Church will continue?to crush its ‘flowers'

The Aug. 11 picture page featured photographs from the installation of Catholic Bishop Richard Malone. The page was full of images of men – mostly old, white men – save for the young girl at the top of the page. Another section of the paper that same day included a report on the recent meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the group that the Vatican has labeled as dissenters with "serious doctrinal problems." As part of the closing talk at that meeting, the president of the LCWR was quoted as saying, "They can crush a few flowers, but they can't hold back the springtime."

I have to wonder if the girl on the picture page is a harbinger of springtime? Or is she simply another flower who will find herself crushed in her lifelong quest to faithfully live the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I hope and pray for the former, but I fear the latter.

Marilyn Kielbasa



Anti-gay discrimination ?abounds in daily life

Every day, The News and other newspapers provide the sexual orientation and relationship information of people in birth, engagement, wedding and death announcements. "Born to Mr. and Mrs. …, a son/daughter" or "Mr. and Mrs. … announce the engagement of their daughter … to …, son of …" Stories of weddings often include photos of the female bride and male groom. Many death notices list a husband or wife who survives the deceased.

Each of these examples provides the heterosexual orientation of individuals and recognizes their heterosexual relationships.

The story about the life and death of Marvin Hamlisch published in The News mentioned "his wife of 27 years, Terre Blair."

Several days ago, a letter was published from an individual who objected to the Associated Press story about the death of astronaut Sally Ride because it included her sexual orientation and 27-year relationship with partner Tam O'Shaughnessy.

Why is it OK to share this information about heterosexual members of society, but not for those of us who are gay or lesbian and in same-sex relationships? It saddened me that Ride died too young. It saddened me even more that anti-gay discrimination kept her "in the closet" until her death.

Marvin L. Henchbarger

Niagara Falls


Republican candidates ?making it easy for voters

Will Rogers would have loved this.

*Last Saturday, Mitt Romney announced his running mate for the November election. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, author of a radical programs-cutting budget that includes a controversial remake of the Medicare program. Romney introduced him as "the next president of the United States." He covered his latest gaffe with an embarrassing grin and a touch of humor – not his strong suit.

*Bob Schieffer couldn't get a meaningful thought out of either candidate during a joint interview on "60 Minutes" on Sunday night – question, sidestep, change the subject ("The question should be …"), attack the president. There was a distinct philosophical difference between them, though, particularly on their visions of the budget and its implications.

*Monday's News carried a two-column headline, "Romney distances self from Ryan's proposals." What? He just tapped him on Saturday. Obviously Romney's budget will be the one, but what does Ryan do? Change his career philosophy to conform?

*Chris Collins, intent on unseating Rep. Kathy Hochul in the 26th District in November, would not give a reaction to the Ryan budget on Sunday. Why?

*Well, remember Collins' retort when, in a Robert McCarthy story two weeks ago in The News, Hochul stated that she had voted more than 20 percent of the time against her leadership? Collins said that he would vote with Nancy Pelosi 0 percent of the time. In other words, he will vote his party line 100 percent of the time. Imagine that. Five months before his possible induction into the House, he knows how he will vote on every issue. Another puppet. Another contributor to the legislative gridlock from the "Say No" party. What about the concerns of the people who send their representatives to Congress to use their intelligence, experience and judgment with their interests in mind?

It's getting easier for this independent to make his decisions for November. The humor here is too serious to be funny.

Jim Kunz



Thruway Authority is wrong?to propose truck toll increase

The trucking industry is an essential part of our state's economy, responsible for transporting 1.4 million tons of manufactured material here each day, while providing one in 25 jobs. Nearly 90 percent of New York communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. Without trucks, no person, home or business could survive.

The Thruway Authority's plan to raise tolls for commercial motor vehicles on the roadway by 45 percent will not only raise the cost to operate in New York State for the trucking industry, it will raise the costs for every business in New York that relies on trucks to deliver their goods. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is focused on reopening New York for business, but this toll increase will only serve to keep New York closed.

The Thruway Authority has a long history of financial mismanagement. It needs to get its house in order. I should not be asked to increase my costs as a business when it hasn't taken the necessary steps to rein in spending. Implementing a 45 percent toll increase is nothing short of a bailout, asking businesses and consumers to pay for bad decisions made by the Thruway Authority.

Ultimately, I will have no choice but to pass the 45 percent increase on where possible. I cannot afford to absorb that kind of increase. Currently I spend $120 in tolls for a round trip from Buffalo to Albany. Should the increase take effect, that same trip will now cost $175 in tolls.

In the end, consumers will pay more for such items as groceries and clothing. However, in many cases, due to competitive issues, I will not be able to pass all of the increase on, in which case I will be forced to avoid the Thruway. I can assure you that I do not want to be on local roads any more than the local communities want me there, but the Thruway will have left me no choice.

Tracy Ensminger

Vice President, TMSI Logistics


People should be required?to show ID before voting

The question of voter ID has been one of rhetoric and no numbers. So could we look at other community government activities where fraud has been established? Should we not think of Medicaid and Medicare fraud? False unemployment payments have been in the news recently. Of course Social Security checks never went out to deceased individuals, nor did the city ever similarly pay health insurance premiums. Then, too, all our elected officials and candidates are virtuous beyond a doubt.

At the individual level, I have to show ID for a school budget vote while having resided in the district for 40 years. I have to show ID at the bank, even having a pass book, and having been a customer for years.

Donald G. Hobel

North Tonawanda