Banks Are People, Too

In the wake of the financial crisis brought about by irresponsible lenders, it’s rare to hear anyone sing the praises of a bank. But here goes.

Recently my son, away at college in North Carolina, lost his Woodstock-issued TD Bank ATM card. He was stranded without any way to get cash, because there’s no TD bank in his city. I called the corporate office, which canceled his card and instructed me that he needed to call to get another. He did, but for a variety of reasons I won’t go into here, they gave him the runaround and refused. I wasn’t sure what to do.

Then I remembered that one day Lee, who works at Woodstock’s TD Bank, where I’ve been banking for many years, gave me his unlisted phone number at the Mill Hill Road location, in case I’d ever need it. I called and explained our dilemma. Lee wasn’t there, but Nick said he’d see what he could do. The next day Lee called me (!) and said they’d “break” the corporate rules and issue me my son’s ATM card right away so I could overnight it to him. Why? Because I’m a long-time customer and they trust me.

This may seem minor to some people. But if you’ve ever had to deal with a bank and its policies, it’s just unheard of. The people at TD bank know my “real” first name, but call me by my middle, as all my friends do. There is never a line. They are open until 8 at night and even on Sundays and holidays, such as President’s Day. Unbelievable. The employees flip hamburgers at the farm market, and they help the Little League fund-raise. The bank shows the artwork of local artists and sculptors.

And, Canadian-owned TD Bank sailed through the financial crisis unscathed and unsullied. It’s a good bank, worthy of praise. I hope everyone who’s unhappy with their bank will take their business to cute little TD Bank in the yellow house, a real small-town gem that cares about people like you and me.

Gail Bradney

Bearsville

 

Keep Dispatch

This letter is in support of maintaining funding for the present level of all dispatch services. Over the years, whenever I’ve made a call, it felt good to get an immediate response from a friendly person who knew what I was talking about and what to do about it. That simple, comforting response is a part of small town living. It is part of the character of Woodstock, almost a right of Woodstock citizenship.

This service is worth paying for and our lives here will be diminished if we should lose it.

Peter Remler

Bearsville

 

Speak Up

Your editorial (“Onteoraʼs Choice,” February 23) is misguided in your interpretation of the Onteora school districtʼs dilemma. The problem is not state standards and test scores. I have given and graded those state tests for over 14 years. The scoring has changed, the state provided answers often incorrect, and the cost to the districts who must give them has grown. In fact, publishing companies that provide these tests have profited at a time when schools struggle to make ends meet. Preparing my students to take poorly written state tests has now become part of my job description? My job as a teacher is to educate the students in my care. And I do that every single day.

The problem is not contracts and retirement contributions. Contracts are fairly negotiated by the very same BOE members who are complaining about them. And the reason why school districts now have to contribute over 11% to the state retirement fund is because that rate is directly linked to Wall Street; yes, the ones who caused this economic mess in the first place. And, importantly, please note that 86% of this pension plan is made up of returns on investments and not contributions from taxpayers.

Therefore, the cause of school district woes is most definitely the 2% tax levy cap and dwindling state aide. You can forget about the other stuff. That’s political smoke and mirrors. Governor Cuomo and his antics about pensions and taxes can fool most of the people; just not this taxpayer.

So donʼt tell people not to react. Being American allows us that much. Where would

Martin Luther King Jr. be if he wasnʼt allowed to react? Speak out citizens, because that is how we do it.

Kathleen Fox

Woodstock

 

Keep The Surprise

I can’t help but be impressed with the creative and imaginative ideas floated by some of the Town Board for reducing the deficit and increasing revenue. Ken Panza and Jay Wenk have both obviously done their homework and have serious and concrete proposals in the works. I am also left wondering if some of the board is drifting into making a mockery of the process, specifically Cathy Magarelli’s suggestion to raise fees for FOIL requests to reduce taxes, and Bill McKenna’s quip about needing a full time Dispatch for the purpose of alerting folks to when Santa would be arriving on Christmas Eve (both reported in the Daily Freeman).

I like a good joke as much as the next person, but are these the times to be engaging in outright comedy with the public’s business?

Obviously, while towns in New York are being encouraged to make more public information accessible online, paperless, and for free, Woodstock should be doing the same. And personally, shouldn’t Santa’s arrival be a surprise? Calling Dispatch for the exact time kind of takes the fun out of it.

Michael Veitch

Munich, Germany