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Collins must think the voters are stupid

This letter is in regard to Chris Collins' latest attempt to curry favor with the voters of Erie County -- his offer of support to the Buffalo & Erie County Library in the form of maintenance of city branches. This move would be laudable if not for the stink of political hypocrisy.

First, he threw a few dollars at cultural organizations that he, and he alone, deemed worthy of support, and now he decides at the last minute that, lo and behold, libraries are worth supporting, too?

Why did it take an election for Collins to realize that government has a role to play in the education of its citizens, and that libraries and cultural organizations are important to this effort?

And let's not forget that the "surplus" county dollars he says are suddenly available came not from his prudent budgeting, but from federal stimulus funds authorized by Congress three years ago, and hoarded ever since for just this moment, when Collins faced the voters. These federal funds were to be spent to help reduce our unemployment rate, not sit in the bank awaiting the next election. Does he think that our memories are so short that we won't realize what he is doing?

I voted for Collins the first time around with the hope that he was someone who cared more about doing the right thing than ensuring his personal success. But his scorn for the memory and intelligence of Erie County voters apparently knows no limit, and I for one have seen enough.

Patrick Henry

Orchard Park

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Harping about IDAs won't bring jobs back

Sometimes intelligent people get hung up on words. A recent News editorial about local Industrial Development Agencies offering tax concessions for retail projects fixates on the word "industrial." Back in the '60s, when IDAs were first established, there were lots of industrial jobs. Fifty years later, in the Northeastern United States there are next to none, at least next to none paying traditional unionized labor wages.

That this is so may be a very bad thing. I, for one, believe that it is. However, my belief is not going to make such jobs reappear. And The News' harping on the failure of IDAs to produce such jobs will not bring their reappearance either.

One may or may not favor "adaptive reuse" projects. Maybe they are not good ideas. But if so, object to them on the grounds that cleaning up brownfields or facilitating reuse of empty buildings is not a good use of government funds and not on the grounds, anchored in wishful thinking, that they are not examples of industrial development.

John Henry Schlegel

Amherst

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Hydrofracking may be a short-term solution

It is time to come to some consensus with regard to hydrofracking in New York State. We could debate the issues at hand for a very long time, and yet we have an energy crisis at hand. This crisis is probably a major contributor to our economic woes. Gasoline is nearly $4 per gallon. An abundant and domestically available supply of natural gas could fulfill our energy needs in the short run until all our renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc.) pan out.

Can you imagine a majority of our vehicles running on compressed natural gas? They would all drive directly past the gas station with some measure of glee and satisfaction. This strategy would save the United States from sending our money to the Mideast or Venezuela.

The strategy that I am proposing is a benchmark study to be done to see if hydrofracking is doable and safe. New York would designate an isolated rural site and the designated company chosen would use the best practices for this process. The state would then invite the EPA and others to observe and measure all of the outputs and environment impacts.

Furthermore, the company involved would be held liable to clean up the area if there were any untoward effects or contaminants produced. There also would be feedback and a follow-up loop between the involved company and the EPA and the others for improvements during the development, drilling, hydrofracking, extraction and remediation of the site.

Let us resolve this issue now. We need a short-term answer for our energy needs. This benchmark study could supply us with the answers we desperately need.

Craig J. Brozek

Grand Island

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'Love after loss' was a great story

I read with interest the Sept. 25 article, "Love after loss." While no one can fully understand what Steven and Jan Diver have gone through, I have a pretty good idea. In July 2003, I became a widow at the age of 30. My husband died suddenly, leaving me alone to raise our baby. I was devastated to say the least. I was scared and afraid of living my life alone and raising our son without my husband by my side. I never imagined that I'd ever find someone who would love me and our baby as my husband did.

When I least expected it, I met another wonderful man who was also widowed with three children. He understood some of the things I was going through because he was experiencing the same challenges as I was. We eventually married, but not a day goes by that we don't think about our late spouses and reflect upon the unexpected journey our lives have taken us on.

Steven Diver hit the nail on the head when he said, "as quickly as things can turn for the worse, they can turn for the better." The way I see it, we should all give thanks for each day, cherish our families and love one another.

Mary Ellen Bonnar-Fitzgerald

Elma

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Now is a good time to purchase a home

The News recently published an article titled "Mortgage rates at lowest level in 60 years." As broker/owner of Metro Ken-Ton Realty since 1984, I was thrilled with the headline, but the article was not totally correct. Now is definitely the best time to buy a home.

The second paragraph mentions the "20 percent down payment usually required." Most people even thinking to buy a home would despair of ever being able to get out of rent.

Fact of the matter is there are numerous mortgage products where the down payment is extremely affordable. For many years, we have had FHA mortgages with typical down payments of 3.5 percent and VA mortgages with no down payment. Obtaining seller's concessions can really help toward the expense of closing costs and escrow requirements.

Conventional mortgages can be obtained with as little as 5 percent down. There is even a plan where this 5 percent can be a gift from a relative.

The bottom line is that interest rates are fantastic and buyers need very little cash to purchase a home. Housing historically has led our country out of recession and I hope this education will help the decision-making process for first-time home buyers. It is truly less expensive to own than to rent.

W. Michael Smith

Tonawanda