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Panetta's commitment? to Falls air base is vital

I was glad to learn of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's commitment to investing in Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station after his recent visit at the request of Rep. Kathy Hochul.

The base is extremely important to this area. It serves as the home to the Air Force Reserve's 914th Airlift Wing, the 107th Air Refueling Wing (N.Y. Air National Guard) and Western New York Civil Air Patrol.

It is also widely used for training and support by other National Guard, Army, Navy and Marine Corps units and Civil Air Patrol squadrons throughout Western New York.
During my service in the Civil Air Patrol, I attended many search-and-rescue, disaster relief and radiological monitoring exercises there. The facilities available were always of the highest quality and staffed by professionals.

Adding more agencies to the base and increasing its use as a federal campus would immensely benefit our economy. It preserves full-time jobs at the base and can expand employment in the area.

The military personnel using the base for periodic training help sustain our local economy. The base also provides a strategic location for a Border Patrol or Homeland Security office.

Additionally, the Reserve and Guard provide many of our residents a part-time income. Losing the base would be a great detriment; investing in it promises far-reaching impacts.

We live in a very patriotic area. We have many residents serving in the Reserve, National Guard and Civil Air Patrol. In years past, we lost the Army National Guard helicopter unit and a Civil Affairs Battalion from this area.

Panetta's commitment will ensure we don't lose Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and the nation will not lose the meaningful contributions this region makes to national defense.

Juliano S. Pecora

Deputy Mayor, Depew

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Stop and smell the roses? every once in a while

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a wedding at the Avanti Mansion on South Park Avenue in Hamburg. That was a pleasure in itself extremely well appointed with winding staircases, tall windows and beautiful gardens.

The drive down there over the Skyway was also such a pleasure. You can see the development of the Buffalo outer harbor. Route 5 is very clean since the shutdown of Bethlehem Steel (that's a catch-22, I guess).

On the way home along the same route, the silhouette of Buffalo's cityscape was gorgeous. You can see old and new grain elevators, cranes, buildings and lights. It is really a gorgeous view.

In our busy lives, we need to take the time to smell the roses and take advantage of what our city has to offer.

Rose Mary Grancharoff Girone

Buffalo

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Church honors women ?by calling them saints

I am responding to a recent letter whose author is worried that the Catholic Church will crush its female members who are trying to "faithfully live the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

The authentic teaching of the Catholic Church is concerned with the holiness of its members.

It teaches us that the way to this holiness is by following Jesus Christ, and it will mean a life of humble obedience to the will of God as seen in Jesus' example, particularly in his willingness to die for us. In the Gospels, Jesus also tells us that in order to follow him, we have to take up our cross and live in service to others.

I have seen the young woman mentioned in the letter in various Masses at the cathedral. She is a beautiful example of reverent service and plays a very important role in the orderly flow of the liturgy.

The letter also mentioned the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The leaders of various religious orders not the nuns they represent are meeting with representatives of the church because they sometimes fail to articulate or model authentic church teaching. The church is asking this organization to do what the church founded the group to do.

Rather than crush the "flowers" of the church who follow Jesus, the Catholic Church honors them by calling them saints. There are hundreds of female saints who have lived lives of heroic virtue. Rather than crushing them, the church holds them up as models for us to follow.

Mary Roaldi

Kenmore

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Speed up mail service ?for soldiers overseas

When we can put a vehicle on Mars, I wonder why a letter from my grandson serving in Afghanistan took more than a month to reach me. On his first deployment, a letter took almost three months to arrive.

Since he has little or no access to a phone or computer, and I can assure you he is quite busy there, these letters are our family's only communication with him. Months-old news is not reassuring to us because he is always on the move.

It would seem to me that a priority should be to keep our service men and women serving our country connected with their families on a more consistent and timely basis. Or do we revert to the days of the Pony Express?

Jim Yeates Sr.

Tonawanda

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Social Security seems? to be on solid ground

The News recently quoted a study claiming Social Security recipients in the future will pay in close to $550,000 and receive slightly less in benefits. In my own case, the "present value" of my contributions at retirement were $60,000, which I received in three years' time in benefits. Ditto for Medicare. For 13 years, my wife and I have been "on the dole," so to speak.

In the reported study, the author included the employer's contributions to arrive at the high figure, venturing that if employers in 1935 had not cheerfully contributed into the fund, they would have given the money in cash to workers. I find these assertions to be nowhere in keeping with U.S. business practices.

About the only time workers have received benefits and wages cheerfully and voluntarily was during World War II, when the Treasury was printing tens of billions of dollars to finance the war, paying employers "costs plus 10 percent."

Apart from humanitarian considerations, Social Security and Medicare are "pay as you go" plans providing a floor for our economy, preventing the wild swings of the 19th century.

The only crucial issue is whether there will be a work force in the future a virtual certainty.

As long as the government continues to fund the necessary public investments in transportation, communications, education, health, etc., which allowed my generation to improve productivity, growing the GDP six times since 1950, easily meeting our Social Security obligations, we shall be in good shape.

Ross Markello

Amherst