ADVERTISEMENT

Obama deserves praise for stance on pipeline

In my opinion, The News is pretty balanced politically. However, I must point out some things left out of the editorial, "Obama's bad call," regarding the Keystone pipeline.

Republicans have repressed several job-creating efforts proposed by President Obama that reward companies creating jobs here with tax breaks and punish those outsourcing with higher taxes.

Republicans played politics by forcing a decision in order for them to extend the payroll tax deduction.

The president of the American oil industry actually threatened Obama that he would pay politically if he doesn't support the pipeline. There is already a pipeline from Canada that feeds refineries in the Midwest, but the greedy oil barons want more.

Oil is the No. 1 export the United States produces, so if you think this oil would stay here and reduce gas prices domestically, you are wrong. We already have enough oil to feed the American market, but they export it to keep the demand and price high.

The Gulf Coast area where the refineries are located is known as "cancer alley" because of the toxins released by this dirty process. As medical claims rise, U.S. taxpayers get stuck with the bill because Exxon/Mobil pays zero in taxes.

It's obvious whose money is behind the Republican Party as it unanimously voted against letting the tax subsidies of big oil expire, so during years of record profits these giants paid no tax at all. Meanwhile, our country is going bankrupt and we are forced to cut teachers, firefighters and police. This is shameful.

Obama should be commended for not caving in to these bullies who have blocked every effort he has made to move this country forward in hopes of making him a one-term president.

Chuck Kritz

West Seneca

***

Jan. 22 should be a day of mourning

I am commenting on the "freedom of choice" letter published in The News on Jan. 21. Our forefathers were right when they declared that all men are created with the unalienable right to life. Our Supreme Court was very, very wrong in its Roe v. Wade decision.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 39 women died while having an abortion in 1972. How is killing of the baby in the womb "in the best tradition of American struggles for justice and equality"?

The writer's proposal for a national holiday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Jan. 22 is another indication of America's decline. How do you celebrate the killing of 50 million babies in the womb? We should have a national day of mourning for all the victims of abortion.

Frank D. Guglielmo

Cheektowaga

***

State must remove barriers to Medicaid reimbursement

Many school districts are disappointed with the school aid that they are scheduled to receive. Schools are scrambling to fill large gaps in their budgets. However, there is still a substantial pool of money that districts have been unable to fully tap into. Services provided to some children in schools are eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. However, after significant changes in Medicaid reimbursement procedures in 2007, these funds coming back into school districts have steadily declined.

According to Department of Health data on Medicaid reimbursement for school-based services that we received from the Special Education Administration, the Buffalo Public School District received $24.5 million in Medicaid reimbursement during the 2005-06 school year, the last full year prior to any changes. The amount of reimbursement was a little more than $1 million for the 2009-10 school year. A percentage of this lost revenue is within the services provided by school psychologists.

In the 2005-06 school year, Buffalo was reimbursed close to $1.2 million for services provided by school psychologists. Since the changes in 2007, services previously delivered by master's level certified school psychologists, who comprise the vast majority of practitioners in this field, are no longer eligible for reimbursement. Thus, most of this money is lost to the Buffalo schools. A similar scenario is played out in the suburban and rural schools.

If Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature really want to assist school districts, they need to ensure that all possible sources of revenue are available by removing barriers to Medicaid reimbursement and passing legislation that will once again open up reimbursement of school psychological services.

John Kelly

Chairman, Legislative Committee,

New York Association of School Psychologists

Robin Raphael

Past President, NYASP

Ruth Steegmann

Chairwoman, Publications, NYASP

***

Don't allow glaucoma to steal your vision

Since I work in the field of ophthalmology, I feel compelled to educate the public. January is national Glaucoma Awareness month, but in my book, it's every month. Glaucoma is a silent disease for the most part; there are very few symptoms unless you have the sudden-onset type or suffer an injury. Glaucoma is called the sneak thief; it quietly and slowly takes away one's peripheral vision, leaving one with a tunnel of constricted vision. The optic nerve degenerates and causes you to lose all of your sight.

It is so easy to detect glaucoma; just go to the eye doctor and have your eyes checked. With a simple, painless test you can measure the intraocular pressure in the eye and start treatment with drops, laser or surgery if need be. Just remember, whatever you lose to glaucoma or your peripheral vision, you won't get back. That's why early detection is so important and treatable.

Don't go blind willingly. Get tested. I have seen all too many times what this disease can do to ruin a life.

Judith Whitehead

East Amherst

***

Spay Day can help curb overpopulation

Spay Day is an annual event, held in February, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States. Many veterinarians participate in this program, encouraging people to spay or neuter their pets. Let's prevent one more litter this spring.

By acting in a humane and responsible way, we can make a difference -- one dog or cat at a time. We are all disheartened to hear about healthy animals being euthanized because of overcrowding. There are more animals needing homes than we can provide.

Sponsor an animal to be spayed, and make a difference in a positive and humane way. Please call your veterinarian, local shelter or rescue organization to get information about spay clinics.

Sue Jolls

Gowanda