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Educating children?is an important job

When is the last time you had to defend your salary to a person who had limited understanding of the many parameters of your job? Ask actors, athletes or "talent show" judges and they will say they have never been asked to explain why providing entertainment is worthy of multimillion-dollar salaries. Ask politicians to defend their salary based on the number of months worked and the lifetime benefits awarded and, despite the dire conditions our country finds itself in, these folks surely believe they earn every penny of their salaries and benefits packages.

So why are teachers repeatedly chastised for earning a living by educating the children of the people who are doing the complaining? For those individuals who feel that teachers do not deserve the salary or the benefits they earn, please remember that unless you are married to a teacher, the parent of a teacher or the friend of a teacher, you have only a glimpse into the realities of the profession.

While it is true that many teachers do not work in the summer months, it is also true that we are not paid for that time. Our salaries are based on hours worked, both in school and at home. Teachers typically work two decades before salaries match those of other professionals in the work force for far fewer years. We do not have expense accounts to deduct the cost of school supplies and materials once provided by the district. We make a decent living doing a job that is steadily losing its appeal.

So to the woman who complained in the checkout line about teachers' exorbitant salaries, I ask that she think about the worth of a teacher compared to the cost of an uneducated society, and then thank her daughter's teacher for guiding her into a profession that she hopefully will never have to defend while waiting to buy a pair of slippers.

Amy Pygon

Hamburg

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Occupy movement is? melting pot of activists

I am writing in response to an editorial cartoon posted in the Sept. 24 News depicting the face of the Occupy movement as an anarchist punk and a hippie. I felt the cartoon was a gross misrepresentation of an entire sect of a global population and activist movement.

Occupy is a continuing global movement led by people of every race, religion and nationality; middle class and poor; men, women, and children who share many of the same values and concerns. The 99 percent vie not for a utopian society as some may believe, but for a society where the balance between the masses is more equal. They want to put an end to a society driven solely by wealth and greed. Simply put, there is a good chance they are like you and me. To limit their ranks to simply that of punks and hippies is an insult to an entire melting pot of activists fighting for 99 percent of the population.

David Mangan

Boston

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Buffalo is moving ?in positive direction

With pleasure I visited the newly renovated Hotel Lafayette for the wedding reception of a dear friend. This visit will leave a lasting impression on me. What intrigues me most is that this building, so rich in architecture, was built more than 100 years ago, and it is so stately and solid. What I learned is that it was built to accommodate guests for the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, but was not finished in time and so it actually opened in 1904. Accolades to developer Rocco Termini, and I am sorry the funding did not come through for the AM&A's project.

One other building in downtown Buffalo that intrigues me is the renovated federal building, which now houses Embassy Suites and the Avant condominiums. The Avant condos have glass walls overlooking the city. Oh, if I made a paycheck large enough, I would purchase a condo at the Avant.

I was born and raised in Buffalo and downtown was my stomping ground for so many years. Buffalo is moving in a positive direction. It is so joyous to see the rebirth!

Rose Mary Grancharoff Girone

Buffalo

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PSA tests have saved,? prolonged many lives

Like many men, I started having PSA tests when I turned 55. According to the National Cancer Institute, "The PSA test measures the blood level of PSA, a protein that is produced by the prostate gland. The higher a man's PSA level, the more likely it is that he has prostate cancer."

When my PSA became abnormally high (336), a CT scan showed stage 4 cancer because it had spread from my prostate to one or more lymph nodes. I underwent two eight-week periods of daily radiation. After four weeks of treatment, my PSA had dropped to 69; after eight weeks it had dropped to 2.46; and after 16 weeks, it had dropped to 0.07. I can't say enough about the wonderful care at CCS Oncology. They were caring, kind, respectful and always honest.

For me, paying attention to the PSA tests probably saved my life; at least extended it well beyond the timeline initially given.

To summarize, you have nothing to lose by having PSA tests. It will be up to you to discuss the results with your urologist and decide whether a subsequent biopsy is advisable. Use your computer (or other sources) to find out more about PSA tests and talk to your urologist.

Carlton Stone

Wheatfield

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Teaching abstinence?is the only solution

In response to the recent article, "Students' risky sex trend is given urgency at forum," some input for the school district. First, when looking to reduce promiscuous behavior, do not consult Planned Parenthood. Second, start addressing premarital sexuality as being as unacceptable as smoking.

Planned Parenthood's advice is quoted in the article. Its most lucrative services include abortion and birth control. Its profit in 2009-10 was reported at $18.5 million. It would be the agency's financial death to influence a large-scale reduction in risky sexual behavior.

In 2010, the poverty rate was its highest since 1993 up 27.4 percent for blacks, and 26.6 percent for Hispanics. The Brookings Institution recently outlined three predictors of poverty avoidance: graduating from high school; marrying after 21 and having children after marrying; and having a full-time job. Extramarital teen sexuality means a high risk of violating these predictors. Anything less than an attitude of forbidding the behavior equates to promoting teen future failure and a 76 percent chance of poverty.

Encouraging contraception and protection is tantamount to buying filters for your smoking teen. What teen wouldn't run with that implicit permission? Contraception and condoms increase risky behavior by creating a false safety net that does consistently fail. That's good for Planned Parenthood, but horrible for society. The only sure answer is abstinence, which is best taught and enforced by a teen's parents.

Liz Zilbauer

Grand Island