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Poloncarz will work to protect libraries

The Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system is celebrating its 175th anniversary, and for more than 50 of those years, I've been one of its loyal patrons.

Over the years, and particularly during the past few years, I have been witness to closures and severely shortened hours. Despite heavy use, the Fairfield library closed in 2005, and since that time the children in my neighborhood have had no library within walking distance. The building itself, once an architectural gem, has been allowed to deteriorate.

I used to enjoy using the Central Library, but unfortunately, I no longer go there. It's simply too depressing. A privately owned restaurant was installed a few years ago and continues to expand, with tables set up throughout the library. Once upon a time, there was a beautiful children's room. But now it's gone and the children have a small, noisy corner in the main room. All public areas are in need of a good cleaning. Worst of all, the entire second floor is closed, with all of the books and shelving removed.

Just last April, County Executive Chris Collins proposed using $250,000 to renovate the second floor of the Central Library so it could be used as a place that could be rented out for events. On Nov. 5, the Library's board of trustees is planning to open up the second floor, in order to host a $175-a-plate dinner dance. Is this a sample of things to come?

It's time to face facts. On its 175th birthday, the library system is on life support. I have always loved my library and the only way I plan to "celebrate" is by voting for Mark Poloncarz on Nov. 8.

Barbara Jezioro

Buffalo

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Perhaps Lancaster needs a new leader

I am writing in response to The News article, "Lancaster voters have distinct choice." As a Town of Lancaster resident for 15 years, I have voted for Robert Giza in the past. However, this article made me stop and consider that choice in the future. Despite my party affiliation, I don't always vote on party lines. I vote on the issues that are important to me and my family. I also base my decision on which political official may actually follow through on election-time promises.

I had to laugh at the notion that Giza "checks to make sure street lights aren't out." At this time, there are eight street lights not working in my neighborhood. As a matter of fact, the light at my children's bus stop was out for three years! When I called the town to report the outage, I was advised it's not a town problem, it's NYSEG's responsibility. For three years we stood on a dark corner waiting for the school bus. Where was Giza then? This may be just one issue, however, it makes me think that Giza just might like keeping his constituents in the dark.

Amy Buchholz

Lancaster

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Why won't people leave animals alone?

The recent story about escaped animals in Ohio recalled another piece that appeared some years ago. A guy who owned a pet chimp attended a birthday party for another chimp owned by a friend. Some of the fun disappeared from the festivities when the guest attempted to shake hands with the birthday chimp, and it bit off three or four of his fingers.

Is this the function of an animal -- to entertain us? We have the zoo, the circus, the rodeo, marine parks, etc. It's a long list. Turn on the TV and do a bit of channel surfing and I guarantee within three minutes you will be watching a human being doing something to humiliate or harm an animal -- strapping a tracking device the size of a toaster around its neck, dressing it in a funny costume, teaching it some moronic trick or just tramping around in its habitat to produce yet another lame nature film.

Let's not forget Hollywood and the inhumane treatment of animals to juice up the action for movies. I believe it's a criminal act to hunt down these magnificent creatures and transport them into captivity. Animals belong in wilderness or the jungle. That is their home. It's dangerous, but they are free and spared the company of us more civilized types.

Jack Spiegelman

Buffalo

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Latest 'free trade' deals will eliminate more jobs

I just have to roll my eyes in amazement that our elected officials -- both President Obama and members of Congress -- have passed three more "free trade" deals for South Korea, Colombia and Panama. When will they get it? We have high unemployment and huge budget deficits, and we continue to send more work overseas, even at a time when Obama wants a jobs bill passed. I really wonder if the president has poor advisers, or if he just doesn't get it.

Sure, corporations want free trade deals. The U.S. government taxes U.S. businesses on income earned worldwide, but allows them to defer taxes on the money until it is brought back to the United States. As a result, American corporations like to keep the money abroad, particularly as they increase investment overseas.

And now companies like Apple, which has more than $81 billion in money overseas, want to have a "tax holiday" to bring money back. Am I missing something? A solution talked about to aid U.S. budget problems is to further tax millionaires. In addition, how about putting an end to the deferring of taxes on money our corporations make overseas. Now that would help our budget woes!

Mark R. Jones

Eden

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New blood test sets dangerous precedent

An article on the Oct. 9 Science Page tells of a new blood test that will "tell newly pregnant women if they are carrying a child with Down syndrome -- raising the prospect, and perhaps peril, of a world with fewer imperfections. The day may come, say experts, when parents are spared the trauma of a baby who perishes at birth, or faces a life filled with pain or profound disability."

The implication is obvious. Those parents who do not want a baby with Down syndrome should eliminate this imperfect child so as not to add to our imperfect world. The article could have added that already 90 percent of Down syndrome babies in the United States are eliminated through abortion.

The article indicates that the result of a world with fewer imperfections would be a "leap forward." But at what expense? Do we make scientific progress when we kill our children to achieve a result? The life of a Down syndrome baby, or a baby with any disability, is a human life that is infinitely valuable. To use what might be indicated as scientific progress to kill an innocent human being is human regression of the worst kind. To use science in this manner is a reversion to the eugenics mind-set in Nazi Germany during the 1930s and 1940s. This should have been settled for the world by the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, but still continues in the minds of many.

Deacon Frank Shaughnessy

Barbara Shaughnessy

Pro-Life Committee, SS. Peter and Paul Church, Hamburg