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Everybody's Column

CAO created 230 jobs with stimulus funding

I am writing to express my concern about the information presented in the June 20 News article "What did $459 million get us?" It purports to describe the impact of the federal stimulus money in the Buffalo Niagara area. However, it omits the significant outcomes achieved by the Community Action Organization of Erie County with these stimulus funds or even the fact that the CAO received slightly more than $3.1 million in funding from this source. That is in addition to the $1.8 million the CAO received to expand its Early Head Start program.

The CAO created or found jobs for 230 Erie County residents from Aug. 1, 2009, through June 18. The 11 job placements referenced in the article were new jobs in our early Head Start program, which will add another 10 positions by the end of September. The 230 jobs filled were through the CAO's sub-contract with the Department of State's Community Services Block Grant stimulus program. Through those funds, the CAO established its Keep Buffalo Neat Community Groundskeeping program, Urban Agricultural program, Community SPORTS PLUS program and STEPS Employment and Training program.

Additionally, the CAO reconfigured its use of stimulus funding to create 350 summer jobs for youth. The payroll functions for these jobs are being managed through a CAO sub-contract with the Buffalo Police Athletic League. Further some version of each of these initiatives will remain after the Sept. 30 end of the stimulus program year, through self-sustaining measures developed by the CAO.

The CAO has achieved virtually every goal it committed to when it was awarded a portion of federal stimulus funds.

L. Nathan Hare

President/CEO, CAO of Erie County


Often it's impossible for fathers to 'step up'

I often agree with Leonard Pitts in his succinct pieces about culture and life as it is, not how "we'd like to see it" or "pretend" to see it. In the article carried in The News on June 21, he has made some very valid points, however, nowadays a woman has a choice about whether to be a mom. And, I agree, a man, too, makes that choice.

Once the baby arrives many dads do disappear. But there are many times, in my experience as a licensed clinical social worker in an urban Buffalo hospital, where: a) mom does not know who the father is or, b) she and/or her extended family (and sometimes private adoption attorneys), make it extremely difficult, often impossible, for dad to "step up."

There is a dearth of information given to young men about their legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to "making babies." This huge gap in family life education, or whatever schools call it to be politically correct, needs to be closed.

And I do give credit to those single dads who pursue their role as a father!

Kathleen M. Rog



Save wilderness areas in the Allegheny Forest

Thanks to The News for the June 10 editorial, "Designate the wilderness" about preserving wilderness areas in the Allegheny National Forest, just across the state line in Pennsylvania. It was an article that really hit close to home for me.

I have a lot of family history and ties to the northwest Pennsylvania region. My father is laid to rest in the Willow Dale Cemetery in Bradford. I have fond memories spanning childhood through adulthood of hiking, boating and cross-country skiing throughout the Allegany State Park-Allegheny National Forest region. It is truly a natural gem that should be protected. Therefore, I strongly agree with The News' call to have the U.S. Congress preserve more wilderness areas in the Allegheny National Forest in order to leave a natural legacy to our grandchildren. This action can still coincide with reasonable development of resources elsewhere in the forest.

Jacquelyn Johnson



Why doesn't Sloan take better care of streets?

Amazingly, when we hear about an accident in the early hours of the morning involving two young people, there is an assumption of drug or alcohol use. This is not always the case.

At 1:30 a.m. on June 17, a young lady lost control of her car on Halstead Avenue in Sloan when it hit a very high manhole. The street had been milled and stripped, yet no markings were made to that effect and there is ineffective lighting on the street. This occurred in a village that is claiming one of its advantages as a village is having its own Highway Department.

The street was not just milled yesterday. Why wasn't the assistant mayor as active in pursuing correction of the street as he was in marching to "Save Sloan" in front of the media? (This is the same assistant mayor who will become mayor when Len Szymanski retires after the vote to dissolve or not dissolve the village).

A young woman lay injured on the street that morning due to a hazard that should have been marked or at least lit in some manner. But maybe this was just another way of justifying the necessity of having a village attorney. Who knows.

Alice Miller



Students must respect rules and learn self-discipline

All students are told their responsibilities and possible consequences every year, either through a student handbook, an assembly or by their teachers. The rules are reinforced frequently. Maybe the Buffalo School District has harsher consequences than some people think it should have. Fine. Get on a committee of students, teachers, administrators and parents/guardians to improve those rules. Being part of a positive solution is a great way to be a better role model for the youth.

As a retired high school teacher, I saw various methods to handle suspensions and improve behavior in general. Dividing the ninth-graders into smaller "teams" with most of the same teachers really helped. "It takes a village " really works to let students know everyone cares about their success.

We had in-school suspensions for lesser offenses. Teachers could send or drop off work for those students. The room was near the office and was totally self-contained. We did have an off-site suspension that was similar to out-of-school suspension for harsher offenses. The students came to school in the morning and were taken by bus to a different building where they served the days by doing missed work. Students took this more seriously because they were not just staying home and sleeping in.

The bottom line is that students need to learn self-discipline and respect of rules. This will help them become successful in their future jobs and life. Isn't that what we all want?

Dorothy Shaw


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