Boat sits, deserted

TO THE EDITOR: The 200th anniversary of our country's most significant battle will soon be upon us. Many travelers will come to the Champlain Vally and Plattsburgh to see where history was made. Crab Island played a very important role in the battle of Plattsburgh.

In 2002, the TAXPAYERS of New York state paid $250,000 for a passenger-carrying vessel to be built to U.S. Coast Guard specs. She was scheduled to sail at Crown Point, but the lack of proper facilities and a careless marine yard caused severe damages to the vessel.

John Rock discovered her and started the wheels in motion. She was chopped out of the thick Vermont ice, sailed to Port Henry where she was hauled to Plattsburgh, stored in a base hanger and a labor of love begun.

The three-foot hole in the bow was repaired. John Rock, Roger Harwood, Robert Dashnaw and I repaired her to the approval of the Coast Guard at no cost to the taxpayers, and she went into service. Errors in design were apparent, and I redesigned the engine and rigging. Over the two years she transported over 400 school students to Crab while the rich history of all the battles was told and transported hundreds of passengers, tools and equipment to the islands.

Personality problems occurred, and she fell into the hands of people that did not possess the expertise to maintain her. The $8,000 sails were accidentally discarded. Water was added inside the hull over the winter, causing mold and mildew. An unskilled attempt to caulk her did not work.

The Weather Wax now sits forlornly deserted, destined to be a static display? Out of the water she is about as exciting as looking at a roll of barbed wire.

There is a group of veterans from Legion Post 1619 that are willing and ABLE to return this vessel to the role that the TAXPAYERS who put up the $250,000 intended in 2002.

Capt. Frank Pabst

Plattsburgh

Languages study key

TO THE EDITOR: I am writing this letter in support of maintenance of funding for Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams. The Checkpoint A Second Language Proficiency Exams and the Checkpoint B Comprehensive Language Exams are highly reliable and valid assessments which have direct correlations to the well-defined New York State Learning Standards. They have received national and international recognition as models of proficiency based assessments. Through these quality assessments, we have raised the bar for our students in New York State. We must do everything we can to maintain the progress we have made in recent years with standards-based education.

According to Education Commissioner David Steiner, "The value of fluency in multiple languages cannot be overstated in the twenty-first century, when the emergent conditions of life bring more of us more often into circumstances that, on the one hand, ask us to travel through the complex terrain of a globalized economy and, on the other, bring far-flung local parochialisms to our, doors through the vastly expanded reach of new communication technologies." Liberal-Education Magazine — Spring, 2009.

New York state was just announced as a finalist in the first round of competition for the "Race to the Top." On March 4 Commissioner Steiner wrote: "These reforms aim to ensure that all of New York's public schools have truly effective teachers and principals, high quality curricula, well-designed assessments and are focused on the academic success of every child." Our current teachers are effective, our curriculum is high quality and our assessments are well designed. It is counterproductive to eliminate the Second Language Proficiency and Regents Examinations as a cost-cutting measure.

Papa couldn't tell us and it didn't make no sense When the teacher told us we couldn't talk no French no more. Do you hear me calling, do you understand? Once it is gone, it ain't never coming back no more.

David Graham

President

Pays du nord Chapter

American Assoc. of

Teachers of French

Morrisonville

Awaiting response

TO THE EDITOR: "Fools," "simpletons," "Neanderthals," "heel clicking-goose stepping puppeteers," "jerks," "bozos," "know nothings," "ignoramuses," and "stooges," these are just a few of the epithets hurled at the Upstate New York Tea Party, as a result of our press conference on a recent Friday.

About 40 of our 450-plus supporters joined me in a declaration of "political war" against Bill Owens, our newly elected congressman.

Owens, after less than 100 days in office, has managed to vote for more than a trillion dollars in new spending. It calculates out to about $8 million for every minute of every hour of every day since he first took office on Nov. 6, 2009. But as you can see from our critics' responses, UNYTEA has yet to elicit an intellectual response to our arguments about out-of-control government spending.

Our nation's unfunded liabilities (the difference between what we will collect versus what we will pay out as a result of Social Security, Medicare, and the drug prescription program) now exceeds $107 trillion, an amount which is greater than 10 times the size of our entire economy. There is no solution in sight. We are headed for a financial Armageddon which could catapult our country into an economic abyss. And our opponents respond with grade school taunts.

I am pleased that in the face of our criticisms, these tax and spend advocates are bereft of anything which remotely resembles an intelligent argument. But I fear for a nation whose citizens would, without objection, walk blindly down the road toward economic suicide.

May God help us and may He continue to bless the United States of America.

Mark L. Barie

Rouses Point

Inspired by performance

TO THE EDITOR: As I sat down to watch the biathlon ski/shooting men's event on television, Feb. 21, I heard the announcer talking about Tim Burke of Paul Smiths, in rural, upper New York state. I watched as Tim skied near the front of the contestants with strength and power. The announcer was remarking that Tim was our countries only chance to receive our first medal in this event.

I have been thinking Olympics ever since my dad, a spectator ski instructor, came home to us, in Brooklyn, after attending the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics. He drilled skiing, shooting, "North Woods" and Lake Placid in my little boy's head.

I took our Peru Central School marching band in the awards ceremonies at the 1980 games in Lake Placid when I got the teaching job up here, marching and playing at 5 below zero. After I retired, in 1985, 1 was a range official at the 2004 World Cup Biathlon games, in Lake Placid.

Getting back to Tim in Vancouver on Sunday; near the end of the 15-kilometer mass start the shooting was so fast that I could not see Tim's targets go down but he probably missed some which caused him to take penalty laps. He came in 18th place. Not bad at all, out of all the male shoot/skiers in the world.

It has been a long time since Dad tried to show me what real biathlon is. Tim is up there with the world's great Olympians at age 28. 1 am close to 80 and hope to see Tim on TV again at the next games. Please keep on representing us. We are very proud of you and all the other Olympian athletes that came out of my Dad's "Lake Placid North Woods" on these two weeks.

Lynn Wilke

Peru

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