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Applause for

same-sex stand

Marvin McMickle's guest commentary ("On Rights and Rites in the Same-sex Marriage Debate," May 30) was the best article written in a very long time. It was calm, logical, and sane, and should be mandatory reading by everyone in this country.

Thank you, Dr. McMickle.


Support plan for

Northeast Prep

This school year I had the opportunity to substitute teach in the Rochester school district. I crisscrossed the city. Thirty-eight schools. All grades, all subjects. From stately Neo-Classical Jefferson to Colonial Revival Nathaniel Hawthorne to the elegant Collegiate Gothic of John Charles Carroll to Charlotte's stunning Art Deco to the atomic age International Style at East to the poured concrete 1960's Brutalism of John James Audubon to Freddie Thomas's 1990's award-winning Post Modernism.

I petted an RPD police dog and watched Xerox retirees demonstrate dry-ice experiments at Roberto Clemente, helped an RFD lieutenant time hydrant maneuvers during firefighter class at East and field tripped to the George Eastman House with media students from Northeast.

Of all the schools in which I taught, Northeast was the most frequent. As has been widely reported, starting in September Northeast will hold school 11 months a year, 11 hours a day with Saturday half-days.

Ideally, the additional time will provide enriching experiences. Community members will act as mentors and tutors. There will be mini-courses like yoga and cooking taught by volunteers. Job shadowing with potential employers. Increased field trips, including visits to local colleges and universities. More extracurriculars. Expanded sports participation as the athletic facilities are renovated. Based on my observations as a substitute, Northeast's model should be paid attention and strongly supported.

Substitutes like to think of themselves as multifaceted resources: teacher in the classroom, tutor in a free period, one-on-one mentor. Sadly, we often face resistance and suspicion. Of course, there are the universal hijinks: fake names, feigned discomfort for the coveted Bathroom Pass, every encounter with a waste basket an opportunity to practice jump shots.

But it is more. Too many students seem unused to positive, everyday dialogue with unfamiliar adults. As one substitute colleague says, sometimes it feels like you need to make an appointment to have a conversation – even if just talking about last night's NBA game.

Fundamentally, the Northeast initiative exposes students to enhanced adult interaction that is often missing. To Principal Mary Aronson, the aim is bringing the community into the school and the school into the community. In school, students will build relationships with volunteer teachers, tutors, mentors, and coaches; outside, with prospective employers.

Aronson imagines a future Friday night at Northeast where the community – students, parents, and fans – join to watch a football game or school play. Let's give it a chance.


Kramer is a Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History.

Fracking in

the Finger Lakes

Hemlock and Canadice State Forest watershed are currently under attack by adjacent landowners to the north of Hemlock Lake who have signed leases with horizontal hydrofracking gas companies ("Questions on Care of Hemlock Land"). Once DEC issues permits to allow fracking to proceed, the toxic flowback from this mining process will inevitably and adversely affect the quality of Monroe County's entire drinking water supply.

DEC has already indicated that they lack the resources to enforce hydrofracking regulations, so the Monroe County Water Authority and the City of Rochester will need to test and monitor for any toxic effects on the county's water supply.

Btw, hydrofracking flowback water contains an additional 500+ Halliburton chemicals, including carcinogens, endocrine-disruptors, radiation, dioxin, and other toxins that are not tested by the MCWA today. These non-organic toxins cannot be removed using existing water purification technologies. Since water treatment plants cannot accept this flowback brine, the gas industry has become very creative in making it "disappear" as alternatives to road treatment for ice and dust control, and by incenting farmers to spread it on their agricultural lands.


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Dammit Cuomo, if we wanted a freaken Republican in office we would have voted for one ("Cuomo Plan Would Allow Marcellus Shale Fracking in Some Counties"). You better hope that this fracking process is as safe as the gas companies contend (or is it "pretend") it is, because if our water supply gets messed up, there is no turning back.


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A very wise choice ("Cuomo Plan Would Allow Marcellus Shale Fracking in Some Counties"). Keeping fracking out of the Great Lakes Watershed is imperative. On the other hand, regulated fracking in the selected Southern Tier Counties will permit it where pro-drilling forces are most interested, and in places that can really use the economic boost. Having local control as a fail-safe is another wise feature of this decision.
Once again, on economic issues the Cuomo administration shows the wisdom in listening to all sides and acting in a reasonable way.


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I want to commend Loretta Scott for her leadership and the Planning Commission for its unanimous vote to recommend a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and related issues. I hope that City Council will support this recommendation in order to give the City time to consider what steps it may want to take to protect the community's water resources, infrastructure, public health, and quality of life.

Last year, the Town of Brighton enacted the first moratorium in Monroe County, and others have followed. It's not just about drilling and water consumption; it's also about disposal of drilling waste and waste water that contains toxic and hazardous material, about damage to roads, about water contamination, and about the impact on property values and quality of life in problem areas.

All of Monroe County lies over the Utica Shale, which may become an attractive source of natural gas in the future depending upon the market and other factors. New state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations will apply to us as well as to the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier communities in the Marcellus Shale. Note that we get some of our drinking water from Hemlock Lake.

Local governments are wise to adopt a moratorium to protect their communities until we know that the process and related activities are safe.


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Unions and


The debate in Wisconsin and other states has nothing to do with "everyday workers" or unionization generally ("Walker's Roadmap to Silencing the Democratic Party," News Blog). The workers in question are on the taxpayer payroll and supposedly are public servants. By definition, they seek to organize AGAINST the public interest.

As for Walker's campaign money, it's hilarious hearing the contradictory interpretations offered by the moonbat far left, often in the same breath: On the one hand, money made all the difference, but on the other hand, that same money made hardly any difference, compared with Walker's election two years ago.

In any event, the American free enterprise system hardly needs to be "sold" like cigarettes. It has attracted generation after generation of poor people from every corner of the globe, and made them and their descendants rich beyond their imaginations, thanks to their own ingenuity, character and productivity — and no thanks to unions and left-wing kooks and cranks.


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To J.A.M.: Regardless if they are public servants or not, they are entitled to fair working conditions. If you like a five-day work week; safe working conditions; fair pay, not slave-labor rates; a vacation, then thank unions. People gave their life for those working conditions.

Historically, union employees earned less, so they can receive better benefits. In Wisconsin, they agreed to concessions; then Walker gutted their union anyway. Walker's win was bought and paid for at a ratio of 25:1, not 7:1. Walker's office has had six of his aides and associates that have been charged with 15 felonies and three misdemeanors in the ongoing John Doe investigation. The idea that organized labor is to blame for the country's debt and unemployment problems is absurd. What's hilarious is that people believe it, but if you spend enough money you can get people to believe anything. I don't and I'm conservative.


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