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Town should ask community what it expects of police force

Over the course of the past month, the same question has been variously put to me: Why do I think the Orchard Park Town Board is going after its own Police Department? The question presupposes a malicious or at least wrong-headed intent, one that I can dismiss out of hand. These are tough and uncertain financial times, so the Town Board must be especially attentive to its fiduciary responsibility by assessing the operational efficiency and effectiveness of all of its departments.

I suspect that the often-put question arises from a potential inconsistency between the leadership role and style of our elected officials and the course this assessment appears to have taken thus far. Our elected officials are to exercise a servant-leadership within communities. A servant first ascertains the interests, desires and will of the people he serves, and is at pains to remain accessible, transparent and accountable in the course of his ensuing service.

This kind of leadership begs two questions of Town Board members. Have they first ascertained the interests and will of the community for its Police Department, without which they are in no position to determine if any other law enforcement agency has the appropriate resources for satisfying the many distinctive needs and desires of our community? The second question is closely related. Has the Town Board been at pains to remain accessible, transparent and accountable throughout the course of this assessment? As a resident of this community, I'm not getting that impression.

With all due respect, I would like to challenge Town Board members to more fully demonstrate the servant-leadership they have been entrusted with. Find creative ways to ask the community what its expectations of the Police Department are. And become more accessible, transparent and accountable as you go about fulfilling those expectations.

Michael Sherry

Assistant Chief of Police (Retired)

Orchard Park Police Department

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Aiding disaster victims should be high priority

So, let me see. Members of Congress make a political football out of disaster relief, with Republicans demanding budgets cuts to offset federal expenditures that would go toward helping victims of the earthquake in Virginia and flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in the Northeast.

Yet these same geniuses have no problem burning through an unfettered flow of untold billions of dollars on interventionist nation-building adventures in far-flung places halfway around the globe.

Phil Schwab

Williamsville

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Explore new approaches to caring for our seniors

Recently an article appeared in The News regarding tax benefits given to residence communities for senior citizens, specifically continuing care communities. The writer failed to note that these residents contribute greatly not only to their care but to the economy of the area. The residents who live in these communities contribute entirely to their care. They do not receive any federal or state assistance. These residents are saving the taxpayers in the community money.

Health care for seniors is a growing concern. An extremely high portion of our taxes is used to pay for Medicare; just examine your tax bill. Any measure a community can support to reduce this cost should receive support.

Continuing care communities have programs for aging in place. These communities are also exploring new programs to provide seniors with the necessary services to keep them at home. They also provide employment for folks in the area and assist the economy. Local governments should support these efforts by every means possible. In the long run, everyone will benefit.

I am a senior. I have not found any seniors looking forward to their admittance to a nursing home. Seniors are the fastest-growing population in New York. We must look for and explore new approaches to senior care.

Leonard S. Sikora

Past Vice President

National Continuing Care

Residents Association

Williamsville

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Many share the blame for student's suicide

Shame on the superintendent of the Williamsville schools for not making a strong and immediate public statement condemning the bullying that took place at Williamsville North High School and continues to take place in that school. Shame on the principal of Williamsville North for not taking immediate action to suspend or monitor the situation closely enough to prevent the continued abuse.

Shame on the teachers in that building who walk the halls with those students every day and were aware of this situation and did nothing. Shame on the guidance counselors who knew what was happening but brushed it off as "kids will be kids" stuff. Shame on the other gay, lesbian and transgender teachers and students who did not join forces to protect. Most of all, shame on the bullies and their parents who have not learned or taught the lessons of tolerance and compassion for all who might be different.

John D'Arcangelo

Getzville

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Magnesium chloride is destroying our vehicles

Do you know what magnesium chloride is? I do now, and it cost me $630 to find out. I have a new minivan that recently hit its one-year anniversary. I noticed squeaking in the brakes and it got progressively worse. I took it to the dealer three times, and I was told it was the front brake pads hanging up and not to worry about it.

On a recent long-distance trip, the noise got much worse and I took my vehicle to a dealer in Louisiana. The rear brake assemblies had corroded through and all of the major parts had to be replaced. I was told it had been caused by salt. I talked to a truck driver in Louisiana who drives north quite a bit in the winter and he was the first person to tell me about magnesium chloride. He said it is tearing up trucks.

I took the brake parts home to show to my dealer. The service manager told me that the problem is caused by the magnesium chloride that we spray on our roads. The car manufacturer does not consider this a warranty issue because the parts failure is not caused by defective parts.

Apparently, some states, including New York, spray this stuff on the roads so the salt sticks better. It has an adhesive added to it. As if the salt doesn't already damage our vehicles enough, this chemical is causing major damage to cars, trucks and roads. It is highly corrosive and is attacking wires, hoses, brakes, wipers, chrome and other parts. Because of the added adhesive, it is hard to wash off, even with frequent car washes.

The concrete industry has gone on record that this chemical is eating up roads. States say they are aware of the problems, but they use it anyway "for the greater good."

Dick DeLisle

West Seneca