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Halloween Trick or Treating - Keep It Safe - 2006

By Bridget A. Castillo
Posted Friday, October 6, 2006
   I would like to express my concerns regarding Halloween Trick or Treat for the Town of Grand Island.
   Why couldnít the town Supervisor declare that Halloween Trick or Treat be celebrated the Saturday afternoon prior to Halloween. It is not safe for our children to celebrate Halloween at night especially with all the violations and attacks on children. The hours that the town declares are not helpful since it does get dark earlier. This would also enable neighbors to enjoy seeing the children. This also would prevent possible attacks on homeowners and property. Parents who are both working now must rush home, feed the children and begin Trick or Treating. Yes, I realize that Trick or Treat is a choice but we all remember how much fun it was when we were children and to deprive children of this fun would be heartbreaking.
   On the Island there are many streets without street lights and it can be very dangerous. No matter if neighbors leave their porch lights on and children are advised to go with parents and carry flashlights. Children tend to run ahead or even venture on their own.
    Children have the opportunity to celebrate Halloween in school on that day. No, I do not think everyone would be happy but at least something would be done to protect our children. This must begin somewhere. Maybe this would encourage other town and cities to follow.
   We must protect our children.
Bridget A. Castillo
Tracey Lane

To Kill an American - 2006
Submitted by Reg Schopp as received from a reader

Written by Peter Ferrara, an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law in Northern Virginia. Mr. Ferrara's commentary was originally published in the National Review on 25 September 2001.

Posted Thursday, April 20, 2006

    You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.
   So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is. So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!)
   "An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.
   An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.
   An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim.
   In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.
   An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.
   An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world.
   The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.
   An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.
   When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!
   As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Americans welcome the best of everything. . .the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.
   The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.
   Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families.
   So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit everywhere, is an American.
   Please keep this going!
   Pass this around the World then pass it around again. It says it all, for all of us!

Chris Jacobs For Senate - 2006

By Rus Thompson
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2006
   At this time I am putting my support behind Chris Jacobs for Senate in the 60th district. I put aside what the local Republicans have done to me in this past election, I will always get behind the candidate that can and will do the right job to represent the people.
   Chris is a Republican, and as a Republican he will have the ability to get things done in a Republican controlled Senate. Marc Coppolla is living in dream land thinking that he can do anything in the senate. What did Byron Brown accomplish? Nothing except have a couple streets' names changed.
   All I can do is laugh at the claims Coppolla is making in his radio commercials. He wants to properly represent the district and bring western NY thinking to Albany. If a Democrat had a voice in the senate don't you think Maisello, Nanula and Brown could have done something? They did nothing, just drive around and look at the condition of this district, Niagara Falls and Buffalo are in shambles, boarded up abandoned buildings and homes. So much for doing the work for "working families." All that is is a message to the unions that he will carry their torch and bring their agenda with him. That is baggage we do not need.
   I am asking you to get out there Feb 28th and pull the lever for Chris. Don't write my name in as a lot of you want to do, don't waste the vote on me or Coppolla. I will make my way around to my supporters in Buffalo and the rest of the district and ask them to vote for Chris.

Guest Editorials are not necessarily the 'viewpoint' of the management at Isledegrande.com and GIECOM.Net Inc. Your response is welcome. Address to: Letters to the Editor, 1871 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.

A Golden Opportunity - 2006

By Jim Mulcahy
Posted Monday, January 30, 2006
   Dr. Ramming announced his resignation as superintendent of the Grand Island School District, effective July 1. This presents the School Board with an excellent opportunity to rethink how the school system is managed.
   Currently, the District, like every other one, is administered by former teachers who have taken some administration courses. They arenít managers: people donít go into teaching because they want to run a business. The Grand Island School System is a business; a rather good-size business with expenditures of more than $42 million per year. It is administered by individuals who are well intentioned but do not have the experience in running a real business, that is, one that could go broke. Without this experience, they donít have any way of measuring the operating efficiency of the District.
   What the District needs is someone with an MBA who understands teaching to be in charge. This would bring a much needed discipline to the budgeting process and, consequently, to the overall operation of the District. It is clear that the current system has no checks or balances to the budgeting process. Who can forget last yearís legerdemain to get a ďno tax increaseĒ, oops, a ďno tax-rate increaseĒ budget? The appalling deceit of the energy component of the budget blew up in the Districtís face. If it wasnít for the large overrun we, the taxpayers, would never have even been aware of this.
   Even when the operation isnít as deceitful as last yearís budget process was, it still leaves much to be desired. In 1979 (this lack of financial competence is of long-standing) the District put in a dual-fuel heating system at Kaegebein, replacing a perfectly good heating unit. This was in the days of natural gas shortages. The dual-fuel capability would allow the school to operate if there were curtailments of natural gas. I pointed out that schools were a priority one customer, similar to hospitals and other government agencies. This meant that schools would be among the last curtailed. If the schools were ever curtailed it would mean that it was so cold outside that no parent would send their kid to school anyway. There are other examples.
   My point is not to rehash the past, but to emphasize the need for a manager who will recognize the need for trade-offs. It doesnít appear that the current process has any mechanism to evaluate options and choose amongst them. The difficulty is that the administrators are not business people who are trained and experienced in making financial decisions. The District canít provide every possible opportunity to the children. Everyone runs their own household by recognizing the need to make choices. So should the District. It needs someone who knows how to say no.
   Iím sure that this idea will be dismissed out of hand by the School Board. Possibly the Board will state that NYS law requires the superintendent to be an educator. Translated, this means someone who is a lifer in the school systems and has taken the administration courses that keep college level education departments in business. If it is only a law that prevents having a real manager, what is the Board doing to get it changed? If there is no law impeding this, the Board should go this route. With the school tax representing about 60% of our property taxes, it is imperative that we get our monies worth. Here is an opportunity for the Board to bring some real management into an enterprise that has been sorely lacking in management and budgeting skills.

Erie County Library System Observation - 2006

By Jim Mulcahy
Posted Monday, January 16, 2006
   Starting in November, 2004, we were treated to the Erie County budget fiasco. One of the areas where Erie Countyís budget was found to be out of whack was the library system. We have more library buildings per capita than just about anywhere else. There were two schools of thought on how to address this. On one side, there was the slash and burn crowd and on the other, the sacred cow crowd. Neither side got its way in the budget struggles. We settled for a Solomonic splitting the difference. Some buildings were closed but not as many as some would have liked.
   The library supporters say that the libraries are very important to our community. I agree. However, I think they are to be used, not to be just a census indicator of our commitment to reading. Next Monday, January 16, 2006 is the Martin Luther King holiday. The libraries are closed. Huh? A day when the largest number of taxpayers are free to use the library it is closed. It is the same for Columbus Day and every other government holiday. Does this make sense to any one? Clearly, it shouldnít. It appears that, as usual, a taxpayer-funded entity isnít there for the benefit of its customers but of its employees.
   The whole operating philosophy of the libraries, in my opinion, is wrong. The libraries arenít being run for the benefit of their customers. Why arenít the libraries open in the evenings, holidays, and on the weekends when the paying customers, the taxpayers, could actually use them? All of the libraries donít have to be open every day. Within a region the various branches could rotate days. This would ensure availability without incurring unnecessary expense.
   Some employees may not like the weekend or evening hours. In the private sector where one has to accommodate the customer or go out of business, many people cycle through a weekend or evening shift. That is part of their job. Maybe we need fewer full-time employees of the library system and more part-time employees. In the private sector management would be thinking along these lines. Why canít the public sector do the same?

Guest Editorials are not necessarily the 'viewpoint' of the management at Isledegrande.com and GIECOM.Net Inc. Your response is welcome. Address to: Letters to the Editor, 1871 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, NY 14072.

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