The Buffalo News - Opinions and Editorials Latest stories from The Buffalo News en-us Thu, 10 Jul 2014 11:58:02 -0400 Thu, 10 Jul 2014 11:58:02 -0400 <![CDATA[ The process was less than ideal, but Ogilvie has the credentials to make a difference ]]>
What some people are complaining about, though – and what deserves some discussion – is the manner in which Ogilvie’s appointment as interim superintendent is occurring. Some members of the School Board’s new minority bloc are complaining about a lack of transparency in the process.

It’s hard to believe that any of them didn’t expect Ogilvie to be appointed, but nonetheless, they were formally notified of the plan to submit a contract for approval only a few days ago, and with the intent of voting on it at tonight’s meeting. To some, in fact, it may smack of the former majority’s action in sandbagging the board with the surprise announcement that Mary Guinn would be rehired as interim deputy superintendent.

There are differences, though – enough to accept the imperfect process of hiring Ogilvie. Even still, as the School Board begins what is expected to be a lengthy task of finding a permanent successor to the recently departed Pamela C. Brown, the process should be as open and inclusive as possible.

The situation the board’s majority confronted in its decision to hire Ogilvie began with the outgoing board’s refusal to allow newly elected but still-unseated members to take part in any discussions regarding the hiring of a long-term interim superintendent. With Brown’s exit, Will Keresztes was appointed on a temporary basis, but the problems in the district are such that the board needed to move quickly. If the members of the former majority were truly concerned about openness and inclusion, they should have begun the process last month and included the newly elected members.

That is a far different set of circumstances from the sneaky way the former majority announced plans to rehire Guinn – at the very meeting at which the vote occurred. Indeed, it takes some of the righteousness out of their current state of indignation. They, at least, were given advance notice of the plan to offer a contract; the matter truly is urgent; and Ogilvie is eminently qualified to steer the district until a long-term successor is named.

Still, it’s not the ideal way to proceed. The board’s task now will be to give Ogilvie the support he needs to do the crucial work of running the district, mending relations with Albany and, most of all, delivering to Buffalo students the education to which they are constitutionally entitled.

That’s important not just to Buffalo, but to all of Erie County. Buffalo can’t thrive without a school district that parents can trust, and the rest of the county can’t perform at peak levels if the city at its heart is sputtering.

As the board begins the task of identifying the qualities it wants in a permanent successor, and of searching for that person, it should conduct that process openly, consistent with state law, and ensure that all board members are heard from.

The minority members may complain – for the most part unjustly - about the process of hiring Ogilvie, but they may be on firmer ground if, with lots of time to do the job, they are not fully involved in the important tasks ahead. ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 23:47:35 -0400
<![CDATA[ Another Voice: Legislation would help protect children from unsecured guns ]]>
Twenty-two-month-old Cooper Harris died an excruciating death last month, left alone to die in his father’s car for hours. Cooper’s death was so tragic that for weeks it has captured the imagination and outrage of the media.

But where is the outrage over the loss of other innocent lives, those young lives lost to gun violence? On average, eight children in this country lose their lives to gun violence every day. Where is the media coverage then? Where is moral indignation that says, “Enough is enough” or “Not one more?” This country needs more than slogans.

Each year more than 32,000 Americans are killed by guns and more than 80,000 are injured at a cost of more than $100 billion. Every day in the United States, an average of 289 people are shot, 86 die and eight of those killed are children. Where is the outrage?

Gun violence is the second-leading cause of death of American youths and the leading cause of death of American black children. Youths ages 14 to 18 have the highest risk of being unintentionally shot by another child. Where is the anger?

The leading cause of death in youths ages 15 to 19 is suicide; guns are the most common method used. More than half of the youths who commit suicide with a gun found that gun in their home. Where is the outcry for proper storage of guns in homes with children?

Millions of children live in homes where guns are easily accessible. Unlocked guns in the home increase the risk of intentional and unintentional gun injuries, homicides and suicides. One-third of U.S. households with children under age 18 possess firearms. Two million children live in homes where guns are kept loaded or unlocked. One-fifth of gun owners with children under 18 store their guns loaded, more than a third store them unlocked and almost one in 10 store their guns loaded and unlocked. Where are the laws to protect our children?

More than half of unintentional firearm deaths occur while children are playing with a loaded gun; in half of those cases, the shooting takes place in the child’s home. More than 90 percent of the time, there is no adult present. Where are the parents? Why aren’t they held criminally culpable for the injuries and deaths caused by their negligence?

Currently there are no child access prevention (CAP) laws in New York. CAP laws will impose criminal liability on adults who negligently leave firearms accessible to children or otherwise allow them access to firearms without supervision.

Our organization is working to enact the Child Access Prevention or Safe Storage of Weapons Act (aka Nicholas’ Law). Nicholas was a 12-year-old child who died after being shot by his friend while playing with a loaded, unsecured gun. Join us at

Paul McQuillen is the Western New York coordinator of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. ]]>
Wed, 9 Jul 2014 07:05:26 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Local Indian tribes had key role in war ]]>

Local Indian tribes had key role in war

I enjoyed reading about the historical re-enactment of the French and Indian War at Fort Niagara in the July 6 News. What I could not fathom was the lack of Indians in the coverage. Your photos featured plenty of French and English re-enactors but whatever happened to the Indians? Thinking the pictures were surely in the online album, I viewed all 56 posted photos and saw only one of an Indian re-enactor. There are not even any Indians in the background of any photos.

It seems the pivotal role our local tribes played in this historical event should be worth some inclusion by The News. Our local tribes deserve better, as do the children and adults who attend these events to learn more about Western New York’s rich history.

Joanne Messer

Tonawanda ]]>
Wed, 9 Jul 2014 14:52:34 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Let’s hope Hillary is on her way out ]]>

Let’s hope Hillary is on her way out

First, a little disclosure: I’m a feminist who detests Bill and Hillary Clinton and would never support a woman who stayed married to a man who had many liaisons including, as governor of Arkansas, asking state employees to engage in lewd acts.

And I’ve been livid seeing the support that they’ve been getting.

But, good news! I would like to predict that Hillary’s days are numbered based on something I heard on NPR. I don’t listen to NPR often, but I love the weekly news quiz, “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” It’s hilarious. A few weeks ago, they were talking about Hillary’s book tour and all of her recent gaffes and their comments were brutal. If NPR, a bastion of liberalism, is on to her, she’s a goner. Thank God.

Fran Bennatti

Buffalo ]]>
Wed, 9 Jul 2014 14:51:58 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: South Vietnamese vets prompt new perspective ]]>

South Vietnamese vets prompt new perspective

As a combat Vietnam veteran, I was at my local chapter when a Vietnamese-American came in. He invited us to join a local veterans group of the Republic of South Vietnam military forces to be their guests at their annual remembrance ceremony and celebration. Some of us did not know what to make of the invitation, but I and others wanted to know more about our fellow South Vietnamese veterans living in Western New York.

At the door, we were greeted warmly and with much gratitude. There was a traditional remembrance ceremony with moments of silence for both Vietnamese and American war heroes. Afterward, we celebrated with wonderful Vietnamese food, music and dancing. There was a lot of picture taking, handshakes and hugs. We were thanked many times for our service and particularly for the sacrifice American veterans made to fight for freedom for the South Vietnamese people.

After the collapse of South Vietnam, these veterans were interred in re-education camps for years by the North Vietnamese regime. They eventually fled the country seeking freedom. About 3,000 South Vietnamese-Americans are living in Western New York today. They are hard workers who contribute to society every day. They are very thankful to the United States for the freedom they now have.

There are many South Vietnamese veterans who were injured during the war and unfortunately were not able to flee. They receive no health or other benefits from the current government. So this veterans group raises funds to send back and assist them.

After meeting these fellow veterans and their families, I feel comforted that some of the sacrifices I and other veterans made, at a very young age and under very trying circumstances, were worthwhile.

Jay G. Wopperer

Member, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 77

Williamsville ]]>
Wed, 9 Jul 2014 14:51:53 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Generic drugs are safe, effective and affordable ]]>

Generic drugs are safe, effective and affordable

A recent article about a generic drug recall questions the safety and effectiveness of generic alternatives. Drug recalls occur to both brand name and generic medications for a variety of reasons.

Just like the original brand name drugs, their generic alternatives are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which reviews the manufacturers’ tests of all generic drugs to be sure they are “bioequivalent and therapeutically equivalent” to the original products. That means the active ingredient in a generic drug is absorbed into the body at the same rate and amount as the brand name. The FDA reviews the drugs’ chemistry, formulation, strength, stability and purity. The FDA’s approval means the generic product is recognized as equal to the original drug.

Generic medications have become the “gold standard” for medications for years, especially as the cost of brand name drugs continues to rise at twice the inflation rate. Most generic drugs cost significantly less than their brand name counterparts and provide quality, access and affordability to people who need prescription medications.

In 2012 alone, generic drugs saved the U.S. health care system $217 billion. Closer to home, our studies have shown that every 1 percent increase in generic usage saves up to $2 million in pharmacy costs.

Generic medications continue to be a safe, viable alternative for patients. When coupled with the cost savings, generic medications are the right choice.

Martin Burruano, R.Ph.

Vice President

Pharmacy Services

Independent Health ]]>
Wed, 9 Jul 2014 14:51:46 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Church on the Beach welcomes one and all ]]>

Church on the Beach welcomes one and all

Crystal Beach. No, I am not writing about the amusement park, which closed in 1989. Nor am I writing about the beautiful south-facing sandy beach. Crystal Beach has something new to offer.

These days, most of us are seeing our church attendance dwindling. Not at Crystal Beach. Four years ago, with the help of Kingdom Bound, Neil Boron and many others, Church on the Beach was founded. It has grown in leaps and bounds. Last year, the average attendance was 230 for each of the nine weeks. This year, an additional week was added. On June 29, more than 300 people attended the first of 10 non-denominational services. They come in their bathing suits, shorts or other casual attire, bringing their chairs, blankets and sand toys for the kids.

Each week, a different speaker and musician offer up a one-hour service starting at 9 a.m. No offering is taken. Free books, water and coffee are available. On July 6, Jill and Erin Kelly spoke to an estimated 500 people at Church on the Beach. Our prayers go out to all those involved in bringing God to Crystal Beach. View more at

Dick Potts

(The coffee man)

Crystal Beach, Ont. ]]>
Wed, 9 Jul 2014 14:51:46 -0400
<![CDATA[ Indictment of state senator emphasizes the desperate need to clean up Albany’s culture of corruption ]]>
That, apparently, is the risk for state lawmakers who, more than most New Yorkers, seem unable to play by the rules and stay out of trouble. The list is long and now includes Sen. Thomas W. Libous, R-Binghamton, upstate’s most powerful Republican lawmaker.

Libous was indicted in June on federal charges accusing him of lying to FBI agents who were investigating allegations that he helped his son, Matthew Libous, land a job at a law firm, with his salary subsidized by money from a politically connected lobbying firm. Libous is alleged to have promised to “steer future business” to the law firm and also to have persuaded the lobbying firm to give $50,000 a year to the law firm to help defray his son’s “inflated salary” and to pay the costs of a leased Range Rover for his son. Matthew Libous was also indicted. Father and son have both pleaded not guilty.

Thomas Libous, suffering from cancer he describes as terminal, has represented his Southern Tier district since 1989, succeeding then-Senate Majority Leader Warren Anderson. He is politically close to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, despite their partisan differences.

The indictment was sought by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District. We don’t know if Bharara’s allegations against Libous will hold up, but the prosecutor has emerged as a champion of New Yorkers who are fed up with the casual acceptance of the criminality that pervades Albany.

That was a job that Cuomo began when he created a Moreland Commission to root out corruption in Albany, but he folded the commission earlier this year. Bharara stepped in, acquired the commission’s records and pledged to continue its work. The case against Libous dates to 2010, long before the Moreland Commission was created.

If the allegations against Libous do hold up – if he used his position of power to direct taxpayer work to a law firm that hired his son at an inflated rate that another of his supporters subsidized – then it’s clear that Bharara will have plenty of work to do going forward.

A culture changes slowly and Albany’s has been mired in corruption for decades, dating at least to the days when the corrupt leaders of Tammany Hall controlled New York City and infected Albany. Politicians there – too many of them – feel free to steal, accept bribes, commit sexual abuse and otherwise take criminal advantage of the trust and authority that voters have vested in them.

It’s intolerable, and we presume Bharara isn’t done. He has made Albany’s misconduct a primary focus of his office and there is bound to be much more to do. ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 16:46:11 -0400
<![CDATA[ Bill Nowak: Everyone should have great friend like mine ]]>
His gifts are usually of a home-made variety, involving both thought and action on his part. Somewhere in those 40-plus years, he started taking a weekly woodworking class. Soon he got to be good at producing first-rate frames. Around various holidays, friends and I would receive framed mementos with personal meaning on subjects like things we’d done together, nature, iconic windmills and places we loved.

In recent decades, Rick started getting good at photography. Soon we’d get exquisite pictures of trees, or landscapes from Italy. When he went through his “ivy on Buffalo buildings” period, that made for some really superb shots. He also would do public art shows, giving the gift of beauty and insight to a wide audience. A good example was the stunning and educational display of tree photos spread out on the walls of Merge restaurant several years ago.

When we both started having kids, they spent a lot of time together and Rick and I are happy that they’re still close today, even though they all live in different cities (including one in Buffalo, I’m happy to say).

We established a great practice – probably proposed by Rick – of taking our munchkins camping in the deep woods every year, giving our wives a richly deserved rest. On the anniversary of 30 years of friendship, Rick gave me a beautifully framed picture of us and our six young’uns, standing happily at a remote campsite. It sits on my dresser as I write.

Then there was the time I was informed on Christmas Eve that I had lost my job with the City Council as part of a political power grab. Rick went after the new Council leaders, giving them a piece of his mind and making sure they wrote a good reference letter for me in the process.

Rick’s the guy who usually brings a batch of chocolate chip cookies to potluck dinners we have with our friends, in addition to whatever he and Ann have pledged to bring.

So I was very happy, but not surprised, when something recently jumped out at me in The Buffalo News. I was eyeing the Jumble and the Cryptoquip, wondering if I’d have enough time to get them done, when I spotted a legal notice. It was from the Buffalo Schools, seeking proposals to put solar panels on the roofs of 20 district schools. You see, Rick has been part of the Sierra Club’s Energy Committee and has been working patiently with the School Board to do a transformative solar project to cut greenhouse gases before it’s too late and to expose Buffalo’s students to this clean technology of the future.

This is a gift that will be enjoyed by thousands of young minds as they discover the magic of producing electrical energy from a ray of light. It will inspire generations to come, as humanity faces up to what will be an increasingly urgent need to transition to truly clean energy.

In a perfect world, everybody would be surrounded by Ricks. There would be no room for war in that world. ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 16:29:51 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: We should try to enjoy a little peace and quiet ]]>

We should try to enjoy a little peace and quiet

What a beautiful Sunday morning. We came downtown early to the Erie Basin Marina for breakfast. Then we took a nice long walk down to Canalside and enjoyed watching the boats and people.

When we returned to the marina, someone had turned on the music at the Hatch. We tried ordering ice cream, and the girl had to keep asking, “What did you want?”

Why is it that everywhere you go there has to be loud music playing? Try just enjoying some peace and quiet sometime; it will fill your heart with joy.

Marilyn Garmone

Eden ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 16:29:41 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: U.S. needs to let Iraq solve its own problems ]]>

U.S. needs to let Iraq solve its own problems

The refrain of legendary singers Peter, Paul and Mary – “When will we ever learn” – echoes in our ears as the United States considers further military involvement in Iraq. Many years of war in Iraq have provided sufficient evidence that military engagement and training of Iraqi soldiers have done little to advance peace in the area. The cost of 4,500 U.S. military lives, thousands of wounded and disabled veterans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths might have been spared.

The political situation in Iraq has rapidly deteriorated into a civil war between two Muslim factions, a condition that surely we knew was a motivating factor. It has become abundantly clear that the current regime’s conduct is a significant part of the problem. Sending more troops and possible air strikes is not the answer. Iraq as a sovereign nation must solve its own internal political affairs without the intervention of any outside entity. We must continue to try to get to a respectful and peaceful dialogue between a fundamentalist Sharia-imposed governing structure and the Sunni insurgents. Restricted military aid could be a tool along with humanitarian aid.

Otherwise there will be long-term negative effects on America’s already frayed relationships with other Middle Eastern countries. The U.N. Security Council can supply multinational help in securing a negotiated settlement. Let us all support peaceful efforts going forth and tell President Obama, the military advisers and Congress that war is not the answer.

Judith Metzger

Williamsville ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 16:29:36 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: High court ruled wisely on contraception issue ]]>

High court ruled wisely on contraception issue

I would like to remind the writer of the letter titled, “Right wing threatens to destroy our nation,” that the traditional use of the word “conservative” during the time period surrounding the world wars is one that refers to a political perspective favoring a more monarchical form of government. Including, of course, an overarching control by a central government with little to no input from the everyman. So please, do not attempt to compare the grass-roots “conservatives” (who favor a smaller government) to the atrocity-committing regimes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. U.S. conservatives are actually quite progressive compared to the traditional understanding and use of the term conservative throughout human history.

The action of the Supreme Court does not remove the right of women to use contraceptives. The necessary drugs are still available under the Affordable Care Act. However, organizations with “sincerely held” religious beliefs are no longer required to pay for something that violates their beliefs. It seems to me that this is quite a compromising ruling that does not outlaw their use (which would be a true violation of women’s rights) but limits the field on who is required to provide them.

Shaun Gendrue

Barker ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 16:29:31 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Give valedictorians honors they deserve ]]>

Give valedictorians honors they deserve

As I sat watching the national news, I saw a story about doing away with valedictorians in some Florida schools. It seems they cannot leave anything alone. Why are they doing this? Because it is not fair to others graduating.

All right. Then why don’t we do away with the Pulitzer Prize, which only a handful have won, or the presidency of the United States, which only a few have achieved?

So please, let the valedictorians get the accolades they deserve. Leave things alone. Frankly, it sounds like a jealousy issue.

Donna Masury

Kenmore ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 16:29:31 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: We have to work together to improve the Fruit Belt ]]>

We have to work together to improve the Fruit Belt

I recently attended a Community Benefit Agreement meeting at the Moot Senior Center – a building centered in the surrounding soil avenue of mouth-watering fruits: Grape, Orange, Peach and Lemon streets, not edible, but metaphorically tasteful and delighting to the senses of any candid observer.

While at the meeting, I couldn’t help but notice one man who was attempting to infest the soon-to-be ripe fruits of the Fruit Belt by furthering the distance between institutional expansion, the CBA and citizen participation.

This man was a pastor from a local church in the Fruit Belt. He interrupted multiple times and tactfully created a wave of emotional dissidence. A tall fella, who referred to himself as a “community guerrilla fighter,” shook his head in disgust. We locked eyes and both instantly knew why the pastor was doing this. Churches are subsidized by the bank, meaning that his church has an economic and macro-social incentive to see gentrification seeded in the soil of the Fruit Belt. Unable to purchase the crowd’s sympathetic approval with his rhetoric, the pastor stormed out of the meeting in dramatic fashion.

We must not be distracted by pseudo-secularism, misled by corporatists who pretend to have the best interests of the Fruit Belt at heart or hoodwinked by Erie County legislators. We need not fight each other, but establish a strong coalition that will please everyone at the table of the authentic CBA.

Lewuga Benson

Tonawanda ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 16:29:28 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Ensure that Canalside is pedestrian-friendly ]]>

Ensure that Canalside is pedestrian-friendly

Come on down to Canalside! How? Simply walk from your parking spot to a nearby bus or Metro Rail station. That’s the message that Tom Dee, president of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., should be sending to restaurants and retailers interested in locating at Canalside.

Businesses need customers, not cars. Let the ECHDC promote Canalside as a car-free pedestrian area, without the hassle of caring for the automobile. Work with owners of nearby parking facilities to make these abundant spaces available after work and on weekends. Work with the NFTA to provide reliable short-distance bus shuttles and rail service. Assure businesses that customers already have easy access to Canalside via Metro Rail when coming from the city and the Northtowns. And then work with Rep. Brian Higgins to extend Metro Rail through the Cobblestone District and out to Larkinville – providing great access for Southtowns customers.

Gladys Gifford

Buffalo ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 16:29:27 -0400
<![CDATA[ Another Voice: Congress must respond to devastating Hobby Lobby ruling ]]>
The Supreme Court’s ruling last week in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby effectively designated women as second-class citizens, placing our health care needs as secondary to the personal beliefs of our bosses. In a devastating ruling, the court gave CEOs of some closely held profit-making corporations the right to deny their employees legally mandated coverage for birth control because of the CEO’s personal objections – even if those objections are not supported by science or medicine.

It’s unbelievable that in 2014 we’re still fighting about whether women should have access to birth control.

Birth control is basic preventive health care for women, and 99 percent of sexually active women have used birth control. Nearly 60 percent of women use contraception for health reasons. When used correctly, birth control can help relieve painful menstrual cramps, avert infertility by addressing the symptoms of endometriosis and prevent unintended pregnancy.

Ovarian cancer affects one in 71 women and by simply using oral contraceptives for five or more years, the risk of developing ovarian cancer is reduced by 50 percent – a remarkable reduction in risk. For many women, these are more than just statistics, but rather the difference between life and death.

As women across New York know all too well, this important preventive care isn’t cheap. Despite the fact that access to affordable birth control is a basic part of preventive care, and an important part of economic advancement for women in the workplace, a 2010 survey found that more than a third of all women have struggled to afford prescription birth control at some point in their lives.

Now, as a result of a ruling that was issued by five male justices (and opposed by all three female justices), that coverage is jeopardized for all women who work at closely held corporations. Before you think that group is narrowly tailored, the court’s decision affects enormous for-profit companies employing thousands of women and more than half of the workforce in this country.

Karen J. Nelson is CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York in Buffalo. ]]>
Tue, 8 Jul 2014 09:49:47 -0400
<![CDATA[ Hispanics United needs to rethink plan for methadone clinic on Virginia Street ]]>
Hispanics United of Buffalo has been working on plans for a methadone clinic for heroin addicts on Virginia Street, all without seeking input from neighbors or the Common Council.

The clinic was a surprise to residents such as Anita Rodriguez. She and others point to the difficult road they’ve traveled, often risking their own safety, in order to build a community in which they and others want to live.

All of that effort has helped get rid of the drug dealers, gangs and prostitutes that once infested the area. Now there are block clubs and many owner-occupied houses in the neighborhood.

The residents don’t dispute the need for a methadone clinic somewhere on the West Side. They just don’t want it dropped fully formed in a residential area that seems to finally be on the rise. It is to their great credit that they are even willing to acknowledge the need for a clinic on the West Side. They just don’t want it at 254 Virginia St., on the same corner where children line up to take the bus to school.

There’s an obvious disconnect here, but there is time to save the situation.

The state agency that oversees drug treatment programs told The News last week that the clinic is still under review. That delay allows time to reopen the process and involve both residents and the Common Council.

Hispanics United punted rather than go public with an explanation, referring questions to Acacia Network, a related agency in New York City that did not return phone calls. This lack of communication speaks volumes.

The plan to open a methadone clinic in a rebounding neighborhood needs to be tabled for now, allowing residents and other stakeholders a chance to get some answers and offer input. ]]>
Mon, 7 Jul 2014 17:05:03 -0400
<![CDATA[ Deborah A. Dickinson-Deacon: Allure of red shoes too strong to ignore ]]>
I’ll admit it – I’m more than 50 years old, so I’m limited in what I may wear. Gone are my days of owning and wearing 3-inch stiletto heels in every color of the rainbow. Imelda Marcos had me outnumbered by only a dozen or so shoes. In the 1980s I thoroughly believed in the motto, “dress for success.” I still have two pairs of shoes from that period of time. Both were made in Italy, where the best genuine leather shoes are made. My mustard-colored Salvatore Ferragamo loafers, a gift from my mom, are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned.

I also have four-color pumps (with red pointed toes, yellow trim around the ankles, blue sides and lime green heels) with 2-inch heels that are so unique, I still receive compliments when I wear them. My husband recently bought me bronze-colored SAS loafers, which I would normally equate with acknowledging my age (being orthopedic), but they make my feet look tiny and I adore them.

Back to my quest. I was about to admit defeat when a pair of shoes sang out to me – not “Blue Suede Shoes,” but “Lady in Red.” Bright, shiny red (faux patent-leather – they can’t all be Italian) sling-backed shoes with 1.5-inch heels and a bow on the front. There was the perfect combination of sweetness and sophistication calling my name. After trying them on, no further convincing was necessary; I had to have them. The clerk looked at my shoes and surprised me by asking if I would consider delaying my purchase for one week. I wanted to wear the shoes back to work and show them off. But she told me they were scheduled to be discounted another 25 percent. Style, comfort and a sale price – this was a triple enticement. Of course I could wait the week!

Red shoes are second only to a little red dress. Black or brown shoes are all-purpose. White shoes are for spring/summer and weddings. Blue shoes are for business (for women). But red shoes say, “positive outlook, bright future and invincible” to me. Consider Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” She was told by Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, that as long as she wore those “ruby slippers,” the Wicked Witch of the West could not harm her.

The June/July edition of AARP The Magazine offered women over 50 plenty of encouragement with an article written by Simon Doonan, creative ambassador for Barneys New York. In “Dress Your Age? No Way!” he states that, “Sophisticate style is about looking turned out and glamorous,” and “A Sophisticate … is unapologetically addicted to shoes.”

So now I’m wearing my newfound red shoes to church and work several times a week. When I come home from work, I walk through the back door and gently kick off my heels. I am greeted by my husband and throw my arms around his neck, kiss him three times and state, very seriously, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

As for my mission to find navy blue pumps, in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, “After all, tomorrow is another day.” ]]>
Mon, 7 Jul 2014 14:21:29 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Court made right call in Hobby Lobby ruling ]]>

Court made right call in Hobby Lobby ruling

Three items in the July 1 News merit mention.

First, I praise the Supreme Court’s ruling favoring Hobby Lobby in the matter of contraception coverage vis-a-vis the so-called Affordable Care Act. Any religious entity deeply opposed to abortion or other like procedures ought not to be forced to support them; people seeking such services should do so on their own dime. The high court made the right call; it deserves a loud and hearty “amen” from one and all.

Next, a My View writer wonders about the lack of encouraging patriotic music. I listened recently to a Canadian preacher who asked, “Can we really sing, ‘God keep our land glorious and free,’ when our country dabbles in all manner of lewd and wicked things?” By that same token, can we truly sing, “God bless America,” when our nation (due largely to overreaching “rulings” by some feral judges) embraces all manner of lewdness and wickedness?

And lastly, a letter placing opposition of the endeavors of the current White House occupant on par with treason calls for a response. Opposing, or even blocking, the wrongheaded endeavors of your esteemed president is not treason in any way; it’s called checks and balances. Does he not remember learning that in history class?

Lloyd Marshall Jr.

Lockport ]]>
Mon, 7 Jul 2014 14:02:29 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Kasem entertained U.S. troops in 1950s ]]>

Kasem entertained U.S. troops in 1950s

Casey Kasem’s life story intersected with Western New Yorkers in other ways than as recounted in Bob Skurzewski’s excellent My View article of June 30.

Kasem was an especially entertaining member of a group of 13 U.S. Army soldiers ordered to the Far East Command in 1952 who spent 18 days aboard a troopship traveling from Seattle to Yokohama, Japan. All recent graduates of the Armed Forces Information Officers School, then at Ft. Slocum, they convinced the ship’s chaplain that they could produce a mimeographed newspaper daily in exchange for better berth accommodations in the unused ship’s brig located on a higher deck.

Kasem had worked for radio station WXYZ in Detroit as a young multivoiced actor on several radio dramas, including “The Lone Ranger” serials, originated by Buffalo radio great Fran Stryker. Crossing the Pacific, Kasem helped relieve the group’s boredom with frequent non-broadcast performances that used his repertoire of singular voice talent.

Arriving at Camp Drake, the replacement depot in Japan, Kasem and several others of the original 13 were assigned to one of the many radio stations of the Far East Network, later known as Armed Forces Radio. Four others, including this Western New Yorker, were assigned to the Pacific Stars & Stripes daily newspaper.

Joseph P. Tartaro

Buffalo ]]>
Mon, 7 Jul 2014 14:02:25 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Festivals aren’t fun for overheated dogs ]]>

Festivals aren’t fun for overheated dogs

Once again, at a summer festival intended for human fun, I saw numerous unhappy dogs being led through the heat. Summer festivals are great fun, but dogs do not enjoy crafts, games, food they can’t eat, crowds, music, rides, noise or anything else that festivals have to offer. Dogs get badly overheated and the pads on their feet are not intended to walk on hot pavement.

Not only do dogs not find festivals fun, they do not find jogging or being pulled alongside a bicycle in the heat a happy time. Watch the next dog you see involved in one of these activities. You will see a panting, stressed-out, helpless being.

People who love their dogs cry outrage at the heartless person who would endanger the life of a dog left in a hot car. It is unfortunate that some of these same people lack the insight to leave their dogs at home with a bowl of water instead of forcing them to exert themselves in temperatures dangerous to their health.

I wonder how the festival celebrants, joggers or bicyclists would enjoy what they’re doing in a fur coat and bare feet.

We do have some humane consciousness as a community regarding dogs left in hot vehicles, although sadly little legal recourse to correct it. Let us attempt, at least, to enlarge this consciousness to include dogs being forced to engage in summer “fun.”

Sharon Levy

Amherst ]]>
Mon, 7 Jul 2014 14:02:21 -0400
<![CDATA[ Letter: Pegula’s new hires are a bit puzzling ]]>

Pegula’s new hires are a bit puzzling

After reading Alan Pergament’s column, “Never the best of friends,” one thing immediately came to my mind: Imagine if you were a seasoned employee of Terry Pegula’s East Management Services and one day you came to work and were given directions by Ed Kilgore. I do not question Kilgore’s dedication and sincerity with this new endeavor. However, now you know how Pat LaFontaine felt.

Pegula may be a billionaire, but he could use some help in his Human Resources Department.

Anthony Pasceri

Buffalo ]]>
Mon, 7 Jul 2014 14:02:18 -0400