Recognize efforts of law enforcement
Fifty years ago, then-President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.
As the area's top federal law enforcement officer, I ask that you take advantage of this week to thank a police officer for the fine service he or she performs in keeping our region safe.
Here in Western New York, thousands of officers at the local, county, state and federal levels risk their lives every day of every week of every year to keep our streets and our neighborhoods safe. Interactions with the public can range from minor traffic matters, to emergency response, to violent and property crime. At the federal level, our agents and officers investigate terrorism, organized crime, serious financial frauds, narcotics trafficking and much more.
The dangers to these fine men and women are substantial. Studies indicate that the job of law enforcement officer is among the most dangerous of professions, and the everyday stress that accompanies a police officer can be extreme.
For these reasons alone, we owe our fine officers a debt of gratitude. In addition, over the past two years, I am happy to report that crime has been declining across Western New York, in some cases to the lowest level in 25 years. This is yet another reason to recognize the efforts and exemplary work of law enforcement officers at all levels of our government.
So this week, please take a moment to offer a silent prayer to your neighborhood cop. Even better, say thanks.
William J. Hochul Jr.
Western District of New York
Culture encourages indulgence in alcohol
On May 6, The News front page carried a headline stating, "Officials bewildered by rash of felony DWIs." The article goes on to describe several horrible alcohol-related accidents that occurred over the past few days.
I find it ironic that officials can't figure out why these accidents keep happening. Far too many people believe they will still be able to drive safely after they "have another." Our culture encourages overindulgence in alcohol, and accidents will continue to happen until that culture changes. "Real men" (and women) don't crawl to their cars after a night of proving how tough they are at the bar. Rather, they act responsibly, and get home without killing anyone.
We must find out why MS rates are so high
As a member of the newly formed New York State Multiple Sclerosis Legislative Alliance, I was proud to help kick off the Buffalo MS walk, which had 1,600 participants, at Coca-Cola Field on May 6.
My brother Richard has had MS for more than 25 years. I have personally seen first-hand the effects of MS. I walked with my brother, my family and friends and other advocates to show support for the MS Society. I am proud of my brother and everyone else living with MS, as well as those fighting to find a cure.
Western New York has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the United States. The U.S. incidence rate is 133 cases per 100,000 people; in Western New York it is 267 cases per 100,000 people. These numbers are shocking.
We need to find out why the rates are higher here than anywhere else in the United States. That is my goal. I also want to help make prescriptions more affordable so that people affected by MS can be treated.
MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system, for which there is no known cure. Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body. Thanks to growing collaboration, there are improved treatments leading to enhanced quality of life for people with MS.
I look forward to working with colleagues in Albany as a part of the MS Legislative Alliance to ensure that affordable treatment is available for people with MS.
State Senator, 60th District
Breakdown of marriage and religion are linked
A recent News story titled "Religiously unaffiliated soar in area" highlights the diminishing role of organized religion in the spiritual life of many people.
With so many single-parent households, those who find marriage an undesirable pursuit will shun the traditional organized religion that emphasizes marriage and a two-parent household. As more people decide to forgo a traditional marital union, those seeking spiritual solace decide to satisfy their spiritual yearnings by seeking out a religious experience that exemplifies their own personal life of avoiding the burdens inherent in any long-term commitment.
Years ago, when people spoke of their marriage they would recall the date and the church where the ceremony was held. Nowadays when people discuss marriage, they recall the date of the divorce and regurgitate all the complaints about the other partner.
Traditional organized religion was at one time respected as a valuable institution that brought people together into a marital union and endeavored to keep them together during the rigors and demands of child rearing.
Many people decry the lack of civility in society, especially politics, but this incivility can be easily traced back to the decline of the two-parent household that at one time embraced traditional religious institutions, which in turn sought to teach married couples conflict resolution.
Matthew R. Powenski
Qualified candidate can fill Council seat
Thanks to The News for the editorial on May 7 regarding the South District Council seat. I feel a strong need to let anyone interested regarding this issue know that we indeed do have a very strong creditable candidate ready to sit in that seat.
You can watch the interview on the Government Channel 22 (in the City of Buffalo only) to hear his qualifications. A person who lives in the community, serves the community and works very well with everyone in the South District. Nothing more needs to be said. Fill the seat and move on with business.
Government money came from taxpayers
The article on the front page of the May 9 issue, "Obama visits Albany, praising its resurgence," includes a statement in the first paragraph about "billions of dollars in government money."
Please inform the writer that no government, at any level, has its own money. The money in question belonged to taxpayers. This misrepresentation can lead low-information citizens to naively believe it's not their money being frittered away over "two decades."
Anthony C. Street