Nation's true heroes? deserve more respect

At the very top of the front page on Nov. 12, The News chose to put a huge photo of the Buffalo Bills quarterback captioned with bold print "All that work for nothing." The Bills lost a game (again). Is that really worthy of being the top news story of the day?

Only at the bottom of the front page was the article about a local soldier killed in action. That brave soldier, Sgt. Brett E. Gornewicz from Alden, certainly deserved more than coverage at the bottom of the page. That young man lost his life when a roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan. His family and friends and community welcomed him home on Sunday as a true hero. I didn't know this young man personally at all, but I do know that his story is so much more important than coverage of a Bills game, whether a win or a loss!

I question the sense of priority of The News. This certainly isn't the first time it has given "top billing" to a sports story over the coverage of U.S. soldiers being killed in action. Our true heroes in the U.S. armed forces deserve more respect and honor from the news media.

Kathleen Harrigan



Fallen soldier's return? belonged at top of page

On Sunday, Veterans Day, Alden welcomed home one of its young men who was killed in Afghanistan. After 11 years at war, this story must be considered "old news." It is a sad day when a picture of the quarterback of a losing team takes precedence over coverage of this hero's return. The Bills losing another game is the "old news." This should not have gotten front-page attention.

Where was a picture of the giant American flag hanging over Broadway in the village? Where was a picture of the seemingly endless procession of the vets on motorcycles? Where was the picture of the people waiting almost an hour to enter the funeral home to pay their respects to his family? Where was the picture of the members of his small church standing and fighting back tears as the procession passed? The News could have exhibited class, empathy and patriotism, but chose not to.

Barbara A. Oleksy



Affordable, high-quality?health coverage is goal

In the wake of one of the most polarizing elections in many years, at least one aspect of national policy is clear: the Affordable Care Act will go forward and its main provisions will kick in starting in January 2014. But significant implementation activities are already under way.

At BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, we have long been committed to ensuring everyone has high-quality, cost-effective coverage. We are continuing our intense planning for the upcoming changes the law mandates. New York is moving to create the New York Health Benefit Exchange, enabled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order, which needs to be operational by next October. This will be an electronic marketplace option for individuals and companies with 50 or fewer employees to shop for and obtain health insurance that would start Jan. 1, 2014. All coverage offered through the exchange must provide a minimum set of specified benefits.

BlueCross BlueShield leaders are involved in state work groups to provide guidance and input on critical operational details of this process. The state and insurers have much work to do. While we are working, in good faith, to implement the law, we're concerned that some aspects of it will increase premiums for millions of Americans. We are working with legislators and policymakers to address these issues.

While making coverage more accessible is important, affordability remains key in whether people will buy it. We have been leading the way to work with doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals to transform the health care system so it rewards quality, improves outcomes for patients and helps to rein in costs.

Alphonso O'Neil-White

President and CEO, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York


Let's hope Sedita does? a better job this time

Last year, I was amazed at the free pass that the local media gave the District Attorney's Office after it bungled the prosecution of Dr. James Corasanti while criticizing the jurors for their astounding decision. Last week, I was astonished that Frank Sedita was the only choice on the ballot for that office. We truly get the officials we deserve. After Sunday's horrific accident on the Amherst bike path along Tonawanda Creek Road, I wonder if he will be able to get a conviction against this driver, who has two previous drunken driving convictions.

David Schott

East Amherst


Breast cancer event ?was unforgettable

Last month, I was privileged to participate in the Breast Cancer Awareness Event in Niagara Falls. On a picture-perfect night, with the falls illuminated in pink, we formed a human chain across the Rainbow Bridge, connected by our long pink scarves. It was an awesome sight!

This was a most unforgettable experience for me, because I am a 44-year breast cancer survivor. One for the memory books.

Norma McFee



Policies, not skin color,? motivated most voters

Rod Watson crossed the line with his recent commentary pertaining to the Republican Party and the ideology he asserts is prevalent within its ranks. According to Watson, the Republican agenda during the presidential campaign was motivated solely by a desire to "get rid of the first black president." His implication that race was indeed a factor at all is an egregious affront to not only the Republican Party but to anyone who chose not to vote for President Obama.

It seems any issue Watson deems disagreeable invariably falls under the cloak of racism. I am confident that an overwhelming majority of those citizens who voted for Mitt Romney didn't have Obama's ethnicity in mind, but rather bonafide concerns regarding issues affecting the welfare of our country. To suggest otherwise is offensive.

Bill Hanna



With election now over? it's time to work together

The election is over. I am sure most of us, regardless of party or preference, are glad to leave behind the political ads and robo calls.

More important for our country is to leave behind the permanent campaigning and the politics of obstruction. The result of this election proves invalid the strategy of defeating the incumbent by preventing any progress for which he might be credited. I don't know the future, but I know our next presidential election will involve neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney. Can we ask of our elected representatives that they should work together for us for the next three, dare we ask for three and a half, years? Then they can choose their nominees and make to us their cases for election.

Peter Ewing

Lake View