How much more can dairy farmers take? And more

Letters to the editor March 23 to 29

Posted 3/21/23

Debt limit should not be subject to brinksmanship

I am concerned about our country defaulting on our debt.

On January 19, the United States hit a limit on how much money it can borrow, forcing …

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How much more can dairy farmers take? And more

Letters to the editor March 23 to 29


Debt limit should not be subject to brinksmanship

I am concerned about our country defaulting on our debt.

On January 19, the United States hit a limit on how much money it can borrow, forcing the Treasury Department to initiate “extraordinary measures” to make sure the nation has enough cash to fulfill its financial obligations.

Janet Yellen, treasury secretary, told Congress she was initiating a “debt issuance suspension period” that would last through June 5. The “X-date”—the point at which the U.S. will no longer be able to pay its bills and is likely to default on its debt—will be in mid-August.

The Treasury debt limit, also known as the debt ceiling, is a limit to the amount of money the U.S. government is authorized to borrow to pay its bills. Because the United States runs budget deficits, it must borrow huge sums of money.

Raising the Treasury debt limit allows the United States to finance existing obligations—It does not authorize any new spending. If the debt limit is not raised or suspended, the U.S. will eventually default on its bills. The debt limit has precisely nothing to do with whether we increase or cut spending in the future—that’s a red herring. 

What would default look like? Letting the country default on its bills would have massive economic consequences for most Americans—job loss and high unemployment, Social Security cuts, Medicare cuts, spikes in borrowing rates, stock market crash, national recession and chaos in global financial markets. 

The amount of the debt limit is set by law and has been increased or suspended many times over the decades to allow the Treasury Department to finance the government’s operations. Ultimately, it will be up to Congress to decide whether to let the country borrow more money. Political brinkmanship over the debt limit is painful to watch when the stakes are so high for all of us.

Martha Scoppa
Liberty, NY

All aboard!

Dear friends and neighbors, when we fought fracking, we attempted to encourage support from downstate as well, since all would be affected.

The Delaware River is the water supply to more than 17 million people, and we know it contributes so much more to our livelihoods and pleasures.

New York City’s water supply is maybe 20 miles from here. If there were to be an accident on this line [the New York, Susquehanna and Western line] the entire state would feel the pain.

I’m not sure what’s next. We’re hoping at least to get the railway company to start by slowing down when going through the towns. The best result would be if the Delaware River could be protected by eliminating the tankers that are labeled hazardous, with sometimes as many as 40 of these cars traveling on these tracks at high speed.

Please think to help in any way you can, to start by telling others who might listen, especially those that have access to people in higher-up positions.

An “accident is defined as an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly or unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.”

Please let’s deal with this intentionally before another accident occurs by those who once again are placing “profits before people.”

Victoria Lesser
Callicoon, NY

Gunther has steadfastly supported the UDC

As an update to the quest of the Upper Delaware Council (UDC) to secure New York State funding to sustain our operations, as envisioned in the 1986 River Management Plan’s 60-percent federal/40-percent NY/PA cost-sharing ratio, we applaud Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther for her steadfast advocacy over the years.

She was the only elected official to personally attend the UDC’s State & Federal Partners summit on February 23 to reiterate her support, review the direct actions she has taken on the UDC’s behalf, and discuss strategies 

to fulfill the goal of seeking a permanent line in the state budget, based on New York’s executive order associated with cooperative management of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.

Most imminently, Assemblywoman Gunther followed up with her pledge to arrange a meeting with the secretary of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, so that the council can present its justifications and needs.

Assemblywoman Gunther continues to be a champion in caring, responding and showing up for her constituents.

Laurie Ramie, executive director, Upper Delaware Council
Narrowsburg, NY

A headline as editorial statement

It was a shock to read the headline “This War Must Be Won” on the front page of the March 2-8 issue. 

The article described the rally in Glen Spey in “support of Ukraine,” which was addressed by Nadia Rajsz, Sullivan County legislator. It recounted the history of suffering of and present atrocities [experienced by] the Ukrainian people, and their tremendous bravery and resolve. It asked for our continued support. Only at the very end was there a quote from President Zelensky calling for “victory” as the way this war must end.

My dear River Reporter, which I love and have supported from its inception, you made a mistake. Was there anyone at the rally itself who said, “This war must be won?”

There were no quotes around such a bold headline. Was it the author of the article? The speaker at the demonstration? Or a conclusion reached by the editor as a kind of summary of the occasion?

That headline, “This war must be won,” was not assigned to anyone, becomes an editorial comment and belongs on the editorial page.

Why is this so important, you ask? What’s the big deal? Most folks didn’t even notice.  Because words—where they are placed, how they are used, which ones are chosen—impact our thinking and emotions, consciously and unconsciously.

That headline, said one of my friends, simply fans the flames toward war, and is reckless and inaccurate.

An example of a more accurate headline for that occasion might have been “Rally to continue support for the Ukrainian people.”

The Ukrainian people have already won the moral battle.

President Zelensky is a hero to most of the world. Putin knows that. 

Our intention must be to help find a way out of this destruction by negotiating a peace settlement. That is how we must lead—toward peace.

Those who fuel and profit from war—the military, industrial, and congressional complex—must not determine our policy.

The cost of not doing so risks nuclear war.

Beverly Sterner
Milanville, PA

Home rule a double-edged sword

I have been repeatedly asked about the 10-family apartment complex next door.

A summertime vacation building for a few city folks looking to get away for a few weeks from the hustle and bustle is now a 10-family commercial apartment complex in an R1 district, with a dumpster and parked cars blocking the private road. The parking lot, like many specifications on the approved site plan, doesn’t exist, because it was never enforced to exist. 

We thank Star Hesse and 35 community members who initiated a 268 enforcement, which should have triggered an investigation/assessment of conformance to zoning laws. The septic system installation, as well as 11 months of construction without a valid permit and with no stop orders—as prescribed by zoning law—seemed to set a precedence of negligence. 

The response to the 268 enforcement was “There needs to be an actual violation to do this, and the town does not recognize one at this time.” This seems like an avoidance of administrative and enforcement responsibility.

A fire truck responded to a distress call at the complex, but could not gain close access because of parked cars and the dumpster blocking the way. If it had been a fire, it could have led to property damage to nearby homes. It is a constant reminder of what some in our community can decide to do to an environment or to other citizens’ living conditions when they don’t have to live with the consequences.

We informed the attorney general’s office, the state comptroller‘s office and the department of state code oversight division about this behavior and disrespect of town, state and federal laws. Why can’t we get along?

Wanda Gangel
Narrowsburg, NY

Thank you for the Tick Borne Disease Center

Thank you, Matt Osterberg and Ron Schmalzle, Pike County Commissioners, for all your great work in the borough and the county, especially for helping me by making the Wayne Tick Borne Disease Center possible. 

Matt and Ron and those they worked with on this project made a normal life possible for me again.

I discovered in August 2021, while in my hometown of Milford for the summer, that I had Lyme disease for two years, that had not been diagnosed by my regular doctors. I suffered brain fog, lightheaded vertigo and deep fatigue for those two years. 

Wayne Memorial Hospital’s Tick Borne Disease Center—an initiative Matt and Ron, as county commissioners, spearheaded and made possible—diagnosed me, and the Pike County Family Health Center in Lords Valley treated me.

I am now free of the symptoms, although as with the shingles virus, Lyme will always be with me.  

Matt and Ron really know how to get things done that help people and make Milford and Pike County better and better. Please help Matt and Ron keep up the good work in Pike County.

Tyler Travis
Florida sunbird, who summers in Shohola, PA

How much more can dairy farmers take?

Recently I traveled to the famous Pocono Mountains, observing the prices of milk in stores. I wanted to see how the gallons of whole milk were moving. I am very concerned, because the price of milk set by the Federal Milk Marketing Order is dropping dramatically. 

Reports from Federal Order No. 1 are showing a reduction in fluid sales. Our favorite store is still Bill’s Market in Daleville. The day I stopped at Bill’s Market, there were 27 rows of whole milk on display. I started my trip at a dollar store in the Poconos, and was surprised that this small store had 40 gallons of whole milk on its shelf. A worker in the store said, “We sell whole milk, not skim milk.”

I also visited the Weis grocery store in Tunkhannock, which had at least 12 rows of whole milk. 

This amount of whole milk on the shelves is good. In addition to ProAg’s efforts, there are other groups in Pennsylvania working to get more fluid-milk sales. 

One must ask the question, “If whole milk is selling this well in these stores, why is the price paid to the dairy farmers dropping dramatically?”

Maybe the reason is that the people advertising on our TVs and other venues are not promoting milk properly. 

Recently, I was watching TV, and right in front of my eyes I saw a big ad promoting oat “milk.” Two days later, I witnessed a big ad for Silk milk all over my TV screen. That’s two big ads for artificial milk. 

Why don’t I see an ad for real milk, when our dairy farmers are having large sums of money taken from their milk checks every month for advertising? Dairy farmers expect to see the same kind of ads for real milk, especially in big cities with big populations, and during kids’ shows.

I consider Wilkes Barre, Scranton, Bloomsburg and Williamsport big enough cities to have ads for real milk on TV. 

It is time that milk companies, dairy cooperatives, and everyone else illustrate how the money being taken out of the dairy farmers’ milk checks is being spent. Dairy farmers deserve an accounting for this money. They have waited long enough. 

Arden Tewksbury, manager, Pro-Ag
Meshoppen, PA

letters to the editor


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