Horses reveal when whips are hurtingA few days ago I turned on the TV. There was a track worker on there with a big spiel about how the racehorses get such great care.They get a bath and the best hay and blah, blah, blah.He never mentioned when they are running as fast as they can, they can feel the sting of the whip.I came across a photo of horses being whipped running with their ears back. If you know anything about horses and other animals, when they have their ears back, things aren’t right with the animal.The only part I liked about that story was “track attendance drops.”Eunice KilmerJohnstownHistory a major asset for SchenectadyWhat wonderful news that Schenectady is seeing its tourism activity increase. Those of us who live here know how much our city and county have to offer. I would like to emphasize that an important component in the mix of attractions is the historic character of the area.Tourists come to visit the Stockade Historic District from all over the world. Our county historical society does an excellent job promoting our unique and interesting past. Schenectady is rich in historic character, not just in the Stockade, but in numerous neighborhoods as well as downtown. Not only does Proctors attract visitors with exciting shows, it offers a spectacular setting as well.If you doubt the importance of history to tourist activity, you need look no further than the recent tour of “Hamilton.” Let’s not forget it is our history that sets us apart and also attracts visitors from near and far.Suzanne S. UngerSchenectadyThe writer is president of the Stockade Association.Senior programs offer great camaraderieI write in praise and gratitude for the two senior lunches I enjoy. They include Jewish Community Center in conjunction with Catholic Charities with bus transportation door to door. This occurs Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the JCC. The other is operated by the town of Niskayuna, Tuesday and Thursday at the town center on Aqueduct Road.As a senior, I feel truly blessed to have these opportunities to meet and greet seniors with the virtues of aging, comparing notes and sharing the good with the bad.In fact, the pride and spirit of my companion seniors remind me of my college days when we swore allegiance to the fraternity. Everyone helped each other in many ways.On the bus rides to the lunches, conversation can be heard like, “How are you feeling today?” or “Can you recommend a good cardiologist?” and “What about a good hairdresser?” Doreen and Sue offer many kindnesses to their elders at JCC, while Robin, Edie and Linda do the same at Nisky. Camaraderie is in abundance. Opportunities also abound for bridge, Mah Jong, lectures, physical fitness, trips and much more. Also, we should commend the diligence of bus drivers, Butch and Max, who are excellent in what they do.Ted VinickNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionNo law says license plates must cost $25When does a distortion become a lie? When you know you’ve been caught and continue to lie in the hopes if you said it often enough, those who hear it will believe it.This is what Gov Andrew Cuomo continues in his quest for a proposal that he himself is responsible for to charge a mandatory fee of $25 for millions of drivers to replace perfectly good and readable plates when we have some of the highest registration fees in the nation.There is no mandated $25 plate replacement fee in k state law. The law states from Part H of the 2009 Budget that the administration can charge a fee “not to exceed $25.”Clearly, as Gov. David Paterson did in 2009 when he instituted the last plate replacement program and charged $0 per plate, Gov. Cuomo has chosen the maximum $25 fee.Lastly, it is important to note that neither I, nor any Republican, voted yes on the 2009 law to allow any governor to charge a fee “not to exceed $25.” The governor has the sole authority to not charge the $25 fee and as little as zero without legislative intervention. He should do the right thing now and stop this $70 million cash grab before it becomes a negotiating chip in next year’s state budget talks.Jim TediscoGlenvilleThe writer represents the 49th District in the state Senate.State law is putting animals above babiesRegarding the Sept. 11 story in The Daily Gazette about Man gets 18 months in cat killing. I am outraged. A man gets 18 months in prison for killing a cat. Yet babies, who are a person developing in a mother’s womb until ready to survive on their own, can be killed at any time, up to and including birth with no penalties. Have we lost all value for life as we put animals before people? God help us!Geraldine HavasyClifton ParkUAlbany working to close diversity gapI read with great interest Zachary Matson’s Aug. 31 article, “Who’s teaching our kids? The article examined the teacher-student race gap in the Capital Region,” a gap that is greater in our community than across the state or the nation.At the University at Albany (SUNY), we have recognized for years that there’s a critical need to diversify the teacher education pipeline, as well as ensure we provide safe and inclusive learning environments for all students.That’s why, as the home to New York’s leading public graduate school of education, UAlbany has made addressing this gap a strategic priority, and why we are actively working with local community leaders to build a pipeline to expand the diversity of future teachers.This year, we are launching the Touhey Family Fellows program, an initiative designed to provide academic, social and financial supports to students from diverse backgrounds to pursue teaching careers in Albany.To create large-scale change, we know that we also have to start inspiring future teachers while they are still in high school. Next spring, UAlbany will host high school juniors/seniors from high-needs schools throughout the region for a Career Exploration Institute focused on teacher education. This past summer, we hosted a community-wide summit focused on building safer and more inclusive schools and communities.These are just three of many examples of how we are strengthening the relationships between the University and the local K-12 community to collectively work toward closing equity gaps and improving the educational pipeline for all students.Jason E. Lane, PhDAlbanyThe writer is interim dean, School of Education, University at Albany, SUNY.