Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

November 7, 2013

OUR READERS' OPINIONS

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Cooperstown Crier

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I am pleased to be part of a community that supports local business and helps each other grow. I am also pleased to be part of a community that understands the importance of giving back. I’m writing to ask you to support an organization that is very important to me – the Northeast Kidney Foundation. I am a member of the Board of Trustees of this organization which has touched my life personally, and that of many other families in our region.

Twenty years ago I was fortunate to receive a kidney transplant. That transplant changed the quality of my life dramatically. I was fortunate because I received the kidney before I needed to start dialysis, but not all are as fortunate and many who receive dialysis wait three years or longer. The Northeast Kidney Foundation provides assistance to patients and families in our region that help with the cost of medical, nutrition and housing needs, but also funds free kidney screenings to help detect kidney disease early on – when it’s most treatable. They have supported a number of families in our region, screened hundreds free of charge for kidney disease, and also instituted a support group that meets the third Sunday of every month.

On Nov. 10 the Foundation will hold an inaugural 5K Donor Dash and Kidney walk at the Clark Sports Center. I am writing to ask you to come out and walk, or run, with us to show support for our local patients and family members, those that wait for the gift of life and those that have made this gift possible. The event will feature refreshments, kids activities, a 5K run/walk with an award ceremony, and more importantly, the chance to make a huge difference. The details are included with this letter and we would appreciate your posting and sharing the information. We would also appreciate seeing you at the event.

Fifty-nine percent of adults are at risk for kidney disease. It develops silently for years and many don’t know they are afflicted. Please join with me in making a difference. Come out and walk – or run – for those right here in the community living with kidney disease. We would also welcome a small donation to the event – the proceeds of which will stay right here in our region.

Thanks so much for your consideration and support. I look forward to seeing you on Nov. 10.

Steve Bieritz

Cooperstown

Libraries move premature

The direction taken by the boards of the Cooperstown and Hartwick libraries – to rely upon public funding through a tax scheme linked to the Cooperstown School District tax rolls – is premature.

From 1883 to 1929, over 1650 libraries were built in the U.S., including some belonging to public library systems. That prodigious undertaking was due to the generosity of a wealthy private citizen: Andrew Carnegie, who believed in the value of an accessible, free, public library to a democratic society.

In the areas serviced by the Cooperstown and Hartwick libraries, I daresay there are at least a handful of wealthy private individuals who might be receptive to becoming modern-day Carnegies.

All that would be required is for this group to contribute to fund an endowment of $5 million to be used for the specific and exclusive purpose of providing for the two libraries’ annual operating budgets. As those budgets are reported to be in the neighborhood of $100,000 each, an endowment of that size would only have to generate annual investment income at the conservative rate of 4% to fund both budgets.

If implemented, such an approach would produce a win-win-win result: first, the donors would enjoy the satisfaction that accompanies charitable giving, as well as obtaining a tax deduction for their contribution; second, the libraries would have a secure source of continuing financial support, without having to depend upon the vagaries of public referenda seeking approval of funding annually from a tax-stretched electorate; and third, school district taxpayers would avoid an additional item of assessment on their already high school tax bills.

So, before any further action is taken on the libraries’ current approach, the boards might do well to seek-out those Andrew Carnegies in our midst and gauge their interest in participating in what has been suggested here.

John A. Rudy

Cooperstown