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Society must support high-quality education

I value education as much as President Obama says he does. I want all children to be prepared for college. I want them to be qualified to compete in a global economy. What I don't understand is how this can be achieved when school districts such as Iroquois may be forced to make further program cuts and to eliminate or reduce business and technology classes, advanced placement courses and career counseling.

If the proposed budget isn't passed, more study halls will replace the eliminated courses and class sizes will increase to upward of 27 students. Art, music, sports and extracurricular activities will also likely be eliminated. I find it appalling that a society that proposes to "leave no child behind" and encourages a "race to the top" doesn't provide the resources to accomplish this.

People need to be aware of the many unfunded mandates that the state is requiring of each and every district. When citizens vote on the budget on May 15, I hope that they consider that teachers and schools have demonstrated their commitment to serving the interests of each and every student and that school districts are making every possible effort to educate our children while at the same time minimizing the burden placed on taxpayers. To me, it is the government's intent that appears hypocritical.

Denise Daley

Elma

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Penny cup by register could be a bad thing

Donn Esmonde may look down on merchants who don't place a penny cup by the register. I look down on merchants who do indulge in the penny-cup shortcut. If it's a food store or restaurant, seeing a penny cup is enough to make me go elsewhere.

Here's the problem. A penny cup shows that the merchant takes a slipshod approach to a core element of business. How do you balance a cash register at the end of a shift if checkers are allowed to shave a few pennies on any transaction? If a crooked checker is smart enough to pocket just a few dollars per shift, how could that ever be detected? If a merchant doesn't care enough to be precise about the money in the till, I wonder where else that merchant cuts corners. If it's a food business, I start wondering how many corners are cut on sanitation, and I take my business elsewhere.

A penny cup is not a kindness, it's a slovenly business practice. Merchants who adopt it are showing us that they are not to be trusted.

Tom Flynn

Buffalo

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ECC needs to maintain its suburban campuses

The recent article highlighting Joel Giambra's push to consolidate Erie Community College to just the downtown campus and stop the Amherst improvements is infuriating to those of us who live in suburban and rural areas outside of Buffalo. Also, it brings back memories of the lengthy discussions that were held more than 10 years ago, when I served as part of the ECC consolidation study.

All data provided to us at that time proved that students and the community felt strongly about maintaining the North and South campuses. I do not feel that this has changed, especially with the increased cost of gasoline and the need for potential students living in places such as Akron and Alden not wanting to travel farther than the North Campus to attend a community college, as well as rural towns in the south areas not wanting to go farther than the South Campus.

My husband and I, as well as our son, all lived in rural areas and drove considerable miles just to get to ECC North for our college education. There is no way that we would have ever considered ECC if the only location was downtown. As an ECC alumnus, I have served on an ECC advisory council as well as being involved in various special projects and studies for the college, and these experiences proved to me the need for North, South and City campuses. The North Campus has had little to no improvements since we attended college there in the '70s; upgrade of these facilities is long overdue.

It seems selfish to promote consolidation to the downtown campus for the only reason of "getting more students" into the downtown area. I sincerely hope that the ECC board continues its plans and stays on track with continued support of all three campuses.

Deborah Arlington

Middleport

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Small Boat Harbor should be privatized

I recently read that local politicians think the Small Boat Harbor should go to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. So, the idea is to take a tax burden from one government agency and move it to another -- and neither has any money.

This shouldn't be on the taxpayer's dime. Privatizing it will put it back on the tax rolls again. Show me one thing the public sector does better than the private sector. Show me one government with a money surplus that can develop the outer harbor into something people want to go to. The answer is, there aren't any.

What got us here in the first place? One-third of the marinas in Western New York are publicly owned and operated. (Funny, I was under the impression that the public sector wasn't supposed to directly compete with the private sector.) Because the publicly owned marinas control the rates, the rates in Western New York are the lowest in the state. This has single-handedly slowed development. I would like to have more employees but I can't, because I can't control my slip rates. We want the outer harbor open to as many people as possible.

The government has had 50 years to develop and maintain the outer harbor and has failed to do so. It's the private sector's turn. If any government entity has extra millions of dollars, it should be spent on things that they are required to do. For example, schools, police, fire departments, road construction, bridge construction, etc. In the end, the public sector needs to get out of the way and let the private sector use its own money to turn Buffalo into what it should be.

Rob Smith

Smith Boys Marine Sales

North Tonawanda

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It's dangerous to push baby stroller in street

Parents should be protecting their children, not putting them in harm's way. When parents push a newborn baby in a stroller in the street, where the speed limit is 30 mph, they are asking for trouble. This happens daily, and I'm sick of it. These parents need to wake up and realize the severity of their carelessness. Their babies are left defenseless.

The excuses that these parents use are so outrageous. They claim that the sidewalks are too muddy or wet for them to walk on. I have even heard someone argue that he doesn't want to get his shoes dirty. That is sad. If your $100 shoes are worth more to you than your child's life, you have issues and don't deserve the privilege of being a parent. Now that we have this nice weather, there are no excuses left to use. Think before you make decisions, and remember that nothing is more important than your child's life.

Chris Sprigg

Kenmore