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Everybody's Column

Funding for cancer research needs to be a top priority

Rep. Brian Higgins' Dec. 30 Another Voice, "Cancer research funding should top '07 agenda," the Jan. 2 News editorial, "Cancer research pays off," and the Jan. 3 story, "Cancer's toll in lost time: $2.3 billion a year," show cancer research is needed more than ever. Thanks to the American Cancer Society's efforts, along with those of our public health partners, more than 10 million Americans with a history of cancer are alive today.

In New York State, the American Cancer Society is funding 80 research projects valued at more than $39 million at research and treatment facilities and National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers. This investment includes $4.8 million designated to Roswell Park Cancer Institute and $569,000 to the University at Buffalo.

It's because of such investments that the American Cancer Society has been involved in every major cancer research breakthrough and has funded 40 researchers who have gone on to win the Nobel Prize. Within the society, we care deeply about people, their lives and their health. As demonstrated by its latest features, we see The News does, too.

Mark A. King

President, Board of Advisers Western New York Region American Cancer Society


Unwillingness to work is no excuse for murder

Commenting on Buffalo's high murder rate, Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson stated, "A lot of these young people want quick money. They don't want to work for minimum wage, they're unskilled or undereducated workers and they haven't fared well with the school system."

Young people who have no willingness to work to achieve a goal such as a high school diploma or who are not willing to start on the first rung of the employment ladder have made a personal choice to remain unskilled and undereducated. These young people will not fare well in any school system, nor should they. Their lack of interest in improving their lives through following rules, studying and hard work is not an excuse for committing murders.

Larry Finkelstein

East Amherst


Switch to fluorescent lamps would save a lot of energy

A Dec. 31 letter writer stated her New Year's resolution will be to work to stop or reverse global warming. Her first objective is to push all of us to get the Senate to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The truth is only about six of the 159 signers of the protocol will approach the 2012 target of an 8 percent reduction from 1990 levels.

A more direct impact on the environment would occur if she focused her energies on getting people to exchange their incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps. These lamps use about 25 percent of the energy used by an incandescent bulb of equal brightness, so the consumer saves on his energy bill and the utility generates less energy to provide the same service. Estimates state if everyone in the United States swapped out two light bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps, it would be the equivalent of taking 2 million cars off the road.

Compact fluorescent lamps are more expensive, and they contain trace amounts of mercury so they have to be disposed of through recycling. But they last between three and five years, so the return on investment can be substantial.

Ric Paluch



Town of Tonawanda was shortchanged on libraries

In a recent letter, Kate Weeks, director of the Town of Tonawanda's libraries, noted that the Town of Tonawanda Board gave a subsidy to a nonprofit group operating a community resource center and not to the public libraries. The small subsidy covers some utilities the town would pay even if the town-owned building were empty.

Erie County cut services to all three of the town's libraries north of Sheridan Drive. No other community lost 60 percent of its libraries. In 2004, those three libraries had a combined 173,000 patron visits, the sixth-highest total in the library system. Those three libraries served 48,000 residents, a total that would constitute the fourth-largest community in Erie County.

One library, Brighton, was close to students of seven schools. Many students who could have safely walked or biked to Brighton now risk life or limb if they even bother to go to the two public libraries located near the town's southern border.

The three closed town libraries cost $550,000 to operate. The county library system every year now takes that $550,000 as an annual "subsidy" while denying 48,000 residents a public library.

Jason Aronoff



Many Americans care deeply about Iraq War

A Jan. 4 letter writer believes Americans are not sacrificing, and "really don't care" about the Iraq War. He provides evidence from his observation of Americans over the recent holiday season. He concludes that elected officials write death warrants when issuing orders: "politicians send more people there to die."

I can see that Iraq is a dangerous environment, but I cannot agree that politicians are sending people there to die. It is most likely troops are sent to defend and keep peace. The writer continues with an image of a thousand troops dying without the country blinking an eye.

Recent newscasts show Amherst native Jonathon Cote, who is a veteran and private security worker, on videotape filmed by his captors in the Middle East. I challenge the writer to find a rational person who does not want Cote returned.

The writer decides that "we" are not sacrificing enough. Are we not sacrificing the war's financial debt or our country's reputation when soldiers humiliate prisoners? Or maybe those enlisting in the Army aren't sacrificing, or their families hoping for their safety, etc.

Reggie Miller



We must work to ensure abortion remains legal

Jan. 22 marks the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision that confirmed the constitutional right of women to choose to have a safe and legal abortion.

A great deal has happened over those years, but one thing is clearly cause for celebration. An entire generation of women has been blessed with the right to decide for themselves how best to conduct their own lives within the context of American freedoms and the dictates of their personal values and beliefs.

While recent election victories have created a more pro-choice Congress, and an abortion ban was rejected by voters in South Dakota, ongoing threats and violence against clinics and intimidation and harassment of women seeking abortion services remain a big problem. We need to ensure that the promise of Roe v. Wade lasts for many more generations.

James C. Hufnagel


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