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Everybody's Column

Many village residents don't mind paying extra

I have lived in Depew all of my life. If I have a pothole on my street, I call the village's Department of Public Works and someone is there to fill it. If I have tree limbs hanging over the road or on the sidewalk, I call and the workers are here to cut down the limbs. If I need an officer at my house because I hear a noise outside, police check for intruders. If I need an ambulance because my baby is choking, I have an officer at my door within two minutes to save her life.

Do I want to save $30 a year on my taxes so I can wait for my tree limbs to be cut down by Cheektowaga, when there might be 1,000 other people who called for the same thing a day earlier than me? Should I call Cheektowaga for the pothole on my street? Will it tell me that my street is not on the schedule for paving this year and I will have to wait until it is on the list? Do I have to wait another three minutes for an officer to come and save my baby from choking?

I think I will pay my $30 a year to keep my village Public Works and Police Department. I like a village where I can go and tell my views to a board that has time to listen. I can call my mayor and she will meet with me to hear my concerns. I really do not think the Cheektowaga supervisor will come to my house to listen to my concerns, do you?

Sharon Quinn

Depew

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Correctional commissioner should cut management staff

In response to the Another Voice authored by Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Brian Fischer, what was said was only to protect the six-figure-salaried employees who are under his management.

There are 7,500 inmates sleeping in top bunks across this state. If we have all this "empty space," as he calls it, then why wouldn't we eliminate the top bunks? That is what I call mismanagement!

What the commissioner does not say is that little to no cuts have appeared to his management staff, and while I agree that the inmate population has decreased, one would only fathom that there should be a decrease to his staff as well. While the officers are told to do more with less, he does not hold this same standard with his administration.

This commissioner has not only refused to cut his staff, but created a new deputy commissioner position that never existed before since the inception of the Department of Corrections. He created a duty commissioner of correctional industries, which by the way pays more than $118,000.

Vincent Blasio

Lake View

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Don't criticize county IDA for hiring PR professionals

In response to James Heaney's blog about the Erie County Industrial Development Agency using a public relations firm, why is it an outrage to bring outside expertise into an organization when business demands or available resources don't warrant a dedicated staff person? It is a sound business practice for organizations to hire specialists in a range of areas. Is it wrong to pay for legal counsel or should companies have to represent themselves? Is it wrong to outsource a payroll function? Or an IT function? Should organizations instead hire a specific person for each function and spend more than they need? Don't newspapers periodically pay freelance writers? And is it wrong to pay the going market rate for services rendered?

Communications and public relations expertise are specialized services, and not every organization can have a specialist "in house," especially in this economy. Heaney denigrates the public relations profession by calling practitioners "hacks" who specialize in "spin and obfuscation." Such generalizations are hardly representative of the many hard-working professionals in the public relations and communications fields.

In the Buffalo Niagara region, there are more than 180 PR practitioners who have committed to following a strict code of ethics as part of an international professional organization that is more than 21,000 members strong.

Jacqueline Ghosen

President, Buffalo Niagara Chapter

Public Relations Society of America

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Students of St. Paul's should consider OLBR

It is with sadness that I read of the upcoming closure of St. Paul's School in Kenmore. As the parent of Catholic elementary schoolchildren, I have a special place in my heart for the Catholic schools in Western New York. I feel for the children and for the parents who have found themselves in this unfortunate situation.

The News graciously mentioned a few Catholic elementary schools in the area. I would like to add Our Lady of Black Rock School in North Buffalo. It is located on Amherst Street and is affiliated with Assumption Church. OLBR is a K-8 school with dedicated teachers, art and music programs and a growing and diverse student body. Also, OLBR is fortunate to have a Boys and Girls Club in the building that starts when the school day ends.

We have been an OLBR family since 2003. My daughters are receiving an excellent education and have made many close friends at this school. I hope that parents will consider this fine school when thinking about their children's future.

Laura Fish

Buffalo

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You're never too old to take music lessons

Regarding the March 22 News article, "Investing in music: Lessons can enrich a child's life," music might be wonderful for children, but it's great for adults as well. I started taking music lessons around my 60th birthday. I purchased a violin and found a teacher. I needed a hobby and music was it. It was a good choice.

It's not only fun, it gives me a feeling of accomplishment, and my wife enjoys my playing music in the evenings. I never knew there was so much to learn about music and the violin. It opens up a whole new world. So many tunes and so little time to play them.

Music is not just for children, but for old people as well. It's fun, and we should do fun things in life.

David R. Krellner

Buffalo

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Proposal to tax soda is totally ridiculous

Of all the unprecedented gall of the state to propose a penny-an-ounce tax on pop. What is this country coming to when we have to be told what to drink, what to eat, what to support? This state is completely unstable.

Trying to come up with anything that will give money to the state, when everything already has been taxed to death, is a travesty. Many people in the state are overweight -- so what? Keep your ideas and ideals to your idiotic selves.

Ronald Schunke

Springville

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