People’s column

Without media, freedom lost


The media is an enemy of the American people? Really?

Is the OBSERVER an enemy of the American people when it reports on public employees who embezzle funds or steal equipment? Or on elected officials who meet in secret rather than in open meetings?

It is the job of the media to inform; that is why protection of a free press was written into the First Amendment of our Constitution. To be our eyes and ears when we as private citizens are not able to be there ourselves.

Is WGRZ an enemy of the American people when it fact-checks statements by office holders or because it airs NBC newscasts?

Local news media tell us what is going on in our home communities. National media focus on issues that affect everyone in the United States.

Despite consolidation of print and broadcast media in recent years, it still includes many voices.

Different members of the media cover different stories and cover the same story in different ways. Some media openly take a particular viewpoint, others are more straightforward in their coverage. No thinking person should get all their news from one source.

Sometimes the media holds up a mirror, and just like the bathroom mirror, we may not like what we see. But if we fail to defend a free press or marginalize it all as false, our ability to know what government is doing in our name is in grave danger.



Colon screening needs to rise


As most of you know, March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. While deaths have been declining over the past twenty years, it isn’t because we have better and improved treatments. More people are getting screened.

The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable started an initiative in which organizations have committed to help eliminate colorectal cancer as one of the major public health problems and working toward the goal of reaching 80 percent of adults aged 50 and older screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.

As of 2015, screening rates for Chautauqua County are at 69 percent and the goal is to hit 80 percent by 2018. One of the ways to help raise awareness is by joining Chautauqua County Cancer Services and turn Chautauqua Blue for the month of March.

“Turn CHQ Blue” is a campaign to help raise awareness and screening rates for colorectal cancer. We live in a small county that can be put on the map for being the first and only county to make their county turn blue.

This is a great way to get colon cancer awareness out there fast. It’s simple and reaches a lot of people. For more information or ways to help, call Cancer Services program 1-800-506-9185


Chautauqua County Cancer Services Program outreach worker


Seeking some common ground


The late Tim Russert attended St. Bonaventure Catholic School in West Seneca. Because he was an active student at 13 years old and in the seventh grade, a teacher – Sister Lucille, told him the school was going to publish a newsletter and Tim was going to be the editor and publisher. The newsletter became known as “Bonette.”

I’m currently reading a book “Big Russ and Me,” authored by the late Tim Russert. In his book he refers to the assassination of President Kennedy. At the time, he authored this book he still had the issue of the “Bonette” where he had written the following about President Kennedy: “A rare and perfect combination of Christian, father, statesman, peace-maker, author, politician and last but not least a friend of the COMMON man.”

President Lincoln once said, “Even the good Lord likes common looking people; that’s why he made so many of them.” Because in this country there are more common people than those of wealth, I wish he had left out the common “looking.”

I realize the Kennedys were wealthy people and there are some who questioned how they attained their wealth and I’m sure JFK, as president, had advisers and cabinet members of wealth – but, I honestly believe they were friends of the common people.

As far as our current president, I am in a wait-and-see mode. I believe he has surrounded himself with a group of capitalists and plutocrats and I wonder where their thoughts are when it pertains to the common people. I just hope there will be common decency from all sides.


South Dayton