we retain and build upon all the things we love about North Greenbush for years to come. I began attending public hearings and town meetings, including one to establish a town dog park. It was there that I met Councilwoman Sabo. An ever-present figure around town, she introduced herself and continued to reach out, keeping me in the loop. When I said I wanted to help, she introduced me to others in town who then made me a part of their community.

It is more apparent than ever in these troubling times the importance of responsive and transparent political organizations. Groups like the Democratic Committee exist to encourage participation and serve the needs of all residents. As someone who has experienced firsthand the inclusiveness of the candidates running collectively as TEAM North Greenbush, I encourage my fellow residents to vote for this group of individuals. They are truly dedicated to shaping North Greenbush’s future in a positive way, making sure everyone is heard and anyone who wants a seat at the table gets one.

The primary election is on June 23rd. If you haven’t already requested an absentee ballot to vote by mail, you can vote early June 13-21 at the Holy Cross Armenian Church, 255 Spring Ave in Troy, or in person on election day at Town Hall. Please visit www.TeamNG.org for more information.

Britney Yatrakis

Candidate for North Greenbush Democratic Committee – District 5

ICE 287(g) Program Costly to County Taxpayers

Sheriff Russo has just renewed Rensselaer County’s commitment to ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for the 287(g) program, without public notice or explanation. This contract authorizes Deputies to enforce federal immigration law.

The ICE 287(g) program is costly to County taxpayers.

An Albany Law School study found that in North Carolina, two jurisdictions participating in the 287(g) program each spent around $5 million in the first year. Maricopa County, Arizona, had a $1.3 million deficit after implementing the program for only three months. One county in Virginia had to raise property taxes and take money from its rainy-day fund to implement its 287(g) program, which cost $6.4 million in its first year.

Rensselaer County’s cost could be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nobody knows because the additional expenses are not identified in the budget. At a minimum, County tax dollars will pay salary, benefits and expenses for two Deputies for four weeks of training plus another four weeks of overtime for two more Deputies to cover the trainees’ shifts.

Given the dire financial challenges Rensselaer County is facing because of COVID-19 related revenue shortfalls, Sheriff Russo must be accountable to our County Legislators, as well as the residents, for significant ICE 287(g) expenses.

Priscilla Fairbank, East Poestenkill

Albany Law School Study – https://www.albanylaw.edu/centers/government-law-center/Immigration/explainers/Pages/When-Local-Law-Enforcement-Officers-Become-ICE-Deputies-287g-Agreements.aspx

New Book For West Sand Lake Writer

Lloyd Barnhart’s latest book, Old Man….Young, was recently published by The Troy Book Makers. Subtitled, A Rambling Grandpa Shares Stories, Memories and Opinions, this book is described by the author as an eclectic collection of some of his favorite and recent writings. It complements his prior books, Rambling On and Rambling Outdoors.

Lloyd Barnhart, West Sand Lake

Jennifer Massey Candidate for District 8 Committee Seat

In these dark times, the Democratic party in North Greenbush should be a positive role model. That is why I am proud to be part of the Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM North Greenbush) Democratic Committee slate, running for a seat in district 8 in the Democratic primary. TEAM NG is a diverse group of town residents made up of long term residents and new arrivals who are challenging the current North Greenbush democratic committee because they are largely focused on petty political disputes and personal vendettas to the detriment of more productive objectives. TEAM NG wants to elect and support Democratic officeholders who will improve life in North Greenbush. I have lived in District 8 for 26 years with my husband and two daughters. My husband’s family has lived in North Greenbush, specifically in District 8, for generations. I am a human resources professional with nearly 30 years experience and an entrepreneur based in Rensselaer County. My record demonstrates a strong public service background – I have served on the East Greenbush Central School District board for ___ years and am a member of the East Greenbush Education Foundation. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, everyone may vote by mail in the primary. If you are a North Greenbush democrat, you should have received a request for a ballot and a postage paid envelope. Of course, you may also vote in person on Tuesday, June 23, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at North Greenbush town hall, 2 Douglas Street, Wynantksill. Early voting takes place from June 13 to June 21. Please visit our website, www.teamng.org for more information about our slate.

Submitted by Jennifer Massey

Barnes Road Area Neighborhood Association

Dear Planning Board,

Our family is strongly opposed to the large-scale commercial project proposed by Ken Bailey to host approximately 40 venues a year from June to October. This proposal is absolutely preposterous. We are in a quiet agricultural district specifically for farming and agricultural needs.

We reside at Beverly Drive which is neighborhood and property that would be greatly impacted by such an entertainment proposal. The noise generated and the additional traffic increase would be a nuisance to out rural community. The country roads are enjoyed by bicyclists, joggers, and family walkers. Barnes road itself is not intended to be a primary path of travel. Its width, lack of street lighting and geography is intended for residential travel only. To bring commercial volume and travelers through Barnes Road would be irresponsible for any requestor and could foreseeably increase unfavorable incidents and traffic accidents, noise ordinance violations, and pollution.

Further, the proposal shows no clearly thought out plan for the services and accommodations that are suggested, demonstrating that the owner has no true appreciation for the extremity of the proposal and how it would be performed in a legal and safe way.

We strongly request that this special use permit be denied and have faith that the town will do the right thing to uphold zoning in our community.

JP, West Sand Lake

Does the Natural Landscape Mean Nothing?

The June 8 North Greenbush Planning Board Meeting granted conceptual approval to the 120 Hidley Road Subdivision. This approval was premature, because the applicant has not fully responded to the two public comments below. Their next meeting is June 22.

Question 1: The Application for Minor Subdivision includes question 6: “Is the proposed action consistent with the predominant character of the existing built or natural landscape?” Where is the evidence for the applicant’s answer of yes? A partial response was provided at the meeting: some existing Hidley Road house lots are similar in size to the subdivision lots. The existing character of the natural landscape was not mentioned. Moreover, the proposed 22 houses on 19 acres is a far cry from the 60 or so houses on our entire road.

Question 2: What is the applicant’s response to the petition signed by a majority of Hidley Road households, which included: “Our wildlife and their habitat are an integral part of the predominant character of our natural landscape, so close to the center of town. Here there is a delicate balance of the built environment with the fragmented yet still functional wildlife habitat…” The natural environment was not addressed during the Planning Board meeting.

Further musings: An emerging real estate market is on the horizon: New York City buyers willing to pay a small fortune for large open spaces on which to build a home. Will we have any open space left for such profitable and desirable land use?

Our Zoning Code was revised in 2016, allowing higher density development, after pressure from developers, and with public input, at taxpayer cost of some $400,000. I was one of too many who were not involved. What is your vision for our Town? Your views are welcome in the next Hidley Woodland News at Sheree4614@nullgmail.com, where you may also request the first edition.

Sheree (Cheryl) Cammer, Wynantskill

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