>Is DA going to investigate West Seneca AmeriCorps?
It is the responsibility of the district attorney to rectify wrongdoings committed against the public. The office is responsible for the investigation of charges and gathering of evidence to determine if there are grounds for prosecution.
Last September, an audit by the State Comptroller's Office reported numerous instances of improper and unsupported cash advances, gift card and alcoholic beverage purchases, and payments that personally benefited the then executive director of West Seneca AmeriCorps.
The audit cites many transactions that lacked proper documentation and misused public funds. Each grant contract required the executive director's signature agreeing to proper record keeping, with the awareness of the previous town supervisor and town comptroller. Both are CPAs and both were questioned at Town Board meetings regarding the lack of accountability of AmeriCorps expenditures in the town budget.
The audit provides a public record of specific instances of misuse of public funds. It also stated that "the board's and the comptroller's failure to adequately fulfill their duties allowed the Youth Bureau executive director and other employees to improperly use taxpayer money."
In spite of compelling evidence brought to light by the audit, District Attorney Frank Sedita stated in The News last September that he would prosecute when "provided credible evidence." Is his office seeking evidence? It has been four months since the audit was made public. The AmeriCorps executive director and town officials have much to answer for. Will taxpayer money owed by AmeriCorps ever be repaid? Is Sedita going to follow through with an investigation?
>Health care law does more harm than good
The News' editorial board almost never fails to surprise and astonish. One day it comes out with an informed and cogent argument for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take strong conservative action to overcome the excesses of Albany's self-serving governance. Two days later it comes out with a misinformed attack on the efforts to repeal Obamacare.
The editorial "Lack of serious intent" is seriously flawed in so many ways. Does The News think that legislation that does nothing to control costs or actually improve health care is worth keeping? What about the cost of 110 new federal bureaucracies, or some of the dumb parts of the law that require a 1099 form to be issued by businesses to anyone they do business with over $600 annually? Does The News think destroying the excellent health care of 265 million Americans is a worthwhile price to pay to help get health care for 40 million more? Apparently so.
The News claims that the United States has the most expensive health care with "mediocre" results, without understanding any of the causes, such as high obesity rates. In New York State we spend more per capita for Medicaid recipients than any other state. Yet much of that is due to bureaucratic ineptitude.
How does The News claim the Republicans offered up no ideas? I have read dozens of articles describing Republican ideas for reform. Not one of them was allowed for discussion or debate by overwhelming Democratic Party majorities in the House and Senate. No discussion of tort reform, being able to buy insurance over state lines or expansion of health savings accounts, among other things. The fact is, this legislation was written by people who know nothing about medicine, business or insurance.
>Hamburg cannot afford to maintain state beach
The Town of Hamburg has a very good beach that serves the people of our town well, so why do we need to take over the failed Woodlawn Beach?
The town beach has a boat launch, snack bar, fitness center, changing facility, basketball court and a nice grass picnic area. This park is a popular place for town residents to cool off on summer days or enjoy the view of the lake, especially at sunset.
The Town Board recently voted to take over the state park with no public notification or input on this big decision. Two of the five board members voted against this takeover and one councilman even said he had not seen any contract so he could not vote.
The state beach has been a failure since it opened because it is next to the sewer plant and the water is not fit for swimming most of the summer. It will cost the town taxpayers about $289,000 to run a beach that we do not need.
The vote was not held at a regular town meeting and the people of Hamburg did not know this was going to happen. My tax dollars will be used to keep a failed state park open. I suggest my tax bill should be reduced with the $289,000 that will be spent on a state park that Hamburg does not need.
>Writers should promote civility between nations
It seems a battle has started between columnists Donn Esmonde of The Buffalo News and Cathal Kelly of The Toronto Star. This is an attempt to get them to shake hands, to get beyond it. Bashing one another's country is so unneeded, negatively unproductive and sour-grapes.
Please set aside "the Canadians littering our malls" and "the boorish Americans who discredit themselves across the border" comments. They do not represent either side's average citizen. Both of them know that. They should confine their verbose angry rhetoric to themselves. They have the talent and capability to be editorially influential in promoting civility and good-will between both countries, sorely needed in today's world societies. Give it a try, please.
>Freshly fallen snow is a sight to behold
I woke up the other morning and was greeted by a panoramic view of nature's artistry. Looking at the whitest snow clinging to the branches of evergreens and rooftops was a sight to behold. When I arrived outside, the crisp, cold air let each breath cleanse my lungs and refresh my very being. I stood there and took some time to take it all in. As far as the eye could see, everything was white.
The calm, quiet air was interrupted by some distant snow blowers, but that was OK, too, because it all was just part of this amazing scene before my eyes. Watching my Sheltie greet this newly fallen snow was amusing. She stuck her nose directly into a snowbank and left it there for a while as she savored the moment. Then it was time to roll around in the snow until she was completely covered and looking like a four-legged snow being.
As I stood and watched this setting, I couldn't help but say to myself, "is this awesome or what?" Winter in Buffalo is an experience to behold. It encompasses a beauty that is unique to our location. I will continue to remember moments such as these as I look back on my life's portrait. Buffalo is awesome.