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Everybody's Column

We need to watch out for neglected children

I am very concerned about the incident involving the Riverside mother of five who faces child endangerment charges. Several years ago, we had a similar situation at 50 Hertel Ave. where the living conditions were so horrible that even the cockroaches moved out -- no joke.

After listening to a local TV news report about the Riverside incident it seems that not much has changed. The report stated that Erie County had been working with this family for two months. If that is true, how could these horrible living conditions exist? Throughout those two months, shouldn't something have happened to improve the quality of life for these children?

The report also stated that the county was in the process of relocating this family. What good is that going to do if the same hygiene practices persist in the new home? Is the landlord compensated for the loss? Will the next landlord have one big expensive mess to clean up?

Our children are our future. Their welfare is of the utmost importance. We must protect them better. All children should have food, clean clothing and attend school. If you are concerned about the well being of children in your neighborhood, call Child Protection Services.

Marsha Huard



Arts get lost in shuffle; students deserve praise

On June 4, I spent the evening being entertained with songs, music and comedy routines that had the crowd roaring. It was the fifth annual Cabaret Night at Iroquois High School. The entire show was student-created and directed. In an environment where the arts get lost in the shuffle, the public is not nearly aware enough of the incredible talents that walk the halls of this high school. I have attended band and orchestra concerts that were worthy of the Philharmonic. The chorale department is outstanding! Our musicians have been recognized at the highest levels. This year, the drama club received the Kenny Award for its outstanding musical, "The Boyfriend."

I am in awe of the talent that exists among these students. It is quite sad that they do not get the attention and praise they deserve. Beyond their incredible talents in the arts, these students are some of the most polite, respectable, level-headed youth I know. They take true joy in each other's accomplishments. It is an honor to know them and to watch them perform. They may not get the attention of a championship sports team, but these students are no less deserving of the same admiration and respect.

Mary Buehlmann



Immigration bill doesn't make sense

I can't imagine why our politicians would believe that this immigration bill would make sense to anyone. If we applied their logic to the real world, then any person working for a U.S. corporation should be instantly entitled to become an owner once they worked there. It just doesn't happen that way in a capitalist society.

Americans will never consider any Mexican to be entitled to become an American just because he or she worked here. To me, our politicians are just trying to promote a communist-type immigration bill where citizenship is handed out by our government, like a communist handing out government-seized private property.

Matthew R. Powenski



Bush administration attacks basic freedoms

"If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision to bear or beget a child." -- 1972 Supreme Court decision, Eisenstadt v. Baird.

For all of the conservatives' bluster about terrorism, abortion and anti-immigration laws, their assault on our basic freedoms is in full effect. "Unwarranted governmental intrusion" is evident on most issues facing us -- for example, the attorney general scandal, illegal wiretapping, the Terri Schiavo case -- the list could go on and on.

Let's hope the slim Democratic majority in both Houses gets something right. The job of Congress is to uphold the Constitution, not usurp it, or allow that to be done by a malevolent administration.

Jeff Couhig

West Seneca


Cheney has hurt nation, it's time for him to go

I have just signed on to a petition to impeach Vice President Cheney. I believe he is the mind behind the egregious wrongheadedness of the Bush administration. He and President Bush have changed the soul of the United States by implementing the ideas of the unitary presidency, pre-emptive war and the nonconnection between al-Qaida and Iraq. They continue to believe that a military victory is possible in Iraq when the problem and solution have been political and ideological from the start.

Frank Needham



Are six men needed to plant one tree?

Town of Tonawanda taxpayers should be disturbed about how their tax dollars are being wasted, as illustrated on the front page of the June 9 edition of The Buffalo News, where six men are shown planting one tree in Lincoln Park.

I'm sure that if a private contractor was doing the job, it would have used two men to do the job, maybe three at the most. Again, wasted tax dollars.

Stephen Strnad



It's no wonder so many are fighting Wal-Mart

Health care is not the only thing that Wal-Mart is costing taxpayers. Because of the low wages it pays its associates, new hires are referred by Wal-Mart's human resources department to county social services to apply for food stamps and HEAP. Associates are either worked part time so they cannot qualify for company health insurance, which carries a $1,000 deductible, or they are made to work overtime off the books without overtime pay. Wal-Mart has been taken to court for this in several states.

For cities and towns, taxes go out when Wal-Mart builds a store. Wal-Mart has required communities to pay for driveways and lighting, and communities must build storm sewers to handle runoff from its parking lots. In the long run, these communities die a slow death when small family-owned businesses go under because they cannot compete with the big box and residential taxpayers must pick up the slack for the eroded tax base.

This is why Amherst, Lockport and Wheatfield have rejected new Wal-Mart stores and the residents of North Tonawanda are against it as well.

Susan R. Wilke

North Tonawanda

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