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Everybody's Column

Teen who attacked teacher doesn't deserve leniency

After reading the June 26 News article, "Ex-student admits attacking teacher," two thoughts come to mind.

The judge indicated that she would consider youthful offender status and a light prison term for the teen. This is a 17-year-old who violently car-jacked and assaulted a teacher, who was then left bloody in the street. This incident does not seem to cry for leniency for the attacker. Supreme Court Justice Penny Wolfgang needs to send a strong message that regardless of age, actions should determine the punishment.

The article also mentions that the injured teacher was denied worker's compensation because she was not on school grounds during the assault. Grover Cleveland is one of many city schools that does not have adequate parking for its staff. Staff members are forced to park on the surrounding streets of the schools. If the Board of Education is not required to provide parking, then the surrounding streets should be considered school grounds for assaults and attacks on school employees.

Brad Swiech

Buffalo Teacher



Officials should dismiss charges against deputy

Thanks to The News for printing the June 14 article regarding the lack of DNA evidence in the case against Erie County Sheriff Deputy George Avery. We have been aware for months of the facts that were finally put into print for all to read.

We believe the role of the district attorney's office is to seek justice by evaluating all of the facts as they are uncovered and basing its decision on all of the facts. In light of the known facts and the lack of any evidence, we continue to ask: Why haven't these charges been dismissed?

This is a very sad reminder that all law enforcement officers put themselves in harm's way every day while doing their job of protecting us, and that they can face the added assault of false accusations made by those who break the law.

False claims can be brought against any officer and ruin his life. How do you restore the loss of a good name and heal the inconceivable physical and mental pain when those falsely accused are proven innocent? We consider this to be a great moral and financial miscarriage of justice against a good, righteous and innocent man.

Richard and Beverly Smolinski



Franczyk owes diocese an apology for comment

Council President David A. Franczyk and the Council members who support his comments owe the congregations of the Catholic Diocese an apology after relating the merging of city parishes to the ethnic cleansing experienced in areas throughout the world. Not only does it show a deep ignorance of the wholesale murders the term invokes, it also displays a deep lack of knowledge of the Journey in Faith and Grace that brought about the decision to close these beloved buildings.

As a member of a city congregation that celebrated its last Mass Sunday, I know the sense of loss that merging and closing a 100-year-old ethnic parish brings. The diocese created the Journey in Faith and Grace to guide each congregation down a path of structured decision making.

I applaud the diocese for its patience and understanding of the emotions this process engenders. My parish, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, has already been purchased by a religious group that will continue worship in our beautiful sanctuary.

Franczyk's hurtful and inappropriate comments do nothing to alleviate the pain that already exists in these announcements. As an aside, perhaps Franczyk recalls the process that downsized the Common Council some years back, when he displaced James Pitts as council president. At that time, comments were made that the Fillmore District expanded its boundaries to include majority neighborhoods thereby ensuring Franczyk's re-election.

I recall that Franczyk called that downsizing painful but necessary, making his latest comments even more disappointing and surprising.

Gregory Lodinsky



Media must investigate Cheney's illegal actions

Since last week's announcement that Vice President Cheney's buddies at Halliburton are taking billions of our no-bid contract tax dollars and moving them out of the United States and into the United Arab Emirates, I have been waiting for someone in the media to show some inquisitiveness, to broaden the coverage, to initiate any sort of investigation into this outrage. The media should put this story on the front page for a few weeks or months -- with the same rabid attention they gave to a girl named Monica.

Journalists follow whatever shiny object this criminal administration holds up in front of their eyes. The 9/1 1 planner? Do you think anyone bought that story? The Gonzales mess? OK, that's valid, but only to show how our taxes again are being eaten up by timely congressional investigations over more criminal activity by Bush et al.

I know the media have to sell papers with sensationalism and "today's big scoop," but it's just scary that no one in the mainstream media, other than Keith Olbermann, can find the value in stories that affect the future of this country. If, after all of the illegal, impeachable offenses by Bush and Cheney, this Halliburton story isn't meaty enough for the media to take a good bite, then I dread to find out what is.

Suzanne L. Harris



Explore different uses for Richardson complex

There are different uses for the Buffalo Psychiatric Center site that would be worth exploring.

First, the Buffalo Psychiatric Center should stay in the parklike area where it is, instead of the depressing, run-down area of Erie County Medical Center, for the sake of the patients, who pose no harm to anyone near Elmwood Avenue.

Secondly, the main H.H. Richardson building should house a museum dedicated to the unique architectural history and features of the Buffalo Niagara region. Most of the outer buildings beyond the point where the complex looks lopsided should be demolished to be equal to their counterparts to the east of the main building.

Meanwhile, the land along Rockwell Drive should be purchased by Buffalo State College for athletic fields, so that the college can expand to offer men's baseball and lacrosse and women's field hockey and tennis.

Also, the land along Letchworth and Forest could be used for the proposed Buffalo weather museum. Alternative locations for this could be the outer harbor or any of the prime development sites in Niagara Falls. Wherever this is built, it should be a replica of the former Larkin Office Building and must have a working relationship with the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Kevin F. Yost


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