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Stores would not open ?if shoppers stayed home

For anyone who is wondering where the Thanksgiving holiday has gone, look no further than your own image in the mirror. We all had the ability to let the executives who run the big-box stores know we will not forsake our families to help them be No. 1 in sales on a day that was set aside to spend with family and friends giving thanks for the blessings we have.

Is there not enough money to be made between Black Friday and Christmas? When did it become Black Thanksgiving? I, for one, will not spend one nickel in any store that found the need to be open on Thanksgiving – and I mean for the whole year.

We ask: What has happened to family? Greed happened. Thanksgiving dinner was not meant to be like the drive-through at McDonald's – hurry up and eat so we can go Christmas shopping. I love Christmas. But I don't need it to start before Halloween and for the "biggest sale" to happen on Thanksgiving.

To the employees who were forced to work on this national holiday, I am sorry that you are not important enough to your employer to have the same consideration as they have for themselves. I am sure the execs were not working on Thanksgiving. Shame on them and those who shopped.

Sandi Germain



Republicans must do ?some soul searching

The recent debacle by the Republican Party in the presidential election was caused by the tea party. Rep. Todd Aiken and Richard Mourdock's radical views caused major problems for the party. Aiken and Mourdock were repudiated by the voters, along with Rep. Allen West and Rep. Joe Walsh.

Paul Ryan's pick as vice president did not help the ticket due to his radical views on Medicare, which helped the Democrats. The Republican Party lost an opportunity to gain control of Congress. The party needs to do some soul searching and make some major changes.

Lynn P. Boehmer



Say Yes is implementing? accountability measures

The paper's continuing coverage of Say Yes' work in Buffalo has helped build public understanding of the community's efforts to make college possible for all of the city's young people and help rebuild our region's economic vitality. I'd like to address one aspect of a story in the Nov. 18 paper about Say Yes to Education's accomplishments in Syracuse.

Say Yes has worked with third-party researchers such as the American Institutes for Research and Steve Ross from Johns Hopkins University to scientifically examine improvements being made in Syracuse, and we have a clear picture of how far we still need to go. As the story pointed out, what makes Say Yes so effective in increasing achievement and the number of students headed to college is that we work hand-in-hand with all members of the community. We attribute a significant amount of the progress that we've made together to the educators, community leaders, volunteers and everyone else involved in fueling a better future for our children.

As anyone who works with urban school districts knows, the process of creating better outcomes in high-poverty school districts takes time. Syracuse certainly has not been an exception, and in scores of presentations in Syracuse and Buffalo we have been forthright about our results. The data are reflecting some encouraging trends, but we know that annual fluctuation of test scores in the early phases of a project are not the best or only gauge of success. In Syracuse and Buffalo, we are implementing new accountability measures that will enable the public to see how we are progressing, and how the community, school district and Say Yes are doing in meeting their core commitments to young people. We have learned much from our collective successes and the inherent challenges of working with an entire city the size of Syracuse, and that experience will allow us to accelerate the pace of our work in Buffalo for the benefit of the community and its 34,000 students.

Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey


Say Yes to Education


Hunters obligated? to follow the rules

This past Saturday, the time had arrived for the opening of firearm season for deer in Western New York. As always, I was in my stand about 45 minutes before legal shooting time, which was 7:10 a.m. I was hunting near the Coyle Hill State Forest in Belfast. It has become a tradition to count the number of shots heard before legal shooting time. The first of 59 such shots, a new record by the way, was recorded at 6:40 a.m. – illegal by 30 minutes.

We have become a society of entitlement and instant gratification, as demonstrated by the recent election. However, we sportsmen are expected to rise above that. We have been entrusted with stewardship of a precious natural resource and have an obligation to abide by the rules that have been put in place for the safety of fellow hunters as well as for the ethical harvest of game. Individuals who violate the law give fuel to those who persist in their efforts to deprive hunters of the opportunity to hunt and to restrict our right to own guns.

Therefore, I wish the following upon those impatient, self-centered, unsportsmen: May the taxidermist accidentally incinerate your "trophy" and may the venison make you ill.

Joseph DePaolo Jr.



Preservationists keep ?us trapped in the past

So the Trico building will be saved? Only in Buffalo would there be such effort to preserve a building that is symbolic of job loss, broken families and financial hardships. That building is a reminder of all the bad that has happened to this city over the last 40 years. I would prefer the developers blow it to bits.

The only thing preservationists preserve is Buffalo's image as a city that is still in the '60s. These preservationists must have chronic neck pain. They are always looking back!

Sometimes it is just amazing to think of the totally inept buffoons who run this city.

David Schaff



Skip the rhetoric ?and get to work

I read and heard the news reports on Mitt Romney's explanation of his election loss being caused by gifts (meaning bribes) that President Obama gave to certain blocks of people. The words were obviously crafted by one of the three experts in GOP speak. It had to be Karl Rove, Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich who came up with that one, a weak attempt at blame.

We're not interested in blame and recriminations. Note how quickly that story sputtered out. Stop with the rhetoric and roll up your sleeves and get to work. That's what we're interested in.

Dru Hites