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Everybody's Column

>Arbitrator's ruling was victory for Buffalo students, teachers

I read the March 7 editorial, "Battle won, while still losing war," about the arbitrator favoring the Professional, Clerical and Technical Employees Association in the contract dispute with the Buffalo School District over a single health care provider. The News made some good points, but there were some misconceptions.

First, the $1 million a month the district has been saving does not appear to have been shifted to the classroom. This money has not been shared with the teachers, nor has it gone in to the classrooms. Sadly, many of us feel we might never recoup the funds.

The laid-off teachers have all been hired back in one capacity or another, except for the contract attendance teachers. We simply lost our jobs in an act of political rather than economic expediency. As a result, thousands of students are absent from school daily, causing higher drop-out rates.

The ruling was a victory for students and teachers, who now can think about a future where not only the classroom benefits but those providing needed support services, such as attendance officers, counselors, social workers and psychologists.

Maria Rosa
Buffalo

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>Neighbors of soccer complex should welcome Relay for Life

I am writing in regard to the March 14 article in The News concerning the use of the West Seneca Soccer Complex by Relay for Life. I understand why some neighbors are upset, but they should not judge or condemn Relay for Life by past performances of complex users.

To see all the teenagers and adults working so hard for a common goal is truly heart-warming. All of the people involved devote not just the one night, but work for weeks and months to make it a success.

Maybe all the neighbors and nay-sayers could come out that night to join us and help these dedicated people meet a worthwhile goal. As a mother of a cancer patient and a chaperone for the Relay Rockers team, I ask everyone to join us in the fight.

Judi Paddy
West Seneca

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>Abuse of circus animals can no longer be ignored

The beating of a dog, the dumping of sick puppies at the side of a road and the mutilation of a rabbit have been reported as animal abuse, and rightly so. However, when an animal circus comes to town, it is reported as "family entertainment." Why is it abuse when a dog is beaten, but entertainment when an elephant is beaten in a circus?

Many municipalities across the United States have banned animal circuses. Legislation has also been introduced in Nebraska, Massachusetts and in the city of Chicago to end the display of exotic animals. People are becoming more aware of the miserable life of circus animals in which cramped cages, chains and beatings are the norm.

I think it's about time that people stop looking the other way.

Judith Manka
East Amherst

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>Free-market economics hurting many Americans

The "What People Earn" feature in the March 12 issue of Parade was enlightening, especially since it came a couple of days after the annual Forbes listing of billionaires. I noticed that King Kong is at the top of the list, outearning even Howard Stern. That should prove reassuring to the people who are still searching for the missing link. In the ultimate scheme of things, if such characters, like many others in the multimillion-dollar brackets disappeared, would it really matter? On the other hand, if people like the Wisconsin dairy farmer at $22,600, or the New Jersey housewife listed at zero income, went away, where would we be?

My economist buddies probably look down on such journalistic endeavors as non-scientific. But then, many of them subscribe to so-called free-market economics. That has been in place in the White House pretty much since the "Great Communicator" reassured us that "a rising tide lifts all boats." Sounds fine, except most Americans don't own even a rowboat. So, like the Oregon clerk said: "I feel like I'm treading water hoping not to get swamped." And she's listed at $40,600. What about the growing army of near minimum wage workers?

President Bush tells us that's how the free market works. Except that our workers are forced to compete with slave labor. That may explain why their incomes adjusted for inflation have been steadily decreasing, while the profits of oil barons, banks, public utilities and the pharmaceutical industry soar.

Rupert J. Ederer
Clarence

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>Misinformation abounds on purpose of trapping

I can't believe the nonsense I have read about the trapped coyote. The trap was not illegal. The season was open. The illegality was that a name tag was missing. If the coyote could pull the trap out of the ground, it could have also ripped off the name tag.

Coyotes are misunderstood? They are a predator of deer fawns, fox, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, pets, etc. Coyotes are increasing in our area. We don't have wolves and mountain lions controlling their population any more, so the job falls to people.

Trapping is never the answer? Remember in the late '80s, when rabid raccoons were crawling into kids' sandboxes? Beavers are now flooding property in some suburbs.

As for the evil leg hold trap, it was the tool used by trappers to reintroduce otters to Western New York, and wolves to the West, unharmed. Did the writer forget the coyote from the trap was released early because it had such a quick recovery? A little less drama, please.

David Petrie
Eden

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>Teacher's clothing shows a lack of professionalism

I read with interest the March 14 front-page News article on the closing of Stepping Stone Academy because of poor academic performance. The Charter Schools Institute cited dismal academic performance, administrative disarray, serious disciplinary problems and distracted and disengaged pupils.

The pictures accompanying the article point out one fundamental reason for the school's failure. The students are dressed appropriately in a professional manner, ready to learn, with white shirts, ties, skirts, etc., while the teacher looks like he is ready to snooze dressed in his chinos and golf shirt. The teacher looks like a student while the students look like a teacher.

The lack of professionalism shown by some teachers today is appalling. Teachers are supposed to be setting examples, one of which is to create a learning atmosphere and at least look like a teacher.

Thomas C. Andrews
Sanborn

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>President must be stopped before he does further harm

Movements often begin with a few dissatisfied people talking about possibilities. We may have a contemporary example of this in five small towns in Vermont, where impeaching President Bush has become the major item on the agenda. It is doubtful that this will ever become a national movement, unless the American people begin to realize the further harm this administration can bring to our country between now and the 2008 presidential elections.

How many more lies, how many more examples of incompetence and hubris will the people acquiesce to before what started in Vermont will spread to the entire country? I am not holding my breath, but I am hoping.

Andre Toth
Williamsville

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