Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionI’m ashamed to be associated as an alumni of Niskayuna High School. I read in the Oct. 7 Gazette: “Niskayuna Central School District Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr. issued a statement just after noon Friday stating that the national anthem will not be played at the high school pep rally Friday afternoon, as has been the custom in past years.The statement read in part: “After careful thought and consideration by our administration, and after meeting with members of our student body, it was decided that the national anthem would not be played as it has been in the past. This is an event focused on school spirit and unity, and there was a concern that given the intensity of this issue and the diversity of viewpoints, that this event could turn what is supposed to be a positive experience for our students into a negative one.”What a cowardly and unpatriotic statement. I’m calling for the immediate removal of Superintendent Tangorra. A person in that leadership role shouldn’t be in a position to influence our children. His statement claims that in the interest of the diversity of viewpoints, the anthem will not be played. Has he disregarded the viewpoint of the majority of students and Americans? Why is a patriotic viewpoint being discriminated? Why does he insist on soiling our freedom and flag and national pride by refusing to continue the traditional playing of the anthem at pep rallies? The students should be taught respect and honor, not encouraged to participate in an act of such disrespect. Freedom of speech is of utmost importance, but what the superintendant has done here is extinguish that freedom of speech. He’s denying the majority of the students rights to express their love of country when putting their hand over their heart while playing our anthem, as has been tradition.I will never support NHS fund-raisers or any other event sponsored by NHS until the superintendant has been removed or issues a statement of apology and reverses his deplorable, yes deplorable, actions banning our national anthem. His statement and actions are a disgrace and are cowardly. We all should be ashamed.Joseph WolfeOrmand Beach, Fla. (formerly of Niskayuna)More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfect
Topics : “I don’t want to return to Italy because life among strangers is hard,” she said. “I’ll see what happens in the next few months. If I manage to get a job here, that would be great.”Looking for employment right now is tough as eastern Europe’s boom of recent years becomes what’s shaping up to be its deepest slump since the fall of the Iron Curtain. But despite hitting records, unemployment isn’t seen reaching the levels of places like Italy and Spain.Romania — which lost at least 4 million citizens to emigration since joining the EU in 2007, more than any other member-state — reckons at least a third of those who’ve returned are actively looking for jobs and can help power construction, agriculture and industry in the coming years. One initiative is targeted at them: a 40,000 euro ($43,350) grant to start a farm.“It’s a priority for the government to retain these people — we’ll do it through investments, by creating new jobs,” Finance Minister Florin Citu said. “Before the crisis, many companies complained that they can’t find workers. Now, the workforce is here and we need to support it.” In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has longed to lure back those who left after the EU granted visa-free travel in 2017. As many as 1 million were in Poland alone before the crisis struck.While there’s been less of a rush home than in Romania, Ukraine’s central bank estimates that about 300,000 people returned during lockdown — 10% of the total. One program will offer them cheap loans to start businesses. A ‘Great Construction’ project to upgrade roads will add 170,000 jobs.Companies looking to fill seasonal positions in the UK, Finland and Germany with Ukrainians are also facing a tougher time. They must provide medical insurance and contracts of at least three months.In Serbia, President Aleksandar Vucic says about 400,000 workers have arrived home amid the pandemic, most having lost temporary jobs and social and health insurance. The inflow is equivalent to 6% of the population and a fifth of the workforce. Officials have urged them to take jobs in agriculture.‘Most will leave’Not all eastern European nations have seen big influxes. Poles, who make up the biggest foreign group in the UK, are largely settled and have remained where they are. It’s a similar story for the Baltic region, which has been among the worst-affected by mass emigration since the collapse of the Soviet Union.And those who have come back did so for an array of reasons — Easter being a big one. Bulgaria is a case in point. While 360,000 citizens returned since February, 285,000 have left again. Data later this year on remittances, which reached $12 billion in Ukraine in 2019, will paint a clearer picture.“In the short term, the impact will be on higher social spending for the state because the economy won’t be able to absorb everyone,” said Dan Bucsa, an economist at UniCredit Bank AG. “It’s very likely most will leave again once the situation calms down.”Romania, like most countries, has enough to worry about with the virus, having suffered more than the other eastern EU members. But if officials can find time and resources to reach out to people like Danaila, it may be better off once the economy overcomes its slump.“I have a 12-year-old son who’s the main reason I want to stay,” she said. “Being away from him has been the most difficult thing I ever did but when I look at the things he has now — a computer, clothes, everything he needs — I realize that with the wages in Romania I’d never have afforded it all. People say things have changed here as well. I’ll see.” After COVID-19 killed the elderly woman Mihaela Danaila had been taking care of for nine years in northern Italy, she joined a rush of about 1.3 million Romanians working abroad and headed home.The 37-year-old had been part of a steady exodus west after the continent’s ex-communist contingent joined the European Union. Open borders allowed doctors, engineers and builders to garner higher salaries elsewhere, escaping corruption and poor health care in the process. The shift helped richer countries struggling with aging populations but left the workers’ homelands scrambling to fill jobs.The virus has reversed a chunk of the migrant flows almost overnight: eastern countries now have an abundance of workers. The question is whether they’ll stay. While wages haven’t caught up, the region suffered far fewer COVID-19 deaths than western Europe and governments in Romania, Ukraine and Serbia are keen to retain at least some of those who’ve come back. People like Danaila may stick around.