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Everybody's Column

Poor schools drive many residents out of Buffalo

My husband and I lived in Buffalo for nine years. When we started our family, it was our hope that we would raise our children there. Although we had heard many negative things about the school system, we remained optimistic, convinced that we would get our children into decent schools.

Despite our best efforts, however, our son was not only placed in a poorly performing school, but was also not selected to attend either of the charter schools we preferred due to the overwhelming number of children who had applied. Since we couldn't afford to send all of our children to private school, we were forced to move.

It is sad that so many Buffalo expatriates have had to look elsewhere for schooling lest their children end up in "drop-out factories." However, Mayor Byron Brown must be hoping that he'll lure us back with hollow campaign promises because we recently received his election flyers at our East Aurora home. These were not forwarded from our old address -- strangely enough, they were sent directly to our new address. That seems like a waste of money and lack of oversight by his administration, both of which are symptomatic of the city's plight.

Until Brown and other city officials concentrate on what is truly important -- fixing the broken school system is only one of many issues -- people will continue to leave in droves, taking their involvement in and affection for the city with them.

Meg Kontrabecki Jones

East Aurora

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Cruelty to animals must not be tolerated

Regarding the egg hatcheries' practice of tossing male chicks alive into a grinder, I am so angry and horrified I can barely contain myself. This was secretly videotaped at a hatchery in Spencer, Iowa, over a two-week period.

I recall the words of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." King stated, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." I rest my case.

The hatchery is owned by Hy-Line North America. Please locate the company online and notify it of its horrific cruelty and its responsibility to treat all creatures with decency and kindness and a more merciful slaughtering. Be kind to animals and God will be kind to you.

Janet Nowicki

Lackawanna

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No wonder GOP fears an educated populace

At first it seemed impossible to believe. Some conservative Republicans were actually criticizing President Obama's plans to address the nation's school children and encourage them to do well in school. Somehow, they see this as part of the president's political agenda. Just another paranoid delusion of the far right, I suppose. Or is it?

Maybe the right is onto something. Let's think about what might happen if American kids become well educated, informed citizens. They might learn Carl Sagan's maxim: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Where would that leave the birthers and the Alabama congressman who is considering filing a lawsuit against the president on this "issue"? What would happen to Glenn Beck's extraordinary assertion that the president is "a racist who hates white people" if his listeners demanded that he back it up with extraordinary evidence?

A citizenry trained in logic would easily see through conservatives' "death panel" distortions on health care. It would laugh Investor's Business Daily out of business for its incredibly ignorant claim that British physicist Stephen Hawking couldn't get the health care he needs in Britain. It would have long ago dismissed the likes of Rush Limbaugh as irrelevant comedy. All of this might clear the way for a serious debate on important national issues. We can't have that!

Conservatives are correct. Encouraging our children to get a good education is indeed part of a leftist political agenda. Fiendishly clever, Mr. President.

Kenneth R. Boudreau

Tonawanda

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Many countries offer national health care

Why do we Americans make things so complicated? Our first child was born in England under National Health. Mothers and babies stayed in the hospital for several days. I was taught about feeding, bathing and care of the umbilical cord. At home, a health visitor came to check us, answer questions and invite us to a free weekly clinic. At the clinic, our babies were weighed and given vitamins and shots.

Our other two children also were born under a national system -- in Zambia, Africa. They received the World Health Organization recommended shots and "Under Fives" care. Good care, a healthy start for children and no paperwork for us in either country.

We moved to East Aurora in 1970. We took the children to an Erie County clinic for check-ups. The staff said, "You can come here today, but when your situation improves, go to a private doctor." In other words, a clinic is OK for the poor, but it's not OK for everyone else. Sorting according to income in this democracy shocked me.

We had good experiences with national health care abroad. Let's have health care for all Americans and simplify its delivery.

Alison Hyde

East Aurora

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Uplifting story welcome after much somber news

The past week, The Buffalo News brought us news of some events we will always remember. We read of the heroic efforts of the Buffalo firefighters. We saw the smiling face of Asa Hill, victim of a tragic accident.

The News on Tuesday morning gave us an uplift we needed. Seeing Sister Barbara Whalen and the twins and triplets in a great picture made our day. May God bless these people and especially their families and Sister Barbara.

Steve Marsh and Family

Depew

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A truck-only bridge would ease congestion

As I proceeded across the Peace Bridge last week, my first thought was: Why isn't there a bridge just for trucks? One whole lane was trucks and more trucks -- with many more in the background.

At 91, I have been a summer commuter for many, many years. Always when backups occur, it is the fault of the truckers. Can't the powers-that-be recognize this? A truck-only bridge has been proposed in the past, but shot down. Why? The railroad bridge area would be a good spot, entering Canada as not far past where the ferries used to be. Yes, I remember them, too.

Tearing up such a large area on the West Side for a duplicate bridge seems such a waste.

Regina W. O'Connor

Buffalo

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