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BPO is a beacon of hope and pride for our region

Last month, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra had the rare, high honor of performing the world premiere of a new concerto -- an honor that was especially unique in that it was a work inspired by and written for our orchestra, music director and concertmaster.

The new masterwork, Songbook for Violin, Strings, Harp and Percussion, was written by pre-eminent American composer Daron Hagen, in response to a 2006 concert by the BPO playing another of his works. Hagen was so moved by the passion and precision of our concertmaster, Michael Ludwig, and our conductor, JoAnn Falletta, that he set out to create a composition to fit their strengths. Not only did Hagen give the pleasure of premiering the work to Ludwig and Falletta -- he dedicated it to them, too.

The result, which was brought to stage for the very first time on the weekend of May 13 in Buffalo under Falletta's baton with Ludwig as its soloist, was a historic, memorable and beautiful moment for the BPO and Western New York!

We hear about how arts organizations struggle to present their work in an increasingly limited financial environment. We need, however, to celebrate their achievements as well. The BPO continues to provide superb concerts across a wide spectrum of musical styles and tastes to an audience that is stable and actually growing. In the midst of so many orchestras either going out of business or in Chapter XI bankruptcy, the inspiring music and steady leadership of the BPO is a beacon of hope and pride for Western New York and Southern Ontario.

Bob Skerker

Buffalo

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It takes special people to care for the elderly

I would like to comment on the June 2 My View column by Patrick Braunscheidel. Yes, most definitely, there are "angels among us," but not just at Elderwood in Cheektowaga. Angels were there at Elderwood's Oakwood and Wedgewood facilities in Amherst to care for my mother-in-law and father-in-law. With family not able to attend to their needs 24 hours a day, the staff there provided them with the support required.

More recently, my siblings and I saw angels at work at Wynwood in Kenmore, where my Dad, James Duggan, resided for nearly four years. They loved and cared for him when we were not able to be there and they shed tears with us when he passed. Yes, it takes special people to love and care for the elderly, and they can be found in so many places. Our gratitude extends to each and every one.

Sheila Duggan Rosenecker

Williamsville

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Bill unfairly targets oil and gas industry

The state of New York does indeed regulate hydraulic fracturing ("Regulate this waste," June 6 News editorial). According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation: "New York State's well-established regulatory program oversees drilling. DEC's Mineral Resources staff -- averaging 22 years of experience per person -- conducts a rigorous permitting process which protects the environment and landowner before the permit is issued, during drilling, when the well is plugged and when the site is restored."

The DEC's experienced technical experts -- who are charged with dealing with science and facts, not politics -- have determined that material generated from the production of oil and natural gas does not pose a substantial hazard to human health, making the State Senate bill that The News endorses unnecessary. Among other things, by requiring that all wastes from oil and natural gas extraction be transported and disposed of in hazardous waste facilities, the bill would discourage new recycling technologies, dramatically increase truck traffic and potentially overwhelm waste facilities for permitted hazardous waste, resulting in a shortage of disposal facilities.

Finally, the legislation would unfairly target the oil and natural gas industry. It would impose considerable unnecessary costs on companies, resulting in fewer potential jobs and less revenue to the state.

Mike Doyle

Executive Director

New York State Petroleum Council

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Former student will be missed by so many

Anyone who works in the education field knows how difficult it can be. Today, once again, has been one of the worst in my 14 years of working in the public school system.

Another one of "our" students died today. He was a child I watched grow from grades six through 12. The early awkward years helped to make him the athlete, well-loved, funny man he was in his high school years. No, he was not the smartest, most outgoing or best athlete in the building. He was an average kid, who happened to touch my heart, and who I made a point of getting to know.

Children learn all kinds of things at school. How to read, write and research. They also learn how to fit in, what's cool and what's not. I think the most important thing they can learn is that there are people in the building who genuinely care. It could be the office secretary, lunch monitor or school bus aide. Believe it or not, you impact our lives, more than you know. The years pass, students graduate and move on. Often we hear tidbits of how you are succeeding and progressing into adulthood. We are proud of your accomplishments and are glad to have been an influence in your lives.

It's days like today, knowing that one of "my" kids is gone from this life without realizing his true potential, that break my heart. I will hug your parents, try to console your brother and laugh with your friends in the days ahead. Rest in peace, Adam, you will be missed by many.

Kristine Bajdas

West Seneca

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Palin's statements never cease to amaze

Listen my children and ye shall hear, of the daytime ride of Paul Revere. From village to village and town to town, tospread a warning of what's going down. Stay inside and beware of the over-the-top bus, cover your children's ears so they miss all the fuss. There's a bogus history lesson being spewed on this trip, by the Alaskan lady who shoots from the hip -- and copters.

Joe Sullivan

Kenmore

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Make Father's Day special for your dad

It's time to fire up those grills, gather the family and get ready for that all-important day to honor dad, Father's Day. We need to spend as much time celebrating our dads' special day as we do for Mother's Day. For some reason, dads get the short end of the stick on this holiday. We need to recognize them for the value they bring to the table. So this year, forget the boring shirt and tie; be inventive, be creative and surprise dad with a well-thought-out gift. Dads are special guys, too, and deserve the recognition. So make June 19 all about dad and celebrate.

Judith Whitehead

East Amherst