Tonawanda News

March 15, 2014

TUCKER: No news except weather news

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — If I never listen to another weather forecaster it will be a century too soon. This week’s snow storm took me over the edge. Obviously, nothing was happening in the entire world as every broadcaster could only talk about the storm that was coming, the storm that came and the storm afterwards. Yuk!

I realize that the National Weather Service defines a blizzard as a severe snowstorm characterized by strong winds causing blowing snow that results in low visibilities and that the difference between a blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind, not the amount of snow.

However our local TV forecasters are so smug that they are able to close schools, scare residents and keep the story going. But since each station gives the weather at least three times each half-hour (Channel 7 does it four times) which, combined with sports leaves about five minutes for real news. Where’s spring when you need it?

Perhaps Bob Zayatz can help. He emailed that after his tirade about church and school closings a couple of weeks ago, he had a few calmer thoughts about “Spring Is Here.”

“Our daffodils are up several inches already, although covered by snow. We saw a large flock of robins. I saw a two-pair of swans in the Niagara River today. Maybe things are looking up for all.”

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Bob Nielsen emailed about the Common Core controversy.

“I was a professor of philosophy for over 40 years, and can testify that over 50 percent of my students in the past 20 years were below grade level in both math and reading when they entered college, and required remediation. I think you will find that this is true of most colleges and universities. I recently observed dismissal at both the NT high school and the junior high. The number of those carrying books home was infinitesimal — though they might have been hidden in the depths of knapsacks that some carried.

“Those of a certain age and religion will, of course, remember parochial school where there was daily homework and weekly tests, and quarterly exams, and the dreaded midterms and finals. Is it possible that the concerns over the Common Core comes from students not being tested enough, and skating through years of schooling without having basic skills verified? It would seem to me that parents would WANT their children to succeed academically rather than (possibly) succeed in what their children see as excellence, and the number of friends on Facebook?”

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Gloria and Pat Schmarder, ages 93 and 91, wrote a letter saying St. Francis of Assisi School is “their school” and they are pleased that the mention of the school and the diocese decision to close it, have been positive.

“Our vision is not the problem, (for not reading the newspaper any more) the news is too often depressing so we rely on you to continue your positive and enjoyable article each week.”

Thanks, but this week, my take on the St. Francis news is not all positive.

First of all, many parents have gone on the diocesan Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/#!/WNYCatholicSchools) to talk about the positive accomplishments of the students and to ask why the diocese is reluctant to tell the school’s story.

Mary Wilkie, a parent, and Tracy Dankanich, another parent had their posts deleted. Then when Tracy sent in another one asking why her post and that of Mary Wilkie and Mark Saltarelli were also deleted, there was no reply. She also asked why the post which announced St. Francis as the Weather Machine winner was also deleted.

Tracy emailed: “It’s crazy. I saw the post this morning about removing Mary’s, so I posted on their site questioning them. I checked this afternoon and can’t find it so I just posted again. I have no words to describe (the diocese’s) behavior, it’s so incredibly sad and pathetic.”

Carolyn Gorski said she was the first to be taken off the diocesan page.

“Not only was my post deleted, but the diocese has banned me from their site. Actually, I think of it as an honor to be the first,” she laughed.

The students are also part of the Save Our School campaign. For the past couple weeks, each student has written letters in their own handwriting, expressing their own thoughts to Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, the U.S. Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, Congressman Brian Higgins.

Parents and faculty got in on the letter writing plan and wrote their own. In all, more than 300 letters were mailed, all on Thursday, although several classes and some parents did their own mailings.

In a recent letter I received from the bishop in reply to my letter to him, he noted that he answers every letter and email he receives. 

Seems this campaign will be a challenge to him.

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Kudos to NT for finding the perfect place for the 9/11 Memorial created by two NTHS students. Brauer Park is a fitting place as it already houses another memorial and is a peaceful site. Another reason to look forward to spring.

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Overheard at the grocery store: “Wake me up when it’s warm outside.”