name is Art Ames and I am the general manager of the Berkshire
Co-op Market in Great Barrington. I simply wanted to take
a moment to compliment you on your article titled “Reap What
Your Neighbors Have Sown” [June 17]. Although I’ve read many
pieces regarding the importance of local and sustainable agriculture,
very few pieces have hit on the various elements that need
to be part of this discussion.
As a co-op, we do our best to educate our customers and members
when it comes to the true cost of goods. In our case, 99 percent
of our produce is organic during the local off-season, and
90 percent of our produce is organic during the local growing
season. We do give priority to local growers who are certified
organic, but feel that it is as important to have local abundance
for those crops that cannot be found organic. We’ve been fortunate.
After we relocated to a larger space in October, we’ve had
the room and the increased business to be far more active
with local producers in every department. Even more rewarding,
due to consumer education, this is what our customers want!
Articles like yours are needed on a regular basis. By increasing
public awareness at all levels, we can continue to realize
that individuals can truly make a positive difference by simply
being conscious consumers. With an increase in public awareness
and participation, hopefully the mainstream grocery stores
will begin to realize that supporting [the] local economy
is simply good business, aside from being the right thing
Great Barrington, Mass.
read with interest the story written by Amelia Koethen [“Call
Off Your Dogs,” Newsfront, June 16]. It cleared up my confusion
about the failure of the New York State Department of Agriculture
and Markets to actively pursue my complaint about a pet dealer
in Cayuga County. I wish I had known sooner.
I bought a miniature schnauzer puppy in February 2002 from
a breeder in Jordan, N.Y. I researched breeders on the Internet
and found her on the American Miniature Schnauzer Club’s list
of “Responsible Breeders.” I said that I would come to pick
up the dog, but she said I couldn’t. She would meet me at
the Herkimer exit of the Thruway and we would exchange cash
for the puppy. She didn’t provide any of the documents the
AMSC said she would. I did not receive documents about health,
pedigree or AKC registration materials. Failure to supply
papers or to meet the parents are both indications of a possible
In January 2004, I filed two complaints with the state. The
first was to the attorney general under the pet lemon law
statute. I also encouraged all the other people I knew had
dogs from this breeder to file complaints as well. I am very
impressed with the efforts of the attorney general’s Consumer
Frauds Bureau. Our complaints are on the way to resolution.
The second complaint went to Agriculture and Markets. It was
clear to me that the breeder was required to have a pet dealer
license, which she did not. Under the law, the license would
have triggered an inspection by the department. I filed my
complaint about the lack of license and poor care. I have
confirmed that mine was not the first complaint the department
received and ignored. To the best of my information, Agriculture
and Markets has not taken any action to investigate the care
of these poor dogs.
With summer coming on, I began to fear for the safety of the
dogs in the heat. After waiting five months for the department
to enforce its law, I contacted the Central New York SPCA,
which referred the case to Finger Lakes SPCA. These two fine
organizations with very small budgets, especially when compared
with the state of New York, went to the property on June 23
and took custody of 71 dogs, 6 of them pregnant, living in
Failure to enforce and fund the pet dealer inspection law
is just another example of shifting the costs to the localities.
Please contact the governor and your representatives in the
Senate and the Assembly and tell them to assure the full funding
and implementation of this program critical to those who cannot
much appreciate Miriam Axel-Lute’s coverage of decision of
the members of the Albany Community Accountability Board to
resign en masse on June 15 [“You Can’t Fire Us, We Quit,”
Newsfront, June 17].
Each of the members had his or her own reasons for joining
in our collective decision. We all appreciated the unique
and irreplaceable contribution of former Assistant District
Attorney David Soares in making this all-volunteer initiative
a success. Certainly, his abrupt termination was the precipitating
factor in our decision.
Speaking for myself, however, my fundamental disagreement
with the administration of District Attorney Paul Clyne runs
was refreshing to read Metroland’s inclusion of a rational
humanist perspective in its coverage of the “under God”/Pledge
of Allegiance controversy [“Line? What Line?” and “Faith of
the Fathers,” Newsfront, June 24]. John Rodat’s reporting
brought this national issue home by featuring a Niskayuna
parent of school-age children who does not believe in God.
The story clearly showed how the phrase hurts certain children
and their parents.
But neither article on the topic of church-state separation
mentioned that the New York State Legislature recently passed
a resolution to keep the words “under God” in the Pledge.
This legally meaningless gesture was passed by the same Legislature
that did not provide the people of New York an education budget
Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, led the charge against
secularism in New York. Here are two of his recent public
is ours. . . . With our decision to support that unanimously,
we will set back those individuals who are trying to rewrite
the history of this great nation and make it a secular society”
(The Saratogian, June 15).
Taking “under God” out of the pledge would be “trying to say
this is a secular nation by its foundation, and it’s not”
(WNYT, June 14).
Why is secularism such a dirty word for Tedisco? He seems
to view secularism as the enemy of religion. Nothing is farther
from the truth. Secularism in government is the cause and
the reason for our religious diversity in America. A secular
government does not favor atheists—it grants all citizens
the freedom to believe or not to believe what they choose.
Removing “under God” from the Pledge is not the same as inserting
“without God.” Instead, it would be restoring the Pledge to
its original, inclusive, neutral form. The U.S. Constitution
does not include God and neither should the Pledge.
California atheist father Michael A. Newdow announced [on]
June 26 that he intends to represent two families in a new
case to challenge the constitutionality of “under God” in
the Pledge. Maybe this time the U.S. Supreme Court won’t be
able to duck the true issue of upholding religious freedom
in this country.
Institute for Humanist Studies
the feature story “Out of Sight, Not Really Out of Mind” (June
24), we omitted an important piece of information. According
to his family and others who knew him, Bart Browne, who attacked
Josh Banks, was suffering from a mental illness at the time,
and hadn’t shown bias toward gays in the past. We regret that
we perpetuated an incomplete account of that incident, which
appears to have been more complicated than a simple “hate
our most recent Rough Mix (June 17), we gave the wrong Web
site for local band Seven Stories Falling; the correct site
is www.7sfrock.net, not www.7sfrock.com.
In last week’s live-music review (“All Work and No Payoff,”
June 24), the drummer for Empire State Troopers was misidentified
as Jason Kokournious. Nate Pallace, formerly of the band Merth,
is the actual drummer for Empire State Troopers.
welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts
OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: email@example.com.
Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300
words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name,
address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not
publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are
illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.