Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 09.16.21

A Strategic Retreat by Troy Sand &

Troy Sand & Gravel Co. Inc. (TS&G) has discontinued its lawsuit against the Town of Sand Lake to lower the tax assessment on TS&G’s West Sand Lake property from $2.8 million to $0.8 million.

Why? Was it because TS&G realized, after hiring expensive lawyers, that its property might be assessed too low? Maybe.

Or did TS&G decide that keeping a low profile now was a better way to protect its long-range profits? Could be. After all, TS&G is a for-profit business. It exists to make money — as much as possible.

TS&G hires lawyers, engineers, lobbyists, and other advisers to help it make money. The company makes campaign donations, presumably to political parties and candidates who TS&G believes will favor policies that help TS&G’s bottom line. That’s just business.

TS&G has an application pending before DEC for a major vertical expansion of its mine West Sand Lake mine. TS&G is asking permission to excavate an additional 100 feet deep (roughly equal to a nine-story building) over an area of 61.8 acres (roughly equal to 40 contiguous football fields, including end zones). That’s a lot of material (around 9 million cubic yards by my calculation).

What’s the worth to the owner of all that material over the years – perhaps decades – that it would take to mine it? If the permit modification is granted how much would a willing buyer pay to acquire the mine (and rights to all that material)? More than the current $2.8 million assessment? Maybe multiple times more?

(Reportedly, TS&G also would like local approvals to expand its mining operation to the north, up to and beyond Stop 13 Road and into the Town of Poestenkill, giving TS&G additional material to mine and sell.)

As to lawsuit, I think TS&G concluded that it’s best chance to maximize profits in the future was to lay low this fall. But surely, as time moves on, TS&G will continue to push for mine expansions with TS&G profits its singular objective.

Garrett DeGraff, Averill Park, NY

Letter to the Editor

In response to Frank Coppa’s recent letter about my letter of defense for Governor Cuomo, I am not an “ardent supporter”… I never voted for him.  My objection to the eleven accusations of workplace sexual misconduct was my intention.

It’s common knowledge that workplace sexual misconduct is nothing new or surprising.

It probably happens hundreds of times every day and in every state. Who could possibly believe only eleven articulate, attractive sophisticated women with good government jobs were the only lone victims.  If these perhaps thousands of daily victims went after their predators, half the states’s workplaces would be shut down.

What is troubling is the devastating weakness and humiliation these eleven Cuomo accusers described and suffered…or pretended to suffer.  It raises the obvious questions: did you say no or stop or I’ll call the police..or tell your superiors…or your wife?  Did you try to escape or run out?  Did you fight back?

The entire story is suspect.  If these accusers were too terrified to speak up when it supposedly happened, what changed their collective minds?  And when they did come forward, they knew it would hurt the governor’s mother and his three daughters.

If they had any concern for his family, they could have charged him privately without all the juicy gossip and sympathetic publicity that was showered over them.  I find it sickening, and again I wish Governor Cuomo would have gone to trial and confronted all eleven “terrified” humiliated accusers.  If all their stories and reactions remained the same..that would be very curious.

  If these accusers just lied to get attention…that’s bad enough; but bearing false witness against someone, destroying one’s reputation and future job possibilities seems more like a sin. 

I feel the same way about the #50 women who made the same suspicious collective charges against the famous titans in the movies and broadcasting industries.  Strange how they all told the same stories…all reveled in the subsequent publicity..and many probably hoped to get a big money settlement or pay-off.

And what about the thousands of 14 and 15 year old boys and girls from the most financially and socially deprived neighborhoods…who are sexually assaulted and raped and have to often fend for themselves without all the fanfare and hoopla these Cuomo accusers and MeToo celebrities enjoy?

 Think about it.

Sylvia Honig, Wynantskill

PFOA in Poestenkill, Part IV

In a TU article entitled “Poestenkill wells test above state level for PFOA” by Kenneth C. Crowe II on Sept. 1, 2021, we find County Executive Steve McLaughlin, a politician, being quoted about the PFOA in the groundwater in the residential area of Poestenkill proximate to the Algonquin Middle School, which raises the question of why. Rensselaer County is a Health District pursuant to the NYS Public Health Law by vote of the people in 1946, a fact reflected in the Rensselaer County Charter enacted in 1971, and Section 8.02 of Article 8 of the County Charter, titled Board of Health, states in clear and unequivocal language “There shall be in the Department a Board of Health whose members shall continue to be appointed by the County Legislature in the manner and for the term provided in the Public Health Law,” and of direct relevance to this discussion of the Poestenkill groundwater contamination fiasco, “The Board of Health, subject to the provisions of the Public Health Law and the State Sanitary Code, shall have the power to consider any matters that may come to its attention relating to the preservation and improvement of public health within the County.” So why are we hearing from Steve McLaughlin, who has no authority, jurisdiction or discretion in the Health District, nor is he a qualified public health professional. Why aren’t we hearing from the Board of Health? This is their responsibility. So where are they?

In 1949, the RCHD established a Division of Environmental Hygiene headed up by a NYS licensed professional engineer whose duties include providing guidance to the general public in regard to environmental health problems such as we are now confronted with in Poestenkill, as well as being responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of the Public Health Law and local and State Sanitary Codes in relation to environmental health matters. So where is he or she? Why are we hearing from these politicians instead of public health professionals?

Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Sad day for WHMT

In late August, WMHT Telecommunications, the part company of WMHT, WEXT, and other public radio and television in the area decertified the union. Perviously CWA and IATSE members were working at the facility. CWA and IATSE are the unions that handle technical behind-the-scene services in theater, tv, film, and radio. From what I understand, the end product of the decertification resulted in reduced staff at the WHMT facility which is located right here in North Greenbush. I heard at recent breakfast from staff related to the facility, that most of the operations now are being handled in other parts of the state like Syracuse. I am sad to see the loss of these jobs in North Greenbush. I support public television and radio. I will be switching my monthly donation to the large parent organizations of NPR or PBS. This feels as a short-sighted decision by WMHT. Unions have lead the way in workplace safety, pay, and other benefits.

Michael Myer, North Greenbush

Concern Over Appeal to Court Decision Against Party Barn

Why are we concerned? The strong agricultural history of West Sand Lake is something that should be cherished and preserved. It is why we moved here and have chosen to raise a family here. The progress of man is inevitable, and already West Sand Lake has been damaged by the sprawling, uncontrolled city growth that affects many of the area’s booming suburbs. The foresight of previous Planning Boards to zone the Barnes/Shaver/parker area as A1-Agricultural should continue to be withheld. This is not a tenuous law that can be swayed easily. In keeping with the Comprehensive Plan and its vision of Sand Lakes Future, this application should continue to be denied.

Why would the Town Planning Board continue to waste our tax dollars on reversing a decision made by the Supreme Court to reject the approval of a special use permit that obviously does not support a party barn on Barnes Road.

Patrick Flanagan, West Sand Lake

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