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I-Prep principal? is doing good job

In response to the Dec. 13 News article concerning the School Board's decision to transfer principals from low-performing schools, many on the faculty of International Prep support our principal, and question the value of his transfer. Our school data appears incomplete at best. International Prep has had the label of "Good Standing" as per the district's New York State report card, until the school year 2011-12 and, in fact, has shown improvement.

According to district data, our middle school has been improving steadily since 2010. Seventh-grade math scores increased 6 percent for meeting or exceeding state standards and eighth-grade math scores showed a 24 percent increase. Seventh-grade ELA scores showed a 7 percent increase for students who meet state standards, while eighth-grade ELA scores showed a 33 percent increase.

The Distinguished Educator's report stated that building principals lacked control of placement of students and input regarding staff needs. I-Prep's overall data includes stats from transfer students possessing little or no credits when they arrive, as well as 150-plus English language learners and growing, speaking more than 28 languages, yet only three staff members able to translate three languages. Many of these students are required to take the same state assessments without the tools needed for success.

Our principal has worked hard to create a climate where teachers, staff, students and community work together and feel safe in the pursuit of academic success. Is there room for improvement? Yes, all great things continually evolve and I-Prep has shown progress. Relocating principals or teachers is not the answer. They are but two pieces of the solution, which should also include students, parents and district supports individualized to each school.

Mary Phillips

Buffalo

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Turn headlights on ?in inclement weather

When driving in New York State, laws of New York should be followed. It's a hazard that could turn deadly to be driving in rain and snow without your headlights on. Many have their windshield wipers on so they're able to see. Yet they do not have headlights on to warn other drivers that they are there.

The rain and fog of late make it a necessity to take precautions to make conditions safe for all those on the road. Do law enforcement people even ticket for lack of headlights in conditions of such, or just dismiss it because they don't want to endure the weather?

It's time drivers become aware of these important laws and follow them for everyone's safety.

Beverly Ruhland

Wales

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Keep assault weapons ?out of dangerous hands

A recent letter writer asserted that "concealed carry" gun laws lead to lower crime rates. However, correlation does not establish cause and effect. If more lenient gun laws, or more guns in private hands, led to lower crime rates, the United States would be the safest nation on the planet. Of course, the opposite is true: we have the most lenient gun laws, the highest rate of gun ownership and the highest rate of violent crime of any developed nation.

Even if a correlation exists between lenient gun laws and lower crime rates, it doesn't show that the former caused the latter. Perhaps the latter caused the former: states with lower crime rates see less need for strict gun control than states with higher crime rates. The writer cites the high murder rate in Chicago as proof that handgun bans don't work. Maybe he is unaware that large sections of Chicago have been economically devastated for decades and have been plagued by lawlessness and violence for nearly as long. New York City, with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, is one of the safest large cities in America. Clearly, factors other than gun laws are at work.

Of course criminals don't obey gun control laws, but the same is true for any law. Why do we have laws against murder and burglary, since murderers and burglars don't obey them? The causes of the high and very variable rates of violent crime in our country are complex, and no one is suggesting that gun control laws by themselves are the answer. But it is painfully clear that much more must be done to keep assault weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals. Otherwise, we continue to leave ourselves and our children at the random mercy of heavily armed lunatics.

Kenneth R. Boudreau

Tonawanda

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Milk price-fixing hides ?loss of purchasing power

Milk prices will not rise if the Farm Bill is not renewed. We would then pay the actual price for milk, not by artificial price-fixing. Who benefits from the fix? The farmers may get their profit via government subsidy. The purchaser "benefits" because the product is affordable, but this is through deception. The government benefits. When people have to hand over more dollars for a main staple such as milk, they want answers. Government doesn't like dissent. So this staple "stays affordable" to docile people and gives the illusion that we are fine.

This milk price-fixing is to conceal the loss of the people's purchasing power to buy goods and services. This loss is due to increasing the money supply (inflation) in our monetary system, thereby devaluing each dollar already in existence. Rising prices are a perceived symptom of inflation. This is perceived because prices actually do not rise; it is the value of the dollar going down. This is the main reason why we need to hand over more dollars to complete the same transaction as before. The fixing is the hiding of this devaluation that deceivingly steals the people's wealth and especially hurts the lower middle class, the poor and those on a fixed income. The core problem is that we do not have sound money.

People are going to say that the Farm Bill must be renewed because they cannot afford to pay $6 a gallon for milk. Blame the Federal Reserve and our elected officials who back this hybrid organization for why we cannot afford things. These people tip that first domino with the chain reaction resulting in our wealth being pilfered from us. The more money created into existence out of thin air (stimulus, fractional reserve lending, etc.), the more we will not be able to afford goods and services in the future.

Tony Matuszak

Depew

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Many people want ?new Walmart store

We are senior citizens who appreciate saving money as Walmart shoppers.

Does Western New York need 85 to 100 full- and part-time job opportunities?

Does the average family need to save thousands of dollars a year on the household products and food items they purchase?

Do local not-for-profit organizations need cash and in-kind donations to help them provide services to those in need?

Does Western New York need a company to pay thousands of dollars a year in tax revenues toward town services, including schools?

If your answers to these questions are yes, then we ask you to please support and welcome the new expanded Walmart planned to be built at the old GEX plaza on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga.

William and Joan Harms

Cheektowaga