Teach high schoolers how to perform CPR
Two weeks ago my daughter, Emily Rose, would have been 17. On June 15, 2009, Emily's life was cut short due to sudden cardiac arrest while she was playing soccer.
While we can't bring Emily back, my family and I are doing everything we can to ensure no family loses a loved one too early. That means teaching everyone to learn CPR and how to use an AED. We are volunteering with the American Heart Association to advocate for passage of state legislation to make sure New York students learn CPR and how to use an AED before graduation.
While it may seem like this is common sense, CPR instruction is missing from the high school curriculum in New York. CPR, if started promptly after a victim collapses, can double, if not triple, the chances of survival. When bystanders do nothing but wait for the EMTs and paramedics to arrive, the chances of survival drop 10 percent per minute.
Hands-only CPR takes only 30 minutes to learn, and the cost is minimal to a school district. It is a tool as important as teaching children how to dial 911. The fear of, "what can I do?" will disappear and they will be able to offer help to someone in need. Imagine how many lives we could save if all students learned CPR before graduation. The life they save may be someone you know, maybe your own child.
I hope our state legislators will make this a priority and I encourage readers to contact their state representatives today and ask them to support and pass the CPR in schools bill this year. You can visit www.SupportCPRinSchools.org to learn more. Three numbers (911) save lives. Now let's teach that three letters (CPR) can make a difference, too.
The Emily Rose Memorial Fund
Focusing on college may leave key jobs unfilled
After reading the article about proposed funding to send everyone to college, I am wondering: Who shall I hire to mow my lawn? Pump out my septic tank? Who will repair the potholes? Fix the light poles when the power goes out? Maybe illegal immigrants.
Region must increase funding for tourism
It has already been more than a month since the National Trust Preservation Conference, but the afterglow of showing off our beautiful region to thousands of appreciative visitors still remains. How many times over that weekend did we hear comments that may be summarized in "you are so lucky to live here"? We certainly have almost an embarrassment of riches when it comes to our architecture, the arts, history, natural beauty and on and on. It would be difficult to jot down a comprehensive list, the list grows so long.
The word is indeed starting to get out -- Buffalo is a cultural and heritage tourism destination. With our lively art scene, local restaurants, waterfront, music, historic neighborhoods, stories to tell, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Darwin Martin House, we have treasures to keep a tourist happy indefinitely.
There is only one problem; tourists will not come if they do not know about us. Visit Buffalo Niagara, Erie County's tourism and convention entity, does an outstanding job of marketing our community around the country. But VBN's 2011 budget is only $3.7 million.
New Orleans has just budgeted $10 million for 2012, and in these tough economic times Michigan has recently raised its tourism marketing budget from $5 million in 2005 to $25 million annually now.
If there is any question as to why we should spend tax dollars on advertising, consider these figures. In 2009, visitors to Erie County spent $1.2 billion, generating $86 million in sales tax revenue for the county. Visit Buffalo Niagara does a tremendous job already, as the above numbers show. But how many more tourists might come here if VBN were more properly funded?
The tourism industry can be one of Buffalo Niagara's largest industries, and a cornerstone of our region's economic revitalization. Visit Buffalo Niagara's budget should be sizeably increased.
Changes will make Mass more meaningful
As the Catholic Church in America embarks on the biggest change to the Mass since Vatican II, it inspires one to pause and reflect on how far we have come in the last 50 years. Vatican II ushered in a whole new way of approaching everything from the Mass to confession to how each parish operates on a daily basis.
Some of these changes were dramatic. For instance, when the priest turned his back on God to face the congregation, many applauded the change. Interestingly, Vatican II did not dictate that change. That change, as well as a myriad of others, required "special permission" to execute. Slowly, the Mass became more casual, more laid back. Is this a good thing? The numbers say no. With churches closing, Mass attendance dropping like a stone, a lack of reverence among many in church (borne out by immodest dress, late arrivals, early exits, etc.), an alarmingly high number of practicing Catholics who do not believe in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and many other indicators, it is pretty clear to me that our beautiful church, rich in history and ritual, needs a shot in the arm.
The new translation is a wonderful return to more accurate prayers and responses that make the Mass more meaningful. Ultimately, though, the faithful will only get out of Mass what they put into it. We are called to individually examine ourselves, strive for holiness and seek to reach God personally. If more Catholics did that, the churches wouldn't be able to hold the numbers who would flock back.
BPO's aging piano needs to be replaced
It is no secret that the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the great jewels of our cultural organizations. However, one object stands in the way of delivering a message of total proficiency. It is the grand piano on the main stage. It is the largest instrument at Kleinhans Music Hall. It is present at almost every concert and used by many visiting performers.
It has been more than nine years since this Steinway 9-foot grand piano was donated to Kleinhans by the Buffalo Chamber Music Society and the Cameron Baird Foundation. The current condition of the piano is deplorable. The back sheen is gone. Numerous dents, scratches and peeling veneer spoil the visual atmosphere of any performer.
This great orchestra deserves a grand piano that is a presentable centerpiece on the stage.
W. John Kozinski