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Some state legislators don’t know why they’re being painted with the broad brush of corruption by the Moreland Commission. We know why. It is because of the history of self-serving laws, anti-democratic rules, election trickery, bribery, kickbacks, tax evasion and embezzlement. And that’s the short list.Albany has built a well-earned reputation of politicians using their o…

By Stephen K. KlaskoLet’s be hard-headed about this: How we pay for health care is changing. Our ideas about keeping people healthy are growing. How we create a structure for care demands to be transformed. That means those of us who teach, those of us who discover, those of us who practice those ideas – we have to lead.Every year, we fuss about various national surveys th…

Local food pantries need donations, tooWe read with interest the recent News article titled, “Collecting food for the hungry becomes big business in WNY.” The article referred to the Food Bank of Western New York and other major food pantries, but to complete the picture it needs to be noted that there are other local food pantries that operate independently of the Food Ba…

Hamburg schools setting bad example for studentsI have never been so disappointed to see one of my favorite teachers from high school caught up in such a disgusting waste of time and resources. Martha Kavanaugh taught me my senior year of high school for Participation in Government. She taught me to always stand up for what I believe in and treat others with respect. What …

Who’d have thought it? The House of Representatives has voted to extend the soon-to-expire ban on undetectable plastic guns. In doing so it did two favors for Americans, protecting them against a real threat to safety and also demonstrating that gun control is possible, despite the howling of those who think the Second Amendment offers blanket immunity from any effort to r…

Cards should reflect meaning of ChristmasEven though sending Christmas cards has become costly in recent years, this is the time of the year when we try to keep in touch with old friends, neighbors and perhaps relatives who have moved away. Unfortunately, it seems the people who design the cards have completely lost touch of the true meaning of Christmas – the reason we ev…

InBloom data collection raises serious red flagsI read The News article about New York State supporting inBloom data storage company with much interest, and much concern. The State Education Department is going to require school districts to send students’ information to inBloom sometime after Jan. 1. The data that inBloom collects includes personal information such as nam…

The United States should teach Afghanistan’s lame-duck leader a lesson and pull all of its troops out of the country in 2014, when most foreign troops are scheduled to withdraw.Only if President Hamid Karzai sheds his outsized ego and signs the pending Bilateral Status Agreement before the end of the year should our troops remain there.The agreement would allow the United …

Buffalo’s green future is a grass-roots effortThe Nov. 22 News headline, “City’s future looks very green,” is a dream come true. Ever since former Common Council President James Pitts launched the Green Gold Development Corp. in 1997, there has been a solid core of local folks working to build the renewable energy sector as a source of green jobs and truly sustainable deve…

Say the word “Christmas” and ask a friend: What is the first word that comes to mind? Stressful, expensive and too busy are among the feelings unfortunately associated with one of the most celebrated historical and spiritual events in the world. Make no mistake: This may be the case here in the United States, but in Europe and most other parts of the world, Christmas is ab…

Time to oust extremists and find middle groundHow sad. How very sad. The Grand Old Party is on life support. In my mind’s eye, I can see the icons of past glories of the Republican Party. If one looks closely, you can see tears in their eyes. While not a fan of the conservative view, I can and do respect the great contributions these legislators have made for the bettermen…

Government benefits the rich and powerfulI am writing in response to the provocative question with which Drew Gilpin Faust ends her Nov. 24 Viewpoints article on Abraham Lincoln’s ideals. “But is it not now altogether fitting and proper that we heed Lincoln’s exhortation and rededicate ourselves to honoring those dead by ensuring that government of the people, by the peopl…

Medina Marching Band did an outstanding jobThanks to The News for the Thanksgiving Day article about the New York State Field Band Competition, which celebrated its 40th year of high school marching band competition this year. Hundreds of Western New York students participate in this activity every year, supported by as many teachers, parents and volunteers.The article fai…

By Mike SchlichtThis past October, 32 villages, towns, cities and counties across New York State issued proclamations recognizing “Freedom From Workplace Bullies Week” and acknowledging that protection from abusive work environments should apply to every worker and not be limited to legally protected class status based only on race, color, national origin, age, sex or disa…