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Son House shook Nazareth

It's great to see Son House, the man and his music, celebrated in Rochester, his home for two decades (Music, August 19). And this is not the first such celebration.

In 1968, a two-day "Blues Feast: A Tribute to Son House" took place at the recently opened Nazareth Arts Center. It was produced by me and fellow St. John Fisher College students. Friends and I met Son and his wife at their apartment, persuaded him that the honor was for real, and, thanks to Dick Waterman, Son agreed to participate.

The event featured Son, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (with David Sanborn in its horn section), Muddy Waters Blues Band, Junior Wells Blues Band, the Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield and Buddy Miles, as well as Rochester's own Jerry Porter Blues Band.

The arts center rocked. Son beamed.


Save library's Sunday hours

I am a library and book addict. I have been stewing all summer over your article indicating that the downtown Rochester Public Library, the only city branch to have Sunday hours, must eliminate those hours (News, June 12).

What about youth who use this library as a stepping stone to reading excellence and lifetime opportunities? What about parents and others who can only go, or take their children, on Sundays?

I have strong feelings about this because reading has been one of my biggest sources of joy. My mother walked my sister and me to our local library weekly to borrow books. Books improve my life.

I want all people desiring time with books and libraries, regardless of their economic status, to be able to satisfy that desire. Reading is essential to becoming and serving as a contributing member of a democratic society.

So, do we close the library to save money, or find other alternatives to balance the budget? While people, organizations, and businesses can chip in the $100,000-plus needed for Sunday hours October through May, this is not the long-term answer. The durable solution is to:

(1) Recognize the importance of this service;

(2) Send letters to County Executive Maggie Brooks and county legislators about this priority (the Central Library budget is handled by the county);

(3) Elect a county executive and legislators who understand this issue.


Ban all bombs

Absolutely, Iran should not have nuclear weapons. After all, it borders on Pakistan and is not too far from India and Russia, all of which have nuclear weapons, and from Israel, which of course, does not have nuclear weapons.

China, North Korea, England, and the US also have atomic bombs, and some of us even have hydrogen bombs. So if no nukes for Iran, why not no nukes for all the others? Are WE ready to disarm?


We must reduce violence

The recent rash of shootings in our city is a tragedy. Our leaders pledge to do everything in their power to catch and prosecute the wrongdoers. While this is important, I wish we would do everything in our power to reduce the violence.

While reducing violence may be harder than catching criminals, I would like to propose a few ideas. To start, we need to get all organizations, programs, and activities which serve youth to work together.

We need to have much more street outreach to help direct young people to the health, recreation, education, and vocational services they need. We need to expand recreation services with more library and recreation hours. We also need to have more jobs, even if the government has to become the employer of last resort with something resembling the jobs corps of FDR.

Finally, we need conflict-resolution training in all of our schools, with all people in government who regularly interact with young people also trained in conflict resolution techniques.

Most importantly, we need to fund this program and keep with it long enough to see results. This may sound difficult in these tough financial times, but our city gives away millions in tax breaks every year to large properties, downtown housing, and projects.

It seems to me that spending some of this to save lives would be a far better use of this money.


White is the Green Party candidate for City Council's South District this year.

Warren could've waited

In a recent editorial about the poor state of the local Democrats (Urban Journal, July 22), Mary Anna Towler seemed to blame former Mayor Tom Richards and his supporters for the current problems in the party.

This is in reference to the 2013 mayoral election, of course, during which Lovely Warren defeated Richards in the primary. She went on to win, but Richards' supporters continued the competition.

My feeling is that Warren did not have to run against an incumbent of her own party who seemed to have wide support. She never really explained her rationale to the voters.

Primaries are well-known for their very low turnout and yes, her win was a big surprise to most people. However, why would her campaign expect to have the Richards supporters quickly turn around and embrace her?

If it was fair and democratic for her to run against him, then why should he have just bowed out when he had the endorsement of another party?

Her youth and lack of experience have been evident in several missteps. She could have waited.


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