Support those in recovery

We are all aware that alcohol and drug abuse are a monumental problem causing millions of cases of debilitating disease, injury and death each year, not to mention crime and social dysfunction. Three out of four prison inmates have substance abuse problems. These things are happening not just in big cities and far-away places, but right here in our own neighborhoods, every day.

What about the devastating effects on families, friends, employers and communities? Doesn't each of us know someone, perhaps very close, who has suffered from addiction? History tells us that as long as there is a demand, there will be a supply. Reducing the demand begins in the communities of America through the efforts of ordinary people.

So what can we do besides shake our heads and say "isn't that sad"? First, a change in attitude: stop denying, stop ignoring. You may not be able to do much about illegal drugs, but maybe you can do something more important. Take the time: talk to a friend, listen to your children, visit someone in the hospital, help those in need.

The good news is that there are solutions. Millions of people have recovered from alcohol and drug addiction to become productive and happy citizens: doctors, nurses, lawyers, police officers, plumbers, carpenters, painters, cooks, clerks, etc. They live next door, and they all have amazing stories to tell.

Though clinical help is readily available everywhere, recovering people need positive support from the communities to which they return after a stay in a rehabilitation center, hospital, jail or other institution. The recovery process does work, but only through sustained effort.

Start by attending the Rally for Recovery at Wilber Park in Oneonta on Sept. 20. There will be voter registration, a walk, food and live music. Meet some Friends of Recovery.

Brig Seaver


Seaver is one of the organizers of the Rally for Recovery.

Thayne should explain decision

I wish to thank Catherine Lake Ellsworth for her excellent letter ("Tax savings discrimination," Aug. 18), which hit the nail right on the head. The fact stated in the original article that it would "affect a couple of people" by this so-called tax-saving measure shows exactly what this is all about. Furthermore, the federal law states that it is allowable for same-sex partner benefits to be denied. Allowable, not definitely denied.

"We only have to follow the federal guidelines," the treasurer stated. I wonder what part of that she missed?

This action was taken in the form of a note enclosed with payroll checks. Myrna Thayne made no attempt at discussing the issue with the board. It may have been her right to do it this way, but was it really right? County board members were surprised. Chairman James Powers called it "wrong." And it is wrong. Thankfully, we have board members with insight as to what is right.

As far as "what may happen in the future," I highly doubt that Oneonta will become the next Provincetown. Besides, all our money is the same, gay or straight. We work, we buy, and we pay taxes. We are part of the economics. Come to think of it, we pay salaries and benefits packages.

I call upon Otsego County Treasurer Myrna Thayne to publicly state, for the record, exactly how much money would have been saved by this action. I believe it is our right to have those in authority be answerable to us. Last time I checked, we were still a democracy.

Oh, yeah, and we vote, too.

John Jurgensen


Give equal time to local sites

As expected by many of your readers, I have to find fault with the Associated Press article "With wind's benefits come neighbors' distress" on Page 11 of the Aug. 18 issue.

First, I find it interesting of all the windmill farms within driving distance of Oneonta, the one that was used is approximately four times larger in the amount of machines than any that are proposed anywhere in the area. On top of that, it is on a plateau, which makes a great difference in comparison to having them on a mountaintop.

Mr. Yancey seems to have a lot of hate, including the fact that his father chose to sign a deal with the wind company. Do you suppose if he or some of his siblings had stayed on the farm or offered to help his father pay the taxes and upkeep, there might not have been a reason to sell out to the wind company?

Mr. Yancey is an electrician. Why is he so worried? Why is he not farming? If he felt so strongly about the windmills, why did he give up his principles long enough to help build and install them?

At least one family that I met on the trip to Tug Hill, who leased land for the wind farm, found that the noise from the snowmobile races that are held there weekly year-round are much more disturbing than the windmills.

In closing, I ask The Daily Star to give equal time to the wind sites around the area.

Jim Hitchcock


Good reason to buy early

I am responding to the editorial titled "Don't hoard wood pellets." My husband and I have had a pellet stove for more than 14 years. It was our only source of home heating.

When we bought our stove, we were able to buy pellets a ton at a time and pick them up 20 to 25 bags at a time as needed. We would buy pellets when it started getting cold enough to turn on the stove.

About four years ago, the stores started saying it couldn't store the pellets anymore, so we had to take them all at once. Two years ago, there was a severe pellet shortage. Our usual store said they would only sell us pellets if we bought a new stove from it (we had been buying pellets from it for more than eight years).

We went looking elsewhere. We bought one ton of pellets, then went to get another ton and were told we could only have 20 bags, then 10 bags, pre-paid of course. Eventually we pre-paid and didn't get any pellets. The whole time, we were told by the stores, "The companies will be increasing output to keep up with demand; not to worry."

Well, we ended up having to get a wood stove because there never were enough pellets. I think it's easy to tell folks not to hoard, but we learned to buy early and as much as we will need for the season.

Christine Utegg


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