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Everybody's Column

>Home health care cuts will be devastating

Access to cost-effective and patient-preferred home care is being threatened. More than half a billion dollars in damaging cuts are proposed for home care and dangerous restructuring proposals will dismantle this valuable source of affordable long-term care.

The executive budget proposes to shut down state licensed home care agencies by not allowing them to service Medicaid home health patients needing services. This ill-conceived proposal provides no savings to the state; is not supported by data or modeling; will greatly complicate the effective provision of care; and will increase overall home care costs.

If enacted, tens of thousands of home care jobs will be lost as licensed home care agencies are forced to downsize or shut their doors, and hundreds of thousands of patients will face severe disruptions and access to care.

A strong home care system is essential to keeping New Yorkers in the comfort of their own home and out of more costly institutional settings. Home care is where people want to receive their care and the governor's proposals only serve to reduce access to this essential care.

I urge the Legislature to reject the proposal to prohibit home care contracting and reject the damaging budget cuts. Please visit to register your opposition to these proposals with the State Legislature.

Phyllis A. Wang
President, New York State Association of Health Care Providers


>Newark-Buffalo flight regularly has problems

I have flown the Newark-Buffalo Continental commuter flight on several occasions because I am an auto dealer who needs to travel to Newark for an auto auction on Thursdays. I have had this flight canceled, delayed and been stranded on the tarmac for mechanical issues on numerous occasions.

On the morning of Feb. 12 on the way to Newark, the flight was delayed -- while all the passengers were loaded on the plane and waiting -- because the de-icing truck wasn't warming the de-icing fluid properly. So there we sat waiting for a different truck for almost two hours. The pilot and crew were, and always are, very professional and courteous.

I can understand unforeseen issues, but these things should not happen on a regular basis. There should be a better process. My heartfelt prayers go out to the victims of Flight 3407 and their families. I was fortunate enough to drive home from Newark in one of the vehicles that I bought at the auction that day.

Paul Galletti
East Amherst


>Tax-free cigarettes are killing local residents

Tax-free cigarettes are the single biggest threat to public health in Western New York, where about 1,500 people die each year from cigarette smoking. The majority of cigarettes smoked in Western New York are purchased from Indian reservations at a huge discount without state taxes. This promotes tobacco use and kills people right here in our own families. These deaths know no political or cultural boundaries. Barry Snyder's recent letter suggests somehow that this is good for our economy. That is just wrong.

Court rulings have repeatedly upheld that cigarettes are only tax free for sale to Indians, yet in 2007 Seneca retailers purchased at least 1,700 cigarettes per day without a state tax stamp for every man, woman and child in the Seneca population. Local businesses and public services are harmed because of uncollected tax revenue. Tax-free cigarettes on reservations are fueling a contraband cigarette network that is increasingly linked to drug and weapons trafficking.

The status quo does nothing but protect the millions of dollars in profits made by Snyder and a few other wealthy businessmen, while our society experiences thousands of cigarette-attributable deaths, higher taxes and smuggling networks that threaten our security.

Andrew Hyland


>Educators should stop silly antics, just teach

I know it's always "all about the children," but I was disturbed by a picture in The News on Feb. 11 of a local school principal allowing herself to be humiliated in an effort to encourage students to read. Is it any wonder why young people today do not respect authority when educators, time and time again, allow students to ridicule them? Why do teachers feel they need to lower themselves in order to get children to learn?

I am sure teachers will respond in their typical condescending fashion, instructing parents that only teachers know what is best for the children. I, however, think that respect for authority is taught at a young age.

When a principal of a school thinks it's a good idea to be wrapped like a mummy or have pies thrown in his face by students and then have it celebrated in the newspaper and on TV, I have to think we have a problem in how we are educating our kids. Teachers should be held to the highest standard. Enough of the circus. Just teach.

Paul Weslow


>Animal control officer didn't need to kill cats

Concerning Frederick S. Grasso and the three cats he killed, I am a former wildlife control agent, so I speak with some knowledge. There was no reason whatsoever for him to kill those cats -- a mother and two kittens. Basic knowledge and common sense should have told him that killing was not the only answer.

Did he in his training hear of a have-a-heart trap? There is no need to get near the cats. They were allegedly feral cats and, as such, hungry. He could have set a have-a-heart trap a good distance away from this mother cat and her kittens, baited with canned cat food. They would have smelled it and gone into the trap.

He may have needed to rebait the trap in order to catch all three. But that is time consuming; it's much easier to just kill them. After all, what full-grown man would want to be attacked by a 5-pound cat and two kittens?

This man is a disgrace to his profession. He should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and never be allowed to work with animals again.

Charles F. Weyrough


>Delavan-College Station is in horrible condition

Pitiful-personified is the constant condition of the Delavan-Canisius College train station. It's the darkest, coldest and most uninviting of all the stations. The walls, near the down-under seating, are an abstract of rusted, semi-painted ugliness. Sometimes the train rails area is strewn with soggy litter. The symphony music via the speakers, in that intimidating chamber of gloom, is a surreal joke.

Katherine Massey

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