FEMA needs to extend tree-removal deadline
I could not agree more with The Buffalo News in calling on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to extend the deadline for reimbursement for removal of storm-damaged trees. In fact, on June 21, in response to a request from the Town of Amherst, I called on FEMA directly in a letter to Administrator David Paulison to do just that.
If no extension is granted, municipalities will be compelled to take the "safe" financial path and remove trees that might be saved, dealing a devastating blow to the region's precious stock of urban trees. A city's trees are more than just attractive and sentimental objects; they increase property values while decreasing heating and cooling bills. Clearly, a "cut now, ask questions later" approach to tree removal is not the best solution to a complex problem. Trees should not be cut down under the gun of a FEMA deadline.
An extension would allow for the opportunity to keep as much of the region's urban forest as possible and to spend valuable resources in replanting as opposed to removal. Forcing removal on an arbitrary time line only furthers the damage caused by the October storm. I urge FEMA to act now and extend this deadline and help Western New York's storm-damaged communities.
Sen. Chuck Schumer
Teen is true hero, not Barry Bonds
What a horrible mistake The News made in placing the stories on its front page on July 10. You call Barry Bonds a hero? Please! Shame on you.
The real hero is Nick Giangreco, who has recovered from a near-fatal stroke. His story, "Eager for second chance at life," which appeared below the Bonds' article, brought tears to my eyes. God bless Nick. His picture and story should have been on the top of the front page and Bonds should have been put in his rightful place -- on the back page of the sports section.
How energy-efficient will glass building be?
Aesthetically speaking, the 23-story, all glass condominium proposed to be build at Gates Circle in Buffalo looks more like an office building or a launching pad than a residential facility. It certainly is a misfit among the graceful old homes that surround it. Beyond looking odd, how energy efficient will this glass building be? Everyone needs to participate in energy conservation.
Ignorance of history dooms Bush to failure
George Santayana has been quoted as saying that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I get the impression that President Bush and his advisers haven't even studied history.
They keep sending our troops into Afghanistan when it is a historical fact that Soviet Russia a few years ago poured in thousands of soldiers, equipment and planes trying to control the area and failed badly. Several hundred years ago, back in the days of the famous Bengal Lancers and similar units, Great Britain tried to do it and likewise failed. We are trying it again.
This doesn't have a great deal to do with the Iraq conflict. That's another story. People in our Congress would like to withdraw our military, the sooner the better. As an alternative, I have often wondered why we don't withdraw our military troops from Germany, Vietnam, Korea and a few other places where they have been stationed for generations. Of course, we shouldn't cut back our military, just train and equip our soldiers so they will be able to take care of anything that happens to us anywhere.
Robert J. Jacobi
Franczyk's comments were right on target
There has been much hoopla recently regarding the comments made by Council President David Franczyk's assessment of the Catholic Diocese's plans to close numerous churches and shrines.
I feel Franczyk is quite accurate in his conclusion. For the past 40 years, the church has taken numerous steps to alienate its members. First of all drastically changing its historic liturgy, compromising its sacramentals, establishing a new calendar, radicalizing women's religious orders, secularizing its schools, discontinuing language instruction in ethnic enclaves, closing the schools and discontinuing language instruction in these churches and promulgating a new type of religion alien to most of its members.
The parishes, once the social and cultural backbone of strong and thriving neighborhoods, have become another reason for the mass exodus. As an ethnic group, Catholics have been truly cleansed.
Corporate greed is killing middle class
A recent letter suggested that Americans can stem the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to other nations by purchasing only American-made products. The writer cited foreign-made consumer electronics as one genre of goods to boycott. Although I applaud his sentiments, the reality is it's 20 years too late. The United States has no consumer electronics manufacturers anymore. We also don't make most of the furniture, appliances and clothing we buy.
Most of our automakers have partnered with foreign companies to the extent that you would probably not find a Ford or a Chevy without some original parts made outside the United States. Our choices as consumers are growing ever narrower.
The sad truth is that corporate greed and the politicians it sponsors have, for the first time in our history, raised corporate profits, raised productivity and lowered workers' income. Without a solution to stem the disappearing middle class, those chintzy foreign-made goods will be all that's left that we can afford to buy.
Buffalo is ideal location for assisted living facility
Amidst all of the current exciting development in Buffalo, one opportunity has been overlooked -- an assisted living facility for seniors. At present the popular facilities are in suburban areas, to which lifelong city dwellers don't want to move. They don't want to give up easy access to the downtown cultural institutions, familiar restaurants and shops and the vibrant street life on Elmwood Avenue.
A couple of years ago, Newsweek magazine published an article emphasizing city retirement as a new trend in forward-looking communities. Surely this is an idea and an opportunity for some Buffalo developer.