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Sunday, May 26, 2019


The facts of life

To the editor:
In Roe vs Wade the US Supreme Court decision allowed “right to abortion” based on “right to privacy”. This decision hinged on the Court's unresolved “…difficult questions of when life begins…” Furthermore, the Court stated “If personhood (for the unborn) is established the appellant case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the (14th) Amendment. (Roe v Wade [410 US 113 at 156-7]).
Advances in technology and science have made possible a person's early life stages ever more vivid. Both audio and visual images of babies in the womb have delivered earlier additions to family albums as parents cherish their child's first photos. Although unheard by them their baby's heartbeat can be detected before 6 weeks. At 6 weeks 110 times a min. his/her 4-chambered heart - with our advanced technology - documents this fact of human life. Within a few weeks the use of an ultrasound Doppler will bring the even more rapid thump-thump to anyone nearby.
As a society it is time for reforming our laws to honor the personal rights for the most innocent among us. We must speak up for those who also have their constitutional right to life protected under the 14th amendment and for our “one nation under God”. We can consider these words of Jeremiah the prophet “…the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jer 5:1)

Michelle Schroeder

Regarding SUNY Sullivan's “change of heart”

To the editor:
As a retiree of SUNY Sullivan, I read with great interest the article regarding the college's “change of heart” on retiree healthcare in the May 14th issue and found it to be less than accurate.
The day before the publication of this article I called the Civil Service Employee Benefits Division (EBD) to determine whether my insurance was cancelled effective June 1st as the only letter that I received from the college on April 10th indicated. I was told that the college only cancelled coverage for those retirees who are Medicare primary. He further explained that my insurance was not cancelled because I am not yet Medicare eligible even though my husband is Medicare primary. The representative from EBD said that cancellation letters were sent to those whose coverage was cancelled by the college and that they were working to restore coverage to those retirees. He also recommended that I contact the college directly since I hadn't received any further correspondence from them regarding whether or not I had to enroll in a plan through the exchange by the May 15 deadline. NYSHIP is legally required to send an end of coverage notice to retirees who are disenrolled. This notice is a routine response, not an IT error as stated in your article.
In its attempt to cut costs by changing retiree health insurance the college made three mistakes. The first mistake was notifying retirees by letter (dated April 8) that their coverage under NYSHIP will end June 1st. State law requires that, “A participating employer which intends to withdraw from the plan shall give notice of such intention…to its…retired employees at least 90 days in advance of the last date for which coverage will be provided.” The college failed to comply with this law.
The second mistake was failure to get the Teamsters to approve the change made to their currently expired contract. This also violates state law.
The third mistake was failure to get the Professional Staff Association to approve the change made to their current contract. This also violates state law.
Threat of litigation for which the college had no defense, not a change of heart, is why the college rescinded its planned action.
That said, I agree that it would be in the college's long-term financial best interest to have either a Medicare advantage or Medicare supplement plan for Medicare primary retirees rather than NYSHIP; which is so overpriced for coverage secondary to Medicare that it smacks of price gouging. Personally, I would prefer a supplement rather than an advantage plan when I become Medicare eligible and would drop NYSHIP in favor of such a plan for myself and my husband. Particularly if the college can make the United Healthcare Medicare supplement plan endorsed by AARP available to its Medicare eligible retirees. A supplement plan is accepted nation wide by anyone who accepts Medicare whereas the advantage plans do not have to be accepted by anyone who accepts Medicare.
I hope the college learned a valuable lesson from its mistakes and applies this hindsight in its next attempt to provide retiree health insurance that is affordable to all concerned. After all, the only bad mistake a person can make is one from which nothing is learned.

Sharon K. Sand

Tax Monies are well spent at Sullivan West CSD

To the editor:
My Carol and I reside in the Sullivan West Central School District. We have no children in attendance. From our view we see a school district that is safe, secure, clean, and conducive to learning.The teaching faculty and staff are exemplary, focused on achievement for all students and demonstrate a clearly articulated sense of mission for kids.
The curricula are rigorous and expectations for student success are high. Test scores and graduation rates are consistently at or above state averages, post-graduate career and college placements are evident. This is no small thing.
Of note is four Pre-K classrooms and a supervised “latch key” after school program funded by our local tax base. Parents nationwide are demanding universal pre-k with minimal results yet SWCSD has recognized the value of school readiness and childcare in the second “poorest” county in NY State; a priority in the budget.
We are pleased to pay our school taxes for the quality education demonstrated in the SWCSD.

Joseph Pawlick

Tax relief for all Town of Thompson residents

To the editor:
The Town of Thompson should take advantage of the necessity for the construction of a cellular tower to secure a new revenue stream for its beleaguered taxpayers. Verizon and other cellular providers are prepared to pay thousands of dollars per year, every year, to rent space on the new Tarpon Cell Tower for their equipment. While residents have varied opinions on the location of this tower and the visual impact that it will have on our collective community, all residents agree as taxpayers that Thompson should benefit from the receipt of those payments.
As representatives elected to serve the constituents of Thompson and to reflect our interests, the Town Board Members should direct Verizon to locate the Tarpon Cell Tower on property that is owned by the town of Thompson. The Board should not allow this lucrative revenue stream to benefit one individual rather than all citizens of Thompson. The Town Planning Board should deny the current application.
I encourage you to identify an alternate site for the Tarpon Cell Tower so that we all may enjoy not only the cellular coverage that the tower will enhance, but also the revenue that it will generate.

Thomas H. Kozlark
Rock Hill

Defeat of Public Safety Legislation-NYS Gov is the Problem

To the editor:
When it comes to public safety, as we see in Chris McKenna's May 14th article (Times Herald Record), “Advocates Push for Registry for Violent Felons,” the New York State Legislature doesn't get it.
For years, the Republican State Senate passed “Brittany's Law,” that would create a public registry for dangerous felons, and Brittany's Law that would enable schools to teach children against sexual abuse. However, the bills would die in the Democratic Controlled State Assembly Committees. The same fate happened to legislation raising penalties for cars passing stopped school buses. Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther one of the Bills' sponsors, states she doesn't understand why Assembly continues to let these bills die. However, as President Reagan would say, “government is not the answer, it is the problem.”
Anyone familiar with New York State politics knows that for any law to be passed it must have the blessing of the State Senate Majority Leader, Assembly Speaker, and relevant Committee Chairs. These same legislative leaders are elected to their leadership post almost unanimously at the beginning of each session by their fellow rank and file party members, which includes Mrs. Gunther, a nearly twenty-year incumbent of the Assembly Democratic Majority.
New Yorkers deserve a legislature that puts their safety first, not the rights of criminals. We need fresh new State Senate and Assembly Members unafraid to stand up to the legislature's entrenched radical far left leadership, and support reform that will allow any bill with at least 15% support among members to be brought to the Assembly and Senate floor for debate and an up or down vote, regardless of party or what party leaders think. For our safety matters first.

Kevin Gomez, Esq.

What a Dickensian system

To the editor:
Thank you for your Police Notes report on the Welfare Fraud Task Force arrests, with pictures. All of them are sad snapshots of poor people in hard times doing stupid things for relatively small amounts of money.
Two of the arrestees were men who are now charged with grand larceny for using Medicaid medical transportation to get to parole or probation hearings.
This suggests to me that these men don't have their own cars, nor do the state or county corrections department provide transportation to these meetings - which, if missed, result in further charges or incarceration. I'd like to hear what the Corrections Department and the Welfare Fraud Task Force has to say about this.
What a Dickensian system: protecting the tax pennies of a flinty-eyed community against the hopeless stratagems of the local poor.

Nina Burleigh

Negativity hurts real change in our communities

To the editor:
It is with a heavy heart that I am informing you that I am withdrawing from the Supervisor's race in the Town of Tusten. It has become very obvious that there are some members of our community who feel the need to belittle and berate all that is good in this town and the fine people who live here. Part of my job has become spending countless hours putting out these fires rather than devoting all of my time and energy on the necessary work that will benefit the residents.
Because I take to heart everything that goes on in our community, this extreme negativity and these personal attacks create severe stress and in turn have caused health issues that I must deal with. It is for this reason that I will be stepping down on December 31st, 2019.
It has been my great honor and pleasure to have served our Town in multiple capacities over the past 34 years. I have a great love and respect for this town and our residents. It is my hope that I have made a positive difference in many of your lives over these decades of my service. However, it is now time for me to be able to share time with my family and loved ones.
I will also be removing my membership from the Republican Party in the Town of Tusten which I believe has become an embarrassment and a disgrace to the core beliefs of what the Republican Party is founded on. I can not and will not be aligned with this kind of disrespectful and repugnant type of politics.
As it is too late for my name to be removed from the ballot, I would like any who considered casting their vote for me to in turn, vote for Kevin McDonough. I am endorsing Kevin as someone who has the Town's best interest at heart. Kevin and I haven't always seen eye to eye on global politics, but on the local level, what you need in the Supervisor's office is someone who cares, is honest, has a heart for the residents and is willing to do the job with no personal agenda. Honesty and integrity are two traits I believe necessary to the office of Supervisor and I think Kevin is the candidate that fits this profile. Casting a vote for Kevin on whatever line you are comfortable with, would best serve the needs of our town.

Carol Ropke Wingert

Crossbow survey unjustified

To the editor:
The Federation and Coalition boasts a survey done with only 3,845 responses from 10,000 sent out. Using these low numbers, like a political poll, they push to change the Crossbow regulations to make it a bow only weapon and for more time in the woods with them. This survey is unjustified.
I agree with the more usage/time with them. I don't agree with changing it to a bow only weapon, if anything compromise, issue licenses for muzzleloader and bow seasons with tags for it. Crossbows fire a bolt and is loaded, cocked and fired like a rifle, different from a typical bow. Crossbows are like driving automobiles and motorboats, operated the same but different and share rules.
Since 2006/07 season more than ½ million licenses have been sold yearly to today with almost 600,000 licenses sold, not including life-time license holders. Life-time license hunters could've been used since we are in the data bank but they didn't. two-thirds were bow hunters hunting in bow only areas, looks one-sided?
If they wanted a true survey they should give it out to everyone that buys a license and send it to the entire life-time license holders with a postage paid envelope to entice people to take the survey not rely on 3845 people when the DEC website states: ‘Nearly 700,000 New Yorkers and over 50,000 nonresidents hunt in the Empire State.' 700,000 NY hunters vs a 10,000 issued survey with results from alleged 3845 hunters! There's that fuzzy-math again.
Boasting would be that Hunter Safety Orange Saves Lives and should be worn whenever in the woods and should be mandated during hunting seasons for it saves lives, but Federation is against mandating life-saving safety! The Coalition doesn't reply to letters on the crossbow subject. Stay Safe.

Don Dittmer
Lake Huntington

Facts matter

To the editor:
Thank you for publishing the Counterpoint by Deborah Manley. Everything she wrote was accurate. Facts do matter.
If you have been following the articles by REAL investigative journalists Sara Carter and John Solomon, you would know all this and much more about the REAL corruption and scandals that went on before, doing and after the 2016 election (none committed by Trump, his family or people in his campaign) If these two names are not familiar to you, just google them and start reading.

Denise Connolly

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