Other Voices


Mohammad Yadegari — hard truths in an immigrant's experience

Mohammad Yadegari of Guilderland has written a book, “Always an Immigrant: A Cultural Memoir” that describes his life in three parts: as a child, growing up in an Iranian family in Iraq; as a young man, learning about life on his own in Tehran; and as a newcomer to America where he studies in Albany, marries, and becomes a teacher. He spent a decade writing the book, crystallizing a lifetime of experiences into compelling stories, which reveal some hard truths. As a schoolboy, he was told by his teacher, describing empires that had over history, risen and fallen, that America did not build an empire but brought many people together and melded into a nation. Deep down, he is sad seeing the news now because he cannot understand how someone feels better than another because of the color of his or her skin. He writes, “We are what we observe, learn, and experience in our momentary journey on earth. The degree that separates us from one another is the way we come to regard our perceptions as facts.” — Photo from Mohammad Yadegari

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Bonnie Kohl-Laub — a life of change, from Westerlo to France

“I tilt at windmills a lot,” says Bonnie Kohl-Laub.When she and her husband, Leonard Laub, moved to Westerlo, they immersed themselves in local issues and made a difference.Now they have sold their historic farmhouse and are packing to move to southern France.“We saw a wonderful community with wonderful people,” says Kohl-Laub of their move to Westerlo. “In this community, basically, it doesn’t matter what you have as long as you’re good. If you’re good folk, they like you. And it’s been wonderful living here.”Among other commitments, Kohl-Laub chaired the first Republican committee in town in modern times, founded in 2008. Now, for the first time in decades, Westerlo has a Republican-dominated town board.Kohl-Laub was also instrumental in securing a doctor for the rural Heldeberg Hilltown after the legendary Dr. Anna Perkins died.Leonard Laub, worried that the town wasn’t protected from a developer’s land grab, his wife said, chaired Westerlo’s planning board. Laub said in 2007, when 160 of Albany county’s 400 farms were in Westerlo, “We are agricultural here.”Laub also said then that agriculture was the economic, cultural, and aesthetic base for the town and would be the “keystone” for Westerlo’s first comprehensive land-use plan. A plan was, after several twists and turns, finally adopted last year by the current town board.More recently, Laub served on a committee that secured $1.7 million from the federal government to lay down fiber-optic cable and greatly expand broadband access in Westerlo. He had seen all the cars parked at night near the Westerlo library, his wife said, realizing parents were there so their children could use the library’s internet to do their schoolwork.In this week’s Enterprise podcast, Kohl-Laub said some people had wanted her husband to run for supervisor. “We could make a mistake and not know it because our bones aren’t here,” she said.Read the full story here: https://altamontenterprise.com/05142022/she-packs-france-kohl-laub-reflects-life-change