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Everybody's column

Learn about suicide and ways to prevent it

I was saddened to read the articles about the Erie County Holding Center and the three suicide deaths that have occurred there in the last four months. Suicide is a national health problem that takes an enormous toll on families, friends, co-workers, schools and the entire community. Sadly, every minute of every day, someone attempts to take his own life, and every 16 minutes someone dies by suicide.

I would like to use this time to encourage the public to learn more about suicide and ways to prevent it. Learning some of the key suicide warning signs, such as feeling hopeless, withdrawing from friends and family and making suicidal statements, can help save lives. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or just needs to talk, help is available by calling 800-273-TALK. A local resource is Crisis Services, a 24-hour crisis hotline that can be reached by calling 834-3131.

The Western New York Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is another resource in the Buffalo area. AFSP-WNY provides educational programs and training to communities as well as survivor outreach to families who have lost a loved one to suicide. For more information, visit www.AFSP.org.

Renae Carapella

Area Director, AFSP

Western New York Chapter

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Health care proposal occupies middle ground

Several recent letter writers have claimed that, since polls show a majority of Americans opposed to President Obama's health care plan, this means that the plan is non-representational and should be scuttled. These writers imply that the health reform bill is a radical left-wing plan, and that most Americans would favor the Republicans' more conservative approach.

What these writers don't tell you is that the majority who oppose the plan fall into two very different groups. According to a recent poll, 25 percent say the health care plan goes too far, 17 percent say it does not go far enough (some are still disappointed over the removal of the public option), while 41 percent say it is about right.

Rather than being on one side of the spectrum, it appears that the proposed health care plan occupies the middle ground of the electorate. So, while the plan is opposed by a slight majority composed of more extremist elements, it is far and away the plan most favored as a moderate beginning toward reforming our present dysfunctional system.

David Goddard

Williamsville

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Health care legislation merits up-or-down vote

I am angered by the Pelosi-Slaughter gambit to avoid an up-or-down vote by the House of Representatives on proposed health care legislation. To pass so-called health care reform that seeks to fund abortions surreptitiously, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with the connivance of our own Rep. Louise Slaughter, who chairs the House Rules Committee, "would approve the debate rules including the language 'deeming' the House to have passed the Senate-approved bill."

I don't think voters should wait for November. Conservative, Tea Party and Republican activists need to move now to recall Slaughter. Her chicanery must be challenged. She should be "deemed" as unfit to serve as a representative in a democracy.

Richard H. Escobales Jr.

Buffalo

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Deputies deserve pay for showing up early

Why do people complain about the lineup pay that sheriff's deputies get before their shift? I believe that other departments do the same. If the shift changes and deputies weren't required to be there 15 minutes early, there would be no officer on patrol protecting the citizens and their property. Would people prefer that?

How would people working their jobs react if their boss told them they had to show up early and not get paid, or if all production was shut down while employees were briefed on their job for the day? Get real. This is the real world.

Why is it that people don't complain about the high prices they pay at sports games for admission and food items? And before they pay those high prices to make players richer, they have to pay overpriced parking fees. Why always complain about pay scales for police and fire, but not about the rich, money-hungry professional sports players?

Roger E. Durawa

East Aurora

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Wind turbine industry is spreading falsities

As confirmed by the Wind Action Group (WAG) in a March 9 News article, the wind turbine industry is plagued by myths.

One is that wind power will reduce our dependency on oil. Since oil provides less than 3 percent of our country's electricity supply, this assertion is laughable.

Wind advocates falsely claim turbines will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by replacing coal and gas for electricity generation, and provide a cheaper alternative to these reliable power sources.

Denmark proves otherwise. Although it has more than 6,000 turbines, not a single fossil-fuel plant has closed in Denmark and in 2007 it burned as much coal as it did in 1999. The great Danes also have the most expensive electricity rates in Europe.

Another myth is that turbines do not have an adverse impact on nearby residents. As documented in the peer-reviewed Wind Turbine Syndrome, by Dr. Nina Pierpont, turbines in residential areas are deleterious to health. From the D'Entremont family in Nova Scotia to Charlie Porter in Missouri, home abandonment is often a tragic solution to the inimical turbines.

Unfortunately, the Machias Town Board is using WAG for legal guidance in crafting its wind law; a sad case of a pro-wind tail wagging the policy-making dog.

Bradley L. Parker

Machias

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Corporate businesses are destroying nation

Let's not run government like a business. Most specifically, like big, corporate business.

Big business has caused most of our economic and moral problems. It controls the financial, medical, energy and media engines of our economy. It promotes materialism and selectively manipulates moral values. Big business bashes government when it suits its purposes.

Big is not better. Since the end of World War II, corporate America has slowly eroded our economic well-being. Wealth has become more concentrated in the hands of a few. Scapegoating and fear mongering are the tools used to divide and conquer our country.

Government is not the problem. We are the government. The corporate business model is wrong and is destroying our democracy.

Frank Austin

Orchard Park

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