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Category Archives: Readers Corner

Letter to the Editor: Town of Coeymans Should Merge Ravena and Coeymans Hamlet!

On occasion, some readers’ comments are just so good and so on-topic that we think they should be published on their own as free-standing articles. With this in mind, we’ll be publishing what we call “Letters to the Editor,” similar to those you’d read in any of the local rags, but much more informative and honest, of course. It’s so much better to have readers themselves do the writing, since that frees us up to do more research and uncover more facts for you.

This letter-to-the-editor is the second letter of a two-part series that we think you’ll really enjoy, especially in this pre-election run-up period in Ravena. When reading these letters, you may want to ask you why these commonsense actions haven’t been taken already by the residents of Ravena and Coeymans and the town of Coeymans. After all, Ravena and the Hamlet of Coeymans were once one single municipality. They’ve had several decades to make the division work but to date the split of Ravena and the Hamlet of Coeymans has caused only problems and bitterness. Why not go back to the merged community and have some peace and save some money? So here goes!

Letter-to-the-Editor1
Dear Editor, Dear Neighbors:

As we know, some things and some things remain the same. However, at some point, change is necessary, needed and valuable.

With this in mind, I offer the following:

The Hamlet of Coeymans seems to be in a stagnant situation, both  with a population that is not increasing and with a lack of services that its residents should have. The residents pay higher fees for both Village of Ravena drinking water and Sewer District Tax.

In contrast to what is perceived as a modern move to consolidation, I propose that the Hamlet of Coeymans petition the Village of Ravena for Annexation-that is, the residents of the Hamlet actually become ‘residents’ of the Village of Ravena with all the privileges afforded the current residents of the Village.

I offer there must be a number of caveats to this Annexation (and there are more I am sure):

1.  Coeymans Fire Company maintains its current structure and coverage area along with the current taxing authority to maintain its equipment and continue to be able to protect its area in the exemplary manner it always has.

2. The ‘new’ residents continue to have and use the current Post Office, Zip Code and address-much like Colonie and Menands residents do with regard to and with their relationships to Albany. The idea of mail delivery to those who wish to take advantage should also be investigated

 By the Annexation, users of the Village of Ravena water supply and the Sewer Customers of the District would all be under the auspices of the Village of Ravena, who would be responsible for the entire systems. Of course this would take additional resources but we can get to that later.  Additionally, all the customers of the Water and Sewer Distrcts would pay the same rates, in contrast to the current system-this means the former Hamlet residents would see a sharp drop in both rates which may equate to the now payable Village of Ravena tax!

 The new residents would also be able to take advantage of services formerly available to only the original Village residents, like brush pickup, street cleaning, Holiday Decorations, a second vendor for Cable TV Services, stump removal and the like.
 
With regard to staffing, workload and duties: I offer that the Current Village Building Department be responsible not only for the expanded Village but also for the rest of the Town of Coeymans and staff from Coeymans be moved to accommodate this. It would make sense too as Coeymans Building Department needs would go down and the Village up. I would think the same issues might be in line for the Clerk Offices, Highway Department and Court Offices too. We may even have a chance for some building/office consolidation and economic savings to boot!

 At the same time, the Annexation would allow the Town of Coeymans to explore the possibility of having it’s own municipal water and sewer systems to encourage community growth and maybe enjoy some prosperity because of it. Just imagine municipal water and sewers ‘out back’, on the northern Route9W and northern 144 ends of Town!!

 Seeing as the current Route 144  ‘home’ for the Town Highway Employees (the former Coeymans Firehouse) will not be needed any longer, it can go back to taxable property and maybe a Stewart’s or the like will show up!  The former Town occupants will have less to do as the park would be now on Village property, so the remaining employees can either move to the Town Office Building or the Highway Department as their new workstation. [Editor’s Note: Once the Town of Coeymans makes the right choice and eliminates the Coeymans police department, the space in the basement of the Town Hall can accommodate both a Sheriff’s satellite office and the highway department staff! Actually, it might make a great RC Youth and Teen Activities Center!]

 I know there is more to this than I have outlined but the idea may just have merit and is worth discussing. Why not talk about it?

Outsider

Now isn’t this what our elected town board and village board should be thinking about and proposing, instead of acting like grinning idiots every time someone wants to create a dump or a transfer station in residents’ back yards? Isn’t this what our elected officials should be envisioning instead of bickering like a coven of old hags and creating discord and anxiety, while resident’s basements are filling with water and sewerage, 100-year-old water mains are failing, village and town are hemorrhaging residents, tax base, and businesses? Come on, people, listen to the Voice of Reason and make some changes!

Get rid of Bruno and his gang-bangers, and kick the Town of Coeymans’ board in the ass and get some action!

Outsider is a frequent commenter and reader. We think he’s been in local government in the past because he knows an awful lot about the people and events. He also thinks like a good administrator should think. But we’d like to hear what YOU think about Outsider’s letter. Please leave a comment.

Stay Tuned: In the Days Leading Up to the Ravena Elections,
We’ll Be Running the Series,

10 Reasons Why You Should Vote NO!
for Bruno-Case-Persico!

(Get the latest Election Poll Results at: RESULTS!)

“Qui tacet consentire videtur ubi loqui debuit ac potuit.”
“Silence is admission when when the accused ought to have spoken and was able to.”

Special Notice: We make every effort to be truthful, complete, fair, and balanced on this blog; therefore, if you see anything that you know to be false or incorrect, or if you have additional information to clarify any issue, please let us know by e-mailing your information or by leaving a comment. It’s very important to us that we don’t fall into the same category as those whom this blog is intended to expose. Thank you very much in advance for your coöperation and assistance.

Graphics and Images Disclosure: Unless otherwise noted and credited, all graphics used in this article are the result of a Google image search, and at the time the images were collected and used in this article, no conspicuous or visible copyright notice or other proprietary mark was shown. Please communicate any claim or corrections to rcs.confidential@gmail.com All images are used in good faith for non-profit, public information and public service purposes.

 
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You Are What You Eat…Buy Your Garbage at the Ravena Shop’n Save!

Buy Your Garbage at the Ravena Shop’n Save and Keep Your Shopping Dollars Local

Shop'n Save Stores Are Supplied by HannafordShop'Save Supermarkets are apparently the bottom-feeder option in one-horse towns.

Shop’n Save Stores Are Supplied by Hannaford
Shop’Save Supermarkets are apparently the bottom-feeder option in one-horse towns.

We’ve received an interesting request from a local resident that deserves some comment. It’s not a story of corruption—or is it?—and not about Coeymanazis or psycho-cops or corrupt government. It’s about a resident keeping his dollars locally and made to regret it by a local business owner.

It explains why so many businesses are going out of business or leaving the area. It explains, at least in part, why people would rather go to Glenmont or to Delmar to shop, keep fit, or to bank.

Here’s what the reader has to say:

Save Time And Money;Don't Shop at Shop'n SaveOr at least avoid the Ravena Shop'n Save

Save Time And Money;
Don’t Shop at Shop’n Save

Or at least do yourself a favor and avoid the
Ravena Shop’n Save

Dear Blog Editor:

I know this is not something really important or something you’d want to put on your blog, knowing you have bigger fish to fry, but I would like to let you know, and maybe you’ll find it interesting enough to put on your blog.Today is Sunday and I went out early to do pick up a couple of items to do a nice Sunday brunch.Now, I wanted to stay local and not make a world-tour of just getting a couple of items so I took the chance and went to the Ravena Shop’n Save (even though past experiences were not the best).I picked up eggs, orange juice, bacon, bread and a package of strawberries. I wanted some other items, including green peppers, but they were really garbage, soft and wrinkled, so I passed on items like that. But I did mention it to the produce person that they really shouldn’t be sold. He agreed (but didn’t do anything about it).

So I checked out and paid my $19.46 and headed home.We start to do the breakfast/brunch and open the strawberries. Many were rotten and several were actually moldy. If any of them could be used, they’d have to be cleaned up. It looked like only about 1/2 the package could be used.I was unhappy and decided to go back to Shop’n Save to give them a piece of my mind and get my money back, plus compensation for my time, fuel, and emotions.

Well, I got there and had to wait for someone to notice me at the “Customer Service” counter. An assistant manager, pleasant enough, came over and asked if she could help. I explained the problem and she asked if I had my receipt. I said No! But pointed out the cashier and reminded her that she, herself, had bagged the purchases. I remembered the exact items and the exact amount and told her the receipt is probably in the cashier’s waste bin. The Assistant Manager called across the store to the cashier that she “Needed to go through her garbage to find a receipt.” I told her that was disgusting and she replied that she couldn’t refund my money without the receipt or a store manager’s approval (Why was she an assistant manager?).

She fetched the garbage bag, went thru the contents and found the receipt! She then fills out a form, hands the book to me and asks me to provide a list of personal contact information. I found that bizarre and very complicated but I cooperated. She then asked me if I had a penny. By this time I tell her, “I’m really working too hard for this.” But I hand her a penny and she hands me four singles, turns to another customer and starts taking care of him. I’m standing there a bit stunned and ask her, “Is that all there is. Is that it?” She responds, “That’s your refund.” I return, “But what about my time, my gas, my trouble? Don’t you people care about that?” She replies, “Do you want to speak to a manager?” I answer, “Yes!”

Several minutes later some kid approaches the counter—I don’t even take notice because I’m waiting for a “manager,” someone who maybe looks like a manager—and the Assistant Manager announces this is the manager.Without introducing himself he looks at me and asks, “What’s the problem.” So I explain the problem and his problem with selling garbage (I explained to him the several items of produce I had earlier examined and found too far gone for human consumption.). I also mentioned that I expected a bit more consideration than $3.99 and I got not even an “I’m sorry.” I asked who exactly he was, what’s his name, he responded “Kyle Smith. My family owns this store.”

I then repeated that I expected some gesture that someone was concerned about my inconvenience and my unhappiness. Mr Smith simply responded with a strange look, “You want more?” I said “Yes. I do. I expect some customer care, customer service.” Mr Smith then invited me into one of the aisles so we had privacy. I told Mr Smith I didn’t need privacy that I wanted shoppers to hear my complaint.

Mr Smith had not even looked in the bag yet but when I mentioned rotten fruit he actually asked, “Strawberries?

Eat them yourself, Smith! We don't want them!

Eat them yourself, Smith! We don’t want them!

I asked, “How did you know that?” He responded, “They’re usually the first to go. [That’s why] They’re on sale.” So, I said, “You know you’re selling us garbage, so you put it on sale to get rid of it and get your money. We take it home and have to cut half of it off and throw it away. That means that we’re paying more than the regular price, considering what has to get thrown out. We might as well go to Hannaford in Delmar or PriceChopper in Glenmont, we’d save money by paying full price. We’d save gas by not having to make two trips. That’s robbery!”

With a dull look on his face, he responded, “You want more?” By that time I had had enough and could have kicked myself in the ass for having allowed myself to be victimized again by Shop’n Save in Ravena. Just thought I’d let you know.

Thank you!

Well, yes, Ravena-Coeymans is a one-horse town.

The Smith family who run the Shop’n Save know that and the treatment their customers receive shows that fact. Actually, they cater more to the social welfare crowd who don’t really care because they survive on high-calorie junk food and don’t really give a damn for fresh veggies or fruits.

I personally took a short ride to Shop’n Save myself just to see what was going on. Yes, the soft mushy green peppers, about 8 of them, were lonely and rotten in the baskets, several other items looked like they had seen better, much better days (perhaps even in another Hannaford store before the got to Shop’n Save), and the strawberries were still out and still fragrantly past their prime, and you could see the mold on the bottom of the clear plastic package. The were indeed on sale for $3.99. Cheap for garbage.

Hannaford's Official Logo Actually Features Fresh-Looking Produce!

Hannaford’s Official Logo Actually Features Fresh-Looking Produce!

Most of the people who must shop at the Ravena Shop’n Save don’t have a choice of going to Delmar or Glenmont so they make their taxpayer-supported purchases there; why should they care, it’s not their money, it’s ours.

The problem I have with this entire scenario is that Kyle Smith and the Smith’s are actually taking taxpayer money for garbage, and profiting by that low-life scheme. It’s the whole story of the “captive audience.”

The Smith’s apparently don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks about their customer service, which is nada, zero, zilch. Welfare customers don’t complain and the Ravena Shop’n Save apparently doesn’t get many more discerning customers to care about customer care.

This might seem like small potatoes to many readers but there are some very disturbing things going on here.  First of all, Ravena-Coeymans is a one-horse town. That’s all there is and no one cares, least of all the Smith family and “manager” Kyle Smith, who apparently has no management training and definitely no customer service training. They have their Oakbrook Manor clientele and in their small-town minds, that keeps them going.

Second, anyone who can will go outside of the area to do their major shopping. And one of the major expenses of any middle-class or even working class household is groceries and household items. Could run into the tens of thousands of dollars a week for even a small community like Ravena-Coeymans, and those dollars are going to Delmar, Albany, Glenmont, Colonie. Say bye-bye! Because under conditions like that, more businesses are going to fail and you’ll have more empty business property in Ravena-Coeymans.

Thirdly, running a business like the Smith family  apparently does is literally theft of taxpayer dollars. Or, even if we were to say that welfare shoppers don’t buy fruit or veggies, it’s still dishonest because they are knowingly selling sub-standard produce by deceptively marking it down, knowing that a good portion is unedible and must be thrown away. They’re selling us garbage to recoup their profits! How’s that make you feel?

Fourthly, it’s the attitude that really hurts the area. The very fact that shoppers and consumers in this Ravena-Coeymans area are treated like turds has far-reaching effects on everyone. The stupid attitude shown by Kyle Smith says it all. What he told our reader amounts to: “I don’t give a rat’s ass about your time, gas, or feelings. How dare you want more. You got your money back. Now get your sorry ass out of here.” How do you think the reader’s attitude would have changed dramatically if Smith simply said, “Gee, I’m really sorry you had this experience. Let me make it up to you. Would a $10.00 gift certificate help?” I believe Yes! It would have helped. The reader would have felt better and probably would have come back, spent his/her $10 and more. The reader would have left feeling like a valued customer instead of a door mat.

But that’s what Ravena-Coeymans is: A third-world community with third-world attitudes, and third-world services.

This explains a lot about Ravena-Coeymans: You are what you eat…or what Kyle Smith and the Ravena Shop’n Save want to sell you to eat.

Yes! Reader, this is important and it affects not only you, personally, but as you can see, affects the entire region in many ways. Thank you very much for sending in your story.

And YES! We’d Like to Hear from the Smith Family, the “Owners” of the Ravena Shop’n Save and from Hannaford Headquarters. Just Leave a Public Comment!

third world food searchIs This the Next Step?
We’re Third World Already
The Editor

 

Readers Corner: A Readers’ Contribution…

Warning: If you are a student or a minor, please leave this blog now.

A Reader Writes…

Mr Laszlo Polyak of Ravena submitted this article:

I guess I will be the advocate for the children, and RCS  High School seniors, who have commented on this blog and try to present it in a  way that both sides can understand.  First off, I have a business teaching degree so I have my bias too.  Second, there are good teachers all around not just greedy ones. [Editor’s Note: While I am still adamant that the seniors who commented in the way they commented were uncivil and inappropriate, I would be the last to overgeneralize and condemn an entire group, teachers or students.]

Let’s start from some carved in stone facts that are beyond the control of this community.  Two million people have moved out of NY in the last 10 years.  Locally this means there are 2,000 fewer people in our school district.  Fewer students means fewer teachers needed.  Example – sixty kids in third grade in any district. – six third- grade teachers.  Obviously at least of 3 teachers have to go.  That is beyond our control. There’s also the loss of two million dollars so there is even less money to support the situation. Less money from government sources (state and federal). Thank you! Governor Cuomo! The state legislators and the governor of the Empire State don’t seem to give a damn whether your schools sink or float! They just push it on to local governments and pass the ole buck! [Editor’s Note: Mr Polyak makes some good points here.]

The recent concert at the high school the principal said it best — everyone will be receiving some information and facts at home.  I really urge you all to read it carefully.  Do your homework and make a reasonable, informed decision when you vote.

If you want one fine example of a truly great teacher, you have Mr Wamsley.  As a music teacher he has done an excellent job with the kids in band and drama.  He entertains us with high school plays that are Broadway  quality.   He has been here only a few years.  There was talk when budget cuts were needed to let him go. The public stood up and backed him. [Editor’s Note: Music and language/literature are foundations of our culture. I would agree with Mr Polyak that a gifted teacher in the humanities is a must in any school.]

Perhaps I can explain some of the issues this way.  There are residents on fixed incomes  such as social security and retirement pensions.  Perhaps your grandma or grandpa.  They have not received an increase in their check for two years straight.  And yet their taxes have gone up and up and up.  Of course, they want the best education for their grandchildren, great grandchildren and children [But do they have to forego medicine or nutritious food to make that possible? There’s a moral dilemma here. The ed.].  But they are down to eating cat food.  How do you expect them to afford a 6.8% increase? Some of them, simply frustrated, are a portion of the two million who have left New York state. 

Take a walk down Main Street.  Again you’ll see fewer people there, fewer businesses than you did last year: this means less of a tax base and more of a burden on those still here.  Then we have three big industries.  plastics, railroad and the cement company.  The reason why we have this short fall is because they went to court and got their property values dropped 10 yrs ago and will do it again. [Editor’s Note: Excellent point! They’re paying almost no tax and yet you jump up and down with glee when they make a pitiable gift or donation! See thru the smokescreen!]  And they can afford to go to court.  Or just close their doors and move out.

Have you forgotten that we are in a depression, and I will call it that. We are in a depression its over the place.  I wrote a letter to the blogger questioning their motives about the kids blogs. I told the blogger that these are children/young adults. And they are trying to express their opinions.  In a week some people will go and vote Yes! and some will vote No!  And we will cross that bridge when we get there.  But we need to remind ourselves that it is OK to be conservative, it is OK to be liberal.  And we need to express ourselves without bitterness, frustration and hatred. The young people tried but sadly, their teachers were laughing and not explain to them the truth  The kids don’t lose  we do!  [Editor’s Note: I disagree. The young people were cheated of a very valuable lesson and experience; the teachers lost nothing. The community lost something, too!]  Are we name calling just because we have different viewpoints? Are we the children or the adults, the educators?  Every community has at least two viewpoints, and they can co-exist in harmony.  A healthy community might have hundreds of viewpoints and solutions, too, but can pull it all together and get the job done .

Perhaps when you write to the blogger, you should show some examples of solutions for the current situations and problems that we face. [Editor’s Note: Great advice, Mr Polyak!]  As I showed my leg brace for my cerebral palsy at the RCS board of Ed meeting, I did not bother to show my ID showing that I was a walker or I had to walk over a mile each way to my junior high and high schools.  I even attempted to link and show different school districts for comparisons and email sites too. There were NYS dept of Ed individuals who were present and willing to assist us to find solutions.  Some of them even came down and sat in the audience and took notes but to their disappointment.  If they have to take control it wont be the kids who will be hurt; it will be half the teachers and the Administrator. They noted that no one really placed the kids first.  And some of those followers of the blog are the Dept of Ed officials, as it is part of their job to monitor the situation.

I also set out examples of the YMCA taking over the pool.  It doesn’t matter whether the teacher’s contracts were handed in weeks before or 5 minutes before.  The teachers’ unions are not as powerful as you think they are, and they give nothing back. Some good teachers are struggling to make ends meet, too, and are not greedy at all!  They answer to a much more powerful organization, the NYSED who certify and license them; they can’t teach if their license is revoked. And NYSED answers to “us, the People”.  They are just sitting back, waiting to see what the district votes . You haven’t read about Rhode Island, where the state fired all their teachers.  And then a few months later all the teachers begged for their jobs back at 80% of what they had.

We are in depression; deal with it  people! Don’t believe me, please go on the internet and check.  There are people who have worked in the RCS school district for 10, 15, 20 years who are not teachers.  And they still make under $20,000 per year. [Editor’s Note: In the RCS central school district the teachers average out at about $63,000, up to over $70,000. You don’t want to know what Superintendant Elizabeth Smith is pulling out of the district!]  Some of them would have a better life living on welfare!

Again If anyone wants I will personally bring them to the Dept of Ed  personal so they can hear it straight from NYSED If its a No! votes them teachers and staff are gone and the kids still have sports and music. If it’s a Yes! vote the Dept of Ed  brings in its auditor line by line and the waste goes! This is what the Governor wants to see happen across the state because he does not want to see another 2 million residents leave the state!  The kids will not lose they will have music and sports at the bad or not so good teachers’expense! [Editor’s Note: Thank you! Mr Polyak! That’s a very important point you’ve just driven home. I hope the readers pick up on it. Teachers beware!]

On of the main  issues here is the inequity of employment.  Where and how we are going to fund programs.  And avoid another 2,000 people moving out of our community or a major company from shutting down or moving out.  So what is your solution?  I will always be out in the open. All are always welcome to knock on my door to discuss any issue and I will present them with the government records so they can draw their own conclusions.

Just stop dragging the kids in the middle they enough problems growing and finding their own identity; they don’t need to be made pawns in the battles waged by the adults!

Editor’s Comment: Thank you Mr Lazlo Polyak for a very reasonable and balanced article. We may not have agreed with everything you write but we do appreciate the time and effort you put into this. We are pleased to publish it with minor edits. Note: Mr Polyak is solely responsible for the content of his article; we have not checked the facts but are assured that Mr Polyak has done so.

Our position is and remains that the residents of the RCS Central School District should vote NO! on the budget and all other issues on the ballot on May 15, 2012.

Vote NO! on May 15th

Special Notice: We make every effort to be truthful, complete, fair, and balanced on this blog; therefore, if you see anything that you know to be false or incorrect, or if you have additional information to clarify any issue, please let us know by e-mailing your information or by leaving a comment. It’s very important to us that we don’t fall into the same category as those whom this blog is intended to expose. Thank you very much in advance for your cooperation and assistance!