Stem the plastic tide and stop banning books

Letters to the editor May 11-17

Posted 5/10/23

Stem the plastic tide, support these bills

New York readers, if you’re aggravated by the quantity of plastic packaging that enters your life, take heart: A pair of bills wending their way …

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Stem the plastic tide and stop banning books

Letters to the editor May 11-17


Stem the plastic tide, support these bills

New York readers, if you’re aggravated by the quantity of plastic packaging that enters your life, take heart: A pair of bills wending their way through the state legislature aim to address that. But they need your help to reach the finish line, so please keep reading. 

The Packaging Reduction & Recycling Infrastructure Act (A.6353A/S.4246) would reduce the amount of packaging in New York State by 50 percent over 12 years. It would mandate standards for post-consumer recycled content in the remaining packaging. And it would eliminate 12 toxic chemicals—including PFAS, lead, cadmium, formaldehyde and halogenated flame retardants—that are currently permitted in packaging, despite being known to harm human health. 

Meanwhile, the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (A.6353/S.237) would build on New York’s 40-year-old beverage container deposit law. Although highly effective, the current law is dated and needs an overhaul. The new bill would cover more containers, like those for lemonade, iced tea, sports drinks, wine and liquor. It would also increase the deposit amount for the first time in four decades, from five cents to 10—a boon to New Yorkers who augment or earn their income by recycling discarded cans and bottles. 

The legislative session ends for the year on June 8, so we don’t have much time. Please call your Assemblymember—for most people registered to vote in Sullivan, that’s Aileen Gunther—and urge her to co-sponsor both bills. Similarly, please urge your state senator to support the bill as well. Not sure who your state representatives are? Visit and enter your address in the search box. 

An astonishing 40 percent of the plastic made today goes into throwaway packaging that’s designed to be used once and then discarded. We can turn this around, but you need to act. Please call today. 

Rebekah Creshkoff, Beyond Plastics Sullivan County NY
Callicoon, NY 

Addiction is a disease

As the CEO of Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan & Ulster, a leading provider of substance use disorder prevention and treatment services in Sullivan County, I want to applaud Melissa Stickle, Sullivan director of community services, on her letter addressing the use of medication to manage Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). 

Catholic Charities is proud to partner with Sullivan County to fight the epidemic of OUD and break the stigma of medication-assisted treatment. 

Since 2015, Catholic Charities has provided lifesaving treatment and recovery support to 3,462 individuals at our Monticello campus. 

Every day, Catholic Charities sees firsthand the toll OUD takes on people, the families who love them and our community. The physical, mental, emotional and financial effects are devastating. 

I want to echo Director Stickle’s message that lifesaving medications are available to treat OUD. It’s critical that we increase awareness of their availability and decrease the stigma around their use. 

Addiction, which includes Opioid Use Disorder, is a disease of the brain. There are medications that should be made readily available, as are medications prescribed for people with diabetes, cancer or other chronic illnesses. 

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder save lives by lowering the risk of relapse and death. They help people stay in treatment, enter remission and achieve long-term recovery.  

As Stickle said, addiction is not the result of moral weakness or flawed character. That’s why it’s incumbent upon us to break the stigma to ensure those in need have access to lifesaving medication to manage their disease and maintain recovery. 

Catholic Charities can help. To learn more, contact our HELPline at 845/794-8080 ext. 4357, see us at 396 Broadway in Monticello, or visit 

Help is available. Recovery is possible. 

Shannon Kelly, CEO Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan & Ulster
Goshen, NY

Stop the madness

Book banning in our libraries has become the new standard these days.  A group called Moms for Liberty is in hot pursuit of getting books banned and classroom discussions on race, gender and sexuality removed.  

Bigotry against sexual minorities is a way fascism takes root.  As you will recall, book banning and burning were prevalent in Nazi Germany in the ‘20s and ‘30s.  We surely don’t want to go in that direction, do we?

Students across our country are protesting in their school districts regarding the effects of classroom censorship.  To counter this, students are forming Banned Book Clubs.  They have the right to speak out and protest in and outside of school and use social media to their advantage. 

When adults ban books, they attempt to silence ideas that seem unfamiliar to them, concepts they’re afraid to confront.  Reading allows us to learn about our society and the world we will one day be responsible for navigating.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 80 percent of parents are somewhat or completely satisfied with their own children’s public education.  So, with that being said, in the upcoming primary in Pike County I am supporting Brian Carso and Rosemary Walsh for the Delaware Valley School Board, who will unite to maintain the school’s high level of education and learning.

John Hahn

Shohola, PA 

letters to the editor, packaging reduction and recycling infrastructure, bigger better bottle bill, Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan & Ulster, Opioid Use Disorder, book ban, stop


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