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Everybody's Column

>Democrats' only goal is to remain in power

In Washington, Democrats in the House insisted on pushing through a public rebuke of Rep. Joe Wilson for shouting during the president's speech. Yet somehow they have no desire to investigate Rep. Charlie Rangel, who cheats on his taxes.

Here in New York, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand votes to continue federal funding for ACORN after it was uncovered that members of this organization advised people looking to set up a prostitution ring using underage girls. Of course, ACORN can be counted on to support Democrats every November.

And in Massachusetts, Democrats (with pressure from the Obama administration) are trying to change the law they enacted in 2004, which calls for a special election to fill the vacant Senate seat, in order to keep their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate by having the governor appoint another liberal to the seat. This is so that they can push through a health care bill that many Americans are against.

It is clearer than ever that Democrats are only interested in keeping their power and pushing through a liberal agenda, rather than representing the will of the people.

Brian Krull
West Seneca

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>Learn all of the facts on health care reform

Regarding the Sept. 20 News article on the Medicare debate, Richard Teetsel's concern that government will cut his private Medicare Advantage plan isn't true. Health care reform will maintain private Medicare Advantage plans that serve seniors. Health care reform will weed out poorly constructed private Medicare Advantage plans with excessive out-of-pocket costs.

Beware of groups heading you in the wrong direction -- 60 Plus, a front group for the pharmaceutical industry, Senior Coalition, United Seniors Association or Freedom Works. They are self-serving and not for serving seniors.

Folks must get educated. Call AARP, Hospice Buffalo or your doctor. And check updates of congressional bills at Thomas.loc.gov. If some radio personality, cable channel or organization is trying to scare you by misinforming you, they are trying to use you. Act on the facts. Remember the right to vote, civil rights, Social Security and Medicare came your way via the Democrats.

Barbara E. Lipa
Alden

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>We're making strides against teen drinking

Having spent more than 40 years in the practice of medicine, I have spoken to numerous parents about the serious consequences of underage drinking. Parents are often surprised to learn where their teens are getting the alcohol.

Research shows most teens who drink obtain alcohol from social sources. This means they are sneaking alcohol from their parents' homes; having older friends buy it; or obtaining it at parties.

Recognizing these concerns, the Federal Trade Commission has developed an education campaign, "We Don't Serve Teens," providing information about teen drinking, how to reduce teens' access to alcohol and practical tips on talking to teens about alcohol.

Parents should make sure their teen knows the risks of underage drinking, as well as the serious consequences for the person who illegally provides the alcohol. Keep track of the alcohol in your home and make sure teens can't access it.

Importantly, parents need to talk to their teens about underage drinking. Teens consistently rank their parents as the most influential factor in their decisions about alcohol consumption.

The latest federal data from the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows a continued steady decline in underage drinking. Over the past decade, the country has made important progress in reducing teen drinking. Working together, we can continue this positive trend by stopping teens' access to alcohol.

Raymond Scalettar, M.D.
Former Chairman
American Medical Association

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>Allow Walmart to build store in Orchard Park

Walmart wants to come to Orchard Park. The site it has proposed is zoned commercial and is in no one's back yard.

Walmart proposes to build a new store at a time when contractors are desperate for jobs to keep their men working.

Walmart proposes hundreds of new local jobs at a time when unemployment is at its highest in recent memory and poised to get higher.

Walmart proposes to pay tens of thousands of dollars annually to Orchard Park at a time when communities throughout the country are searching for ways to relieve the property tax burden on residents.

The Orchard Park Town Board has delayed and delayed and delayed acting on this proposal. Why?

Esther E. Biniszkiewicz
Orchard Park

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>Debris found on course was a hazard to golfers

As a multiyear season-golf pass-holder entitling playing privileges at both Erie County-owned golf courses (Elma Meadows and Grover Cleveland), I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts exerted this season by the superintendent and her maintenance crews. Even after an abnormally rainy season, both facilities are in tip-top condition while utilizing lesser manpower. And to a person, every employee is extremely friendly, courteous and conscientious.

However, I do have one suggestion for county purchasing personnel. While playing hole number seven at Grover recently, our group encountered a remedial attempt at repairing some depressions on the fairway. Among the purported shredded topsoil used to dress the fairway, we found a 3-foot rusty pipe and valve assembly, which we disposed of in a nearby trash receptacle. Also scattered about were numerous pieces of rusty steel rods, which suggest the topsoil vendor did not take any precaution concerning the shredding/screening process and probably sourced the soil at a demolition site.

These kind of vendor engagements should be scrutinized for many reasons, including personal injury to crews and players as well as damage to the mowing equipment. Needless to say, purchasing soil with contaminated debris is simply unacceptable, especially if the material ordered was to have been screened.

Donald J. McPhee
East Aurora

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>Libraries should offer copy of health care bill

The solution for "Seniors caught up in Medicare debate" is for all Erie County Public Library branches to download and print one hard copy of the congressional bill. This hard copy should be available in the reference section for public use. The bill has a table of contents that will enable the public to find and read the sections of interest to each individual.

Helen Singh
Williamsville

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