August 30, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Aug. 30, 2013


---- — Fluoridation risks

TO THE EDITOR: On Aug. 14, I learned that Israel will end its policy of fluoridation, joining 97 percent of all the countries in Europe and all of Japan, which begs the question of what they all know that we North Americans don’t?

The headline reads “Israel Court Rules To Stop Water Fluoridation in 2014, Citing Health Concerns.” What on earth are we not being told?

I was under the impression that ingesting fluoride was good for me; yet, upon investigation I’m learning that the opposite is true. I guess the courts in Israel have realized the same thing that Japan and 97 percent of Europe know.

I’m sure they care about their children’s teeth, much like we do, don’t they? Could it be that they found that fluoride causes cancer, reduces IQ, impairs bone strength, impairs cell growth, etc.?

It got me to thinking that if the food we eat and the water we drink are so safe, then why are we Americans so sick? Why is cancer so prevalent? Why does it seem that almost everyone is on some kind of medication?

Something is wrong. Just look around. Something is very wrong.

Israel has finally woke up and is removing a carcinogen from its water supply and opted for health. When will we?




Left defenseless

TO THE EDITOR: Twenty-four innocent puppies dumped. There is no excuse for this. It was and is a crime.

The pet-shop owner and her husband gave their “real story.” As an animal advocate, now it’s my time.

Your story, “sorry” was said to each puppy that you abandoned. Wow. Your compassion was overwhelming. I’m sure each frightened puppy was comforted by your word “sorry.”

They were left defenseless against wild predators. Abandoned and alone without food, water or shelter.

Were you saying “sorry” that no money could be made from them? You were not allowed to sell them. “Sorry” that 24 puppies had become a liability and no longer an asset to your business.

The word “sorry” fits more with your poor choice of a solution to your business problems. It meant nothing in regard to the innocent puppies.

You mentioned expense of feeding these puppies. Your pet shop is stocked with pet supplies. Isn’t pet food already there? Had you asked, local animal shelters would have assisted with food.

Dumping 24 puppies here, there and everywhere does not support your wanting them to be found. It was a cruel, mean and terrible thing that was done to these puppies.

No excuses make it acceptable. Do the crime, pay the fine and get maximum jail time. Laws protect animals, and they were broken 24 times.

Thank you volunteers who cared, looked for these puppies and adopted them.


AuSable Forks


Vision, skills

TO THE EDITOR: Do you want a vibrant downtown Plattsburgh with plenty of access to a lovely waterfront?

Do you envision more opportunities for jobs in the city? Do you believe that our lovely lakefront and river fisheries need to be protected?

Please vote for Rachelle Armstrong in the Democratic Party Primary on Sept. 10.

As a small-business owner (Plattsburgh Yarn & Gifts on Brinkerhoff Street), I believe Rachelle Armstrong has the vision, communication skills and strong work ethic required to make a difference for the citizens of the City of Plattsburgh. The Democratic Party has endorsed her candidacy, believing that she is the person for the job.

If you want change in city government and you are a Democrat, you need to get out and vote in the primary.

Rachelle supports a comprehensive master plan and reinstatement of the Community Development Office.

After starting up a business without assistance from the city, I am well aware of the value of the Community Development Office. Downtown is “coming back,” and this can be accomplished faster and better with assistance from municipal government.

Rachelle also believes in watching the bottom line. I have known her professionally for 13 years. She is an excellent listener, collaborator and responsible steward of budgeted resources. She will find creative, effective ways to accomplish what she promises for the city while keeping your taxes in mind.

The long-term master plan and Rachelle’s belief in transparency will provide the residents of the city with a vision of what opportunities will be sought at what cost or savings. Imagine that. Knowing what is coming down the pike and having input into the discussion through your councilor, Rachelle Armstrong.

Please vote Rachelle Armstrong for Common Council in the Sept. 10 Democratic Primary. Be the voice for change and vision.




Educational experiences

TO THE EDITOR: Paul Grasso’s “Perspective” in the Aug. 18 Press-Republican makes two important points.

First, direct and purposeful experience results in learning that lasts, and second, direct and purposeful experiences should be employed in schools in more areas of curriculum than just the school-to-work programs.

Typical of many who choose to comment about the pros and cons of education, they often lack background in the matters they write about. Take for instance the educational literature that discusses the basic value of direct and purposeful experiences in learning, a theme in Grasso’s piece. Edgar Dale wrote extensively of this in 1946. He is known in educational circles for his “cone of experience.” Unfortunately, there is little indication that the substance of Dale’s model has been consistently implemented. Imposed mandates indicate important reasons for this.

Dale’s “cone” depicts the kinds of exposure to learning situations provided to learners in schools from the most concrete or least abstract to the most abstract.

The abstract, as defined by Dale, is least meaningful when it lacks direct and purposeful experience to connect with it. When learners rely solely on instruction in verbal language (textbooks and classroom presentations), it is most abstract and often least meaningful.

Think about this in regard to typical instruction in many of our public schools. This could be changed but for top-down mandates that discourage innovation.

All the items featured on the “cone” can contribute to learning, but they are all grounded in one’s direct experience, and the most valuable purposeful learning is unique to each individual.

It’s not a surprise to educators that advocates of standardization ignore the unique purposes of individual learners. Does a mandated standardized curriculum and standardized tests encourage direct and uniquely purposeful curricular experiences? I think not.


SUNY Plattsburgh professor emeritus of education