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Everybody's Column

>Monsignor Wurtz's death merited top of front page

On Dec. 13, I bought a copy of The News to read about the passing of Monsignor Robert Wurtz. To my surprise, the article about him was at the bottom of the front page. Who did The News decide to put at the top of the page? A person who misused the monies and trust of the people who elected him. A person who made many bad choices and acted in corrupt and inappropriate ways. The good person -- the one who was trustworthy, kind, who cared for those who relied on him and who made all the right choices -- was given the bottom of the page.

Although I am saddened by this newspaper's poor choice of what and who is important, I know that to the thousands of people whose lives Monsignor Wurtz touched, this shepherd of God will never be the bottom of the page. To those thousands of people to whom he provided food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care and spiritual guidance, he will always be the headliner.

Mary Jo Peacock
Silver Creek

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>Cop, teacher who fired gun deserved harsher punishment

This in response to the Dec. 14 News article, "Buffalo police officer, art teacher plead guilty in firing of handgun." Let me start by saying I have the utmost respect for teachers and police officers. I thank God for these people every day.

Yes, teachers and police officers are human but, like it or not, they are also role models to children. I work in an elementary school. We tell students, "Make good choices. The choices you make today will matter tomorrow."

Maybe I was absent one day during a Character Education, DARE or PIP unit. I was unaware that an exception applies if you are a school teacher or a police officer and are out bar-hopping. Conditional discharges should apply only to people whose brains are not fully developed (children and teenagers). What happened to consequences for our behavior?

Kids do make stupid mistakes. Teachers and police officers shouldn't make stupid mistakes. At the very least, they shouldn't get a second chance to make another stupid mistake and possibly shoot someone the next time. I'm thankful Megan Corcoran and Officer Dawn Lopez do not work in my school district or town.

Lizabeth Cohan
Tonawanda

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>Lives of other victims are no less important

My heart goes out to Buffalo Police Officers Carl Andolina and Patricia Parete and their families. I understand that the police have one of the most dangerous jobs in society. But people get shot and killed every day in Buffalo and guns have been out on the streets for a long time and now, all of a sudden, the Common Council and Mayor Byron Brown want to push to get the guns off the streets.

I am glad to hear of the gun buy-back proposal and I hope it works. But don't do it just because two police officers were shot; it's not right. Good people with good jobs have also been shot and killed in this city. I understand that the police have a tough job and my hat goes off to them. But an officer's life is not any more important than anyone else's.

This police shooting should not be forgotten and I hope the suspect will never see the light of day again if he is convicted. But we shouldn't forget the other victims either. I will continue to keep these officers in my prayers, as well as others, and I hope this violence stops.

David Lamont Simmons
Buffalo

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>Buffalo residents are truly first class

On a recent flight to Buffalo, I was lucky enough to be upgraded to first class and watched everyone board, including two military guys in fatigues.

Just before takeoff, the guy next to me asked the flight attendant if he could trade his first-class seat with one of the Army guys. The woman behind me chimed in, "There were two of them; I'll give up my seat, too." Then another guy across the aisle said, "I'll sit back here so they can sit together."

The flight attendant made an announcement: "I would like to invite our two servicemen up front to row two. Two of our Buffalo passengers just volunteered their first-class seats."

The entire plane erupted in applause as these two unselfish individuals walked back into coach, and the two guys moved forward. The flight attendants still gave the two people free drinks and whatever they wanted during the flight.

I fly a lot, and I've seen this happen only twice ever -- both on Buffalo flights. People can knock Buffalo for the weather and the 0-4 Super Bowl Bills, but the people are wonderful! I am proud to call myself a Buffalonian.

David G. Crewdson
Hamburg

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>News should focus on positive stories

According to News editor Margaret Sullivan ". . . the best newspaper stories are the ones that bring positive change in a newspaper's community." The News could be a more effective community member if it portrayed Buffalo in a more positive light. "Buffalonians see police losing to criminals," "Workers here aren't making much progress" and "UB takes giant step backward" are examples of the negativity of The News.

Similarly, most Buffalo Bills losses make the front page with glaring headlines, while most of the dramatic Buffalo Sabres wins do not make the front page. The News needs to print more positive local stories on the front page and reserve the more negative articles for less conspicuous sections.

The News cannot be an instrument for positive change if it continues to retain a negative view of our community.

Howard Faden
Snyder

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>Darien Lake must cut admission, parking fees

In reference to The News article regarding the sale of Darien Lake, banning smoking is great, but the way to attract more customers is by lowering the admission and parking fees and allowing people to bring in picnic baskets.

Last year, my husband and I went to Darien to enjoy watching our grandchildren ride the rides. We purchased tickets to just walk around the park, not to ride the rides, and it cost us over $30 and that did not include the parking fee. By the time we bought something to eat, the day ran us about $100. We will not go again.

The new owners should consider going back to the days when park "walkers" and "riders" could get into the park at a reasonable price and were able to bring in food and drinks. I'm convinced that the park will be mobbed because people could afford it.

Customers will still buy food and drink and even souvenirs because they won't spend all their money just getting into the park. It has to put a strain on the monthly budget of parents with several children. It's a great place for the family to spend a day together, but the cost is out of control.

Linda Wagner
Buffalo

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