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Hamburg closely monitors ?water quality at Woodlawn

I am the director of recreation for the Town of Hamburg. I am responsible for daily decisions relating to whether or not swimming is allowed at the two beaches we operate on the shores of Lake Erie (Hamburg and Woodlawn). Those decisions are based on New York State Health Department regulations. I want to assure people who read the recent News article regarding pollution in the lake that the Town of Hamburg strictly adheres to State Health Department standards, and follows all mandated protocols relating to the safety of beachgoers.

The beaches have been open almost every day of the summer this season. The reason for this is that the water is deemed safe according to the results of daily Health Department water quality testing. Since taking over Woodlawn Beach, the town has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to the site, and the overwhelming majority of feedback we receive is positive. Our Buildings and Grounds crews take great pride in keeping this spectacular beach properly groomed and meticulously maintained. We have added a number of programs and amenities in an effort to make this beach a destination worth returning to.

My concern relating to this article is that the headline, and some comments attributed to beachgoers, may give a false impression in terms of the safety of the water. Like any other beach regulated by the State Health Department, we open when all mandated procedures have been followed, and related indicators give us the green light to allow swimming. I encourage all Western New Yorkers and visitors from beyond to come out and enjoy the summer at Woodlawn Beach State Park.

Martin C. Denecke

Hamburg

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It was a treat to read ?uplifting dog story

Hats off to News reporter T.J. Pignataro for his piece on Gilly the missing dog. With all of the violence and heartache we read about, it was a pleasure to open the Sunday paper and be treated to a well-written, feel-good story about a dog who was lost and did everything she could to find his loved ones. Also, my compliments go to Mark Mulville for his photo of Gilly and her family. As the old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words.

Mary Alice Harrigan

Orchard Park

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Vast majority of owners? use their guns responsibly

The massacre in Colorado has shown once again that gun-free zones are the ideal killing fields for mass murderers. The evil cowards who decide to annihilate innocent people choose areas where they are least likely to be stopped before they accomplish their horrifying goal.

Gun-free zones are designed to keep people from bringing guns into the area, whether it is a school, church, university or public access building. The problem is that those who are determined to murder people don't pay attention to laws. The deranged psychos have only mayhem on their minds and will select places where legally armed people are forbidden to enter.

Once inside, they are free to take lives as they choose because they know they have complete power over a multitude of victims. There is virtually no chance that there is anyone who can terminate their action.

Think of what could happen if at least one person had the will and skill, plus the means to prevent the killing. Such a person with a handgun could end the intended massacre with a well-placed shot and save the lives of the innocent would-be victims.

Several years ago a murderer crashed through a Texas restaurant in a truck and murdered more than a dozen people. A woman who had to leave her handgun in her vehicle because she was not allowed to have a gun in the restaurant watched her parents shot and killed. She later became a state senator and initiated a concealed-carry bill that is now Texas law.

This tragedy in Colorado should focus the discussions on mental health issues and criminal activities. With 80 million gun owners in the nation, it is obvious that 99 percent of them use their guns in a responsible manner. Put the focus on the people who misuse guns and leave law-abiding people with their guns alone.

Budd Schroeder

Board Chairman, SCOPE

Lancaster

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Imported workers take ?jobs from U.S. citizens

I am writing in regard to the July 18 News article, "Medical workers in demand; Represent one-third of region's requests for H-1B visas." Via the controversial H-1B visa program, the work force of one of the Buffalo suburbs is completely replaced with imported workers in a few years. This insanity has persisted since 1990, when this loophole-laden program was unleashed to destroy the careers of American technology professionals following the sneaking through of the Eilberg Amendment in 1976, which allowed the University at Buffalo, among others, to hire unlimited numbers of imported professors and researchers.

While I struggled to earn a living in the Buffalo area as a UB biophysics grad student from 1973 to 1983, I finally had to leave the area because of the cumulative harm of all the imported workers driving out experienced U.S. citizens. To see where this leads on a national scale, note that the work force participation rate has declined from a peak of 67.3 percent in 2000 to 63.8 percent in 2012. I believe the rate is even lower in the Niagara Region. As people become unemployed, they can't buy things! The United States needs an immigration "time out" instead. See NumbersUSA.com for powerful no-cost citizen activism tools.

Gene Nelson

San Luis Obispo, Calif.

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Personal reporting helped? deter unemployment fraud

How the New York State Department of Labor prosecutes unemployment insurance fraud is not such a mystery. The strength of evidence in a case, such as where a claimant works on the books and collects, is the factor that overrides even the total amount of money owed. There are fraud cases that are the result of self-employment or quitting concealed employment, which may result in greater overpayments, but would be much more difficult and time-consuming to prove criminally. They tend not to be referred for prosecution. The focus has been the recovery of funds obtained fraudulently, most of which can be done civilly.

In regard to the pre-Internet local unemployment offices, where people had to personally report to obtain benefits, this was an effective fraud-control measure that kept honest people honest. You have to wonder how many benefit dollars have gone fraudulently out the back door since these offices have closed.

To make up for this, the department increasingly relies on various computer-generated cross-matching as a means to improve fraud detection. I was an unemployment insurance investigator from 1978 to 2003. As the employment consultant observed in the article, the one thing that seems not to have changed over the years is that unemployment insurance investigators remain swamped with work.

William Cain

Gowanda