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Singletary underestimates value of college education

I would like to comment on the recent column in The News by Michelle Singletary regarding college costs. While Singletary's columns are often informative and useful, I found this one simply depressing and defeatist in its tone. In the column, she opines that her daughter will be furnished with only enough money for an in-state public college and that she will not be allowed to take out any student loans should she choose to attend elsewhere, but will have to make up the difference in scholarships (a Herculean task). She adds that her daughter will never be allowed to take out student loans.

As an attorney and career prosecutor whose middle-class parents only finished high school, I can attest to the value of student loans as well as an advanced degree. With few financial resources at the time, thanks to student loans, I have enjoyed an exciting and rewarding 25-year law career as a prosecutor in both Westchester County and Chautauqua County.

To follow Singletary's logic to its conclusion, the only people who will be able to achieve the most prestigious degrees will be the very wealthy or the most brilliant, and nobody in between. Sadly, she may underestimate the value of certain educational opportunities, and even her own children, by trying to place a fixed monetary value on each degree.

While student loans should not be taken lightly, they are often the only means for middle-class students to pursue studies and careers once occupied by only the wealthy. I will encourage my own children to borrow wisely should they choose to pursue such a dream, even if it is at a private university.

John Zuroski

Bemus Point

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We must put an end to distracted driving

Distracted driving is the cause of more than 5,000 deaths and close to 450,000 accidents in the United States annually. Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times more likely than driving while not distracted. Drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into an injury-producing crash.

To promote prevention, more than 800 attorneys, judges and advocates in the United States and Canada joined together in April to present a unified awareness and education message during National Distracted Driving Awareness month through EndDD.org. We are volunteering because awareness and education will help save lives. Please do what you can to prevent texting and driving.

John Feroleto

Attorney at Law

Buffalo

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Let's not waste critical tax dollars on stadium

The Bills are seeking $200 million to renovate Ralph Wilson Stadium, while we are cutting basic needs for schools and community and already pay some of the highest tax rates in the country? This is nonsense, and my last experience attending a Bills game at the stadium leaves me with no desire to go again anyway.

Besides the exorbitant price I paid for the tickets and parking, my family got to witness a woman and her little girl chased out of their seats because they pleaded with a few young men in front of them to sit down. The woman simply asked the men to sit down so her daughter could see, but they replied with profanities in their beer-heightened ignorance for the woman to shut up. Security arrived and unbelievably escorted the woman and her daughter to another area of the stadium while the young men heckled them as they left, and the young men stood for the rest of the game.

Then I got to experience more brown-bottle bravery in the men's room because I wore a Chicago Bears parka. The drunks hassled me about it, even though the Bills were playing the Dolphins. And finally, after the game, we got to witness a woman sitting on the asphalt in the parking lot, vomiting on herself while a group stood around her laughing. Again, not an experience I care to repeat or support, especially with the critical few tax dollars available.

Vic Rioli

Clarence

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Leaders need to tackle nation's serious problems

When reading the op-ed column about the slander between the Democrats and Republicans that Kathleen Parker so aptly described, one realizes the ridiculous, childlike stones that are thrown.

President Obama is accused of eating dog meat while Mitt Romney is alleged to have driven with his dog on the roof of his vehicle. These reports are distractions from essentials that are not being addressed and solved, like oil prices, the threat to the Social Security system, the giving away of tax money to folks who don't want to work and are rewarded with 99 weeks of unemployment compensation rather than accepting a minimum wage job, the inflation and depression simultaneously, the terrorist threats, the health insurance issues, the safety of the American public, etc.

Finding solutions to problems takes much more than addressing frivolous accusations and meaningless diatribe. It takes leaders who are experienced, rational and can deal with and find ways to address and bring a healthy change to the above issues.

Ursula A. Falk

Kenmore

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Republicans waging war against women, workers

It makes very little sense to those of us members of the middle class that Republicans always find funds to cut taxes on those who are least needy, yet when it comes to providing funds for food stamps for the working poor, to help students with low-cost loans, to train workers for 21st century jobs, to keep Medicare from becoming a voucher program and to continue funding for Medicaid, all of a sudden they start talking about fiscal responsibility.

These Republicans no longer refer to "the rich," they now call them "job creators," thus continuing the canard that is trickle-down economy, a long ago dismissed economic theory. If, to all of this, one adds their social policy views, one can only reach the conclusion that a small group of reactionaries has taken over the already right-wing party.

One has only to mention vaginal probe requirements for those who seek abortions, denial of marital rights to same-sex couples, the ever weakening of unions' bargaining rights and the reduction of environmental safety to reach the only logical conclusion: Republicans are indeed engaged in a war against women and against workers.

Mitt Romney, as the presumptive Republican nominee, is the perfect standard bearer of these destructive policies. If you have any doubts, ask any of the workers who lost their jobs as a result of Bain Capital's rapacious policy of buying businesses, taking all the money out of them, triggering no alternatives to bankruptcies and thousands of job losses. If this man becomes president, that's what we have to look forward to.

Andre Toth

Williamsville