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Everybody's Column

>Benefits of breastfeeding should have been reported

As a registered nurse and certified lactation consultant at Women and Children's Hospital, I read with interest the article on the financial impact of having a baby. I was extremely disappointed to see that the "What's cheaper: breastfeeding or formula?" section was accompanied by a picture of a baby being bottle-fed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists and the World Health Organization all recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. That would mean the baby is receiving only breast milk, either at the breast, or expressed milk in a bottle.

Human milk is species specific and research has shown that breastfed babies have decreased incidence of respiratory infections, ear infections, diarrhea, allergies, asthma and diabetes and have higher IQs. It is unfortunate that the article didn't address the decrease in health care costs related to breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding moms don't need nursing shirts to breastfeed. Their caloric intake should be 2,000 to 2,200 calories per day. A 25 percent increase in the food budget seems extreme.

The News had an opportunity to promote and support breastfeeding as the economical and healthier choice for both mom and baby, and instead chose to make a joke. A breast pump, even the most expensive, would not cost as much as three months of formula. It would be wonderful to see articles on the benefits of breastfeeding.

Kyle Brach, R.N., IBCLC
Coordinator of Lactation Services
Women and Children's Hospital


>Success of cat adoption program is heartwarming

In the midst of all of our country's economic woes being reported by the media, I was truly uplifted by Donn Esmonde's column of Sept. 26 documenting the success of the SPCA-sponsored cat adoption program at the Walden Galleria. What a welcomed, heartwarming story!

After reading his August column on the SPCA's need to euthanize healthy cats because there was no room for them there or at other shelters, I was heartbroken. Over the years, I have taken in four stray cats, and the love, companionship and fun that they have given me has truly enriched my life, so I know firsthand the happiness pets can bring.

Kudos to Esmonde for his wonderful story, to the SPCA serving Erie County and to Rick Lewis of the Talking Phone Book and an anonymous donor for all their assistance to the felines whose lives have been (and are being) saved. Their efforts are bringing the message to the public that these homeless critters are in need of and deserve good homes. I guarantee that these cats will return love to you a hundred-fold.

Kathy Staebell


>Ethnic neighborhoods discourage assimilation

I am writing in regard to the Sept. 30 article in The News, "East L.A. seeks to become a city of its own." As a member of the community that is now most commonly known as the Elmwood Village, I am well aware of the importance of community identity. Yet the situation that East Los Angeles is facing in trying to become its own city may in fact backfire on the citizens -- legal and illegal -- whom it is trying to represent.

As somewhat of an ethnic enclave of Mexican and Latino immigrants, East L.A. has become a place where immigrants, old and young, legal and illegal, are able to live and prosper among their peers. If East L.A. goes along with its plans to become a city of its own, these businesses and residents may face damaging scrutiny from the government.

This story also left me wondering if communities such as East L.A. are good for America or the Latinos and Mexicans living within them. They are not forced to learn English or conform to any of the values that many consider "American," and by closing themselves off further, they will start a trend of ethnic neighborhoods and detract from the mixing pot culture that this country thrives on.

Hannah M. Jensen


>Bus driver shortage is due to unruly students, parents

As a 30-year professional school bus driver who has driven in the Buffalo School District for 22 years, I was beside myself when I read The News article about First Student. School officials say the company is not doing its part in delivering the children to school on time because of a lack of drivers.

I believe that it's time to "take one for the team." Readers should be aware of what the largest problem in attracting new employees to the transportation industry is. In what other capacity can you be threatened, harassed, beaten up and called names that can't be printed, while controlling a 28,000-pound vehicle? And that's just the students!

There is a crisis of epidemic proportions regarding the parents of these students. A driver has to be aware of parents trying to make their way onto the bus, sometimes with a baseball bat in tow, shouting obscenities at the driver, because in all likelihood, they are upset by something that happened in school. The driver is "just" a means to an end, and how sad for today's youth.

If Superintendent James Williams and his assistants take their heads out of the sand, discipline these students, get the parents under control and give some backing to these poor drivers, I guarantee that the shortage of loyal, professional drivers will no longer be a problem.

Sharon M. Rybak


>LIN TV should pay piper, get channels back on cable

LIN TV, which owns WIVB Channel 4, is the number-one rated TV station in Western New York. Channel 4 News is rated number one in Western New York. I am sure its advertising revenue is also number one locally.

Now LIN TV demands money from Time Warner Cable to broadcast its programs. Time Warner has refused. So with utter disregard to viewers, LIN has pulled its programs from cable.

It's all about greed, it's all about money. Corporations don't care about people. Channels 4 and 23 will return to cable. When they do, I say, turn to Channel 2 or 7. They care about their viewers. LIN TV wants more money.

Paul Comerford


>Even GOP candidates know Bush failed terribly

To those of you who have been amusing us in this column these past 7 1/2 years with your vociferous defense of President Bush in the face of all his egregious mismanagement, I have a question. Now that John McCain and Hockey Mom are trashing Bush in every speech in every way in every state, are you going to vote for them or withdraw your support for pointing out to you how fatuous you've been?

James Croucher

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