Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 09.23.21

PFOA in Poestenkill, Part V

As to Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, who has no public health credentials,  intruding into a public health matter in Poestenkill, a town in an established Health District pursuant to the NYS Public Health Law, where Steve has no authority or jurisdiction pursuant to Local Law No. 2, 1971, A Local Law Adopting a County Charter For The County Of Rensselaer in Accordance With The Provisions of The Municipal Home Rule Law of The State of New York, he is the same Steve McLaughlin who on 2 March 2020, 54 days AFTER the CDC issued a January 8, 2020 Public Health Alert about COVID to state and local health officers, state and local epidemiologists, state and local laboratory directors, public information officers, HAN coordinators, and clinician organizations, but not Steve, notwithstanding, Steve issued a political press release of his own to the people of Rensselaer County, many of whom are now dead, entitled “Rensselaer County Officials Working with State and Federal Officials on Coronavirus Issue,” which press release informed people that with confirmed cases of coronavirus in the nation and the state, Rensselaer County health officials had taken part in calls with the Centers for Disease Control and the New York State Department of Health regarding the issue, and at that time, Federal and state health officials had termed the spread of the illness nationally and in the state as “isolated” cases so that there was no need for undue concern or worry and that Rensselaer County officials had been informed that New York State remains at a low risk for coronavirus, this just before old people in Rensselaer County started dying like flies and New York state became the epicenter for the COVID outbreak that killed 54,271 people in the state with 12,913 COVID cases in Rensselaer County alone, so believe in Steve regarding this PFOA matter in the town of Poestenkill at your peril. As for me, I’m taking a pass. I want to hear from a real professional, not Steve!

Paul Plante, Poestenkill


I’m writing to respond to last week’s letter to the editor stating that WMHT decertified its labor union. In fact, our employees chose to decertify their union. WMHT would support our employees’ choice whether it was to stay with the union or leave it. WMHT is proud of the work our employees do, particularly their work during the pandemic when health concerns required many of us to work remotely. Our services continued without missing a beat and in fact expanded to address the needs of our community during this extraordinary time. Additionally, the decertification did not result in fewer jobs at WMHT. In fact, we are hiring at our North Greenbush facility! Please visit us at WMHT.org to see more of the exciting things happening and consider joining our team as an employee, volunteer or supporter!

Robert Altman, North Greenbush

Working Families Depend on Troy Sand and Gravel

I am a life time resident of the Town of Sand Lake and a 2006 Averill Park High School graduate who has been employed by Troy Sand and Gravel for the past 15 years. I have recently been promoted to the position of quarry superintendent. I take exception to Mr. DeGraff’s recent letter to The Advertiser regarding Troy Sand and Gravel. First, he criticizes Troy Sand and Gravel for challenging a recent sizeable increase in their assessed value and then he criticizes them for discontinuing their challenge to the assessment. Mr. DeGraff’s critique is long on speculation and short on facts. I frankly don’t understand Mr. DeGraff’s animosity towards Troy Sand and Gravel. Mr. DeGraff seems to be unaware that Troy Sand and Gravel has been the major employer in the Town of Sand Lake for over 65 years creating and maintaining hundreds of solid middle class jobs like mine within our community, in addition to being a major community benefactor. In spite of this historical record, Mr. DeGraff for some reason believes Troy Sand and Gravel needs to be villainized.

Mr. DeGraff’s letter to the editor should have disclosed that he was seeking to advance his campaign as the Democrat candidate for Sand Lake Supervisor. He should have also disclosed that he is one of those high priced attorneys that he lamented in his letter.

Personally, I am tired of politicians who seek to divide us and who focus on the narrow interests of elites. We need a government that unites us and doesn’t forget about the needs of hard working, blue collar, middle class families like mine.

John Butwell, Sand Lake, NY

North Greenbush needs bike trails

In the past month, I have used bike trails in Albany, Troy, Cohoes, Delmar, and East Greenbush. Many of these trails link to the Empire State Trail. Each time I was on the trails, I encountered many other New Yorkers out biking, running, and walking. Everyone I passed on the trails were happy and enjoying the benefits of the trails. A 2006 study by the Delaware Center of Transportation, “Property Value/Desirability Effects of Bike Paths Adjacent to Residential Areas”, reviewed other previous studies and conducted additional analysis. In general, there are positive benefits associated bike paths including an increase in the sale price of the homes or the trails influenced some to move to the residential areas. Imagine being able to easily bike to the RPI Tech Park trail in North Greenbush. In 2004 a study was conducted for a Rensselaer County Trail that involved some interesting ideas for North Greenbush. We need to explore these and other ideas. With a little hard work, North Greenbush can be like the other towns and cities in the area and have bike trails linking to the larger network. Bike trails can help improve property values, provide options for our children to safely ride bikes, and provide new places to exercise and get outdoors.

Michael Myer, North Greenbush

Amazon wants to build another warehouse in Schodack. Let’s get this one right.

Amazon wants to build a second warehouse in Schodack off Route 150, also known as Schodack Valley Road. We should ask ourselves — what is Schodack getting — or not getting — from Amazon’s investment in our Town?

Similar to the first Amazon warehouse on Route 9, this site is again located outside of Schodack CSD and will see little to no tax benefit as a result, despite serving most of the surrounding community Amazon has chosen to locate in. Developing the local tax base and thus lowering residents’ overall tax burden including school and property taxes is badly needed, which is why I urge a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) be reached to direct additional revenue to Schodack CSD as done in other Amazon projects, or that an alternative location be considered within Schodack CSD’s boundaries.

Moreover, local taxpayers and working people should not be footing the bill to give Amazon huge tax breaks — the Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) paid out $41M in tax incentives just in 2019. Economic development funds should be spent with more oversight and prioritize supporting small businesses, not a company that already pays $0 in federal taxes. Any tax breaks or incentives should be rejected in their entirety for this project.

Lastly, not only did taxpayers subsidize an out-of-state workforce on Amazon’s last project, but our local economy missed out on what would’ve been tens of thousands of dollars in wages and economic multiplier effects should local union labor have been used. The proposed 56-acre site will also require the construction of 441 new parking spaces for cars and 370+ for commercial trailers, causing major disruption to residential traffic on one of the Town’s most-traveled roadways.

Unabated commercial development continues to threaten Schodack’s rural character, particularly along Routes 9&20. This begs the question — what kind of community do we want Schodack to become — and at what cost to taxpayers?

Alexander Flood, Castleton-on-Hudson

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