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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

It takes longer to walk over snow-filled lawns

It is mind-boggling that the U.S. Postal Service is insisting that mail carriers walk across lawns. Why is it all right to walk on a citizen's property? Surely using public sidewalks can't take that much more time.

In this country it is my understanding that employees are supposed to be provided safe places to work. Mail carriers are already out in the elements, no matter what they are, so how can it be safe for them to walk through snow (that could be knee- or hip-high this winter) on people's lawns? The whole idea seems unsafe and ludicrous.

Even if there is ice on some sidewalks, which is entirely possible, it would seem to be safer and more practical to use sidewalks. How are carriers supposed to keep their pants dry when tromping through deep snow? And, come spring, they are apt to be trapsing through mud, which isn't safe either -- to say nothing of the mess it might make of some lawns.

I suppose mail carriers are not supposed to stop for a minute or two to chat with their customers either in some places, which is unfortunate. They might be the only contact someone has with another person.

Efficiency is fine and certainly to be commended in any business, but having to traverse snow-covered lawns does not seem very efficient.

Nancy R. Consedine

Olean

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Postal Service woes are due to mismanagement

Reading the articles about petty behavior in the post office compels me to write. I am a retired letter carrier who remembers when all that was required was to deliver the correct mail into the correct receptacles. Customer service was of paramount concern. Employee safety was important. The ratio of management to workers was low.

Then came the "new" and "improved" Postal Service. People who never performed the job suddenly knew how to improve the job. Absurd rules led to dumb discipline. Carriers who never were involved in any disciplinary action were written up for rule violations. The pressure mounted as the mail volume decreased. Every minute of our workday was scrutinized. A computer program decided how the mail was to be delivered and the management lemmings obeyed. Productivity plummeted, revenue declined and the pressure increased.

Moving starting times back because mail distribution failed led to carriers delivering during darkness. Business mail declined as alternative methods became essential to their survival. All of this is directly attributable to mismanagement. Carriers walking "slowly" and not crossing lawns is not the reason for poor service. Put the blame where it belongs.

Louis A. McDonald

Blasdell

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Supervisors should give letter carriers a break

I can't believe I just read the story of the post office issuing a warning to a carrier for not crossing snow-covered lawns to deliver the mail. I wonder who would deliver the mail if all carriers were suspended for walking on sidewalks instead of snow-covered lawns? Is this covered in the mail carriers' handbook? Seriously, who has the job to tail carriers and report them for walking on sidewalks when clearly it makes no sense to trudge in deep, unlevel snow? Next thing you know there will be a movement to make property owners shovel paths across lawns for mail delivery. The post office should give the carriers a break. If the supervisor sees a problem, why can't he pitch in and help out?

Gloria West

Buffalo

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Community responded admirably to tragedy

As a member of the Western New York community, I applaud all who responded to the Flight 3407 tragedy. In the sudden face of disaster, Clarence Center and the surrounding communities pulled together in a very short amount of time and did a professional and caring job. I am proud to see how efficiently and professionally this disaster was handled, especially with respect for the victims and their families.

In the dark face of sorrow, the light and goodwill of Western New York shine. What a respectful picture they have placed on national news, showing that people do still care, and do their jobs with thoughtfulness.

Connie Kaack

Fillmore

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Diverse prayer service offered hope, healing

I thought the Western New York religious community had a sensitive and inspiring service for the friends and families of Flight 3407. It provided closure to the people of this grief-stricken community with a positive outlook for hope. I was impressed at how diverse our religious community has become and how some of these ministers of faith took the time to translate their words into English, so we could understand their passion for forgiveness and healing at this moment of despair.

We are all linked together through the strands of humanity. The words of a young minister from Zion Lutheran Church were most profound. He said, "Sometimes we wrestle with God's love for us, but he never wrestles with his love for us." Whether we are vessels or souls of a supreme being, this service provided a positive outlook on how courageous we are when called upon to help and console each other, and to carry on a compelling need to be good to one another in our everyday lives.

Philip James Jarosz

Buffalo

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Gamblers' desire to cash in on 3407 is appalling

The other day, I was patronizing a small retail establishment and found myself shocked, angered and ultimately saddened by what I observed as I stood waiting in line. A woman approached the counter to casually purchase a lottery ticket and it was not a child's birthday or a wedding anniversary, but the ill-fated flight number 3407. As if this were not enough to cast a shadow of offense, the visibly uncomfortable clerk explained that 3407 was currently unavailable, which in lottery language means that legions of players had already beaten her to the punch by slapping down their dollars on the very same number. I find this desire to "cash in" on extreme tragedy and loss to be in very poor taste at best, and at worst, egregiously disrespectful to those who are mourning.

Somehow I cannot wrap my mind around the notion that gambling on the flight number of a fallen aircraft filled with other people's loved ones is properly aligned with basic human kindness, respect and overall compassion. If, by the slimmest chance this number 3407 does come out and the "winners" rush to claim their loot, I sincerely hope they consider the possibility of being charitable to victims' families.

Deanna L. Collins

Cheektowaga

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Why do taxpayers foot bill for irresponsible behavior?

I feel compelled to respond to the letter regarding Nadya Suleman's right to have eight more children. First, Angelina Jolie can afford to pay for her children's upbringing herself. Suleman obviously cannot. Second, based on news reports, the state of California is already paying for two of her first six children who are disabled, and will most likely be paying the cost for some if not all of her new octuplets.

Suleman obviously has issues and sadly some in the medical community failed her miserably. That does not mean she "had the right" to knowingly have an additional eight children and stick taxpayers with all or part of the bill!

I am by no means against helping people truly in need of government assistance. I am, however, sick and tired of hearing about the rights of people to repeatedly do irresponsible things that our taxes then have to pay for. Those individuals do not deserve nor should they have that right. The rest of us, on the other hand, should have the right for the government to step in to stop, by any means necessary, repeated behavior of the kind that requires tax dollars to pay for.

Donald Dee

Wheatfield

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Jolie can afford to care for kids, Suleman can't

I am baffled that the writer of the letter titled, "Mother of octuplets is judged too harshly," compared Nadya Suleman to Angelina Jolie. She states that she is baffled by our culture, which embraces and celebrates Jolie, who is unmarried and has numerous children, while it chastises Suleman.

Let's just look at the differences. First, Jolie has probably a salary of $20 million per film and is attached to a man who more than likely makes $20 million per film. Obviously, they have the means to take care of, very well, their six children, whether by themselves or with the best nanny care.

Suleman is basically a burden on our economy by draining the welfare system and Medicare and making us pay for her 14 children. She had these children on her own, knowing she was not married and has no job, with no means to take care of them. Basically, she's adding more dollar signs to her welfare check paid for by the government. For the writer to compare the two is completely ridiculous. If anyone is baffled here, it is me.

Douglas Woronowicz

Tonawanda

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Why is GOP suddenly worried about deficit?

Talk about hypocrisy. It's hard to believe, but all of a sudden, the Republican leaders in Congress are on a crusade to not raise the deficit. They are doing it with a straight, sour, somewhat dyspeptic expression on their faces. If it weren't so serious, it would provoke peals of laughter. They just got through eight years of doubling the deficit with an incompetent president who left behind a mess that will take decades to clean up.

What ever happened to the statesmen in the Republican Party? George W. Bush has not only diminished our country in nine different ways, he has ruined the party. It is not the loyal opposition with constructive ideas. It is not people who think for themselves and what's best for the country. They resemble lemmings in lock-step going over a cliff. Oh, we long for the leaders of years gone by who made the Republican Party truly the Grand Old Party!

It seems incomprehensible that the current GOP leadership wants to do nothing about our economic crisis except to give more tax breaks to the wealthy. As the saying goes -- lead, follow or get out of the way.

Joseph Spina

Amherst

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Manufacturing jobs need to be restored

The government can throw all the money it wants at the U.S. economic problems, but if it doesn't "stimulate" the manufacturing sector, the economic slide will continue. Manufacturing jobs are the bread and butter of the economy. Unrestricted and unfair free trade have led to the demise of these jobs. We need to export these jobs overseas and take advantage of cheap labor to be competitive, said the auto companies. Now they are on the brink of bankruptcy. People can't buy a $20,000 car or truck when they have no job.

I wonder how much U.S. steel was used in the 40-story high rise that burnt in China? I wonder how much foreign steel is in the bridge over the gorge on the Route 219 extension project. Another boondoggle. Terrorism will not bring down this country, but free trade will. Wake up, congressmen, before it's too late.

William Barrier

Chaffee

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