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Slow down and enjoy Thanksgiving Day

In the midst of the in-between season of post-Halloween and Christmas is Thanksgiving, a truly special holiday where all we have to do is be grateful and try not to overeat (for those who have enough to eat). It is doing a disservice to this holiday and disappointing to have the trend of the early onslaught of an uber-consumer Christmas shopping season from early product appearances in stores to radio stations playing holiday music already.

The 12 days of Christmas are not before the Christmas season, like some kind of consumer countdown, but rather from Dec. 25 to Jan. 6. With the rushing of Christmas, it is ironic that the day after Christmas, radio music reverts to regular programming and stores have Valentine's Day stuff on the shelves. Maybe we could all benefit by choosing to slow down this rush, enjoy the meaning of the holidays during the holiday season and remember that Thanksgiving is one of them. Let us be thankful.

Deanne Plonka

Buffalo

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Black Friday sales infringe on holiday

Where has Thanksgiving gone? Did I forget to eat my turkey dinner this year? I turned to my favorite radio station in the beginning of November, and there was only Christmas music playing. No matter what state, airport, mall or store, that is what you hear. I love these songs, but isn't the day after Thanksgiving soon enough?

We have lost the real meaning of both of these holidays because of consumerism. All of the focus is on Black Friday. Let us band together so the poor store clerks can enjoy this wonderful holiday with their families. We must count our blessings. Our country has remained safe these last 10 years. Let us hope it continues.

There is no need to open stores on Thanksgiving night, or even early the next morning, as they do. We all love a bargain, and times are really tough, but people can get the same sales at a normal time of operation.

Mary Lou Colpoys-Wynne

Orchard Park

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Grand Island schools sorely need updating

When my husband suggested we buy a house on Grand Island eight years ago, the first thing I did was Google how the school system is ranked and what the crime rate was. Keep in mind, those two things are the major reasons people move anywhere.

But our schools are starting to get tired. Our science wings aren't sophisticated enough and we need more space for technology. The bones of some of the buildings need some work. For goodness sake, our schools don't even have Wi-Fi. If we don't provide the best learning environment we can for the kids, how can we expect them to excel?

I sat on a committee that advised the Board of Education on the needs of each school. We toured each school and made a list of priorities. Some of them haven't been updated in 30 years. I am asking residents to vote yes on Dec. 20 for a two-part capital project to improve the quality of academics and life on Grand Island. For details on the project, go to the district's website at www.k12.ginet.org.

The better our school system, the more people will move here and the higher our property values. Not to mention how it will benefit our kids and the future. How can we expect our children to be respectful of their surroundings if we aren't providing an educational environment that we can all be proud of?

Proposition 1 has no tax increase. If you vote yes to both propositions and the project is passed, the rise in your taxes will be negligible. If you own a house valued at $100,000, your taxes will increase only $4.26 next year. Shouldn't we spend $5 per year to give our kids a better educational environment?

Cyndy Montana

Grand Island

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Generous donations are still remembered

I didn't know it when they offered to deliver a tree to my house that I was also named a "neediest" family. On Dec. 21, 1981, at the scheduled time, volunteers arrived with the tree and so much more. One by one they walked past me carrying bags of groceries and a gift for each of my three children.

I was in awe. Their generosity was so overwhelming. Tears streamed down my face; I just couldn't believe all they had brought for me and my children. If not for them, there would have been no tree to decorate or a Christmas meal, let alone presents under the tree.

As the children slept, I sat on the couch watching the twinkling lights on the tree with the few gifts underneath thinking, this is going to be a great Christmas after all. If not for the Neediest Fund, I would not have this precious memory of Christmas 1981. I am grateful to all who give to this fund.

Peggy Leary Vogelbacher

Buffalo

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State has funny way of thanking workers

My husband is a corrections officer for the state of New York. He is also a volunteer firefighter/EMT. When hurricane Irene hit downstate, the governor declared a state of emergency and fire departments from across the state were sent downstate to help out. My husband was one of the firefighters who went downstate at the request of New York.

Now he is being docked three days of his vacation time by his employer, New York State, for answering the call of New York to help fellow New Yorkers. It's no wonder we can't wait to leave this godforsaken state.

Linda B. Cole

Akron

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Don't take liberties with national anthem

Assumed liberties taken with our national anthem are insulting and nauseating. A few years ago, I was privileged to have witnessed a group of new immigrants become American citizens. The sincerity and tears in their eyes reflected their struggle to get here and become one with the United States. It was emotional, to say the least, as they vowed their allegiance to this beautiful country.

Why, then, do some of our fellow citizens, when called upon to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the opening ceremonies of national sporting events, choose to adulterate the notes of the final stanza to hideous octave changes and long note-holding exhibits, etc.?

I think we should get back to the basics or else pack these cretins off to the Sgt. R. Lee Ermey U.S. Marine Corps (retired) school of proper anthem singing, taught to the tune of a swagger stick. That is my gripe and I am going to stick to it.

Edgar A. King Jr.

West Falls