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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Airline security is an oxymoron

The thankfully failed airline explosion has sparked discussion about whether Americans would stand for screenings that would "invade their privacy."
How about backpack screenings?
A former Saratoga Springs friend visiting today told me that twice she went through airport security in Boston without removing from her backpack the clear plastic Zip-loc bag she had dutifully filled with containers holding no more than 3 ounces of toiletries. The backpack sailed through the X-ray machine with nary a yawn from "security."
Yes, Boston, the airport from which one of the 9/11 planes took off.
Meanwhile, here in Albany, the firm but friendly guard confiscated my new can of aerosol antiperspirant from my carryon without breaking a sweat.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bah humbug to company Christmas cards

I don't think it would save enough money to bring down the cost of health care, but I'm all in favor of Albany Medical Center eliminating from its budget the totally impersonal printed Christmas card that I for some unknown reason received in the office mail today.
That's 33 cents postage, not to mention the cost of the card and the manpower for stuffing the envelopes and printing the labels.
It's the thought that counts. So what's the thought?
Not to pick on Albany Med. Same thing happens from other businesses and politicians who ought to have better uses for the money.
I enjoy receiving cards, and I like keeping the Post Office in business. And I'm feeling guilty that I've yet to send out a card.
But meaningless holiday greetings are better unsaid, and unsent.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

$18.19 meals a real deal

The idea to offer $18.19 meals in and around downtown Saratoga Springs was terrific. I hope participating restaurants did well. I was at Tiznow with my husband and another couple on Friday evening, and the place was packed. It was great to see. The food was excellent, the main dish portions were real-meal size, and the service was efficient and friendly.
Great idea for drumming up business and getting people to check out new restaurants or ones they hadn't been to lately. Hope others had equally positive experiences.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fact-checking the letters

A letter published this morning (Dec. 7) in The Saratogian by Barbara Trypaluk incorrectly stated that state Supreme Court Judge Thomas Nolan is the brother of Saratoga County Republican Committee Chairman Jasper Nolan.
Not so, Jasper Nolan assured me in a telephone call. Both Nolan families grew up in Mechanicville, and they are family friends, but they are not related.
Trypaluk makes the inaccurate connection as her way of saying the judge's ruling on a case concerning the Beaver Pond development was a result of political and personal connections, calling the dismissal of the case on a technicality "an outrage and a miscarriage of justice."
She is entitled to her opinion, though, as we reported on The Saratogian news pages, the judge's role was not to rule on the merits of the case but on the merits of the legal challenge, which was indeed technically flawed.
People will draw conclusions, right or wrong, about political connections and pressure even if the people involved are not relatives. That's an opinion. But I'm troubled that the letter stated outright that the Nolans are brothers; our editors took that at the writer's word.
Opinions are welcome in letters to the editor; that's what they are for. But it is irresponsible to wrap opinions in erroneous "facts" that, as in this case, could have easily been checked by the writer.

Good cheer at the post office

Last night as I wrapped a gift to mail to my younger son for his 20th birthday, I was dreading the long line that would face me Monday morning at the post office on Broadway. Needless worry, it turned out.
Sure, there were a handful of people in front of me. But I was accompanied by Joe Rocha, the editor of Ballston Spa Life, one of the two weekly newspapers that we introduced earlier this year, and the walk up the hill gave us a chance to catch up on some story ideas. Then, in front of me on line was Bob Jackson, and I am always happy to catch up with him and the whereabouts of his children — though it's difficult for me to imagine his "little" Lisa as 38 years old with three kids and living in Egypt.
Chatting passed the time quickly, and the clerk at the one open window couldn't have been friendlier and more helpful. Now I regret not making note of his name, to give him a "shout out" here. Maybe next time — assuming I get the Christmas gifts purchased, wrapped and ready to mail in the next week for my twin niece and nephew out in Marion, N.Y.