Commentary

Are there any lessons from Vietnam?

Many of us recently watched Ken Burns’ outstanding documentary: The Vietnam War. What’s interesting is how little we learned from the war. The Vietnam War teaches us that there are three requirements that should be met before the U.S. goes to war. First, the U.S. should fight on the just ...

A welcome move by my cat

I live with a cat. I didn’t invite her to live with me. She simply decided that this was where she was going to live. A couple of years ago in March when I went out to get the paper, this solid black cat came out of the shed where I keep my golf cart and followed me. This went on for a couple ...

Current education standards failing students, country

By DEANN NELSON This is an open letter to New York’s Four: governor, legislature, Board of Regents, and commissioner of education. “Mary,” a Jamestown kindergarten child, receives tutoring in reading and traditional math — not the ridiculous Common Core — so that she can have some ...

OBSERVER Photo
Wyoming County, N.Y., is inundated with turbines.

Lasting impact

“I don’t want to be forced from my home …” An 11-year-old boy spoke to the Chautauqua County Legislature last month. “I live in the town of Arkwright,” he began. “I’ve spent my 11 years on Earth in this town. My parents have worked so hard for the place we have. They’ve made ...

It’s not easy avoiding trap of poverty

During the 2008-12 recession, 25 percent of children were poor. Yet in 2017, 18 percent of American children still lived in poverty. Studies show that not only are poor children likely to continue in poverty as adults; extended childhood poverty increases the likelihood of being poor as adults! ...

State failing to fund libraries

As current President of the Dunkirk Public Library, I am writing to publicly declare my support for our library, and for all the libraries in New York state. Our library, like so many others, is the cornerstone of our community. Libraries are for everyone; they provide a safe and welcoming ...

School wrongs are alright in Ripley

This is an open letter to taxpayers and parents in Ripley: Having spent a career teaching and coaching at Ripley Central, I’m disappointed that my two whistleblower books investigating/documenting the school’s leadership problems have apparently not had a meaningful effect on the ...

Finding the simple joys in life

Nothing suggested the need for a follow-up when I wrote about comfort last month. I had merely been curious why people were wished comfort at a time of holidays. Seemed strange to me. Considering those times, however, now it makes perfect sense. Does anyone, I wonder, use the expression ...

Not everything can be laughed at

It’s high time we made sense of a whole bunch of things. Like the football season. And hashtag-me-too. Which leads to the Oprah for President movement. How about a winter without sunshine? If it weren’t for the generous locals who have kept their lights burning well past Christmas, these ...

A path of ‘ignorance’ for America?

While the world is watching what appears to be dysfunctional chaos here in America over these past few days, people in cities, towns and villages have been busy honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King; and President Trump is Tweeting! (Mentioning these two men in the same sentence might be ...

Does everyone have a choice?

“Nobody forced him to do it. You know, if you do the crime, you got to do the time. After all, he made the choice …” These statements represent a typical conclusion drawn by those of us caught up in a discussion about an individual, especially a teenager, who has committed some kind of ...

Optimist always sees an opportunity

In the early days of my youth, I remember well a speech by Winston Churchill heard on radio. In his speech, Churchill eloquently stated: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” At that time, I thought his idea was good, ...

Offices and objects of desire

Here’s a New Year’s resolution. Let’s help Hillary Clinton find a country where she can call herself Madame President. The poor lady desperately wants that title. Hillary expressed that desire during an interview on “Now This,” which is an online news outlet (true). If an ...

Resolving to enjoy life, our world

There are three things in life certain to set you up for failure: The Barbie doll, a womanly image presented to little girls that can never be achieved; Martha Stewart, the quintessential overachiever, also unachievable; and New Year’s Resolutions. Have you ever kept a New Year’s ...

Area loses ‘gem’ in profession

Here is another voice from the many patients who were professionally treated and well served by Dr. Thomas McTernan. Along with literally hundreds of others, I was saddened to learn of his leaving the General Physicians, PC group. Dr. McTernan is truly a gem to the medical profession. I was ...

The purpose of Christmas (Christ’s Coming)

Jesus, the Son of God, was born into human flesh, God’s gift to humanity, to become one of us in every way except having no sin of His own, so He could be the perfect sin sacrifice for us and die on a cross for the forgiveness of our sins. This is the gift we celebrate each Christmas Day: ...

More successes than negatives for Trump

How do things stand in our nation as President Trump nears the end of his first year in office? While many people might disagree with me I think that President Trump, in the face of unprecedented media attacks on his person and administration and unfortunately his own unforced errors, has ...

Changing, warming times

I have enough of a scientific bent to not question “global warming” while confessing I do occasionally wonder if we’re not going through another of the periodic ups and downs our planet has known since its beginning. Ice ages came and went and obviously had to be followed by warming ...

How mom sets the example

We’ve met Elizabeth and heard clearly her concerns for Julia, her 17-year-old daughter, who was caught drinking alcohol. Elizabeth demonstrated a dramatic tone as a response to the event. She faulted herself for Julia’s intoxication. We learned that Elizabeth is a single parent and has ...

The scandal behind the probes

The investigations of the Trump campaign, Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, and Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation of Russian collusion were and are so incestuous, conflicted, and dirty that they constitute a Watergate-level scandal. Consider Mueller’s special counsel ...