OH-Fest worse than St. Patrick's Day

This letter is in response to your article on the OH-Fest. I always looked forward to this and found it an excellent way for college students to build positive relationships with the city.

This year was an exception. I live in Center City. It was absurd that we had to put up with drunken parties, trash strewn all over and the setting off of firecrackers from dawn until late at night. I baby-sat my grandkids that night, and driving home down Chestnut and Church streets, I had to deal with hordes of drunken students screaming obscenities, running out into traffic and banging on my car hood in an aggressive, alcohol-induced manner as I inched down Church Street. This was worse than St. Patrick's Day (which has also become a day of dawn-through-dusk drunkenness). At least the concert in the park was contained!

I was literally afraid for my life trying to drive home, unable to sleep with all the ruckus in the neighborhood and had to call the police in desperation when I feared for the safety of the students with the level of swearing and threatening language I heard.

This is not the OH-Fest I know. It's like the social network mechanism worked to tell the students to come on down and have a wild time. I think the day has lost its focus of service to the community and should be re-thought.

Emily Phillips-Knapp

Oneonta

Farmers need support

It's nice to see some positive signs of the local economy, due to investment into a local milk plant by the Agro-Farma Co. The hundreds of jobs created, the production of a nutritious product that is in high demand all across the country, a local restaurant being revitalized, a new little league field for a local town and many other community-supported actions are all great signs and a morale boost for everyone.

But I think many people are overlooking one basic ingredient to this surge, and that is the dairy farmer. They are the ones who produce a raw product, that feeds the plant, that employs the hundreds, that feeds the thousands, that makes the millions for a company. But high prices for fuel, feed, fertilizer and other necessities are increasing production costs, making it harder for farmers to stay in business.

We need to be able to cover our production costs to be able to continue to supply Agro-Farma the milk it needs. That is a basic law of economics, regardless of the product produced. Once farms go out of business, houses are the last "crop" that land will produce.

So just remember, when dairy farms don't survive, it means: No milk, no yogurt, no jobs, no Agro-Farma!

Eric Lindberg

Burlington Flats

Founders wise to avoid official religion

David Sehat's "Debunking Church-State Myths" (Star, April 30) may not be the last word on separation of church and state. But it points to an important reason why the founders did not declare Christianity the national religion.

They were historically very close to centuries of religious war between Catholics and Protestants and keenly aware of the consequences. They were also well aware of England's "Test Acts," in effect from 1661 to 1829.

Parliament passed the Test Acts to buttress the official, "established" state religion, the Church of England. Those wanting to hold public office had to pass a preliminary "test:" they were required to take communion in the Church of England.

Roman Catholics were the chief target, but all "non-conformists" or "dissenters" were also included: Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, etc. _ not to mention Jews, Buddhists or followers of Islam. All but members of the Church of England were therefore excluded from government service.

The founders knew that if they established Christianity as the national religion, the first question asked would be: "Which denomination?" They knew that this could doom us to a history of bloody, nasty, divisive sectarian war such as they had witnessed in Europe and such as we witness today, for example, between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq.

In their wisdom, the founders opted for religious pluralism for a pluralistic nation. From many, one.

Thomas Beattie

Oneonta

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