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Well-intended people unfairly persecuted

I was deeply saddened and angered to read in The News that two people involved with the operation of the Wyoming County SPCA were being charged for the results of their efforts to help animals. Any animal shelter in any rural community is a thankless and usually hopeless effort. A few good people dedicate their time, money and reputation to care for animals no longer wanted by the public.

To realize the ultimate goal of being a no-kill shelter, they struggle with housing, feeding, medical needs and the emotional needs of the animals, while the general public offers almost nothing in the way of help. People remain uninvolved until they have an animal they no longer want, or until the perceived care provided does not meet their expectations. Then the authorities step in, find some regulations that were violated and set out to make an example of those involved. It is totally unfair to the care providers involved and to the animals. Well-intended people will be persecuted because they undertook a hopeless task.

With the recent publicity, this shelter will realize some support. Then, as the publicity subsides, so will the support. In a short period of time, the shelter's effort will become as impossible as it was in the past. Until some way is found to financially support the shelters to the expectations of the public, the problem will repeat. Better the authorities used their time and effort to find a way to support the shelters rather than persecute those who try.

Robert J. Andres

East Concord

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Bush was far worse than Obama in office

In answer to the letter in the May 8 paper claiming that "President Obama is the worst president ever," I assume the writer has a pretty short memory. He must have slept through George W. Bush's eight years in office and the mess he caused for our country. We later found out he was lying in order to get Congress to believe him and Dick Cheney. The writer does remember that, I'm sure.

Members of the U.S. military keep dying or being wounded -- it is never ending. So don't say Obama is the worst president. I would give that title to Bush. And as far as the weak economic growth goes, Mitt Romney would be no better when he can make the statement that he likes being able to fire people. He should keep those selfish thoughts to himself.

Vi Anderson

Grand Island

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Caregivers need break every once in a while

I applaud Kathleen Chrystal for her recent My View recognizing those of us who are caregivers. I have to say that in my case, the only recognition I have received is from non-family members. My husband and I decided four years ago to move in with my former in-laws to help take care of my mother-in-law who was suffering from Alzheimer's. She passed away seven months later, and we don't regret for one minute our decision to take care of such a loving and caring person.

What I want people to know, though, is that caregivers don't just take care of people with Alzheimer's. A year after my mother-in-law's passing, my father-in-law became physically incapacitated. He can no longer drive or prepare his own meals. My husband and I are once again changing our lives to take care of the man who tried to take care of his wife, but could not. When Chrystal mentioned that most caregivers are not able to go out to dinner or movies, she was dead on. Even on the rare occasion that my husband and I can go out, we must always have our cellphones on, so there is actually no getting totally away for even a few hours.

Just three months ago, my husband had a triple bypass. I ran back and forth between home and hospital without anyone offering to help me out so I could stay a little longer by my husband's side. My own health is failing due to all the stress. Would I do this all again? Yes, absolutely, and I think most caregivers would say the same thing. After all, that's part of who we are. We wouldn't do it if we weren't loving and compassionate people. So if you know people who are caring for someone you love, please offer to give them some time off.

Susan Hollander

Kenmore

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Teacher evaluations are fundamentally flawed

I am not a teacher. However, I have the utmost respect for the jobs teachers do and the tradition they keep alive: the education of our young. It is a cornerstone of society that knowledge be passed along. The challenge to succeed at that task is not always an easy one, but interacting with teachers as my kids went through school, I found a lot of dedication to that ultimate goal.

Are all teachers exemplary? Of course not. In all professions, you have good, bad and indifferent. There are less-than-perfect cops, firefighters, lawyers, doctors, politicians and CEOs. (For that last, witness the financial meltdown of 2008, and the questionable ethics of Wall Street and the big bank CEOs, continuing to this day.)

But to the point, as an outside observer, I believe the new mandates from Albany for teacher evaluations are fundamentally flawed, and for a number of reasons. Primarily, please point to me any exam that is designed solely to test a teacher's ability rather than a student's. If the student does not have a vested interest in doing well, what is the motivation for a fourth-grader entering nine hours of testing over three days?

The political will to look good to the voters is high here, but the manner in which it's being carried out is suspect.

Jack Hess

Amherst

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It's good to see decline in religious affiliation

The recent news that half of our area's population chooses not to identify with a particular faith is refreshing and encouraging. We've spent too long telling people what they should do in the privacy of their own homes. We need not pretend that going to war with another country is valid because a man in the sky favors it.

We know that women are not possessions and that slavery of any kind is wrong despite the fact that a book says otherwise. We've known for thousands of years that we should love each other and treat each other as we would want to be treated. I can think of few things more repulsive than believing that someone else paid for my sins or that someone else is compelled to love me so that they can get rewarded in the next life.

If you think that you've picked the right belief and you think that you're going to live forever, more power to you. In the meantime, the rest of us can get on with the process of moving our species forward instead of pretending that one day someone is going to magically right all of the wrongs in the world. A pair of hands working together is certainly more useful than a thousand pairs of hands clasped in prayer. There is a way forward and you need not put aside logic and common sense to find it.

Adam C. Morgan

Grand Island