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Everybody's Column

Ticket for trash bags?leaves a rotten taste

Last week, my husband and I worked outdoors all day clipping weeds, carefully tying branches 4 to 6 feet in length so as not to exert our sanitation men. We made sure it was only 1 cubic yard and filled only three trash bags. Our paint cans were filled with cat litter, as directed, and our cardboard (the shiney stuff) was not in the blue bin with other cardboard or newspapers (it was to be broken up). We put our trash, which did not weigh more than 50 pounds, at curbside at the proper time.

But that was not enough. As we went out for our morning coffee on our porch, we were greeted by a $25 summons on our door. Why, you ask? Because our clippings were in black bags. We failed to read that we should use clear bags or an open container. Definitely we would be guilty of such a horrible crime had it been our second "offense." But in this case, I think a warning would have been more appropriate. We are simply senior Kenmore residents keeping our property up the way it should be. As I drive through the town, I see so many things that need improvement other than the mysterious black bags.

Laws and rules should be followed, by all means, but we spend more time deciphering the rules for garbage than for the lawn maintenance itself. Wake up, Department of Public Works. Do you need the money that badly? Fining property owners will not bring good will to our community.

Donna Masury



Kleinhans, Squire Shop?also deserve a mention

A May 20 story in The News about past and present men's stores never mentioned the Kleinhans Co. It really was the "granddaddy of them all." In its prime, the Kleinhans Co. on Main Street at Lafayette Square was known to be the largest men's and boy's clothing store in the world. Roy Peller and Paul Mure came from Kleinhans.

My store, the Squire Shop, on Main Street in Snyder was also omitted. It was the first fashionable men's store in Amherst and a significant traditional men's fashion authority for more than 50 years. Tom Barnett came from there. His present showrooms in Snyder and New York City present a collection of the finest men's fabrics and furnishings made, from the best resources the world over.

The Squire Shop designed and copyrighted the original Buffalo tie in the early ‘70s. Our first order was given to Ralph Lauren, who was our neckwear salesman then, before starting his own business.

Edmund Karnofsky



Critics of City Honors?are way off the mark

If perfection is your standard for a free, publicly funded education, do not enroll your child in City Honors. If you are searching for a school where students, ages 10 to 18, never encounter social or academic anxiety, City Honors may not be the best fit. If you expect your child's school to question the value of a college education, boarding schools in Connecticut are currently enrolling new students (trust fund required).

As a 2006 alumnus, I strongly disagree with the recent criticisms of City Honors. If you value a school for the foundation it builds for students, both inside and outside of the classroom, and you acknowledge that responsibility for post-graduation achievement lies with the individual, then City Honors is your school.

Ask City Honors alumnus Steve Mesler if the career-oriented "test scores, test scores, test scores" philosophy, reportedly professed at City Honors, held him back from achieving Olympic Gold in 2010. Or, ask City Honors alumnus Bill Burton, deputy White House press secretary for President Obama until 2011, if the ostensible myth of City Honors "genius" prevented him from persevering through academic trials.

There ought to be ongoing public conversations focused on the recent struggles of the regional economy and public education. City Honors should not be held as a responsible party for these struggles as policy discussions move forward. City Honors opens doors of opportunity for a wide range of students, and it is among the best nationally at doing so. It's up to students to walk through these doors.

Alex Hoffman



‘My way or the highway'?kills art of compromise

With recent primary losses of many familiar moderate conservatives to tea party extremists, we have seen the last of a dying breed — those willing to reach across the aisle, for progress and the greater good. In the old days, the parties debated and argued bills before them. Often, they would find common ground in order to enact beneficial legislation.

Not today! Fear of reprisal rides the GOP locomotive. Compromise is fraught with peril, risking one's seat in Congress. The bogeymen they fear are the mindless tea party, Grover Norquist and enforced obedience to his "never increase taxes" pledge, selfish billionaires with their vast infusion of millions of dollars, the gun lobby and religious thought control.

This new GOP has adopted the "my way or the highway" approach of its previous president. Republicans ignore the fact that it was their party's monetary incompetence and military gambles that nearly caused another depression. Unconcerned, the leadership put its party before country by pledging the demise of any proposal by our new president. It "patented" the use of the congressional roadblock. The last two years have witnessed the highest number of filibusters in American history.

Mitt Romney, flip-flopper in chief, is definite about two things. Caving to his right, he is staking claim to zero accommodation and no compromise. Any Democratic initiative triggers an automatic negative response.

"Loyal opposition" is now ancient history. Moving forward, together, is laughable. "Country first" is just a slogan. Sadly, this new brand of GOP thrives on stagnation and turmoil. Hopefully, it will be upstaged and replaced by forces for progress, a positive future and the friendly face of hope.

Leonard Gross

East Amherst


Man must not continue?to destroy our planet

Author Wendell Berry best mirrors my views on fracking in his book, "The Way of Ignorance." We have been greatly engaged in digging up the stored resources and in destroying vast products of the earth for some time.

We blast the minerals and metals from underneath the crust and leave the earth raw and sore; choke the streams with refuse and dross, robbing the land of its available stores, denuding the surface, destroying great areas to erosion.

The "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, will attest to the toxicity of our agriculture.

Nature is now forcing us to live in our mess. The small towns whose drinking water contains pesticides and nitrates; the pumped-down aquifers and the no-longer-flowing rivers; all the lands we have scalped, gouged, poisoned or destroyed utterly for "cheap" fuels and raw materials.

Having thoughtlessly polluted our streams and rivers, we are now seeing a rapidly growing market for bottled drinking water. It is a considerable price to pay for drinking water that we once had in plentiful supply.

Adele Viger

East Aurora