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Enforce laws requiring children to attend school

It seems the problem with the Buffalo Public Schools revolves around attendance. The laws are on the books. The state can require pupils up to a certain age to attend school. The governor is in a position of power to force these non-cooperating pupils and their parents/guardians to comply. If they don't, then it's his job to enforce the laws of New York State and let the chips fall where they may. The governor is avoiding his responsibility.

Years ago, truant officers picked up delinquent students who were skipping school and brought them before a judge. He slapped them on the wrist, told them not to do it again and sent them back to school, only to go through the same procedure the following week with the same students. The judge didn't care. So the truant officers just gave up.

If you are not going to enforce the laws, then resign or live with the monster that you have created. This has been going on for 40-plus years.

If the state doesn't come up with the money, then do away with all the perks in the schools -- free lunch, special tutoring for average students, all sports, school plays, bands, orchestras, night school, summer school, uniforms and travel. The students can get their exercise in gym as required by the state. The purpose of school is to learn the three R's. You can't do it if you are laying off teachers.

If all the students are attending school full time, then the union can have no complaints. The governor must lead by action and not words. He must not pass the buck.

Joe Bauer



Keep Fillmore's name on Vascular Institute

With all this unabridged enthusiasm about the relocation of Millard Fillmore Hospital at Gates Circle to the new Gates Vascular Institute in the downtown Medical Campus, it has occurred to me that somehow the name "Millard Fillmore" has disappeared.

What could this favorite son of Buffalo have done, lying there in his grave on the grassy knoll in Forest Lawn, to have warranted his downgrading? For the past 140 years, it was "Millard Fillmore Hospital." The name "Gates" was only added to differentiate it when the Amherst satellite hospital opened.

Even the name "Gates" didn't appear on the circle until 1903, when a daughter of George Gates, Georgie Gates Pardee, gave the city a bunch of money to change the name from "Chapin Circle." Even that name change was controversial, as veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic objected vociferously to the removal of the name of a great Civil War hero from this public space. At least his name was left on the boulevard.

Similarly, the name of the renowned German naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt, was removed from the park in order to honor Martin Luther King Jr. That change makes sense since that part of the city is predominantly occupied by citizens of African-American heritage, and they deserve to have some recognition of their place in history. But how many remember who Gates was or what he did to deserve such an honor? Are we to believe that he was more important than Fillmore?

I'm sure that the officials at Kaleida Health didn't bother to give this naming business a lot of thought, but why treat Buffalo's president so cavalierly? Surely a larger sign on the new building wouldn't break the corporation.

Felix Klempka



Community has lost an outstanding coach

As a parent or a fan of sports, I tend to look at coaches at any level as a group of self-serving, power-driven monsters. On April 2, someone I know and love died. Since 1989 at Buffalo State College, Sandy Hollander was the women's softball coach. As a parent or a fan, you knew that the young women entrusted to her would be instructed at the highest level on how to play the game, but also knew that she would stress the team concept. She would also instruct them on morals and ethics.

She wanted every woman who played the game for her to exude confidence and professionalism just like her. She wanted to put out a good softball player, but more importantly she wanted to send out to the world a great all-around person. Sandy did all of this the last six years or so while battling several types of cancer and, in typical Sandy style, never once complained. During her battle with cancer, she rarely missed anything involving her team. What's most amazing in this day and age is that Sandy truly cared about each and every player she ever met.

So it's with great sadness that I say this area has lost one of the most caring, selfless people I have ever had the honor and pleasure of knowing.

Scott Dreyer



Hydraulic fracturing is safe and efficient

The April 3 Another Voice from Rita Yelda, of Food & Water Watch, was replete with misinformation and comments that are no longer germane. Please understand that there is no "fracking industry." This verbal shorthand pops up frequently in Food & Water Watch (and other groups') writings, and it clearly demonstrates the lack of understanding these opponents have and freely share with the unknowing public. Hydraulic fracturing is part of the process of exploring for natural gas and was first performed in 1947. It quickly became the industry standard for drilling vertical wells.

Throughout Western New York, there are thousands of natural gas wells that were hydraulically fractured, since the early 1950s. Several years of significant research and testing followed: hydraulic fracturing for shale gas recovery began in 1991. Increasing advances in technology and further refinement have proven that hydraulic fracturing is a safe, economical and efficient industrial method.

Yet the misunderstanding continues, furthered by those who oppose hydrocarbons and who are eager to embrace less-productive and heavily subsidized renewable energy sources. Renewable energy may well be part of our nation's energy future, but right now renewables' capacities aren't sufficient to fuel our society's needs. Natural gas, recovered through safe, proven methods, remains the best way to lessen our reliance on foreign oil, put more Americans to work in a time-honored industry and use a resource that is literally right under our feet.

Brad Gill

Executive Director, Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York


We're still in denial about futility of war

It's nice, I suppose, that some have chosen to honor us Vietnam veterans. It beats being lied to and lied about.

Still, I'd feel better if I had any reason to think that we'd learned the lessons of Vietnam. To wit: War is futile and leaders are duplicitous. But I despair of that ever happening.

Jack Dumpert