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Everybody's Column

>Don't convert Mount View to an assisted living facility

While many in Lockport are distressed about the possible negative consequences of the Berger Commission's proposal to close Mount View Health Facility, there is another troubling element in the report: A misguided proposal to develop 100 Medicaid-funded assisted living beds at Mount View.

Operating at a fraction of the cost of nursing homes, adult home and assisted residences offer frail seniors a home-like setting and personal care services tailored to their individual needs while promoting dignity, choice and independence. However, because these community-based senior residences lack access to Medicaid funding, they are unable to provide the enhanced personal care services that assisted living does best. This forces lower- and moderate-income residents to relocate to 24-hour skilled-nursing facilities like Mount View at twice the Medicaid cost if and when their care needs increase.

Providing additional financial support for non-institutional, long-term care is critical to New York's future. However, converting nursing homes to assisted living residences is the wrong approach. New York's senior citizens deserve a more thoughtful plan, one that enhances care options in the community among family and friends.

Lisa Newcomb
Executive Director, Empire State
Association of Assisted Living


>Beer-drinking Santas send the wrong message

Holiday fund-raiser or not, the picture of seven men dressed as Santa raising their beer bottles in greeting had absolutely no place on The News picture page. Santa indeed is a jolly old elf, but we who believe would like to think it's a natural good will, not alcohol induced.

And how in the world do we explain seven drinking Santas to our kids who believe? I think this picture could indeed send the wrong message to young, impressionable children. Hopefully, not too many of them saw it.

Sally Tanner
West Seneca


>Sketch, DNA profile of rapist could hinder investigation

The emphasis placed on genetic testing in the bike path rapist case may be hindering the investigation. The most recent sketch was computer-generated based on what is alleged to be the genetic makeup of the perpetrator. Earlier sketches taken from victims' descriptions look nothing like this.

It's impossible to believe that with the coverage this case has generated, someone hasn't come forward with information that would lead to an arrest. I believe the recent sketch and the DNA profile have caused many people to discount what might have seemed suspicious.

Yet how reliable is this testing? Autosomal DNA tests claim to determine "genetic percentage." They are designed to tell what percentage Native American, European, East Asian and African a person is. A drawback with autosomal tests is their present state of imperfection and large margin of error -- up to 15 percent, according to some genomics experts.

These tests are controversial and the results are often disputed. Unless authorities are positive that the genetic information presented is 100 percent accurate, perhaps it should be publicized as a possibility rather than an absolute. Additional tips would surely come in and this case might, at long last, be solved.

Elaine Maloney
Lake View


>Region should develop toxin-free energy source

This area desperately needs cheaper electrical power to lower homeowners' exorbitant rates -- some of the highest in the nation -- and to attract light industry to the area, because without a manufacturing base, the area's economy will continue to backslide. Tourism isn't going to pay the bills.

We have 1,100 acres in the old Bethlehem Steel complex on the shores of Lake Erie, which are ripe with winds every day. This is a renewable, toxin-free energy source that requires little, if any, monitoring. Why, then, are we literally walking away from developing this power source and eagerly embracing an upgrade of the Huntley power station, one of the filthiest coal-fired stations in the Northeast?

Coal is a fossil fuel. It produces toxins that will continuously have to be monitored. Jobs, we scream, oh it will bring jobs! But these are temporary jobs. Cheap electric power via wind farms would bring permanent jobs. So I have to ask, why? Maybe I should answer myself -- money in the pockets of those in charge.

Rich McCarthy


>Phillips doesn't deserve sympathy or news coverage

There is far too much attention given Ralph "Bucky" Phillips, who enjoys every moment of it, smiles at the victims' families in the courtroom and confessed to being "guilty as hell." He thoroughly enjoyed getting all of the publicity that was in the media, including that of The News, which displayed a photo of his bearded face and twinkling grin on the front page.

Every time this career criminal is noticed, he finds an enormous thrill and satisfaction in what he has accomplished during his lifetime career.

We the public must understand that this man's personality consists of self-aggrandizement that is the earmark of a psychopathic personality. He revels in his deeds. He has no conscience and no regrets. His jollies come from giving pain, from inflicting hurt and death. As a psychotherapist, I believe we need not waste our sympathies on the likes of people like Phillips, because these derelicts take glee in who they are.

Ursula A. Falk


>Put something on waterfront and lots of people will come

On the way to work the other day, I noticed a new McDonald's had been built on McKinley Parkway near Bailey Avenue. It's a beautiful structure that took just a few months to construct and begin operation. Maybe McDonald's, Delta Sonic, Applebee's, Noco or TGIF Fridays could help coordinate our waterfront development. They always seem to know how to get things done in a timely fashion, and they provide services that families like and need.

Or at least they could be asked to become part of the development along the waterfront. Because if they build, we know people will come. These companies may also be inclined to fund other family-oriented entertainment venues that we would want to visit right on the water.

I know I could easily be persuaded to enjoy beach areas; running, walking or biking along the waterway; playing a round of par-3 golf; going to an outdoor concert; ice skating; walking through the marina; bowling with boats seen through windows in the background; visiting the Lake Erie Mall; going to the new casino; or visiting the museum featuring our older heritage and grain elevators.

Jim McLaughlin
West Seneca

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