SCENE Editorials


relating to the commissioning or preparing of material for publication.
"the editorial team"

a newspaper article written by or on behalf of an editor that gives an opinion on a topical issue.

How old will we be in 2000?
As if time travel was real, I find myself even now, in 2020 remembering the summer evening sitting in the grass behind St. Mary's on our way back from the Burger King.  Hardly recognizing the wonder of our  quintessential summer freedom, just stretching out around us.  
"Thirty six! " I said. "Can you imagine?"  Susie, JJ, Terri and I would try to fathom what the world would be like. Would we be married, have children, jobs, cars?!
Singing along to our fluidly favorite musical genres like My Sharona (The Knack),  LeFreak (C'ect Chic),  Heart of Glass (Blondie) while Rod Stewart lost of bit of his edge with "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?".  Music as so varied then. From the campy Grease soundtrack  to the totally danceable disco to  the ever popular news of the World (Queen) to Just What I Needed (the Cars) to Shattered (the Rolling Stones). The strangely interesting Elvis Costello or the seething teen anthem "We don't need no education (Pink Floyd).
The magic of MTV made it possible to see and profoundly venerate the actual people who created the soundtrack of our summer(s).  Brass in Pocket (The Pretenders), You Better Run, (Pat Benetar), You Better You Bet , (the Who). An up close introduction to  the Foo Fighters, Super Tramp, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, The Talking Heads, a new appreciation for Elvis Costello, David Bowie and of course Michael Jackson's Thriller.  

To Hell with History...
Ignoring history will not make it go away.  If one can't debate history, one will try to forget or destroy it! 

A generation ago, America’s Founding Fathers were revered.
Fast forward to today, and you'll find that they're more likely to be under attack — and not just from extreme leftists. They're coming under fire from the media, teachers, and politicians. And it’s not just the Founders, but our founding documents, institutions, and other leaders from our past.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said last month that the names of Confederate leaders must be removed from American military bases and their statues taken out of the Capitol. She acknowledged that she didn’t have the unilateral authority to remove the statues herself and that legislation or committee action may be required. In June, Pelosi did, however, order the removal of portraits of four House speakers who served in the Confederacy that were on display at the Capitol  

Listen: Podcast: How the War on History Is Rewriting America’s Past

Our colleague, Jarrett Stepman, dissects the issue in a new book called “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.” He joins the podcast to unpack this effort to erode our past is all about.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Clifford Beers.jpg
Clifford Whittingham Beers
Project Gutenberg's A Mind That Found Itself, by Clifford Whittingham Beers

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.

You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: A Mind That Found Itself An Autobiography Author: Clifford Whittingham Beers Release Date: April 8, 2004 [EBook #11962]

The Slur I Never Expected to Hear in 2020
As an Asian-American, I’ve been conditioned to a certain kind of unspoken racism. This pandemic has unmasked how vicious it really is.
Racism never disappears but adapts to new circumstances when old strains rise from the dark vaults of American history.

Why we closed schools
Mar 25, 2020 | District Superintendent, From the Desk of Gladys Cruz, Questar III BOCES

The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced schools and businesses across the country and globe to close – causing an economic and societal disruption like we’ve never seen (and hopefully will never see again) in our lifetimes. On Friday (3/27), Governor Andrew Cuomo announced all schools in New York state will remain closed for an additional two weeks, until at least April 15, to help protect the public against the spread of COVID-19.

For education leaders, closing our schools was a painful choice (as it impacted and disrupted families, learning, the distribution of meals, delivery of special education services, etc.), but it was necessary to slow the spread of this illness and save lives. Read more...

Coronavirus quarantine? Gen X was made for this. Boomers and Gen Z, not so much.
We Gen Xers will take our time in the spotlight however we can get it — and hope that means more people listen to our advice on venturing out: Just Say No.

In every crisis, there is an opportunity. Amid a global pandemic, it looks like my own Gen X has finally found ours. As the generation raised in the age of stranger danger and Just Say No, our inherent risk aversion is finally being recognized as a great strength and asset to the survival of the species.
Our independent streak was fostered by our need to fend for ourselves while our boomer parents toiled for long hours at work, making us more than comfortable with self-reliance and an afternoon spent on the couch playing video games. Now, for the first time in our lives, the question "Why can't everyone be more like Generation X?" is being uttered.


Katherine Johnson Biography

Being handpicked to be one of three black students to integrate West Virginia’s graduate schools is something that many people would consider one of their life’s most notable moments, but it’s just one of several breakthroughs that have marked Katherine Johnson’s long and remarkable life.

More stories on Katherine Johnson

How many more horror stories before state leaders fix insane bail ‘reforms’?
By Post Editorial Board January 22, 2020 | 7:45pm

Yet Gov. Andrew Cuomo won’t say how he’d fix things or push for rapid legislation. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins only supports small tweaks; Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie refuses to lift a finger.

Blame them all — and every member of the Senate and Assembly who backs them — for this insanity. Read more...

With 2020 just ahead...
Staying up-to-date on community issues is easier than ever East Greenbush and Schodack offer live streaming so that you can join the Town Board Meeting from home!

Visit your town's website.  There is simply no excuse to be uninformed

Career and Technical Education

There’s a widening skills gap between what schools are teaching and what kinds of jobs are available and needed. There’s plenty of work to be done, but too many people lack the skills to do it.

Throughout May, Questar III’s Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance program went on tour to show off the equipment and expand student interest in the program, which will begin at Rensselaer Educational Center in September 2019. The program launched at the former Durham Elementary School in 2018.

On May 3, students and CTE staff visited Averill Park CSD and on May 17, the convoy made stops at Coxsackie-Athens CSD and Taconic Hills CSD. Current students did several demonstrations with the equipment, including a skid steer, loader, and an excavator, while potential future students were able to see the equipment up close and climb into the driver seat and check it out for themselves.
CTE staff also gave a brief presentation about the program, the certifications students can earn, and the wide range of career choices available in the field. The trips served to introduce students early to CTE and hopefully get them thinking now about what they can do at their home schools to be ready to spend half their day with Questar III in 11th and 12th grade.

Vocational programs – such as those available at Questar III BOCES – carpentry and welding, cosmetology and culinary, HVAC and automotive or heavy equipment operation and maintenance and many of the other practical areas of study are available to high schools and in the vocational schools that dot our cities and suburbs.  

In the past these areas of study were sometime seen as second-rate options for people who don’t make the academic cut. This unfortunate class appointment is one of the most corrosive problems in education.  

Many focus and priorities were aimed at college readiness and success at standardized tests, and vocational programs had taken a backseat. 

The demand is massive due to industries skills gap. Job security is strong – society will always need electricians, mechanics, and other skilled tradespeople to keep things running smoothly. Companies are looking for skilled, educated employees who can get jobs done quicker, better, and with fewer mistakes.

Questar III Career and Technical Education Centers offer students a range of career education opportunities in Rensselaer, Columbia, and Greene Counties.


Cuomo’s Cold Weather Tax
His natural-gas blockade is raising costs across the Northeast.
By The Editorial BoardFeb. 4, 2019 7:17 p.m. ET

Last week’s polar vortex brought another chilling reminder about the economic damage of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s shale-drilling blockade. His energy policies are hurting upstate and leaving New York City’s suburbs out in the cold.

The Mistreatment of People With Lyme Disease Needs to End

Genevieve Goetz
The Mighty•May 18, 2018
Since it’s Lyme Disease Awareness Month, I’d like to shed light on the real difficulties and darkness that comes only with chronic Lyme disease. It’s its own specific nightmare of an invisible illness – those who have it only truly understand how hard each day really is, and why.

Gun Control Is as Old as the Old West
Contrary to the popular imagination, bearing arms on the frontier was a heavily regulated business

Street scene, Dodge City, Kansas
Although barely legible in this photo, the top sign to the right reads “Carrying of Fire Arms Strictly Prohibited” (Kansas Historical Society)

The “Old West” conjures up all sorts of imagery, but broadly, the term is used to evoke life among the crusty prospectors, threadbare gold panners, madams of brothels, and six-shooter-packing cowboys in small frontier towns – such as Tombstone, Deadwood, Dodge City, or Abilene, to name a few. One other thing these cities had in common: strict gun control laws.
Read more: 

Gratitude for those who serve
By Gregg Weinlein, Commentary
[Excerpt] Our dedicated service personnel are often pawns to the reckless strings of government puppeteers. As Americans, we have a responsibility to articulate and display our appreciation and respect for our military.They are dressed in their military uniforms. They are proud. They are respected. They are appreciated. They are why I am free today.

Civic Ignorance, The Enemy Within: Former Supreme Court Justice Souter Listen here

The Spooky Truth about Halloween

Candy and costumes, ghouls and goblins, tricks or treats. Halloween in a nutshell, right?

NOT. SO. FAST. Sure, all of these elements embody modern-day Halloween festivities, but the holiday’s roots actually date back thousands of years.

Vote...don't matters not one bit

So make sure you listen to the debates, study the candidates, read up on the issues, and make an educated decision in November because that vote for President is about as powerful as those being stuffed into boxes by election officials in Russia and Venezuela.

You are not actually voting for the President
Their names are right there on the ballot, before all the other offices up for election in your district. If you choose not to vote down party lines at the beginning you can crush that ballot with as much democracy as your pen, or pencil, or lever, or computer button will let you. It's a power that Americans have protected for centuries-- since the Founding Fathers wrote that all men (women eventually, minorities a little later) are created equal with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to choose which douchebag will jokingly represent your interests in government and protect you from Nazis or something. So right at the beginning you see the choice for President. And there are names with boxes next to them. It stands to reason that whichever one you choose is getting your vote. Bzzzz. Wrong. But thank you for playing.
They really, really hate her. On that they can agree.
A political convention like no other

Katty KayPresenter, BBC World News
I honestly don't know if it's because Mrs Clinton is a woman. It may be because she's been around as a political figure for so long or because her email server makes her look like she thinks she's above the law but the hatred of her here is vicious and visceral. This has become the "lock her up" convention. Ask individual delegates about Mrs Clinton and they get a glint in their eye - she's "evil", a "liar", "dangerous."

What are we doing to our children?
American kindergarten teachers don’t have a choice whether or not they teach reading. Under the Common Core, children should be able to “read emergent-texts with purpose and understanding” by the end of kindergarten. Ultimately, they’re expected to, at the very least, 
be able to decode basic texts without the support of a teacher. Read more...
First Grade Math in NY

B.B. King saved the blues.  Writer Yahoo Music One note. 
B.B. King possessed what every musician desires: a signature sound. One guitar note, one word from his mouth and you instantly knew it was B.B. King. He made his Gibson guitar sing. He made the world swing. But B.B. King matters for one reason beyond his musical prowess. B.B. King saved the blues. The music icon died in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. Thursday, the Associated Press reports. He was 89.

Today I gave my first presentation on our streamlined records management program. The plan was well received and feedback was positive...explaining the value of uniformity was met with agreement and consensus.
Many points of view, as well as past practices had been taken into consideration during preparation, so I was able to answer questions and quell concerns about misunderstandings with regard to compliance. The state retention schedule, while inclusive and purposefully broad, leaves the specificity up to the agencies insofar as self-determining its precise meaning. The interpretation of the retention schedule as it pertains to our records, made the Agency Specific document, more palatable. As we continue to hone strategies an implement changes, the support for the general idea of moving forward together, is very encouraging.

Advertise with the Schodack SCENE

 Everywhere you look, people are jumping on the bicycle bandwagon. It's no surprise, given the thousands of miles of new bicycle lanes in cities across the United States and the environmental benefits. But riding a bike is good for more than saving the planet and your hard-earned cash. It's also one of the most effective workouts you'll ever do. Here's how it can make you a lean, fat-burning machine. More from Women's Health: Fastlane to the Body of Your Dreams Get a Bangin' Body You Deserve!

Schodack: Open for Business?  Just not there, or there.
What are we looking for? 
Written by Catherine Sager
January 26, 2012
The Dollar Tree has raised debate on both sides of the issue. However; it may be a moot point. I think as soon as an attorney was hired, DT decided Schodack wasn't worth it. 
Perhaps they'll be more welcomed in MA or CT. From what I understand, taxes currently being paid on the undeveloped land in question is less than $2,000 per year and even with the FOIL benefits, DT would have paid at least ten times that.  Jobs probably don't mean much to those who have one, but even a relatively low paying job, with no degree required and a possibility of advancement - with benefits - would be a better choice than welfare in my opinion. I have to ask, what kind of business do we want in Schodack? Restaurants would bring traffic and delivery trucks and rodents like any business. What type of commercial business wouldn't be shunned?

Paul made a detour from the presidential campaign trail to Capitol Hill on Wednesday in order to cast a vote to protest raising the debt limit.
"We are in denial here in Congress," Paul said on the House floor. "If we had the vaguest idea of how serious this crisis is financially, not only for us but for the world, we would cut spending."
What Paul did not do was attend a closed-door gathering of House Republicans. In fact, the GOP presidential contender is known to never attend these meetings.
"You've got to admire an individual who, despite the currents of the time -- polling data -- says what he believes in and sticks to it. Ron Paul does that," said Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, who has served with Paul for years.
"The public understands we have too many Monty Halls and Bob Barkers wanting to make a deal or 'the price is right' in Washington, D.C., and they're yearning for leadership -- people who take a position and stick to it," Brooks said.
Rep. Kevin Brady, Paul's fellow Texan, said he disagrees with Paul on many issues but isn't surprised about his success in these tough economic times.
"He's been so consistent over the years. He feels very strongly about limited government, about personal responsibility and individual freedoms, and staying consistent has drawn a good, solid base for him in this presidential campaign," Brady said.

Slow and Steady 
Written by Catherine Sager
The above article (click the link) shows that even the young voters of our nation are tired of the old tricks - the flippy-floppy politics and career politicians running our country into bankruptcy. I'm no politico, but the fact that his message has nothing to do with poll numbers, and the fact that he's been re-elected in his district over-and-over, speaks to the man's true character. Here's hoping that slow and steady really does win the race!
Only Time Will Tell
Written by Catherine Sager
With the controversy over the Dollar Tree Distribution Center, I've been trying to keep up with my own conflicting notions on the construction project.
Knowing full well that Schodack is a "drive-through" community for anyone who doesn't live here, I'm struck by the idea that whenever a new business wishes to join us they are met with opposition.  
We didn't want a truck terminal - we got Pilot. Gravel pit - no way - instead we got a scarred piece of land and a perpetual For Sale sign as a people enter town. We didn't want Cabella's (that one is a mystery to me) and they moved on.
The Dollar Tree plans a huge warehouse just off Route 150, will increase truck traffic for a 1/4 mile stretch off of the exit and, much to the dismay of residents in the immediate area, will run a 24 hour center with large trucks and lighting that will certainly produce an ambient glow to be seen all night.
Opponents of the Liberty Project have touched on a number of questions and feel that those have not been satisfactorily addressed: Will the aquifer be protected? Will the Moordener Kill suffer from run off? Will local laws be obeyed? Will property values plummet?
Due to Town ordinances, lighting guidelines and tractor trailer idle time should be followed by companies doing business in Schodack, however, some residents are worried that there is no true enforcement of these town laws.  
The Town Board, many of whom are residents are in communication with the Planning Board and the Zoning Board. They say that concerns from emails are communicated verbally as well as through email forwards.
At the Town Board meeting last night a number of residents reminded the board members that they were elected to their seats and should be mindful of that. Our elected officials want what they feel is best for the town.  That is why we elected them in the first place.
Tax relief and the promise of 120- 150 jobs can not be ignored, however and turning away another viable company in exchange for the rural feel we came here to enjoy may seem short sighted.  
If progress is what we need  to grow a commercial tax base, like other municipalities, what are we to do?  The dilemma begs the question: What do you want? Residents need to decide what - if any- businesses would be welcomed here. With abundant land available right off of I-90 and the Thruway, Schodack has what every major company seems to want - access to the wider world. 
The Business Review says Schodack is now Dollar Tree's top choice for its distribution center.  Will we be sorry if they come?  Will we be sorry if they don't? Only Time will tell.
November 25,2010 At the farmhouse on the hill, where my husband's grandparents lived for so long, I stopped for a minute while dinner was being put on the large dining table, dishes being passed around people asking for rolls, gravy and cranberry, and I just listened. David's family was passing dishes, pouring wine, laughing. The kids were seated in what used to be the parlor - where David's Uncle Stanley used to listen to the radio - waiting for their plates. Carrying on a similarly animated conversation. Maybe for the first time, in the 25 years I've been married, the multiple conversations happening at once made me feel at home. That's how it is with my own family. This year, each of them sharing a dinner somewhere else. Their own homes with their own children, in-laws, and traditions. I wondered if any of them were listening. If any of them were remembering our Thanksgivings. The bowl of fancy nuts, Daddy at the stove tending the pots of various vegetable, to go into the split, white serving bowls, one side for carrots the other side for corn, another with sweet pickles and olives, or opening a can of jellied cranberry sauce with the grinding sound of the electric can opener, while Mommy rounded up the six of us, all starving after having smelled the feast cooking all morning.  As we took our seats and Daddy brought the bird to the table, the conversation grew. My family is, loud. We tend to speak over one another jumping from one snatch of a conversation to another. Listening around each other, with voices rising to a din that, to outsiders seems rude and noisy and impossible to follow. I have little recollection of what we talked about, but it was always loud, it was always the same; comfortable. We're used to it and for just a minute, I remembered the feeling of the warmth and familiarity that comes with the jumble of many people gathered around a table together at Thanksgiving, everyone talking, everyone happy to be healthy and together. I miss my parents at times like this.


It's as easy as 1.2.3.
How to Get Started So now that you’re sold on the idea, here are some tips for planning your own raised beds:
1. Choose a sunny, fairly level site.
2. Choose your construction material.
3. Determine your bed size.

March 2015
Counting chickens..
Mommy always told me "don't count your chickens before they hatch." That's sound advice. In anticipation of something wonderful, it's hard not to hope for the best. The feeling that, finally, your hard work is about to pay off, the stars align, your talent is noticed...finally!
One contract away from a dream come true. Your very dreams hinging on one signature.
A little melodramatic, that's true, but just when all your ducks are in a row those damn chickens are begging to be counted.
It certainly won't be the end of the world, but second guessing won't help now.  Did I ask too much? Is my experience that valuable?
After meeting with a group of like-minded women, I was told I am worth it.
I'm hoping they're right.
November 25, 2014

I will not be roped into the mayhem of the riots in Fergeson! The press have been hoping for riots and looting for weeks.

I think it would have been far wiser for everyone in Ferguson to stay inside. If the 'community' WANTS to destroy itself, wished to destroy themselves, who are we to stop them?

There was never going to be peaceful protests. Who are they kidding?

This is a no-win situation, for the police, for the grieving family, for the journalist hoping for the cover of TIME Magazine, for the law abiding citizenry and for the hateful, shameful voyeurs who were just waiting for the inevitable violence that has been invited and even encouraged, to erupt... It's a disgusting, testimonial to society.
And now...for your viewing pleasure...behold!
Vocational Skills: What Happens When the Boomers Retire?
Vocational skills – skilled trades are in demand as boomers retire.
The baby boomer generation is known for their hard work and industriousness. The problem is, as they grow older, younger generations aren’t following in their career footsteps.
As baby boomers begin to cash in their retirement, who will be there to fill in the gaps for labor or vocational skills. What happens when boomers retire and younger generations don’t want to get their hands dirty?
You sound stupid! No offense.
Recently I read a LinkedIn profile and realized it had not been written well. The information was there, but not clearly stating the company's message.
The extent of the introduction for this newly established company consists of one run-on sentence, without the benefit of any punctuation.

How do I, tactfully, let someone know that I can help? Not because I think I'm smarter, (it's sometimes offensive to correct someone who is "smarter" or more highly educated than you are - I painfully learned this lesson) but simply because I'm a reader, a writer, reporter, and an editor. I notice things that others sometimes don't. I see typos, I hear typos. I read aloud while proofreading. I check and double check, and even then - if it's really important - I ask someone  else to take a look. A business profile is really important.

Your LinkedIn profile or a company's Face Book page lets everyone know, not only about your company, but about you.  A poorly written profile is not a wonderful way to introduce yourself or your company to the world. First impressions and whatnot.

If someone hits your page and doesn't immediately know what you're trying to say, sell or offer, they will most likely shake their head and move's so easy to click that mouse.

The result, as I'm sure you've surmised, may be the loss of a customer, a contact a colleague and possibly, your credibility.

When reading a sentence, a poem, an ad or even a joke, if it has to be read more than once, it loses its punch (or its punch line).  

Think ads like "Got Milk?" or "Good to the last drop!" You know immediately what they mean. You need some milk or your coffee is good, really good.

If the message is unclear, it can be confusing, (my personal favorite from an elementary text book) "A book about dogs at the library," it leaves a reader (or possible customer) wondering. Was it a book at the library about dogs? Or were the dogs at the library?

The bottom line is - if it's easy to understand, it appeals to more people. Even a punch line.

Q: Who earns a living driving their customers away?

A: A taxi driver.

Don't be a taxi driver if you don't drive a taxi!

Get it? Of course you do! You're not stupid.

Oh how I miss the lazy days of summer. It's been a tough year (or two) and I feel like I've been working all the time - or so wasted and spent by the end of the week that I've lost my desire to do anything. But thanks to my dear friends, Joe and Lisa, I finally made it to the Park Playhouse...twice. Hands on a Hardbody was an interesting production. The "human drama" was played very well by the actors, but the story and the random coming and going of the characters made it a little hard to follow. Why did the soldier leave? And what made him come back? I didn't get that part.  Oliver is always a joy and the songs performed by the student actors were strong and memorable. Kudos!  However, I was so tired I could only make it through the first half, buy my Playhouse T-shirt and call it a night. (Lisa and I decided we're getting old.) No matter what is playing, the Park Playhouse is a summer tradition I'm happy I didn't miss. ******************************
Military Commanders Share Growing Concern Over Being ‘Tweeted Into Combat’ Over Nigerian Captives Members of the Special Operations Forces have been watching the #BringBackOurGirls campaign with growing concern, worried that the movement will pressure and guilt US Armed Forces into taking action. The hostages have likely been separated, making their return even more difficult. The public would have to be prepared for the deaths of some, or all, of the girls in retaliation for a raid – something the worldwide public wouldn't accept too easily. ********************************

Granite now has about $40,000 in outstanding lunch fees, which is absorbed into the price of lunches, said district spokesman Ben Horsley.
The district usually continues to provide full lunches to students who have fallen behind in payments while it reaches out to parents with automatic electronic notices, then phone calls.
In the rare cases when parents simply don’t respond, schools still feed the student, typically with milk, fruit and leftovers.
"We would never want to confront a student," Horsley said. "Students are not responsible for their school lunch payments. Their parents are."
The Jordan School District ended last year with $3,436 in unpaid meals, said nutrition director Jana Cruz, "We really don’t have a problem collecting money from parents," she said. "But Salt Lake is a lower-income district than we are."
Jordan also funds lunch clerks whose sole responsibility is monitoring student accounts, Cruz said.
Trans Syberian Orchesta 
The best present right? Guess again! Too loud, too bright - too many stairs! "It was ok..." That's right TSO was OK! I really need to just stop trying so hard! Honestly, I can write a check! It's impersonal, some might argue thoughtless, but if it works for everyone else, who am I to try so hard to make Christmas "special" tormenting myself so that I can be the one who gave the best, most thoughtful present, getting for my efforts, the heartfelt "thank you" and "it's perfect." That's all I ever want. Christmas spirit my eye! Whatever!

The Best Christmas Ever When my kids were small, maybe Matty was 7 and Erica was 9, they "shopped" at the CES Christmas Boutique during school. It was a nice way for kids to pick out that special something with the few dollars they had been given for chores or for birthdays.
Christmas morning as David and I were sitting down with our first cup of coffee, the kids ran out of their bedrooms - dressed in the new pajamas Santa had left at the foot of their beds - and excitedly ran to the tree. We assumed they were eager to start ripping open their gifts, but instead, each of them brought out a gift for each of us.
"Open yours first," Matty said and handed me a small box he'd wrapped himself. "You too Papa," Erica said and handed David a long skinny present, with a ribbon and tape holding the end together.
Before we even opened them, I was overjoyed at the way they stood there, piles of presents untouched, waiting to see if we liked what they had picked out especially for us. I'll never forget how they ignored the gifts left by Santa because what they wanted most was to give us our gifts first. David went first and ripped open his gift. A corncob back scratcher from Erica. "Now you can scratch that spot yourself." "This is great," he said, and immediately put it to use. For the briefest of moments, I studied their faces, drinking in the look of their expectation, the anticipation so exciting and filled with love so pure. I opened my little box and found a pair of earrings. "Gold" with a little pearl in the middle. "I love them, Matthew," I said. And it was true! 
"I knew you would," he told me. "I thought they were perfect. I had to get them even though they were really expensive. They cost four dollars!" I don't remember much more about the gifts under the tree. The look on their faces and the joy they got from giving made that the most memorable Christmas ever. David used that corncob on a stick until it broke. My Christmas earrings are still in my jewelry box. I wear them every year, and I still love them!
Quote of the Day - perfect for the season
Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.  - W. Somerset Maugham

December 4, 2010

My blog seems to have veered somewhat. I was very excited to get so many hits, hoping they would equate to a modest income source; affording me options... After talking with Matty, he asked what happened to the news..."I thought you loved covering the news." It's true, I've strayed a bit. I love offering great deals at The F Word and we all know how popular the Police Blotter is, and What To Do seems to be pretty popular, so they all stay. That is all part of sharing information with the community. However, I've started re-evaluating my site with fresh eyes, thanks to Matty, and I'm re-focused and eager to bring some more relevant information. 

I think that the holiday season has distracted be from my original intent. So, although I am freelancing for two papers, I plan to get back to the initial design of the SCENE - local news! The Google Ads and search bars will stay and the links to online deals too. Amazon is a popular search bar and everyone is invited to stop by the SCENE and access Amazon deals from here! Please sign up to follow or subscribe for email notices and RSS feeds! Leave comments and suggestions or "scoops" you'd like me to follow up with! Keep reading!

Labels miss realities of classrooms
By Gregg Weinlein, Commentary Published 6:21 pm, Monday, September 23, 2013
Scott Waldman's informative and sensitive piece about a teacher referred to as "Jen" ("Developing" label disheartens teacher," Sept. 13) made me think about my career teaching educationally and socially disadvantaged teenagers. Jen was classified with the work-in-progress, "developing" label under the new data-driven teacher evaluation system incapable of inputting significant, positive contributions a teacher can make to the "whole" child. Teachers like Jen, who are willing to work with at-risk students, are thus evaluated with the odds stacked against them.
Lucky for me, I retired in 2010, before the insipid madness of the cookie-cutter approach to education began to filter into our schools. My 36-year career in education was dedicated to working exclusively with at-risk students in alternative programs. One alternative program, which I created for a suburban school and for which I also served as director, succeeded because stakeholders were concerned about the "whole" child and not merely a score on a state assessment.
Unfortunately, the worth of a teacher today in such programs is measured by an evaluation tool designed by data-obsessed bureaucrats far removed from the realities of the classroom.
In the future, what teacher will take the career risk to work with challenged students? Why would a teacher chance working with the academically reluctant when their evaluation depends primarily on the cold data of test scores and not the significant personal and social improvements made in students' lives? What teacher would chance having to list themselves as "developing" on a resume or a future job application?
Sadness sneaked into my room
Catherine Sager
Sadness slipped into my room, uninvited.
No sad song, no bad news,
Just a life with daily doing, 
Quietly she sits there viewing
All the things I've ever wanted
Just beyond my reach.
Sadness crept into my room, uninvited.
Darkest eyes, a lonely stare,
Sorrow hanging in her hair
Whispers low a quiet song
Of loneliness and wanting.
Missed my chances yet once more,
Settled for my daily chore.
She knows I know there must be more,
There must be more.
There must be more worth living for.

Working for a living
Catherine Sager
You get up every morning from the alarm clock warning...start your slaving job to get your pay...
I know I'm lucky to have a job in this economy.  I work every day and try to do my best.  I'm still learning the ropes, but it's getting easier with time.  However, I have to think that in my long list of employment in many different areas of professional life, I try to remember when I was happiest; writer, photographer, part-time and working in a school part-time. A slice of near professional perfection.
Newspaper work was different every day, exciting and engrossing ways to feed my curiosity.
Working with children and looking forward to work is a far cry from the lonely position I currently hold.  
I keep thinking that I don't really belong here. I feel stifled in my creativity.  In fact, this is the first creative writing I've done in months. I miss the smiles and the daily hugs I was afforded, I miss the sound of laughter, I miss the feeling I had in having completed a task well. I miss being the "go to guy."
Still, I get a paycheck and I'm grateful to have enough to pay my bills and tame the worry  of complete financial ruin.
Still, disappointment and regret sting.  
Looking back, I can see with clarity, that decisions I made brought me here and there is no doubt that I should be grateful...but still I wish I could be happy again.

Social Media and Our Children
Catherine Sager
Clearly, when it comes to social media, a little guidance goes a long way. I found this article on The Blog on HUFF Post. It brought me back. 
When my kids were young - not that long ago, when the email and chat rooms were still new, before everyone had a cell phone that literally put the world in the palm of your hand, I remember being afraid that there were monsters reading their chats and stalking them with only bad intentions. I talked to them about full access - I get it or you don't - and visited their history often. I asked to whom they were communicating and checked their email, and stood over their shoulders as they chatted on AOL IM (remember that?).
I was a bother, a nosy nuisance, a worry wart, an overbearing parent. I didn't respect their privacy. That's right!
Bottom line - I was terrified. Afraid to let my guard down, afraid of the stories of kids who fall prey to the online predators. Afraid to look away for just a second, that one second, that devastating second during which everything changes. Forever.
Always though, explaining that I trusted THEM and their judgement but  that it was everyone else who frightened me. Trying to lay a foundation so that when I let go a little, they would still know that I'm watching, and caring about their safety. The same fear hit me every time they got behind the wheel. I know they can drive, I know they buckle up, I know they know that I'll always pick them up anywhere, anytime they don't feel safe. I know they've heard me say ALWAYS yield the right of way. 
I know, they are smart and neither careless nor foolish, but still - all those other people...
Turn the Page
This year, closer than ever to my golden years - hard to believe. It's about time I started thinking like a grown up.
I ran into a friend from high school who reminded me that we were very good friends 30 years ago. THIRTY years!
We spent New Year's Eve with friends at a low key party filled with good food, laughter and a bon fire.  It was a great time, kisses at the stroke of midnight and welcome 2013. It made me think about my choices.
Having been pretty lucky. I have never wanted to (or been forced to) take a 9 to 5 job that I hated.  I gave that up for the opportunity to actually raise my own children (with a little help) but I was always there, always available...always. Looking back, there were jobs I left that I probably shouldn't have, had I been forward thinking and responsible. Bottom line; thirty years after high school graduation  it's time to grow up.   I think I'm ready...I think.
Robo calls and campaign flyers
I'm sure that I'm not alone in this, but my mailbox has been so full of glossy flyers and campaign attacks I have had to empty my recycling bin three times. I don't know who pays for these flyers, but really, if I haven't yet decided for whom I will cast my vote, those flyers mean nothing.  
Do you read them? Do you take as truth what is printed by one candidate and then change your mind when you read the opponent's flyer that says the exact opposite?
I'm tired.
Study Hard
Or not...
Atlanta Cheating Scandal Leads To 3 Dozen Indicted. Our Educational leaders.
Click here for your diploma
Real learning, or online scam? Technology should be used to teach students, not to click a diploma 
By Gregg Weinlein Updated 11:20 a.m., Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scott Waldman's informative and disturbing expose on credit recovery programs and rising high school graduation rates ("Anxiety rises with grades," July 15) certainly gives State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. a direction to investigate his own acknowledgement that high school graduates today are ill prepared "to take on the rigors of college or a career" ("Give students tools for the future," May 8). If the commissioner truly wants high school graduates better prepared for their futures, he would best look into the deceptive manner in which some schools are using credit recovery programs to boost their graduation rates. As technology becomes the foundation for 21st-century education, the manipulation of Internet programs by some school leaders may impede the very progress sought by the commissioner. Recent double-digit increases in graduation rates are not the result of renewed academic focus by students, or rigorous learning opportunities provided by schools, but rather the result of online classes in credit recovery programs. In Waldman's article, East Greenbush Superintendent Angela Nagle asserted credit recovery is used "sparingly." Yet, this very article suggests nearly 10 percent of the graduating class was involved in credit recovery. Is that "sparingly?" Read more... 
Is nothing safe?
Catherine Sager
When did it happen that a night out - anywhere - begins with the question  "is it safe?"
A full supporter of the right to bear arms, I have never been able to grasp the concept that anyone, anywhere needs a semiautomatic assault rifle to fight off a burglar or harvest game during hunting season. It's one of those inventions that makes me shake my head and want to cry for the progress we've made as a species.  
Everything the murderer purchased on July 2 is commercially available online, conveniently available for home delivery.
What happened to this "budding scientist brimming with potential" as he's been described, to turn him into a wanton murderer? Is the lure of infamy so attractive for someone described as loner who said little and was easily forgotten?  Once described as nerdy and book smart he will now be remembered as cold-blooded and callous, sick and deranged.
Blaming societal influences may be an easy way to put this tragedy into some kind of categorical box, where bad behavior is not only recognized but celebrated on television and in the movies.  
Meanwhile the Colorado victims' names, in what has disturbingly become the norm, get second billing to the that of a murderer who wanted to be noticed.
And here, again, the issue of gun control will be front and center.  As I've stated, I am a firm believer that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that weapon for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. 
The Second Amendment is not a license to kill and gun control is not the answer to gun violence. Violence is violence - and here in the United States of America, over 14,000 people were murdered in 2010 according the the Census Bureau.  That's more than the population of our town! There's no stopping crazed individuals set on murder...but why make it so easy? Assault rifles should never be sold anywhere. All in favor of a world-wide ban, say aye!
Tragically  it's too late for the latest batch of innocent victims, but maybe going to the movies shouldn't have to be an exercise is risk management.
Summer fun - summer safety
Catherine Sager
Just for the record, I am not a proponent of corporal punishment as a parenting tool. However, if you ask my 23 year old daughter, she will tell you she was spanked three times in her life, each for a serious safety breach or what we called a "spanking offense."

When my children were toddlers and they didn't understand how danger was quick, unforgiving and irrevocable. How could they? As parents, it's difficult to explain such things and even though I was always the kind of mom who wanted to explain things (the importance of brushing one's teeth, what makes leaves turn colors or daylight savings time) when a toddler acts in a way that potentially dangerous, even deadly, a quick, immediate response is the best, most practical and long remembered solution.

It was reassuring to hear that they remember, that 1) running into the road, 2) stepping foot on the pool patio or 3) walking away from me in the store are the only times I spanked my daughter. 
Raised eyebrows when I abandoned by purse, keys and the woman behind the counter, grabbed her arm at the customer service counter at JC Penney, spanked her - and dropped to my knees, held her by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes and said "you can't run away from mommy in the store!" 
She was just out of diapers then and she said that it hurt, and I said it was supposed to hurt. The eyebrows raised even more and I didn't care one bit. Having my child snatched was a fear that overwhelmed me.  My daughter was born the year that Adam Walsh was taken, sexually assaulted and beheaded. The idea of it would strike panic into my heart if, for one second, I couldn't see my children...literally chased around a store and out door even though I knew she was safe, in my mother's arms... but I couldn't see her and I panicked.

Losing a child for any reason, is an unnatural heartache that I truly didn't think I could handle. I'm not that strong. 

Both of my children broke the no patio rule. Each was spanked according to the rules. No regrets.

It was heartening to me when on more than one occasion, my children would see another child being careless or doing something dangerous and point it out. 
I don't want to make it sound like my children didn't take risks. I encouraged them to climb higher, get dirty, see what happens. But dirt, scrapes and cavities are not life changers
I'm ok with that.

My daughter even told me, after she completed her psychology class, that carrying through with the spanking offense, immediately with a simple explanation of what she had done and why it warranted a spank followed always with a hug and and affirmation of love, was the one thing I did right.
At least there was one thing! 

Red Cross water safety


The Semantics of Mean
By Gregg Weinlein Premium article access courtesy of
The volume on the subject of bullying has grown even louder in recent weeks with the conviction of Dharun Ravi in a hate crime against his college roommate, Tyler Clementi, and the release of two documentaries on the subject: “Speak Up” and the forthcoming “Bully.” While parents, legislators, and even student advocates continue to articulate the seriousness of bullying and the toll this activity takes on children and teens, the use of electronic devices and the Internet to telegraph information, as evidenced, in fact, by Ravi’s conviction, now firmly frames cyberbullying in a criminal context. I believe this is a step in the right direction. Too often, teens flip off the word “bully” as childish, knowing that assailants today are much more vicious than the playground bullies of the previous century. Teenagers today must fend off the silent assassins of the digital age, who operate with phones and tablets and plant emotional land mines in social-networking sites. The harassment and text assaults perpetrated by some teenagers should have a criminal connotation if we are to see a shift in how older students perceive and understand this abusive behavior. Several years ago, a musician friend of mine was visiting from Ireland. Knowing his fondness for a good pint, I took him to a popular downtown American-Irish pub. During the evening, I asked my friend for the meaning of a line in a Van Morrison song, “the craic is good.” He told me that the word is pronounced “crack” and that the expression simply means “a good time.” I knew the pub we were at was frequented by members of the police force, so I warned him, “Whatever you do, don’t go walking around this place saying, ‘the crack is good.’ ” I imagined myself getting money together to bail my friend out of the county jail. Craic in Dublin may mean a good time, but crack in America has a completely different connotation. “Too often, teens flip off the word ‘bully’ as childish, knowing that assailants today are much more vicious than the playground bullies of the previous century.” I often told this story during my years teaching a life-skills class in a program for at-risk teenagers. The story became a humorous introduction to topics of mutual respect, self-worth, and the potency of words. The point I made to my students was that language has the power to depict, to inform, to manipulate, to confuse, and to hurt. Eventually, our discussions of language would lead us down the road to bullying. My teenage students discussed incidents in which gestures, verbal expressions, or text messages were used to hurt someone, but never once did they describe it as “bullying,” nor did they see themselves as engaged in “bullying.” Instead they talked about hurtful behavior within the context of the drama in their lives. I was the ignorant sponge soaking up every toxic explanation, trying to understand the boundaries of drama, trying to distinguish what my students perceived was hurtful from what were merely superficial interactions common to teenagers. Conversely, elementary school children have no problem identifying the bully, or the bullied. They know the victim. They know the oppressor. They know and trust the authority figures who have the power to stop the behavior. Unfortunately, in the complex world of adolescence, where high school cliques own the hallways and silent assassins take aim, “bullying” has been jettisoned from teenage culture to the world of young children. The intensity and pain felt by victimized teenagers transcend their ideas of childish bullying. Compound the pain of teen victims with their belief that adults do not understand their cries for help, and suddenly the most important element of intervention is lost: trust. In the course of this discussion with my students, I soon realized that regardless of the definition, there is always a red flag for a victim. I learned that somewhere in these complaints about the drama in their lives, more often than not someone was being hurt, someone was a victim. But it takes time and sensitivity to carve off the leather skin of denial. Sure some incidents labeled as drama were typical teenage growing pains. But I still listened. Why take a chance? If you do not seek out the red flag when it counts, you could miss the warning signs, and intervention could come too late. If teens are reluctant to address the issue of bullying, perhaps the resistance may simply be a matter of semantics. And given this reality, the semantics of “mean” would best be served by a criminal connotation. Adults must help contain the destruction caused by the silent assassins of the digital age. Future discussions of this topic must expand the boundaries of bullying into the world of criminality and insist that the conversation of victimization from digital devices remain in the forefront of both school and public policy. Gregg Weinlein retired from Columbia High School in East Greenbush, N.Y., after a 36-year career in education. He can be reached at


It's looks so easy...and really people have been growing their own food forever. I think I should be able to make a little garden in my yard, even if it's just a few heads of cabbage (very hearty they say) or some cukes. I did plant radishes one year, but the crop was not thinned out as it started to sprout. The radishes did grow, the were skinny as toothpicks! Lesson learned. Next time I will pull out half of the sprouts and allow the radishes to spread out and get fat and round.

What to Plant in April: Newsletter

Yes, Yes, Yes! April is finally here and your garden soil is finally warming up! April is the best time to plant most of your vegetable seeds after your last frost. It's still not too late to plant tomatoes and peppers from seeds as well. Check out the below vegetables that can be started in April. Be sure to check your gardening zone for last frost dates. Try a Salsa Garden this spring Beans: Start planting both bush and pole beans now that the soil and air are warmed up. Try a continual 7-10 day sowing of different varieties. This will give you continual bean crops and not one large harvest with wasted crop. Suggested variety: Contender, Kentucky Wonder, Topcrop Beets: Sow beets now for a fast, early summer treat. Suggested Varieties: Detroit Dark Red Cabbage Cabbage is one of the easier plants to grow in the garden. Select a variety that is right for your location (size and maturity length). Be sure to fertilize and water when cabbage head begins to form. Suggested variety: Premium Late Flat Dutch, Golden Acre, Michihili Carrots Planting carrots by April will give an early summer crop. Suggested variety: Little Finger, Scarlet Nantes Corn One of the most rewarding and fast growing crops to grow. Corn is delicious when cooked only minutes after being pulled off the stalk. Try a small plot of corn, working your way to a large field of several varieties. Suggested variety: Peaches and Cream, Incredible, Sugar Buns Cucumbers Fast growing vine or bush cucumber plants can produce an abundance of cucumber fruits. Be careful to pick a variety for the space you have in your garden. Vine cucumbers can be the best tasting but need far more space than bush varieties. Suggest variety: Spacemaster 80, Muncher, Marketmore 76 Herbs: Plant heat loving herbs like basil, oregano, thyme and sage. Suggested varieties: Italian Basil, Greek Oregano, Dill Lettuce Start a crop of salad mix greens that gets bright sun but not all day. Great for late summer and early fall crops. Suggested Varieties: Buttercrunch, Mesclun Mix, Black Seeded Simpson Melons Melons are some of the most rewarding plants to grow. Great for hot, long summers. A staple for summer picnics and family fun. Suggested variety: Sugar Baby, Crimson Sweet, Hales Best Onions Get those onion seeds growing. Be careful to select an onion variety appropriate for your garden zone. Northern areas should plant long day onions. Southern regions should plant short day onions. Suggest variety: Sweet White Walla, Red Creol, Yellow Spanish Peas Green peas and sugar peas are good to plant in April, and will produce a May crop. Suggested variety: Sugar Ann, Oregon Giant Peppers Fresh, crisp peppers are a garden favorite. Peppers take up little space and can produce high yields when planted close together. Plant as many different varieties as possible. They come small, big, hot, mild, and an array of different colors. Suggested variety: California Wonder, Early Jalapeno, Sweet Banana, Super Chili Summer Squash Yum! Summer squash sowing in June will lead to fresh squash and zucchini in July and August. Suggested Varieties: Cocozelle, Waltham Butternut Tomatoes The most popular garden vegetable. Growing tomatoes is not only fun but treats you to some of the best tasting fruits in the world. Tomatoes come in many colors, shapes, taste, and sizes. Grow a few varieties every year to find your favorites! Suggested variety: Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Roma, Sweetie,
Heirloom Blend Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.


7 Reasons to Start Bike Riding By Christine Mattheis 


  1. The issue is not about Schodack residents fighting business expansion in the area. The issue is about John Smith waking up one morning with a cup of coffee, raising the blinds and coming face to face with a mammoth, noisy structure right in his very own backyard. It would be hard to ignore a 1 million square-foot elephant - only 141 feet away from his house - operating 24/7, 365 days a year, bringing in 165 trucks daily, tandem and otherwise, not to mention noise and polution. Would you want this warehouse in your backyard? Schodack residents have legitimate concerns.

  2. Anonymous,
    I don't disagree with the residents who are against the DT warehouse where it was proposed, but as my husband and I searched for the right home in Schodack, nearly 20 years ago, we did take into consideration the possibility of surrounding properties and the chance of future growth potential. We agreed that we didn't wish to live in an area with undeveloped land nearby that might be attractive to a 24 hour gas station, fast food restaurant or a warehouse.
    Like many of our neighbors, we love Schodack with all of its warts. We settled on this community as the best place to raise our children and don't regret our decision. Even now that our mortgage is under water and myself being middle aged and for the first time, since I started working at 11 years old, having to swallow my pride and apply for unemployment benefits.
    I think it's a moot point now since DT has "postponed" further discussion in search of a community that would welcome the benefits new business could spur.

  3. The Richwood Dr/Julianne Dr area is a good place to live. Did you know that the entire neighborhood is within 1,000 or so feet of I-90 and Rts 9 & 20? There is almost constant noise from these 2 major roads everywhere in the area. You become accostomed to it. This is not to say that increased noise issues shouldn't be addressed, but this distribution center would be good for the town.

  4. It's disturbing to me that so many people have expressed a desire for some sort of relief on their tax bills, but yet 80 or so residents can band together and destroy any hope of economic growth and progress in our community. I have three grown children, all homeowners, who had no choice but to purchase homes outside of Schodack. Do you think any business will approach our Town again? The town residents in favor of commercial development need to be ready to express interest in future projects, if there are any. It's time to take charge.

  5. Just read your poem "Sadness Sneaked into My Room." Oh how I can relate. I think so many people can. It was beautiful. I thought you should know.


Join the conversation.