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Everybody's Column

County must discontinue logging in County Forest

Last month, Erie County held a press conference in the County Forest announcing it was being logged. At that point, every sugar maple over 20 inches in diameter -- more than 200 trees -- had been harvested.

The 3,500-acre county forest was established in 1927 to protect our land and streams from storm-water runoff, flooding and erosion; and for wildlife habitat and sustainable forestry. For decades it has added to our quality of life by supporting hiking, skiing, bird and wildlife watching, maple sugaring and other healthy outdoor recreation. For decades it has given us cleaner air and purer water. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that over a 50-year life span, one tree contributes $150,000 in clean air and water benefits.

Now the forest is coming down -- 17 acres so far and counting. Why? Will it address the county budget deficit? Has anyone done the economics on the value of the living forest? Has anyone looked at how wholesale logging is fouling the brooks that recharge the Buffalo River and Cattaraugus Creek?

Stop the logging now. If the county can show us how we collectively gain from cutting our forest, then it must at least produce and follow a sustainable forestry plan. What is happening now is irresponsible.

Margaret Wooster

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper



Auto workers deserve this region's support

As a General Motors employee, I'm very concerned about the survival of the American auto industry. GM, Ford, Delphi and American Axle employ approximately 10,000 employees in Western New York, and with retirees and dependents, close to 50,000 livelihoods depend upon these area jobs. Recently several hundred employees of these local plants were laid off.

You may not care about these people because you're not an auto worker, but if the auto industry collapses, the region loses millions of dollars of payroll. This means less money to buy non-related goods and services, which may affect your job.

I realize some GM and Ford models are not entirely made in the United States, but overall the majority of models are assembled here and contain a high percentage of American-made parts. The parts content and assembly of Korean vehicles (Hyundai and Kia) is nearly 100 percent foreign.

It always amazes me when area residents complain that their children can't find a decent job or about rising taxes and the number of people utilizing social services. In their driveway is a foreign-made vehicle, and they never give it a second thought.

James Burns



News has insulted an Irish tradition

After reading the March 20 front-page story and review of the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, I must express my total shock and disgust at the slanted and disgraceful manner in which The News took something wonderful and turned it completely around.

Rather than commenting on the outstanding turnout, in inclement weather, of thousands of participants and many more thousands of delighted viewers, it instead focused on one or two miscreants who may have gone overboard in their enthusiasm.

By quoting a man saying, "I'm drinking, I'm drunk and I'm Irish," and "This is a religious holiday in Ireland, but here it's turned into a drunkard holiday," The News has disgraced those of Irish descent and others who hold the annual event in such high regard, the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who work year-round to ensure the parade's success, and the wonderful and historic spirit and tradition behind the event itself.

Patrick W. Roche

President, Blackthorn Club


Upstate is a misnomer for Western New York

So the candidates are crying "upstate!" are they? It means nothing to me unless they start crying "Western New York!" As far as I know, they could easily mean Poughkeepsie when they talk about doing something for Upstate. Buffalo Niagara Partnership President Andrew Rudnick and even The News make the same mistake. Don't allow politicians to lump us together. We are not all the same. We do not have the same needs. We do not like being thought of only in reference to New York City. We are important in our own right. Remove the word "upstate" from your vocabulary. That way when we hear someone use it, we'll recognize that they neither know nor care about what is really happening in Western New York.

Bob Anderson



Orchard Park board should be investigated

The Town of Orchard Park's Insurance Brokers Advisory Committee is charged with using its wisdom to help the town select insurance. But the committee gets paid more money when the town spends more for insurance, and has a monopoly on who can submit bids. Is this really legal and proper? Isn't this like paying the fox more if it kills more chickens while guarding the hen house?

A non committee broker submits a bid that would save the town over $150,000 in one year. What about past years? When Supervisor Mary Travers Murphy calls for the abolishment of this system, the other Town Board members force her to sign a document keeping it in place. Some of them attack Travers Murphy, claiming that she is the one who acted improperly and might have committed ethical violations. Excuse me? Perhaps an independent Ethics Board of non-Orchard Park people should be created to look into this whole thing, as well as other allegations against the board. Hey, that sounds familiar.

Kevin A. Lane

Orchard Park


Rooms do not define hospital efficiency

An article in the March 23 News about DeGraff Hospital increasing the number of private rooms caused me to remember the times I have been hospitalized. Several decades ago I had an appendectomy. My recovery was in a ward with approximately 30 other men. The care was excellent, with a nurse positioned in the room at all times.

More recently I had heart surgery and the recovery was in the intensive care unit with other patients, followed by a period in a semi-private room. The intensive care unit had a nurse in the room at all times. In the semi-private room, if my roommate or I needed a nurse, one of us could call a nurse. A nurse was at a desk at the end of the hallway and would come if she were not occupied in one of the other rooms.

I've often thought about the comparison between the two experiences. If privacy is more important than efficient care in a hospital, then private or semi-private rooms are the way to go. For myself, I would prefer being hospitalized in a ward.

Robert Hale

Town of Tonawanda


Bush, Cheney act has become comical

If it wasn't so tragic, it would be hilarious. The comedy team of Bush and Cheney calling Democrats inept! The most inept president and vice president in our country's history are apparently suffering from memory loss as well. Who do they think is responsible for a wasteful, no-win war, a failed foreign policy, a massive deficit, the loss of thousands of jobs to other countries, not to mention the Katrina, Dubai, Social Security and Medicare drug program debacles? It is high time the terrible twosome be held accountable for their ineptitude.

Doris Keaton


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