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Everybody's Column

Jumping off a bridge is nothing to joke about

On June 30, I read a column on the sports page that made a flippant remark that Sabres fans were lined up to jump off the Skyway if Daniel Briere and Chris Drury leave town. While the players are important to the team and the community, this remark was incredibly insensitive and an affront to anyone who has lost a beloved person to suicide.

I write this letter through renewed grief because on Sept. 11, 2000, my beloved 24-year-old son, Andy Steinbarth, took his life by jumping from the Skyway. I am fully aware that in everyday life, people make remarks without thinking. However, a writer for such a widely read newspaper must exercise enough sensitivity not to make light of such a heartbreaking occurrence.

My son's family and friends still grieve daily and intensely for the loss of this valedictorian, sports star and incredible human being lost to mental illness. As we prepare for my daughter's wedding this summer, his loss is still as acute as the day he entered his afterlife. Perhaps News writers could attend a meeting of suicide survivors to gain an understanding of the pain that we live with every day.

Cynthia Sweet



Few people recognize our soldiers' sacrifices

It has been three years since I last set foot amidst the unforgiving Afghan terrain as an infantryman with the U.S. Army. Over the course of my 10-month tour, I developed great admiration for those who served before me. More than 25 million veterans have worn the uniform of the United States, and for the sake of the freedoms taken for granted each day, we owe them a debt of gratitude.

When our Vietnam veterans returned home just a few short decades ago, the emotional whiplash that so many of them experienced was devastating, and in a way, many Americans have lost sight of this tragic occurrence.

Today soldiers return home only to see that the media and shortsighted protesters have villainized their actions. After you forfeit all that you have -- your family, your job, your life -- it is very difficult to come home to find that so many don't recognize your sacrifice.

Our military men and women have made a commitment to our country to serve us in good times and in bad, and whether you agree or disagree with the orders they have been given, I implore you to show respect and appreciation for their sacrifice.

James W. Raymond



Illegal immigrants shouldn't get license

I am writing about Gov. Eliot Spitzer's comments in The News about giving illegal immigrants New York State driver's licenses. Has the definition of "illegal" changed since I graduated from high school 30 years ago?

Glenn Wiese



Politicians only care about being re-elected

To what further degree can the political scenario in our nation deteriorate? The primary item on most politicians' agenda is re-election. They seem to spend more time soliciting campaign contributions than they do in their offices. The prediction that a billion dollars may be spent on the 2008 presidential election is appalling.

Politicians at every level are seeking huge sums of money and, as a result, the only legislation enacted is at the behest of the special-interest groups with the most money or greatest influence. The issues that are of most importance to the electorate are never given consideration -- mind-boggling government spending, a convoluted tax code, health care, Social Security, identity theft, term limits, etc.

Our leaders seem to demonstrate disdain for the electorate. How can the average person preserve our fragile democracy and prevent the disservice offered by our leaders? Can anyone remember a campaign promise that was kept?

Reed W. Bender



Clarence should allow St. Mary's to expand

In regard to the protest over building a new church in Swormville for St. Mary's parishioners, Clarence officials should have considered that the religious needs of their town would have to be met before they allowed all the new subdivisions to be built. As far as the quaintness of the community, have they noticed that a half-block down there are some large strip malls? Traffic on Stahley would not be any more congested than it is now, since building a new church is not going to mean that the congregation is going to increase. It just means that the people will have a little more breathing room and not be packed into a small space.

I have lived in this area in Clarence for the past 24 years. I have watched Transit Road go from a two-lane road to a five-lane highway that bottlenecks at County and North French as it goes back to a two-lane road. I have watched all the business and housing develop. I, too, miss the quietness of the area, but we have to meet all the needs of the development that has been allowed.

Mary Roth

East Amherst


Bush will do anything to keep Libby quiet

After reading the newspaper reports, President Bush's released remarks and viewing TV reports, I conclude that Bush intended to hold out a carrot to Lewis "Scooter" Libby to keep him silent. Bush's logic just doesn't hold up in light of the facts and other court cases, including one just rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is just the latest in a parade of dirty tricks, misleading statements and cronyism from the Bush administration. I have begun to insert "Warren G. Harding" as the abbreviation of the middle initial in Bush's name. I mentioned this to a friend and he remarked that Bush makes Harding look Lincolnesque. I agree. Jan. 20, 2009. can't come soon enough. Once gone, I fear we will begin to find out all of the wrongs that were committed while Bush slept in his office.

Michael Olszowka



Bottled or not, water is essential

I would like to reply to the July 1 My View concerning bottled water and the need to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. Although it is accurate to say that tap water is safe to drink and that buying bottled water is a waste of money, we still have to drink six to eight glasses of water a day. Coffee, tea, soda pop, energy drinks, etc., do not count toward our necessary daily water intake. We need pure water to cleanse and flush our body of impurities we get from drinking the above liquids and eating snacks and meals. If tap water bothers you, then get a water purifier. But by all means, drink six to eight glasses of water daily for good health.

William L. Herby


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