Let's raise awareness on problem gambling

According to a June 2 News article, Batavia Downs reported a jump in revenues from $20.5 million in 2005 to nearly $38 million the past fiscal year. It has attributed this increase to the installation of electronic slot machines. Batavia Downs Casino is contemplating expanding and adding 150 more slots. The conundrum question is how to do this without impacting society adversely.

Last week alone, The News reported that a priest admitted stealing nearly $25,000 from his parish because of problem gambling and that a New York City police detective, two firefighters and a funeral arranger were among the 15 people arrested for running an illegal gambling ring. Some pathological gamblers turn to crimes such as embezzlement or writing bad checks as their gambling losses swell. An eerie similarity to a report of a Batavia woman who was sentenced for embezzling $85,000 from her employer because she wrote fraudulent checks for herself.

To realize any significant progress in prevention and treatment of problem gambling, a reasonable strategy must be devised that involves all stakeholders. The gaming industry, government organizations, researchers, counselors, treatment and prevention centers and the public must act in a socially responsible manner. The University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions discovered that having a gambling addiction is more prevalent than alcohol problems. Those who gamble and become afflicted with problems do in fact cause social and economic problems for others.

The pool of money available to help those adversely impacted by problem gambling has shrunk. It is important to educate and raise awareness of problem gambling, and to make more, not less, resources and information available.

James Maney

Executive Director

Mariangela Milea

Assistant Executive Director

New York Council On Problem Gambling

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Loss of O'Loughlin hurts local talk radio

Bill O'Loughlin was an oasis in the desert of local talk radio. His programs were intelligent, interesting and informative, and consistently presented with grace and decorum. Unfortunately, the local market offers no comparable alternative in morning talk show hosts. Hopefully, a program director in this market will avail himself of O'Loughlin's services. His departure is radio station WECK's loss.

Kevin Dolan

Clarence

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Postal Service is not asking for a 'bailout'

Miami Herald columnist Glenn Garvin needs to get the facts straight in his June 12 Viewpoints commentary, "Send Postal Service's request for a bailout to dead-letter box."

The Postal Service is not seeking any "bailout" to underwrite pension funds. In fact, our pension funds are overfunded: the Federal Employees Retirement System by $6.9 billion and the Civil Service Retirement System by between $50 billion and $75 billion, according to audits by two independent actuaries.

Far from a "money grab," what's at issue is a requirement imposed on the Postal Service, under the provisions of a law passed in 2006, that we prefund our retirees' health benefits in amounts approximating $5.5 billion per year. In all of the federal government, and in the private sector for that matter, this obligation is unique to the Postal Service. Were it not for this provision, we would have turned a profit of $1 billion from 2007 to 2010, during a period when mail volume declined 20 percent. And that's without using any taxpayer dollars.

We are committed to paying our fair share for the health care costs of our employees and retirees, but these accelerated payments constitute a hidden tax that is neither fair, nor responsible. Only Congress can change the law and correct this problem.

Garvin also fails to mention that, over the last four fiscal years, the Postal Service has reduced its size by 110,000 career positions and saved $12 billion in costs. And that "giveaway" labor agreement he mentions? It is projected to save the Postal Service $3.8 billion over the four-and-a-half-year life of the contract and provides us with much greater flexibility to manage our work force.

We can be profitable again with a little action by Congress -- action to remove mandates that prevent the Postal Service from operating like a business.

Ronald A. Stroman

Deputy Postmaster

U.S. Postal Service

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Town officials are right to cull goose population

Do the people who are against the goose abatement in Clarence understand that an adult goose produces a half pound of feces per day? The June 8 News article stated there are 85 geese living on the property in question. That's 42.5 pounds of feces per day. Every day. On one property. They also destroy property in other ways and can be dangerous.

The Canada goose population has exploded to current levels due to human intervention and protection. It is perfectly reasonable to cull the population to protect the citizens and yes, their property.

I applaud the homeowner, the town officials and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Beth Kelly

Clarence

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We need to protect sanctity of marriage

Same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue. Mutually consenting adults are free to commit themselves to whomever they wish. Why, then, is it necessary to redefine the cornerstone of all civilizations for all of time -- marriage?

Perhaps because legalizing same-sex marriage is ultimately about compelling those who believe in God's plan for marriage, family and human sexuality to affirm not only same-sex sex, but also the rest of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual agenda, as outlined in the 1989 book "After the Ball" by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. The book is about a massive media campaign to insinuate the homosexual lifestyle into every aspect of American life.

If we think the legalization of same-sex marriage won't affect our lives, we need to think again.

The real question is whether we wish to live in a world where governments, school curriculums and all forms of media are designed to make everyone believe that what has been held to be immoral since the beginning of time is OK.

Let's preserve the foundation of a healthy society -- the sanctity of marriage between men and women, who procreate and raise children in the context of afamily unit, and build a world that is life-giving.

Elizabeth Kolby

Amherst