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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN

Amherst right to pursue ban on sale of puppy mill puppies

It is great to see that Amherst is finally considering legislation that would ban the sale of puppies in pet shops. According to national animal welfare organizations, most pet shops sell puppies that were bred in terrible puppy mills. I do not have to tell you the horrors that these animals live with every day.

The Humane Society of the United States, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other animal welfare groups state that it all starts at the local community level. Let's make a change now.

As the daughter of a former local business owner of a successful children's clothing store for 40 years, we had doubts about such legislation. However, after investigation into this matter, I see that other large cities have successfully created such legislation without shutting businesses' doors. This is Amherst's chance to act like a progressive city and create a humane model that every pet store should follow.

This will also assist Amherst with reducing the tax burden of animal care and control agencies that manage overpopulation issues every day.

Between 3 million and 4 million animals are euthanized in shelters each year. By banning the sale of puppy mill puppies, Amherst is moving in the right direction to create a more humane community. People want to know that they can make a difference with the support of their local government.

Lisa Brzeczkowski

Lockport

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Present favored options to cut health care costs

The Jan. 18 News editorial, "Fix Obamacare," states that a focus on health care costs is needed. I think we can all agree. However, I would have expected The News to add some substance to this.

What do the editors suggest? Reduced payments to providers? Limitations on types of medicines or surgeries available to consumers? A single-payer plan to significantly reduce insurance overhead cost? Incentives for healthy choices in diet and exercise? Penalties for poor choices? Other options?

It is easy enough to state that there is a health system cost problem. I think it is incumbent on The News to present its favored options when editorializing.

Nate Coogan

Warsaw

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Everyone reaps benefits of public transportation

For the Western New Yorkers who boarded Metro Bus and Rail 27 million times last year, the benefits of public transportation are clear. Many of our passengers have no other way to get to work, school or a medical appointment. They are active, productive members of our community who cannot drive and still need to commute on a daily basis. There are also some who realize they don't need a car. The average cost of automobile ownership is $600 a month, not including parking charges. A Metro monthly pass is $64. Using public transit can save a good deal of money.

Mass transit also benefits people who have never taken a seat on a bus or train. Every dollar invested in public transportation can be worth as much as $6 to the community. Most transit money stays in the area, generating jobs, expanding the labor pool, strengthening infrastructure and reducing household and business overhead. Even the transit money that leaves the area doesn't leave the United States. For example, Metro's new buses are built in California.

Car lovers should love Metro Bus and Rail more than anyone. Every full bus means 40 fewer cars on the road. Every full rail car means 150 fewer cars clogging up the roads, wearing into the pavement and consuming more gasoline. Reducing our need for fossil fuels is reason enough to support our local bus and rail system. Buses get between six and eight miles per gallon, but that one bus engine can move up to 60 people. With all 38 seats filled, a Metro bus achieves 228-passenger mpg. With only nine people aboard, it still achieves 54-passenger mpg, better than any other gas-powered car in production. Using less gas means putting less carbon and other pollutants into the air and that benefits us all.

Kimberley A. Minkel

Executive Director, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

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Alcohol played a key role in fatal Amherst shooting

In the Jan. 23 News article, "Haunted by his fatal decision," a sidebar of David Park's widow's official statement was the most concerning to me of the entire ordeal. While I felt deep compassion for the loss of her husband, she has overlooked something of major concern to our community and society in general -- personal responsibility. Her husband failed to remain sober and in control of his mental faculties. Drinking to drunkenness was a choice, and while sad and unfortunate, his choice cost him his life.

David D'Amico had guns used primarily for a sport, but perhaps was equally aware of the recent increase in home invasions in our area as well as nationally. He obviously had responsible forethought in order to protect himself, his wife and his home, which accounts for the storing of a shotgun with ammunition in his bedroom.

As members of the NRA, gun owners and frequent target shooters, my husband and I pray that we will never encounter a similar situation. However, D'Amico used reasonable judgment. He had no way of knowing if the intruder was armed or what his ultimate intention was. He protected himself and his wife, operating from his right to survive -- a right to live, safely, in his own home. He had a responsibility to protect his loved one, and a right to self-defense.

Pamela Occhino

Kenmore

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Congress should improve law, rather than repeal it

The health care bill passed last year by the Democratic Congress really stinks. In my opinion, lobbyists representing the insurance industries wrote it and it was designed to protect the health insurance companies' profits. Do I wish that the current Congress repeal the bill? No! What existed before that bill passed was actually worse. What should we do?

Simple, just replace that bill with something better. There are many examples out there. Almost every industrial country in the world has some sort of system that provides better health outcomes for its people at less cost. I am sure that if we could get the interference of the for-profit insurance companies out of the way, we Americans could find the best system out there and improve upon that. All we have to do is to try.

However, to do so, we have to understand and remember that having health insurance is not the same thing as access to good health care. I recommend that we enlist doctors and nurses to write the bill. They know what is required and they ought to be able to write a better bill than all of the lawyers, accountants and insurance executives out there.

Philip J. Kintner

Colden

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