Exploring the outdoors?is fun and educational

Gerry Rising's Sept. 23 Nature Watch column, "Don't be afraid to explore the great outdoors," was a great call to action for getting our children outdoors to explore their natural world and resources found in it. His mention of Richard Louv's book, "Last Child in the Woods," provided the best guide for stimulating and sustaining what Rachel Carson called "a sense of wonder" in children. It is, however, the subtitle of Louv's book, "Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder," that Rising has eloquently described in his brief essay.

Later this month, members of the New York State Outdoor Education Association will gather in Upton and partner with scientists and educators from Brookhaven National Laboratory for their annual meeting whose theme this year is, "Outdoor Education has Always been ‘Green' and an Effective Way to Teach STEM" (science, technology, engineering and math). I encourage teachers in formal K-12 public and private classrooms, and educators in college and university education departments, nature centers, zoos, youth groups, environmental and conservation groups to look at the NYSOEA website,, and see what this organization is doing not only to promote STEM learning, but also its efforts in creating a New York State Environmental Literacy Plan that "reconnects children to the outdoors, helping them become more capable of making environmentally literate decisions that not only protect the environment but lead to a prosperous economy and healthy citizens."

Fred Stoss

Member, NYSOEA



Hochul's pro-choice vote?shows disregard for life

The News article, "Rivals in 27th left behind untidiness," omits the most disgraceful action by Rep. Kathleen Hochul: her failure to support a ban on sex selection abortions. Along with Rep. Brian Higgins, Hochul voted against H.R. 3541: Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012.

According to an article in the May 31 New York Times, although the measure was supported by 246 representatives and opposed by only 168 representatives, the required vote in the House needed to pass the measure with the rules suspended was not met.

In my opinion, the cavalier disregard for the sanctity of unborn human life displayed by Higgins and Hochul may well carry over to their views on caring for the elderly and disabled. I urge voters to vote for Republican candidates Mike Madigan and Chris Collins and help Higgins and Hochul to an early political retirement.

Richard H. Escobales Jr.



Sedita right on target ?regarding IDV Court

I read the front-page article in the Sept. 27 News titled "Fighting Words" with great interest. In my opinion and experience, the district attorney's thoughts and comments on the Integrated Domestic Violence Court are completely on target.
My understanding is that our justice system is based on the principles of fairness and equity and that one is innocent until proven guilty. The argument made by the advocate for the court that each case retains its own integrity and that there is no merging of cases is quite contrary to my experience. I fail to see how a judge can be completely impartial when she is aware that criminal charges are pending against one of the parties appearing before her in a civil case.

I certainly respect the issue of domestic violence and believe that legitimate cases should be fully prosecuted. However, I'm convinced that savvy matrimonial attorneys are aware that if they can get cases moved into IDV Court, the pendulum quickly shifts to the "victim." Frank Sedita is absolutely correct in his position that the threat of criminal sanction is used to resolve non-criminal disputes. This manipulation is immoral and should not be tolerated, much less encouraged, by the IDV Court.

I commend the district attorney on his brave stance to correct an injustice that is not only affecting his staff, but many honorable citizens in our community.

Frank A. DelSignore

Grand Island


Obamacare imperils? Medicare Advantage

Ah, October. That time of year when we are confronted with small frights like the ghosts and goblins of Halloween, and huge frights like the letter from one's health insurance company saying his premium for the coming year is about to take a monumental increase, thanks in no small part to the fees and mandates, and Medicare funding reductions, of Obamacare. My Medicare Advantage Plan premium proposes an increase of more than 60 percent, and co-pays for procedures see dramatic rises as well. And Obamacare does not really get under way until 2014.

Obamacare is a program that was said to decrease costs, to leave existing programs unchanged. While it contains a few good features, it also implements many fees and taxes (many starting this coming year) that will continue to burden us as more of the plan is implemented. It also continues to reduce funding to Medicare Advantage, which will change it dramatically or possibly eliminate it in the future.

Anyone on Medicare Advantage will continue to see these huge increases until Obamacare is repealed or modified, and these changes will only come with a new resident in the White House. When modified, some of the better features will undoubtedly be continued, and hopefully some features will be added that will actually help contain costs. So, if you are on Medicare Advantage and are unhappy with the cost increases you are seeing, you should not have to think too hard about how to vote this November.

Robert J. Andres

East Concord


Elected officials enable? jobs to be sent overseas

As we approach the holiday season and look forward to purchasing presents, it would be great if we could buy gifts "made in the USA."

Just where is this possible? Almost everything today is made in China or other foreign countries. Automobiles, appliances, tools, computers, clothing, food and even medicine, plus many other items, are made or produced in a foreign country.

How can any candidate promise jobs to Americans when our government has condoned outsourcing, making it convenient for business people to continually close their factories and move overseas?

Many of these items are inferior, or contain lead paints, etc., that would not be accepted if made here.

It doesn't matter – Democrat or Republican – our Congress members just sit on their hands and refuse to do anything to stop this practice or make it difficult to continue it.

Neither candidate for president has addressed this issue or what he would do to stop it.

How much profit does a business have to make at the expense of American workers and their families? Eventually, we'll all be living off the government.

Gertrude Christ