Stop the abuse

TO THE EDITOR: Our congresswoman, Rep. Elise Stefanik, who positions herself as a friend of farmers and a protector of U.S. national security, has a big opportunity this month to step up and help stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture from abusing 547 of its employees and abdicating its research responsibilities.

The 547 people are economists and scientists in the USDA’s Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. They produce unbiased reports on issues affecting food production and agricultural economics. Some of this research naturally addresses issues that are arising from warmer temperatures.

For some reason the White House fears rational discussion of warmer temperatures and is scheming to silence the government scientific workers.

So on June 13, the USDA announced that its two research divisions would be arbitrarily moved from D.C. to the Kansas City area, and the 547 scientific employees had just 32 days, or until July 15, to decide to accept the long move or be fired. Pretty unusual and abrupt.

It’s very evident that the USDA doesn’t want its workforce to make the move, but rather wants to encourage mass resignations, and is perfectly willing to fire most of the rest. It’s a blatant and cynical purge.

In effect, the USDA is willing to forfeit our long-term research capability, to avoid short-term politically inconvenient scientific findings.

This is morally reprehensible, and is shockingly bad governance.

Will Elise Stefanik show leadership and speak out to stop this crazy USDA scheme to blow up our research capability? Is Elise on top of this?

DAVE WHITMAN

Glens Falls

 Scholarship money raised

TO THE EDITOR: The Community Scholarship Fund would like to thank the 60 golfers who participated in the 23rd Annual Elizabeth “Mikey” Leavine Scholarship Golf Tournament at the Barracks Golf Course in Plattsburgh on July 2.

Through their efforts, and the generosity of our sponsors, we were able to raise over $2,500 for scholarships to be given in Mrs. Leavine’s memory.

We would like to thank the following merchants, organizations, and individuals who supported this event through their generous donations and efforts:

The Beekmantown Teachers Association, Jump Camp, Saratoga Eagle, Last Key Realty, BCS Booster Club, Beekmantown Support Staff Association, Northern Insuring Agency, BCS Student Council, Cumberland Head Teachers, Beekmantown Fire Dept., CHES Retired Teachers, Warren Tire Service Center, Rowell Insuring, Lake Breeze Cleaning, Plattsburgh Police Local 812, and Community Bank on Route 3.

I would also like to extend a special thanks to the Leavine and Bushey families, Delores Vivian and the staff at the Barracks, Mike Waite, Scott Cutaiar, Julie Jock, Carol Lunn and Connie Brogowski.

PETER VILLA

Director

Community Scholarship Fund

Plattsburgh

  

Stefanik doesn't care

TO THE EDITOR: The National Institute of Mental Health defines childhood trauma: “the experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.” Some of the leading causes of trauma include: violence at home, school, in the community, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, stress by poverty and seperation from a parent or caregiver.

The federal government is traumatizing hundreds of children on a daily basis. DHS inspector general reports reveal “squalid conditions at migrant detention centers” (CBS News).

Included in this reporting is: separation from a parent or caregiver, overcrowded conditions with insufficient sleeping space, lack of adequate food, water, hygiene ability and lack of supervision. In New York state, the Office of Children and Family Services has a 24 hour hotline to report suspected incidences of child abuse. Reports are investigated; actions are taken to protect children.

I called Elise Stefanik’s office to inquire about her actions on behalf of immigrant children. I asked, has Stefanik visited the border, answer, no. Does Stefanik view the treatment as abuse, staff member didn’t know. What legislation has she proposed to stop this abuse, answer, none.

She did sign onto the Senate version of a funding bill. The staffer stated that bill has been on Trump’s desk, awaiting signature since July 1 (this is written  July 10).

I asked Stefanik’s staffer about Department of Labor Secretary Acosta and his release of Jeffrey Epstein in 2007. As a prosecutor, Acosta advocated a reduced sentence for Epstein who was accused of dozens of cases of child sexual abuse. Stefanik had no statement condemning Acosta.

Congresswoman Stefanik obviously does not legislate with care and concern for children. Call Stefanik and demand that these children are adequately cared for with their parents/caregivers.

LAURA HOLZER

Saranac

Health is threatened

TO THE EDITOR: In our food, in the workplace, and in everyday household products, there is an immediate threat to our health hiding in plain sight.

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are man-made chemicals that are detrimental to our health and the environment. In order to mitigate the harm of PFAS, a bill has been introduced in Pennsylvania that will require limiting the levels of these harmful chemicals.

This bill, known as Senate Bill 582, looks to lower the MCL (maximum contaminant level) to 10 per trillion, declare emergency on PFAS for areas above the MCL, and list PFAS as hazardous substances. Funds could also be used for clean up of the chemicals if above the MCL, and have a large state impact in cleaning up our environment.

It is time to address PFAS in order to improve the health of our communities and hold corporations accountable for their use. In order to get the bill passed, we need Senator Joseph Scarnati III to be a leader and support this legislation, preserving the health of our citizens today and in the future.

JUSTIN SNYDER

Wallingford, Pa.

Sponsors were great

TO THE EDITOR: The Rouses Point Fourth of July Committee and Montgomery Post 912 American Legion in Rouses Point would like to thank everyone who sponsored our 59th-annual Fourth of July Celebration.

Please support our local businesses; without them our celebration would not be possible.

Event and parade sponsors were: American Legion Post 912, Village of Rouses Point, Sons of the American Legion Post 912, Best Friends Restaurant, CDC Real Estate, American Legion Post 912 Auxiliary, Gotta Go Electric, Kavanaugh Realty, Woodmen Life, John and Mary Zurlo, Riley Ford, Champlain Peterbilt, Community Investment Services, Toby LaPierre, Chazy Hardware, Gaines Marina, Bechard’s Farm Equipment, Giroux’s Poultry, Blue Line Insurance, The Border Press, Lakeside Coffee, Dr. Richard Foreman DMD, Rouses Point Fire Department, Maskell’s Hair Hut, Sandy’s Deli, and Casella Waste Systems.

Kids and family evening sponsors: Stewart’s Shops, PrimeLink and Champlain Telephone.

Fireworks display sponsors: Price Chopper, Market 32 and American Legion Post 912.

KIERAN GILROY

Rouses Point Fourth of July Committee

Efforts are thanked

TO THE EDITOR: As a follow up to my letter of recognition in the Press-Republican published on July 12, I would like to highlight the efforts of organizations and individuals in making the City of Plattsburgh’s “Schools Out/Kids Count” on June 22 a huge success.

I would like to extend sincere gratitude to the support from Plattsburgh YMCA Director Justin Ihne, and the director of School Age Child Care, Tina Santor.

In addition, a special thanks goes out to Plattsburgh Public Library Director Anne de la Chapelle and Librarian Sarah Spanburgh, both in helping to make a wonderful afternoon. Finally, a big thank you to all the volunteers from the Plattsburgh First Presbyterian Church, especially Pastor Tim Luoma. "We are all in this together."

CINDY ALLEN

Youth Activities and Special Events Coordinator

Plattsburgh First Presbyterian Church

Read for free

TO THE EDITOR: I am appalled by the Press-Republican's on-line policy regarding obituaries. Obituaries are paid for by families (at great cost these days), and now I have to pay to even look at the digital copy too.

I can remember when newspapers provided a community service by writing and printing obituaries free of charge. They are an invaluable tool for those of us tracing our roots, I can access old newspapers on-line in most areas for those communities that care enough to take the time to do it. The Plattsburgh Press-Republican is an embarrassment to the local area.

Stop trying to nickel and dime decent everyday folks by charging them to look at obituaries on-line when they were already paid for by the families that wrote them.

ALAN SORRELL

Portland, Maine

No more e-cigarettes

TO THE EDITOR: We often overlook the important role that businesses and companies play in influencing change in our communities.

The North Country Healthy Heart Network wishes to recognize two companies, Kinney Drugs and CVS, for taking the bold step to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products in their stores across the region, a step we hope will influence other businesses to do the same.

In late 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory on e-cigarette use among youth, labeling it an epidemic due to the skyrocketing use of these products and the harm caused by aerosol exposure, nicotine addiction, and exposure to heavy metals, organic compounds and ultrafine particles. The advisory also cited the role of flavors, specifically noting that Juul is a particular problem because of its design, high level of nicotine delivery, and popularity among youth.

As reported by regional news outlets earlier this month, Kinney Drugs will end the sale of these products on Aug. 1; similar measures have already been enacted at CVS pharmacies. Additionally, we’re glad to see that Kinney Drugs will continue selling proven smoking cessation products that aren’t marketed to our youth.

To Kinney and CVS, we say bravo for changing your practices; we hope it inspires others. To those affected by changes to the sale of tobacco products, we encourage you to contact the Heart Network to find services in our region to help you quit for good. Visit our website to learn more: www.heartnetwork.org.

DANYELLE JONES

Project Coordinator, Health Systems for a Tobacco Free New York

North Country Health Heart Network

Saranac Lake